My Life Shift: “From Body Loather to Body Warrior”

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Friends,

I am super excited to be a Contributing Author in the third book of the 365 book series! This #1 bestselling book is entitled “365 Life Shifts:Pivotal Moments That Changed Everything” and in it, over 250 authors share their personal story of how one moment or situation changed, or “shifted” their life. My submission is called “From Body Loather to Body Warrior” and I talk about my story of almost getting a tummy tuck and learning to love my body, after two c-sections. What I love about the book is that each story is so different, yet we can all feel inspired reading each one.

Jodi Chapman and Dan Teck (their Bios are below), are the creators and editors of the amaing book series and I am so grateful for their vision and the opportunity this provides! Below I have shared a Q and A interview that you can read to learn all about this book as well as how to purchase it.  Enjoy!

For those who are meeting you two for the first time, please tell us more about yourselves and your journey.

First of all, we’d like to say just how grateful we are to have connected with you! We love connecting with people who are also looking for a deeper, more soulful experience of life. It’s a pleasure to be sharing this journey with so many others who are listening to – and following – their souls’ whispers in such loving ways. Welcome! 🙂 We’re a happily married couple who live on the Oregon coast with our three cats. We work together from home – writing spiritual books and blogs, creating personal-growth ecourses, connecting with soulful communities, and enjoying our lives together. We also love walking on the beach, singing, watching Abraham-Hicks DVDs, and playing backgammon. Life hasn’t always been so soulful, loving, or fun for us, though. We’ve both had our share of dead-end jobs (many of which involved cubicles), unsatisfying relationships, and periods of spiritual skepticism and dissatisfaction. But we always felt that there was something more – something deeper, more meaningful, and more loving. A big part of our life-puzzle was completed when we met, but in some ways our journey was just beginning. Shortly after we got married in 2004, we decided to quit our jobs and start a handmade gift company. To be honest, our initial motivation was to be together as much as possible! But over the years, we found that our business also enabled us to inspire, to connect deeply with others, and to share our own souls in creative ways. This began in small ways, such as adding original affirmations and writing prompts to our handmade journals, which led to the Soulful Journals series. The positive response to these books inspired us to do even more soulful writing – which we’ve continued through our blogs, ecourses, communities, and now our collaborative book series

Can you tell us about this book?

We’d love to! This is the third book in the 365 Book Series. This book is called 365 Life Shifts: Pivotal Moments That Changed Everything, and that’s exactly what it contains: one true-life story for each day of the year (from over 250 contributing authors) of such life-changing moments – experiences that inspired, uplifted, shook us to our core, got us back on track (or onto a new track altogether), and led us toward our true selves. These stories cover a wide range of topics – including finding the strength to go down a new path, to say yes or no to a relationship, to bravely live authentically, to receive from beyond, and everyday moments that were infused with extraordinary soulfulness that shifted the author’s life. All of the stories are intended to uplift, inspire, and remind you of just how magical and far reaching a life shift can truly be.

What exactly do you mean by “life shift”?

Every so often, we have an experience that alters the course of our lives and changes who we are forever. Sometimes these moments fill us with rapture and flood us with insight. Other times they are blessings in disguise that don’t reveal their treasure until years later. However they show up, these moments can inspire us to live richer, deeper, and more authentically soulful lives. One of the things we love about this book is that it shows hundreds of ways that shifts can occur in our lives – from the big moments to the small. Here are just a few examples of the life shifts that you’ll find inside this powerful and inspiring book:

 discovering why we’re here and sharing it with others

 leaving a relationship/job/location that no longer felt right and opening up to new possibilities

 healing from illness

 a-ha moments  receiving signs from the universe and messages from beyond

 reconnecting with our inner strength and speaking our truth

While the experiences themselves vary greatly, each of these moments transformed the authors and helped them shift in a positive way. These true-life stories (one page each – for quick inspiration!) were written with love and infused with the intention that you’ll be able to discover the beauty in your own life shifts, too.

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who loves reading inspiring, true-life stories that help awaken their own inner fire and help them see their own life through each author’s words. It’s for anyone who: yearns for a deeper experience of life.  wants to be uplifted and amazed.  loves hearing inspiring true stories that renew your faith in the goodness of the world.  wants to laugh, cry, get goosebumps, and feel a sense of reverence, awe, and wonder.  is ready to love and be loved, to give and to receive, and to stay open to the magic that’s all around and within each one of us.

Where can people go to learn more about this book?

To learn more about 365 Life Shifts – and to purchase copies – please visit www.365lifeshifts.com. For a limited time, everyone who orders the book will receive our bonus gift package, which includes over 70  soulful gifts (meditations, ebooks, ecourses, and more) – all contributed by the authors!

(My personal bonus is a recorded Yoga Nidra session on body acceptance! Head to the website to learn how to download your free bonus sessions, after ordering the book! Limited time only.) Please SHARE THIS with your friends! 


 

About Jodi and Dan:

Jodi Chapman and Dan Teck are a husband-and-wife team who loves living soulfully and joyfully. Since 2005, they’ve been living their dream of writing books and creating products that inspire others to connect with their soul and live fully and passionately. Jodi has a BA in English/Technical Editing and Sociology, and Dan has a BA in Religious Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing. Together, they have over 30 years of experience with editing and publishing and have sold over 35,000 books. They have written 20 books, 10 ecourses, and over 1,000 blog posts/articles. Jodi is an award-winning blogger at http://www.jodichapman.com and the creator of Soul Clarity Cards. Dan is the author of the personal-growth blog http://www.halfwayupthemountain.com. They are the co-creators of the Soulful Journals Series (www.soulfuljournals.com), the 365 Book Series (www.365bookseries.com), and a number of soulful online communities and ecourses. They live on the Oregon coast with their sweet cats. They enjoy hanging out at the beach and working, creating, and playing together.

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p.s.- My new website is www.kelliemcgarry.com  (this blog is linked to it). Check it out! I am now offering private and group yoga Nidra sessions (also, virtual!), and Reiki sessions. Namaste. 🙂

EMBRACE: join me for this life-changing documentary!

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

As some of you know, I have been a BIMGA (Body Image Movement Global Ambassador) for a fabulous lady named Taryn Brumfitt.  I first came across her Facebook page back in 2014, and after reading the story behind her unconventional Before and After photo, I was intrigued.

Taryn Before and After photo
Credit:http://www.transmissionfilms.com.au/films/embrace

I immediately felt a sense of camaraderie between us as so many parts of her story, I can relate to. Like me, she has gone from “body loather to body lover”.  I had already changed my coaching focus from health/nutrition to supporting women to love and accept their bodies. I realized this was my true passion and what really lights my fire.  I admit that I was a bit jealous of Taryn’s popularity but I quickly changed my perspective and thought, “How awesome is this that I know someone who has the platform to inspire people all over the world, to love their bodies!”  When the opportunity came up to support her mission, along with hundreds of other women around the world with the same goal, the decision to join was a no-brainer.

Over the past couple of years, I have had the privilege of getting a first-hand sneak peek into what has been going on in her world, and the biggest news is that through donations through Kickstarter,she  was able to create and direct a body positive, inspirational and  transforming documentary called Embrace. You can watch the trailer HERE.  This will be showing all over the world, starting in Australia where she is from, and next coming to the U.S! Eventually it will make it’s way to many other countries.

Which brings me to an invitation……for those who live in Arizona, I invite you to attend your own private screening of Embrace, in Phoenix, AZ, at Desert Ridge AMC 18, on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.  If you cannot attend this one, there are plenty others in the Phoenix area, and all over the country. If you live outside of this location, then please check the website to find out where it is playing in your area! http://bodyimagemovement.com.au/see-embrace-in-the-usa/

WARNING: This will ONLY happen if we reach our tipping point of over 58 reservations! Tickets are only $11 each and you will not be charged until the event is secured!  What are you waiting for? Get your tickets now and I will see you there!

Click here to reserve your spot!! And share with your friends! You may also check out my FB Event page HERE. 

Kellie McGarry

http://www.facebook.com/nourishedandnew

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I am loving her book!  Can’t wait to see the film!

