Learning How to Love Your Body....on the blog!

Learning How To Love Your Body

Learning how to love yourself, learning how to love your body, loving your body more, love your body, love your body love your body…..I could say it over and over and over again, but it will not happen unless you WANT it, unless you WORK for it, unless you want to make the sacrifices to truly love yourself! No, I am not talking about dieting, going to the gym, and transforming yourself in order to love yourself, I am talking about truly loving yourself down to the core! Loving your body for what it is NOW, because in the end that is all you have. You have you. You have your mind, your body and your love for yourself. This takes desire, will power and a level of discomfort! But I am going to tell you, lean into that discomfort, embrace this feeling of uncomfortable and dive into a life of loving yourself!

Encourage Self Awareness to love your self and love your body

Self Awareness, this is a concept that I touch on a lot within this blog, because self-awareness is an underlying theme within all recovery processes. Bringing a sense of immediacy and honesty towards your current, and past emotions, thoughts, and behaviors is a not only a beneficial, but crucial step towards living a healthy happy life within recovery and just in general.

When you are in a safe space, take a brief moment to reflect on your present state. What are you feeling right now? Why are you feeling this way? Is this a constant feeling, or a new feeling? How are these feelings, emotions and behaviors affecting your overall process towards reaching body positivity? Take all of the time that you have and need for this step, this could be a simple process in the morning, or a continuous process throughout your day, it can be an inward conversation with yourself, or a written note in a journal, there is no right or wrong way of practicing this step, as long as you are honest and true to the process of self awareness.

Love your curves, your bumps, your insecurities! Embrace!

  • Sometimes it is just asking yourself if you love yourself, and if so, what do you love about yourself? Whether it is your smile, your positive demeanor, your hair, your sensitivity, whatever it may be….sit with it for a while! Enjoy that part of you that you love!
  • Once you can identify one aspect of yourself that you love, identify one physical attribute and one personality attribute about yourself that you love, that you adore! It is OKAY if this takes you a while, because it takes time to love yourself in a world that doesn’t allow us to do so.
  • Once you identify both a physical and non physical attribute that you love about yourself, try and pull them apart, how are these attributes totally dependent of one another? Does your smile have anything to do with your success? Does your hair have anything to do with your sensitivity? The answer is most likely no, your physical attributes are completely separate from your non physical attributes, your worth is not defined by your body!
  • This level of awareness takes time, it takes WORK and it takes WHILL! You can do it, you are deserving!
  • You CAN and WILL learn to love your body, learn to love yourself! YOU ARE WORTHY AND DESERVING OF SELF-LOVE! Love yourself, love your smile, love your laughter!

Embrace The Grey in order to love yourself

As human beings, we often see in black and white, in that the world is good and bad, dark and light, heavenly and hellish, right and wrong, but in reality nothing is black and white, everything is grey. Therefore simply understanding that life is all a personal process within that grey area can bring you one step closer towards living a body positive life. For instance, it is not bad that you have that extra squish on your tummy, it is not bad that you have those stretch-mark’s on your inner thigh, it is not bad that you ate that bagel or had that piece of cake.

Appearance is neither good or bad, it is all a part of who we are, it is all a part of the process we call recovery. My pouch below my bellybutton is no more or less beautiful than another woman’s six-pack; we are both within our own grey area, our own process. Therefore embrace the grey area, because the grey area is where all of the growth occurs! Remind yourself everyday that we are all in the grey. Once you embrace the grey you are that much closer to loving yourself, towards loving your body! For more on embracing the grey in a black and white world click here! 

Learn to love yourself! Embrace the gray....embrace all of the colors!

Find Your Happy

Happiness is all relative right? Everyone has their own experiences with joy and the feeling of happy, although within recovery, happiness is usually focused around our health, our physical bodies, and food, because the first stage of recovery is usually stabilizing those aspects of our selves. Therefore, it is crucial to find at least one thing that you can find happiness through that does not involve food, or the physical body, such as, exercise. Finding a feeling of happy outside of food and the physical body gives your mind a break from the intensity of recovery, and also trains your mind to find ways to feel happy without food and exercise!

Yes, these two things are crucial to live, but true happiness is completely dependent of those two things, and once you find genuine happiness without those things, you can eventually find safety with them in your life. What makes you feel happy that doesn’t involve food or exercise? What can you do once a day that can bring that feeling of happiness into your life? For instance, reading a book before bed, starting your day off with an affirmation, listening to a podcast or your favorite radio station on the way to work, cuddling with a loved one, watching your favorite show, taking a bath, etc., will introduce happiness without the dependency of food or the body, as these two things run parallel to one another! Once you find that happy you will start to love yourself that much more! Your mind will have some compassion towards your body , and you will find self-love! For more on happiness within finding body love, click here!

