A HUGE beginning

ABC Family's HUGE premiered last night. I blogged about it last week, and was uncertain about what was in store for this show. Weight loss camp + entire cast of overweight teens = Skepticism in my book. I couldn't help but think of that disaster of a movie, "Shallow Hal" where the moral of the story was that beauty was on the inside. Blech. Worst way to send that message EVAR! Anyway, moving on....

My first thought was that in no way would I be able to relate this. I've always been open about my own struggles with body image, but I've never been overweight. In the first scene I noticed they show the teens in roles like every other social circle and the teens make comparisons from the beginning. The defiant rebel, Wil, is the main character. She is obviously there against her wishes and makes it known. Haley is the pretty girl, thinner than the other campers, but still overweight. In the first initial meeting, another camper tells her, "Oh my god, I hate you. Just kidding. You're so skinny!"Why is it that it seems okay to tell someone they are hated, as long as it's followed by a joke and/or it's because the person is commenting that they are skinny?

Here's what threw me for a loop. I had something in common with Wil. She is a loudmouthed, eye-rolling, attitude ridden, sarcastic, too-cool-for-school type. When I used to hate myself and my body, I was the same girl. Tough exterior and sometimes mean at the expense of others (yes, me) because I was so unhappy with myself and my life. It's not a fun place to be for anyone. In fact, it's downright shitty.

In an emotional scene the girls are informed one of the campers has been asked to leave and seek psychiatric care because she was caught vomiting. As sad as this is, I was happy to see a female showcased with (what's assumed as ) an eating disorder that isn't emaciated. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder and is prevalent in about 30% of those seeking weight loss treatment (Wikipedia). Good work, ABC.

I want to point out that the acting was amazing. In the world of reality shows galore, it was really a treat to watch great actors. What struck me the most was the pained expressions and feelings on these teen's faces. And it got me thinking; these teens live this in real life. In some way or another, they have been affected by society's idealistic standards and the fact that they don't fit it. I can't imagine how painful that must be. To have your life revolve around what size you are on the outside, being judged about the kind of person you are when really, the size of your heart is really what matters.

Choices, choices.

Sitting in my therapists office many years ago (don't you just love stories that start with that line?) I remember telling her, "I'll bet you have a really great marriage and life in general because you're so smart about all this". And she laughed and informed me that she had her own therapist. And that just because she gives advice and helps people get "well" (whatever "well" really is), doesn't mean she has a perfect life. I supposes that was my first realazation that just because someone is an expert at something, doesn't mean they do it perfectly. So, in becoming a life coach, I've let go of trying to have the perfect life. However, there's a distinction between that, and walking your own talk.

Last year I wrote a post on that topic, and it's come up again and again as I trudge further and further into my own personal growth and development. Funny how that happens, eh? Anyway, I'll get right to the point:

Over the last month or so my almost 3 year old son has been getting up at the crack of dawn. No, actually before dawn cracks. At around 5 am. Sometimes 4:30. And to me, that's still the middle of the night. We've tried everything, putting him to bed earlier, later, putting him back to bed, telling him the sun is still sleeping, but he's up and ready to party. So, I've been bitching and complaining about it on Facebook and Twitter, to my mom, and anyone who has ears.

In the meantime, I'm writing an e-book for my new website (more on that later) that's about self esteem. I talk about shifting your mindset. I preach that if you're not happy about something, shift the way you look at it. Huh. Pretty good advice, I'd say. So, this morning, bright and early, I stumbled downstairs, made my son an Eggo, changed my daughter's diaper (because he graciously wakes her up too), and poured myself some coffee. Feeling oh-so-sorry for myself. About 10 minutes later it dawned on me. I said to myself, "Self. Shift your mindset." So I did. Was it easy? Meh. But, I did it. It takes practice, I think. It's not as easy as jumping up and down, explaiming, "Wow! I LOOOOOVE this time in the morning!"  But even a slight shift is a start and gets the momentum to shift a little more. Try it. And let me know how it goes. Life is about choices. Concious choices.

What have you been looking at that you think sucks? What can you do to shift your mindset even in the slightest?

