An Apology Letter To The Girls Struggling To Love Their Beautiful Bodies | Thought Catalog

Needs a repost

An Apology Letter To The Girls Struggling To Love Their Beautiful Bodies

By Shani Jay 

I’m sorry you’ve been convinced that the body you live in today doesn’t quite measure up. That you now believe your breasts need to fill a certain cup size, that your thighs must not meet each other, and your frame needs to mimic that of the women you don’t know but scroll past on Instagram every day.

I’m sorry for all the times you get out of the shower, catch a glimpse of your naked self in the mirror, and look at the reflection starring back at you in disgust, before instantly diverting your eyes elsewhere.

And I’m sorry that you’ve been made to see those dimples etched on the back of your thighs, the stretch marks trailing your belly, and the imperfectness of your body as ugly.

I’m sorry that you’re now unable to enjoy food the way you did as a little girl. That your mind is constantly obsessing over every calorie consumed, counting every bite that you take in, and panicking about gaining the tiniest bit of weight.

Maybe food has now become a go-to comfort for you, a drug that helps you temporarily feel better and forget about how deeply unhappy you are within yourself. Or maybe it has become a source of control, and you’ve learned to ignore those hunger pains, which grow louder every day.

I’m sorry that you spend the majority of your day feeling un-desirable, un-worthy and struggling to fit in to this world.

I’m sorry for all of those times someone said something cruel to you about the way you look, and that you decided to believe them. And I’m sorry that you carry around all of those words in the back of your mind today as a constant reminder that the woman you are is not, and will never be, good enough.

I’m sorry that you don’t believe your body is deserving of love. That you think you have to settle for anyone who takes an interest in you, because who are you to think you can do any better than that?

I’m sorry you now allow people to mistreat you and cause you pain because you think it’s your fault. You think that if only you had a smaller waist, a slender figure or a flatter stomach then you’d be deserving of someone better – someone who truly loves you for all that you are, inside and out.

But it’s not your fault. It’s not your problem. It’s our problem.

It’s our problem that women die every day from starving themselves because they believe they need to be thinner.

It’s our problem that young girls are made to feel like they need to crash diet or get cosmetic surgery so they can look like the models and celebrities they see on social media.

It’s our problem that most women are unhappy with their bodies.

And it breaks my heart that chances are you are one of them.

Because it shouldn’t be this way.

We shouldn’t aspire to look like clones of one another. We shouldn’t be unhealthily obsessing over our figures, and mutilating our bodies in order to mentally go from an average 7, to a 9 out of 10. We shouldn’t be placing so much value on something that isn’t going to last and has no real bearing on who you really are. 

So I ask you today to remove yourself from this competition that none of us women ever agreed to in the first place.

I ask you to love your body exactly as it is today, and remember all of the wonderful things it allows you to do.

And I ask you to make a promise to yourself to be more tolerant of those bodies you’ve been taught to recognize as ugly – especially if that body belongs to you. TC mark

Shani Jay

https://thoughtcatalog.com/shani-jayawardena/2017/07/an-apology-letter-to-the-girls-struggling-to-love-their-beautiful-bodies/

Feeling

The past two weeks are nuts, I don’t know the catalyst, maybe meeting Jill (hypothalamic amenorrhea warrior and spokesperson), or deleting my facebook and instagram accounts after reccos from my naturopath, or just being so fucking sick and tired of being tired and sick, and the warm weather having me craving LIFE (patio caesars, group trail runs, camp fire hangs, going out dancing round town like #awomanofthenight and doing the damn hair whip or something, the sexymenoutofhidingsportingmanbuns n tingz….but I am aware of my feelings more than ever.

I am so sick of analyzing my past and seeing why the hell I starve myself or control my life so damn much, but I want to live by my intuition, not self-inflicted routines implemented by my mind.  I know what I want:

Use my mind as a tool to listen to my bodytalk.

