My Body Doesn’t Make Me Beautiful

Hi Friends!

As some of you may know, this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Yes, I realize we’re at the tail end of the week…but this is an issue that extends way beyond awareness week and is still worth talking about, so we’re interrupting Fitness Friday to do just that!


Depending on how long you’ve been reading this blog, you may have seen me mention a few times that I struggled with disordered eating when I was younger. I haven’t always had the healthy, balanced relationship with food that I do now. That doesn’t mean I’m going to blog about it in detail, but it does mean that this week holds a special place in my heart for several reasons.

  • I have first hand experience so I know what it feels like to struggle.
  • I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology so I understand some of the psychology behind the disease.
  • I’m a future RD so I know the physical and nutritional implications of eating disorders.
  • I have first hand experience so I know what it feels like to win the battle.

This is an issue that affects SO many people every single day. The theme of this year’s NEDA Awareness week is “everybody knows somebody” and I guarantee it’s true.


Look at these statistics. Some of them literally bring tears to my eyes, especially the ones about 3rd graderes and 10 year olds:


Earlier this week, my friend Clare wrote a great post about NEDA week. In that post, she issued a challenge that really stuck in my mind and I’ve been thinking about it all week. It’s called the “My Body Doesn’t Make Me Beautiful” challenge.


In her post she challenges everyone to do the following: “See if you can refrain from talking about, judging, or valuing yourself or anyone else (including celebrities)  because of their body. Not that anyone is too skinny, too fat, has a little celulite, lost the baby weight, or even looks great. Nothing. This week we will value people for their love, intelligence, compassion, humor, and more, but NOT because they have a great body.”

I’m accepting Clare’s challenge. There are so many things BESIDES my body that make me beautiful.

Here are 3 of them:

1) Determination

When I decide I want to do something, I always give 110%. I pour my heart and soul into doing the best job I can and I don’t give up when I face setbacks or failures. Instead, I use those failures to motivate me to do better in the future.

2) Selflessness

I love giving to others.  I truly care about making sure others are happy, successful and taken care of. I go above and beyond for others without expecting anything in return and am always willing to help someone in need. Nothing makes me happier than paying it forward.

3) Passion

I took a chance and followed my dreams because I believe in the importance of doing something you’re passionate about. I am 100% committed to helping others use nutrition and exercise to live a happy, healthy life. I love what I do and my passion for helping others motivates me to keep learning, teaching and inspiring others.


So, do you know someone that’s affected by an eating disorder? Are you affected yourself? What can you do?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Be a good listener: Make yourself available to anyone who needs someone to talk to. Even if you don’t say anything, sometimes just lending an ear while they talk through it themselves can make all the difference.
  • Educate yourself: Visit the NEDA website for links to webinars, podcasts, articles, etc about eating disorders. The more you understand, recognize the signs and are aware, the more you can help.
  • Help raise awareness: Talk about it. Eating disorders are scary, but they affect a lot of people. Don’t sweep them under the rug. Talk about them, what they are, who is suffering from them, what you can do to help.
  • Give someone a compliment: Next time someone at work does a great job on a project, tell them you admire the work they did. Next time your child does something nice for a sibling or friend, take the time to recognize that you love what a nice gesture that was. Or check out the Operation Beautiful campaign and spread the love that way!
  • Talk to your kids or any kids you spend time with: Mizfit Online wrote a great post about building body confidence in little people. Take the time to show kids that it’s things like intelligence, compassion and dedication that make them truly beautiful. That despite what the media says, true beauty comes from within.
  • Be a good role model: Make an effort to focus on the things inside you that make you beautiful, not just whether or not you’ve lost weight or are having a good hair day. Others will pick up on it.
  • Don’t give up: People may need your help and just not realize it yet. They may push you away. But stick around. It’s important for you to be there when they do reach out.
  • Do just one thing: If every single person who reads this post does just one thing to raise awareness, tons of lives could be changed for the better.


I want to live in a world where EVERYONE realizes how beautiful they are. Where I don’t have to read articles like this. Where the media glorifies the difference someone makes in the world, instead of the difference in their weight from a few months ago. Being aware of, understanding and helping those suffering from eating disorders is a step in the right direction!