Huge is coming...

I admit that I don't watch too much TV that often anymore. I think I might be the last person in the world who doesn't have TiVo or DVR, and watching commercials makes me a bit crazy. However, upon hearing about ABC's new drama, HUGE, I was intriuged.

It's hard to form an opinion on a show merely by the one minute trailer, however, if you know me, you know I have an opinion.

From what I understant the show revolves around teenagers at a weight loss camp. The teenagers vary from overweight to obese. They deal with normal teenage problems, feelings and drama. At a weight loss camp. Oy vey.

My first problem is the question of what's with the poster with the actress, Nikki Blonsky, looking so....sad? Uncomfortable? Jaded? Scared? From what I understand, the show is promoting living a HUGE life, which if you read my blog, you know I send the same message. But, from the poster alone, I feel that they're saying, "Hey everybody! Come check out this show! We're going to pretend we're sending a great message, but selling it to you by thinking you're coming to see a train wreck".

So, I'm torn here. My battle is the question of why does this show need to be at a weight loss camp? Or day I say it (becauses I know you're thinking it) what most people still call a "fat camp"? Why couldn't it just be overweight kids at a high school, or private prep school? Aren't all the other shows about teenagers like that?  

The only reason I can think of, is that no one would watch it if it were just overweight kids in high school dealing with high school stuff. American's are obsessed with intensity. Reality shows must contain people fighting and/or hating each other (with a side of nudity, please), we love addiction shows (I readily admit I'm intruiged by the show "Hoarders"), we can't get enough of Oprah and Kirstie Alley losing and gaining weight all over the place. So, I'm not surprised at all to see a show come along like this. Honestly, part of me wants to bang my head against my computer keyboard in frustration. Sure, it's a step in the right direction to have a show on a major network in prime time showing overweight kids, but at what cost??

I can only keep my fingers crossed that it does what I hope: Shows that teenagers of all shapes and sizes have real feelings. That they are more that just overweight. Regardless of how they got there, they all have their "stuff" they are dealing with.

I'd love to hear what you think about it. What do you think it will be like? How do you think it will be viewed? What do you think about the cast? Here's the link again to the show. I'll be blogging again on Monday right after the show airs. Stay tuned...

Readers: What do YOU want?

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved to write. She started a blog, and much to her surprise and gratitude, people started reading it.

Then one day she realized what she wanted to be when she grew up, helping women love themselves, but needed the people's help to get it right.

Obviously, that girl is yours truly. Very soon I will be moving this little blog over to a website and starting my coaching business. But, before I do that, I need to hear from YOU, my readers, or anyone you might know that can help me.

I'm looking for women 30-50 years old who might have issues with their self esteem and/or body image. Perfectionism is a biggie too. I'm doing some market research and that's it. Just a short little survey. I'm not trying to sell you anything, I promise! Except my husband's mountain bike, but that's another story for another time. So, if you think you can help, please either leave a comment here with your contact info, or email me at andreafry75 [at] hotmail [dot] com. I'd be eternally grateful.


I'd like to know what you want me to write about. What do you like, what makes you read a particular post? I love writing and love feedback as well. So, let me hear your beautiful voices!

Oh, and thanks.

The Prize

"All my life I've been searching for something
Something never comes never leads to nothing
Nothing satisfies but I'm getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope" -Foo Fighters

I've been thinking about that a lot lately. The prize at the end of the rope that so many people are after. What is it? Happiness? Love? Beauty? A partner? Losing weight? Organization? Size 2 jeans? A better job? Perfection? A six-figure salary? Everyone's got one. Or two. Or more.

A few weeks back I wrote about the theory of "Go Big or Go Home". In my teens and 20's I thought I had to have it all. If I didn't have it all, or at least be going for it all, and especially look like I had it all, well, that was just unacceptable. I really felt like there was something out there that would bring me all the happiness I ever needed. I planned and planned. Controlled and controlled some more. I was outwardly happy, but inside I was pretty miserable. I lived in the world of "If only..."

