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. 🙂

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Embracing the Gray (and aging with grace!)

My first gray hair appeared when I was only 15 years old.

 I remember feeling a bit shocked as I was looking in the mirror combing my  hair like normal when I spotted a tiny flicker of gray.  Much to my dismay, it was in fact gray and not my imagination.  I told my mom I was going to pull it out but decided against that when I heard that plucking one strand of hair could cause two to grow in it’s place.  Thankfully, the gray did not grow very quickly, which was a relief.  I did not want to become a gray haired teenager!  By the time I was in my 20’s it started to grow at a faster pace so I began to get my hair highlighted at the age of 24.  I really enjoyed how it looked and coloring it became a bit of an obsession.  I dutifully spent way too much money every few months to make sure every strand of gray was colored.  Plus, I just enjoyed changing my hair color.  By the time I was 30, I decided to go blonde. That was a mistake, but hey– we were living in CA at the time, and I wanted to blend in!  I came to my senses soon after and went brown again trying out almost every shade of brown imaginable.  The trouble was, I really couldn’t afford it, so a couple of years ago, I decided to dye my own hair at  home.  Yes it saved money but the end result was a bit of a disaster.

After about a year of getting black hair dye on the counter and floor in my bathroom, I had had enough.  “That’s it!” I decided,  “I am going to take a break from dying my hair.”  Besides that, I knew I was sensitive to the chemicals in the dye, even though I tried to go as “natural” possible.

Well, that “break” started in April of 2014  and turned into more than a year of not dying my hair– as a result it became a lifestyle choice.  It’s now about 70%  gray and  guess what— I kinda like it!  I almost feel like a rebel.  I know that at age 37, having gray hair and not conforming to society’s expectations can come across as a bit radical. Maybe even a bit hippy-ish.

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                                                        (most of the gray is underneath and on top)

 

However, I did notice that purposefully going gray has now become a bit of a trend. Just look at this Facebook page or  this one and the beautiful women with gray hair!   I did not even set out to be part of a new trend but I don’t mind.  Honestly though– why does it even have to be a cool trend for us to accept the gray?

I have been thinking lately about trends and why we follow them– for good or for bad.

There are damaging trends we fall prey to such as juice fasts or that whole low fat phase from the 90’s (ugh).   Then, there are positive trends that are empowering for women, such as the radical notion that we can be fat AND healthy, or that we can enjoy life without diets or actually wear a bikini at the beach….. in short… the body positive movement.  (I truly feel that this is not just a trend but the start of a global change!)   I absolutely LOVE being a part of this movement!!

But what we don’t talk a lot about is the trend of desperately trying to reverse aging– in some cases spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  And why?  Because we are conditioned by society to feel ugly if we have wrinkles or gray hair, or stretch marks or cellulite.   Wrinkles?  Try this cream.  Cellulite? Here is a magic potion for you.  Stomach sagging?  Try this miracle cure.  Gray hair?  Just dye it.

Now I am NOT knocking people who use any of these products.  I am most certainly not judging those who are not ready to stop dying their hair.  I actually love and appreciate all different colors of hair, including purple and pink streaks, or even rainbow hair! 🙂

What I want to challenge our thinking on is this:  WHY do we follow these trends? Is it because we want to fit in? To look cool?  To look sexy?   Do we fall prey because we do not feel worthy or that we can not measure up?   Are we honestly afraid of aging?

As I say all the time, we are ALL beautiful.  It does not matter how old we are.  (or what size, race, gender, etc.)  Instead of fearing the aging process and looking down on getting older, let’s embrace it!

Body shaming is not just about what size we are, or how we look in a swimsuit.  Body shaming can include judging people for how old they look as well.  It’s time to put an end to this, and that change starts with YOU.

You may already be gray, or maybe you aren’t ready to dye your hair— and that’s okay.  What is another area where you feel  critical of the aging process? Is there something you are interested in saying “Eff Society” too but are afraid to express?

Again– please don’t get me wrong– I am NOT saying that everyone should go gray, or stop using any kind of creams, or products that help you to feel good in your skin. What I AM asking us all to do is to stop and remind ourselves that aging is an inevitable part of life and we cannot truly keep it from happening.  We are still JUST AS BEAUTIFUL with wrinkles and smile lines and cellulite….. and yes… even gray hair if we choose to go that route.

And the most important reminder is this:  Our appearance is not our identity.  Taryn Brumfitt of Body Image Movement says this, “Our body is not an ornament.  It is the vehicle to our dreams.”

Instead of spending our days  worrying about how old we look, what about spending it figuring out how to live with passion and make a difference?   How can we use our beautiful bodies to inspire others?  Every day truly is a gift– let’s make the most of our awesome selves with the time that we have left.

 

*Please comment and SHARE!*

 

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I have two pieces of GREAT NEWS!!!  First:  I have updated the book cover on both my paperback AND the Kindle book…… and the Kindle version is now only $4.99!  That is the cost of one latte.  Will you join the revolution and learn all about how you can love yourself and live a passionate life?

