positive body image

Women, Our Bodies, and Beauty

I was talking to a colleague the other day:

"Women don't want to feel beautiful. They just want to lose weight. My heart breaks every time I hear this. They only allow themselves to feel beautiful (briefly) if they are 'perfect'...but 'perfect' really never comes. Most days women just beat up on themselves."

I teach women HOW TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL. But I've literally had women tell me they'd just rather lose weight. I believe the world is dying for the Feminine right now. Women need to throw off the shackles of body and beauty image and take their rightful place at the table--to be IN THEIR POWER--not worrying about their thigh gap.

We are only operating at a fraction of our possibility.

My dear, beautiful women: the reason you don't feel good in your body is NOT because you don't have a beautiful body--it is because you've NEVER been taught HOW to feel good in your body. We women, almost from birth, have only been taught how to fee BAD in our bodies.

Do you get that? Do you get that the water you've been swimming in is poison to your sense of well-being? (And by the way, this is by design.)

Our bodies are a battle ground and we take on that battle ourselves. We subjugate ourselves. We beat our bodies into submission.

Transformation occurs when we see the paradigm we are living in for the abuse and oppression that it is and we reject it. We claim our bodies as our own. We recognize their magnificence and we recognize the years of abuse that we and society have heaped upon them. From this place we can learn to adore and appreciate our bodies. And from this place everything begins to shift: what we put into our bodies and what we put onto our bodies becomes an act of beauty, respect, and adoration. How we move is different. How we hold ourselves is different We are in tune with ourselves. We are embodied and no longer disconnected.

Women are good at love.

Love is the most radical act of all.

Start with yourself.

 

SOUL SONG SUNDAY. THIS IS POLITICAL. Watch this, listen to this, like it's your job.

Mary Lambert - Body Love (Part 1 & 2)

 

Mary Lambert - Body Love (Part 1 & 2) Lyrics

I know girls who are trying to fit into the social norm
Like squeezing in last year's prom dress
I know girls who are low rise, mac eye shadow, and binge drinking
I know girls that wonder if they're disaster and sexy enough to fit in
I know girls who are fleeing bombs from the mosques of their skin
Playing Russian roulette with death; it's never easy to accept that our bodies are fallible and flawed
But when do we draw the line?
When the knife hits the skin?
Isn't it the same thing as purging
Because we're so obsessed with death
Some women just have more guts than others

The funny thing is women like us don't shoot
We swallow pills, still wanting to be beautiful at the morgue
Still proceeding to put on make-up
Still hoping that the mortician finds us fuckable and attractive
We might as well be buried with our shoes and handbags and scarves, girls
We flirt with death every time we etch a new tally mark into our skin
I know how to split my wrists to reveal a battlefield too
But the time has come for us to reclaim our bodies

Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral
Offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say,
"I only know how to exist when I am wanted."

Girls like us are hardly ever wanted, you know
We're used up and we're sad and drunk and
Perpetually waiting by the phone for someone to pick up and tell us that we did good
Well, you did good.

I know I am because I said, I am. [3x]
My body is home [2x]
I know I am because I said, I am. [3x]

Try this
Take your hands over your bumpy love body naked
And remember the first time you touched someone
With the sole purpose of learning all of them
Touched them because the light was pretty on them
And the dust in the sunlight danced the way your heart did
Touch yourself with a purpose
Your body is the most beautiful royal
Fathers and uncles are not claiming your knife anymore
Are not your razor, no
Put the sharpness back
Lay your hands flat and feel the surface of scarred skin
I once touched a tree with charred limbs
The stump was still breathing
But the tops were just ashy remains
I wonder what it's like to come back from that
Because sometimes I feel forest fires erupting from my wrists
And the smoke signals sent out are the most beautiful things I've ever seen

Love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet
And brother arm wrapping shoulders, and remember
This is important

You are worth more than who you fuck
You are worth more than a waistline
You are worth more than beer bottles displayed like drunken artifacts.
You are worth more than any naked body could proclaim in the shadows,
More than a man's whim or your father's mistake
You are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 4
You are no less valuable as a 32a than a 36c
Your sexiness is defined by concentric circles within your wood
It is wisdom
You are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out
Reborn

"I'm fat and ugly"

I think A LOT about the subject of us loving ourselves. I can honestly say that not a single day goes by when I don't think about it. There's a couple of reasons why. First and foremost, because it took me FOREVER to FINALLY LOVE MYSELF. Man. I spent way to many years walking around under the cloud of not being good enough, pretty enough, thin enough...not enough not enough not enough. ENOUGH ALREADY.

