Picture Perfect: What You Need to Feel Better About Your Body

Picture Perfect: What You Need to Feel Better About Your Body

by Jill S. Zimmerman Rutledge M.S.W. LCSW


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780757306075
Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/01/2007
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
Age Range: 12 - 16 Years

About the Author

Jill Zimmerman Rutledge, M.S.W., LCSW, (Evanston, IL) is the teen self-help guru for girls. She has been featured as a body image expert on National Public Radio's Talk of The Nation and on an MTV Finland television documentary. She has lectured nationally on girls' issues and has been interviewed on many television shows such as ABC TV Channel 7 Morning News, Chicago, and has written several articles on body image issues. She has been featured in Teen, YM, and Fitness magazines and is the author of Dealing With the Stuff That Makes Life Tough: The Ten Things That Stress Girls Out and How to Cope With Them (now in its seventh printing). She maintains a private practice in Evanston, Illinois, where she has treated adolescent girls for over 20 years. She is a clinical consultant for the National Organization of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) in Highland Park, Illinois.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Picture Perfect

In our culture, it is hard to avoid being preoccupied with food and weight. We're bombarded with messages that remind us to think about the food we eat and how many pounds we weigh. Thousands of words and images virtually cement worries about food and weight into our brains!

Here are some common experiences stuck in the minds of many girls:

1. You read in a magazine that a particular celebrity is a certain size, and immediately think you're huge because your body is bigger than hers.

2. You read a newspaper article or headline such as 'Epidemic of Obesity in Children' and ask yourself, 'Am I obese?'

3. You hear people—maybe your mom or dad or a friend—talk about 'low-carb' or 'low-fat' diets, and ask yourself, 'Is this stuff bad for you? Should I not eat carbs or fat?'

4. Your mom looks at herself in the mirror and says out loud (maybe even to you directly), 'My butt (or thighs, or stomach, and so on) is too big. I need to lose some weight,' and you worry that your butt is too big and you decide you need to lose weight, too..

Of course, there's a big downside when a girl is preoccupied with food and her weight. Everyday, normal events (such as going out with friends or getting dressed in the morning) turn into dramatic decisions. You may worry too much about these things—things that you never even used to think twice about. You may ask yourself new, nervous questions, such as 'Should I eat candy at the movie?' or 'I love this skirt, but does it make me look fat?' or even 'Should I eat a piece of my own birthday cake?'

Like a thief in the night, worries about food and weight can steal your positive, self-accepting thoughts and feelings. Worries may take up so much brainpower that you don't think of the good things about yourself, and the good things in your life. Read about Jess and how she deals with food issues and how she resolved her fears about eating sweets and learned that she does deserve to eat dessert.

Jess, age sixteen, Special Statement: I deserve dessert !

Jess is the youngest of three sisters. Her two sisters are already in college. She misses them, but when the middle sister left for school last year, Jess was happy that she inherited her big bedroom. Jess does pretty well in school and says her friends consider her 'cute, not beautiful.'

Jess felt okay about her body until last year, at the beginning of ninth grade. She was shocked when she was weighed for her school physical—she'd gained sixteen pounds over the summer. Her mom said, 'You're fine, don't worry about it.' Her doctor said her weight was just right for her height, and reminded her that she had grown a lot since her last physical. But Jess thought she was fat and wanted to lose at least ten pounds—the sooner the better. That's all she could think about.

'I freaked out when I realized how much weight I gained. It didn't matter that I'd grown three inches and everyone said I'm normal. I just really wanted to lose weight. I thought, Oh no! I can't even fit into my jeans anymore, and they cost me four weekends of babysitting.

'I decided I was going to give up sweets. It didn't work. My mom loves to bake, and every Saturday she makes fresh banana bread or pumpkin bread or cookies—things like that. I didn't eat any sweets for a few days. Then I had no willpower, so I ate too many sweets over the weekend. Then I got scared that I had eaten all the wrong things. It made me more worried about my weight.'

One day Jess picked up a magazine that one of her sisters had left in her room. She noticed an article on healthy eating. She read the whole thing—and was very surprised at one of the tips she learned!

'I read an article written by a nutritionist in my sister's InStyle magazine. She said that you should eat dessert! I couldn't believe it! But she said people eat healthier during the day if they know they can have a dessert. Somehow that made it more okay with me—I could have a dessert because the magazine said it was okay. I think this made me feel less afraid of sweets because the article said that the nutritionist helps celebrities. I thought that if they listen to her, I could, too.'

