Finding beauty in the brokeness- an interview with Shannon Hogan

This past week, I had the honor of interviewing a great friend and fellow eating disorder/body image activist, Shannon Hogan.  We have both walked the road of eating disorders and have found hope and healing on the other side.   I  was blessed to have found Shannon on Facebook after I “liked” her page, Beautifully Broken.  Right away, I was intrigued.  She started her organization  last November and since then it has grown by leaps and bounds.  In fact, I was so impressed with the group that I decided to become a sponsor at the beginning of 2014.  Shannon seems to have a special gift of sharing her story, being real with people and encouraging others to think positive and believe in themselves.  Since the group started, Shannon has seen many transformations take place with the women (and men) whom she (and the volunteers) has been blessed to come to know.

Kellie: Tell us a bit about yourself.

 Shannon: My name is Shannon Hogan and I am the founder of Beautifully Broken an organization for those that suffer from eating disorders, trauma, addiction, and other issues. I am also a wife, a mother, stepmother, and a psychology student working hard towards graduate school. My dream is to go to graduate school at a University in California, for my children to attend private schools there, I want to conduct research there, and eventually get my PhD. I have seen repeated tragedy and trauma turn into beauty and blessings before my eyes, and am proof that a beautiful life can come from a broken one.

 

Kellie:  What was your biggest inspiration to start Beautifully Broken? Did you just wake up one day and decide to start this organization or was the idea in the back of your mind for awhile?

Shannon: I never thought of starting an organization. However, ironically enough I found a journal from rehab the other day, and in it I had written “Beautifully Broken.” I remember thinking that one day I would take all of the brokenness that was shattered pieces of my life, and look back and use it as motivation and hopefully inspiration to help others, showing them that anything is possible. When I began Beautifully Broken I was pregnant and I had just been warned that if I didn’t slow down from work and stress I would lose my baby. So, I stayed home, and I do not like sitting at home; thus, with the struggle of gaining weight through pregnancy, the shame of saying it was challenging because I felt I would be seen as ungrateful or a sick mother, and sitting with my thoughts trying to prepare to become a mother, Beautifully Broken was born.

Kellie:  Tell me a bit about how your support groups work and how others can get involved.

Shannon: The support groups are more like teaching groups. We try to focus on coping skills, motivate others to continue down the path of recovery, and to fight for a life. Many support groups and websites online can be very negative, even if they have good intentions. We are not a substitute for counseling. We do our best to advocate for people to get counseling and treatment that need it. We have found that support group locations are sometimes far and few between, and people do not always have access to them. We wanted to provide a safe place for them to gain skills, and to see that they are not alone. They can access our group schedules on our website. We do have various categories, and are working on getting more volunteers as we are vastly growing. The group program is locked with a password to ensure privacy, protection, and anonymity. One may message us through our email or Facebook page, and we can provide you with the password. After that, one signs in which they may do so as a private guest and enter the group. However, there are rules to avoid triggers, inappropriate language, and a negative atmosphere and we do have the ability to ban someone from the groups if needed, so we are very careful to make sure they are safe and positive!

Kellie:  What would you say is your greatest mission as you seek to inspire others?

Shannon: If I had to nail it down to one particular aspect at this moment I would say to inspire every woman that they have a voice, and they are worth using it.

 

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freedigitialphotos.net/source: stuart miles

 

Kellie:  How do you feel about talking with kids about body image? At what age (if any) do you feel is the most appropriate to start asking them how they feel about their body?

Shannon: This subject makes me so uncomfortable because I am totally lost! I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. Every child is different psychologically, biologically, and socially. I think it’s important to not act extreme one way or another, to be accepting, and to not be judgmental. Also, I believe it is very important to practice what you are trying to teach them. If you are trying to teach your children about positive body image, and you are cursing your own body in the mirror which do you think they will listen to? My husband and I did start something new with our 16 month old. She knows that when she listens to us tell her no ( like not to touch an outlet ) we clap our hands and she’ll get praised. She also began to learn the word “pretty.” When a necklace was put on her, a shirt, her hair was done; she would smile contently. It really hit me when she was pitching a fit not to wear a bib, and my husband put it on her and said, “so pretty,” and she stopped and smiled leaving the bib on that she really knows what it means. So now, when she listens, does something sweet, etc. we say “say pretty, beautiful!” We want her to learn that actions and character are what’s beautiful and important …not the exterior.