What if your "prize" is yourself? Your trueness. I know that sounds really serious, doesn't it? But what if we were all put on this earth so unique from one another for a precise reason? I spent a lot of years trying to fit into a box. What I thought I should be, because I didn't think who I truly was was good enough. Actually, to be honest, I didn't even know who I was. It took me getting dropped on my ass and my heart ripped out  for me to figure out what I was doing wasn't working.

So, maybe if just for a minute, we all looked around and decided that our prize was right now.

This moment.


Save New Moon Girls!

7th grade. What does that evoke in you? For me, 7th grade was puberty, braces, new hips, boy crazy, new to leg shaving and wearing make-up. My mom let me subscribe to Teen magazine and I remember a particular issue where the model on the cover had a super-cool haircut. I wanted that same super-cool haircut, so off we went to Supercuts with the magazine in hand. I proudly showed the stylist and 30 minutes later I walked out of there with a mullet. I kid you not. It wasn't the stylists fault, it really was a cute mullet on the model, but I was devastated. I clearly remember crying on the way home, holding the magazine in my hand. I would love to post a picture of this, but I would not let my mom take my picture until it grew out. I thought I looked hideous. Looking back, I wanted to look like that teen model. I thought all my dreams would come true if I looked like her. It wasn't the haircut, it was everything that went along with it. The clothes, the sparkly white teeth, the perfect skin, all of it. Teen magazine was just the beginning. I later got Seventeen magazine, then Cosmopolitan, then Shape. Model after model, advertisement after advertisement, telling me what I should be: Beautiful, thin, perfect.

What is this doing to us? What is this doing to little girls?

I'm not going to get into the effects of mainstream media right now, but I want to introduce you to Nancy Gruver and her amazing magazine of nearly 2 decades, New Moon Girls. In this day and age where girls are evermore exposed to heavily sexualized imagery and messaging, New Moon Girls gives them empowerment, no advertising, a safe interactive online community, girl created content and not to mention numerous awards, year after year. Nancy wanted to have a magazine available to girls that was for, by and about girls 8 and up. On New Moon Girls Facebok page she shares messages from subscribers like this one:

"I really love your magazine. I know i sound like a ad, but it really, truly makes me feel, happy, beautiful, and unique. I wish that every girl would have a subscription to new moon girls. It would make girls feel so good. Keep making more girls feel beautiful!" - Chloe, 12, Illinois

Hoorah, right? But, here's the bad news. (Boooo, I know). New Moon Girls is in trouble and needs our help. Because of the current economic climate, New Moon Girls may have to close their doors forever. So, here's how we can all help: I have become an affiliate partner for New Moon which means I will be selling New Moon subscriptions from my blog. A year long subscription is $44.95. That's a great deal for an entire year of empowering that little girl in your life! If you choose to purchase a copy through me - you will receive a $10 discount off the total price. Making a year of empowering magazine action for just $34.95. (I will be making no commission off this).

If you don't have a girl in your life to buy a subscription for, you can still help by buying and donating a subscription to your local library or school. How's that for paying it forward? Or, if you can't buy a subscription, please consider tweeting about New Moon Girls, this post, or sharing about New Moon Girls on Facebook and become a fan yourself.

Another cool thing if you do get a subscription: Have your daughter or the girl in your life contribute to New Moon. She can send in her poetry, essays or her questions. This magazine is by, for and about girls!

Young girls don't have to be bombarded with images and messages that make them feel less than what they are. We may not ever know what they see or hear that is damaging. But, with publications like New Moon Girls, I can guarantee you'll be sure they'll get empowering messages encouraging them to be themselves, dream big, have their voices heard and to discover and honor their true selves.

So, please, buy a subscription (or two, or more!) and help New Moon Girls. For the $34.95 offer, please click here.

