April 23, 2009

Body Image Week: Deborah Lytton has a Challenge for You

Finding Beauty from the Inside Out

by Deborah Lytton

Book Cover

Author of Jane in Bloom

My debut novel, Jane in Bloom, is about 12 year old Jane’s journey to believing in herself. In order to embark on the path to self-discovery, Jane has to overcome a family obsessed with outward perfection. Jane’s mother has poor self-image. Jane’s older sister Lizzie has poor self-image. Both Jane's mother and Lizzie have eating disorders. Ironically, it is the invisible Jane who realizes that we must love ourselves as we are and appreciate who we are to be truly happy. Jane finds her strength not from her outward appearance, but from looking inside. She finds self-expression through photography. But our paths to positive self-image can be found in any form of creative expression that allows us to show who we are—art, singing, dancing, cooking, crafts, flower arranging, decorating, party planning, scrapbooking, and my own favorite forms of creative expression, photography and writing.

So as part of this week promoting positive body image, I challenge each and every one of you to find your creative outlet this week. Your creative expression will help you discover your own inner beauty.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Find something you like to do. It has to give you a finished product of some kind. Something you can see, touch, hear or taste.

2. Create something that expresses who you are at this moment. Don’t over-think it, don’t judge it. Just be in the moment and enjoy yourself.

3. If you have chosen to dance or sing, have someone take a picture of you while you are performing.

4. When you are finished, take a look at your finished self-expression. Ask yourself how it made you feel when you were creating it? How does it make you feel now to see what you have accomplished? Is it an accurate reflection of you? Does it make you appreciate your uniqueness?

5. Always remember that no one else in the world is exactly like you—and no one else in the world can create something in the same way that you create something. It is that uniqueness that makes us all special. And that is the real reflection of who you are, because it shows your beauty from the inside out.

6. Try to return to your self-expression as often as you can. Give yourself freedom to create. For it represents you!

7. Write in and tell us how you did on your challenge. We would love to hear from you!


And yes, there is a signed copy of JANE IN BLOOM for someone brave enough to take the challenge. I'll pick the winner from the comments on this post.

You can find out more about Deborah Lytton from my interview and more about JANE IN BLOOM from MFA's review.

I should also say that this theme sent me down a follow-the-link trail over at Jezebel. Here are some current stories about plus-sized model Crystal Renn. Here's one about an anorexic model, along with an entire archive. And here's a slightly older one about how Vogue disguised singer Adele's figure . . . in their Shape issue. Here's to the hope of an evolved standard of outer beauty, which shouldn't matter one wit next to inner anyway.


  1. Wow! It's like self appreciation week. I'll try. :D

  2. Deborah what an incredible challenge! I just was lucky enough to go to a small group meeting with Shannon Hale and she challenged us to do the SAME THING! Find our creative passion, whatever it may be, because that will be our outlet to finding ourselves. I guess I need to get on this!

    I would love to be entered for a book, since we are giving away our copy to one of our readers later next week!

  3. Wow! I love this idea of finding my creative outlet! As a writer, I tend to think it's only writing - but there are other creative things I love to do! Count me in... I'll be back when I finished a project!

  4. WTG! I can't wait to see what you guys come up with.

  5. Interesting challenge.. I can't wait to see teh results.

    If you head over to my blog, you'll find an award waiting for you.

  6. Wow, this is a very intriguing challenge! I'll definitely have to give it a shot ;)

  7. I just created a very tasty pasta salad!

  8. I am currently participating in NaPoWriMo, which is writing 30 poems in 30 days. Writing daily is challenging but I'm not giving up even though I am behind.

    I have long used writing to express myself. It is my creative outlet.

    Open invitation to anyone who is interested to stop by my blog and read my poetry or short stories.

  9. this is an amazing challenge and one I take really seriously because I have a four year old sister and I am trying to set a good example for her. We try as often as we can to have little dance parties and sing a longs so we did tonight in honor of this challenge. At four she knows all the words to Chicken Fried by The Zac Brown Band so we sang and danced to that song before I had to go to work. It was a lot of fun!

  10. Lenore that sounds like a creation that I would love to participate in eating! ;)

    When I was listening to Shannon Hale speak about this topic it was so powerful. She said find a corner of your home and beautify it, that is creating! I loved that idea!

  11. Great challenge! I just created a 20 page "about me" scrapbook album. It was fun, but kind of challenging to create a bunch of pages only about me! I usually scrapbook my kids!

  12. I decided to knit myself a scarf.
    Here's a pic:

  13. I am so proud of all of you for taking the challenge. And you came up with such creative ideas!!!!

    I re-arranged my writing desk and it was fun and rewarding, because now I have this beautiful place to work that is a real reflection of me.

    Keep taking care of yourselves!


  14. I like finger painting but I am a little too self conscious to do it because it always seems like such a childish thing to do. But I totally did it and IT FELT GOOD!!!


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