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. 🙂

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

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

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

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

Ruth's Collage

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 Ruth Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

~Ruth

www.arciemme.com

Facebook Page

“From Self-Hate to Self-Acceptance” (Debbie Fisher) Story #4

Welcome to Story #4! This story is about truly accepting ourselves and being who we really are without shame. Society tells us women to shrink, to hide our quirks, and to hate our flaws.  If we grow up feeling like we are not enough or worthy, this will cause great distress and may result in eating disorders, constant dieting and perfectionism.  This is not the abundant life we were meant to live!  We are “perfectly imperfect” and that is okay.  We will never measure up to society’s ideals, because it’s totally unrealistic.  Once we can find freedom to be ourselves and to accept who we are, we will find peace within.

Thank you, Debbie for sharing your story!!  I’m sure it will inspire others as it had for me.  Miss the other stories?  Read Story #1, Story #2 and Story #3.  And please leave a comment below for these beautiful ladies to express how their story resonated with you!

Debbie Fisher collage

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Our stories connect us. I’ve been traveling about sharing my story with others. What I have learned from this is just how connected we all are. My story is another’s story. My story is also the WHY of my business. It’s why I became a health and life coach.

For most of my life I lived in a turtle shell of low self-esteem, terrible body image, and truly hated who I was. Ironically, I had no idea who I was because I had lived my life by every one else’s definition of me. I grew up with a mommy dearest. I was deathly afraid of my mother and lived my whole life in fear. Every single thing about me was picked apart, every physical feature, every emotional aspect, everything. I grew up feeling completely and totally flawed. At 17 I left home and went to college. It was the most exciting time in my life because I felt that once I was away from her I could live my own life. It was great, however, all of those messages I had heard throughout my entire life came along for the ride. The tapes played continuously in my head, “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.” I took over the role my mother played in my life and began to not only believe the messages but to speak them to myself. I picked myself apart. Criticized every thing about me just as she had done. At 19 I married my high school sweetheart who basically was another version of my mother (funny how we do this). I was never enough.

By all outward appearances we looked like the perfect couple and family. We had a beautiful home, three amazing and wonderful children, nice cars, the whole package. But the truth is, I was slowly dying a very painful emotional death. After 20 years of marriage, I left and started my life over. Once again, I thought I could live my own life outside of this emotional abuse and once again the messages followed. I soon realized that I had no clue who I was. Everyone else in my life had defined me and I had let them. I started a journal, something I have each of my clients do.  The journal was only about me. I wrote down my favorite everything, day of the week, ice cream, song, poem, food, etc. Anything that I could think of that was only about me, I put it in my journal. I cut out pictures and words that resonated with me. I wrote down song lyrics and poems that spoke to me. Little by little my true authentic self started to emerge but in truth, I didn’t know how to love myself. I still critiqued myself. I still compared myself to others. I still felt like I was not enough.

I am a true believer in the power of the Universe and how we are put in front of the lesson we need at just the right time. The turning point lesson for me happened early one morning as I sat browsing the internet. I stumbled across a Louise Hay video. She was sitting on the floor with a group of people talking to them about the importance of self-love and self-acceptance. I was so touched by her words. She asked them to do an exercise. She asked them to stand in front of a mirror and to truly look at themselves. She asked them to look in their eyes, to look at their bodies, all of the parts, and to really see them. Then she asked them to repeat this affirmation daily, “I love and accept myself just as I am.” She asked them to do this exercise daily until they truly believed it and felt it in their deepest being.

After the video ended, I knew it was what I had to do for myself. I paced my house, crying in a near panic because I actually did not think I could look in the mirror. I didn’t think I could truly see myself. I had stood in front of the mirror for years and never seen myself. I had looked passed myself to do what needed to be done. I thought that if I ever truly looked at myself, all of those messages and definitions I had heard and spoke to myself might actually be true. I was afraid the true view would only validate that worst fear. After many tearful minutes, I made my way to the bathroom. I stripped off all of my clothes and with my eyes shut I stood in front of the mirror. With tears streaming down my face, I slowly opened my eyes and stood looking at myself. I stood looking until I truly came in to focus, until I truly saw myself. What happened was not at all what I had expected would. I saw myself for the very first time. It was like welcoming a long lost friend who had been missing for years. I looked deep into my eyes and saw the pain that resided behind the smiles that I had always used to cover it. I looked at my face, and through the tears saw a young girl who desperately just wanted to be loved. I looked at my arms and small hands and thought of all the ways that I had used them. I thought of how I had been able to hold and nurture my children, to hug my family, my friends, even strangers. I looked at my short legs and realized that I never have to ask them to take me where I need to go. I looked at my belly, round and fleshy and praised it for carrying, nourishing and nurturing my three babies. For the first time, I saw all of me. I began to find great comfort in seeing myself. Then I said, 

“I love and accept myself just as I am.”

I repeated this exercise daily. Ever time a negative thought popped into my head, I repeated this mantra. It was a daily journey to fight my way out of the self- loathing and destructive mess I had created but I continued because for the first time in my life I felt worthy. I felt that I was enough. Recently I discovered this quote by Brene Brown, “You either walk inside your own story and you own it, or you stand outside of it and hustle for your worthiness.” This quote hit me so deep in my soul. After years of standing outside of myself and hustling for my worthiness, I walked inside my story and I owned it. I share my story in an effort to help others own theirs.

I do this work because I never want another person to spend another day disowning, dishonoring and disallowing any part of who they are. I do this work because self-love and self-acceptance are the foundation to a world of peace. As we learn to love and accept ourselves totally and completely, we also learn to love and accept others just as they are. This is the world I want to live in and the one I want to leave behind. 