 

 

 

Let me introduce you to my 4-letter-word-enemy…..

**A lot has happened since my last post back in December of 2015.  There is a reason I had been taking a break from my blog. To get an update on me, please keep reading….

So…. I lost weight.Not just a couple of pounds but at least 10 pounds have been shed  from my body in the past 1 to 2  months. As a result, I am freaking out….and not in a good way. Why in the heck am I feeling negative about weight loss, of all things?  Because it was unintentional and completely unexpected. I was already small and now I weigh under 100 pounds. Not good. Not good at all.

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My son and I at an immigration re-enactment at his school.

I first noticed the weight loss when I went to visit a Rheumatologist as a new patient. You see, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia back in 2010 but when I went gluten free in March of 2011, my pain miraculously disappeared (I did have occasional aches from stress or if I unknowingly ingested a small amount of gluten).

However, back in March of this year (2016), my pain came back and with a vengeance.( In fact, I am in a major flare today, as I type this.)  I was still  faithful to my 100% gluten-free diet so I felt like my body had betrayed me. I was utterly confused and frustrated. When I realized the pain and fatigue was not going away I decided it was time to see a doctor again. That is when they weighed me and I realized I had lost 7 pounds, but I did not think to mention anything at the time about the weight loss. The truth is, I was happy about it at first.

Then, I noticed how baggy my pants were getting on me. I mean, they were practically falling off and I did not want people to give me strange looks.On top of that, I couldn’t really afford to buy all new clothes!  A flashback came to me of when I had anorexia in college and I got a twisted pleasure out of knowing my clothes were so loose. This was in part because I thought I was fat even though when I started college I weighed only 110 pounds.  I had body dismorphic disorder and felt compelled to starve myself.

The fact that I have come to now realize that I don’t want to lose weight is a testimony to how far I have come in the past 20 years. (wow, has it been that long?)  However, good old ED (the name for eating disorder) is very sneaky and has found his way out of his cage. With an evil laugh, he tries to tell me, “look at that thigh gap you have now, you should keep that and not eat so much.” Or, “you should be happy that you have lost inches in your big belly”.  Ugh.  “Go away, Ed!!”  I yell in my mind.


Sigh…I wish that ED wasn’t the only villain trying to rent a room in my brain.  My main intent is to talk about another enemy; one who has a greater hold on me. 

This is the only time I wish I could build a wall to keep someone out. That “someone” has been torturing me a whole lot more than ED lately.  This “person”, who does not deserve to be my “tenant” is my four-letter- word- enemy. Her name is Eris. Why Eris? Well,  according to Mythology, Eris is the Greek goddess of chaos and discord.  

So the battle is  between Myself, the “goddess” Kellie,  and the evil goddess “Eris”….. or in other words…. OCD. Yes, I was diagnosed with the contamination form of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) back in January. It has helped to give my OCD a name. I am not my illness.  My thoughts are not me…..they are sneaky, conniving Eris, trying to ruin my life. 

It is probably fitting that the spelling of  Kellie, means “warrior woman”. I have been in a battle with Eris and will not surrender. At times I wish to wave my white flag and just give up on life. Thankfully, I have fellow warriors in my life who have my back and who love me despite of my setbacks, but who at the same time, encourage me to fight for a better life.

It is hard coming out of the mental health closet. Many people know that I have battled eating disorders. However, hardly anyone knows about my secret struggle. I have an intense fear of germs which has been gradually getting worse over the years. My compulsion is constant hand washing and sanitizing. Imagine the whole world has Ebola and you are in a bubble and cannot touch anything unless you want to get sick too. That is how I feel.  I don’t worry about Ebola necessarily, but I feel like I cannot touch anything; especially not in public, for fear of contamination. I know this sounds crazy, but at least I am not alone.  Many people struggle with it, including Howie Mandel who is famous for his “fist bump” and who openly talks about how OCD affects his life.

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My hand was really red, dry, and cracked for awhile. A result of constant hand washing and using hand sanitizer.

I think the reason it has seemed taboo to talk about OCD is because it is not very well understood. Many of us sufferers feel irritated when we see posts about people making light of the illness, calling it a quirk or laughing saying, “I’m so ocd” when they are really just perfectionists and like to have a clean house or an organized closet. That is nowhere near close to the mental anguish we feel. (and don’t get me started on those Facebook quizzes)

Okay so, now that I got that news out-of-the-way, on to solving the mystery of both my Fibromyalgia coming out of remission, and my very strange, unexplained weight loss.

One theory is that my medication, Sertraline (generic for Zoloft) could be causing it. I read that extreme weight loss is very rare with Zoloft but I guess I could be that one rare case. Lucky me. (Don’t worry, I have told my doctors about all of this and they are monitoring me so we can figure this out.)

 I am not sure about the pain and fatigue. Perhaps the meds triggered the Fibromyalgia to come back??  I personally believe that it’s a result of a culmination of stress; especially the stress of the OCD as it has been pretty severe in the last few months.

 I am seeing a counselor but Exposure Response PreventionTherapy (where for me, I have to touch things and delay hand washing) has been literal hell. It’s worse than stepping on a ton of Legos barefoot in the dark.  Maybe even worse than going without my coffee for a whole day!! It DOES help though….. if I put the work in. In fact, I have made quite a bit of progress! (as much as I hate it, if you yourself have OCD, I highly encourage you to do research on ERP. It is known as the gold standard for OCD treatment.)

The Zoloft seems to help my anxiety however. I have only had one panic attack since I started it.  I used to have them on a regular basis, especially when I worked as a health assistant to the school nurse.  What was I thinking???  I must have been taken over by aliens when I decided to work with sick kids, knowing full well I have a fear of germs. There were days that I was panicking in the car and thought I was going to die. (otherwise, it was a good job)

Here comes the part that is the hardest to share: I quit my job at the end of Feb. after battling suicidal thoughts and depression. One very late night, I was very close to choosing to harm myself.  It was shortly after that, when I knew how badly I needed help and I started on the medication. I used to hate the thought of taking medication but now I feel no shame in it. (and I am so thankful I told my husband and chose not to end my life that night!)


So, what is the point of me telling you all this? Because first of all, I greatly value authenticity.  It’s a huge goal of mine. I want to be honest and transparent. A good coach (or anyone!) is someone who talks about his/her struggles so people know they are not alone. Also,  I want to break the stigma of mental illness.(In fact, May is Mental Health Awareness Month!)  I want people to know there is no shame in talking about it.  It’s just like talking about cancer or diabetes.  It should be natural to discuss openly but society makes it awkward and shameful.  I encourage you to at least talk about it with a friend or family member. We don’t all have to blog about it, but it’s essential to our well-being to let  people know how we are doing (those whom we trust and who love us) so they can support us  the best that they know how, and also, in talking about it,  others know that they, too, can be brave and ask for help.

I used to think I had to have my act together at all times. I worried about what people thought of me. Now I say, “f**k that.” None of us are perfect and we all have a desire to feel accepted and understood. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Support and accountability is important.  Feel free to keep me accountable. (eek!!) And… feel free to reach out to me as well.  I am happy to provide a listening ear if you want to talk about any issues you may have that you feel are keeping you from fully enjoying your life.

 I sometimes think about all I have been through and realize just how much I have survived.  I am a warrior and I will continue to fight for survival.  Will you commit to being more transparent and join forces with other warrior “gods and goddesses” in this battle toward letting go of the stigma and discovering greater Self-Compassion, Love, and Acceptance?  See you on the battlefield. 🙂 

~Kellie M., Body Acceptance Life Coach, Author, and HAES advocate

What is YOUR mental health story?  I’d love to hear from you!  If you feel guided, please comment below.

By the way, here are some important links to check out:

OCD Infohttps://iocdf.org/about-ocd/

Treatment for Eating Disordershttp://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/treatment

Crisis Hotline/suicide prevention: http://www.crisiscallcenter.org/crisisservices.html

Awesome website about mental health (also talks about chronic illness):  http://themighty.com/category/mental-illness/

The BIGGEST problem with Pageants and why I avoid them

It is no surprise that Steve Harvey’s big blunder is trending right now. He announced the wrong winner at the recent Miss Universe Pageant.  I felt bad for Miss Columbia who had to take back the crown.

Then I thought, “Is that really the worst that could happen?”  I made this post on my Facebook page:

I saw that the wrong winner was announced on Miss Universe. That’s terrible. However what is MORE terrible is the fact that this competition is even still around. 😟
‪#‎objectifyingwomen‬ ‪#‎missuniverse‬
‪#‎eatingdisordertrigger‬
‪#‎bodypositive‬

and I tweeted this:

 

The truth is, I am disappointed that Pageants such as Miss Universe and Miss America are still going strong. Why is that?  Sponsorship money? I am sure the ratings are great. The fact is  we still like to drool over pretty women and wish we were them.  As a society, we still glorify the woman’s body as a sexual object and that’s not okay with me.

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These pageants are anti-women and here is why.

 

  1. There is no body diversity.  I know there is more to the pageant than the swimsuit competition.  They do have the talent portion and the “Presence and Poise” (wearing a glamorus evening gown).  But to me, it’s not about WHAT they wear, it’s that each woman  looks the same. They are all a size zero, stereotypical model body type.  Who knows what they put themselves through to look like that.  I want to know the statistics for eating disorders amongst the contestants.    Upon looking at this website, I was floored that they had the audacity to say this:

The Miss Universe Organization empowers women to develop the confidence they need to achieve their personal best. A confident woman has the power to make real change, starting in her local community with the potential to reach a global audience. We encourage every woman to get out of her comfort zone, be herself, and continue to define what it means to be Confidently Beautiful.

So, Miss Universe organization, in other words, it’s great to be confident BUT…. we must have a flat stomach, tiny waist, big boobs and a thigh gap in order to be beautiful.  Thanks for the hypocrisy.

Why don’t we  see bigger women showing off their bodies at these competitions? They don’t allow it.  It’s not their definition of beauty.  I’m sure it’s because they think fat women are lazy and not taking care of themselves. The mindset is,  “How dare this person who surely must binge every night, represent what it means to be a true American!”  (or insert whatever country you are from).

2.  The second biggest reason I abhor these pagents is a result of the objectification—being exposed to the industry (not just pageants, but models in general)  can be a huge trigger for eating disorders.  I know that eating disorders are complex and don’t result from simply looking at skinny women; however, sometimes we don’t realize how these little things can add up in a young, impressionable girl’s (or boy’s) mind.  Imagine what is going though her head when we watch and comment on how beautiful they are.  An obsevant girl will notice that their bodies are all the same.  She might compare her body and feel ashamed or less than.  Even if it’s not an eating disorder trigger, it may lead someone to want to go on a self destructive diet, or never want to wear a swimsuit.  It’s not fair that we are letting society dictate what is okay and it’s certainly NOT okay for young girls (and boys!) to think that they need to look like that to feel beautiful and confident.  It’s important to remove anything in our life that is a trigger for body hatred. For me, letting go of certain objectifying magazines has been a big help in redirecting my focus toward body acceptance.

3. Lastly, it encouarges unhealthy competition. Why are women competing against each other anyway?  I want the focus to be on love, peace and acceptance.  Besides, if someone wants to be in a real competition, they can go on shows such as The Voice or America’s Got Talent (assuming they really do have talent).   I know I have done enough judging and comparing in my life.  I finally feel free to love myself and not worry about how I stack up to other women.  We are all in this struggle of life together and should be lifting one another up, not  tearing each other down based on something superficial.

And after all is said and done…. we could have 20 contestants who are all bigger sized and into Fat Acceptance Activism and it would STILL  be sexually objectifying.  Why?  Because they are being judged for WHAT they are instead of WHO they are. (and who we are cannot be judged)  They are being put on display like tophies to be gawked at.  We are not prizes to be adorned, we are beautiful souls who should be cherished.

So enough with the fake smiles, starvation diets, spray tans, and skimpy bikinis.  My deam is that these competitions will be banned someday.  But for now, we can simply decide not to watch and instead focus on how incredibly amazing we are.

Kellie McGarry

Body Acceptance Life Coach

http://www.mcgarrywellness.org

I’m a warrior and a survivor. (Ruth’s story)- Story #5

You are in for a treat today as my very good friend from England has shared her story and created this beautiful YouTube video just for us!  She is an artist, a writer, a musician, and all around beautiful person. Her story represents all of us women.  We are warriors and we are survivors.  Do you believe that?  Do you live as if you are?  Perhaps you are struggling with an eating disorder.  There is hope!  Perhaps you are struggling with accepting your body just as it is today.  Do not let society get you down. We can fight society’s messages that  tell us we have to be stick thin to be happy.  YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Her story is shared below but I really hope you will also watch her lovely video.  Enjoy!!!  Thank you so much, Ruth Calder Murphy! And don’t forget to check out her Facebook page, Paradoxologies!

(Miss the other stories?  Here is Story #1, #2, #3 and #4).

Ruth's Collage

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 Ruth Marathon

I’m a warrior and a survivor. I’ve wrestled with and fought against the voices – the ones that come out of a crazy culture that’s determined to convince us all that we need more than nourishment, warmth and love to be alive happy. The voices that tell us that, in fact, we need first to feel utterly dissatisfied with ourselves and our lives,  then we need to plaster over that dissatisfaction by striving to align ourselves with their ideas of “perfection”, thus locking the dissatisfaction, anxiety and – ultimately – despair underneath the layers… I’ve fought those voices – the ones that are made to sound increasingly like my own; the imposter voices in my head – and, nowadays, I can finally – after many years – look them full in the face and see that I’ve beaten them. They still shout the same things, but I can see through their words to their hollow, empty heart.

During my adolescence – from the age of 9 – I developed eating disorders. These grew out of a sense of deep-seated unhappiness and a desire, essentially, to disappear. By the time I left secondary (high) school at sixteen, and went on to sixth form college, these had become full-blown anorexia. My weight dropped to five stone (70lbs) and I began to self-harm in order to pinpoint a feeling in the swirling confusion of starvation.

Throughout my twenties, I battled the demons. Writing poetry helped to bring focus and shape into the chaos, and later on, so did painting. I also found enormous freedom and release in running. Running was never a part of my disorder; it was an escape from it. Whilst I was running, I didn’t have to think about food (or lack of it) or my size or shape. I didn’t have to think about self-harm, because I was fully present in my body, able to focus on all the exertions of it, whilst simultaneously being able to free my mind to be, in a sense, “out of body”. Running and the creative arts saved my life and not only that, they helped to make my life something I wanted to keep.

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On the threshold of 30, I got married and over the following five years, gave birth to three children. Life got more complicated – and more precious. During this time, Gradually, I began to become aware that the voice I’d heard in my poetry and art and through my “out of body” running was – and is – my true voice. That it’s the articulation of my true self and that it’s vibrant and real and authentic. That, in fact, it is – and I am – beautiful. I realised that it’s a manifestation of the real me, and that all the other voices – the ones that sound like me but aren’t really, the ones that come from the crazy culture – are lying. Alongside this was, and is, the deep desire to unmask and emasculate those lies to my children so that they can tune in to their own true voices and know their own minds and strength, however often society tells them that they are not enough.

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Now I’m a year into my forties and I’ll finish where I began:  I’m a warrior and a survivor. As such, whatever our crazy culture tries to sell me (literally or metaphorically) and however much it tries to make its voice sound like my own, I’m not buying. I am who I am, whether running or painting or writing or sleeping. I am who I am and I am enough.

~Ruth

www.arciemme.com

Facebook Page

“My Journey of Body Acceptance” (Lee-Ann’s story)

 

 

Do you sometimes feel alone in your journey of trying to become friends with your body? I know I used to feel that way!  Over the past couple of years, I have met some amazing women who inspire me and I know I am not alone! YOU are not alone!  As I was thinking of what to post in my blog, I had the idea to share the stories of a few different women.They are stories of struggling to love themselves and of discovering body acceptance.  I will be posting each story here as well as sharing it in video format! This first one is from my friend Lee-Ann, who I met in her Facebook group- Body Positive.  After you read (or watch), please show her some love in the comments below! And check back here for the next story!

 

 

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Lee-Ann's pic collage

 

 

 

 

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I truly believe that if I didn’t begin this journey of finding peace with my body, I might not be here to share this. Just a few short years ago, I was so unhappy with what I saw in the mirror that suicidal thoughts were a daily occurrence.  Leaving the house was beyond difficult as I felt that I would be judged. I felt like I was the ugliest women ever with the grossest body. Many hours a day were spent online, looking at before and after plastic surgery photos and I would be filled with so much hope that one day, I could change how I looked. Off and on throughout my life, I have struggled with eating disorders and the scale ruled my life.

After the birth of my last son 2 years ago, something changed. By 6 weeks postpartum, I was at my pre-pregnancy weight but then the number starting going up. I knew that something had to change and that something had nothing to do with my looks, it was something in my mind and heart. Around this time, I began noticing more and more positive body image things online and I took to heart as many tips as I could. I began my own group where being body positive ruled, where women could share how they too began to love themselves. That scale….I smashed it with a hammer and have not been on a scale since. I had to learn to replace my negative thoughts with a positive one. It was especially helpful to step out of my comfort zone and do things that before I would avoid such as going to a pool in a bathing suit or wearing outfits that made me feel good without worrying about what others thought. I began to question and call BS on all the messages the media gives out. One of the biggest things I learned and remind myself of daily is that my worth and value has nothing to do with what I weigh or how I look.
Today, I actually feel good about myself most of the time and when I do have bad days, I am able to go easy on myself. I can leave the house and enjoy living in the moment with knowing in my heart, that is what matters….living. I can look in the mirror ( I even recently hung a full length one up ) and feel great. I want to encourage those who hate their reflection that if I can go from body hater to body lover, you can too!!
 Lee-Ann photo 2
~Lee-Ann Henderson
Click HERE to join her group— Body Positive– on Facebook!

When “feeling fat” is a red flag

As most of us know by now, Facebook has removed the “feeling fat” Emoji, as of March 11, 2015. At least 16,000 protestors signed an online petition asserting that “fat is not a feeling” and Facebook responded with this message:

“We’ve heard from our community that listing “feeling fat” as an option for status updates could reinforce negative body image, particularly for people struggling with eating disorders. So we’re going to remove “feeling fat” from the list of options. We’ll continue to listen to feedback as we think about ways to help people express themselves on Facebook,” a spokesperson for the social network said in an email. 

 

Since the petition started, there has understandably been mixed reactions; many say that fat really IS a feeling. Some people claim that they feel fat because they literally ARE fat. Many others share they “feel fat” when they are bloated or stuffed.

 

The majority of those who supported the petition seem to have shared my journey of having eating disorders or body image struggles. We have been taught by psychologists that “fat is not a feeling” and there is a reason it’s been hounded into us so much.  I can only speak for myself  as someone who would be labeled as “thin privileged” that for me “feeling fat” was never about being fat. I used to think being fat was something to be feared and I am not the only one. According to this article, fat prejudice can start at a very early age. A 2010 study found that 3- to 5-year-old girls were more likely to choose a thin or average-sized Candyland piece than a fat one, making disparaging statements about the rejected piece like, “She is fat. I don’t want to be that one.

Fat was a bad word for me. Therefore, when I was feeling horrible about myself but didn’t quite know how to express it, I used the word “fat” in place of true feelings such as “lonely, sad or angry”.  I was emaciated yet when I felt out of control, I said I was feeling fat.

It may appear so far that I am writing this blog post to convince you that fat is not a feeling.  I am not going to do that. Honestly, I am tired of the conversation and in the end, it does not matter who “wins”.  I know that many of us, HAVE felt fat because that was the perception in our mind. Even if our mind is playing tricks on us, our feeling still need to be validated.  Besides, a friend of mine could try to convince me all day that she is feeling fat but if all I do is argue with her, how does that really change anything for the better?

I am much more interested in how this phrase is affecting someone’s life. It may be harmless, or it may be a red flag.

I think what we need to do at this point is first of all, check ourselves to notice if we have any fat prejudices. Is fat a bad word for us?   Secondly, if we are Moms, how do we talk about our body in front of our children? Are we inadvertently encouraging negative body image?

And finally, what are some red flags we can be on the look out for, when others say they are “feeling fat”?   

 

What concerns me as a Mom, is making sure we watch our own language around our children; this means observing for ourselves how we use the word “fat.”   If we say we “feel fat” and our young children are around, how will they perceive what we are saying?  If we are just feeling full from dinner and then say  “I am feeling fat”,  with a scowl on our face, will they read between the lines and assume that “fat” is bad?  Do we also talk about how we don’t like our bodies or share with our children that we are going on a diet?  Before long, they may connect the dots and assume this: 1. Fat is bad. I never want to be fat. 2. Overeating is bad because then I will feel fat.  3. Maybe I should go on a diet too so I won’t be or feel fat. Again– we can’t always keep ourselves from feeling this way. But we can watch what we say in front of our children.

 

I know that sometimes we are just having a bad day. We may feel bloated because we are on our period.  Or maybe Thanksgiving is the only time that we ever say (or just think to ourselves) that we feel fat, because we just stuffed ourselves with delicious food.

 

However, sometimes the seemingly harmless phrase could actually be a cry for help.

 

feeling fat blog post

 

Here are some red flags to look out for when people who are close to us, say they are “feeling fat”.

 

1. Do they say they feel fat on a daily basis?  Or at least most days of the week?

2. Do they tend to restrict their food?  It does no matter weather they are thin, average size or fat. If anyone says they feel fat but then decides to go on a diet or fast to make up for feeling that way, that is a red flag. Remember, eating disorders happen to people of all sizes.

3. Do they seem to exercise out of punishment, not enjoyment?

4. Do they have an obsession with weighing themselves?

5. Do they seem to be overly concerned about having a flat stomach?

6.  Do they avoid social situations because they are feeling fat? Do they seem to withdraw from people in general?

7. Do they follow “thinspo” or “fitspo” pages on social media?

8. Are they a perfectionist?

 

If you can say “yes” to many of the questions on this list (not just one question, although #1 by itself is something to look out for), I would say that “feeling fat”, for this person may be a lot deeper than a simple Facebook status.   Many of these could be signs of an eating disorder, or at the very least a preoccupation with body image and dieting.

In this case, please don’t take this controversial phrase lightly, as counseling or some other type of support may be needed.

However, I am guessing that many of my readers are here not because of eating disorder concerns, but they do truly dislike their body. Perhaps YOU are reading this and you know you don’t have an eating disorder, but you are tired of “feeling fat.”  Maybe you are a new mom who just had a baby, and like me, you noticed your stomach resembles a 5 month pregnancy when you feel bloated, so you find yourself thinking you “feel fat”. Maybe because of feeling this way, you are so caught up in the dieting world that you forgot to just simply live and enjoy your body and what it can do for you.

As a Body Image Coach, I work with women to put out the fire of negative thoughts that keep us from enjoying our life. I support women to learn to love and accept their body, as well as know how to practice gentle self-care.  I coach them on how to approach their food so that guilt is not brought to the table and they can practice Mindful (Intuitive) Eating and enjoy their food (even if we feel stuffed at times).

We can’t just snap our fingers and make ourselves stop “feeling fat”– whether fat really is a feeling or not. But we can learn to challenge our thinking to see if we are really struggling with something deeper.  We can talk with our children about fat-shaming and how fat is just a normal part of our bodies.  And we can find support for when “I’m feeling fat” is actually a desperate cry for help.

 

Talk with me if you would like to learn more about my services.  www.mcgarrywellness.org

Kellie McGarry

Nourished and New

Body Image Coach

 

 

Disclaimer:  My blog and coaching services are not to replace professional, medical advice.  If you feel you have a serious eating disorder, please talk with your Doctor.

 

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!

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