Remember- it’s not your body that makes you beautiful. It’s your soul, your spirit, your passion and your heart!

If you’re interested in reading more posts on this topic, check out:
Thankful Thursday: NEDA Awareness week via Cait Plus Ate
NEDA Week 2013: Everybody Knows Somebody via Fit and Free Emily
6 Unique Social Good Campaigns for Eating Disorder Awareness via Greatist

Now it’s YOUR turn! Tell me what makes you beautiful?


If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, visit the NEDA website for more information, ways to get involved and places you can find help.  

About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. Thanks for mentioning this Lindsay! I feel like it’s so important to spread awareness on eating disorders, since there are so many people out there who have no idea what it’s like to suffer. And how much pain it causes to not only the person suffering, but to family and friends of the person as well.
    I love that my body doesn’t make me beautiful challenge, another fantastic way to appreciate everything on the inside that makes us a great person instead of the external beauty society deems as so important.
    My positive energy and helpfulness make me beautiful.
    Lisa recently posted..February Favorites

  2. Your right, T’s absolutely true, and it’s horrific the statistics. Thank you for reminding us all of this week!
    Avery @ Southern Belle Living Well recently posted..The Her Kind Of Beautiful Campaign

  3. Thank you for paying attention to this!
    It’s a constant struggle for me how I keep my blog inspiring, without stimulating unhealthy behavior. I think it’s so important the entire health- and fitness community stands up against pro-ana, starvation, binging cheat days, etcetra. We definitialy have a responsibility here!
    Willemijn recently posted..Inspiratie voor het weekend #17

  4. As a professor, I’d say this is the second most common issue students come to me seeking help for. It’s absolutely heart-breaking and I’m doing my best to find local resources they can use, but not much exists!
    Erica { } recently posted..Weekly Workout Wrap Up

  5. Great post girl! Definitely hit the nail on the head :)
    Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..Savannah Tea Room

  6. I’m definitely sharing this on my facebook page. It’s so important and I’m glad you blogged about it. I read the story in the NYT yesterday about the 10 year old with an eating disorder, and how it’s becoming more prevalent. So sad.
    The Candid RD recently posted..National Nutrition Month: What it means to me

  7. GREAT POST! As a third grade teacher, I do a lot of things to try and instill confidence NOT based on looks. Many times, we play a “compliment game” that involves kids giving kids compliments… the only rule is that it can’t be based on their looks or clothes; it has to be about what’s on the inside!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Nadoz Cafe & Vino Nadoz

  8. Thanks for taking time out for this. Such a huge problem affecting so many people. And by the way, heck yeah you’re beautiful!!! :)
    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers recently posted..Fitness Friday… Flop

  9. Alicia H. says:

    Great post, Lindsay! I wish all the young women with eating disorders that I work with could see this!

  10. I love this. It’s so easy to get sucked into finding fault with our bodies and forgetting the other, more important, parts of who we are.
    I’m good at finding the comedy in situations, I have a quirky sense of humour, and I try to find the funny as much as I can. I have to admit that living in Japan has given me lots of chances to build this skill.
    Sarahf recently posted..Fried Brain Friday

  11. Such an important post. I’m so glad you shared this, Lindsay! It makes me sad when I stop to think about how many girls and women are dealing with this. You are going to make such an impact- with your experience, education and most importantly, your genuine concern and compassion. I’m proud to know you. :)
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Running Survey + Half Marathon Goals

  12. I LOVE to LAUGH. I am a happy person. I try to live each day with a smile and keep things exciting. I think that’s what makes me beautiful. :)

  13. Thank you for dedicating a post to such an important topic. This is a topic that needs to be discussed, not pushed aside or ignored. Awesome post :).
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted..Mexican Chili Mac Bake

  14. I started reading those statistics and it just hurt my heart :( Recently, I’ve read a few articles on girls 7 & under with ED, and then I found an article yesterday about how ED in senior citizens is on the rise, but usually goes unnoticed.

    And your “what makes YOU beautiful” question is so great because I think it’s going to make us really THINK about what we love about ourselves :) – I think my smile makes me beautiful :) Not because it makes me “pretty” or I have really white teeth, but because it symbolizes how happy I am.
    Molly @ Just Your Average Athlete recently posted..SNAP Infusion SUPERCANDY Review + Giveaway

  15. What makes me beautiful is that I have a wonderful family & friends that I love to death & would do anything for. I have a big heart & I love paying it forward too and helping people. Just the look on their face is all I need… makes me so happy. It’s why I want to be a social worker. Someone told me yesterday you know honey there’s no money in that & of course that always irritates me when people say that! I want to do that work to help people feel good about their lives no matter their struggles but let them know they can still take care of their families and feel good about that. That’s why I’m beautiful :-). Thank you!

  16. This is a great post, Lindsay. It is so sad that 10 year old kids are developing eating disorders. I wish the media didn’t portray celebrities so thin. In the 1950s or so, curvy was in. Now, thin is.
    You’re going to be a great RD. With a degree in psychology and personal experience, it’d help with people on their eating habits (if you choose to go that direction with your RD credentials).
    Helen recently posted..Quinoa Hummus Cakes

  17. Such an important topic and having recovered from an eating disorder, I could not agree more with believing and promoting that you are beautiful as you are. Our society sends us so many negative messages about how we should feel about our bodies and it’s just not true. We are beautiful for WHO we are, not what our body looks like. Trust me, I got down to a very low weight and I was not happier and did not feel more beautiful.

    Great post!!

  18. This is a huge topic that deserves an entire week. I, unfortunately, didn’t hear about it until today, but I did see your tweet from the other day about the kindergartener. It is so sad that the media and the world puts such a hug emphasis on body image and negativity. Thank you for bringing this informatin to others to learn!!
    Heather @fitncookies recently posted..For the love of burpees…

  19. The article about the Kindergarten (and younger) kids having anorexia just KILLS ME. It’s honestly something I thought I was years away from having to worry about – but wow.

    Great post for a such a heart-breaking issue.
    Michelle recently posted..Thursday Things

  20. What a great post! After coming out of the calorie counting closet this week, I definitely know what it is like to have disordered eating habits, even if it (thankfully) didn’t become a full-fledged eating disorder. It is so important to listen and not criticize or judge, and I am so thankful I found people who are listening when I need to vent. :)

    As a teacher, I try to encourage my students to be positive in their self talk always. I’ll never forget the impact of having a third grader tell me she couldn’t have a snack because she was too fat.
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen recently posted..Roasted Green Onion + Apple Tapenade

  21. YOU ROCK! <3

  22. I LOVE this post Lindsay!! And I always tend to forget that you had a past with eating disorders because you are one of few that so well embraces healthy eating and balance with that, and it’s just so refreshing. And I love your three words for you, totally right on :)
    jobo recently posted..On foodie love and evolutions.

  23. GREAT post, lady! Everybody does know someone, even if they don’t always realize it. It’s not always an easy thing to talk about but it’s SO important!

  24. It is so sad to see how many young women nowadays are affected by eating disorders. The media puts so much pressure on women to look a certain way. It’s disturbing. But women like you who spread the word, educate, and offer support will make a big difference in these women’s lives. Thank you for being you!
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted..Mistakes That I Make…

  25. Great and important post. I went to an all girl school so I saw a lot of this first hand. I think, as women, we all struggle at one point or another and it’s unfortunate that the media has portrayed such an unrealistic image of women.
    I think my smile, laugh, and heart are beautiful! =)
    E recently aboard the Star

  26. I am so late to this post but WOW!!! Thank you for sharing & for the link to Clare! So important these days & actually for so long.. we are under so much pressure to be just so with the media & all.

    Not too go off topic but I am a 2013 YMX ambassador & do proud of the women they chose – REAL women!

    Thank you again!
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..Roll it Out for Core & Abs

  27. Thank you so much for this, wish I had known last month was National Eating Disorder month. I have struggled with binge eating for years and still struggle with not doing it. I am working to develop that healthy relationship with food now as an adult. I really struggle with not focusing on my size now and finding satisfaction with where I am. It’s wonderful that now there is a beginning recognition of binge eating as a disorder and a growing understanding of food addiction as well. There is hope and there is help!
    Jennifer Speer recently posted..Today would be a ice cream day.

  28. The idea that a person’s worth isn’t tied to their appearance, that just because someone is prettier doesn’t make them better than me or the reverse is something I’ve really been trying to internalize and to sort of live out for the past little bit. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.

  29. xoxoxo
    Miz recently posted..4 tips for teaching little (& big) people body confidence.

  30. thank you so much for sharing my post as a part of this wonderful writeup you’ve done for NEDA! i didn’t know about clare’s challenge but now can’t wait to check it out. the tips you offer are so helpful and the idea of “my body doesn’t make me beautiful” has such an incredible message, even just in the words themselves.
    Caitlin recently posted..Thankful Thursday: NEDAwareness Week

  31. Great post! I have a friend that battled with an eating disorder the majority of her teenage & early adult life. She FINALLY seems to be in a better place though.
    Something that makes me beautiful is my drive to follow my passion & do what I love.

  32. Love you Linds. that is all.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Why all the Facebook envy?

  33. This is a great post. I have to admit though, I have a bit disappointed lately that all of the focus on eating disorders has been on bulimia and anorexia, when there are more types of disordered eating. If your eating disorder makes you skinny, people accept that and try to help you. If your eating disorder makes you fat, then you’re just a slob with no self control. I just wish that people could understand that body image issues manifest in a lot of different ways, and one is not more difficult than the other.

    • very true…there are definitely many different kinds of eating disorders, including a bunch that people still know hardly anything about!

  34. Awesome post girl!! I know so many women who deal or have dealt with this. This seems more and more pervasive the more media children and young adults are exposed to. I never remember thinking of these things as a child, preteen, or teen! Crazy….
    Brittany @ Delights and Delectables recently posted..Friday Five

  35. This is such a great post Lindsay and thank you so much for sharing it. I don’t have much to add to what others have said except that you are truly awesome and setting such an incredible example for others.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Friday Round-Up: Fueling the Soul

  36. This is a fantastic post Lindsay…this topic hits home with me and my family and I just love everything that you said here.
    Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..workouts 3/3 – 3/9: the week before training begins

  37. what hurts is that our society has placed just emphasis on the outer appearance of our bodies, not the inner. The obsession is so damaging. Thank YOU for being the change. Love what you got WITHIN and let that shine OUT
    lindsay recently posted..Cotter Change: My 2 Cents

  38. What a great post. I grew up in a family where looks were the emphasis so not judging others on that is very hard for me. It’s part of my psyche. However, I’ve come a long way. I have let my kids choose how they dress and wear their hair because I realize there is so much more to them than that.

    Thank you for sharing! This is something we sll need to be aware of. Especially since it is impacting children at a younger and younger age.
    Carli recently posted..Real Into Reads No. 7

  39. Love this post. Thank you for writing it! It is really hard for me to talk positively about myself, but I am a caring person and I believe that makes someone beautiful.
    Sara recently posted..[This Might Be] The Most Important Post I Will Ever Write

  40. Thank you for sharing this! I am just now catching up on blog reading.
    I suffered in silence for 20+ years and now have been in recovery for 5 years. It is a topic that most people seem so taboo about. It breaks my heart that others have to suffer the same way that I did, and that the age is getting younger and younger :(
    You are a truly beautiful person and your spirit shines through your writing. If I was there in the flesh I would have to give you a big hug! Your words are changing lives for the better!
    Esther recently posted..Reveal day!


  1. […] from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean making the end of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: My Body Doesn’t Make Me Beautiful. There are some incredible eye-opening stats and tips on what to do if you know someone suffering […]

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  2. […] really great campaigns to raise awareness about eating disorders. Check out WHOLEistically Fit, The Lean Green Bean, and Fitting It All In for some more truly inspiring NEDAwareness […]

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  3. […] seeing the light and I am feeling regretful and wanting to change my ways. In light of this amazing post by my beautiful friend, I thought I’d write a little letter to my […]

  4. […] really great campaigns to raise awareness about eating disorders. Check out WHOLEistically Fit, The Lean Green Bean, and Fitting It All In for some more truly inspiring NEDAwareness […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

  5. […] posts by Lisa and Sarah in which they wrote a letter of apology to their body and another by Lindsay that highlights the different ways that we are beautiful aside from just physical appearance. […]

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