Netflix Feature Film To The Bone – A Safe Viewing Guide!

I am providing my unique and educated perspectives and opinions on the Netflix feature film To The Bone. This is an incredibly controversial topic that I feel must be addressed, and I would like to preface this with this simple statement…. I, in no way recommend an individual within their Eating Disorder, or within the beginning and/or fragile stages of recovery to watch this film, just as much as I would not condone an individual who experienced trauma and has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), serving our country overseas to watch American Sniper, as these Hollywood depictions of mental illnesses can be incredibly triggering to those experiencing just that!

To The Bone - A Safe Viewing Guide

My Opinion on To The Bone

I most likely will dissatisfy and possibly upset many within this post, as my opinions regarding this film do not necessarily coincide with the majority opinions within the Eating Disorder community. I actually liked this film, although I found several triggering and falsifications within the film….granted each and every story is different and we must start somewhere! If this is where we start talking about Eating Disorders….then I am in support! FYI: the Eating Disorder community is not necessarily  pleased with this film, in that Instagram gurus and fellow #EDWarriors have written several posts about the dangers, dislikes and falsities of the film….and to be clear, I do not necessarily disagree with these opinions! I absolutely believe that Hollywood has a knack for glamorizing mental illnesses, falsifying symptoms and fabricating truths, but that unfortunately is the definition of hollywood, people want an escape, people want to feel taken away by a film! Therefore, I will say this again, I DO NOT recommend or condone any individuals who feel vulnerable within the topic of Eating Disorders to watch this film, as it may be triggering! With that being said, here are my thoughts and tips in regards to viewing this film

The Film

The film focuses on a story of a twenty year old, heterosexual white female who has Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Ellen, the main character, depicts the stereotypical image and description of what an individual with an Eating Disorder “looks like”, emaciated, female, and white. This is absolutely a valid depiction of many individuals within their Eating Disorder (ED), although this exact stereotype is why so many cases go unnoticed; that is 50% of ED’s go unnoticed within primary care! With that being said, the film does depict other body types, ages, sexes, genders, and races, as ED’s do not discriminate!

Let’s Talk About it! 

The film focuses on one small aspect of Eating Disorders, in that the all encompassing process of Eating Disorders spans over years, sometimes decades! The plot focuses on a specific moment within the character’s treatment. Ellen, played by Lilly Collins, is admitted into an exclusive, and “radical” inpatient treatment center ran by a doctor, played by Keanu reeves. This treatment center is drastically different than that of a typical inpatient setting, in many ways, although that is not necessarily what this post is about! I am not writing this to review the movie, nor to shed light on the falsities and fabrications within the script, rather I want to talk about safe ways to watch and talk about this film!

Not a Film Review

This film is on Netflix, therefore it is accessible to many! Hence, seeing that I am not a film critic, and instead an advocate for Eating Disorder Awareness and healthy and safe practices of self-care, I have laid out some viewing and talking points for you! With that being said, whether you are a mother, a grandmother, a father, a son, a brother, a sister or a friend, I highly recommend reading these tips, as this movie can cause for triggering thoughts and emotions surrounding Eating Disorders, body image and mental health.

Safely View This Film With Six Steps

***I will say this again, I do not encourage individuals within their Eating Disorder or in the beginning stages of recovery to watch this film, as it may be triggering….just because it may be “relevant” does not mean you have to watch it!

To The Bone

1.Make sure that you are viewing this film in a safe space. Are you surrounded by people that care for you, or that you care for? Are you around friends, family or loved ones? Are you mentally and emotionally prepared for severe visual depictions of Eating Disorders? Ensure that you are feeling safe, whether that means you are surrounded by people that you trust, or maybe you are providing that support for someone else!

2.Have the remote in hand. Pause, rewind or maybe even fast forward the movie when you feel you need to process or absorb something! If you are watching this with your daughter, pause the movie at times where she may show discomfort or confusion and start a dialogue surrounding the feelings and emotions brought upon by the film. This film can cause for people to notice behaviors that they never realized they were practicing, such as body checking and food rituals, therefore if your loved one asks questions regarding these behaviors lend an ear and listen to their concerns. Afterwards, reach out to Recovery Love and Care or a clinician for professional advice!

3.Fact check and perception check! If you are watching this with a loved one or younger person, make sure to provide proper information and education regarding behaviors and symptoms surrounding Eating Disorders. Talk about the concept of body image, and process the feelings that may arise from the character’s depiction! Eating Disorders exist in ALL bodies, fat bodies, skinny bodies, “normal” looking bodies, black bodies, brown bodies, old bodies, young bodies, male bodies, female bodies, trans bodies, able bodies, rich bodies and poor bodies, therefore make sure to educate in a proper manner to supplement the images seen in this film!

4.Set aside time before and after viewing the film to process your thoughts, whether that is via a journal, text, phone call or face to face conversation! It is so important to give your thoughts and feelings a name, it will help foster a sense of understanding and safety surrounding this movie. This movie was meant to start a conversation, and there is not wrong one to have, because your feelings are your feelings! Process in a safe environment! I recommend either sitting down with a loved one and having a conversation, or journaling your thoughts!