I haven’t been so vocal about this experience of change because it’s overwhelming me in emotions and feelings vs thoughts and words.  It’s the experience of living through my body instead of my mind.  I am frustrated though because in this process I have such overwhelm of #mymindisfulloffuck like, just #ALLTHEFEELS #nahmean?  People will only understand if they have gone through this stuff.  It’s so blinding where I came from and so enlightening and fear-free where I’m going.

I had a rad experience yesterday at the Telus store at Dufferin Mall.  I met Shad (ifyoudon’tknow…yourewelcome).  It was great, he’s a solid dude, great flow, and a local from London, ON.  We had a great conversation about life concepts, starting with the addiction to being online.  I bluntly told him about my struggles with Disordered Eating, and he was so honest in expressing how the stigma against body image talk was so prevalent among males that it isolates, and shuts off any feelings men might have.  The alientation and disregard of body image among men is huge.  I can’t imagine, because even as a female, I feel as though the talk about body image is big online, but unless you’re a member of a specific group, day-to-day talk is slim (nopunintended…thistime…).  And it’s fucked because it starts from a small seed of self-harming beliefs at a young age, and catapults.  I want to help girls to recognize early on this habit, and help initiate body-mind-celebration to infiltrate a healthy seat of soul.

It was so warming to hear such an icon like Shad expressing vulnerability and that he too has experienced and observed insecurity and self-deprecation among men.  It’s a thing, and I know that my disconnect from my own feelings are what led me here.  Reconnecting through FEELING is important.  I am currently fighting by telling myself “don’t think, just do” because as soon as my monkey mind starts to implement self-doubt, I make harmful choices.  When I observe a feeling, I say “don’t think, just do” and follow through.  For example, after my training, I’ll immediate come and eat something.  I know that if I think, I’ll easily talk myself out of it, but by breathing and saying that mantra, I act on the impulse.

That’s what’s up.

Feel me?

On “Flux”

Life is such a flux.

I always feel like I’m searching for certainty, for “the secret”, for the “always”.  I’d like to know that my body will stay the same shape as I get healthier (save for bigger boobs and a bonitaapplebum…) and I want to know that I’ll only gain weight in muscle/the ways that I believe to be aesthetic/functional as an athlete.

I’d like for my digestion to be like clockwork; to know when I’ll need the bathroom, to know exactly what time to eat/what to eat/when to train, when it’ll rain, it’s type simple and plain to maintain
I add a little funk to the brain
The funk baby…but that’s brain-insane, no?

Insanity is the thoughts my mind tries to make me believe; those desires.  I want to feel this stuff as it arrives in my body, and then use my mind with the feedback to act on whatever arises (of which I have no control) to feel better.

It takes trust and letting go of my thoughts.  It’s so hard when I’m very used to thinking more than feeling, and overriding any physical needs before they have the chance of manifesting and me acting on them.  I have alienated my feelings because I’m afraid to feel.  But this restricted living is taking a toll on my life and I’ve come to an awareness opening up to being so damn numb that I’m willing to risk the fear in order to get out of this half life.

I have changed my schedule throughout the past few years since its implementation, granted.  As my feelings have changed, I have adapted, but only in adjusting and shifting my regimented schedule and rigidity.  Letting go actually means tossing the concept of grasping, certainty and expectations to the curb, and living with no seat under my ass.

Tuning into feelings as they come.
Ever changing.
The dynamic human being, woman, lady, little girl.
Finding balance in whatever comes.

The “NOW” Diet

Sat nam…mtherlvrs…

Why my restricted diet didn’t work:

IMG_3231

I grew up in a controlling home; Mum and Dad were eastern Europeans and followed the mantra of “finish what’s on your plate before you can leave the table”. Food was served to me, and I rebelled growing up by ordering chicken fingers and fries on special request at every dinner out (even when not on the menu). “Picky eater” was what I was dubbed. But in retrospect, I can see that my little self was trying to solidify herself in self-assurance and in my rebelling, I was attempting to gain control over my own life. I became so keen to rebel that it then became my identity because I was so sick and unhappy of being told what or when to eat. Essentially, my identity became “Fuck you, I’ll do the opposite of what you want me to do.” The trouble lay in my identity becoming a mask of coping through rebellion, instead of true intuitive listening to my own needs. What the hell did I like to eat?

Long ass food journey of Bulimia, Anorexia, seasoned with Anxiety and Depression. Honestly, now, as I heal, I can say that self-awareness and being present is the key to finding myself. There is no fear and no need to escape myself when I’m present. If I dissociate, numb myself, mindlessly eat shit that bloats me, if I don’t tune into my true hungers, be them mind-based or physiological or BOTH, then I lose myself. The cycle continues in this catalyzing way, the vicious turmoil of pain and more pain, craving more and more escape. More water, more salt, more foods that engage my psychological needs to FEEL (think shitloads of Tabasco, heat, FEELINGS, SENSATIONS, etcetc).

After high school and university, binge-purge escapism persisted. I was a sensationalist. I rebelled so hard and didn’t eat the “real food” served at home, buying into my now-ingrained habit of rebellion by way of non-food items (egg white fluff pancakes, fat-free coffee whitener, sugar free jam…copious amounts of splenda…) paved way to finding a healthier way in more routine, and Timothy Ferriss’s “slow-carb” diet. This was a new awakening for me. A peek at physiological nourishment. So I followed, strictly. Slowly, binges stopped. I ate on time, without hours of punitive fasting, and real food like eggs and hummus. But my deep sense of self was still not looked at. I was covering up the wound, not looking at the pain, again, escaping. I’ll bless my own soul for surviving though, because each step along this journey has molded my NOW. Thanks sexci Ferriss for the SC diet because it gave me nourishment, body nourishment and not soul, albeit, but still good food. But, HARK- (?)

This new diet, “Paleo” became what I believed to be my saviour. But then my life gradually took on an insane routine-oriented blinding, rubbish-path. Obsessed with timing of food, and so keen to listen to body hunger cues while still bloating and dishonouring my intuition, I closed off my own life.

Today, right now, I am changing. More aware of myself than ever before, I don’t want to hide from my feelings anymore. When I release this stronghold of routine, I am forced to FEEL. When I feel all of my needs, all my body’s speech, I am so goddamn grounded. Fuck, I just now had the first real food breakfast I’ve had in years, instead of my usual super-diluted protein-powdered blended “smoothie bowl” (sometimes smoothies good, sometimes chew, aye?!). What I am realizing is that the reasons my “diet” and most “diets” don’t work, is because WE are always changing. We have to constantly tune into our needs, no singular rules will work. For example, kefir, good shit, right? Honestly though, not alllll the time! Sometimes my body doesn’t want kefir, and sometimes it does. That’s WORK. That’s discomfort in awareness. Listening, because we are DYNAMIC beings, this human shit we partake in. Always changing, no constant, no definitive rules. Sometimes poo 2x a day, sometimes 4 (sorry for those less than 2….bless your souls….might I suggest flax? sometimes…).

That’s that. I’m on my way. We all are, aren’t we?

And now, some funny indian comedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o_GAZMnmuM&t=70s

Have a sweet ass Monday!

Feeding your Inner Child

food cravings

Food cravings are often confounded in media towards sweet and fatty foods. When sitting down for a meal, are you mindful of what your body is craving?  Steak (low in iron), veggies (alkaline/acidic), ginger (antiinflammatory), or anything else.  Whether your body is acidic, alkaline or nutrient-deficient, the body language speaks in hints and whispers to tell us what we need. Often we seek the advice of health professionals, external resources once illness ensues, in order to get the answer we seek. But if our own bodies are posing the questions, should we not know the answers ourselves? We are all we need to be happy and healthy, and when we tune into our body’s requests, bringing mindful awareness into and around feeding, rest, and our fundamental needs, we will not reach the point of illness. And if we do, if we listen, often our own voices are enough to tell us how to heal and repair.

self-care_-bomb_Think of a pregnant woman, nurturing inside her a child. She will have these fluctuating and demanding food cravings. Some, seemingly bizarre. As a mother is carrying a child, we are also carrying inside us our inner child. We have food and specific flavour cravings, but unlike an expecting mother, we are often taught mixed signals about suppressing our needs in favour of work and other demands. A mother knows the critical importance of feeding her child, but we often sideline and back-burn our needs as adults. These whispers and pleas from our body build up, we get confused, and often end up reaching for a sugar hit when stress accumulates and we have forgone our needs for too long. Our inner child needs to be addressed; our awareness needs not be clouded. When we practice mindfulness around body signals and tuning into our body’s language, we learn intuitive eating, just as an expecting mother does when she craves certain things that the baby needs. However in society, an expecting mother is given the space to help the child grow. Her purpose is for giving the baby the best care it can in order to grow. Society doesn’t give space for adults alike to learn this, let along children. Our purposes lie in the roles society subliminally guides us to through social norms. Be that work, school, parenting, caring for others before ourselves. We cannot help others if we have not yet helped ourselves. So, we must relearn to listen. In this way, we can learn to give our bodies what they need instead of suppressing requirements in favour of what society deems priority.

It seems that the idea behind self-love by treating your inner child with love and proper nourishment is thought to be insignificant and selfish versus necessary and self-interested. So our busyness leads us to a block with our awareness channel of our minds to our bodies, and we get sick, overweight and unhappy. We cannot change other people’s stigmas on the need for our health as a priority, but we can change our own belief systems. We can start by understanding the need to nourish our inner child. After all, we are the beings that were so cared for in the womb. We owe it to ourselves to attend to ourselves with as much care and intention. It is time for us to treat ourselves as our little child versions, as did our caregivers and mothers.

Start with mindfulness around your needs. Before eating, take a brief second or a walk around the block if you can spare it, and inquire to your body what it is craving. This takes time and a healthy dose of self-interest (not selfishness) to devote yourself to your own health. Remember, without this space for yourself, your body’s voice will be muffled or silenced, resulting in a buildup of cravings, eventually a crash.  Beginning with a mindful practice around eating opens opportunity to truly nourish your body instead of ending up confused, deprived, famished and ill.

 

Elephant Journal Article: 12 Ayurvedic Tips for Healthy Eating. ~ Julie Bernier

I’d like to post this great article from Elephant Journal that explains some tips for healthy eating that are even more important than WHAT we’re eating, but HOW we’re eating.
This is one of the biggest themes in my life, and sharing how I’ve learned some great lessons to tailor my own healing journey is one of my most intuitively integral purposes in my life.
lifestyle design
I am creating a Lifestyle Design Package for a template, as well as a free daily example of what a well-designed, routinized day looks like.  I’ll be offering the package for a 30 day deal, with a one-week jump start to reboot your life, and begin to make changes to engineer a life with healthier habits for finding your ideal weight, lowering stress, improving digestion and gut health, as well as calming the mind and dispelling chronic illnesses and insomnia.
The plan will include:
  • Scheduled eating times throughout the day
  • Movement and walks prior to each meal
  • Mindful breathing practice for 60s prior to each meal
  • 7 Thirty minute workouts for each day of the week (one active rest day of stretching/Yoga included)
  • Ayurvedic/Paleo/Sattvicly inclined meal options including recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and snacks
  • Highlights on where to focus on mindfulness meditation techniques including: awareness of body and mind-state, stress state, intuition, commitment, self-duty, authenticity to self and others
  • Emphasis on maintainable plan that is fine tuned to the individual, for longterm change, CONSISTENCY, slowing down, surrendering to intuition, and a sense of calmness and being grounded.
Side effects include: improved immunity, happy demeanour, positive attitude, good poops, more fun, and wholesome, holistic health. 🙂

It’s More Than What We Eat: 12 Ayurvedic Tips for Healthy Eating. ~ Julie Bernier

Julie Bernier

Via on Oct 13, 2013

holiday-eating-binging-nutrition-health

A lot of us really care aboutwhat we eat.