Eight Windows

Inspired again by my dear friend Karen Pery, she has invited her readers to think about their lives. If given the opportunity to have glimpses of your life flash before your eyes, what would you see? She describes 8 windows, from the outside looking into your soul. I tried hard to think about things that were all nice and fluffy. But, honestly, not all my pivotal moments were great. Some yes, but not all. The moments that changed my life, the moments that would flash before my eyes if I was perhaps faced with death? Here is what I would see:

  1. Riding my big wheel on the tennis courts when I was 5 years old. The plastic streamers, my royal blue tennies, red and white tube top and dove shorts. No cares in the world. 
  2. 20 years old, walking into the recovery room where my dad had just had quadruple bypass surgery. Seeing his scars, seeing him hooked up to machines was too much. I walked out. 
  3. Standing in Barnes and Noble. I called my then-husband and the other woman answered. I finally knew for sure. It was over. Walking out and into the parking lot I had my first out-of-body experience. 
  4. The moment Jason opened the door the first time we met. We had been talking for weeks on the phone, and I promised myself I would have no expectations when I met him in person. The look of such curiosity on his face was evident. My first thought that I remember so clearly was, "Oh shit. He's cute. I'm in trouble." 
  5. My son's birth. Terrified, laying on the surgery table, smelling my burning skin as I was cut open to have him removed from my body. Thinking, "Shouldn't I be happy right now?" And feeling like the worst new mother ever for being furious about the way he was coming into the world. 
  6. On my son's first birthday, he woke up from a nap. I got him out of bed and sat down to rock him. He fell back asleep in my arms and I memorized his smell: Baby sweat and sunscreen. It was delicious. 
  7. About 30 seconds after my daughter was born, I broke down in tears. Fighting with my obstetrician about how I was going to give birth to her was more than I could handle. I was so happy that she was here, that she was in my arms, that she was healthy and that she was born the way I thought she deserved to be born. 
  8. Sitting at my dining room table with my beloved MacBook, writing any post of this blog. Crying, typing the words of the story of my past. Realizing how sad I was at times. And how I used to cope. The girl I was. The woman I've become. And the vulnerability of letting everyone see it. 

I feel like I should say something inspiring right now but I don't have it in me. 

What would you see through your windows? 

Just things

I've been blogging a lot lately. Well, at least a lot for me. I remember when I got rejected from blogher.com because I didn't post frequently enough. I lurked through other blogs on their site and saw many that hadn't been updated for months on end, or frequent posters that wrote in-depth articles about the antics of their cats. The rejection sent me into "I'll show them" mode and I vowed to only write about things that mattered- things that would hopefully help someone, anyone. I keep writing for two main reasons: 1. This blog has been theraputic for me. And 2. Whenever I get an email from someone thanking me for helping them, it makes little hearts come out of my head.

My dear friend Karen Pery wrote a recent post that moved me. It was so simple, but yet a challenge for me to do my own. She quotes Jen Lemen:

…I think I should stick to a regimen of shallow self-disclosure in the spirit of old-school blogging. You know, the kind we had before we decided to try to make all of this mean something.

I feel confident that all ten of you will be just fine if I…

Don’t try to soothe or feed you.
Refuse to help or advise you.
Just tell you how I am every so often without taking on anyone’s future dreams or development.

So, taking the lead from Jen and Karen, I give you my own "Things":

Things I don’t know yet (except, of course, when I do)
If my son and daughter will have a close relationship when they grow up.
If we'll stay in California, or move out of state.
If I'll go back to graduate school.
What the topic of my first book will be.
If I will ever step on a scale again in my lifetime.

Things I'm learning
How to slow down.
How to let go.
How to be an awesome coach.
How lucky I am to have such a great marriage.

Things I'm wishing for
Eternal happiness for my children
More time to myself
Big hair to be back in style
A housekeeper
All women to love themselves and their bodies unconditionally.( Wow, wouldn't that be awesome?)

Things that are getting on my nerves
My son's phase of getting up before the sun. Coming in my room at 4:30 am to tell me the big news: "Momma! The sun is still sleeping!"
The landscapers that always seem to know when I've put my kids down for a nap.

Things that scare me
Zombies (seriously).
Car accidents.

Things that are making me happy
My past relationships. As shitty as some of it was, I'm so happy it all happened.
Exercising for health.
My husband. I never knew how happy I could be having simplicity.
New friends. And watching my old friends grow up.
Seeing how much my son loves animals.
Getting to know myself.
My daughter's fierce attachment to me.