The other reason is that I hear women and men EVERY DAY talk shit about themselves as if it was the most normal thing in the world. And you know what? It is normal. Or maybe I should say, it's the norm.

Just some of the things I've heard:

  • "I'm disgusting."
  • "I hate my body."
  • "I'm repulsive."
  • "I can't stand myself."
  • "I'm a piece of human garbage."
  • "No one will ever love this grossness."

And many many more. I want to state that the above quotes are actual things I've heard people say--both strangers and people that I know and love. It is so heart-breaking to me. I wonder how many of you reading this are thinking, "That's not really any big deal. We all say stuff like that to ourselves. It motivates us."? Are you thinking this isn't a big deal? You might be. For me, it isn't that I didn't think it was a big deal but that I didn't really think about it at all because EVERYONE DID IT. I was the fish that didn't know I lived in water--it was all around me so I truly didn't know any different. But once you start noticing, you can't stop. And once you understand how deeply damaging this is to yourself and the life you want to live (I mean truly stepping into a powerful and juicy life that has you feeling ALIVE) then you'll understand what a big deal this truly is.

I've been there. I have countless journal entries where (no exaggeration) I've just written over and over again, "I'm fat and ugly, I'm fat and ugly..." It crushes me to think of that version of myself, lying in bed writing in her journal in so much pain.

It took me years to climb out of that deep, dark hole, and now I'm determined to pull others up behind me (and do it faster than I did!).

Why? So many reasons why. But one of the biggest is that WE NEED YOU. And when you are lying in bed thinking you're a piece of shit, or even if you're just walking around thinking good things won't happen until you lose 15 pounds, YOU ARE NOT BRINGING YOUR FULL GAME. And seriously--the world needs you to show up powerfully. I believe that all of us, deep inside, want to be in service to the world--make this a better place. We want to know we are making a difference even if it is just in our small corner...if you think that sounds cheesy then 1) yes, I agree, it sounds cheesy but 2) it's dead on. And 3) if you're denying that then you just aren't willing to own that part of you that wants to shine--to truly bring passion and purpose to your life. I get it. It's scary. It can feel daunting. But truthfully, avoiding that, dulling your passions, editing yourself in order to please others and not make waves...oooooooh! THAT IS EXHAUSTING!

So what I'm saying here is that THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD IS AT STAKE. That's how important learning to love yourself is!

This is February. It's the month we associate with love. I am declaring February the LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF month. Yes, it is f**king hard. And yes, it is totally worth it.

I know you have a lot of questions. The main question is HOW???? HOW DO I LOVE MYSELF??? The mantras don't work! Thinking positive only goes so far! And anyways, I truly am not good enough so come on! I'm not lovable!

I get it. I've been there. And I'm going to help you. This entire month I'm going to talk about this and get you on that path. Because THE TRUE YOU IS WAITING. It's ready to SHINE!

And since it is Soul Song Sunday, we are going to jam to some self love by the breathtaking India Arie. Put this song in your pocket and listen to it every day--it's going to start you down that road to LOVE of SELF.

 

India Arie VIDEO

 

 

 

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don't
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won't
Depend of how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be
India.Arie

When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it's suppose to be
And I know my creator didn't make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes, I'm loving what I see

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be
India.Arie

Am I less of a lady if I don't wear panty hose
My momma said a lady ain't what she wears but what she knowsâ?¦
But I've drawn the conclusion, it's all an illusion
Confusion's the name of the game
A misconception, a mass deception,
Something gotta change

Now don't be offended this is all my opinion
Ain't nothing that I'm saying law
This is a true confession
Of a life learned lesson
I was sent here to share with y'all
So get in when you fit in
Go on and shine
Clear your mind
Now's the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
Cause everything's gonna be alright

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be
India.Arie

Keep your fancy drink, and your expensive minks
I don't need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive cars and your caviar
All I need is my guitar

Keep your crystal and your pistol
I'd rather have a pretty piece of crystal
Don't need you silicone, I prefer my own
What god gave me is just fine

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be
India.Arie

Some (possible) reasons you're not losing weight.

If you've known me a while then you know I've really struggled with the whole weight loss thing since my son was born (5 1/2 years ago!)...and if you're new here (WELCOME! I'M SOOOOOO HAPPY YOU'RE HERE!) well then...now you know, too!

