The other evening, I nearly fell off my chair when I read my friend & fellow health coach Kendall Covitz’s Facebook status:
“A trainer looked me up and down and said ‘I can make your butt smaller and shrink you.’ I didn’t say anything since I was working for another company. What would you have done?”
Yes, I was mortified this happened to her but the reason I was shocked is that the SAME EXACT THING happened to me the day before. (You’ll read all about my story below in a minute) Was this a new trend? I had to reach out to her to tell her my story. We quickly realized that not only did this happen to the both of us just two days apart, but it was the same trainer.
After making each other giggle and realize what the woman said to us was pure hogwash (we both know each other are beautiful even if that means we’re not stick thin models), we knew we had to do something about it.
You see, as holistic health coaches, Kendall and I both work specifically with women to help them feel beautiful in their own skin by eating the foods & doing the exercises that are right for their bodies. Because, as I say on this blog over and over again, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. You gotta do what works for you, girlfriend!
When someone (especially a personal trainer & businesswoman who people look up to) is going around telling women they need to change their bodies or they’d be more beautiful THIS way, that’s putting people into cookie-cutter molds & totally going against everything Kendall & I believe in.
What if she said that to someone who was happy with their curves? What if she said that to someone with body image issues, or an eating disorder? What if she said that to someone who is in the midst of a major weight-loss journey, who is proud of their success? What if it’s not every single woman’s goal to LOSE weight or have a teeny-tiny butt or be stick thin? What if that’s the body she was given?
Imagine the harm that could do.
So yes, it’s safe to say we were pretty fired up about this! Hence Kendall’s novel idea of writing a joint blog post was born.
“I can get rid of those,” she said to me, pointing to my thighs covered in a pair of black workout leggings. “I used to have big thighs like you too.”
She then hopped up and took me in another room with a mirror, and had me stand right in front of it. I was starting to feel a little awkward. And as if this was her absolute favorite part of the day, she began rattling off everything “wrong” with my body.
“I can get rid of everything bad about you and make you hot!” she gleefully shouted.
I was in a meeting for work, and I said nothing. Not one word. I smiled, laughed and moved on with my day. But the more I got to thinking about it, the more I became infuriated. Gosh, I wish I said something. Anything.
That I love my body as is. That my curves and “too big” bum make me feel womanly & I adore shaking my hips on the dance floor (and in Zumba!) That these “fat thighs” have actually finished 3 half marathons, run hundreds of miles, and skied down dozens of slopes. That I actually am 30 pounds lighter than I ever was and got there by learning to love my body & eating real food, not counting calories. That I enjoy working out for my body, but mostly because it makes me feel good. That it’s my body, and everyone’s bodies are made differently.
That it’s not her job to tell me what I “should” and “shouldn’t” look like. That I have no interest in losing any weight at the time nor do I want my butt to be shrinked, thank you very much. That I am in good health with perfect cholesterol and a healthy weight for my size. That I don’t own a scale anymore, or have any interest in owning one. That I’m proud of who I am and what I look like. That she’s not entitled to tell other women how they should look.
But I said nothing because I was there on behalf of work.
Part of me was happy that I wasn’t upset by the situation. After years of body-hatred, dieting and trying to mold myself to look a certain way, I have finally come out on the other end. I finally know my worth. No, I wasn’t sad or hurt or ashamed. I didn’t want to cry, run away or beat myself up. Rather, I was downright pissed. I was fired up.
And yes, now, I feel the need to say something.
Here’s the thing: she didn’t know my story nor care to ask. If she had said that to me 9 years ago when I was a chubby junior in highschool (right before I went on my first diet), I would have been mortified and embarrassed, hiding my body with over-sized clothing and a fake smile.
If she had said that to me 6 years ago when I was a self-conscious, calorie-counting dieting, sophomore with a borderline eating disorder, I would have gone home to weigh myself, balled my eyes out, cut my calories even further and skipped dinner.
If she had said that to me 4 years ago when I was just starting to like my body again & lose the weight by eating REAL food, I would have pinched my fat and thought maybe I was never going to be able to love my body after all. That maybe I should just give up on this natural weight loss thing.
Are any of these scenarios promoting health or positive self-image? Is this the way to speak to young women, despite their weight or body size? Are any of these comments doing any good? What kind of message is this portraying to women?
During my years of obsessive dieting, I believed that my body needed to look like all the other girls in the magazines in order to be considered beautiful. I thought that the number on the scale defined who I was. I l let myself think that no man would ever want me unless I lost the weight and that once I lost the weight, then I’d be happy.
I didn’t realize at the time that it’s the other way around: to truly love your body and find your happy weight, you first need to start treating it with love.
I keep replaying those shameful words over and over again in my head, going back to all my wonderful clients. Most of them beautiful bright young women in their twenties who didn’t realize how beautiful they are. Most of whom feared food, hated their bodies or felt they weren’t “enough.” Most of them who were alot like me…6 years ago.
Every time I picture this trainer saying something like that to them, or any young women, it breaks my heart. These women need encouragement, hope, positivity, love. They need to know that yes, they can. That their bodies are beautiful as is, and once they themselves can see that, the transformation can begin. That your body is meant to be treated with love and kindness, as it’s the only one you have.
But by telling them no? That they cant? That their butts are too big and their thighs are too fat? That they can look “hot” if they get rid of all the “bad” things about them? That some stranger, who you just met, can shrink you to be “perfect?” Man, if only she knew the damage she could be causing.
Last night, after decorating our first real Christmas tree with my man, my home was full of so much love. Then as we were settling in for the night & cozying up on the couch, suddenly I thought about this woman and what she had said to me and started balling my eyes out. Uncontrollably. I didn’t really quite know why I was crying.
Perhaps I was finally feeling everything she said & having my reaction. Perhaps I needed to cry, and that was OK. Perhaps I was thinking about everything I’ve gone through over the past years, and was brought back back to my vulnerable, self-conscious self for a little bit. But I let myself cry. I let the feelings come out.
Then I remembered something: that I’m not that girl anymore that I was 6 years ago. That I am much stronger, more confident and happier in my own skin.
And I wasn’t going to let that woman take this away from me.
No we have no intention of bashing this woman or calling her out (in fact, we find that irrelevant & silly to stoop down to that level). But rather we desire to take the negativity & anger we experienced from this situation & spread our message: a message of body love, positivity and empowerment.
Ladies, don’t you dare let anyone tell you what your body should or shouldn’t be. Only you know what makes you feel your very best self, and no one knows your body quite like you do!
I highly encourage all of you to go to the mirror after reading this post (clothed or unclothed) and point out every. single. thing. you love about your body. What makes you you? What are you proud of? Honor that.
Please make sure to check out Kendall’s take on the issue over at On an Inhale, and give her some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’re on a mission to spread our message to as many women as we can! And please, speak up. I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on the issue! Have you experienced similar body-bashing? What would you have said if you were in our shoes? …
Time for another week of Flashback Friday, where I dig deep into my past life as a chronic, unhappy dieter to shed some light on what I’ve learned since then. This week I tackle emotional eating, cravings and everything in between. Are you ready?
I have a confession: Back when I was in college & hardcore dieting, my #1 vice was peanut butter. Fat-Free Skippy Peanut Butter to be exact. While everything else (like bread, real cheese, Mexican food, margaritas, pasta, certain meats, real sugar, full-fat anything) was off limits and “bad”, I still allowed myself to eat peanut butter. Fat-free peanut butter.
I’d eat it straight out of the jar with a big metal spoon, mindlessly scooping away until before I knew it half the jar would be gone. It made me feel really good — it was my “drug” of choice. I went through a jar of peanut butter a week (give or take).
While Skippy & I had a love affair throughout college, I labeled most food as “bad,” avoiding them like the plague. My “good” list was definitely lacking, and contained things like fat-free dressing, lean chicken, carb-free, low-cal “noodles,” fake cheese, rice cakes, iceberg lettuce, some nuts, raw fruits and vegetables.
And I had THE WORST cravings for my “bad” foods, especially comfort foods like cheesy dips, creamy casseroles and savory pasta dishes. So what did I do? Ignored them, naturally. Or if I dare had a bite, I’d stuff my face out of control as if it were my last meal on earth.
My roommates (who loved food & had a healthy relationship with food for that matter) said I would often stare at their food with wide eyes in a longing “I can’t have it” sort of way. Sometimes they’d even put food in front of me/offer me their leftovers because they knew deep down I was hungry.
The truth is, I was hungry not only for food but for something else.
Back then I never really stopped to ask myself, “What am I really hungry for?” “What am I truly craving?” I think if I could go back in time, my 20-year-old self would say things like self-love, acceptance, confidence and romance. Those were the things missing most from my life. And therefore I sought to get them from all the wrong ways: extreme dieting, makeup, hookups, tight dresses and burning off all my calories at the gym.
But no matter how many diets I went on, pounds of makeup I put on, boys I hooked up with, skin-tight dresses I bought at Forever 21, or calories I burned I never felt loved, accepted, confident or romanced. I was never “good enough.”
Next time you have a craving, I challenge you to dig into it, rather than ignore it. Go ahead and get close & personal. What do you find? What is your body truly asking for? That right there is what you want to take a deeper look into.
If this sounds like you or you’d like to understand your emotional eating behaviors, I’d like to invite you to a FREE 60-minute webinar “Stop the Bingefests & Learn to Love Food Again” on Tuesday, June 18th that I’m co-hosting with Stacy from ZenConnect. Watch our video & pre-register here!
P.S. Feeling like the odd friend out in your group of friends who seem to have it all together? Want to improve your relationship with food once & for all? Dying to know how to make eating healthy simple, fun & stress-free so you can ditch dieting and make more time for the things you love? Let’s talk!
Do you weigh yourself 2, 3, 5 times a day?
Do you let the number on the scale control your emotions & make or break your day?
Are you sick and tired of yo-yo dieting and ready to make changes for REAL?
Do you constantly compare yourself to your friends, co-workers, siblings, etc.?
Do you put food into two categories: “good” and “bad?”
Do you constantly tell yourself you’re fat, ugly and not skinny or pretty enough?
Have you tried everything…and I mean everything?
Are you fed up with counting calories, and ready to make the bigger things count?
I know, it’s not fun. I’ve know because, well, that used to be me.
I’ve been in your shoes! That’s why I’ve created a brand new program “Ditch Dieting, Fall in Love with Yourself” 90-Day Mind/Body Transformation to break through all that “stuff” holding you back & create a life you love.
For me, one of the most integral parts of ditching the diet-obsessed living was breaking up with the scale. Like any breakup, it isn’t easy but once you move on everything becomes so much more clear. Read my post “How I Broke Up With The Scale (Once & For All)” published over at MindBodyGreen.
P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Food Should Taste Good Giveaway for some tasty beach-day snacking!…
Why Your Relationship with Food is Directly Connected to Your Relationship with Money (& My Big Self Discovery)
This past weekend, I attended a Business Conference for Wellness Professionals in NYC—HMBA Live: Step into Your Spotlight—that literally changed my life. I can honestly say the past three days have been among the most fulfilling days of my life: eye-opening, fun, and transformational all in one.
I cried, laughed, danced, sang, ate, wrote, learned, reflected and heck, even spoke in front of a room full of 400+ people….on a microphone. In addition, I networked, made new friends, and relished in a community bursting with positive energy.
And while all of those things were life changing in and of itself, one of the most eye-opening “A-Hah” moments I had was when we started talking about money. More particularly our relationship with money. Just bear with me here…
I never really took the time to explore my relationship with money, although I certainly knew it wasn’t a good one. In fact, it was toxic, to say the least. I say was because all of this is about to change…starting 48 hours ago.
However, up until now, money and I just didn’t jive. We were heading straight to a break-up and boy was it going to be a nasty one. I’d spend my days obsessing over money up to the point where it was affecting every area of my life from my career to my self-love to my relationship. I’d anxiously swipe my credit card to get it over with (especially with impulse buys), and refused to look at my balance when withdrawing cash from the ATM. Then I’d experience several days of guilt for spending “too much” irresponsibly. To top it all off, I’d constantly compare myself to friends, family and colleagues who were making more money feeling both jealous and ashamed.
My beliefs were “I don’t have enough money,” “I will never have enough money,” “I can’t make good money doing what I love”, “Once I have money I will be happy” and “That’s great for her that she’s successful and making money but I will never be able to do that. HA! That’d be the day.”
It’s plain to see that money consumed me and, well, I let it. I wanted more of it, but refused come face-to-face with it at the same time. Therefore I ignored it and instead hid behind my go-to place of feeling scattered and “not enough” where in some twisted way I felt safe. I felt safe because this is the pattern I was used to.
It wasn’t until the beautiful Stacey and Carey of Holistic MBA encouraged me to look at my “Money Mirror” (a super powerful exercise if I do say so myself) that I finally saw things so clearly. One of the things we talked about is that how our relationship with money is directly related to our relationship with food, and in fact any relationship in our lives. These relationships—spouses, friends, business partners, co-workers, food, body image, boyfriends, family—are all tied together.
I quickly realized, as tears swelled my eyes, that my relationship with money was exactly the same of my relationship with food (in my late-teens and early twenties, that is). I spent my days obsessing over calories, the number on the scale and how much weight I had left to lose to the point where it consumed my life. I went through periods of bingeing (a.k.a. anxiously eating as much peanut butter out of the jar as fast as I could) followed by periods of deprivation and guilt a.k.a. essentially starving myself. Oh, and to top it all off I constantly compared myself to friends, family, and sorority girls who were skinnier and prettier than I was.
My beliefs were “I am not good enough, pretty enough or skinny enough,” “I will never lose the weight and be enough,” “Feeling beautiful and confident in my body is just not in the cards for me,” “Once I am skinny my life will be perfect,” and “Yea, she looks great but I will never look like she does.”
Are you seeing the pattern here? By no surprise, my money mirror card (there are four of them) that resonated with me was “Deservability,” also known as “The Pleaser.” Essentially, this type of person constantly feels guilty and tells themselves “I am not good enough as I am.” Constantly comparing themselves to others, “The Pleaser” creates anxiety, chaos and overworks herself leading to major burnout.
I finally got it…money was my new addiction and I was treating it exactly how I used to treat food (and my body). When I went up on the microphone to share my realization, I couldn’t stop shaking. This is it. It finally all makes sense! My limiting beliefs around money were preventing me from living the life of my dreams, just as my limiting beliefs around food and my body were preventing me from loving myself fully and truly. And while I’ve figured out the whole food thing, and in fact help other women overcome similar struggles, money and I still have a little work.
As I spoke, Stacey asked me point blank: “How did you overcome your issues with dieting?” and I said back, hands shaking, “I just quit…I let go. I told myself enough was enough and I didn’t want to feel so stressed anymore.”
She then had me write down this simple affirmation: I am safe to feel safe. I repeated it to myself in my head. It sounded nice…peaceful even. You see, you don’t have to struggle anymore. It is OK to give yourself permission to make a positive change you know deep down you need to make for yourself in order to transform. Whether you are struggling with your relationship, body image or food habits, know that things don’t have to be so damn hard and that you don’t have to suffer anymore.
While I am still on my personal journey with my money relationship, I am proud to say that I have healed myself from food torture and most importantly that you can do the same…starting today. When you make the investment in yourself to overcome these fears and “step into your spotlight,” anything is possible. And I mean it.
Are you ready to make the investment in yourself? If you suffer from compulsive dieting and want to lose the weight & gain the confidence while falling in love with yourself, I’d LOVE to invite you for a FREE 15-minute “Diet-Free Breakthrough Session.” Fill out this quickie form to schedule your complimentary session today.
It’s no lie I love writing. I love sharing my thoughts with the world, note-taking, blogging and quite possibly my favorite form: journaling. Unfortunately, the only type of journaling I did in college (i.e. my years of dieting) was counting calories in Calculus class while pretending to take notes. Not very comforting or journal-esque if I do say so myself. Food consumed my thoughts, actions and overall social life and, well, I let it.
All I could think about was my next meal, the calories in my lunch, where we were going to go out to eat, what I would order at dinner, or what would happen if I “cheated” and fell off the “band-waggon.” My thoughts were filled with guilt, shame and defeat and I had no one to share these thoughts with (or so I thought) and therefore I filled the void with dieting and self hate…my form of control.
After I quit dieting once and for all, I threw away the rusty scale, my calorie-counting notebook and any negative restrictive thoughts I had about myself. I decided it was finally time to wake up and live! For Real. Because what I was doing…was not living. It was hiding. It was torture. It was restriction. It was not who I was meant to be.
During my years of diet-hood, I only wished I had an outlet to get my thoughts out, to somehow make sense of it all. And that’s exactly why I’m fortunate to have discovered the Food/Mood Journal, essentially a personal diary tracking what you ate and most importantly how you feel (both inside and out). Journaling –no matter what your form may be — is a key step in breaking free from diet-obsessed living as it allows you to get real with yourself.
Be careful not to confuse food journaling with calorie counting or obsession, as it is quite the opposite as that. You see, after a few days of tracking what you’re eating and how it’s making you feel you’ll begin to see little patterns that help unlock your true emotions around food. Better yet, you’ll begin to understand & become more in tune with your body, improving the relationship you have with youreslf.
Not quite sure where to start?
Step 2: Take a Deep breath & clear your mind. Get excited – this is going to be fun!
