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

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“My Self Love Journey” (Seryna’s story) –Story #3

Today I am going to share a story about falling in love.  No, not that kind of love.  I am talking about Self-Love.  When it comes to the subject of loving ourselves, some people ask, “Isn’t it selfish to focus on loving ourselves?”   Let me remind you.  As women, we are WAY too focused on pleasing other people.  If you are a busy Mom, you probably put yourself last.   We worry too much about how others view us.  We are so busy and stressed out that we have no time for self-care.  We may try to find our identity in our appearances or if we have a partner, or if our parents accept our lifestyle. This is no way to live.  It leaves us stressed out, overwhelmed and even depressed.  Self-love is the essential foundation to living a happy, vibrant life!

Kellie McGarry

Self-Love and Health At Every Size® Advocate

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Please either watch the video or read Seryna’s story below.  Did you miss the other posts in the Blog Series?  Here is Story #1 and Story #2.  

Thank you, Seryna, for sharing your story!!!

 

 

Seryna Myers pic

I was a kid of divorce, and never really felt my dad’s love. This caused me to seek out validation from basically every male who crossed my path – dates, friends, teachers… I didn’t even know I was doing it. I had zero boundaries, little self respect, and I would get so hurt and so angry when I felt mistreated, but I also never asked for better. I didn’t gain weight until my early 20s, but I think I was just insulating myself from the hurt and may have even been using it as a way to keep people away, or to test them and see if they could love me inspite of it.

In 2007 I started noticing how negative and critical I was… every thought was judging myself or others. I spent a year observing… and every time I’d catch myself doing it, I’d force myself to think of a kinder alternative. At that point I was raising my teenage sister and really wanted to set a better example for her than our parents did. Being alone with my thoughts lead to a lot of soul searching, and the better I felt about myself, the more I seemed to attract external things that would challenge those good feels. My dad told me three times in a matter of weeks that I was constantly chasing men out of my league and that if I didn’t lower my expectations I’d never find a husband. My “friend” actually said “You’re actually really happy with yourself, eh? Even looking like that?” A cab driver asked me if there was a medical reason for my weight. My employer tried to incentivize me with a gym pass… None of that made me waver from how good I felt about myself. I could see myself, warts and all, and instead of fixating on the things I deemed imperfect, I could love myself anyways. There were times after failed relationship upon failed relationship that I’d begin wondering what was wrong with me, was my dad right and I had set the bar impossibly high, but then I’d cry and sleep it off and the next day just reassure myself that I’d find someone when he was ready for ME and that in the mean time I’d just fill up on so much awesome experiences and people that I wouldn’t wait around until he showed up. (He did in 2012) I wrote a bit about my experiences in this blog post: http://www.pamperedgoddess.com/blog/the-audacity-to-love-oneself.

That brings me to now… I’m 35 and am on the other side of some big struggles. I talk openly about them to help break down weight stigma and even mental health stigma as I’ve struggled in the past with both depression and anxiety. I do my best to walk the walk and at the very least look upon myself with kind eyes.

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(Thank you for sharing this graphic, Seryna!)

Seryna Myers

Pampered Goddess

http://www.pamperedgoddess.com

Join Seryna’s Facebook group: The Self -Care Revolution

Read her other blog posts:

http://www.pamperedgoddess.com/blog/body-war-peace

http://www.pamperedgoddess.com/blog/the-b-word

the HAES files: is the body mass index a good measure of health?

Hey everyone,

Recently, my husband and children started playing WiiFit on our new, WiiU.  It’s a great exercise program, but what makes me uncomfortable is the focus on BMI.  Now, my husband is overweight, but he is very healthy.  Moreover, the game assumed my husband had a weight loss goal.  He doesn’t.  Yes, he wouldn’t mind losing some weight but his main goal is increasing strength and health.  

