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.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

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

___________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Love and Blessings,

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

4 Tips for Moms and Wives on Getting Back Your Mojo This Summer

Summer is Here! Okay, not officially, but at 106 degrees in Phoenix, it sure feels like it!  Many of us have kids home for summer break, whatever their age is, and it can be DRAINING!  I love my kids, but there is only so much entertainment I can provide for them- thankfully they are at an age where they can entertain themselves. 

So the question remains:  How do I continue to keep up my spark?  Have I lost my “Mojo”?  Am I so dang tired that I just feel like a rag doll instead of an energized mama (and wife?)

I know you are busy so I will try to keep this short.

Here are my tips on getting back your Mojo this summer (and as a result feel more confident in your body!)

1. Exercise for 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Note, this does not apply to everyone. Some of you prefer longer lengths of time for exercise, and I get that. However, I recently found something out about myself.  I do better when I exercise in short bursts for more days out of the week. I admit that I did lose my “Mojo” when it came to exercise for awhile there. Now, I love yoga, but I just can’t get to a class right now.  So I found something online called DoYouYoga… it’s a 30 Day Challenge that one can start at anytime, and the videos are only 15 minutes!  If I can do it, you can too.  Now, if you can get away to a gym and you enjoy it as well, more power to you.  That is one way to get a much needed break.  However, if you simply can’t (or don’t care to) do that, then embrace the flexibility of being able to exercise at home!  I do yoga during my kids reading time, which is at 7 p.m. at night.  Or after their bedtime.  So bottom line:  having kids at home  for the summer and living in warm weather does not need to be an excuse!

2. Eat light.  Specifically try green smoothies (I love them!), or if you just can’t stand those (not everyone likes them), find a good salad recipe  such as this one or this one.  Nobody likes to feel bloated, but especially not in the summer when we aren’t dressed as heavily or  we are wearing a swimsuit.  (Remember though, if you feel bloated, it is NOT the same as gaining weight– no, you are not fat, and its’ not your fault. It’s just not the right time of the year for heavy food!)  There is a reason why we gravitate toward certain foods at different times of the year.  Go to farmer’s markets and you will know which foods are best for summer time.

3. Go to bed naked. (did I just say that? disclaimer: this is advice for myself too!)  Obviously in the winter time, we need to dress warm! However, now is the time to strip- at bedtime, I mean–I’m not saying to join a nudist group :)  Have you stopped feeling sexy in front of your husband?  I dare you to go to bed in the nude and see what happens. ;) If you are single, then before you go to bed, look in the mirror and say one thing that you love about yourself.

4. Above all, learn to love yourself even when you are feeling unlovable.  I mentioned how the heat can drain us.  So can negative thoughts, my friend.  If you are having trouble seeing yourself as beautiful, try writing positive affirmations that you repeat to yourself daily.  These are not only uplifting but also energizing.  If you are feeling ugly, write, and say out loud: “I am a beautiful human being and nothing can change that.”  If you are exhausted, write and say: “I support my body with food and exercise that increase my energy.”

 

NOTE: If you enjoy these tips and want to find out even MORE how you can feel energized, confident and sexy, I invite you to join my FREE Webinar!  I will share the top 5 ways that we, as moms and wives self-sabotage our efforts to feel beautiful and tools that we can use to feel awesome in our body!  This will take place on Thursday, June 26th, 2014 at 1 p.m. (and yes it will be recorded!)

 

Register HERE for the webinar, Ignite Your Inner Sexy! Deadline to register is June 25, 2014 at midnight. Remember, it’s FREE!! (and WILL be recorded.  You JUST  need to sign up at the link provided and the recording will be sent to your email!)

 

ID-10099502

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/credit: arztsamui

 

Love and Light,

Kellie McGarry

certified holistic health coach

www.nourishedandnew.com

 

 

 

 

I Have A Dream (Video format)

Wow, I have been posting lots of videos lately! I promise I will write a regular blog again soon! But I am on a roll here.  I have actually been wanting to turn my Blog Post called “I Have A Dream” into a video. (note: a few words were changed since then)   I want to share my passion even deeper. I know some of what I say (such as the part about wondering what a bathroom scale is for) is unrealistic…. but my main message is that women (and men) will feel empowered and not be reduced to sex objects.  That we can all celebrate our diversity. And that we can learn that happiness is not based on looking like a super model.   We can all learn to tell ourselves that we are beautiful, no matter what.  :)

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

P.S.– Check out my New Workbook!  Beautiful Freedom: a 4 week journey toward radical body-love and passionate living

Click HERE to find it on Amazon.

What Is Mindful Eating? Part One (VIDEO)

Hi everyone!