Kellie:  How do you feel about the diet industry in general and in what way do you feel it makes an impact on how women feel about their bodies?

Shannon: I was always trying to perfect different diet fads as a teenager, however; I was not capable of finding that line of balancing what a diet was. It would send me full throttle into my eating disorder. I was not capable of perfecting them, they really seemed to mess with my head. I understand there is a major obesity problem in America, however; there seems to be an even bigger problem with acceptance of oneself and others. If we as humans were not constantly trying to compete with each other then maybe certain issues would not be such a problem. I am overall not a fan of the diet industry whose products for the most are unhealthy, not FDA approved, and narcisistically based.

 

Kellie: What does good health mean to you?

Shannon: I would say good health to me means mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially stable. I believe health is much more than just numbers or physically appearances. To truly be healthy we must be healthy on the inside, as well as the outside. We must love ourselves, and be capable of doing so.

 

Shannon and Nevaeh       McKenzie and Shannon

Shannon and daughter, Nevaeh (left)  Shannon and step-daughter, McKenzie (right)

Kellie:  I know you have been in recovery for an eating disorder. What piece of advice would you give to others who have walked this road but who feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel?

Shannon: I would say that it is important to focus on the future, and not the darkness and negativity you see around you. I rarely talk about this place at my very worst with my eating disorder, but I do remember the vicious night terrors, sweats, and fears. The almost dark aura that seemed to follow me, and weigh me down so much that I was so exhausted from not doing anything. If you can get your mindset away from that, even for a little while, try to keep practicing it. What would life be like without your eating disorder? This was a scary question for me at first, because I thought I had no identity. But, I found that in one of the sessions we were asked this question and I drew myself at a university sitting in class working on my psychology degree. I really did not feel it then, but I was focusing on the light in that moment, and that’s where I am today..at a university, working on my psychology degree. You may not see the light, but if you can just think, what if….eventually you will get to the I can…then the I will….

Kellie:  Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I just want to say thank you so much for reading this and I hope you will check out our website and Facebook page for inspiration and motivation no matter where you are in life…you are important, your feelings are valid, you have a voice, and you deserve to use it. Thank you.
www.beautifully-broken.org
www.facebook.com/beautifullybroken777

me n daniel professional

Shannon Hogan with husband, Daniel

 

Thank you, Shannon!! If you want to get involved or just receive daily inspiration, please “like” their Facebook page.  And if you are struggling with an eating disorder, I highly encourage you to check out the support groups that Beautifully Broken provides at their website, www.beautifully-broken.org.  Shannon is right…. you ARE  worth it!!

 

**Please consider sharing this post as well, to spread the word to those who need to know there is hope and support!**

 

To finding your beauty within,

 

Kellie McGarry

Body Image Coach

Nourished and New

 

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p.s.– this blog is now linked up to my NEW Website!!! Please visit www.mcgarrywellness.org and find me under the “Nourished and New” tab to learn more about how I can help YOU to find a peaceful relationship with food and with your body.

 

Also, don’t forget to purchase my book, Beautiful Freedom: a 4 week journey toward radical body-love and passionate living.  Find it on Amazon– either paperback or Kindle!

6 views that will change your life. My philosophy …..and *New* Website.

It dawned on me that I didn’t announce here on my Blog, that I have a NEW Website!  The other website was provided by my school, and truthfully, it was time for me to have something to call my own. 

I am also excited to announce that the site is a partnership with my husband, Charles McGarry, who is a Reiki Practitioner and Certified Holistic Life Coach who supports those who are going through transitions in their life.  Check out his Facebook page.

We both still have our OWN business, yet together we call ourselves McGarry Wellness.  You can choose to see either one of us, according to your needs, and I even offer a combined package of Body Image Coaching and Three Reiki Sessions for a great deal!