Jess tried out her new idea about desserts one Saturday afternoon. She also found her Special Statement at the same time.

Jess's mom had just baked chocolate chip cookies, and they smelled really good. Jess wanted a hot one so badly! She fought with herself—she felt if she ate one, she'd feel guilty. But then she remembered the article in the magazine. She knew that if she didn't allow herself a dessert, she'd think about the cookies all day and probably eat them anyway—in fact, she'd probably eat too many of them. That was what she usually did when she denied herself something she really wanted.

'So I decided this: I could have a couple of my mom's cookies because it's my right as her daughter. It's my right as a human being. I was so sick of worrying about eating her cookies. I thought, My mom is a great baker. The magazine says you can have a dessert. So I'm allowed to have her cookies if I want some! I deserve dessert! I decided that would be my Special Statement because it made me feel like I was trying to be normal.'

Jess ate a few of her mom's cookies. She felt a little uncomfortable and scared, but the feelings went away. And she really enjoyed those cookies!

'I was proud of myself. I didn't go back and binge on them. I felt happy that I could have just a few and be okay with that. I had a glass of milk, too, just like I used to before I got so freaked out about my weight. I felt like I was eating like a normal person for the first time in a long time.

'I'm still struggling with accepting my weight, even though everyone says there's nothing wrong with me and I look good. But I realize that denying myself things like my mom's cookies is extreme. I'm trying to be more reasonable with myself.'

Jess says I deserve dessert to herself many times a day.

'It helps to think that I deserve a cookie, or a piece of banana bread, or whatever if I want one. I mean, everyone does. Thinking that I deserve it makes it feel more normal. It makes me feel less scared.

'It's weird, when I tried not to eat any sweets, I ate more. I mean I told my friends I stopped eating sweets, but I was lying. I ate a lot sometimes. I think I actually do eat healthier now because sweets aren't forbidden food; like the article said, if you know you can have a dessert, you'll eat healthier during the day. That's true for me. I don't have too much junk during the day—maybe some chips or fries at lunch, and that's usually it. But I do always have my dessert! I deserve it!

Jess found a way to help reinforce her Special Statement.

Sharing with a Friend

Jess talked to a good friend about feeling upset about her weight gain, and she learned that her friend was going through the same thing.

'It helped knowing that when my good friend gained seven pounds in a couple of months, her doctor told her what my doctor told me—she's still growing and that's why she gained the weight. My friend said her doctor told her that girls need some body fat—not too much, but some. She said the fat produces hormones so we can get our periods. So I guess we girls are all in the same boat. We have to have some fat to be normal. I hate that idea, but I wouldn't want to lose my period, either. My friend and I support each other. We remind each other that we both deserve dessert!'

Here's another idea that helps support Jess's Special Statement. Jess got this idea from her good friend, and now it helps her when she worries too much about her weight. Maybe it will help you, too!

Comfort Box

'My good friend gave me this idea. I got a shoebox and decorated it. Then I put special things in it: my last baby tooth, a picture of my cat, my grandmother's gold ring that she gave me on my tenth birthday. When I feel like I'm too fat, I look at the things in my comfort box and it makes me feel better, like I have something special to think about. It helps me get my mind off my weight. It distracts me, and distraction is good! And my grandma was such a good baker, like my mom, so it helps me feel all right about deserving dessert .'

©2007.Jill S. Zimmerman Rutledge, M.S.W., LCSW. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Picture Perfect: What You Need to Feel Better About Your Body. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street , Deerfield Beach , FL 33442.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

...you asked for a good resource to help you raise your daughter from the inside out. The best one I've seen is called Picture Perfect: What You Need to Feel Better About Your Body by Jill Zimmerman Rutledge. What's great about this book is that it helps girls learn to catch their negative thoughts and develop healthier images about their body. It also helps the girl develop her own "Special Statement" to counter the negative thoughts and stories of girls who struggle with poor body image issues, worry about their appearance or wealth. And it's written so your daughter can read it herself!

-- Dr. Michele Borba educational psychologist and Today show contributor, author of a popular parenting blog on iVillage.com).

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Picture Perfect: What You Need to Feel Better About Your Body 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 12 and feel so insecure all the guys in my class say oh your fat and ugly and stupid. And the prettiest girl sits next to me and i get to hear everyone say how beautiful and smart she is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago