Writing in the Huffington Post, weight loss blogger Jan Shepherd discusses the challenges of living in Los Angeles where physical beauty is such a high premium and encourages people to look inward and focus on important lessons, including: Learning there is nothing wrong with you if you are not a classic physical beauty and understanding that your body is not an enemy, it is a friend.

“As one who has overcome an eating disorder, I have had to recognize that I was so much more than a body,” she writes. “I had to find my connection to something from deep within if I was going to flourish. As long as I continued to look outside for self-validation and therefore meaning, not only was I at the mercy of others, the fickleness of taste and changing tide of trends, but also without a compass by which to steer.”

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