So check out our website at  http://www.mcgarrywellness.org and be sure to sign up for our newsletter as well as contact us if you are interested in learning more!

choose healthy-quotescover-JPG-49

Some of you may be wondering just what exactly is a Body Image Coach and how I stand out as a Coach.  I wanted to share a page from my website. 

Here is my Philosophy:

 

 

1. I believe in body acceptance.  Every body is beautiful and we need to actively work to eliminate fat shaming (or even skinny shaming!)

2. I believe that just because someone is labeled as “overweight” does not mean that they are unhealthy and likewise, just because someone is skinny does not mean we can assume they are healthy.  Size is not necessarily a factor in health.

3. Dieting does not work. Studies say that around 90% of those who go on diets gain their weight back within 3-5 years.

4. Calories in/calories out is outdated.  Calories are not created equal. I practice a mindful eating approach to food.  Mindful eating is a lifestyle, not a diet.  It’s a way of eating that honors our body’s inner messages and enables us to enjoy our food without guilt.

5.  I believe that learning to love our body is a lifetime journey.  However, there are tools we can learn to get us into the habit of thinking more positively about ourselves.

6.  We are our own best expert.  I am a body image coach, but that means that I guide you toward your own inner wisdom.  I do not give advice or tell you what to do, other than letting  you know what has worked for me in my own journey.  Change takes time and it does take trusting in ourselves and being willing to get out of our comfort zone.  If you are ready and willing to make that step, I am totally committed to helping you make this life-changing transformation!

Much of what I believe stems from a philosophy called Health At Every Size®. I am also a member of ASDAH (Association for Size Diversity and Health)

 

Ditch the Diet

(shared from HAES)

The Health At Every Size® Principles are:

 

  1. Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
  2. Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
  3. Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
  4. Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
  5. Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.

(copied with permission)

OctobergroupPicMonkey Collage

P.S.– if you struggle with accepting your body, please consider joining Beautiful Freedom: The Body Love Group!  It is a 4 week, online group for only $60!  Register and learn more here: http://www.mcgarrywellness.org/events

Deadline to register for this price is October 6th!

 

The Best Kept Self Care Secret [Guest Post]

Dear friends,

HAPPY LABOR DAY!  Hopefully today you are RESTING from your labor!

Today, I am grateful to have my fellow Certified Health Coach, Laura Prevost share this awesome post.  It’s a subject that I need to be reminded of as I am a major Night Owl!! (any others out there? give me a shout out!)

Do you practice this one form of self care? And did you realize all of the wonderful benefits it has?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Peace,

Kellie McGarry

Body Image Coach

www.nourishedandnew.com

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ID-100257325(freedigitalphotos.net/source “sattva”)

I know what you’re thinking.

Oh yes, yes I do. You’re thinking, “oh gosh, spare me, not another post about Self Care.” You may have even added in an eye roll just for kicks. But you couldn’t resist, you’re hoping for that Self Care quick fix…..the one thing that doesn’t require any extra time and makes you scream with JoY every morning when you wake up!

What if I told you this one simple Self Care activity will increase your Love of Yourself and your LiFE? And that it’s FREE??!!

You heard right….it’s FREE!

Are you ready? Here it goes…the best kept Self Care secret is…..SLeeP!

Yup, that’s it. That’s the Self Care Secret to changing your life! When’s the last time you Gifted yourself with enough sleep? Where you chose to say YES to yourself and allowed yourself to get the zzzzz’s needed to rejuvenate you Body + Mind + Soul?

So here’s the dealio yo. I know you KNOW how beneficial sleep is but there’s a difference between knowing and DOing.

Let’s review the benefits of sleep before we move forward with the DOing:

-Increased Positive moods
-Better weight control
-Increased energy
-Less sugar / junk food cravings
-Increased memory
-Better health – happier heart, less stress, less inflammation

Time to chat about the DOing. I’m not going to even pretend I know what your life is like, how hectic + full + lush it is. All I know is that by Gifting yourself with plenty of sleep, you’re Loving Yourself and increasing your ability to fully embrace + enJOY all bits of your life.