So I was going to blog about the fallacies of the BMI (body mass index) but in doing my research, I came across this article (below) and I feel like it shares all the information we need to know! I love the research that is put into this. Bottom line: BMI is bogus and we need to stop using it as a measure of health. Please click on the link to read the full post. Then, please let me know YOUR thoughts in the comments below! 

Health At Every Size® Blog

by Jon Robison, PhD, MS

The BMI is a measure of height and weight – specifically weight divided by height squared. It is the predominate measure by which health professionals and governments determine what is and is not a “healthy weight” for a particular individual, thereby informing them if they are “at risk” for morbidity and premature mortality. In reality, however, BMI is not only not a good measure of health, it is actually not a measure of health at all.

The formula itself was created around 1850 by the brilliant Belgian mathematician, astronomer and statistician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet – and appropriately named The Quetelet Index. Dr. Quetelet was not a health professional and he was not interested in fat or health risk. He was fascinated by the idea of using statistics to draw conclusions about societies – and the “average man.” Some of us will remember…

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Why healthy eating is not a mental illness

Imagine you are out to dinner with a friend and you are really craving a nice, big salad–Greek salad to be exact (my favorite).  You can’t wait to dive in because  you are starving but before you take your first bite, your friend looks right at you in dismay and says, “Oh my gosh!  you chose a salad?! I can’t believe it.  You are always eating healthy.  Are you sure you aren’t mentally ill?”

Okay, so odds are about 99.999% that a friend will NOT say this (at least not to your face).  But according to  this article, some doctors say eating healthy IS a mental illness.   The title alone really bugged me- “Officials Declare ‘Eating Healthy A Mental Disorder'”, and it’s what triggered this post. (keep in mind that what follows is purely my opinion on the topic of this article).

To clarify, there IS a condition called Orthoexia, which is not officially in the DSM, but here is the definition:

  • an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.
  • a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.
    *Please note that orthoexia is an OBSESSION.  Not everyone who eats healthy is obsessed with it. For a good article on Orthoexia, please check out THIS ONE on the National Eating Disorders Awareness website.

I don’t dispute the (original) article on the fact that some people CAN take healthy eating to the extreme.  Now, whether or not Orthoexia should even be considered a mental illness is debatable (if it is due to OCD, I can totally understand).  As the article suggests, doctors could take this term and run with it.  Think Big Pharma.  They will prescribe drugs to anyone, just to make a buck.  What these people need is NOT more drugs, but counseling.

There was a time, that someone could have pegged me in this category.  As an overzealous health coach in training, I was learning about the 100 different dietary theories.  Interspersed with some great inspirational speakers, such as Deepak Chopra, and Geneen Roth, we also heard from some doctors and health experts who promoted all kinds of diets from the Raw Food diet, to the South Beach Diet.  Now, keep in mind, I was already super health conscious to begin with.  And in the past, I did struggle with disordered eating, which had eventually paved the way to a full blown eating disorder.  So I was vulnerable to an obsession with food and eating healthy.   I must have researched almost every healthy food out there.   I was judgmental of those who didn’t eat to my standards.  And I thought certain foods would solve all my problems and make me happy.

spinach loving girl

my daughter, the spinach loving girl 🙂

Newsflash:   the obsession with healthy eating was not making me a better person or a better health coach.  It was making me paranoid.

Would I say I was “mentally ill”?  I wouldn’t go that far.  But, if I wasn’t strong enough in my recovery, I could have definitely teetered off into relapse of my eating disorder.

Now, I DO STILL eat healthy…. but not to the extreme as I mentioned.  I have never been happier. I feel so much better, but also allow myself a dessert on occasion (which is also healthy).

The article I shared seems to be based on opinion.  However, it does make me realize just how stigmatized healthy eating can be. Frankly, many doctors are not trained in nutrition so how would they even recognize if we have crossed the line? I also don’t want people to worry that just because they are eating healthy, that they are going crazy. So reading this article makes me wonder:  will there really come a time when doctors do think that ALL  healthy eating is a mental illness?  If so, it would be a convenient way to push drugs. I sometimes feel like they are intimidated by this new wave of people who are becoming enlightened about how to better take care of their body.  Healthy eating = decreased sickness and disease which equals LESS MONEY FOR THE DOCTORS!!

I think what we really need to do here is to define WHAT HEALTHY EATING IS and WHAT HEALTHY EATING IS NOT. Now, I could ask ten different people and get ten different answers, but here is my opinion:

HEALTHY EATING IS…

1.  choosing fresh whole foods, as much as possible… but not feeling guilty if we don’t.

2.  listening to our body and giving into our cravings. If we are craving chocolate, we eat it. But we also know when to stop.

3.  knowing which foods make us feel bad.  I cannot eat gluten or most dairy.  This is NOT a fad for me. It’s a way to actually function in life.  If I didn’t know that gluten was causing me issues, I would still be suffering from chronic pain.

4.  eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but not forcing ourselves to eat salad if we absolutely hate it.

5.  coming to our meal with pleasure and gratitude.

6.  putting love into every meal that we make and every bite that we take.

7.  eating to fuel our body, not to fill an emotional void. along this line, knowing when we are hungry and in need of food. Not pushing food away because we are “too busy.”

8.  knowing that there is no one way of eating that works for everyone.  We are all “bioindividual” and require different dietary needs.  Some people thrive as vegans and some thrive as meat eaters. (note: this does NOT mean to go on a diet)

9.   choosing organic foods when we can but we do not feel like it’s the end of the world if we just can’t.

10.  showing ourselves COMPASSION with our eating.  If we eat too much, it’s okay.

Briana I Love Lucy

my daughter after her “Vitameatavegimin Skit” (it’s so tasty too!) 🙂

Why do I CHOOSE to eat healthy?  Because my body thanks me for it and I feel so much better than I have in the past.  Plain and simple.  I also eat healthy because heart disease runs in my family and I want to avoid it as much as possible.  I DON’T eat healthy out of an obsession to be “clean” or a better person.

Now, someone may “think” they are eating healthy, but they really aren’t.  Ironically, they may start to purge foods from their diet in order to maintain a sense of control, but in reality, they are feeling very much out of control.  So here is what healthy eating is NOT:

HEALTHY EATING IS NOT:

1. Meticulously counting calories at every single meal and if we eat too much, we beat ourselves up.

2. Starving ourselves just because a diet expert says it is “healthy” to consume 1,000 calories or less.

3. Eliminating whole food groups just because we are afraid to eat them.

4.  Avoiding our fears by overeating or binging.

5. Being paranoid about fat grams, carbohydrates and sugar.

6. Avoiding parties because we are afraid we might eat something we deem to be on our “bad” list. (along those lines, having a “bad and good” list of foods).

7. Being so obsessed with nutrition that find we find ourselves spending hours on the computer doing research.

8. Feeling better than  those people who do not eat according to our high standards.

9.  Avoiding restaurants because they might not have all Non-GMO, 100% organic, sustainable food. We panic just thinking about it.

10. Feeling guilty and beating ourselves up after eating instead of feeling pleasure and enjoying the taste of our food. We may go on constant diets just because we don’t know how to eat mindfully.

By the way, these are not comprehensive lists, by any means.  WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO THIS LIST? COMMENT BELOW.

In a nutshell, what I am describing when I talk about what Healthy Eating Is…. is Mindful Eating! This is one area that I help my clients with.  Many of them have reported feeling much better about themselves when they learn to take themselves off of the eat-starve-binge diet mentality. Thus, when we are not eating healthfully, we are not being mindful and showing ourselves compassion.

Can you see  why HEALTHY EATING is NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS?

However, if you do find yourself resonating with my list of what Healthy Eating IS NOT… don’t fear.  Chances are,  you don’t have a mental illness either.  Do you have Orthoexia?  Maybe… maybe not.  But don’t run to your doctor thinking you are crazy because chances are, you will be taking home a prescription for something  that will make you feel worse than you already are.   If you DO feel like you have an obsession with healthy eating, know that you are not alone, but please talk to someone, because life is not meant for us to feel fear or guilt every time we eat!   Please, show yourself some compassion.  And the next time you see a B.S. article like this one… in your mind, tell yourself the doctors mentioned here are the ones who are “mentally ill”.

Kellie McGarry

Body Image Coach

www.mcgarrywellness.org

 

 

 

Disclaimer: What I write is purely my opinion and not to be taken as medical advice, as I am a Health Coach, not a Doctor or Therapist. If you feel you have an eating disorder or any health condition, please contact your provider. 

Forget Resolutions: 5 tips on loving ourselves instead

So, it’s 2015 and I have mixed feelings about that. I’m sure you have noticed that this is the time of  year when everyone shares their wishes, goals, hopes and dreams; most notably on social media sites.  January is perceived as a new beginning.  A time to wipe the slate clean from the past and start fresh.  A time to forget about all of the crap that may have happened…the missed goals, the weight that wasn’t lost… or that was gained. The relationships that were severed, the new job to get used to, the missed opportunities, the rejections and losses.

We may not have experienced everything that I just listed.  Maybe we had a great year.

Never -the -less, there is always…ALWAYS something that we failed at that we would love to forget.  So we long for a second chance.

However, sometimes life gets in the way and we find ourselves trudging through mud… not really going anywhere. Just stuck. And we blame ourselves. We ask ourselves, “Why can’t I be motivated like everyone else?” My Dad died August 8, 2014.  So of course, I did not have a “great year”.  It was an extremely challenging year for my family.

Now, it’s a new year, but I cannot just wipe the slate clean. I can’t just forget about the loss of my Dad. And that is normal.

What I CAN do is work on myself.  I declare this year to be my year to work on  SELF-LOVE. No, it’s not a resolution.  I don’t care about resolutions. In my mind, they do not work. However, if I were to work on ONE thing, it would be to relax into my being, and show myself, grace, compassion and LOVE.

 

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Let me digress a bit: the reason why I say resolutions don’t work is because they usually go like this:

  • I will lose 20 pounds.
  • I will go to the gym 6 days a week, even when I am tired and/or sick.
  • I will work full time, plus make 7 gourmet meals a week, sew all of my kids clothes AND….volunteer 50 hours a week for the P.T.A.  (okay…. maaaybe that was an exaggeration, :))

And then what happens when we DON’T lose the 20 pounds at the end of the year?  What if we ONLY lose 5 pounds but gain muscle? (read between the lines: gaining strength is a GOOD thing)

Or we “ONLY” cook one delicious meal a week versus 5?  (isn’t that better than nothing?)

Can you see my point?  We beat ourselves up and feel like a failure, all the while forgetting to celebrate what we did accomplish because we wrap our identity up in meeting very specific resolutions.

Now, what about goals instead of resolutions, you may ask? Well, it depends.  Are you being duped by certain experts who say, “Don’t call them resolutions, call them goals!”?  Some are repackaging the wording so as not to scare us off. If we are scared into thinking we have to lose a certain amount of weight by a specific time or eat a certain amount of calories a day to be successful, that to me sounds like just another resolution (and most diets don’t work anyway but that is another blog post).  Healthy goals are realistic, flexible and enjoyable. They can be accomplished in small (weekly is good) baby steps. Ideally, weather or not we meet our goal is not going to make or break us.

Let me clarify:  I do have maybe one or two main goals (not resolutions).  I know what I need to work on, health-wise.  I can  get to bed earlier.  I can add more greens to my diet. I can practice more relaxation techniques.  I can actually use my dehydrator to eat kale chips instead of potato chips,  make interesting chia seed concoctions, religiously drink my greens and twist myself into insane yoga poses.

But my goals are not going to define my year. My goals also do not define how I feel about myself. I am not my goals. We are not the sum of our goals.

We are not ONLY a success if we meet our goals.  

We are not a failure if we DON’T meet our goals.

So… back  to SELF-LOVE.    What if make it to December 2015 and we think, “oh crap, I only exercised twice a week  but my goal was 5?”  So???

Are you happier?   More peaceful?  Do you LOVE yourself more?

We cannot fully be content with our accomplishments until we love ourselves in the HERE AND NOW.

Likewise, we cannot fully be content with our FAILURES until we love ourselves in the HERE AND NOW.

SELF-LOVE is like the foundation of a house.   We can build it up by eliminating junk food and increasing our exercise.  But if we become so consumed with meeting resolutions… or even goals… the “house” will crumble because the foundation wasn’t strong.

You know what?  Last year I didn’t eat as many greens as I “should” have.  I didn’t get enough sleep. I STILL haven’t lost the baby weight in my stomach.  But that is a-okay with me.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t care about my health or about what I look like.

 I am happy with who I am.  I am at peace with the fact that I am doing my best.  And the stomach thing…. well, I am at peace with the fact that I could do all sorts of exercises and it may never be flat.

As long as I desire to FEEL my best… emotionally, physically and spiritually….I will work on taking care of my health and body out of a foundation of self-love.  Meaning, I will not beat myself up if I don’t always meet my goals.

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So what are some tips on increasing our self-love this year?

1.  Find an exercise that you truly love and ENJOY… not because it may help you lose weight, but because it helps you to FEEL good.  As I have alluded to, I love, love, love yoga.  It’s okay if you don’t care for a lot of the popular trends such as Zumba or Cross-Fit…. bottom line is try out different things and then stick with the one that you like the best.  Don’t care to exercise at all?  Walking up and down stairs counts! Or dancing around the house with your kids!  All that matters is that we feel more confident in our body and that when we move , we feel loved instead of punished.

2.  Avoid triggers.  By triggers, I mean know what causes you to start to compare your body or beat yourself up. Does a certain person on Facebook really bug you?   Does he/she post a lot about crazy diets?   Maybe it’s time to “hide” or unfriend. Maybe it’s time to “unlike” certain Facebook pages that tend to fat-shame or body-shame in general.  Do certain commercials make you hate your body? Avert your eyes or fast forward, if possible.  The same goes with magazines (Do we REALLY need that fashion magazine that features women in skimpy outfits? Even some yoga magazines can be triggering with half naked ,skinny ladies doing downward dog at the beach).  Take some time to reflect on what your triggers are.

3.  Discover your “happy place”… or your “Zen Den”.   I wish I was at the beach right now.  That to me, is true bliss.  But it doesn’t have to be our ideal location.  How can we find time to be by ourselves and find that inner bliss?  Maybe it’s meditating in our bedroom. Maybe it’s taking a hike in the Phoenix desert mountains, or taking a walk in the woods, or wherever it is that you live, and reflecting on the nature surrounding you.  Maybe Starbucks is your place of peace.  Right now, I am sitting alone in Starbucks as I write this.  Since I started homeschooling this year, this NEVER happens.  And honestly, it is probably the only reason I am  writing this blog post. (one true goal is to get back into writing more) When we find that place of peace and stillness, we feel more content in our body, can take deep, centering breaths, and we can think about what we are grateful for without distraction. This helps us to feel more love in general… love for others and love for ourselves.

4.  Learn to say “no.”  I know this phrase is soooo over used, but it’s true: “No is a complete sentence.”  It really is okay to say “no”!  Nobody has ever keeled over from letting others down.  And the fact is, we may disappoint people. But that is their problem, not ours.  Stay true to yourself and you will find that you can only truly take care of you.  Eventually, when you put yourself first priority, you will feel greater self-love.

5.  “Know thyself”.  Ultimately, we cannot love what we do not know.  Are you afraid to know who you truly are?  Maybe you were  taught to be someone different. Maybe you were conditioned to behave a certain way so you feel like a robot. Society certainly expects women to act, think and look like clones of each other.  But we are all unique.  Maybe you need to embrace your introverted side.  Or your sensitivity.  I discovered I am a “Hyper-Sensitive Person” and I am sooo relieved to know that I am not alone in how I feel.  I also enjoy taking personality tests.  Myers-Briggs is a good one (I am INFJ) as well as the Enneagram (Type 4’s unite!).   Once you do dig deeper into your personality traits… what bugs you, what lights you up… what motivates you and what discourages you… you can work from there on showing yourself love and compassion for your perceived “weaknesses”.   You will find out that many times what we see as a weakness can actually teach us a lot and help us to live a more authentic and vulnerable life.

Bonus Tip: Along with knowing ourselves… become comfortable with your imperfections.

 Brene Brown wrote an excellent book on this subject called “The Gifts Of Imperfection”.  It’s about really embracing your whole, authentic self. I admit that I am a perfectionist.  I beat myself up for stupid mistakes. I have a fear of what others think so I tend to hold back on truly sharing myself.  My grief has caused me to hold back even more than usual and that I why it has been awhile since I have published a blog post. But trying to be perfect tends to get boring after awhile. Since I know myself and am comfortable with my perceived weaknesses, I can’t keep hiding my passion.  Once we begin to accept the mistakes in life, we learn to love ourselves more.

 So, what do you think?  Which one of these tips can you begin to work on? (remember, baby steps!)

Life truly is a dance.  Two steps forward, three steps back. I have taken about 20 steps back, emotionally.  I am grieving, so I am not beating myself up for that.  Maybe you also have had a stressful year and you feel stuck and discouraged.  Maybe the thought of making a ton of healthy lifestyle changes truly overwhelms or even frightens you.  Maybe when it all boils down to it, you just aren’t ready to eat more greens or exercise.

That is okay.  Repeat after me:

“I am not my goals.  I am love.  I am a unique human being.  And I love myself. ”

This year, even if  I accomplish ONE thing… it will be to show myself greater SELF-LOVE.

 

What about you?  Do you also desire to love yourself more this year?  If so, sound off in the comments!

 

Kellie McGarry

Body Image Coach

(new website! www.mcgarrywellness.org)

Check out my book on Amazon! Beautiful Freedom: a 4 week journey toward radical body-love and passionate living

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!

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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!

 

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

Thoughts on Size, Health and Weight Loss

Let’s play a little game.  I’m going to share the stories of two (completely made up) women and you tell me which one you would guess is the healthiest.

 

Sarah Sue is the typical over achiever.  She loves her business but knows that she works too much.  She comes home exhausted, quickly makes dinner with whatever she can find and sometimes brings home fast food because she doesn’t feel like cooking. In fact, she sometimes skips meals because she is so stressed out.  She hasn’t exercised since before her children were born and  at her last doctor’s visit she was shown to have elevated Triglycerides and high blood pressure.  She is obsessed with her body and wishes her thighs didn’t touch.

 

Mary Jane absolutely LOVES her zumba class.  In fact, she is there three times a week.  People always tell her that her smile and positivity is contagious.  She has a green smoothie every morning and usually includes some kind of leafy green veggie at every meal.  She still allows her self to have her favorite dark chocolate bar because she knows if she doesn’t, she may end up binging on sweets.   She enjoys pampering herself and feels great about her body. 

 

“Well, DUH” , you are saying to me.  EASY PEASY, RIGHT???    You are all smart and I know you would  answer “Mary Jane”.

What if I were to tell you that “Sarah Sue”  is  5 foot 2 and only weighs 105 pounds and that “Mary Jane” is 5 foot 4 and  over weight at 200 pounds? (again, this is completely made up) Do you have a different perspective of her now?

