Exercise and Social Media – Healthy Motivations and Honesty!

This is a blog post that I wrote for the amazing Julie Harris from The Healthful Peach, an beautiful blog that helps women find a healthy balance in life with food and fitness. Julie believes that showing up daily with intention, and feeling empowered to make healthful choices is truly living a healthy life! I could not agree more! Therefore, I wrote up this piece about the concept of exercise in the extremely skewed environment in which we live! I hope you enjoy!

  I truly believe that listening to your body, having a healthy and safe relationship with food, and practicing SAFE exercise in MODERATION is self-care at it’s finest! For individual’s who are within their Eating Disorder Recovery, exercise can be a slippery slope, it can become a compulsion, it can be used as a purging behavior, therefore developing a realistic and unique relationship with movement and exercise is crucial within recovery!

Studio Barre James Island

Social Media Exercise vs. Honest Exercise

Exercise classes were my saving grace within my own personal recovery, in that they allowed for a controlled form of physical activity, to avoid “relapse” into unhealthy behaviors and motivations, as well as, create a supportive space for physical exercise. Many people are unaware that exercise can be abused just like a drug, in that it can be used as a means to purge of calories, avoid emotions and/or substitute a natural dispersion of endorphines. Therefore, it is not only individuals within their Eating Disorder, or for individuals within recovery, it is important for all individuals to bring awareness towards their true motivations when it comes to exercise!

REAL exercise!
REAL exercise!

Barre and Yoga

My favorite forms of exercise are barre and yoga. These physical practices focus on the power of movement, the power of the body, and the importance of the mind, body connection!

I don’t know if I would necessarily consider myself a yogi, but I truly love and appreciate the practice of yoga.  I’ve been practicing yoga for almost six years now, and I love everything behind the art of yoga. Yoga, is truly a practice in that it teaches individuals how to find their inner peace, bring no judgment whatsoever to the mat, and in all truth PRACTICE yoga. There is no PERFECTION, there is only FORGIVENESS, UNDERSTANDING, EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL STRENGTH, and INTENTION, therefore there is no room for self-hate, stress, and shame. This is why I LOVE yoga, it trains the mind and the body to work in a genuine, positive and forgiving fashion, and with a lot of self love, support and hard work, you find yourself, completed with the class, conquering your fears, and emotionally cleansed….and THAT is now my motivation for exercise!

Barre is similar in this fashion, it that it focuses on the small muscles within the body, and with small/tight movements these small muscles are isolated and worked to exhaustion. This movement requires an intense amount of concentration, self-forgiveness and a true mind, body connection! When you crawl and/or rise into these contorted positions your mind is forced to focus on the muscle working, and that muscle only. This intense connection with the body is paramount to mental clarity and appreciation for what the body can do!

Studio Barre James Island
Studio Barre James Island is where it is at!

Intention

Yoga and barre, when practiced with intention and self care, truly works and strengthens the entire body and makes you sweat! Well I sure sweat! That true mind body connection, forgiveness and isolation forces you to contemplate upon your motivations behind the physical practice.

Physical exercise is a major part of my self-care, in that I now find peace, and emotional cleansing within my physical practice! AND, lets just be real….most of us DO NOT LOOK LIKE SUPERMODELS WHILE WE EXERCISE, so lets enjoy physical exercise and self-care for what it truly is…..SELF-CARE! Look, I have said it before, and I will say it again, recovery is a beautiful disaster…. and you know what?… so is exercise! I do not think I have EVER been that girl at the barre, or that girl in the yoga class, or that girl on top of the mountain in a sports bra with six pack abs, glistening with joy….no, I have been that girl making those uncomfortable faces in the mirror, breathing heavily, smiling as my belly rolls fold while ding ab exercises, and dripping with sweat!

Backyard Yoga
Backyard Yoga!

Social Media Exercise vs. Honest Exercise!

Exercise looks different, feels different and means something different to everyone! Our motivations behind exercise vary drastically, not only by the person, but by the day! There are some days I want to work out to clear my mind, some days I just need that mind-body connection, sometimes I crave motion, and sometimes I just want that good sweat! It is when we start exercising for others, and when we start exercising because we need to EARN something that it becomes dangerous and unhealthy! Your exercise is just that, YOURS! It is so easy to get sucked into this mentality that we need to look a certain way when exercising, and that we need to exercise for certain reasons….to earn that pizza, to deserve that drink….but let me be the one to tell you, your validation comes from within! You are always deserving of food, and you never, ever, need to EARN your food!

There is the Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook or social media version of physical exercise, and then there is the HONEST VERSION of physical exercise. The social media version is all about proving yourself to others, about how you LOOK, about how hard you worked, as opposed to the honest version. The honest version is about your true motivations behind exercise, mental and emotional empowerment, and self care! Now, let me be clear, I have absolutely fallen into this social media version of physical exercise, in that I have felt somewhat compelled to prove to others that I can be that girl on top of that mountain doing a yoga pose, granted I have never really been able to do that, so I implemented my own version, but in any case I am guilty of practicing physical exercise with unhealthy motivations!

What I am truly trying to convey is that for most individuals physical exercise is best practiced with empowering, healthy and strong motivations such as cleansing the mind, building physical health and strength, and improving your emotional health; especially for those within a state of recovery. Therefore, I challenge you to find your true motivations behind physical exercise, and dig deep to unveil your own healthy motivations and empowerment within your personal practice of exercise.

And please remember…..you do not need to “earn” or “work for” that delicious pastry! You know I cannot, and most likely will not pass up a good croissant!! And goodness knows….I will never need to “earn” that deliciousness!

you never need to earn your food!
You never need to earn your food!

As Always #SelfCareItOut!

-Jayne Mattingly with Recovery Love and Care!

For similar 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!

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.

  • 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!

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! 

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!

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!!

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!!

 

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!

 

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!

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

I met Emily while studying abroad in Florence, Italy my Junior year of college. Emily and I, along with five other fabulous women, were assigned to live with each other at random in a charming, quaint and tiny apartment above a Gelato shop (it was heavenly)! I was drawn to Emily right away, in that her vibrancy, unapologetic demeanor and confidence were contagious! It has now been over five years since we met, and Emily has continued on her own journey in California. Her presence with her friends and family has always stayed strong, and she is truly a unique soul in every way! I am honored to have had Emily author this post on her personal depiction of womanhood! I hope you enjoy!

#GirlBossLife! What WOMAN Means To Me Series

What WOMAN means to me; living a life of grace. Grace with others, but more importantly grace with yourself. I always tell my girlfriends not to be self-conscious.

I tell them how beautiful they are and who really cares about the love handles anyway?! Well, I need to be listening to my own advice. Too many times I catch myself hating my body, wishing I were thinner or just wishing I were different all together. What kill me are the rolls. Rolls rolls rolls rolls rolls. I obsesse over how many I have, how big they are or just the fact that I have them.

Body Love! What WOMAN Means To Me Series

Part of being a woman means having grace with yourself. It’s easier said than done, but once I was able to let that body image ridden anxiety go, I accepted my body for what it was and what it is. I accepted it for what it looks like, moves and how the “hips just don’t lie.” I still have my moments, even my days or weeks! However, learning to have grace with myself helped me to love myself, which in return enabled me to give and love others.

There are too many factors in life that weigh us down. Women get called names, we are constantly being labeled, “cat called” on the street, and made lesser than the opposite sex. It seems as though we are simply singled out just for being a woman.

However, this creates an opportunity for women to shine. We must handle these situations with grace. Forgive and forget. Move on and grow. Pick ourselves up. Grind. Learn from the ones who burn us and let that scar be a beautiful lesson. It’s not the fall that matters; it’s how you get back up. It’s hard to not let the constant negativity weigh us down; in fact it’s seemingly very easy. There are many people in this world that allow the negativity to encompass all that they are. We as women must be different from the crowd. We must remain buoyant.

What WOMAN Means To Me Series

We are tough. We are strong. We are smart. We are sassy. We are kind. We are beautiful. We are life givers. Every woman on her own is beautiful, but when women come together we create a beautiful, ass kicking squad.

– Emily Dell

Check out the rest of the series here!

What WOMAN Means to Me Series Kick off 

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

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!

 

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!

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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!

 

#NoFearInFood…. Everyday Can Be Donut Day!

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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