5.Keep yourself and others accountable and encourage conversation! No, there is no wrong or right way to “feel” before, during or after viewing this film, although the conversation regarding the education surrounding Eating Disorders is crucial! Remember….people with Eating Disorder’s are not selfish, and they do not “choose” their disorder, Eating Disorder is a mental illness and serious addiction that requires clinical treatment and intense recovery, placing blame and fault is counterproductive and quite pointless – instead focus on help, and lastly, Eating Disorders exist in ALL bodies, all ages, sizes, races, ethnicities, socio-economic classes, genders, sexes and sizes…!

6.Question WHY you or your loved ones are watching this film. This statement is in the absence of shame, and instead to challenge your motivations behind this viewing. Is it to educate yourself? Is it to form an educated opinion on the reliability of the script? Is it for entertainment? Or is it another voice telling you to watch it….maybe it is your “diet” voice, that “Eating Disorder” voice, or another toxic and sneaky reason why you “want” to view this film. That is all OKAY….but if it IS your ED voice, or you are watching the film to pick up new habits and indulge yourself in toxic thoughts, I challenge you to combat that voice. You are bigger, better and stronger that that voice! This film is not a “funny” movie, it is not a “feel good” movie, therefore, again, I ask you to question your motivations behind viewing this film! Make sure you are staying safe and true to your own voice!

 For more posts like this click here, here and here!

Interview With Dana Suchow From DoTheHotPants!

Okay everyone, I am thrilled and giddy with excitement to share this post with you! I had the privilege to meet with and interview Dana Suchow of “DoTheHotpants” via Skype this past month, and let me just say it was so enlightening and empowering! Dana is a fellow ED warrior, fellow feminist, and advocate for ALL women, and I am 100% confident you will gain some knowledge about body image, self-love and womanhood within this post! Dana now lives in New York City, has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and has appeared on Good Morning America and The T.D. Jakes Show, and she’s been featured in The Huffington Post, Vogue, Marie Claire, Seventeen Magazine, ABC News, and Yahoo!

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

I have participated within the body positive and Eating Disorder Recovery “world” on Instagram for about a year now, and since, I have grown so much appreciation for certain accounts, one of my favorite being @DoTheHotpants!

DoTheHotpants was started by Dana Suchow, a fashion blogger turned speaker, activist and event producer. Dana came to the realization that the fashion industry was fueling her eating disorder, and that the unattainable, unrealistic, and unhealthy beauty standards she was surrounded by were toxic to her wellbeing. Dana touches on the hard and sometimes “sticky” topics within our society, and she does it with so much grace and power! Over the years, she transformed her blog into a safe space for ALL women to talk about the underlying feminist issues that ignite body image issues, Eating Disorders, and various forms of prejudice within the world of women! Dana now also leads workshops, and feminist events that support all self identifying women in need of spaces to talk about tough topics like body image. Dana’s most recent endeavor is her Makeup Removal parties, where she empowers women to learn about why we wear makeup and to ask difficult questions about whether or not our “self love” beauty regimens are truly a manifestation of our misogynistic society.

When I asked Dana about the beginning of her body positivity and feminist “journey” she shared the personal struggles she experienced as a female.

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“I struggled with body image for a long time, not exactly with just my weight and Eating Disorders but with beauty! When I started getting zits I was immediately sent to the dermatologist, and I began living under this microscope. I developed this hyper awareness of my body, my existence, and how people viewed me and interacted with me based on my looks.”

Dana then went on to explain that she started Do The Hotpants as a fashion blog. “I was already deep in  my Eating Disorder when I started Do The Hotpants. I had Bulimia and before a photoshoot for the blog, I wouldn’t eat, and I would exercise… I mean I would run for two days before we would do the photoshoots, and then when I’d edit the photos I was seriously photoshopping them! Covering up all of my acne. I was terrified of being seen! I was terrified to do photoshoots, and I noticed that the pressure and stress of having the fashion blog was exacerbating my Bulimia and my hate for myself. It wasn’t creating any self love and I was constantly comparing my body to thinner and prettier bloggers, because the fashion industry is focused on thinness and youth and clear skin and height. I had privilege, but I didn’t have all these things.”

Dana then discussed that she knew her privilege: her thin privilege, her white privilege, her financial privilege to start a fashion blog in the first place, and the fact that she fits many of society’s beauty standards. But with all of that being said she still struggled with her battles of body image and her Eating Disorder recovery.

“Fashion was triggering me, rather than helping me, so I started to talk about what I was going through with my readers and followers. I started to discuss my insecurities, and I began slowly showing cracks in my hyper polished exterior. People started to really resonate with me and my vulnerability. And after a while, I did this post called Photos I Wish I Didn’t Photoshop, and it went completely viral! That truly catapulted me into body positivity and helped get me out of fashion. It made me focus on what would end up being a much healthier direction for me in the long run.”

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“In the body positive movement, I learned that body positivity and fat activism is a feminist issue. And through my eating disorder recovery, I learned how society hates women and women’s bodies. And once I discovered feminism I learned about all the intersectional layers of hate that different marginalized women experience. Things my white, thin, cis, or able-bodied privilege allowed me to remain blind to for so long. I began seeing violence against women and control of women’s bodies everywhere I looked, and that is why I always say that if you truly want to get over your Eating Disorder you have to understand feminism and fat activism. Self-love will only get you so far, but you have to fight against the miseducation and fear of fat and that our sexist and capitalist society have created. Because you can love yourself, but once you turn on the TV or see an advertisement, all the things you’ve worked so hard on can go out the window in a moment.”

When I asked Dana about the concept of self-love in relation to these unattainable beauty standards within our society, she touched on her experience as a “junior feminist.” As a side note, Dana recently stopped shaving her legs, and has received mixed reviews via social media from fellow women.

“I get a ton of love, but I’ve also received some flack for not shaving. For instance, when I first stopped shaving I believed that all women shave because of the patriarchy, and you know what, I still question people who say they shave because they like smooth legs. I still question people who say they put on makeup for the gym out of self love. And I’m not talking about make-up as an art form, I’m talking about the daily pressures women feel to be beautiful without looking like we’re trying. If you lived in the woods sequestered from society would you shave your legs, would you wear makeup, would you be working out…? Those are the questions I’m asking.”

Do The Hotpants

“And I’m the first person to admit that I wear makeup, I take kickboxing classes, I even got my armpits lasered, but I’ve never truly done any of these things for self-love. I can say that I got my nipple hair lasered off for self-love, but when you look at the root causes, it’s about marketing, it’s about porn, it’s about internalized misogyny, it’s about classism and racism and unattainable beauty standards for all women regardless of who she is. But I will say this over and over again, that until we live in a world where a woman without makeup and woman wearing a full face of makeup are both treated the equally, I 100% support women wearing makeup, and I myself will continue to wear it also. Not wearing makeup and not shaving isn’t my message. My message is: Why are you doing it? I want women to question why we do things, that’s all.”

Dana made a beautiful point that feminism and feminist causes are not meant to shame women for falling into beauty standards, instead she is calling women to delve deeper into WHY we are following rules we didn’t make about how to live and function in this society.

“Do what you need to do to feel safe and valued and loved and sexy, because this society has already defined what sexy is. But don’t lie and say that it’s because of self-love when it might isn’t. It’s OK to adhere to something because it’s a societal standard and we want to fit in! Because at the end of the day, not everything has to be for feminism and self love. We can also be playing by shitty rules simply to survive, because we didn’t make the rules but we have to play the game.”

I asked Dana how she practices self-care within a society that tries to define self care and self love as adhering to society’s beauty standards like getting facials or shaving or painting our nails.

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“It is so hard as an influencer to feel bad about my body, especially as a privileged body, but I still get those feelings, and they are valid and very real. But at the same time, I can’t give them too much power! I can’t let these feelings take up all of of my mental space! So a lot of times self care for me means sharing what I’m experiencing with a friend or family member that I feel safe with. Even with an online community if that feels comfortable. Sharing is a great form of self-care, because when we share our struggles and find community, we realize we are not alone, and that allows us to take our power back from those internal voices that tell us we’re unlovable or different. Sharing is a non classist way to practice self-care, because many people can’t afford manicures or facials or new clothes, but there’s always someone who will listen to us.”

“Self-care for me used to be going to the gym to get my stress out and over the years it’s evolved to taking naps, or going out for a cup of coffee with a friend, or sharing on social media! I am not saying that going to the gym can’t be self-care but I do think that is a slippery slope and I don’t believe we need that type of exercise in our lives to love our bodies.”

Dana made it clear that she has knows she has the privilege of being a spokesperson for body positivity and feminist issues, because while she is a disenfranchised women, not all disenfranchisement is equal, and she still has financial privilege, white privilege, thin privilege, and a cis body. But speaking about her experience with Bulimia and as a woman in a sexist world that wants all women to hate their bodies, she has connected with so many women going through the same struggles who felt completely alone before connecting online. Dana also makes sure her messages are always intersectional and that her platform discusses the disenfranchisement of all women.

“We have been trained to think about our bodies, and not our status in the world! I always say we need to focus on our wage gap not our thigh gap!”

And with that, I challenge you to dig a bit deeper today, ask yourself if the things you believe are self-care, are truly self care. Ask yourself WHY you think one body type is more beautiful than another. And today I challenge you to learn about body positivity, fat activism, and feminism, because we need all of you on board to change the world.

Dana Suchow From Do The Hot Pants!

#selfcareitout!

LeahLani Skincare! Organic all the way!

All Natural DIY Face Masks AND My Recent All Natural Skin Care Obsessions!

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

My loved ones can attest to my slight obsession with skin products…it has ALWAYS been my go to “luxury self-care” and I’m still finding ways to experiment with skin care within my self-care practice! Now YOU can benefit from my LOVE for skincare! I have tested out some fantastic DIY natural face masks, as well as, listed some of my favorite organic products for you to implement into your daily luxury self-care practice!

Skin care, face masks, and pampering myself was a major part within my personal Eating Disorder Recovery. Whenever I felt triggered or shameful for using behaviors I learned to resort to soothing and natural behaviors, such as, skincare and DIY masks! Therefore, the use of products and skincare was so much more than a concept of vanity, instead it was a replacement of unhealthy behaviors, it was a way to find comfort and treat my body with respect!

We constantly think about what we put INTO our bodies, but what about what we put ON our bodies?! We always read the ingredient labels on the back of our food, analyze every word that we can’t pronounce, every nutrient, or lack there of, so why don’t we do so for our skin products? Our skin absorbs everything it comes into contact with, it protects us from the outside elements, and in turn we should treat it with kindness and appreciation!

I talk about the many tiers of self-care within a previous post, that I will link here , and with that it is important to remember that skincare is a luxury self-care. I use face masks, creams, and other skincare products to ease my mind, soothe my skin, and just relax, therefore it is in the absence of loathing my skin, or wanting to change my skin for the better, instead it is to promote a state of overall wellbeing, and show my skin and body some love! To have some “me time!”

All Natural DIY Face Masks

1. DIY Honey and Turmeric Face Mask!

This is my favorite all natural DIY face mask! Turmeric is truly one of my favorite ingredients to use for almost anything, because it has so many benefits! Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, as well as, a natural skin lightener. This mask calms irritated skin, hydrates the deeper layers of skin, fights and prevents bacteria that causes acne, and lightens any dark spots, scars and sun damage! It is my favorite “after the beach” self-care AND it is all natural!!

DIY All Natural Face Mask!

To Use: Take one table spoon of turmeric and put equal parts of honey in a bowl, stir until the mixture turns into a paste, you may have to add extra honey! Make sure you are wearing something that you don’t mind staining, as turmeric is difficult to remove from clothing! Generously lather the mixture onto cleansed and slightly dampened skin, and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse with warm water!


2.Apple Cider Vinegar

This is a tried and true, oldie but goodie, easy does it face mask! It is crucial to use raw, unpasteurized and organic apple cider vinegar with “the mother” as this is where all of that good nutrients come from! I use this face mask when my skin starts to break out, feels oily, or my skin tone is a bit uneven! You can use the apple cider vinegar as is, or you can add honey for some added moisture and acne fighting benefits!

To Use: Shake the apple cider vinegar, pour about two table spoons into a bowl, apply with cotton ball to a freshly cleansed and damp face. Let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes, wipe with damp washcloth or rinse with water! You can add equal parts honey for extra acne fighting benefits and added moisture. You can also add half part lemon juice to better even skin tone and combat dark spots! Below are links to my favorite apple cider vinegar brands.

All Natural Face Masks and Skin Care Self-Care!

1.Lime and Lotus is a Charleston based, all natural, phenomenal brand that is geared toward individuals with sensitive skin! All of their ingredients are free from synthetic chemicals, paraben preservatives, petrochemicals, phthalates, artificial colors and artificial fragrances I LOVE these products! Their mission is to enhance your natural beauty….naturally, how refreshing! The Purify charcoal facial masque is the ONLY charcoal based mask that I can use. I have incredibly dry and sensitive skin, and therefore most charcoal based products tend to dry my skin out, but this mask is somehow incredibly hydrating, and soothing! It purifies, detoxes and moisturizes the skin with a soothing feel and delicious all natural scent! Make sure to check this one out if you have dry and sensitive skin! (Linked below)

My Skin Care Stash!

2.The other all natural face products that I am currently obsessed with are the LeahLani Skin Care products! I recently stopped by Mylk Bar in Mt. Pleasant, SC and had a fantastic, all natural pedicure and manicure, while sipping on a lovely glass of rose! As a side note, Mylk Bar is THE place to be if you are in the Charleston area, I forbid you to go ANYWHERE else for a manicure or pedicure!  After my all natural pampering, I treated myself to the LeahLani Mermaid Mask and Siren Serum. Guys….these. products. are. amazing! The mask is truly like a green smoothie for your face, I had some hormonal acne around my jawbone and chin area, as well as, some dark spots from a recent trip to the beach, and no lie, with just TWO uses my skin was cleared! Full disclosure, I also used the siren serum, which is a nutrient rich, all natural, acne fighting serum that has absolutely aided to my glowing results. As a reminder, I am in no way affiliated with any of these brands, just a happy customer!

LeahLani and Mylk Bar Obsession!

LeahLani Organic Face Masks on Recovery Love and Care

Below are a few other all natural masks that I am currently trying, although I have not been using them long enough to review. I will ink them below!

1.I drink Matcha in my lattes, so why not use them on my face?!

2.Pumpkin?! I will never turn down anything with pumpkin as the ingredient, we will see how this pans out!

I can’t wait for you to try these masks! Remember, skin care for self-care can be in the absence of self loathing and in the presence of self-love! It is absolutely a luxury self-care, it will not bring instant body appreciation or a higher level of self-worth, but it will help you feel relaxed, feel soothed, and allow you to take care of YOU! I challenge you to show your skin some all natural love this week, you will thank me I promise! As always, #selfcareitout!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga – Being a Charleston Local, Facing Fears and Embracing Dreams!

A Day Out on Folly Beach, Tackling My Fears and Embracing My Dreams

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a yogi, but I am absolutely a lover of all things yoga! I am also an avid lover of all things beach! This past Monday I combined those two loves, I took a stand up paddle board yoga class at Charleston SUP Safari! This is something that I have always dreamed about doing, but my fears and insecurities got in the way, welp, I went for it, and oh my goodness was it worth it! Keep reading to hear about my experiences at Charleston SUP Safari, out on the water, and some great places to stop by after your stand up paddle board experience out on Folly Beach!

Starting The Day Off Right

I made sure to start my day right with confidence, courage and of course coffee at Black Magic Cafe. I had a delicious iced soy latte and pastry to compliment my workout out on the water! This cafe is a great local spot out on Folly and promises to use only wholesome and fresh ingredients!

This coffee sure is magic!

This menu is life!

Croissants all day everyday!

Becoming a Local

Ever since I moved to Charleston, I have made it my mission to start facing my fears, be more active and embrace everything local, as I truly believe in community over competition! Charleston SUP Safari is an all inclusive, incredibly laid back, locally owned, beach town wonder! For an incredibly reasonable price me and a group of friends paddled out on Folly creek and took a yoga class on our paddle boards!

Dolfriends for sure!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

My worries and anxieties surrounding failure and incompetency were completely calmed once I spoke with the staff at Charleston SUP Safari. They answered all of my questions, made sure we were all safe, and guaranteed a good time! The paddle out from the dock was fun on its own, as the scenery was truly breathtaking! Once we anchored our boards we started the yoga class.

I couldn’t believe it, I was in a bikini, out on the ocean, floating on a paddle board, and doing yoga without a care in the world about my body or my ability to “succeed”. If I took this class a few years back, I would have been worried about how my body looked, stressed about falling and embarrassing myself, and looking ridiculous to others, I would have loathed the entire experience due to my own insecurities and fears. Now, because of the forgiveness and compassion that I hold near and dear to my heart, I can do a freaking back bend, on a stand up paddle board, in a bikini without a care in the world if my back fat is hanging out, or if I fall into the water! I was able to, not only conquer my fears, but fulfill a dream of mine and truly enjoy doing it!

SUP Yoga in Charleston, SC!

 

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

The class was challenging but not overwhelming, and within seconds I became one with my breath and the water. All of the awkward giggles subsided, and in unison, all of our bodies were flowing with the motion of the waves and slight breeze. This may sound woo woo to some people, but this stand up paddle board yoga experience changed me in a small way! It is proof that the power of movement, breath, forgiveness and courage is paramount when we feel insecure and fearful! AND I now have a new hobby!

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga!

Don’t get me wrong, people were falling off of the paddle boards left and right, but you know what? The water caught them, and the waves embraced their “slip-up!” With one quick pull up to the board, they were back to their practice! We took a phenomenal private yoga class, from a local free-lance yoga instructor, and she was truly skilled and amazing within the entire process! I highly recommend checking out her page here!! 

I will absolutely be a returning customer to Charleston SUP Safari, as they offer their own Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga classes as well! Check out their website here!

Good Eats and Great Waves

After the class was over we went to the Lost Dog cafe, and oh my gosh, it was fabulous! It is a small, locally owned, and dog friendly restaurant, with quality and wholesome food and incredible service! I had the Grapefruit Mimosa and the Chicken Salad Sandwich on a croissant (If only everything could be on a croissant, I’m somewhat obsessed)!

Dog Friendly Beach Cafe!

The Lost Dog Cafe

After I was well worked out, and properly nourished I went to the beach and played in the waves until the sun went down, the waves were insane and the water was perfect!

RecoveryLoveandCare.comFacing Fears and Embracing Dreams!

In one day I learned so much about myself, and the city in which I live! With a little bit of courage, and self-compassion I faced my fears and fulfilled a life long dream of mine! I cannot wait to get out to Folly Beach and Stand Up Paddle board my heart out! I challenge you to overcome one of your fears with the power of self-love and self-compassion, I promise you will thank me!! #selfcareitout my friends!

 

 

Selfies for Self Love

Lets Talk Body Image! Ways to Love Yourself More and Live a Self-Compassionate Life!

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Body Image.

This is a tough one….I have said it before, and I will say it again and again….positive body image ALMOST ALWAYS comes last within Eating Disorder recovery, as well as within any journey towards self-compassion. Loving what you see in the mirror, appreciating your size, your weight, your natural curves, and appreciating all of the beautiful flaws within your physical image is so much harder than it seems.

Keep reading to learn how to obtain a positive body image in the absence of weight loss and dieting, as well as, suggested resources to reach a level of self-compassion and positive body image.

Sandy Smiles and Body Love!

The Truth.

The truth is that happiness does not come from weight loss, it does not come from that summer diet or beach diet, losing those five or ten pounds does not foster a feeling of happiness. Happiness does not come from dieting, #bodygoals, or a new workout regimen (Check out this post on the power of the scales and numbers within our society). Most of the time these concepts are so often combined, but in reality happiness, weight loss, and body image are all independent of one another. You can be happy, and not lose the weight, but still have a negative body image, just like you can be unhappy, lose the weight and have a negative body image….these concepts are not tied together! The majority of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. 80% of thirteen-year-old females have tried to lose weight. Our culture is driven by the concept that weight loss and dieting can create a sense of happy and confidence…when in reality, that is just not how it works.

National Eating Disorder Awareness! FACT Friday! RecoveryLoveandCare.com

Nation Eating Disorder Awareness! RecoveryLoveandCare.com

Check out FACT Friday for more!

Finding a sense of self-compassion and self-love for those love handles, for those stretch marks, for that back fat, and belly pooch, is a true sense of positive body image. Accepting your body and loving your body for what it is, appreciating your body for what it does for you…. THAT is achieving a positive sense of self and body appreciation!

So many individual’s struggle with this aspect of Eating Disorder recovery as well….in that the mind can get away from us at times. We start to become emotionally and sometimes physically consumed by the unrealistic perceptions about how we currently “see” ourselves, how we want to “see” ourselves, how we “see” other’s in comparison to ourselves, and how we believe other’s “see” us. Yep, it sounds exhausting, and maybe even ridiculous, but this is the mind of someone within Eating Disorder recovery.

How to Get a Beach Body....#selflove

I use these words carefully, in that when I say “see ourselves”, or how “we see others”, I mean this literally, because that is what we are doing, I do not mean how we look, or who we are, instead I mean how we perceive ourselves. At times it seems that the physical self is somewhat dissociated from the emotional self, in that our appearance is wounded and therefore separated from the rest of us. In order to recover one must be ready to mend that wound, and finally introduce that physical self to the emotional self, and be ready to fight for a positive body image and finally be whole!

It’s All About You.

You may look one way to someone, and another way to someone else, but all that truly matters is how you perceive yourself and this is why a positive body image is so incredibly difficult to obtain. NO ONE, and I mean, NO ONE, can change your mind about how you “see yourself”, EXCEPT for YOU. For goodness sake, Justin Timberlake could declare your beauty to the entire world, tell you that you are perfect, skinny, curvy, a bombshell, whatever…and it still wouldn’t matter, because you won’t believe it, not until you can believe it.

It’s up to you, to do the work to literally retrain your brain, to eventually train your mind, and emotions towards how you “see” or perceive your body. Throughout recovery, you are taught to rid of your unhealthy behaviors, cope with life’s obstacles in a healthy manner, practice self care, love your inner self, and nourish your body. All of that is a major triumph in itself….but to love what you “SEE”, to rid of that negative self talk, and accept that person staring back at you in the mirror….now that is AMAZING! I promise you, that this is possible, you can fully recover from your eating disorder, and by this I mean love who you are, as well as, love your perceived self.

Selfies for self love!

Therefore, with the summer upon us I believe it is time to take this oh so difficult part of life by the reins! As a collective force, we are going to start “seeing” ourselves with love, and true admiration….we are going to become inspired by what we “see” in ourselves. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will be posting about the various components that relate to body image conception and eating disorder recover! We will get through this together!

Lets Do This.

As you move through this week, I challenge you to commit to working towards true self-love, in that, you will work towards loving what you “see” as much as you love who you are. Start to wrap your mind around the fact that this is possible, and you will get there….we will get there together! Below are some recommended books and resources to assist you on your self-love journey!


To come: Clinical depictions of body image and eating disorder recovery, ways to implement self care into your healthy body image initiative, outside resources to keep you motivated, and personal and professional tidbits about body image conception and working towards full recovery. See More Here!

 

What WOMAN Means to Me – Pt. with Becca Schultz

Becca Shultz is an amazing soul, she is an inspiring presence and I am so very honored that she has written a post for this series! As an empowered WOMAN, Becca has now taken it upon herself to spread the powerful inspirations and ideations that she has been taught by women in her life. I came across Becca’s Instagram page, Becoming_Becca.Again_, and it blew me away, Becca is not only powering through Eating Disorder Recovery like a boss, but she is also busting through the feminist world and making it her own, while advocating for ALL! I hope you enjoy this incredibly depiction of what WOMAN means to Becca.

 

“Being a woman.” Where do I even begin? I hope I don’t jumble some of my words, I do struggle with self-confidence a lot.

For so long I never really thought about or pondered on the fact of what it truly means to be a woman, to encompass the feminine spirit.

Growing up in a society that has it’s set standards of what being a woman “really encompasses” has caused me to feel confused throughout the majority of my life, questioning where I stood in society, and if my role in society was important or not, and I know that many women feel the same way about this no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, skin-color, or gender someone is or the sex they were assigned at birth, and the list goes on and on.

Ever since I entered recovery for my eating disorder and other mental and emotional illnesses, I really started to see the actual woman that I was, not the woman that society wanted or still wants me to be, and once I found my space in the community of self-love and intersectionality on Instagram, I actually found my voice, as they say, and that my voice actually does matter.

Crossing paths with so many inspirational and powerful women through Instagram and of course within the world in general (one of them being my bad ass mom!), I feel like I finally am using my voice, believing in the things that I BELIEVE IN, not what my family or others want me to believe. I am an intersectional feminist and it feels good to finally say it. I am so proud of myself in regards to the woman that I am becoming every day, and I thank all of those that have crossed paths with me showing me the way to who I am becoming.

I am more than my hair, my looks, and my legs. I am more than my body! I am an intersectional feminist that is learning every day…learning every day how to be a better citizen and woman to those around me. Taking action to derail patriarchal standards that have created unrealistic expectations that make me and so many around me feel inferior and not good enough.

I am so honored to have this opportunity to do a write up for this amazing blog. My hope is to continue to be the change in this world that needs to happen, to inspire my nieces and nephews and future children to keep fighting for what is right.

I want to give a special thank you and shout out to one of my biggest inspirations, Dana Suchow (@dothehotpants). Thank you for giving me the strength to start “being me unapologetically.”

-Becca Schultz

Check out the rest of the series here!

What WOMAN Means to Me Series Kick off 

What WOMAN Means to pt. 2- with 

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 3 – with 

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 4 – with Claire Mattingly

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 6- with 

What WOMAN Means To Me pt. 7 – with Emily Dell 

 

Self-Care Giveaway! Recovery Love and Care & Celadon Massage

CALLING ALL LOCALS!!!! The lovely Joanna Gable, from Celadon Massage, and I have linked up and created an AMAZING give away for anyone who is within the Charleston, SC area!

Joanna is a local Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) here in Charleston. She runs her own practice with focus on local and organic products. Joanna believes in the power of the healing touch, the beauty of ALL bodies, as well as, the luxury of having another person take care of you. It is a wonderful thing to take care of others, and also to take care of yourself, but sometimes it is necessary for others to take care of you! Self-care is so incredibly important to live a healthy, happy and successful life, and sometimes that self-care needs to be LUXURIOUS! Therefore, we have come up with an AMAZING give away for all local Charlestonians! Check it out below!

The Give Away:
A completely complimentary 60 minute massage at Celadon Massage, with your choice of a complimentary add-on (see below)!
Add-ons include:
-Dry brushing: great for stimulation the lymph system and full-body exfoliation
-Hot Stone: heated stones applied during  the session to aid in relaxation and deeper relief, increases circulation
-Contrast therapy: Heat and cold applies to the body to increase muscle relaxation and decrease inflammation
-Extended Rest Time: 15 or 30m time on the table post massage to rest and fully enjoy the benefits of your massage before returning to the real world
-Feet Treet: honey/salt/coconut oil scrub applied to the feet along with heated towels and paraffin to exfoliate and hydrate the feet
Our promise:
– All massages include full hands on time (some places take time out of the session for undressing and such), pressure and techniques are always as needed for optimal comfort healing and relaxation, and aromatherapy diffusion is included!

-All fees included!

How to enter:

Go to Instagram and find this post, follow @RecoveryLoveandCare AND @Celadon.Massage and tag two local friends, and thats it! Remember, you MUST FOLLOW BOTH ACCOUNTS in order to be eligible for the give away!

For every extra local that you tag (two are required) you will be entered into the drawing again!

The giveaway will start on Wednesday May 10th and go until Wednesday May 17th, so make sure to enter!

The winner will be announced via Instagram on Thursday May 18th!

And don’t forget to #selfcareitout!

What WOMAN Means To Me Series – Pt. 3 With Gissell Reyes

Gissell Reyes is another dear friend of mine, fellow woman warrior, future colleague and fellow sister! I am overwhelmed by her beautiful depiction of WOMAN….go ahead and indulge yourself in this amazing illustration of What WOMAN means to Gissell….

Defining your womanhood is unique to yourself. This is one woman’s perspective on what it means to be a woman. Using this word to define the manner in which we keep our relationships with your loved ones and friends, what you give of yourself to those relationships, and how you maintain your balance with both.

Being a WOMAN in today’s society means many things but these definitions belong to society.

 

My definition is my own, just as your definition is wholly your own. When I think of my womanhood, I think of the relationships I maintain and my role in these relationships. Beyond my biology, I am a woman because I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a partner to my boyfriend. All of these relationships have a specific meaning that makes it unique to my idea of a woman.

I am a daughter, different than a son because women are closer to their families. Traditionally, we stay closer to home even as we build our own separate families. There is a saying about this: a son is a son until he gains a wife but a daughter is a daughter all her life.

I am a sister. I am loyal and protective and the keeper of memories. Sisterhood comes from a bond that is soul deep. It is formed through the sharing of adventures and of secrets and of life. To be a sister means to give of yourself for the betterment and wellbeing of your sister. You share your soul with your sister. While your children are your heart walking in the world outside your body, your sister is a piece of you doing the same thing. This is the same for people you chose to share a sisterhood with, your close friends that sub in when you don’t have a sister or are apart from them.

I am a partner. To be a girlfriend or a partner or a wife as a woman means you share yourself with another person. It means that you take care of the other person with compassion and support. To be a woman in a relationship you walk a fine line. You give of yourself without losing yourself. It takes balance and self-awareness to be a woman in a healthy, thriving relationship.

In reality, it takes balance to be a woman in general. In today’s society, women are told how to look, how to act, how to feel, it is more important than ever to find balance and be confident in your own identity. For me, what woman means to me goes beyond the superficial. It is, at its core, about how I maintain my relationships, about what I put into them. It becomes a part of the identity I create for myself. The goals I have and the achievements I accomplish are defining characteristics of the kind of person, the kind of human being I want to be. But what I put into my relationships is what woman means woman.

-Gissell Reyes

For the rest of the series check it out here!

What WOMAN Means to Me- Series Kick Off!

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 2 – with Asia Vianna Mack

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 4 – with Claire Mattingly

What WOMAN Means To Me pt. 5 – with Becca Schutlz

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 6- with Ireana Nathan

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 7 – with Emily Dell

 

Take up Space

Take Up Space

In light of my new collaborative series, What WOMAN Means To me, as well as the social state in which women find themselves in on a daily basis I felt it would be beneficial to talk about the importance of community and this concept of taking up space.

During childhood and adolescence and in the absence of self-care we were taught, coached and trained to constantly compete against one another. We were taught that in order to win or to make it to the top we must be better than someone else, this competition and constant comparison breeds a feeling of confusion and a state of constant second guessing ourselves.

In addition to this competitive nature, women are taught, and told to be small, sweet, coy, kind, polite and caring. We were taught that in order to be a “good little girl” we must smile, stay sweet and take up AS LITTLE SPACE as possible. This concept of small has transcended into our adult years into our concept of woman hood.

In addition to the whole body image piece, how is this even possible or fair?! How can young girls be expected to thrive and grow while being told to do the exact opposite? How are young girls supposed to “win” in this competitive world, while also staying SMALL and quiet? It is quite the concept, and a ridiculous one at that!

Therefore within a world that breeds competition and comparison, young girls, and women have no fair chance, and with that we have learned to tear each other down. With society’s unrealistic standards, women now compete rather than connect, we compare rather than communicate, we tend to take each other down rather than lift each other up….but who is to blame us….we weren’t really given a chance to begin with! With all of that being said I say that it is about time that we stand up for one another! Why not TAKE UP AS MUCH SPACE as we possibly can, but in unison?! How about we put COMMUNITY before competition?!

As I continue to develop my brand, and network within the Charleston area, I am finding that this theme of community shines much brighter than that of competition! All of these incredibly successful, passionate, independent, creative and self-starting women build upon a sense of connection and empowerment rather than competition. We all take up space, and we embrace it! It is OKAY TO be LOUD, BOLD, COURAGEOUS, BIG, AND VIBRANT! I have been making beautiful and REAL CONNECTIONS  with amazing women with varying stories! Yes, we have ALL been told that we must be small in some way shape or form, but my goodness it is about time that we take up some space!

We had a blast supporting the LLS Foundation, making flower arrangements with Fetes de Fleures and drinking Rose and Skinny Dip Charleston!
We had a blast supporting the LLS Foundation, making flower arrangements with Fetes de Fleures and drinking Rose and Skinny Dip Charleston!
Girl time is self-care!
Girl time is self-care!
Skinny Dip and a good gal pal....couldn't get any better than that!
Skinny Dip and a good gal pal….couldn’t get any better than that!
Skinny Dip and a good gal pal....couldn't get any better than that!
Skinny Dip and a good gal pal….couldn’t get any better than that!

Why not have a girl gang that includes everyone, for ALL women, to lift each other up and thrive as a group?!

Take up space, be loud, be adventurous, be courageous, connect with others, lift others up, communicate, love and, as always, #SelfCareItOut!

What WOMAN Means to Me – Series Kickoff!

This is a start to an extensive and beautiful collaborative series about what WOMAN means, as the concept of female and woman is unique to each and every individual. We will be hearing from women and men from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, all colors, all cultures and backgrounds. So read on, and stay tuned!

Self-Awareness is such a crucial part of self-care, and self-love, as we can only truly find our self worth and state of happiness once we look at ourselves. We must ask ourselves questions that force us to delve deeper and peel back the layers to find awareness of our true beings; self-awareness helps us understand why and how we are important to the world…. because we are ALL so important, and so incredibly worthy! Self-awareness can start with some simple questions….

Who am I?

What makes me happy?

What do I appreciate about myself?

What do others appreciate about me?

What do I appreciate about others?

How do I perceive myself?

How do I perceive others?

What truly makes me happy?

What truly makes me proud?

So much of my identity is being a woman. My Mom and Dad raised three strong, independent, driven and compassionate women, and with that came a sense of pride! Within this world of oppression, inequality, gender norms and media manipulation it can be difficult to maintain that sense of pride, as others constantly try to tear it down. Therefore, I find that self-awareness towards what makes me a proud woman, and self-compassion within my pride of what being a woman encompasses, is truly self-care at its purest form! I am woman; this is what WOMAN means to me.

To kick off this series, I chose to incorporate a poem called “Where I am From”

WHERE I’M FROM

I am from American Girl, Disney Princesses, Hopscotch at recess and swimming in the summer.

I am from the outer banks of the concrete jungle, from the cozy suburbs, a neighborhood filled with privilege, the bustle of trains and gusts of wind; from squelching summers and freezing winters.

I am from the dandelion blowing in the spring air, the daisy and seashell in the sweet southern sun.

I am from a Christmas Eve’s watching White Christmas with Bing Crosby and strong women from the Irenes, Gorey Girls and Edwards.

I am from the anxiety-ridden tears, eating disorders and unconditional love for animals.

From being an “old soul” and overly sensitive.

I am from Methodist practicing Irish Catholics, from the shame brought upon by converting.

I’m from La Grange, IL, Irish and Italian Catholics, deep-dish pizza and bowls of popcorn and ice cream

From the time Kathie pulled her hamstring while doing the champagne splits the millennium being rung in with innocent cheer, sparkling grape juice and silly string and

Tess, and Claire brushing their teeth to NSYNC every morning before school despite the seven year age gap.

I am from underneath the Christmas tree, on the beaches of South Carolina, the strong trust of my parents, the intense bond with my sisters, the struggle of becoming a woman, the results of being a dancer, the middle child, the sensitive one, and most importantly the love and truth of family.

I am healthy, I am beautiful, I am recovered, I am in love, I am happy, I am strong, I am a WOMAN.

-Jayne Mattingly

Check out the rest of the series here!

What WOMAN Means to pt. 2- with Asia Vianna Mack

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 3 – with Gissell Reyes

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 4 – with Claire Mattingly

What WOMAN Means To Me pt. 5 – with Becca Schutlz

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 6- with Ireana Nathan

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 7 – with Emily Dell