Once upon a time we learned who we are, why we are here and our place in our community through the art of storytelling.

Once upon a time everybody had a story and everybody’s story was important to the growth, expansion and development of the community in which they lived.

Today however our personal knowledge and experience is not as appreciated as it once was and now that we no longer share our stories we feel less connected to the world around us and we feel less connected to our own inner power, strength and purpose. For many this leaves a big gap in their lives. I want you to really understand in every fiber of your being just how crucial you are to the world around you.

Your Message Matters

We all come here for reason, we all come here for a purpose, we all come to share our knowledge and expand our communities. And we come to do this by telling our story by sharing our knowledge and by expanding the connectedness in the world around us. This not only fills the gap that most people feel but also helps fill the gaps in those around us. Together we all play a part in finding our place in the divine web.

Your message or story be it personal or business has a place in this world. But more importantly it has a community a tribe if you will that is waiting to hear it, read it and share it. Somewhere in a place you may never know of there are others waiting, no needing what you have to offer. Your message is that important.

It can be all too easy to think that in a world that is nosier then ever that what you have to offer wouldn’t even matter at all. But the truth of the matter is the more noise the more need for people to be able to cut through that noise. The art of storytelling is needed more now then ever before.

Right now people are looking for real connections to others. For real solutions to real problems and for inspiration to assist them in achieving something that they feel may be beyond their grasp. If you have ever had a book change your life then you know exactly what I am talking about. That book that moved you was someone elses message or story. The only difference between the person who wrote the book that changed your life and you is that they wrote their story. They committed to their message and they shared it with their tribe.

You can too.

I believe you have something very important to say share and teach.

I believe it is time to bring storytelling back to our community.

Remember your story matters, tell it now.

 Leeza Robertson is a published author with best selling books on Amazon, Kindle and Nook. She also runs programs to assist others in living their dream of becoming a best selling author in under 7days. Find out more at




This post is written by Kate Fridkis of Eat the Damn Cake.

I write about body image because I love eating cake, but women around me are always dieting.

I write about body image because I have been told it doesn’t matter, but every year, more girls have eating disorders.

I write about body image because everyone cares about beauty, no matter how much we tell ourselves we don’t. And because, really, we are beautiful, no matter how much we tell ourselves we aren’t.

I write about body image because I moved to Manhattan, where suddenly everyone was very thin and very careful about eating and always going to the gym and suddenly it occurred to me that I was not thin enough and not pretty enough and very bad at going to the gym.

I write about body image because I noticed that after I noticed that I was maybe not thin enough, I stopped eating some of my favorite foods. They slipped out of my diet. I said no to dessert. I felt guilty when I gave in and made pasta for dinner. I felt guilty all the time, because all the time, I was cheating. There were all of these rules about what I could and couldn’t eat, and how much of it was OK, and I had somehow memorized them without even being aware of it, and now, when I broke them, I was ashamed.

I write about body image because I got a nose job because my big Jewish nose seemed like the opposite of beauty. Because when I told people that famous, beautiful women never have big Jewish noses, they always said, “What about Barbara Streisand?” and that was a long time ago. No one can think of anyone more recent. And also, because when my boyfriend who became my husband told me over and over that my nose was beautiful, I didn’t really believe him, even though I should have.

I write about body image because people make fun of people who get cosmetic surgery, even though when I got cosmetic surgery, there was nothing funny about it. I hated my face. I wanted to destroy my old face.

I write about body image because I don’t look like a model, but sometimes, automatically, I really wish I looked like a model. And at the same time, I really wish I didn’t wish that.

I write about body image because when I was a little girl, I thought I was gorgeous. I thought that I was gorgeous because I was me.

I write about body image because women are always complimenting each other by saying, “You look like you lost weight!” and because it’s so hard to think that what you are is already enough.

I write about body image because the more I write about body image, the more letters I get from girls and women who tell me how important this topic is. I get letters from women who don’t want to go outside because they feel so unattractive and women whose mothers told them they weren’t ever going to be pretty enough and women who were told by the world that they weren’t worth as much as they actually are, and women who feel fantastic about the way they look and are so relieved. And because the more I write about body image, the better I feel, when I look in the mirror. The better I look to myself. The better I realize I am.

That’s why I write about body image.

And also, cake is just delicious. We really shouldn’t ever give it up.

Kate Fridkis is a Brooklyn-based writer whose work appears regularly on The Frisky and the Huffington Post. She blogs at Eat the Damn Cake. You can follow her on Twitter @eatthedamncake.