We buy organic, avoid GMOs, weigh up antioxidants, evaluate the glycemic index: all factors relating to the quality of the food entering our bodies.

Props to us for doing our research and making healthy choices, but it’s all done in vain if we don’t give as much attention to the process of eating itself. It’s not only what we eat, but alsohow we eat that matters.

Ayurveda, the science of life, teaches us how to eat.

This concept may seem a little silly at first. After all, we’ve got decades of practice under our belts!

But let’s face it, the norm in our busy American lives is eating in the car, standing up, when we’re stressed, in a rush and chowing down on cold leftovers straight from the fridge. Under these conditions, we don’t digest properly and even the most wholesome food becomes unwholesome to the body. There’s certainly room for improvement.

For this reason, Ayurveda gives us upayoga samstha: the art of eating.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Eat when your food is warm.

It shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. Warm food ensures we don’t snuff out the agni (digestive fire) and makes for good digestion.

2. Eat freshly cooked food.

Fresh food is full of prana (life force) and nutrients. These start to diminish soon after it’s cooked. By the time it’s a leftover, the properties have changed and it’s heavy for the body to digest. Cooking every single meal may not be realistic but at least try to avoid food that’s been cooked more than 24 hours before.

3. Eat the right quantity of food.

Overeating leads to indigestion and undereating leads to loss of strength. There’s no standard amount that’s right for everyone because we’re all different sizes and have different needs. Find your right amount by filling your belly 50 percent with food, 25 percent with liquids and leave 25 percent empty for digestive action.

4. Chew your food thoroughly and eat at a moderate pace.

Digestion starts in the mouth.Chewing your food properly makes it easier for the rest of the system to process.

5. Wait until the previous meal is digested before eating again.

Ayurveda says that feeding the system too soon is a major cause of ill health. How to know if your food is digested? You should feel light, enthusiastic, hungry, and thirsty.

6. Eat around the same time each day.

The body thrives on routine. The digestive system does well when it can expect its meals at a certain hour. It’s prepared and ready for action.

7. Eat when you’re hungry.

Hunger (meaning true hunger, not the munchies) is a natural urge that should not be suppressed. Once you’ve got an eating routine going, you’ll find that you’re hungry when it’s meal time and won’t crave snacks. Listen to your body’s hunger cues when given.

8. Never eat when you’re upset.

Wholesome food will lose its wholesomeness in the digestive tract if it’s eaten with a negative state of mind. If you’re upset, angry or crying, postpone eating until you feel better.

9. Eat in a quiet, settled atmosphere.

A calm environment promotes a calm mind. And the state of mind has a direct impact on the physical body and the process of digestion.

10. Always sit down to eat.

Try your best not to eat in the car, while walking or even while standing. The body doesn’t want to multitask when you’re eating. Sitting ensures that all your energy is given to digestion.

11. Concentrate on your food.

When you give it your full attention it will taste better, you’ll enjoy it more and you’ll be less tempted to overeat because you’ll notice those cues of satiation. Avoid distractions like eating in front of the TV, reading or working.

12. Sit for a few minutes after each meal.

Don’t eat and run. Just be still for a little while to let your digestive system do its thing.

These guidelines are simple but make a big difference. When you choose seasonal, local, organic foods appropriate for your body andeat them in the right manner, your body can process the food the way it’s supposed to.

Good health starts with good digestion.

How Food and Emotion are connected

In Ayurveda, there’s big emphasis on the state of mind, and how food affects us.

Did you know that food, and the way we eat, and how we feel while, during, and after eating plays a huge role in how we live our lives?

yoga-diet

Hansaji Yogendra of The Yoga Institute in Mumbai, India, has great insight onto this topic in her article Yogic Principles of Healthy Eating:

The ancients knew this long ago – they equated food with God. Thus, were developed rituals and practices like praying before meals, eating with full concentration, relishing the meal, etc. Therefore while eating, one should attend to the way food is being chewed, the subtle tastes of the different food items, the way it goes down the oesophagus to the stomach, etc.