Let’s say that both of these women walk into a room.  Would you size them up (like is totally natural for us human beings to do) and observe that “Mary Jane” should lose weight?  Would you assume that Mary Jane is the unhealthy one?  (even if her blood work is awesome?)

This is where things get tricky and why I say that  size alone is not always factor when it comes to health.   I know a few women who eat healthy, exercise and cannot easily lose weight.  Yes, it could be hormone related, but in their case, it is not.   They are just at the weight that their body needs  to be at the time.

We cannot determine who is healthy and who is not merely by observation.

So, you may ask, “What about all those people who are over weight and eat junk food all the time? Surely they need to lose weight, right?”   That’s like saying A = C.     I would say that it would be good if they could eat healthier, which may result in weight loss.  But losing weight is not the factor here.  Taking care of our body by feeding it the foods it needs to be healthy and strong is the key.   Instead I suggest we  say, “I need to eat healthier” versus “I need to lose weight.”

Let me make this clear:  I am not totally against weight loss.  If someone sheds their weight as a result of healthy eating, and from that, has more energy, improves her health, feels great about her body, AND is able to KEEP it off for GOOD…. then it’s totally worth it.

My concern is regarding the women who have tried and tried to lose weight and it’s just not working for them, even though they are doing all the “right things”. This can result in a feeling of failure,  low self-esteem and hating their body even more which just results in more self-sabotage.

The fact of the matter is that most of the time, diets (as in a restrictive weight loss plan)  just don’t work. 

Let’s go back to my two examples.  Sarah Sue hated her body while Mary Jane loved hers.  Yes, it is possible to love your body, no matter WHAT your size.  I have seen it start to happen in many of my clients.  When we love our body, we are not as concerned about weight loss, but on taking care of it, which can include healthy eating, self-care (me time), enjoyable exercise, and sleep. Making peace with our body is an awesome goal.

 

Even if it means not losing a single pound. 

 

Photo on 4-17-14 at 11.34 AM #2

 

*(For more reading on this subject,  specifically why diets don’t work, I highly encourage you to get hold of the book, “Health At Every Size” by Linda Bacon. )*

 

and just for fun…. here is a “cat photo bomb” LOL

Photo on 4-17-14 at 11.34 AM

love and blessings,

Kellie McGarry, CHC

Nourished and New

www.nourishedandnew.com

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p.s.– I am  SO excited  to be named a Top 10 Finalist for Mom Entrepreneur of the Year! (through the Mom e- Club)  Very soon, I will need your VOTES so I can be named the Finalist! Results will be determined at the Mom e-Club Celebration in Phoenix, on Wed. May 7th.  Please visit THIS link to watch my short, 2 minute video and VOTE! THANKS!!

 

http://www.mom-eclub.com/2014_KellieMcGarry.asp

 

MomE_TopTen14_LOGO

 

 

No Joke: 6 ways the diet industry tries to fool us

Being that today is April 1st- April Fool’s Day- it seems fitting that I talk about ways in which women (and men) have been fooled.  Don’t worry- I am not the person pulling the pranks– it’s doctors, the media, photographers, etc. 

We are  tricked into thinking that diets actually help with weight loss.  We are tricked into thinking that it’s super easy to just “bounce back” from pregnancy.  We are tricked into thinking that models  have flawless skin and thigh gaps.

Thankfully, there has been an awareness recently.  More and more articles are popping up about what is being portrayed to women. Our eyes are being opened.

However, I want to zero in on the huge Diet Industry and they way they capitalize on women’s insecurities.  We may know in our head that diets don’t work.  We may have tried 50 different diets and have gained the weight back– yet we still go back to the familiarity of a 1200 calorie diet, gross shakes, and constant weighing.  Why??   We feel desperate and don’t think there is any other answer.

Did you know? 108 million people are on diets in a given year – with 4-5 attempts per year. (Source)

Studies show that only 3-5% of those who go on a diet actually keep the weight off.  My guess is they are still starving themselves.