Find your happy!!

When these three steps are implemented into your daily routine you will be that much closer towards living a body positive life, you will be that much closer to loving your body, to loving yourself as an entire human being! Remember this is a process, as is life. Recovery is all about the process, learning from the ups and the downs, understanding that it is not linear or easy, and it is hard work…. therefore, taking small steps like these will bring you closer towards a love your body, and loving yourself! As always #selfcareitout!

For more posts on self-love click here, and here!!! Oh and here!!

#NoFearInFood…. Everyday Can Be Donut Day!

This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them will help support this website.

Happy National Donut Day! First off, let me be the one to remind you….ANYDAY can be national donut day, we do not need permission to eat certain food groups! No fear in food is a concept that truly applies to everyone, whether you are eating disorder recovered, working on your body love, in need of some extra self-care, or just are feeling shameful for eating that donut, fear and shame should NEVER be connected to food! So much of body appreciation, body positivity, and loving your body, starts with your relationship with food!

Everyday can be donut day

First and foremost, food is nourishment, but food can be fun, it can be exciting, although it should never be off limits! This is a tough concept, and it takes sometime to truly grasp it…because we live in a culture that tells us we SHOULDN’T be eating certain foods, and that some foods are GOOD, some are BAD, some are, CLEAN, and some are even SUPER or WHOLE! What does this all mean?! Let me help you interpret all of this…take the fear away from the food, and I promise you will be happier!

I mean….I know that donuts and pancakes make me a better person, because without them I restrict, I then binge, I then feel shame, and the cycle starts all over again!! So everyday should be donut day!

**Below is THE BEST pancake mix I have ever baked with!! Also high in protein, and organic! I highly recommend adding rainbow sprinkles!

Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes: Flapjack and Waffle Mix Whole Grain Buttermilk 4.5 Lb

**This donut mug is in my cabinet!

Ceramic Donut Mug – Delicious Chocolate Glaze Doughnut Mug with Sprinkles – Funny “MMM… Donuts!” Quote – Best Cup For Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate and More – Large 14 oz Size

rainbow sprinkle pancakes....now that is self-care!

#NoFearinFood is another concept/statement/hash tag that you may see floating around the Internet and social media. This is a beautiful concept, yet one that is much more complicated than it seems, and one that affects almost every individual, eating disorder or no eating disorder.

#NoFearinFood, a simple statement riddled with a complicated message. What does this really mean?

Having no fear in consuming food in general

Having no fear in calories

Having no fear in a certain TYPE of food…despite allergies

-Gluten, meat, sugar, butter, dairy, bread, pasta, fat (just to name a few)!

Having no shame in eating food in general

Having no shame in consuming a high amount of calories

Having no shame in consuming a small amount of calories

Not imposing a greater sense of importance on food

Having no fearful  feelings after consuming food

Not imposing a sense of shame surrounding food in general

Not imposing a sense of shame surrounding a certain type of food

Not imposing a sense of guilt after consuming food

No thoughts of needing to EARN or DESERVE your food

Having no fear in over eating food

Having no fear in binging food

Not using unhealthy behaviors after consuming food

Not having fearful feelings and a need to purge after consuming food

Not imposing restrictions on certain foods

Not imposing restrictions on eating at certain times during the day

Not working out for food

No dieting

#NoFearinFood is an incredibly complex concept, one that many struggle with on a day-to-day basis. The concept of food consumes us, especially when living with an eating disorder. #NoFearinFood is not just about ED life and ED Recovery, instead it is about obtaining a healthy relationship with food, in that food does not control us, it does not define who we are, instead it is fuel, it is nourishment, it is a necessity, yes it can be fun, but it is dependent of happiness!

In addition to ridding of shame and guilt below are some ways to ease into this concept!

  • Take away vocabulary like GOOD and BAD, or CLEAN and DIRTY….food is food, and words have power!
  • Allow your body to eat when it is hungry and stop when it is full
  • Forgive yourself if you overeat
  • Don’t restrict ANY food from your diet
  • Identify your own food rules, what are your irrational food rules?
  • Break your food rules, defy yourself!
  • Hydrate yourself with water, this can keep the mind and body in check with hunger and fullness queues.
  • Think about your motivations behind exercise, to read more click here
  • Find comfort in things outside of food! Below are several links on my favorite comforting self-care remedies

Self-Care Comfort Remedies!!

I have always been a huge fan of essential oils, my favorite way to use them is to diffuse them!
Essential Oil Set 14 – 5 ml. Pure Therapeutic Grade Includes Frankincense, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Orange, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Clove, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Cinnamon

I lay with my diffuser before I go to sleep at night, and right when I wake up…or whenever I feel triggered!