When food is eaten thus, with one -pointedness, the assimilation and absorption of food is at its best. This is the ideal way to eat food. Alternatively, one could also indulge in polite conversations bringing joy and happiness. Avoid watching television while eating. One should also try to go beyond likes and dislikes and not have a negative opinion about food. Most physical ailments are caused due to unhealthy food habits.

Moderation is the key word. Eat food as a duty, eat only as much as will make you feel hungry after 4 hours. Remember that food we eat is only to sustain us and our body’s proper functioning, avoid overeating just because you like the taste of the food. Instead eat what you love slowly, relishing every part of the meal; that way you will feel fuller faster and not crave for more food.

Furthermore, here are some key points to take home:

Tips to eat right from dawn to dusk

  • While lying in bed on your back inhale 5 seconds and exhale deeply 5 seconds. While going for a walk inhale for 2 steps, exhale for 2 steps. Follow this pattern for about hundred steps. This will help you wake up feeling happy and relaxed.
  • Appreciate whatever there is on your plate. In case some taste is unpleasant for you, instead of becoming critical, enjoy every morsel of food and be happy that you have some food to eat, unlike others who do not. Our likes and dislikes have to be tempered by what is good for us. Remember to chew your food thoroughly. Make sure you do not have another morsel ready as you chew, this will tend to rush your meal. Wait till you have swallowed the food in your moth before you pick up the next morsel.
  • If your job is a sedentary one, get up every half an hour and walk a few steps.
  • Change the position of your legs often, this helps prevent swelling in the legs and keeps your blood circulation in order. Whenever possible close the eyes and think. Listen more and speak less.

Now here is a log that I used to track my emotions and how I felt after eating different foods.  I noticed consistently that there was a theme to how I felt after consuming different foods.  The Ayurvedic food groups are tracked into 3 Categories:

According to Yoga, the type of food you eat determines the type of mind , you have. As the food, so the mind; As the mind, so the man. Therefore, eat easily digestible food or

  1. Sattvic food which includes: Milk and milk products fresh fruits and dry fruits seasonal vegetables, cereals (like wheat, unpolished rice, jowar, bajra, corn), pulses (like moong dal – green with skin and yellow), sprouted cereals and pulses. A little ginger, turmeric powder (haldi), cumin seeds (jeera), coriander powder (dhania). Honey, jaggery, crystal sugar (misry), raw sugar (gud shakkar), ghee or rice brand oil and filtered oil (groundnut or till oil). Eating this food brings relaxation and a feeling of peace.What not to eat?
  2. Only little of rajasic food may be eaten. This food is difficult to digest and leaves one in a disturbed state of mind. All non-vegetarian foods, hot spices, onions, garlic, non-seasonal vegetables and salt fall in this category.
  3. Tamasic food is unnatural and stale. All refined, processed, artificially coloured, flavoured and deep frozen foods are Tamasic in nature.

NOW: Keep in mind that moderation in moderation is key.  This info is powerful knowledge, and so use to your digression.  Every body is different, so why not experiment with the log below to see how you feel?  It’s a cool self-experiment.

Mind and Body Reaction to Food Intake: Rate each which is applicable /10

This is a log which is a tool to use in order to see how our food choices affect the way we function in our minds and bodies. Food is a powerful medicine that affects not only our body functioning, but also our state of mind and state of being. This log is a way to watch how we feel after eating the food we eat, in a way to mindfully shift our behaviours after becoming aware of the way our choices are driving our sense perceptions.

  Morning Afternoon Evening
Time of Eating      
Food      
Mental state prior to eating      
Perceived Quantity      
Calmness      
Clarity      
Stress-level      
Mental comfort      
Physical Comfort      
Energy Level      
Happiness      
Self-Image      
Confidence      
Anxiety      
Ease/dis-ease      
Satiety      
Other      

Here’s an extra vid of brilliant insight if you want to hear more about Hansaji, and what she has to share: