On Cultivating A Loving and Healthy Attitude Toward Your Body

honeyloves
Here’s  excerpt from article I wrote, published on Honey Loves , about how I cultivated a healthy attitude toward my body after years of struggling with an altered view of myself.  Find the entire article, including the 5 ways to re-wire your thinking, at HoneyLoves.org Feedback and comments are welcome!

 

My body and I have had a tumultuous relationship on our journey together (I’ll share my own personal “body story” one day soon).

For about 15 years of my life, I struggled with disordered eating and an altered view of what I looked like. It was a terribly lonely struggle and, still to this day, I’ve never spoken about it to ANYONE – so you, Honey Loves, are the first people I will ever speak to about the years of darkness and loneliness that tortured and clawed at my sense of self; the demons that chewed away at the very core of who I was.

It’s been an incredibly long and lonely road to get to where I am now in regards to the love I have for my body. I say “lonely,” because, well…it was! I never spoke about my pain and self-torture to anyone – even now, as I write this, I’m finding it difficult. I held everything inside and sometimes I think it’s a miracle that I even survived it. I can’t believe I’ve gone from the person I was to the person I am today; and I did it all alone. But, you don’t need to do it alone! (And in fact, I DO NOT recommend doing it alone – I just didn’t know the resources available to me.)

Today, I am grateful for my struggle because it has allowed me to reflect and learn to love and appreciate my body. It’s given me the opportunity to do what I wish someone did for me and REACH OUT to help those around me struggling with the same thing. I will say again: You don’t need to go through this alone, beautiful girls. The hate I had for myself permeated every single area of my life – and when I say I was at rock bottom, believe me. So, also, when I say there is hope for you, Honey Loves, you have to believe me. You have to have faith. I am proof that you CAN heal. You can be a person who loves and respects your mind, body, and soul. You don’t always have to live with this heavy weight of self-hatred on your spirit.

While I wish I had, I never sought professional counseling for what I was going through. Though I don’t recommend this (and I can help you find resources to get help), it did force me to come up with little tricks to re-wire my brain that over time, really and truly worked. I figured that if my brain could trick my eyes into seeing fat that wasn’t there when I looked in the mirror, I could certainly make that work to my advantage – and slowly but surely, a new and beautiful girl started to show up whenever I looked in the mirror.

I want to share my tricks for body love with you, and I hope you’ll try them and they’ll start to work for you, too. Be patient with your journey. This isn’t a change that happens overnight. It takes consistent re-working and re-directing of negative thoughts.

 

 

 

Head on over to HoneyLoves.org to read the rest of my article!

– A

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The Post in Which I Argue With a Brilliant Dead Man: The View Looking Back

theview

Henry David Thoreau once said:

“NEVER LOOK BACK UNLESS YOU ARE PLANNING TO GO THAT WAY.”

I’ve seen this quote in countless places: classrooms, journals, Facebook posts, Instagram, Pinterest, articles and inspirations…you name it, I’ve seen it there. Google Image it…you’ll understand what I mean. If you haven’t seen this quote before, I’m not judging you, I’m just gently telling you to climb out of the cave you’ve been living in.

I completely understand the message old Mr. Thoreau was trying to convey: The more we focus on what’s behind us, the higher the possibility of regressing.

But, you see, while I understand the message……..I’m also calling “bullshit.”

I see things a bit differently. (I should note that as I’m typing this, I’m thinking, “Am I really about to argue with the writer of Walden right now? In a public forum?” Please blame my boldness on the glass (es) of wine I’ve had. But, alas, I wanted to write honestly about what led me to these thoughts and this was it.)

Before you judge me, let me share with you what led to this epiphany. Ironically, I’m even going to bring nature into it and how it brought me to this realization:

I seek the woods.

I am at peace when I am alone in nature.

I yearn for the outdoors. I can see the trees around me, and sense the open space, and feel the air, and taste the earth, and smell the dirt. After growing up with miles of woods surrounding me, it’s ingrained in my soul to seek nature…

It’s where I find my center.

It’s where I do my best thinking.

It’s where thoughts and inspirations, quite literally, flood my brain; so much so that I’ve actually had to start recording myself on my phone when new thoughts hit me so I don’t lose them.

Living in LA, there’s not a whole lot of places you can go to immerse yourself in nature and this has led me to become an even more avid hiker. While LA lacks in the nature department compared to New England (let’s be honest: everywhere lacks in that department compared to New England, and this is something Thoreau would agree with, no doubt), it has no shortage of amazing hikes. The trails are winding and dusty and filled with luxurious and coveted quiet spots among the City of Angels.

Today, I went hiking in Malibu. I’ve done this particular hike about 20 times. It’s incredibly challenging and when it’s hot enough out, there are actually points where I think to myself: “I’m absolutely going to pass out on the trail and someone is going trip over my lifeless and dehydrated body.” But I ALWAYS make it. And I always take the hard way up. And I always pound through as fast as I can without letting my eyes leave the next peak.

Yet, today was different.

I did something I’ve never done.

I looked back.

I turned my body around on the trail and I looked behind me and lost my breath as I realized I’d been missing half of the view.

Because, man, that view…It was breathtaking.

That view made me realize how amazing my body is; how perfectly and powerfully it functions and how strong I am. It made me realize what I’d conquered.

When we’re in the midst of a climb, it’s easy to forget to stop and take in the progress we’ve made. It’s hard to pat ourselves on the back and say, “Damn, you’re gettin’ through it, kid” when we never look back at where we’ve been.

It’s easy to forget that we’re in the midst of conquering a mountain.

So, as I climbed and my body hurt and screamed for me to stop, I looked back, and it encouranged me to push forward, because I couldn’t believe what I’d already done. I couldn’t believe I’d started out at the very bottom and now had a breathtaking 360 degree view of the ocean and mountains because I was so high up.

In my waking life, I’m still climbing that mountain. I’m still conquering the hills that make my soul hurt and scream out for me to stop. I still ache with uncertainty and missteps and lack of direction.

But….I’m looking back.

I’m looking back and I’m seeing that I like the view of what’s behind me.

It’s breathtaking.

I’m seeing that I’ve come so far. I’m seeing that even though at times, I get lost in the climb and focus soley on putting one foot in front of the other, I’m still climbing. I’m still getting to a higher place and gaining view of an incredible perspective. And at NO POINT, am I worried that I’m going back there…to what’s behind me.

….And that, put as simply as possible, is why I don’t agree with one of the writers I’ve admired since I was in the 7th grade.

Every good thing is a good thing because we have something less than good to compare it to.

I’m afraid that if we ignore what’s behind us for fear of going back, we’ll never realize how far we’ve come. We’ll keep finding ourselves exerting so much effort and not really taking the time to give ourselves credit for what we’ve already accomlished. Let what is behind you serve as motivation to continue climbing. And if you’re at the bottom…well, darling, there’s no where to go but up.

Create your view from the top…then look back at all the things behind you – not with the intention of returning to them, but with admiration for the perspective that you’ve gained.

view

Love,

– A

It’s Been Real, Fro-Yo. It’s Been Real.

Maximum backlight.

Maximum backlight.

Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly allergic to a variety of things (apples, Splenda (EVIL),  Burt’s Bee’s lip balm, the list goes on…), and it’s led me to really become concerned and aware of the effects the products I use and foods I eat have on my body.  Combined with my new obsession with everything having to do with skin, I’ve realized that many skin issues that I’ve been plagued with also have a huge correlation with the foods I eat. 

After watching a few documentaries (I won’t even get into details there), I cut out meat entirely from my diet about 3 months ago.  I’ve definitely noticed a difference in the way I feel and the way my skin looks.  I’ve even taken photos to prove it.  Kind of like an experiment on myself. I began taking a hair, skin, and nails multi-vitamin, and also use some amazingly fantastic cream on my eyes every night.  The effects have been incredible. 

After lots of reading and studying up on things (here and here are a couple), I’m thinking my newest skin experiment will be eliminating dairy from my diet.  There have been a huge number of studies done on the connection between the consumption of dairy and skin issues like acne and rosacea.  I’d give pretty much anything to just have beautifully even and clear skin.  Oh, to feel like I don’t have to use foundation to make my skin even and cover up marks! Can you even imagine!?!

So, I’m mustering up my guts to give up my obsession with fro-yo and cheese (milk I couldn’t care less about giving up), and will most likely begin my dairy free month next Monday.  I’m going to enjoy all of the cheese and fro-yo I can stand this week just to make sure I’m good and sick of them by the time I let them go! 

 

I’m curious….

Have any of you given up dairy?  What have your results been like?  I hear it also makes digestion amazingly efficient.

Have you given up any other food groups and seen a positive effect on how you feel and look?

Patience, Kindness, and Love…Practice on Yourself First.

From my perspective, it's all fine, fine, fine...

From my perspective, it’s all fine, fine, fine…

I was not at peace today and couldn’t find my center. After wandering around aimlessly all morning, I dragged myself, exhausted, back to my apartment. I curled up in a ball, watched a movie, and took a nap. When I woke up, I put on my sneakers, and took a beautiful hike through Runyan Canyon in Hollywood. It always makes me feel tiny and infinite at the same time and it was just what I needed. Whenever I’d visit LA before I moved here, and frequently, whenever I’m in need of a reason to stay here…I return to it. Something about seeing the city, cloaked in fog, and the Hollywood sign protruding from the Hills makes me feel alive with possibilities. Now, my body hurts from pushing it so hard, but my soul feels quieter…less unsettled. The moral? It’s okay to feel down and out. It’s okay to cry and wander. But, once you’ve given yourself time to do that (which is VERY important) get up, get dressed, and sweat.

Today, I really gave myself some lovin.’ Be nice to YOU.

Peace today.

Pancakes and PJ’s

 

Moring mist in Santa Barbara

Moring mist in Santa Barbara

I have always loved breakfast.  It’s delicious and makes me nostalgic – two really great things.

When we were little, breakfast was always really important in my family.  During the week, it was what brought us all together before school and work took our family into different directions for the day, and on the weekends….ohhhh…the weekends….

On the weekends, it was when my daddy would stay in his PJ’s and spell our names out in pancake letters, or my mom would make us waffles the size of our heads – all drizzled in Vermont Maple Syrup my dad would lug home in gallon jugs on his hunting trips.  It was when boxes of fresh Florida grapefruits and oranges sent to us by my grandparents (and great grandparents) would be sliced in half and made into fresh juices.  My brothers and I would stay in our cozy clothes and watch cartoons while our parents concocted a feast.  How insanely comforting it is to remember the smells and the feeling of all coming together as a family.  Now that life has taken us in so many directions – California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, and Heaven – it’s even more amazing to have these memories with me.  I can’t wait to spell out my future children’s names in pancake letters.

Breakfast isn’t just important to me – it’s important to you, too.  Statistics are everywhere about how eating this first meal of the day can improve brain function and creativity, aid in weight loss, and set the tone for a healthy day.  Breakfast is also an amazing time to sit quietly and take care of yourself before your busy day begins.

I never, ever, ever miss breakfast.  Regardless of where I am, I always make it a point to enjoy my first meal.  I get asked quite frequently, so here’s an idea of what I eat:

If I’m home: 

If I’m home, I always make one of two things.   1. two slices of toasted Ezekiel Bread ( a sprouted grain bread you can find at places like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods) – one with sliced avocado, salt, and freshly cracked pepper,  and one with almond or peanut butter.

OR

2. A bowl of hot oatmeal (my absolute favorite is the blueberry flavor from Trader Joe’s!). I am OBSESSED with oatmeal.  If I’m making it from scratch (super cost-effective), I use – oats, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and then top it with any variety of frozen fruit or sliced banana.  Finished off with a few scrambled egg whites (or hard-boiled egg whites) on the side  and I’m good to go!  One loaf of bread or one box of oatmeal retails for less than $5.00 and will last the entire week.  Bargain city!

If I’m away from home:

Being away from home isn’t always the easiest or most ideal way to have a healthy breakfast.  Fast food restaurants can seem enticing, but resist the urge to go for the unhealthy stuff and veer towards one of these options instead:

McDonalds:  McDonalds now has oatmeal that, as an oatmeal connoisseur, I find to be very delicious. I believe varieties vary by location, but I always ask for the cinnamon oatmeal, minus the apples, extra walnuts.   The healthy fats give it staying power.  The apples, I’m simply allergic to, so go crazy if you’re not! An alternative to the oatmeal is the Egg McMuffin.  The English muffin and  egg combo is actually not “bad” for you at all.  Leave off the cheese and meat.  You don’t need it, trust me.

Starbucks:  Starbucks are evvvvverywhere these days, and they’re also offering some decent breakfast options.  I either go for the spinach, egg white, and feta breakfast wrap (sooooooo good), or – big surprise – the classic oatmeal.  It comes with packets of brown sugar, dried fruit, and nuts.  You can literally add in all three, and still come out with a healthy, nutritional bargain of a breakfast. 

 Conveneince Store:  I will first reach for a package of BelVita Breakfast Biscuits and an orange. (I am in no way affiliated or compensated by them – I just really like the blueberry ones, and I believe they offer a pretty good dose of nutrition, minimal sugar, and taste great when you eat them with coffee!)  It’s a really good idea to have a box of these babies stowed in your car for when you’re in a pinch.

If you find yourself in any of these places,  avoid grabbing these things that may seem like healthy choices:

Smoothies: Most in the gas station or convenience store are SUGAR BOMBS, negating any sort of nutritional benefit and setting you up for insta-hunger.

Bagels:  Bagels aren’t the devil – there’s just better things you could eat.  If you must, only eat half, and instead of the other half…have a piece of fruit.

Breakfast Bars:  Again, most are highly processed and loaded with sugar.

 

***** Please note that I am NOT (yet) an expert or doctor.  As always, please consult your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise plan. *****

 

 

 

 

 

So……..

 

 

What are you guys eating for breakfast?!