I think about weight loss a lot. Here are the two main things I think:

1) We all need to stop worrying about our weight and just love the heck out of our bodies because seriously people, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL and TRULY AMAZING. They get up every day and just DO SHIT. Wow. Like--I'm TYPING WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE KEYBOARD RIGHT NOW. If that's not magic I don't know what is. So yeah, can we please stop obsessing about our weight already?!

2) It's okay to want to lose weight. Some of us may actually be healthier if we lost weight so yes, that's important (that said--being "overweight" does not necessarily mean you're unhealthy and being "the right weight" doesn't mean you're healthy. So let's promise to get rid of those stereotypes right now, shall we?). BUT--just because we may agree with the BODY POSITIVE movement and really understand that it is crucial to LOVE our BEAUTIFUL BODIES (that do so much for us--see #1) doesn't mean we need to then feel bad about ourselves if we want to lose a few pounds--right? Right. 

Here's the thing-of course it is okay to want to lose some weight. But within that context I believe you need to:

1) Make sure you love and adore you body--and appreciate it--AS IT IS TODAY.

2) Be in PARTNERSHIP with your body--don't be at war with it! If you love and adore it than you can both (your body and you) agree that you'll join forces to lose weight and be on the SAME PAGE. 

3) BE REALISTIC. I talk about this in one of my classes of the 28 Day Total Food Transformation...(which is coming up and I totally want you to join, BTW) you need to GET REAL about YOUR BODY. If you're curvy and voluptuous then wishing you had a tomboy vibe is truly going to make you a very unhappy person AND you'll never get there. Or let's say you have this perfectly decent body but you want a MODEL'S body...you know what I mean. Well, here's the thing--models and actors either simply have genetics that make their bodies that way without effort OR they work really really hard at it. So--in reality--do you have time to spend 2 hours at the gym every day? Or maybe more? Can you hire a personal chef? Yeah. Neither can I! So find a way to understand YOUR body. YOU GET TO DECIDE ON YOUR BEAUTY STANDARD. 

kay, okay--so the above isn't why you opened up this email. You opened up this email to see if you could find the answer to that nagging question, "Why an't I lose weight?!"

Here's some possible reasons why:

TOXINS. Please don't roll your eyes! It is true. Your liver (one of your body's five detox organs) can get totally toxed-out and if it is, your body will have a very hard time functioning optimally. Your liver supports fat burning and hormone balancing, super important stuff for a balanced, healthy body that can perform well and release unwanted weight.

2) INFLAMMATION.  Inflammation comes in many forms and is bad for more reasons than just weight gain (i.e. DISEASE). But in this case, we are talking water retention. People roll their eyes at this but holding onto excess water due to poor diet will literally have you gaining between 5 - 15 pounds! On top of that, you will look puffy and bloated. It's fine to retain water--we need water in our bodies, obviously. But TOO MUCH retention is a sign that we are eating things we shouldn't be eating. Allergies or food sensitivities could absolutely be to blame and when you eliminate them from your diet you DROP THE WEIGHT. (If it isn't obvious this reason directly relates to #1).

3) SLEEP. Meaning you're not sleeping enough. This is HUGE. Why? When you don't sleep enough your cortisol levels rise. This stress hormone is associated with weight gain, particularly around the middle. Cortisol also sends signals to your brain TO EAT. Lack of sleep also increases the hormone, ghrelin (this hormone makes you hungry) and decreases leptin (this hormone makes you feel full). Isn't that a fun combination?!

One more thing about lack of sleep--you know how you feel groggy and foggy and lazy when you haven't slept well? Well researchers at the University of Chicago coined the phrase "metabolic grogginess" which basically means that your fat cells feel groggy, too!  Actually what the study shows is that after four days of bad sleep, your body's ability to properly use insulin is decreased by more than 30%. The short version of this result is that you store more fat and you tend to store it in bad places like your liver (see #1).

4) YOU'RE NOT EATING WHOLE FOODS. It is true. Not all calories are created equal. If you're eating a lot of processed foods and sugar, your body isn't getting the nutrition it needs (so it will have lots of cravings as a result) AND it has to work incredibly hard to process the food you're giving to it. Most likely it doesn't even recognize what you're giving it as food! So you'll feel hungry even after you've eaten! Eating nutritionally dense, whole foods will have you feeling fuller faster and for longer AND your body processes that food much easier--so it flows through your system in the way you want it to (as opposed to hanging around on your hips!). Beware of things like "gluten free" processed foods and the like--just because something is gluten free DOES NOT mean it is healthy! 