PureSpa Natural Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser – Ultrasonic Mister with 200ml Water Tank, Wood-Grain Accents and Soft Color-Changing Lights

I love giving myself facials whenever I need to calm down or feel a little bit of comfort! This is THE BEST facial oil EVER!!! (reminder that I am not sponsored…just obsessed)!
RMS Beauty Oil, 1 oz

 

coconut milk iced latte for the win!

Tie-Dye Cake Balls for the win!!
Tie-Dye Cake Balls for the win!!

One thing to keep in mind is to be easy on yourself, this concept is incredibly complicated, complex, strongly engrained, and intertwined within our lives. Therefore #NoFearinFood may be something to work towards, it is not something that will come instantaneously. It all starts with self-awareness, and self-love, no shame or guilt! Remember….

Food is fuel

Food is nourishment

Food is fun

Food is beautiful

Food is a necessity

Food does not define you

 

Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

Self-Care On The Road – Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

Keep reading to learn my tips and tricks for maintaining self-care and protecting your Eating Disorder Recovery while on the road! Self-care is so very important, especially while we are traveling! Self-care can be used as a preventative practice in place of unhealthy behaviors, such as restriction, dieting, overexercising, binge eating, purging, etc. We can live a life filled with self-love, self-compassion and body appreciation through the constant practice of self-care!  More on my road trip self-care kit below!

Recovery Love and Care is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post is not sponsored by any of the independent brands, I am just a HUGE FAN of the products and wanted to share them with my amazing readers!

This past weekend Sean, Gio and I drove from Charleston, SC to Washington DC to celebrate my younger sister’s college graduation! What a fabulous weekend it was, filled with family, food and fun! We made it a quick trip because Sean had to work on Monday; therefore we made somewhat of a “guest appearance” in DC.

My best friends just so happen to also be my sisters! #girlgang
My best friends just so happen to also be my sisters! #girlgang
Recovery Hero and Self-Care Buddy!
My Recovery Hero, my love and my self-care buddy!

Even within hectic weekends on the road, it is so very important to implement a safe self-care routine to ensure healthy behaviors and body appreciation! And for anyone within Eating Disorder Recovery, maintaining a self-care routine is that much more crucial, as it ensures a continuous and SAFE recovery!

No Fear iIn Food! A delicious start to the day! Coconut milk latte, a freshly baked butter croissant, and banana.
A delicious start to the day! Coconut milk latte, a freshly baked butter croissant, and banana…. Remember, no fear in food! Some fat, grains, fruits, protein, and sugar…the perfect meal!

With a total of 16 hours in the car, and an intensely scheduled weekend, it was needless to say that we were incredibly exhausted and sleep deprived! I am ALWAYS down for a good party and celebration, especially when it’s with my family…but with that comes transition, and with transition comes stress! Remember both good and bad things can cause stress; any state of change causes discomfort and creates a feeling of an off kiltered world. Stress can cause for emotional triggers and can lead to unhealthy behaviors and/or coping mechanisms. Therefore, it is up to US to take care of ourselves and prevent this transition and change from causing TOO MUCH discomfort. (For more about prevention within recovery click here).

All inclusive Girl-Gang!!
This girl-gang is all inclusive!!

As I have touched on previously within the blog, I am a huge proponent of the “comfort box” as a healthy coping mechanism within Eating Disorder recovery (make sure to check out this post to read more about the comfort box). If you are a newbie to the blog, the comfort box is pretty much a way to train the mind and body to use safe, healthy and alternate forms of coping to work through anxieties surrounding food, body image conception and stress. With that, I have used this notion of the comfort box, and weaved it into my transient life as a busy woman!

I have implemented self-care into my daily life through the use of self-care kits. I carry these “kits” in my purse; keep them in my desk, by my bedside, in my workbag, and even in my car! Below is a picture of my most recent self-care kit for this past week’s road trip!

Road Trip Self-Care Kit!
Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

1. Healthy Is The New Skinny is my bible these days, hence all of the post-it notes! Make sure to check out the book review here!
Healthy Is the New Skinny: Your Guide to Self-Love in a “Picture Perfect” World

2. Sheet masks are my favorite form of luxury self-care. This brand, (Tony Molly) I’m Real Mask, is amazing, and so much fun! The pack consists of 11 individually wrapped sheet masks, with a large variety of ingredients and purposes. One of my favorites is the Pomegranate (pictured) for elasticity, the red wine for pore care, and the broccoli for vitality!  Each mask, in addition to their fun ingredients and names, provide an enormous amount of hydration and nourishment to the skin. The masks always leave me feeling refreshed, revitalized and relaxed! AND they are cheap, at less than $11 per package…thats $1 per pop!
[Tonymoly] I’m Real Mask Sheet Package + Egg Pore Nose Pack with bonus Oil Blotting Paper – Best Korean Beauty Products, Facial Skin Mask. Pore Tightening Blackhead Minimize

3. Body cream is always a must….Juara (@Juaraskincare on Instagram) is a FABULOUS and AFFORDABLE option, I love it because of it’s natural ingredients, such as, avocado, turmeric and ginger! Pictured is a travel size of their Candlenut Body Creme, but the full size comes in a decadent jar for a small price of just under $27! (Reminder that I am not sponsored by these brands, just a huge fan)!