Why is the percentage so small?  The answer may surprise you.  Please know: It’s NOT your fault.  We are NOT gaining the weight back due to lack of will power.  We are NOT gaining it back because of a “problem” with food.  We are gaining it back because our body was just not meant to lose large amounts of weight for a long period of time! We’ve been duped by the Diet Industry!

I am still learning about all of the science behind this as I read the book “Health At Every Size” by Linda Bacon.  I am already a full supporter of this philosophy.  Read more about it here.  It’s a philosophy that is weight neutral.  We can be larger and fit or skinny and unhealthy.

ID-10055409http://www.freedigitalphots.net/source Grant Cochrane

 

Here are some ways that the Diet Industry tries to trick us:

1. “Dieting is easy.” There is nothing “easy” about restricting our caloric intake, unless you are one of those rare, super disciplined people.  However, most gain their weight back because they start to feel too hungry (a normal response)  which then could trigger a binge.

2. “Dieting is sustainable.” If 97% of those who diet gain their weight back within a year, then clearly dieting does not last. I just don’t see how consuming 1200 calories a day is sustainable.  Our bodies are meant to hold onto fat if seems to be starving. This worked in the cave man days.  But we have not evolved past this point to be able to handle losing large amounts of weight without messing up our system.

3. “Dieting is pleasurable.” Sure, healthy food tastes great. We can certainly find delicious salads, or yummy ways to cook vegetables, but many times people will think that they have to eat food that they don’t care for, in order to lose weight or just because whoever expert they are following told them to eat it.   We should feel a sense of pleasure when we eat.  We also tend to feel guilty when dieting and happen to eat something on our “bad” list. This is no way to live.

4. “Dieting will help you to get to the root of your emotional problems with eating.”  Actually, diets don’t really claim this but many of us think this way.  We think that healthy eating will solve all of our problems.  This is another reason why there are so many yo-yo dieters. They never took the time to dig into  their own relationship with food; why they crave certain foods or what causes them to have those binge episodes.  Good health is not just about what we eat, but also learning to deal with our stress and emotions, as well as how we feel about ourselves and our body.

5. “Dieting is healthy.”  Sure, eating fruits and vegetables is healthy, but ONLY eating them may not be if it means losing out on important nutrients from other foods, or if it means you are putting your body in starvation mode.  Also, many weight loss programs have food products to buy… they consist of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and a lot of times, soy (which in large doses could mess with our hormones).  Doesn’t sound too healthy to me, even if it does cause temporary weight loss.

6. “Dieting is safe.”  “One report shows most Americans — 64 percent — think the government requires warnings about side effects on weight loss products. It doesn’t. And most — 54 percent — think the products are approved for safety by the FDA. They’re not. ” (source) Diet pills are included in “weight loss products” They can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke, can cause you to become dehydrated and cause you to become addicted.

It’s time for a different approach which does not include weight loss, but healthy and intuitive eating.

When it all boils down to it– what is your focus?  Weight loss or Health?  Restriction or Pleasure?

I challenge you to challenge your SELF on how you REALLY feel about dieting. What is your motivation?  And most importantly, are you comfortable in your own skin?  If you were able to be super healthy and still not lose weight will you be okay with that?

I DO believe that weight loss is possible without going on a typical diet.  Using our intuition when it comes to food and trusting our body is the key.

To Body Love,

Health Coach Kellie

p.s.- NO JOKE!! : Today ONLY I am offering a FREE, initial Breakthrough Session– can be scheduled for any time in April, but MUST be booked today! The Breakthrough Session lasts one hour and can be done by phone or in person. It’s a way to get to know each other, and to explore the ways your thoughts may be holding  you back from living the life you have dreamed about.  Email me at healthcoachkellie@gmail.com to schedule or to learn more! 🙂

 

 

 *Health At Every Size is a registered trademark of the Association for Size Diversity and Health and is used with permission.