Body Image Tips from Victoria

I am trying not to sound like a sarcastic skeptic but I was rolling my eyes big time when the latest model comes out claiming the industry gave her an eating disorder.  She’s apparently a model for Victoria’s Secret and was told to lose weight when she was obviously already thin.

Gag. me.  Seriously.  Parents- don’t let your kids grow up and be models.  Or child actors.  Or singers.  Just give them a normal upbringing and don’t let them go into careers were their living depends on fitting into an unattainable beauty standard.

It’s a good publicity move.  I’ve never heard of her until this week.  She got two days worth of headlines because she also apologized for misleading her social media followers by claiming she was stick thin as a result of healthy lifestyle and she was giving impressionable people tips while promoting her frail body as a model of health.

Forgive me if I’m not being sensitive enough.  It just irritates me.  Of course Victoria’s Secret promotes unhealthy, unattainable beauty standards.  The real secret is under-eating and breast implants.  2E8A8B7C00000578-3322752-image-m-2_1447797528275Of course the blame doesn’t lie with the particular model.  She’s just a cog in the massive beast of a system.

The problem goes back to a lack of common sense.  We need to do better for our daughters.

My little girl is only 5 but you can bet when she gets older I’ll do my damndest to keep her from being exposed to messages that tell her that her intrinsic worth as a human being depends on her ability to be sexually appealing or ridiculously thin.  She will not be on social media or read trashy magazines until she has the sense to be able to differentiate truth from fiction.; real beauty from stinking bullsh*t.

As someone who has struggled with body image issues myself, I feel a real responsibility to ensure that my daughter grows up with healthy self-esteem.  I don’t make remarks about the size of her body.  I don’t make remarks about my weight, or any other women’s weight.  I don’t tear down or criticize my appearance or anyone else’s.  I tell her that she is strong.  She is brave.  She is smart.  She is kind.  And she knows that her parents adore her.

My kids see me eating healthy and lifting weights.  Not the pink kind, either.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that- we all start somewhere!  But I work out to get stronger.  I eat healthy to nourish my body.  I care a bit about my body fat but I care more about the fact that I have great bone density.

Things aren’t going to change until we stop feeding the beast.  Don’t buy overpriced, uncomfortable underwear.  Don’t read fashion magazines.  Stop the negative self-talk and build other women up.

Our words become our mantras.  Our mantras become our beliefs.  Our beliefs become the foundation of who we are.

When I see my daughter conquering a fear and quietly whispering to herself, “I can do it, I am BRAVE.”  I know I’m doing my job. 29513277_10160291168480074_8974072131688246731_n

I hope we can reject the destructive messages that would seek to undermine our value as human beings, and women.  I hope that we would instead choose life.  That we would pass onto our daughters messages of strength and worth that put enough steel in their backbones that they can reject the lies and embrace their true intrinsic worth as well.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Self-Love and Maintenance

Confession: I used to struggle big time with disordered eating habits and body image issues.  I know I’m not even close to being alone in that.  In fact, it’s so common it’s widespread.

I just got done reading a blog of a woman who is stick thin with a goal to lose 9 pounds.  I don’t want to judge anyone’s journey but sometimes we need a reality check.

A couple weeks ago I stopped losing weight.  I didn’t know if I should keep trying to lose or what… but today I realized the scale stopped moving because I am dang thin enough.  My body is happy.  No more weight needs to be lost.  It’d be easy for me to slip back into an obsessive mindset but I’m not going to go there.

At this point I am nourishing my body well.  I cut way back on the carbs and the extra I had melted right off.  The scale stopped when I got to a place that is good for my body.  Now it’s maintenance from here on out because I am picking up on the cues my body is laying down.

I am daily incorporating fun stuff like dark chocolate, bigger portions of veggies (yes I do love my buttered and sauced up veggies!) and there will be cheat carb-tastic splurges.  None yet, but I’ll let you know when it happens!

Life is for living and a diet is merely a tool in your life to achieve your goals.  A diet should not be your life.  At the end of the day the most important thing is that you are enjoying life.  Each day that passes is another one you’ll never get back.  We don’t have time to obsess over the scale or beat ourselves up.  A diet is only useful as long as it is enhancing your physical well-being and confidence.  15183735677832118189234.jpg

 

I’m sticking with the keto lifestyle because I genuinely enjoy it.  I’m reaping benefits far beyond less jiggle in my wiggle.  I look and feel better.  Oh, and I love me some fat bombs!

Just Peachy

I’m not even on Instagram but I know there is a big trend of girls posting pics and guides on how they grew their glutes.  Usually accompanied by before and after pictures- from a sad little pancake to glutes that wouldn’t look out of place on an olympic sprinter.  Followed, of course, with 45 peach and kissy face emoji’s.

I just spent about three minutes googling for an example of these before and afters that are popping up everywhere and the vast majority are a little too gratuitous for me to include.  We’ll settle for this peachy pic, mmmk? peachy

Until now I’ve rolled my eyes hardcore when these type of transformations get covered in the fitness articles I check out, possibly because I’ve got a love/hate relationship with my own “peach”.

In school I ran track, I danced on a dance team, I loved rollerblading…. I was pretty thin all over except for my “peach”.  All this is painfully embarrassing to admit.  I hated it.  I got whistled at, people commented…it was just a source of torturous embarrassment for an awkward adolescent.

My friends with smaller backsides were jealous.  Which I never got, but proves that the grass always seems greener on the other side.

So I’m seeing these glute-tastic transformations thinking, “why on earth would you want to make your butt bigger?!?!?!” 😲 Are these girls doing it to get more attention?  I don’t get it.

But I took the time to watch one such peachy Instagram model; Bethany Tomlinson, talk about Her Transformation.  And I realized that this is a good thing.  A very good thing.  Girls are building self-esteem and lifting heavy weights and actually eating.  Compared to the inane paper challenge where girls try to disappear behind a sheet of paper or the cringe-inducing thigh gap idealization, this is a trend that is actually healthy.

Girls are realizing that they can improve their self-esteem and their curves through lifting weights.  I still could do without the skintight leggings and to my old granny (I’m pretty prudish here at 31) eyes- gratuitous glute emphasis.  Butt overall, I feel an odd sense of pride in these girls that could not care less about hiding behind a piece of paper.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve made more peace with my body and curves…

After I had my first baby, I lost all the weight really quickly and lost a lot of muscle with it too.  I lost my butt.  It gave me a new appreciation for what I had.  I started lifting weights because I was not feeling my sad, saggy “skinny-fat” look.  I started with 5 pound dumbells.  We all start somewhere.  Yesterday I was pulling 30# for a single arm row and deadlifting 60.  Strength training got things back “up” to where they should be, after three babies and breastfeeding for a combined 3 years.  Cardio will help shrink your body but you need weights to sculpt it.  I’d argue that weights are far more important than cardio.

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I’m feeling pretty happy these days with my peach- built through a combo of genetics and a lot of hard work butt don’t look for any skintight legging-clad closeups of this peach anytime soon 😉 🍑🍑🍑🍑🍑🍑🍑😘😘😘😘😘

Mental Zen, Day Ten

One topic that is incredibly important in successfully implementing change is having the right attitude towards your body.

I’m a member of some different health related groups on facebook and one all-too common theme I’ve seen is women hating their bodies.  Not just dislike, but hate.  It is sad to see wonderful, beautiful (we’re all beautiful in some way) women hating themselves.

Not only that, but if we could beat ourselves up into making positive changes we’d all be perfect by now!  It doesn’t work.  But not only that, it causes us to sabotage our own progress.  “I’ve blown my diet, might as well go get a huge DQ blizzard because I’m a loser and never going to change anyways.”  Insidious!

I’ve come a long way in loving and accepting my body.  Even when I started this journey, it was from a mentally strong place.  I loved my strong body.  I was a bit bigger than I wanted to be, but I was not going to beat myself up.  Not even for a minute.  I lost weight because I didn’t feel comfortable with the extra wiggle and jiggle.  Plus I wanted to actually be able to see the muscles I work so hard on!

I definitely was not always this positive in my approach.

One thing that’s helped me is being very purposeful to exercise gratefulness.  Every day.  For big things and small.  I’m a christian so I offer up little prayers.  When I may be tempted to tell myself I’m a pig for eating way too much I instead close my eyes and say, “Lord, thank you that I have access to plentiful food and clean water.  Here I am lamenting my full tummy but there are people who are starving to death.  Thank you for the blessing of abundant food.”  Or instead of bemoaning my curvy backside it’s, “Lord, thank you that my body is strong, healthy and fearfully and wonderfully made.  I know there are people who aren’t able to use their bodies but here I am; able to run, jump, do what I need to do.  Thank you.”

I’m a christian so I focus on offering grateful prayers but even if you aren’t a person of faith you can completely change your life by focusing on being grateful.  You can actually physically change your brain by rewiring it.  You’ll be happier, more resilient, and better able to cope with stress.   Benefits of Gratitude

And for the love of sanity, people, instagram is such a mirage.  Almost no one posts pics that are “real”.  There’s filters and tricks to lend to the illusion that artificial standards of beauty are attainable.  I used to love snapchat (my kids too) but realized the lure of capturing pics of myself that weren’t true to reality wasn’t healthy.  I deleted it.  I only share photos of myself (occasionally, I’m not too obnoxious!) that are flattering but in no way altered.

I’m 31 and this past year I’ve gotten some silver strands in my hair.  I’m embracing that silver!  I have a big nose.  I’ve chosen to rebrand it as “regal”.  Because I love myself, and the way God chose to craft me.

My hair is on the thinner side.  Well, I style it to make it look as good as it reasonably can.  I wish it were long and thick like Ariana Grande’s super cute pony.  But you know what?  Not even Ariana Grande has that ponytail 😉   Ariana Grande Hair Extensions

It’s ok to notice the ways other people have it goin’ on.  It’s not ok to compare yourself.  You’re not them.  You’re you.  That’s not going to change.  All you can do is be the best version of YOU.  

Another trick to feel happy on a diet plan is to have grateful, positive feelings about what you are eating.  Again, I’m going to pray before I eat.  But you can take a moment to be grateful for the miracle of having healthy food at your fingertips year round.  When you eat your food put down the distractions and really taste and enjoy it.  If you are actively enjoying your food; your body, in turn, releases hormones triggering feelings of satiety and halts hunger hormones.

Focus on all the good stuff you can eat!  Don’t just obsess about the scale but consider how you are improving your health down to the cellular level and probably adding years and vitality to your lifespan.  You’re doing this because you love your body and want to take good care of it, bottom line.

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