Juara Body Creme, Candlenut, 7.5 Ounce

4. I always need a good podcast on a roadtrip….Boss Girl Creative is my most recent obsession, you MUST check it out!….

5. Coffee, this of course, is within my everyday routine! I prefer to add some protein into my coffee, either soy milk or, even better, coconut milk….yum!

6. A cute hat to shade my face while driving in the sun is a must! You can find more like these at The Charleston Weekender.

7. Essential Oils are a HUGE part of my daily self-care routine, I prefer lavender to help me sleep and relax, and peppermint to energize and start the day off on a fresh note! Make sure to check out my past post on essential oils.
3-Pack Variety of NOW Essential Oils: Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender

~Self-care is so very important, in that we must listen to our bodies and treat ourselves with respect and love like we do others!~

We must hydrate and nourish our bodies, minds, and souls, and with some extra self-care we can do that! I encourage you to create your own self-care kits, it is a HUGE STEP towards self-compassion and self-love!! #SelfCareitOut my friends!

This little guy made everything that much better this weekend! #recoverypuppy!
This little guy made everything that much better this weekend! #recoverypuppy!

My Recovery Kitty – The Saga of Lilly!

Buckle in for a funny and plot twisting post, you’ll be shocked at what happens!

At the very beginning of my Eating Disorder (ED) Recovery, Sean and I moved in with one another. Maybe I should be clearer, I moved in with Sean and three of his friends, and yes, I know what you are thinking… Why would I ever do such a thing?!!

Yes, it was chaotic, extremely trying and oh so difficult, but it worked! But that is for another post, this post is about my first little fur baby!

This was 4 years ago! I had just moved out to Jackson….and the journey was JUST beginning…I had no clue what I was in for!

When I moved into Sean’s place I decided that I needed something that I could call my own, something that I could love, hold onto, take care of, something that wasn’t connected to anyone else, and that wasn’t related to food, or my body.

The Animal Adoption Center in Jackson, WY, had just received a litter of kittens, and it just so happened that I was a crazy cat lady…so it was really meant to be! Sean was on board, after a bit of convincing…and it was decided! I was going to be a kitty mother! I specifically wanted a boy, that was my only requirement. I went to the adoption center and played with all of the tiny creatures, and picked out this little black kitten, he was PURRFECT (lol…too corny)? Sean made a separate visit to the adoption center, and unknowingly connected with the same kitten, and the deal was done! We named the adorable little man Liam, and counted down the days until we could take him home!

Liam’s first week home! Look at those saucer eyes!!

I took Liam home when he was about eight weeks, he wasn’t drinking his mother’s milk anymore, and they therefore allowed us to adopt him! Liam was about the size of a tennis ball, his fur was all-scraggly and his eyes were as big as saucers! I fell in love, and a small part of me started to heal with that newfound love and connection. My purges were less frequent, and I wasn’t constantly thinking about recovery, instead I was focused on this new little, but oh so big, love!

Only a few days went by and Liam got really sick, and I mean really sick. It turned out he had a parasite that is common in feral born cats, and most often ends in death. I was determined to keep my new little baby, nothing could take him away from me! I stayed up nights with him, cleaned him in the bath, spoon fed him and hydrated him to the best of my abilities. I took Liam to a different vet to get a second opinion, and they prescribed some intense antibiotics and fluids for my little 2-pound bundle of love. With a lot of patience, perseverance, fluids and love, Liam finally got better, and with every day so did a small piece of me.

Sweet little man! This was him at about nine weeks!

A couple of months went by, and Liam started to change. His attitude and overall demeanor completely shifted, in that he became protective of his food, he would hiss and bite every time we tried to pet him, and he never wanted to play. The anxiety started to weigh on me, this little kitty was getting in the way of my relationship, was causing me more stress than joy, was testing me! But I kept reminding myself that this was a sacrifice, this was the cost of being a kitty mother, unconditional love! Remember patience is so crucial within the most trying of times (Click on the link for more)!

I was counting down the days to Liam’s appointment to get “fixed”, the vet advised me that getting neutered usually helps the testosterone levels, therefore it might alleviate some of his behaviors, although it is best for male kittens to wait at least three months.

The day of Liam’s neuter appointment finally arrived! I brought Liam to the vet, they put him under a mild anesthetic, and began shaving his under belly. The vet advised me that I could stay in the room, as it would be a quick “snip, snip.” I sat there for a while, and the vet tech hesitantly asked me if Liam had been neutered already, I said no, as he was adopted at the young age of eight weeks. The professionals kept feeling around, and abruptly said…. “welp, um it’s a girl!” I paused, shook out my ear, and laughed “right!” thinking that they were joking, and after a few moments I quickly realized this was no joke! “Jayne, your cat is a girl, we are going to have to do this quickly, as a spade takes much more time, precision and need for anesthetic”

The vet tech pretty much pushed me out of the room, and told me to return in a few hours, they would call me if there were any complications. I, on the other hand, was a mess. This verdict tore me apart, my little baby boy, was not a boy, he was a girl! I was obviously not crying because of the social norm that gender is, instead my tears were coming from a place of uncertainty, in that I had put my heart and soul into something and now that something changed.

Those eyes!

Once I collected myself, I returned to the vet, and picked up Liam, it just so happened that poor little baby, girl, Liam had been in the middle of heat, and was in so much pain that she was coping the only way she knew how! The craziest thing was that two different vets had informed me that Liam was a boy; he apparently had two little fur toughs at the base of his under belly that shaved right off! The poor thing was hurting for the past couple of months! Liam was coping by biting, scratching and growling, he was hurting me because he was in pain. This behavior was synonymous of my ED, my behaviors were only manifestations of anxiety, stress, perfection, and pain….I was hurting my body because my perception of the world was hurting me, I was in pain. 

Happy brother and sister moment! Poor Gio had a little eye issue!

I brought Liam home, and quickly shed of my sociology background, rid of the notion that gender is a social norm, and got Liam a sparkly pink collar to go with her new name; Lilly…. for some reason this made me happy, probably a confirmation of the misogyny of society.

She thinks she is royalty!

Lilly started to recover, and her true personality started to shine through! She was a sweet, incredibly sassy, kitten with somewhat of an attitude problem! Lilly grew to LOVE her adopted Kitty dad, Sean, and rebel against me, her mother. She would scratch me, bite me, ATTACK me, and then go and cuddle with Sean, like the typical angsty teenager! For a brief period we allowed Lilly to be an outside cat, but when she came home one day all bloody and tore up from being hit by a car, Lilly quickly became an indoor cat again! I know…the drama!

She chose her Dad’s team over her moms Blackhawks….

The saga truly goes on an on, Lilly continued to test me, and with that I grew stronger. I was able to take care of something, watch a small being, MY small being almost die, come back to life again, change personality, and truly REJECT ME, and with that came so much pain, so much discomfort and so much growth.

Yes, we even tried walking her!!!

Lilly’s journey was symbolic of my Eating Disorder Recovery. It was tumultuous, painful, confusing, what seemed like a near death experience, challenging, forever evolving, uncomfortable, and beautiful! With pain, and discomfort came change and growth. Change cannot and do not exist within a state of comfort.

A game of “where is Lilly?”

Believe it or not, Lilly was a MAJOR part of my recovery. She tested me in so many ways, she pushed me to reevaluate what I believed was healthy, unhealthy, important, not important, life or death, Lilly taught me a new kind of love, one of constant challenge and testing, My recovery kitty reminds me everyday what unconditional love looks like, feels like, and let me tell you something, I have learned how to love myself, unconditionally…. and that is self-compassion at its finest! So thank you my little Recovery Kitty, I love you Lillykins!

This was when Lilly was an “outdoor” cat, she would go outside for about 15 minutes and come right back in! I miss this little bungalow we lived in!!
Lilly and Gio are the best of friends…their personalities shine through in this photo!

The Balance Between Self-Love, Self-Care and Self-Improvement – Feel Good Look Good Series

There must be a balance within self-love, self-care and the desire for self-improvement, and that is only natural!!
There must be a balance within self-love, self-care and the desire for self-improvement, and that is only natural!!

Above is a compilation of images that represent various stages within my personal recovery, love, and care journey. I changed within each of these moments, I desired growth ALONG WITH my deep appreciation and love for myself. I desired self-improvement while also practicing self-care, self-love, and self-compassion. There is a space for self-improvement within our self-love journeys, read more below to find out how to foster this space!

Within a world filled with weight loss tips, diet culture, and media manipulation we find ourselves lost within the shuffle. How can we practice self-care, self-love, and self-compassion within a world that keeps telling us to improve ourselves through a new diet, cream, hair product, or workout routine? This is a tough thing to do within today’s world, but it IS possible and OKAY to want to improve within certain aspects of your life, while also practicing self-love and self-compassion.

Trigger Warning! It is important to note, that these standards may not apply for individuals within the beginning of their Eating Disorder recovery, in that self-compassion and steps towards growth and change must be monitored closely, as certain things may be triggering to the process of recovery.

Self-love and self-compassion are finding peace within your body, within your present life, despite all external messages and stressors. Self-compassion is when an individual treats his/herself with kindness, understanding and support, it is an ideal response related to experiences of perceived failure, perceived inadequacy, self-judgment, and isolation. Therefore, it is important that we understand that self-love, self-compassion and happiness do not come from outside variables. A true state of happiness comes from inside.

Wanting to change and grow does not mean you don’t love yourself, it is the very opposite! Yes, loving yourself for what you are in the moment is crucial, in that numbers, products, appearances and compliments won’t and can’t make us happy…. and yes self love is finding compassion for you mind body and soul in the here and now… but wanting to improve is not a bad thing! Self-love, self-care and self-compassion are not black and white concepts! It looks different for everyone.

Again let me remind you that my message is anti- diet culture, so by no means am I promoting weight loss, diets or self demeaning behaviors, instead I am bringing to light that it is okay to want something different and better for your life! I have always been an advocate for first finding happiness within yourself, as you are, and then finding joy in other aspects of your life… because it is WONDERFUL to feel good and it is OK to look good too!! Therefore, skin care, makeup, hair products, and other self-care inspired activities are ways that make me feel good AND look good… they are my additive luxuries to my already present feeling of happy!

Wanting to feel good AND look good are only natural reactions and desires that we have, therefore, when practiced in a safe and manageable manner, we can successfully practice self-care, self-love and self-compassion, as well as, self-improvement. Therefore it is best to stay self-aware of our motivations behind the desire to self improve, in that if we are looking for a state of happiness we must re-evaluate WHY we  believe that a spa treatment, makeup product, or work out class will make is  happy, as this is not possible. Additive luxuries only ADD to our current states of happiness, they ADD to our self-care routine, our feelings of self-love and self-compassion. Therefore, check your motivations behind self-improvement in order to practice safely and successfully!

-Skin Care

-Make Up

-Workout classes

-Spa treatments

-Hair Styles

-Face Masks

-Lingerie

-Swim apparel

-Sun time

As this Feel Good Look Good Series continues, I will touch on these additive luxuries within my self-love, self-care and self-improvement! And as always Self Care It Out!

Our “BUTS” are getting in the way…How AND Why to Live an “AND” Life!

After a long and grueling week at my second, and final Residency in Chicago I am feeling more grounded in not only my professional skills, but also my personal skills on a level higher than I ever imagined possible at this point within my life! I learned that despite my mental and emotional exhaustion, despite moments of self-doubt, and feelings of being invisible in the midst of an obvious power differential, I was able to trust the process, and come out even stronger because of it.

Within our lives we constantly cut ourselves short from growth and change, and we stay within a place of comfort by avoiding the unknown.

We “yes, BUT” ourselves through life, by excusing out of the box or adventurous ideas with “realism”, we nod our heads when in reality we are saying no, and with this we stunt our lives and we cut off chances for opportunities and growth.

It is possible to live a busy life AND take care of yourself….trust me I test this skill out every single day. There are times within our daily lives when we believe that there is no chance for rest, there is not time for self-care, and there is no possibility for quiet…. “It would be great for me to go for a walk this afternoon, BUT I have to write that paper” or “I could go back to school and pursue my dream job, BUT I will have to quit my job, and it just isn’t realistic” or “I am really hungry, BUT I ate a few hours ago, so I should hold off”….What are these “yes BUTS” doing to our lives!? They are stunting us, harming us, forcing us to stay in a negative space that will only cause for comfort, and comfort and growth cannot coexist. We must lean into our discomfort, in order to allow for any growth or change.

“Yes AND” can bring us to a place of change, growth, bliss, positivity, and possibility! This week, for instance, I learned that I can be tired, AND adventurous, I can be distraught AND find clarity, I can make meaningful connections with people AND connect with myself, I can want to give up AND persevere through! I can dislike someone AND respect them. I can LOVE others AND love myself. The “ANDS” within our daily lives are waiting for us, they are opportunities waiting to happen, they are shinning bright and we only dull them down every time we “BUT” our way through the day.

You can be in recovery, AND revert back to unhealthy behaviors AND learn and grow in the process!

You can loose hope AND power through the hard times!

You can trust the process of recovery AND hate the process of recovery!

You can eat that muffin for breakfast AND have that pizza for lunch!

You can struggle with self-love AND love yourself!

You can be happy AND be within recovery AND miss your ED AND want to get better!

How are you “BUTTING” yourself through life? How is this “BUT” affecting your happiness, and self-care? Once you bring awareness to your “BUTS” try implementing an “AND” into your day, see how it feels! I promise you will thank me!

 

Trust The Process

Trust The Process

My how time flies! I have officially been at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology as a Clinical Mental Counseling graduate student for nineteen months! I am currently embarking on my second, and last residency in Chicago, and there is finally a glimmer of practicing as a professional in the near future!

Residency week is filled with intense emotions, anxiety, professionalism, networking, and constant skills practice; it is truly an amazing experience although it requires intense focus, staying in the present, and trust. The program is all about “trusting the process”, we are constantly told to “trust the process”, and this truly doesn’t make any sense until you are within the process. I feel that this concept is parallel to life, in that when we truly live within the here and now, we must learn how to trust the process, no matter what that process may bring us at that time, as that is what the process is!

What if we went through life with only guidelines or the skeleton of a plan, truly lived within the present and ambitiously gave our full trust to the process of life? I wonder how this would look? Would we all find our meaning in life? Would we rid of the stresses of what could be, or what isn’t? Would we rid of the social implications of the “should” and “what ifs” within our lives?

As I embark upon this journey, and brand new process during my second Residency, so many emotions arise for me, and I am finding that the underlying theme is fear.

When I truly take a moment to reflect on these emotions I realize that this feeling of fear of the unknown is irrational, in that once I truly immerse myself into the process and into the present, the unknown will be no longer. Therefore, these thoughts of failure, imperfection, and the unknown are assumptions about the future. Once I embark on my present journey I notice that my true feelings are of content, curiosity, and calm, in that, while I sit here at a café at the Merchandise Mart I feel at peace within my present process.

Staying in the present doesn’t prevent us from feeling fearful, shameful, or saddened, instead it provides us with the opportunity to take our emotions as they come, and accept them as they are! Therefore, we experience, we learn, we change and we therefore grow! Trusting the process is not just a frame of mind but also a catalyst for growth!

Trusting the process is also trusting yourself, it is trusting others and trusting the concept of the present! The more we can allow ourselves to live within the here and now, and trust the process, the more we will grow into successful, happy and healthy human beings!

Whether it be that you are working through Eating Disorder Recovery, practicing self care, or just looking to live a life worth living, my advice to you is to TRUST THE PROCESS!

Trust the Process, and as always, Self Care it Out!

The Power of Patience

“We want things so badly – that job, that check, a relationship, a possession. We want our life to change…. We try to predict, circling dates on the calendar, asking questions…. we forget that we don’t hold the answers” – Melody Beattie

Patience, this is a concept that many individuals struggle within our society. We live in a society that constantly craves the here and now, the immediate results, and instant gratification. We want, need and desire the concept of that quick fix, in that the media sends us messages that we can achieve results in one week or one day, we are flooded with before and after photos, and the concept of immediacy within every aspect of our life! How are we supposed to achieve self-care, self-love, and a safe level of health in a world that doesn’t allow the time to heal and take care of ourselves? How can we truly change and grow with this pressing mindset in the absence of time, quality and patience?

We cannot grow, change, heal and achieve recovery within this quick fix world; therefore we must change our mindset and monitor our expectations, in that change and recovery does not occur within a rushed environment. Full Recovery IS POSSIBLE, but it only comes with hard work and patience, if it were easy no one would have an eating disorder, disordered eating, body image issues, lowered self worth, and lack of self care and self love!

Patience is crucial and necessary within recovery. Self-love, self-care, and a strong and positive sense of self-worth come with time. Everyone is worthy of time to heal, grow, change and recover, but it only comes with time.

Recovery takes time although a good bit of this time is tough, tumultuous and has moments that seem to stall the overall process of getting better. It gets worse before it gets better, it seems too hard, too exhausting, and seems that it takes too long, but Recovery and self-love IS WORTH IT and it is BEAUTIFUL!

Recovery only occurs when an individual wants to recover, when an individual feels worthy of recovery, when an individual is whiling to go through the motions, to feel uncomfortable in order to grow, and take the time to work through the process. Recovery is not an instant transformation on Instagram or Facebook, it is not a before and after photo, it is not suddenly having the ability to eat a burger and fries in the absence of shame, guilt, fear, or purging, it is painful, and just plain hard…but WITH TIME, recovery is truly beautiful and amazing!

Ask yourself this; do we expect our broken bones to heal without pain, discomfort, and time? Do we expect our strep throat to go away after just one dose of medicine? Do we expect our heartbreak to disappear after one good cry or rom-com? NO! Why is Eating disorder recovery, self-care and self-love any different? We have to allow for time, and patience.

Be patient with your process, you are no less of a person if your recovery takes longer than someone else’s. You are worthy of self-love, self-care and health!

 

More Than a Number

Within the body positive world, it is often said that happiness is beyond the scale. This concept is incredibly difficult, if not, at times impossible to grasp for those deep within an eating disorder. An entire book could be written just on this concept, therefore in this short post I will touch upon this myth within the numbers.

How many times have you thought/said/heard these statements?

“If only I were smaller”

“I wish I was two sizes smaller, then I would be happy”

“If I could get to ____weight my life would be perfect”

“The only thing that I don’t have under control is my weight, and size”

“I would kill for that body”

“I wish I was a size smaller”

“I wish my boobs were bigger”

“If I had those hips I could rule the world”

Our society places so much importance on numbers, in that our clothing sizes and number on the scale determines success and worth, but do they? Does that number on the scale, bra size, pant size, or dress size actually determines success and happiness? The answer is 100% NO, happiness is not determined by a number, it is not determined by a piece of clothing, or a side by side before and after photo, happiness is from the core. Happiness is managed by feelings, emotions, expectations and our external and internal world.

In addition to the common misconception that a certain size or weight brings about happiness, there is also an assumption that numbers should bring about shame. We hide our dress sizes from our smaller friends, we lie about our weight when filling out our driver’s license, we bring about self shame and self blame when we are of a weight or size that isn’t “ideal” for ourselves or others.

These two assumptions; that numbers bring about happiness, and that numbers are shameful, are rampant within our society. But there is nothing in a number but a number this is the harsh and beautiful truth! There is nothing in a number. A number will not bring about happiness in any individual, eating disorder or not, and it is not until we rid of the shame that we coincide with numbers that we will truly start to understand this concept.

Two common misconceptions:

  1. The number on the scale, and the number on your clothing tag will bring about happiness and success
  2. The number on the scale, and the number on your clothing tag is shameful

Two counter arguments:

  1. The number on the scale and the number on your clothing tag is only a number, just a number, period, end, done. These numbers do not bring about happiness and success.
  2. The number on the scale and the number on your clothing tag is nothing to be ashamed about, because it is a number.

Bringing awareness to these misconceptions surrounding weight and size is a major step towards finding body positivity, acceptance, self-love, and true happiness. Let’s all try our best to rid of these misconceptions and replace self blame, self shame, and failure with realistic understandings towards numbers and the true origin of happiness.

 

Recovery Love and Care

Self Love, Short and Sweet

 

Here is my professional and personal take on self-love, I’ll make this short and sweet!

Self love is a new concept to many, in that it is not something that we were taught about in school, it is not something that was drilled into our minds much like math, science, and geography, instead it is a concept that is incredibly foreign to us. Why is this? Why is such an important and crucial concept so new to us within our adult years? I don’t quite have the answer to this, because the lack of self-love has fostered a world of negativity, hatred, illness, and self-loathing.

In a world filled with selfies, hash tags and filters, it can be easy to view self love as selfishness, narcissism, and fabrication…. and yes, this does exist, but this is not self love. Self-love is appreciating the person that you are, accepting yourself for your flaws, loving yourself for the good and the bad, loving the black and white while also embracing the grey! Self love is loving yourself, for yourself, not for someone else’s gratification, not doing it for likes on Instagram and Facebook, not doing it for followers, or social acceptance, instead doing it for YOU!

Because we haven’t been taught how to practice self-love, it may come as an overwhelming and intimidating task, therefore, practice patience, and give yourself time; you will eventually learn to love yourself! Therefore, the next time you take a selfie, do it for self love not selfishness, do it for self-appreciation, not to prove something to others! Below are a few ways to begin your practice of self love, and let me tell you….it is worth it, I promise!

Write yourself a daily love note

Journal words of love to your self-hatred

Smile when you wake up in the morning

Give yourself a hug

Wear something that makes you FEEL good

Do something that makes you FEEL good

Read a book

Cook a meal

Spend time with a loved one

Go for a walk

Wake up to watch the sunrise

Take a selfie for self-love

Light a candle and listen to your favorite song

Watch your favorite movie

Take a picture for self-love NOT selfishness or self-loathing

Take away negative self talk, such as, should, shouldn’t, good, bad, fat and ugly

Self-love is something that we ALL need, it is a non negotiable. Therefore, whether you are working your way through eating disorder recovery, trying to find body positivity, struggling with self-loathing and self-hating language and behavior, or just need a bit more self-love in your life, take a moment today, tomorrow, and the day after that to begin your practice of self-love! Be the model of your own life!