So how do you DO? Take a realistic look at your schedule. Do you really need to stay up another hour to watch your favorite television show or play on Facebook or putt around the house? Isn’t your health + happiness worth so much MORE to you? Ask yourself: what am I doing for myself to increase MY needs? MY health + happiness? What would your life look like if you Gifted yourself with the sleep you desire? How would you feel physically? Get specific. How about how would you feel emotionally? Spiritually?

Sleep is a Gift of Love to Yourself. Are you in?

 

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(freedigitalphotos.net/source “Keattikorn”)

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Laura is a Lifestyle Coach who believes that everyone can create a JoY-FuLL LiFE overflowing with Health + Success + Gratitude. She guides her peeps one step at a time motivating each individual to find their Personal Power + inner Sparkly JoY. She incorporates compassion, affirmations, and humor into her sessions. She has a B.A. in Human Behavior, is certified in life and health coaching and has been coaching for over 3 years. Laura is excited to share in the journey of others as they discover their True Potential +
FaBuLiCiouSness.

Looking for Laura?

Find her at her soon to be launched website: www.lauraprevost.com
Friend her on FB: https://www.facebook.com/laura.prevost.984
Contact her via email: laura.prevost@gmail.com
Give her a call: 303-913-2893

She’ll be Delighted to hear from YOU!

LauraGreenRedo

A life well lived: 3 ways my Dad was my role model for healthy, positive living

This will be a different post than the norm.  I typically write about ways to love our body, practice mindful eating, and work on self-care.  This time, I want to pay a special tribute to my Dad, who was a wonderful example of loving life and thriving, even during the midst of trying times. To me, he was a healthy example of mind, body and spirit.

It is with a heavy heart that I share that my Dad died on August 8, 2014.  He was 65 years old.  He had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease yet always kept up a positive attitude about him. (read more about Parkinson’s Disease here) .  He was a wonderful Dad and I will miss him so much.    I first want to outline some nuggets of wisdom I learned from my Dad, and I will conclude this blog with my tribute to my Dad that I read at his funeral.

 

Carey car GA

 

 

3 ways my Dad cultivated a healthy attitude toward life

 

1.   He was disciplined and not a quitter.  He loved to exercise but he never did it out of punishment– it was out of pure enjoyment.  He loved to run and after his knee surgery, he turned to swimming, which he excelled at. My Dad was my example for setting up a consistent exercise routine.  I remember going with him to the Fire Department where he worked as a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT and he taught me how to lift weights using a weight machine.  Even after getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he kept right on swimming.  He told my brother that he didn’t want a “woe is me attitude.”  In fact, he died doing something he loved (swimming).  My exercise of choice now a days is yoga and I strive to be just as disciplined– not out of duty, but because I enjoy it.

 

2.   He always had a wonderful sense of humor.  Yes, my mom and I used to roll our eyes a lot, but never the less, I admired his ability to see the positive side of life.  His strength never wavered.  I know many times we take our life too seriously.  Laughing and telling jokes seems like a rarity these days.  I believe that I did inherit my Dad’s sense of humor and luckily, married someone who is a lot like my Dad when it comes to telling jokes, yet we tend to stifle that side of us.   I strive to let go and not be afraid to laugh, even during the hard times.

 

3.  He enjoyed serving others but also knew how to have healthy boundaries and put family first.  I believe that healthy eating is not enough in order to be healthy, mind and body.  We also need to cultivate a spirit of compassion toward not only ourselves, but also others.  At the same time, we need to prioritize ourselves and our family so we do not burn ourselves out.  My Dad was a great example of that healthy balance.   He was a pastor of a thriving church for many years while I was a child, yet he was always home for dinner and he went to every single piano recital, band concert, chorus concert, etc.  He also helped to serve the poor and homeless in our area, as well as tirelessly served the community as a volunteer firefighter/EMT.    My goal is to serve out of a pure love and compassion, not  for fame or recognition but out of a sincere desire to help others.  At the same time,  I will not waver on my commitment to put my family first.

 

Thank you, Dad, for your great example.   Kellie, Carey

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My Tribute to my Dad (read at his funeral):

 

I have so many special memories of my Dad. I could be here all day but instead I will highlight a few.

My Dad had the great honor of officiating my wedding, in December of 2000. As he talked and encouraged both Charles and I during the ceremony, one thing he said stood out to me. He said, “ I always wanted to be your hero.”

Well, Dad, you are my hero and you always will be. From my bossy child hood years, to my moody teenage years, to my college years when I struggled with an eating disorder, you were always there for me. I will always be grateful for the time in college you drove two hours to take me to the hospital and have my heart checked out while I was struggling with anorexia.  I may not have shown my gratitude at the time, but I am so thankful you were by my side.

Speaking of my bossy childhood, you were such a good sport, playing along with the silly games that I made up. You often reminded me about the time we played Circus Club in the backyard and I made you be a clown. The perfectionist that I was, you never quite did your role exactly how I wanted you to, but you never gave up. It was the same way with our Family Christmas Skits. Patience was definitely one of your virtues.

You were at every single piano recital, cheering me on… even when I was in college here in Phoenix, you and Mom would drive down from [northern az] . You even battled a blizzard once just to see me perform.

Your compassion always shown through, as well as your humor. You had an ability to make us laugh at even the lamest joke— okay, well maybe there was more than one occasion that Mom and I rolled our eyes. Thankfully, I married someone who shared your same sense of humor.

You were such a fun Grandfather to [J and B] . I will never forget the time that you and Mom visited us in CA and went to [J and B's] classroom for Grandparent’s Day. “B’s”  kindergarten class was doing the Tooty Ta dance and you got right in there and danced along with the other kids as they all shook their little booties. They also enjoyed when they were little and you put them on your back and sang doo-doo-doo (only my family will understand that part) — which is something you did when my brothers and I were kids too.

You and Mom were always my biggest fans with whatever new adventure I found myself in. I appreciated your support as I tried to build my business as a Health Coach. I knew I could count on you to cheer me on.

I know you are still cheering me on and I will always feel your loving presence. One thing you always said to me as we would say good-bye was, “You will always be my little girl.”

Dad, you are the best Dad I could ever ask for. I’ll always be your little girl and I love you so much.

 

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Read about my story of eating disorder recovery and work on ways to love your own body using the 4 week guide.  Purchase my book, Beautiful Freedom, HERE.

 

Love and Blessings,

Kellie

Body Image Coach

www.nourishedandnew.com

What Is Mindful Eating? Part 2 (Video)

Back in May (sorry for the delay!) I posted Part 1 of my “What Is Mindful Eating Series”.  In that video, I briefly talked about what Mindful Eating is, and how it’s based on the concept of Mindfulness.  Here is that video.

Do you have a hard time focusing on your food and enjoying it?  Do you usually feel guilty after you eat?  Mindful Eating is a lifestyle.  It’s an approach to food that allows us to be fully in the present while we eat, to listen to our body, and to know when to stop when we are full.   Mindful Eating helps us to enjoy our food and to see it as a source of nourishment.  I believe it’s an act of self-love!

 

In Part 2, I talked about the “Who, What, How and When” of Mindful Eating.   In Part 3 (coming up) I will talk about the “Why”.

 

Take a look and learn how Mindful Eating can help you!

 

 

 

 

 

To Peace With Our Food,

 

Kellie McGarry

Certified Holistic Health Coach/Body Image Coach

www.nourishedandnew.com

 

Comparison is killing us. 4 ways to release the habit.

Comparison.

We all compare and if we say we don’t, we are in denial.  We compare our belongings, we compare our jobs, we compare popularity, money, and we compare our bodies.

I have compared my body thousands of times (and  that is an understatement).  “Her curves are sexier than mine.”  “I wish I had bigger boobs like hers.”  “I wish I had a flatter stomach after having kids like that mom.”  “Her butt is so small– I wish mine was like that.”  The list could go on and on and on…

Think back to when you first started to compare your body.  For some it could have been as we entered puberty and started to feel “fat.”  For others we may have been blessed to not start comparing until adult hood or until we became moms. For many of us, the comparisons may have started when we were young children. My job of comparing myself started at the age of 10.