5) HORMONES. Ah, hormones. Especially as we get older they get out of whack. Remember when you could drop 10 pounds in a blink of an eye? If that's not happening anymore than most likely you're experiencing changes in your body that go with age (its' okay--please don't fret about aging--the alternative sucks!). Starting at around age 35 (especially for women but for men, too) our metabolism starts to slow down. Around 40 it drops some more. Also around 40, women lose about 1/2 a pound of lean muscle a year and GAIN about a pound of fat. And guess what? That fat is different from the fat of our youth--it takes up more space! HOW FUN IS THAT???!!! Sigh. This is where being REALISTIC about your body really comes into play. Accept and love yourself. You're body is changing but you are still you. At this point, eating whole foods becomes crucial as well as REGULAR EXERCISE (which helps to balance the hormones) both cardio and strength training. I could do a whole class on this...maybe I should! Also, studies show that eating protein at every meal is helpful (but make sure you're mostly eating veggies and fruits!). 

6) DEHYDRATION. h, man! I talk about this ALL THE TIME and I'm 100% certain that most people still don't drink enough water!! DRINK MORE WATER! Right now! Go have a glass of water...I'll wait...water is key for health and weight loss:

  • ater helps maximize our physical performance
  • Water effects our energy and brain function
  • Water supports proper digestion and is one of the keys in eliminating constipation
  • Water can increase satiety
  • Water can boost metabolism (and has been shown to do so by up to 30% in some studies

7) YOU ARE EATING TOO MUCH. Yup. I know--shocking, right? But here's the thing, a lot of people are not aware of how much they are eating, especially if they are not MINDFUL when they are eating. In fact, mindless eating adds up to unneeded calories. This holds true for junk food or healthy food. TW-I KNOW I'M GUILTY OF THIS! Especially working from home with my kitchen RIGHT THERE. I eat super healthy but my metabolism is low and I have hypothyroidism so even a small amount of too many calories stays with me. Sigh. SUPER FRUSTRATING. Oh--and my husband eats like 4,000 calories a day and never gains a pound. Double sigh.

8) YOU ARE NOT EXERCISING. uess what?! If you want to lose weight YOU NEED TO EXERCISE. Do both cardio and strength training. Do I really need to say more about this? It's really important for your heart health and bone health as well. SO JUST DO IT!

9) MACRONUTRIENTS. You need to eat a proper amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates EVERY DAY. And by carbohydrates I mean fruits and vegetables. Also, please stop being afraid of fat. Eat it! Except trans fat. NEVER eat trans fat. 

10) YOU ARE NOT EATING RIGHT FOR YOUR BODY. hat does that mean? When we eat food that is hard on our body/hard for our bodies to digest, we cause break down. Over time that break down becomes worse and it shows up in all sorts of ways. We can get eczema, acne, our hair thins, our skin looks terrible, we sleep poorly or sleep all the time but never feel rested, we get GERD, high blood pressure, gut imbalances, thyroid issues, liver and gallbladder issues...etc etc...and we GAIN WEIGHT. All this tends to happen slowly, over time, so we assume it is about aging or maybe we think it is just bad luck. NO.  NO NO NO. I wish I had more time to write about this but this post is already way too long. Listen--about 80% of your immune system is in your gut! When you eat the wrong foods and you mess with your gut, that is affected. Stuff starts to go wrong. BUT--when you eliminate those things from your diet your BODY IS AMAZING and can start to heal. I HAVE SEEN IT HAPPEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN WITH MY CLIENTS AND IT IS TOTALLY AWESOME. 

So how do you know what your body is having a hard time with?

'm glad you asked! That's where my 28 Day Total Food Transformation comes in. I walk you through it step by step AND you're doing it with all these cool people and it is actually really fun. And the results are phenomenal.

So I hope you do my program because I know it will totally be amazing and life-changing for you.

BUT--if you don't want to do my program, here's what you do: you do an elimination diet. That's essentially what my program is. First you eliminate all potential allergens for at least a week (for serious medical conditions you'll want to go longer than that-email me if you have questions). Then you slowly and methodically reintroduce those allergens back into your diet, one by one. You monitor for reactions. You LEARN. IT IS SO SIMPLE YET SO POWERFUL. 

Okay, gorgeous! That's enough for today!

Go out there and TAKE UP SPACE! STAND UP! SPEAK OUT! MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!

Also, EAT HEALTHY FOOD!

Much love,

Elijah