Friday, October 27, 2017

How to FEEL GOOD in Your Body

How often do you have a negative thought about your body?  

Is it first thing in the morning when you look in the mirror?  Stare at the clothes in your closet?  Step on the Scale?

It is no wonder that 97% of women have an “I hate my body” moment every single day…we have programmed ourselves!

We have, on average about 50,000 thoughts every single day, and research tells us that of these 50,000 thoughts, about 80% of them are negative!  AND on top of that as much as 90% of those are repeated day after day after day!  

So, with this knowledge, it is worth thinking about what it is you say to yourself about your body.  

Pause for a moment and think...What do you say to yourself when you first look in the mirror every morning?  

Is it easy to find a flaw with it right away?  Do you automatically bring judgment to the way you look first? 

Or, do you smile, say hello and take a moment to be grateful to have another day to experience this life and make more memories?

1 ONE of the quickest ways to begin to feel good in your body is to start every day being grateful for one thing about your body. It could be…
·      The unique color of your eyes
·      The strength of your legs
·      Your manicured fingernails
·      Your ability to hear the rain on the roof
·      The smoothness of your skin
·      The shape of your eyebrows

Anything counts here.  This can feel a little awkward at first, due to the fact that women are programmed not to look kindly towards themselves or their bodies in fear that others will think they are arrogant or narcissistic.

BUT, by starting the day noticing something that you like, or something you are grateful for about yourself, you set yourself up for noticing more beauty throughout the day ahead.  Just as if you started your day judging yourself, feeling shame, anger or frustration with your body, you set yourself up to be more judgmental of others as the day progresses.

Why not be a rebel! Begin your day by noticing the wonder of your body and all that it can do: hug, walk, watch a sunrise, listen to music, taste a piece of chocolate, sit in a Adirondack chair, stand to admire a piece of artwork, pick something up off the floor, swing on a swing or swim in the water.

By moving the focus away from what you cannot do and towards what you can do makes a big difference in the way you feel all day.  

2. Another way to feel good in your body is to wear clothes that fit and feel good on your body! 

So many women I know wake up every morning and stare into a closet of clothes that don’t fit, and from there they begin to go into an internal negative dialogue with themselves.  Feeling ashamed that they don’t look like they “should”, angry that they ate that second piece of pizza or didn’t get to the gym, frustrated that those pants from 5 years ago don’t fit anymore. 

I encourage you to clean out your closet and fill it with clothes that you feel good in, colors, fabrics and sizes that allow you to move and breathe. 

You have the ability to choose to start every morning looking at a closet of clothes that make you smile (setting you up to smile more during your day) VS looking at a closet day after day feeling bad about yourself, beating yourself up or even full of shame and hatred of yourself. 
·      You can box some clothes up, bring them to a consignment shop, put them out of site or give them to a shelter for someone else who may need them, to enjoy.

Wearing clothes that feel comfortable on your body is a great way to take care of yourself, an important self-care technique that can also help decrease stress and increase happiness.

3.  Lastly, another way to help you feel good in your body is to let go of all sources of comparison. 

Comparison of friends, family, social media feeds, cultural & societal norms and even younger versions of yourself.  

Here is how…
·      Unsubscribe to social media feeds that make you feel “less than” or not “good enough”
·      Find feeds that make you feel empowered and confident in how you look, check out Shaping Perspectives!

·      Notice when you begin to compare yourself to others...You are the only you.  Only you have your unique genetics.  Comparing yourself to another is like comparing apples to oranges
o   Start to appreciate your unique genetic type, tall, short, narrow hips, wide hips, voluptuous torso, thick thighs, small feet (you get the idea)

Research tells us that comparing yourself to others will decrease your own self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and overall body image. 

Feeling comfortable and appreciating the body that you have today can decrease stress, increase joy and will lead to a life full of more confidence and happiness

Body AA: Acceptance and Appreciation

A pile of clothes are piling up in the corner of my room... the past 10 minutes have gone something like this:

1. Pick out a piece of clothing
2. Try it on
3. Look in Mirror
4. Listen to my Mini-Me speak up..."that makes you look fat, you look disgusting, no way should you wear that."
5. I rip the piece of clothing off and fling it across the room into a heap of clothes on the floor...



Years and years of my life went by very similar to this.  It was only over the last few years that I began the journey to Body Acceptance....and the first step for me was Body Appreciation.

Thus the term Body AA...Too much of my life has been spent hating my body.  I was tired, worn out and burned out from the constant battle inside my head.  Eat this, don't eat that...wear this, don't wear that, work out this way, not that way...UGGGG.

Recently I was asked to respond to some questions about the term Body Neutrality.  A term that Green Mountain at Fox Run, where I had been working as a Program Director,  has been using for years.  Here is a sneak peak at the interview I had with Emilie Cuisinier, a French writer for the Huffington Post. 

*Where does the expression body neutrality come from ?

I first heard the term at Green Mountain at Fox Run. They came up with the term body neutrality when they realized there was a disconnect from the term body positivity within the participants who were immersed in the program. They (participants) would  land at Green Mountain with a great deal of hatred and dislike of their bodies, and to find positivity there was a real stretch.  By utilizing the term Body Neutrality, participants found a way to move away from the body hatred side of the “line” and towards the middle, where they were able to connect with feeling neutral with their bodies. 

*Can you explain this concept in one or two sentences ? 

Body Neutrality is a space where one does not find themselves feeling either body hatred or body love.  It is a space where one learns to begin to respect and honor their body for what it can do and where it is right now. 

*What’s is the difference between body neutrality and body positivity ? 

The hatred that women feel with their bodies comes from their negative self-talk and their beliefs that their body does not look like society presses that it should. And when women try to think positively about their bodies, when they do not feel that way, it contributes to the dislike of themselves…

Body Neutrality is a space that might not be positive.  It might be neutral.  Such as, a body positive woman might say
“My legs look great in these jeans”  or “My body is amazing”   whereas someone who is working within Body Neutrality might say “My legs help me walk down the street” or “My body allows me to hug my daughter”

Body neutrality can be a pausing place on the way towards body positivity.  Because the body positive statements do not feel genuine or authentic to the person saying them…YET…

*During your retreats, do you suggest some kind of mantra to women ? If yes, could you quote some of those mantras ? 

We move through an exercise of what the body CAN do…so “My body can” statements…and appreciation statements.

My body is capable
This is me
I appreciate the freedom my body gives me, because it can walk
My body is mine
My body is my home, it is where I live
My body is the vehicle I travel through this life in

*Although each woman/person is unique, which advice(s) do you always give to people that come to you ?

I encourage people to look at themselves with a different perspective.  Many women feel like all of their self worth is wrapped up in the way their body appears to others.  I try to shed light onto the many other facets of a unique individual.  Because, you are right, we are all different.  So what special and unique gifts, talents, likes, dislikes, and traits make up who you are.  It is a discovery of what makes them “them”.  Move them into finding their authenticity. 

*How/why meditation and mindfulness can help women in their body acceptance work ?

Meditation: There are some great meditations that focus on the body, on gratefulness of the body, of appreciation of the body, of noticing the body, of kindness and compassion of self.  These help women hear the words over and over again, thus decreasing resistance they may have towards liking and accepting their bodies…

Mindfulness: Noticing when the inner critical voice comes up to make negative statements of the body is the first step in beginning to change the language that a person uses with themselves.   This negative voice can come up by stepping on a scale, looking in a mirror, trying on clothes, or maybe a comment from someone else.  Mindfulness can step in and help change the conversation in the brain, by using some of the appreciation statements from above. 

*Do you think Body Neutrality can reach a broader audience?

Absolutely.  For many understanding that they can just start to be a little nicer to themselves by creating some neutral statements, that feel authentic and real to the person saying them can begin a journey to healing.  Taking away the pressures to conform to the societal pressures of loving yourself can be empowering.  To develop some confidence in a woman by helping them see the what their bodies are capable of, to help them understand that their worth is not all wrapped up in this vessel we call the body.  

The goal is to have women begin to see that they are so much more than their bodies.  That their bodies are their vehicles that they live their lives in.  Their bodies can help them create memories and have experiences.  It can provide independence and freedom of movement.
AND that they have so much more to give to the word…when they slowly start to decrease their self-hatred, and move towards appreciation and acceptance of self.

For many, this journey starts with one step…by saying to themselves, my body carried me up these stairs, or my body was strong enough to pick up my daughter and carry her to bed.  That is where appreciation of body can start.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Shaping Your Perspective on Change

Shaping your Perspective on Change

I am ready…Things are not as they appear. Change is in the fall air again in my life and I find myself pausing…

I am determined to accept this change for what it is.  Knowing in my heart it is time to re-group and re-focus.  To roll with this change by understanding and feeling the emotions and noticing the thoughts and the feelings that go along with it, without judgement. 

I have not always handled change very well... 

My whole life has been wrapped up in the physical.  Gym was my favorite class in elementary school it was a place where I was comfortable and successful…for a while anyway…

But, as I moved from elementary school to high school though I encountered others who were much more skilled than I, and was forced into a “uniform” where my identity was thrown.  I now hated gym.  Hated my body, and was no longer comfortable in the only place where I felt confident.  A harsh change in my identity.  Who was I?  

It was here when I decided to take control of the one thing I knew how body.  I would diet, exercise and isolate from others. I found control and comfort in my rules and rituals…Diet and exercise became my “go to” behavior.  I became very good at it too and because of this, I studied and spent over 30 years in what I thought was my life’s purpose; group exercise and fitness training. 

Change was in the fall air 2 years ago, when I decided to shift my vision, and I moved into a new amazing career working with women who struggle with their relationship with food, mind and/or body.  I thought I had found my dream job (as Program Director) at Green Mountain at Fox Run, only to realize…It was just a chapter in my story…

So here I am again, in the fall season, as the leaves turn bright red and orange, moving into a change in my life, moving into a new chapter.  

I am venturing into the arena of self-employment.  Counting on myself, and sharing my story.
From all the lessons I have learned, I am realizing that life is to be lived from the heart.  Passions are to be pursued, happiness is to be had.  Impact is to be made, knowledge is to be shared.   I no longer care about the outcome, I care about discovering, about new beginnings, about learning, even if I fail.  I am excited to try.

Enter this chapter, the one where our company Shaping Perspectives…A Woman’s Way to Joy! Has been formed. This is a place where there is support, care, knowledge, experience and coaching of women who are tired of fighting the war on weight, food and body.  If you would like to learn more or want to make a change, please check us out on our Facebook page or join us at one of our Women's Wellness Weekends...

I believe we move through life in a distinct order, at a precise time.  The people in our paths help support and guide us, and there are people who appear in our lives who we help and guide as well.  I recognize the changes I have made, the lessons I have learned and I feel love for my present chapter. 

Changes are a way of life, I wish you a smooth transition into your season of change.