 

Here is an excerpt from my book, Beautiful Freedom. All rights reserved.  Copyright 2014.

 

I was ten years old when I first started to compare my body to that of other girls. I remember being in a Christmas play at church. I was painfully shy, yet I enjoyed acting and somehow I ended up with the lead part. However, I had a love -hate relationship with being in the spotlight. I did enjoy the attention but I was concerned that the audience would think my stomach was fat. In the middle of singing songs about Mary and Jesus, I was thinking about how my stomach had a pooch to it and the other girls standing next to me, didn’t.
Now,keep this in mind. I was not fat! In fact, I was always very petite. However, I wanted to look like a pencil. Being average size was not good enough for me. I believe this realization was what started me on a downward spiral.

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I guess the question is, “Why do we do this to ourselves?”  Comparing ourselves is TORTURE.  In fact, there are even studies that show that social comparison can lead to low self esteem and depression.  Um, I don’t need a study to tell me that one!

In society, there is this expectation to be perfect. But what does that really mean? My counselor told me “A perfect anorexic is a dead anorexic.”  We can never be good enough because we are chasing after an unrealistic standard.

We starve ourselves on diets or get plastic surgery to try to meet this arbitrary ideal of what “good enough” supposedly is. The problem is we  can always, always find something else to compare.

If I ended up getting a tummy tuck in 2010 after all, as planned, I’m sure I would have started to compare my butt.  Yes, my stomach would be flat, but then my butt would look too big compared to my stomach. See? It never ends.

Instead of beating ourselves up for the fact that we compare and wishing that a fairy in the sky would just make our ability to compare vanish, we need to get to the root of the problem.

comparison

What is the root of the problem?  I see it as two separate but interwoven issues.  We compare ourselves because we are afraid we aren’t perfect enough and we compare ourselves to those whom we are afraid to look like.

Number 1: We don’t love ourselves. Why don’t we love ourselves?  We can’t accept that we are acceptable just the way we are.  We don’t have to be a size 2 to be happy.  We don’t have to have curves to be sexy (this was always a problem for me as well.  I wanted to be stick thin AND have sexy curves.  Well, that didn’t work, so I just made myself UNsexy by starving myself).  We can love ourselves just because we are on this Earth and have a wonderfully complex body to take care of.

Number 2: We have become conditioned to believe that looking fat is bad.  My new nugget of truth?   Fat is not a dirty word.  Those who accept their body, who happen to be fat actually don’t mind being called fat!  I recently watched a video interview with Lindsey Averill,  who is a Fat Activist and creator of an upcoming movie called Fattitude. She talked about being fat and how we skirt around the word because it’s become taboo.  We think we are being polite.  I am sure there are plenty of women out there who DON’T want to be called fat because they too have a hard time accepting their body.  I am not suggesting that we should go around and tell people they are fat!  It can still be used in a derogatory way.  However, listening to her interview and how she accepts HER body made me realize my OWN prejudice.   I didn’t want to look fat because I thought it was one of the worst things that could ever happen to me.  My comparison went one of two ways. I would either compare my body to those who were skinnier , or I would smugly judge those who were larger than I was, but it was out of my own insecurity.

Imagine how someone who is fat who DOES accept their body would feel if they heard a skinny person say that about themselves.

 

So what can we do to break the comparison habit?

Cultivate compassion in how we see ourselves AND in how we see others.

1. Remind yourself of your unique personality and how you can help others.  Find your purpose and passion in life. It’s MUCH more important than a number on a scale or the shape of our body.

2.  Don’t assume other women are better off. Remember that the mom who you are comparing your stomach to (or any other body part) probably compares her own body to yours! If she doesn’t compare her body by some miracle, she is probably comparing something else such as the way your kids sit still in their stroller, or how you *seem* to never yell at your kids (ha!)

3.  Become an activist for hurting children/adults/animals.  Sign petitions for those who seem worse off than you such as kids fighting cancer, or animals stuck in cages.  It seems SO cliche, but it does help to think of those worse off than we are…. the key is to not be smug about it but to show compassion and some kind of action toward those who are hurting.

4.  Recognize your own prejudice toward being fat.  We have become conditioned to thinking that fat is “bad”.  Yes, we should strive to take care of our body, but that is not what I am talking about here.  In fact, another stereotype is that fat people don’t take care of their bodies.  We need to stop saying that we are afraid to be “fat” and instead recognize that all bodies are good bodies.  Then, tell your body that you love it just the way it is (even if you don’t believe that yet!)

 

Peace and Love,

Kellie McGarry

Certified Holistic Health Coach/Body Image Coach

http://www.nourishedandnew.com

 

p.s.– Do you have a hard time accepting your body?  Did you have an eating disorder in the past like I did?  Or maybe you are an endless dieter?  I encourage you to please check out my book on Amazon!  It’s a Memoir/workbook.

Beautiful Freedom: a 4 week journey toward radical body-love and passionate living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, everyone IS beautiful.

(Just to warn you: this blog post is longer than my usual post, so please pull up a seat and relax) :)

I recently came across a (widely popular) blog post titled, “Not Everyone Is Beautiful“. I admit seeing it challenged me to the core. Being that I am a Body Image Coach and talk a LOT about beauty, the title threw me off but I figured I should give it a chance. As I started reading it, some of what she said resonated with me and caused me to ponder. The truth is, society does own the word “beautiful” and when most people think of the word, they automatically think of “looks” or “physical beauty”.

She went on to talk about the harmful effects of using the word “beautiful” to young girls, saying, ” It sends our young women horrible mixed messages, telling them that everyone is beautiful, and sending them into despair when the boys flock after someone with a thinner waistline and a wider bust.”

Her conclusion is to “let go” of the word beautiful and replace it with words such as “valuable” and “worth loving”.

If I can digress for a minute, let’s look at these lyrics from a song that I love.

You are so beautiful to me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful to me

Such joy and happiness you bring
Such joy and happiness you bring
Like a dream
A guiding light that shines in the night
Heavens gift to me

You are so beautiful to me

(written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher)

and here is the video version with Joe Cocker

 

Somehow singing “You are so valuable…to me” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The thing is, I do agree with what she is saying…. to a point. If we are ONLY talking about looks, I can see how that could be detrimental to someone’s self image. They might think the only thing they have going for them is their outer appearance. It puts a ton of pressure on girls and (and boys) to maintain their youthful beauty. There are many girls trying to attain this unrealistic image of beauty and as a result many of them develop eating disorders.

There ARE more important adjectives to describe someone, especially as we talk to young kids.

I would prefer to tell my daughter she is funny, smart, kind and loving.

However, the times that we DO tell her she is beautiful, she knows what we mean. Why? We have TAUGHT her the meaning of inner beauty.

Yes, we can teach our kids, and children everywhere what being BEAUTIFUL really means. Or at least what it SHOULD mean, aside from looks.

You see my friends, I don’t see this as a black and white issue. I don’t feel we should have to decide to completely let go of the word “beautiful” in our vocabulary, because the truth is, the word isn’t going anywhere.

Our perception of the word “beautiful” and the context in which we use it is TOTALLY UP TO US.

I LOVE when my husband tells me I am beautiful because I realize the depth of his words.  And when a friend of mine tells me she is ugly I counteract with, “No, you are beautiful” and she knows exactly what I mean. She knows that I see the good qualities of her shining through— her warm personality, her funny disposition. She has a special glow about her that is beautiful.

I see her Inner Beauty.

Let’s talk about perception and how it relates to culture. Some cultures see large women as beautiful. Some see fair-skinned women as beautiful. Even in America our perception has changed over time. Just think about Marilyn Monroe.

tobebeautifulmeans

I believe that beauty is our natural state.

I believe that we are an extension of this grand universe, which is amazingly beautiful. I believe that our beauty cannot be taken away because it stems from our soul.

Nobody tells a baby that he/she is ugly (okay, maybe some babies are cuter than others, but still). In general, babies are ALL beautiful in our eyes… we gush over their precious little toes and fingers and wonder at the miracle of life as we stare at their sweet body.

Over time, the child may need dorky looking glasses, or may have buck teeth. He/she may gain weight or be too skinny (according to society). As a grown woman especially after children, she may be wobbly in all the wrong places, loose skin hanging out and boobs drooping to the floor. Men may start to grow “man-boobs”, lose their muscle tone and grow long hairs in their nose.

This is where I disagree with the author. She concludes, “not everyone is beautiful.” I call B.S.

Yes, according to society, not everyone is beautiful based on impossible standards.

However, outer beauty is subjective. The song I mentioned states, “You are so beautiful to me.” TO ME. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks.

And I am not only talking about LOOKS. Do your family and friends see your INNER BEAUTY that was there all along? Do they look past your perfect imperfections to the real, authentic you?

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What if nobody thinks you are beautiful?

Do you know who I think is the MOST IMPORTANT beholder?

YOU.

You are the one who decides your worth, therefore YOU are the one who can decide to see yourself as BEAUTIFUL, warts and all.

I love this quote by actress, Gabby Sidibe who starred in the film, “Precious”.

“One day I decided that I was beautiful. And so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world sees you. What matters is what you see.”

You know why I shared this? As a very obese women, she is not what society would typically deem beautiful.

I did this (decided I am beautiful) and it made a WORLD of difference. I used to HATE how I looked. I compared my body all of the time. It wasn’t until I changed my definition of beauty that I was able to transform my thinking and therefore, cultivate a more positive image of myself.

So this brings me back to my shared concern with the author about talking to kids about being “beautiful” and being careful not to send mixed messages. We do not want them to think beauty is just about looks and that it should be their first priority in life.

So what should we do? Say “That’s it! I’m deleting the word from my vocabulary! NEVER again will I use that damned word “beautiful.”?

NO, that is ludicrous.

I am very proactive by nature. If I see I need to educate, I am compelled to do it. Why don’t we set out to EDUCATE our younger generation (and older too) about what INNER BEAUTY means? We can teach them that it’s okay to use the word “beautiful” if it’s in the right context. And if someone DOES say “You are beautiful” (based on outer appearance), we can learn to accept the compliment with a sincere “thank you” and then right away ALSO remind ourselves of our other positive traits.

I recently posted a video based on a previous blog post titled, “I have a dream”… I ended my piece by saying ” I have a dream that we will ALL be able to say ‘I am beautiful.”

I wasn’t talking about outer beauty. I was talking about seeing our INNER BEAUTY and accepting our WHOLE selves… no matter what we look like.

So, if we are talking about TRUE BEAUTY…. the Inner beauty that we are born with, I say

“Yes, everyone IS beautiful.”

It may not be a popular view. It may not lead me to getting hundreds of blog post “likes”.  But I offer no apology. Let me share a disclaimer:  I do not care one bit if you disagree. Since it IS all about semantics as the aforementioned blogger states,  if you would rather just use the words “valuable” and “worth loving” (though that one is a mouthful) that is fine with me!

(but I secretly still think you are beautiful) ;)

ONE LAST THING!……Since I set out to make this a longer than usual blog post, and because our power went out two days ago and I had time on my hands, I wrote this poem that I wanted to share with you all (because the post isn’t long enough–hee hee)

Enjoy!

beholderisme

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If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
do I have permission to feel beautiful
even when the beholder thinks I’m
ugly
fat
not worthy
of love, respect, and desire?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
do I have the freedom to feel beautiful
even when others
compare me
measure me
judge me
for not looking like an airbrushed model of perfection?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
when I look in the mirror
can the beholder be the one staring back
whose journey was fraught with
body loathing
punishment
and shame
exasperated by the voice inside who said
to be beautiful is to be
skinny as a pencil?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and I am the the one beholding,
like a diamond in the rough
I may only see the hard outer edges,
worn by life’s pounding
yet when chiseled away
reflects a beautiful, sparkling diamond.

There, inside the depths of my soul
lies true beauty;
beneath the hardened edges of life
shining it’s light from within.

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder
and the beholder is me.

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Love and Blessings,

Kellie
Certified Health Coach/Body Image Coach
www.nourishedandnew.com