 

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Click Here To Purchase!

 

Next:  I am now officially part of BIMGAP!!!  What the heck is that you ask?  Well, I am now a Global Ambassador and it stands for Body Image Movement Global Ambassador Program!  (see link I shared in my post).  I know I have already used my passion to inspire people to learn to love their bodies, but I am even more excited to join forces with Taryn to promote the cause using an even greater platform.  We are all in this together and we can all inspire change, whether it be with just one person or hundreds!  P.S—If you resonate with this message,  you will be happy to know that Taryn is still looking for more Ambassadors.  Click here to fill out an application!

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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)

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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.

 

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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

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

Comparison.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

_______________________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

comparison

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

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

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

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

 

So what can we do to break the comparison habit?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Peace and Love,

Kellie McGarry

Certified Holistic Health Coach/Body Image Coach

http://www.nourishedandnew.com

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, everyone IS beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are so beautiful to me

(written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher)

and here is the video version with Joe Cocker

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I see her Inner Beauty.

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

tobebeautifulmeans

I believe that beauty is our natural state.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YOU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NO, that is ludicrous.

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

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

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

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

“Yes, everyone IS beautiful.”

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

(but I secretly still think you are beautiful) 😉

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

Enjoy!

beholderisme

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

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

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

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

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

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

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Love and Blessings,

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

I have a dream….

I HAVE A DREAM…

that we will look at a bathroom scale and stare at it with a funny look  wondering what the heck it is used for

that we will graciously accept a compliment about what we look like with a sincere “thank you”…. and BELIEVE it

that we will enjoy ___(insert your favorite dessert- mine would be chocolate) without worrying that it will make us fat

that we will look past size and into a person’s soul, without judgement, comparison and envy

that women will find their round tummy sexy, and even flaunt it (maybe even be photographed nude!)

that we will feel sensual in front of our spouse/partner, even with loose skin and saggy boobs

that men will feel no shame in expressing their emotions and that they will also own how they look without feeling like they have to be the next Chuck Morris

that we will not seek happiness and fulfillment in elective, cosmetic surgery…. better yet that tummy tucks will go out of style

that we can wear a swim suit on the beach without obsessing about how we look the whole time

that instead of worrying about calories, we will choose our food based on how it tastes, and what our body is telling us in that moment

that our size will no longer be seen as a “problem” and that others will realize that our health and happiness is what is important

that “FUNspiration” will replace “FITspiration”

that healthy eating will be seen as a lifelong journey, not as a one time, restrictive fad

that we will realize that “no one diet works for everyone”.  Labels will be meaningless.

that women will no longer be used as sex objects to sell things such as cars and website hosts

that women , and men, of all ages, shapes, sizes, races and sexual orientation will be celebrated without shame, in the workforce, in the home, in Hollywood, and everywhere around the world

I have a dream that we will ALL be able to say without ANY hesitation: “I AM BEAUTIFUL”!!!

….Yes, I have a Dream…. do you? I have a dream photo

photo courtesty of http://www.freedigitialphotos.net/naypong

Kellie McGarry, Certified Holistic Health Coach

Staying stuck in the trap of perfectionism

As I write this, I am feeling super excited.  I JUST picked up a print proof of my book, called ‘Beautiful Freedom: a 4 week journey toward radical body-love and passionate living’.

I am also scared! The old thoughts are creeping in.  Thoughts of “what if it’s not good enough?”  “Did I fail?”  “Is it perfect”?   You see, I am a “recovering perfectionist”.  One would not guess  that just from knowing me for a short while.  I would not describe myself as a super high achiever or a busy “go-getter”.  I do not strive to be on top of my game at all times.

However, if there has been one constant through out my child hood, teenage years and through to adult hood, it’s this: Being afraid that I do not measure up to others standards. It’s what ultimately led to my eating disorder in college.

This thinking has kept me stuck on more than one occasion.  What do I mean by “stuck?”  Being too shy to reach out and make friends, being too afraid to try new things (I still can’t roller skate), and most recently in my health coaching business, constantly having to remind myself to step out of my comfort zone, take a deep breath and do it anyway because I know that people need my support.  I won’t lie:  as amazing as it is to write my own book, it was very tempting to not really share it with anyone.  I thought to myself, I’ll just share it privately with those who are interested in my new, online group program.  I don’t even have it on Amazon (yet).  I also worry about silly things, such as if the book cover is good enough (there isn’t much we can do though when we don’t have a lot of money! thankfully my husband is really good at designing things on the computer!) .

I am happy to say that I got over this silly fear and am SHARING my excitement (and yes, I am proud of myself) over my NEW WORKBOOK!

BeautifulFreedomBook1PicMonkey Collage

Staying stuck in perfectionism can be comfortable… for awhile… but then things just get boring.  When I look at my life in 10 years, do I want to say that I played it easy, all for the sake of not worrying about what others think?  Or do I want to say that I KICKED ASS with putting myself out there in a BIG way (even if I may have made some mistakes along the way) ?

Which do YOU choose?

Kellie
www.nourishedandnew.com