Recently, I am getting more into doing videos! Disclaimer:  they are not professional videos by any means, but I have to admit, I am having a hard time figuring out some of the technological stuff.  I kept putting videos off until I realized, I should just do the video and not worry about it!

As a Health Coach, I support women to love and respect their body.  From that, many of them want to know how to eat without having to go on a restrictive fad diet.  I love to talk about Mindful Eating because to me, it is one of the most compassionate forms of self-care we can do.  It’s not a diet- it’s a lifestyle.  Some people tout it as a natural way to lose weight, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s a weight loss plan, because it’s simply the way that we approach food.  Some people may lose weight practicing this and some may not.  However, it can greatly improve your relationship to food so you can eat the foods that nourish you and not feel guilty!

 

Here is Part One:

 

P.S.- Check out my new work book! It’s for women who are tired of trying to meet society’s unreal expectation and who desire to have the tools to learn to love and accept their body, at any size.  see a sample and learn more about it on Amazon HERE!

My Book Is Published!

Hi everyone!

 

I am so excited to announce that my work book is now published on Amazon!  It’s called Beautiful Freedom: a 4 week guide toward radical body-love and passionate living.  I already have had someone give it a 5 stars and say it’s a “definite must read”!

This book is for anyone who has struggled to love their body, and subsequently are not able to fully thrive and enjoy life. Perhaps you avoid social occasions because you are too self conscious about what you look like.  Maybe you don’t feel beautiful when you look in the mirror and your self-hatred keeps you from being intimate.  Or maybe you have been so immersed with helping other people that you have neglected to love and respect your body enough to truly nourish it.

Please check out my 4 minute video below which tells more details about the book!  You can find it online on Amazon HERE.

 

 

Blessings,

Kellie

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.nourishedandnew.com

An Open Letter To My Body

As Mother’s Day approaches, I was inspired to write this post, dedicated to all the superhero moms out there.  I know that pregnancy can change our bodies, but  please remind yourself that we are all beautiful no matter what. :) 

I also want to send out special love to those who have tried to have kids and can’t… I have suffered through miscarriages and I understand the grief.  Big Hugs to you all.  xoxo

 

 

Dear Body Of Mine,

 

I would like to take a moment to thank you.  I know in the past, I hated you.  You were my enemy.  Almost every minute was filled with horrible thoughts such as “You are so ugly.” and “You are so fat.”  Not once did I take the time to appreciate the little things such as the sparkle in your blue eyes, your luscious lips, or your toned arms.

No, instead I focused on the thighs that touch, the breasts that are too small, the butt that is too big and the stomach… oh man…. I could write a book on how much I despised the stomach.

I first noticed the size of the stomach when I was ten years old. Why did it stick out instead of lay flat?  Compared to the size of my small arms and legs, my stomach looked funny to me.  So when I was older I did awful things to you.  I abused you.  I did not feed you the nourishing food you needed.  I swallowed tons and tons of chemicals in the form of laxatives that greatly messed up the digestive system.  I forced my legs to move in the form of running, day in and day out.   You needed to be punished for not looking perfect.

I compared you to other bodies.  Why didn’t you look like the mom in the exercise class who appeared to have never had a baby? Why didn’t I have voluptuous breasts and flat abs?

I wanted to cut the stomach open.  I wanted to erase the stretch marks and flatten out the loose skin.  I thought you needed to be fixed. I was a victim and you, my body, were to blame.   Over time, I felt more and more angry at you.  That anger translated into yelling at my husband.  I also felt shame.  I was so embarrassed to show you to him.

I am sorry.

I am sorry for hating you, calling you names, hiding you, punishing you, and for almost “fixing” you with a knife.

I am sorry that I took you for granted.  I have a body– I HAVE a body that moves! I have arms that help me hug the soft skin of my family. Feet that help me to  play hide and seek. Legs that help me to get into downward dog for yoga.  Hands that help me to type and express my feelings in writing. Taste buds that help me to enjoy chocolate.  Ears that hear the precious words, “I love you, mommy.”

And…. yes, I am grateful for my stomach. While I am sad for losing babies,  you endured 4 miscarriages and  4 D and C’s.  You also suffered through two C-sections. Not to mention , you gave me two BIG, healthy babies.

I am finally at a point where I can say “Thank you” for the loose skin and stretch marks.  They are my badge of honor. They remind me how blessed I am to have children.

Thank You.

As I take a deep breath, I am asking for your forgiveness. I love you.

 

Sincerely,

Kellie          

motivator97cff5df6de5d5aa3f424ded8c53a653046a5ab4

www.nourishedandnew.com

 

 

p.s.– Check out my New Workbook!  It’s called Beautiful Freedom: a 4 week journey toward  radical body-love and passionate living.  Click HERE to see it on Amazon.