Finding Your Voice: Using Intuitive Eating as a Guide to an Intuitive Life

by Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD & Hilary Kinavey, MS, LPC
originally published December 08 2011

The process of becoming an intuitive eater can act as a powerful metaphor for understanding the places in us that scare us the most. When we learn to say “yes” or “no” to foods in response to a connection to what we know in our bodies, that same knowing begins to be available in other areas of our lives. These areas may have been long ignored, or under-explored due to the amount of time and space worry and obsessive thoughts about food take up, but becoming an intuitive eater allows us to start seeing ourselves as whole for the first time in a long time.

When we are struggling to set boundaries in our lives and relationships, we are challenged to have boundaries with food. It just seems to work like that. When we begin to understand our body’s requests and begin to have permission to enjoy food and stop eating food, then all of a sudden, we begin to seek and require boundaries in other parts of our lives.

The challenge here may be that eating and food have always stepped in when assertiveness and boundaries were actually what was needed. Many of us never really learned how to state our limits to the people around us, and food (or spending, drinking, etc., etc.) supported us by creating a reliable, albeit temporary, buffer between us and discomfort in our relationships.

Learning to ask for what you need and feeling entitled to do so can be very intimidating because it may not be something you have had to do before. Many have stated that “it feels easier” not to, although it is clear that not having an authentic voice for many years has been far from easy. When our voices are diminished we lose connection to our innate joy, talents, wisdom and sense of place in ourselves.

In The Dance of Connection author Harriet Lerner suggests that the challenge “in conversations is not just to be our self, but to be the self we want to be. That’s why we don’t discover who we are by sitting alone on a mountaintop and meditating, or by being introspective and going deeper, as valuable as these disciplines might be. The royal road for discovering and reinventing the self is through our relationships with other people and the conversations we engage in.”

Not engaging authentically with the world from behind the mask of disordered eating is a powerful and creative coping method that was developed when needed the most. Stepping out from behind the mask of poor body image and dysmorphic ideas about yourself is the way to heal all the way through.

Brene Brown, a researcher who studies the impacts of shame, uses the following mantra to stay true to her authentic voice. “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Just stand your sacred ground.” We are all entitled to take up space and use our voices to secure that space. It takes practice to really know this is true.

Practice intuitive eating and let that be a guide for getting your voice back.

In 2005 therapist Hilary Kinavey and nutritionist Dana Sturtevant started facilitating groups to help women let go of food/weight obsession. Realizing that they shared a similar approach and philosophy regarding food, weight, body image and health – one directly counter to that of conventional institutional paradigms – the two decided to merge their practices to create a partnership that would offer a revolutionary approach to women seeking answers about eating disorders, weight concerns, exercise, and nutrition. Thus, Be Nourished was born. Encouraging a non-diet approach to food, weight and health, Be Nourished offers individual counseling, workshops, classes and retreats to tackle topics like conscious eating, hunger awareness, body acceptance, and self-compassion. For more information, visit Be Nourished.


What Size Are You REALLY??

The Truth Behind Vanity Sizing In Fashion

[Ed. Note:  I found this article very enlightening though it does not directly reference “plus” sizing and look forward to your comments!]

by Lisa Marsh, 

Like most new moms, Erin Correale wants to whip her wardrobe back into shape.  Correale has it easier than most. At 38, she’s within 10 pounds of the weight she’s been since her teenage years. But her clothing size isn’t.

“I wear a size two in Ann Taylor, a four in Banana Republic, a six in Old Navy, a four at Coldwater Creek and a friend told me about Chico’s, but told me I would have to look at a size zero,” she says. “I never like size zero-it’s encouraging people to be waifs. That doesn’t make me feel good.”

Sizes zero, two, four and six all for one woman? Is Correale lost in the looking glass, growing and shrinking at every turn like Alice, or is there something seriously askew with the sizing of clothing? It’s no mistake. The American apparel industry has created an intentional system of “Vanity Sizing.” The increasing use of the smaller sizes-a size 12 in 1970 is now in the size four-six-eight range-is meant to make consumers feel better about buying clothing.

Standards-or Lack Thereof

When it comes to sizing, there are no universal standards. A woman with a traditional hourglass figure with 36-24-36 measurements can wear anything from a size zero to a size ten, depending on the brand and whether it’s sold at the designer, contemporary, junior, bridge or mass level. The only standard that does exist is to con the buyer into believing she’s smaller. Over time, sizes are getting roomier, allowing women to believe they can still squeeze into a more desirable size two, four, six or even eight.

“At this point, sizes are meaningless. They’re more relative than anything else,” Bill Ivers, chief operating officer of MSA Models told YouBeauty. His agency specializes in providing fit models for designers and brands.  “Sizes are not standard by design,” he explained. “It helps brands be unique and offer an edge over the competition. Brands are looking for brand loyalty and if last season you were an eight and this season you’re a size six, that’s a sales tool. We all look to apparel to make us look good, feel comfortable and confident.”

Even celebrities fall victim to the need for vanity sizing.

One actress cold-called Robert Verdi, style director at and a celebrity stylist who regularly works with stars like Eva Longoria and Kathy Griffin, and asked him to wardrobe her for multiple appearances during an awards season. Her publicist said the actress was a size 12, and because they were working on a quick turnaround of less than three weeks, Verdi couldn’t ask designers to make anything custom, so had to rely on pieces designers had in stock.

“We looked at pictures of this woman and I called her publicist back and asked her, is she really a size 12?” he told YouBeauty. “The publicist insisted she was a 12.”  When Verdi and his team packed the dresses up for the trip to Los Angeles, “we snuck in some 14s, 16s and even some 18s.”

Though Verdi told the actress that everything was a “size 12,” the actress “wasn’t happy,” he said. She ultimately wore several of his picks, but one of the dresses was altered to fit by making it six-to-eight inches shorter. The fabric was then added as a panel on the back of the dress so the “size 12” would fit.

“She didn’t want to be bigger than that in her head. A number means so much to so many people,” he added. That’s really too bad since the numbers are pretty much meaningless and there are no standards in place.

This lack of sizing standards wasn’t always the case.

Until January 20, 1983, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology offered specifics for the sizing of apparel with body measurements for men, women, junior women, young men and children. These standards began in the late 1940s as a byproduct of the necessity for size-standardization in military uniforms during World War Two. Committees that included textile manufacturers, designers and retailers worked with the Department of Agriculture to determine these sizing standards and all adhered to it.

The program was discontinued in 1983. The measurements were not keeping up with the typical American body, which was changing due to better medicine and nutrition, along with an influx of new and varied ethnic groups. Sponsorship of these standards was assumed by private industry. That marked the start of sizing’s new Wild West, a lawless, volatile environment that continues today.

An End in Sight?

“Each designer has their own vision of what they imagine as the ideal person to wear their clothing,” explained Tanya Shaw to YouBeauty. “Designers will hold true to what they believe.”

Shaw is the founder and president of MyBestFit, a sizing system that scans your body for about 10 seconds and then provides you with sizing recommendations for styles from over 30 brands like the Gap, Old Navy, Talbots and J Brand.  “We help customers decode sizing and that makes shopping as simple as uniformity,” she explained. “We should find clothes that fit our bodies, not sizes we like to hear.”

The company currently operates one scanner at the King of Prussia Mall in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, but will be adding 45 more locations in fall 2011. Though a Personal Shopping Guide from MyBestFit in King of Prussia will only provide resources that are in that mall, you can enter your identifying code on the company’s web site to find what other sizes and brands will fit you when shopping at another location or online.

“When you cut the confusion out, consumers buy more,” Shaw said. “They have told us the conversion rate [from shopper to buyer] of 100 customers is normally 20 percent. With MyBestFit, in some cases, it’s as high as 90 percent. Imagine if you went into a fitting room and it all fit-your shopping time is more productive.”

Cricket Lee is taking it a step further and attempting to get standards back into the lexicon of apparel makers and designers. She founded Fitlogic, a patented sizing system that fits by body type and size. Though it is now accepting pre-orders online for fall shipments, Lee has spent five years struggling to bring it to market. Because each brand has its own sizing, designers and apparel manufacturers weren’t interested.

Her labeling categorizes women in three shape groups-circle, hourglass and triangle-and the Fitlogic label carries the traditional size plus a number for one of these categories. “The truth will set you free and if you know you’re a size four and shape three, you know a size 4.3 in FitLogic will fit you every time,” Lee explained. “Women don’t have the time to mess with trying on sizes. It is debilitating to walk into a fitting room with 10 pairs of pants and have nothing fit.”

“It’s progress and it will happen,” she added. “If this can reduce return by 75 percent, how can designers and retailers ignore it?”

MSA Models’ Ivers is skeptical that day will come. “There is no universal fit and I doubt that there ever will be. If five people take measurements of the same person, there will be five different measurements,” he said. “Consumers have to learn to adapt to the fact that today you’re a size zero and tomorrow, you’re a four.”

While new mom Correale admits she “loved being a size two at Ann Taylor, I didn’t really believe it.” Shopping certainly isn’t any easier. “I don’t know how to shop other than taking three sizes into the fitting room or having someone run back and forth for me. It never works.”

Shopping woes aside, maybe Lee is correct and the truth will set you free. If knowing that a number on a tag is meaningless will free you from getting hung up on sizes and allow you to focus on the best fit for you, maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all.


[Ed. Note: This article originally appeared at | Fashion – Thu, Aug 25, 2011 2:26 PM EDT]

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