Step 3: Purchase a journal, whip out a pen & get the writing started! I absolutely love these colorful leather journals from the universe knows, made with recycled paper with little inspiring words of wisdom on the covers. How pretty are these?
SPECIAL OFFER: Since I love you guys too, all Healthy Chicks readers can get 15% off their journal of choice with coupon code healthychicks.
Step 4: Schedule your FREE Diet-Free Breakthrough Session if you need more support through your journey to happy, healthy diet-free living.
Happy weekend friends! Do you listen to your body when it comes to food, or do you let mind games take over? Have you ever made a food journal? …
Ladies! Hope you are having a lovely, bright & beautiful week. It definitely doesn’t hurt that the sunshine is finally out, at least here in Boston. On that note, I am finally starting to feel a bit like myself again…every day is a new day for healing!
Anyway, I wanted to fill in all my Boston loves on a super sweet wellness workshop I’m hosting next week at The Breathing Room Yoga Studio in Cambridge, MA. We’ll chat anything and everything SPRING CLEANING, going much deeper than simply cleaning out the closet.
Far too many women are talking about the next diet to go on for spring break or how to lose weight fast, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to go on a diet. You just need a shift in perspective! And as a special treat to my beautiful readers, I’d like to honor 50% off your ticket. Just use promo code HealthyChicks50.
Here’s the deets:
WHO: YOU! All you lovely ladies are invited for an interactive ladies’ night out (I mean, Wellness Workshop!)
WHAT: “Detox & Declutter Your Mind & Body This Spring (Without Dieting)”
- A 60-minute interactive wellness discussion (covering everything from seasonal produce to ways to de-stress this spring)
- Q & A time with me!
- A healthy goodie bag to take home stuffed with tasty treats from some of my fave companies!
WHERE: The Breathing Room 763 Mass Ave Suite #7 Cambridge, MA
WHEN: Tuesday, April 30th 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
WHY: Because you don’t “need” to go on another diet to feel your best self this Spring. Learn how!
Learn more & snag your spot here on Eventbrite: http://springcleansing2013.eventbrite.com
**Remember to use promo code HealthyChicks50 for 50% off your ticket!**
We’ll all meet afterward for an optional healthy meal at my favorite local cafe Life Alive.
What’s the craziest diet you’ve ever gone on? What’s your #1 spring wellness question? Hope to see you there! …
Good afternoon ladies and welcome to this week’s feature for Friday Flashbacks, where I share with you personal life lessons from my past.
Do you remember in highschool when everyone would drive the same car, wear the same clothes and eat the same lunch because it was cool? It was “the thing” to do/eat/drink/be. I swear my lunch table was like an ad for Abercombie & Fitch (and bagels with cream cheese).
I remember one day, one of the girls in our class plucked her eyebrows super thin, and then everyone started doing it including myself. Soon it was trending like wildfire. Only problem was it completely backfired and I ended up over-plucking to the extent where I just looked plain scary. Not to mention the fact that I used to pile on two pounds of makeup…because that’s what all the girls were doing after all.
This continued in college with oversized designer sunglasses, blonde highlights, fad diets and Vera Bradley bags. Whatever was “in” at the moment all the girls would buy, making us look and act like one big clone. There was the day Junior year of college where a chunk of the girls were doing the Celebrity Lemonade Detox so I just had to do it too. Then there were the days I’d force myself to go out and take one too many shots, even when deep down I knew I really needed a night in with a good book and some hot tea. But they were doing it and I didn’t want to miss out.
Fortunately, I’ve come to learn that I can’t nor want be like everyone else (or I guess you could just call that the process of growing up.) However, nowadays I do still notice these tendencies to follow the latest fads, particularly for twenty-somethings.
Whether it’s the diet that all your friends are doing, the juicing that all your coworkers are raving about or the yoga pants all your yogi idols are wearing, we’re naturally drawn toward what’s popular and current.
However, throughout all of this, I think it’s important to remember to stay true to you, as cliché as that sounds. We are all so unique and beautiful in our own ways, and it’d be a shame to sacrifice that in order to be like someone else.
Just because a diet worked for your best friend doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you and heck, who even said you had to go on a diet any way? Newsflash: you don’t. Yes, juicing and green smoothies are the latest fad at the moment, but maybe you hate the taste and that’s totally OK; eat a colorful salad or some fresh sautéed greens. Or maybe you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE juicing, and that’s OK too…juice up girlfriend!
If you’re starting your own business as I am, dare to be different and make it your own. You’ll get nowhere (and find no satisfaction) if you spend your time trying to be like everyone else, and trying to serve everyone. Trust me I’ve been there, and it’s just not fun. It’s exhausting, really. Or maybe you hate running & simply can’t find the joy in it for the life of you but all the magazines are all telling you to run. Don’t…well unless you want to and are up for a challenge. Stick to your thing.
The point is we all have a tendency to want be like others and that’s totally OK from time to time. I think it’s important to have role models and people whom you look up to. However, there comes a point when you need to draw the line between admiration and impersonation, between doing what you love and doing what you think you should love, between being true to yourself and being someone else.
But there is one thing I believe to be certain: Be true to you and everything else will fall into place & you will begin to find true happiness.
Are you constantly comparing yourself to others? Do you find it hard to lead a happy, healthy lifestyle that you can feel good about? Are you itching to find a program designed for Y-O-U? I’m here for you! Please feel free to email me or schedule a FREE 15-minute info session to learn more about my health coaching programs/ to see if we’d work well together. My programs are designed to help women like you (and me) live to their fullest potential, break free of diet-obsessed living, and learn to use REAL food & self-care as n.o.u.i.s.h.m.e.n.t. …
If you’re new to my blog, each and every Friday I post a Friday Flashback, taking you on a journey back into my past life. Why? Well, because I’ve been there and can totally relate to body image issues, dieting struggles and all the other things in between.
This week, I want to touch upon how we treat our bodies. During my prime time of diet-obsessed living and calorie counting, I completely disrespected my body.
I filled up on toxic, chemicalized “diet” foods that promised to make me skinny (at least, according to all the magazines and advertisements) and ate or drank my feelings away. I abused myself in the mirror (telling myself I am fat, I am not pretty enough, I am not good enough) and abused myself in the gym by overworking it and forcing myself to exercise (even when I didn’t want to or when my body was saying “No! Enough!”) I listened to what the number on the scale said, instead of what my body was telling me loud and clear.
I remember being so hungry: for real food, for love, for the answers. Unfortunately, I was starving myself by loading up on both toxic foods and toxic relationships alike. And if I ever decided to “treat” myself & go all out? (I put “treat” in quotes because my treats really weren’t treats at all) Forget it! I’d spend the rest of the weekend consumed with guilt and attacking myself for being “bad.”
It’s safe to say, I was not treating myself with love (far from it). In fact, I was treating my body with hatred, fear and guilt and quite frankly it didn’t feel good.
Flash forward to now, and I’ve learned that our bodies are one of the most powerful and beautiful tools we have. Now why would we treat something so miraculous so poorly at times? I want you to be honest with yourself and ask, “When was the last time I did something truly nice for myself?” Can you answer that question with 100% confidence?
I challenge you this weekend to throw all your self-sabotaging thoughts out the window and pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Put the scale, rules and guilt on the back burner and bring a lil love to the spotlight. Know that it’s OK to be “bad” once in a while, and break the rules. Trust that your body will give you the answers you need, leading you to the truth. And remember, no matter what, treat your body with pure love…always.
When was the last time you did something kind for yourself? How do you treat your body with love? Are you stuck on dieting and self-sabotaging thoughts? I’m here for you! Please feel free to email me or schedule a FREE 15-minute info session to learn more about my health coaching programs/ to see if we’d work well together. My programs are designed to help women like me live to their fullest potential, break free of diet-obsessed living, and learn to use REAL food & self-care as n.o.u.i.s.h.m.e.n.t.…
I AM THAT GIRL
Last night, I was invited as a guest speaker for I Am That Girl’s Boston Chapter. If you’re not familiar with I Am That Girl, it’s a “community that inspires girls to discover their innate worth and purpose.” Obviously, their mission is right up my alley so I quickly accepted the invite!
Each meeting, the girls pick a different topic to discuss and in honor of NEDAwareness Week (National Eating Disorder Awareness Week), the topic was disordered eating habits & ways we restrict ourselves as women. Since I have been there and now work with other women to overcome diet-obsessed living, they asked me to shine the light on disordered eating habits beyond Anorexia, Bulimia, and bingeing.
It’s important to know that even habits like counting calories (in an unhealthy way), gym addictions, obsessions with the scale, feeling of shame/guilt, and restricting yourself with extreme diets and “diet-food” can be extremely detrimental to your health and overall wellbeing. I also want women to know that while these issues often aren’t talked about, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Heck, in college I thought my highly restricted eating habits were normal, and my only option if I wanted to be skinny. I often think “if only I had someone to talk to about these things back then,” but instead I chose to stay mum. I think as scary as it may be, talking it out and being open about these issues is one of the most therapeutic things you can do.
FRIDAY FLASHBACKS: FAT THIGHS & EMBRACING YOUR IMPERFECTIONS
For the IATG meeting, I planned a discussion highlighting my personal story, and then shared 7 Tips to Happy, Healthy Diet-Free Living. Pointer #3 was “Focus on Your Strengths Rather Then Dwelling on Your Flaws,” which immediately brought me right back to a Flashback:
Growing up, I never worried about my weight, pant size, or the food I put into my mouth. I just was. On that note, I came from a very loving family who loved food (we still do!) but I didn’t stress about it. I just ate. And up until I was 17 years old, weight, diet, scales, and calories were foreign words to me. Rather, my thoughts consisted of boys, gossip, makeup and plans for the weekend.
This all changed my senior year of high school, during a cruise with some close family friends. I was lying on a lounge chair in my red-flowered bikini one afternoon, soaking up the sun, unfazed by the fact that half of my body was exposed to the other passengers, when one of our friends (probably no older than 9 at the time) shouted, “Holy crap, your thighs are HUGE Rach!” Shocked and embarrassed, I quickly covered them up with my oversized beach towel. My face blushed, turning a bright tomato red.
“C’mon Rach, I didn’t mean it,” he said. “Take the towel off.”
“No!” I shouted, in a stubborn tone.
Shortly after the little episode, I put my shorts on over my bathing suit and we all went back to tanning and chatting as if nothing happened. But, while I may not have realized at the time, that day on the cruise ship was the start of my body image issues.
When I got home from the cruise, life continued where it left off. Nothing had really changed, other than that I was a bit more conscious of what my body looked like. Once I saw the pictures from the trip, I was shocked at how “big” I looked. “How did I get here?” I asked myself.
So I decided to step on the big, bad scale that sat on my bathroom floor, something I had never done before. The only time I ever got on a scale was when it was mandatory at a doctor’s appointment, and even then I didn’t care to know what the number actually was.
But, that day I decided to be a big girl and step on the old, rusted black and white scale. When the meter finally settled in at a number, I was shocked and appalled by what it said. Absolutely mortified. That was the day I began dieting and being obsessed with my image, but little did I know this viscous cycle would last for 5+ years.
The reason I’m bringing this up is because during these times I was extremely harsh on my body, particularly my “fat thighs.” I’d avoid wearing jeans because I thought they made me look ginormous, and I hid behind towels and shorts at the beach, mortified by my body. In fact, up until a realization I had during a trip to the beach a year and a half ago, I’d even leave my shorts on while tanning because I’d rather sacrifice awkward tan lines than exposing my “ugly” body.
Now, I’ve come to a place where I appreciate my body more than ever. I can look at my body in the mirror and be proud of what I see. I can walk around in a bathing suit and be OK about my not-so-thin Non Model legs, or even a little jiggle. I can smile and accept when my boyfriend tells me I look beautiful.
How? Here’s the thing: I’m always going to have “bigger thighs.” I’m a Pear Shape for crying out loud! However, that doesn’t mean I need to let my “big thighs” define who I am. In fact, sometimes your greatest flaws (like my “fat thighs”) can be turned into a gift in disguise. For instance, while I’m still aware that my thighs aren’t ever going to be teeny-tiny, I now look at them as strong, as a gift that carried me through multiple half marathons.
I encourage all of you to do the same. Rather than dwelling on your flaws, relish in your strengths. Or even better, take one of your biggest “flaws” and turn it into a hidden strength. Your strengths can be anything from gorgeous lips to killer abs, or maybe even that you’re an amazing dancer of have a special ability to make people laugh. Dig deep and I’m certain you’ll find something extra-special about you.
Do you let your flaws get to you? What’s your #1 strength? How can you turn your flaws into a strength? If you’re dealing with similar body image issues or extreme dieting, I highly recommend you check out my Diet-Free Diva Program or Venting Session to get to the bottom of it and move forward with your life! …
Good afternoon lovelies! Today I am excited to announce a new weekly feature on the blog: Friday Flashbacks. As I’ve mentioned time and time and again on this blog, while it may look like I have it “all together” health-wise that was not always the case. And for those who know me I am far from perfect; I’m a real girl.
But back in my late teenage years and early twenties I reallllyyy struggled with the scale, dieting, counting calories and everything in between. I have been there, there as in a place I never want to be again, a place many of you may have been (or may be now).
Friday Flashbacks will take you along with me back on a journey in time to peak at what my lifestyle/mindset was back then and how I’ve grown. I want you to know that I’ve gone through a lot to get to a place of self-love and that undoubtedly YOU CAN TOO.
The first time I started counting calories was sophomore year in college. College was one of the first times in my life that I truly felt pretty because I finally got down to my “ideal weight.” Only problem was I didn’t feel pretty inside; I was simply looking for outside validation from friends, frat boys and anyone that would give me the time of day. Every time someone told me I looked skinny or asked how much weight I lost, I felt a sense of accomplishment, sort of like the feeling you get when you’re younger and bring home a report card with straight As to your parents. I was proud.
During these times, food and calories completely consumed my life. I thought about food more than I thought about boys, and trust me that was a lot. From the moment I’d wake up, it’d be “What am I going to have for breakfast?” but not in a healthy, joyful excited way. Rather, I’d be freaking out over what kinds of food I’d allow myself to eat at breakfast, and the caloric total of each and every meal.
After one bite of my egg-beaters, I’d already be on to thinking about lunch, mentally adding up the calorie counts in my head. My mind was like a mental invisible calculator (a screwed up one), stressing me out, making me anxious and never giving me the right number.
“BAD BAD BAD,” I’d tell myself when the calories started creeping up. And then once they hit 1,000 that would be the end, and from then on I’d be highly cautious about eating anything else. Even if it was still early during the day or I was starving, 1,000 was my limit, period.
Sometimes, I’d sit in class, pretending to be taking notes, when really I was vigorously scribbling down everything I had eaten for the day, every last bite. Half cup egg beaters (60 calories), glass of water (0), half an apple (50), salad-no dressing (5), 4 carrots (20). It was stressful, annoying and terrifying all at the same time, but I had to do it and when I did I’d feel a sense of relief. OK, 600 down, 400 to go.
Some would call this a “food journal,” where people write their food intake down for the day to better see what they are really eating and to stay on track. Food journals are healthy…when done right. But my lists and mental notes were not healthy. It was a psycho obsession that I had to do or else.
One time I came home from a long day of classes to have “dinner.” The meal consisted of 5 mini rice cakes, a little scoop of peanut butter and a few carrots.
“What are you going to make for dinner tonight Rachey?” one of my roommates asked me.
“Um, oh, well this is my dinner,” I said.
“Are you serious? That’s like bird food, a snack at most!”
Embarrassed of my dinner (or lack there of), I piled on about 5 more mini rice cakes to my “platter.”
“SO THERE, TAKE THAT!” I thought to myself.
Looking back now, my “dinner,” attitude, and extreme restriction completely breaks my heart, mostly because I waisted several years of my life STRESSING and RESTRICTING rather than LIVING. In fact, I didn’t even know what it felt like to live, to relish in the moment, to simply be. I didn’t know what it was like to “go with the flow” and was envious of my friends who could eat whatever they wanted, work out when the mood struck and just be a twenty-something college student having FUN.
I apologize to everyone who had to watch me struggle, though I owe the biggest appology to myself for ever letting myself get to the point where I thought I had to eat like that to be thin, pretty and desired. Where I thought counting calories and eating bird food was the key to Skinnyville. Where I thought restriction would equal happiness.
While I am extremely grateful for “catching myself” a few years ago before I took things further, I only wish I had someone to talk to about these internal struggles, this never-ending battle I was facing. I wish I could have seen the beauty around me, that life is much more than food and weight and calories. Who knew there was so much more out there to soak in?
You often hear me say, “Counting your blessings is much more gratifying than counting calories” as this is something I want to ingrain into every young woman’s head. I truly believe this is the first step to breaking free of restriction. I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s why it’s important to speak up, to get support, to allow yourself to have emotions (the good, the bad and the ugly). You owe it to yourself. You are worth it.
Do you make time to count your blessings each day? Are you stuck on calorie counting? I’m here for you! Please feel free to email me or schedule a FREE 15-minute “BODY LOVE” Nourishment session to learn more about my health coaching programs & to see if we’d work well together. My programs are designed to help women like me live to their fullest potential, break free of diet-obsessed living, and learn to use REAL food & self-care as n.o.u.i.s.h.m.e.n.t. …