Debbie Fisher cowboy hat

~Debbie Fisher

Holistic Health & Life Coach

Encompassing Life, LLC.

LOVE WHO YOU ARE NOW!

Follow Debbie on Facebook HERE and on Twitter @coachdebfisher

“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

“Why I said bye bye to the scales” (Melissa’s story)

 

What is your relationship like with your bathroom scale?  I stopped weighing myself years ago and it was one of the best decisions I have made.  Today I am sharing a story about someone who also said “bye bye” to scales and how she learned to accept her body.  This is Story #2 in my Blog Series where I share inspirational stories of women around the world who have discovered self-love and body acceptance.  Did you miss Story #1 with Lee-Ann?  Read that Here .

Thank you Melissa for sharing your story!! 🙂  (Watch the video or read the story below and be sure to check out her page!)

 

 

 

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Body Acceptance Story #2

Guess what? It’s my anniversary. Not your typical anniversary though. It’s been ONE year since I got on my scales and felt my stomach hit the floor. A feeling I was ready to wave bye-bye to, for good. For me it does not create a positive body image.  It highlighted things I didn’t accept about myself. We all have our body types, our DNA, our genetics –  the things that make us unique. We are what we are.   I am blessed with this body, the three children it’s carried, the breath is gives me to go on about life and build cherished memories. And I’ll never weigh 130 pounds, unless I ate air for my three meals a day!
The final straw for me was when I had gone on a trip to Australia for 5 weeks last summer. I simply adore Australian food, and any overseas expat will tell you that they totally gorge on all the scrumptious things they miss being overseas –  the bakeries, the cheeses, the Cadbury’s chocolate made in Australia. Not to mention the consumption of wine at the constant catch up’s with loved ones.  I also didn’t have access to my usual exercise routine, so working off that gorgeous food went to the wayside. I got home, and right back on my lifestyle program, as I have done for 7 years now and have embedded into my life. I even joined a boot camp on Groupon. Moving along, I worked my butt off for about 2 weeks and got on those scales. It took me days to sike myself up.  I had put on 4 pounds. My heart sunk, tears streamed out of my eyes and I sounded so utterly pathetic to myself. I called my husband in tears. He thought something severely catastrophic must of happened to call him in such a panic. “I put on 4 pounds”. It sounded like such a first world problem. And that’s when I realized it was out of control.
There are times in life where we have an unhealthy relationship with something or someone, and you need to detach yourself from that thing or person. That was the scales for me. It’s not healthy for me, it brings me down, it detracts from the awesomeness in my life.
A year later, and it’s been the best darn year in respect to my body image. It’s a part of how YummoMummo got started. I really wanted to celebrate myself, have fun with myself, highlight what I loved about my body. Celebrate my delicious pear shape.  I started to accept the things I could not change. I’m not a lover of my legs but instead of shaming that, I celebrate ways I can elongate them,  wear what’s right for my body type.

This summer I put a photo of myself on Instagram in my swimsuit. Gasp. I never would of done that in a million years before.

Melissa swimsuit photo

Here I am sunning myself in Hawaii, on my 39th birthday. I found myself a great bikini for the summer that let me have some fun with a  season  trend (high-waisted bikinis) and suited my body type. I’m loving life!

So here we are, a year later.

On my anniversary.

And a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, pardon the pun!

I appreciate everyone is unique and the scales won’t bring about panic for others that it did me. And I also appreciate that others have a weight loss journey that totally requires scales. My opinion is unique to me and not a reflection on what I think others should do.

It is important for me to maintain my weight. Diabetes is a big factor in my family so I am still very conscious to take care of myself in the present, to avoid future problems. I live by some general routines that are enough for me. I drink mainly water (the rare diet soda), a large portion of my diet are fruit and vegetables, I make sure I get my 8 hours sleep in at night, I go the gym 4 times a week as well as daily habits of walking and biking with the kids. And I go by my clothes. If my skinny jeans are feeling a little tight, I ramp things up a bit and it all evens out again.  As well, for women, there are so many factors that can play with the scales such as your period, hormones, water retention etc.

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So there you have it folks. I hope you can appreciate I have dug a little deeper for you in this post and I hope it inspires you in your own life to change the things you can, and to accept the things you cannot.If you follow me on social media, you would have heard me announce that I am now a Global Ambassador for the Body Image Movement (BIM). I was doing cartwheels in my head when I found out. You will be hearing more about it in a future blog post so stay tuned for that. But the movement is teaching women a lesson we are slowly forgetting – to love ourselves from the inside out, and celebrate our awesomeness. That you are enough!–

Melissa Menzies (YummoMummo)

Fashion Blogger/Wardrobe Stylist
Instagram – @yummomummo
 

When “feeling fat” is a red flag

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

feeling fat blog post

 

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

 

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

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

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

4. Do they have an obsession with weighing themselves?

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

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

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

8. Are they a perfectionist?

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Kellie McGarry

Nourished and New

Body Image Coach

 

 

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

 

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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freedigistalphotos.net/source:IdeaGo

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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freedigitalphotos.net/source:Ambro

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

Finding beauty in the brokeness- an interview with Shannon Hogan

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

Kellie: Tell us a bit about yourself.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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freedigitialphotos.net/source: stuart miles

 

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

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

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

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

 

Kellie: What does good health mean to you?

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

 

Shannon and Nevaeh       McKenzie and Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

me n daniel professional

Shannon Hogan with husband, Daniel

 

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

 

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

 

To finding your beauty within,

 

Kellie McGarry

Body Image Coach

Nourished and New

 

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

 

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