happy woman celebrating body positivity

Body Positivity

Body Positivity: Accepting all bodies (including our own) of every size, color, shape, and form to create an inclusive community where people know they are worthy of love and can live unapologetically.

Sage Nutrition is hosting a six-session body positivity workshop on Sundays at 4pm. Led by Rae Thomas, the educational workshop will cover topics like goal setting, positive self-talk, and mindfulness. Starting a six-week journey may sound intimidating, especially if you’re new to the body positive movement, but with Rae you are in good hands.

Rae Thomas is a body positive activist currently working on her masters in counseling psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. But her work with body positivity started years ago. Eating disorders are complex, and due to a multitude of reasons, one being pressure from her modeling agency, Rae suffered throughout high school. While on her road to recovery she discovered her passion for helping others.

Though not everyone suffers from an eating disorder, Rae found that most of her peers and family members suffered from negative body image or some type of disordered eating. In an age where we are so exposed to unrealistic advertisements and expectations it’s crucial to combat the negativity.

Rae began working with Healthy Outlook Peer Educators and facilitated multiple Body Project groups. Just last year she created the six-week program that Sage Nutrition is now taking a part in. She combines what she has learned through the Body Project, the Healthy Outlook Peer Educators, and philosophies from acceptance commitment therapy to lead discussions and workshops that lead to a more positive lifestyle. As she continues to work on her Master’s she brings in more of her findings and evidence based research. Societal pressures and photoshopped media make it difficult to have a healthy self-image. It seems we are always hearing about the latest fad diet and workout challenge, but not often hearing about how to respect our bodies.

This workshop not only teaches you how to be body positive while you’re there, but how to do it in everyday life. The sessions are one hour a week for six weeks and will cover topics you may not normally discuss. But you will leave with the support of Rae, Sage Nutrition, your group, and the power to continue on your own journey. Sign up for the workshop or schedule an appointment for any other nutrition services.

Open House Recap

Earlier this week, Sage Nutrition celebrated the opening of their new location in South Lincoln with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house. Guests ranged from Lincoln Chamber of Commerce members to college students. Everyone got the chance to tour the new space which features an exercise room where Mindful Movement Coach, Cathy Jewell, leads group and individual sessions, a full kitchen for cooking demonstrations, a cozy seating area, and offices for Lora Unger, Emily Estes, and the newest member of Sage Nutrition’s team, psychologist Heather Patterson Meyer. While enjoying snacks and entering raffles those in attendance got to hear a bit about what drove Emily to create her own business. With inspiration from friend and mentor, Karen Miller, Emily saw a desperate need for eating disorder treatment and nutrition counseling in Lincoln. Through a holistic approach, Sage Nutrition offers just that. Emily focuses on weight management, intuitive eating, and eating disorders while Lora Unger works with prenatal, early childhood, and sports nutrition. Sage Nutrition emphasizes the importance of a healthy relationship with food and exercise, not just counting calories. While its not always easy, everyone is capable of leading a healthy life and the new location is a great place to start! To make an appointment call (866) 818-7481 or visit our website for an online consultation.


Girl Holding Up Clothes to Herself

Body Shaming

“Body shaming” is an aggressive phrase. It conjures up images of schoolyard bullying or even abuse. But body shaming can be much sneakier. In fact, many of us do this every day, without any thought or realization as to what we may be doing to someone else.

In one of my previous positions, we called out body shaming and other negative or triggering words with the phrase “Red Light!”. This allowed the other participants in the conversation to be made aware that what they were saying was affecting someone else in a negative way.

Patients used it most often in treatment, but it is useful for conversations with friends and family as well­ provided they have been made aware of the meaning of the phrase beforehand.

Some examples of “Red Light” words and phrases are:

  1. “I feel fat.”
  2. “I feel ugly.”
  3. Pinching skin
  4. Criticizing someone’s weight or size
  5. Questioning someone’s food choices­ “Why are you eating that?!”
  6. Making fun of someone’s weight, size, or appearance

Body shaming isn’t limited to what those close to us, including ourselves, say or do. The media plays a huge role in creating a culture of body shaming. I myself have an entire board on Pinterest devoted to images of body shaming. There are pictures of healthy women pinching skin on their arms, abdomens, and buns to demonstrate “fat”. There are posts giving instructions on what are essentially starvation diets to encourage fast weight loss. Posts insinuating that any jiggle on any part of your body is bad. Posts insinuating that you are either “fit” with 6­-pack abs or “fat” with any other stomach. There are pictures of women where Photoshop has clearly been used to create artificial “thigh gaps”.­ Pro tip: If the crotch is mysteriously square and even indented, it’s probably Photoshop.

But the most heartbreaking pin I have seen to demonstrate just how far body shaming has seeped into our culture is a picture of a little girl doing push ups after she has lined up all of her Barbies to do the same. This child cannot be old enough to even attend school yet. The caption reads “Barbie Bootcamp”. While many comments I have seen on this picture indicate that people find this “cute”, I find it disturbing. Yes, we want to encourage children to be involved in physical activity. But for children that young, that activity should be more along the lines of playing catch, taking the dog for a walk, or running around the lawn doing cartwheels – all with parent, guardian, or sitter participation. Doing push ups alone in your bedroom is not a fun activity for most people.

The other issue with that pin for me, is that children learn a lot of body shaming behaviors from the adults around them, usually without the adult realizing what they are teaching. As a child, my mother was constantly on a diet and talking about how “fat” she looked. I watched her take Dexatrim and drink Slim­Fast shakes all while reminding me that her butt looked better before she got pregnant with me. Did she realize how that made me feel or even that it affected me at all? Of course not, or she probably wouldn’t have said those things in my presence. But she did, and they affected me for quite some time.

The moral of this story is one of prevention. In my role as an Eating Disorder Dietitian, my job is not only to treat, but to prevent eating disorders from arising in the first place. While this is not always possible, becoming aware of what you say or do, especially around your children, can help them to form healthier and more realistic views of their bodies and health. Model healthy behaviors as a family and keep it positive. For example, focus on teaching your kids that eating fruits and vegetables will provide them with the nutrients that their bodies need versus telling kids that eating cookies and candy will make them fat. Encourage the family to play a game of soccer in the backyard instead of plopping down in front of the TV after dinner.

Have your kids help with dinner preparation so they feel more engaged with the foods they are eating. And, most of all, avoid saying negative things about your body in front of your children. If you want your spouse’s opinion on an outfit, ask if you look professional, not fat. If you feel like your healthy eating has taken a detour, voice your desire to have fruit instead of dessert with dinner, instead of professing your need to go on a diet.

Following my above examples definitely qualifies as a culture change for most families, which means it probably won’t be easy. However, this doesn’t have to be an overnight change. Just making yourself aware of what we do to shame others about our bodies makes it easier to see what we could improve upon and makes it easier to notice behaviors and word choices in your children that may indicate an issue. Remember: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”­ Ben Franklin.