Tag Archives: body image

Healthy Impacts: The Positive Influence on Readers

5 Oct

[me: happy, healthy, & alive--curves & all]

If you haven’t already heard there has been an uproar of comments/concerns/controversy/anger/discussion over the latest Marie Claire article “The Hunger Diaries.” The article shines the light on how “healthy living” blogs may be putting their readers and themselves in danger, potentially promoting eating disorders, extreme dieting, and over-exercising. While I could go on and on about my take on the article or my opinion of “The Big 6,” that’s not why I’m writing. 

I’m writing because I do agree with one thing the article said: that blogs, including healthy living blogs, do have an influence on their readers. And I think that can be a good thing, in many cases! In fact if it were a bad thing, I’d have no purpose in having this blog or working on a memoir based on my experiences before I started this blog. I write because I strive to have a positive impact on women all over, making them feel wonderful about their bodies, happy for being themselves and enthusiastic about living a healthy lifestyle. 

You see if people took a chance to read blogs like my own (and hundreds of other positive, influential, inspiring women) they’d realize healthy is so much more than running 60 miles a week, cutting out carbs or squeezing into your Little Black Dress. Being healthy is feeling comfortable in your own skin, exercising for your mind and body, experimenting with creative recipes in the kitchen, and helping other women feel good about themselves. 

I can’t count the number of positive responses I’ve gotten because of my blog, and the positive effect it has on my readers, including friends, coworkers, strangers, fellow bloggers and tweeters. Just today, my sister’s roommate who hates any healthy food told me she absolutely loves my blog. “It actually makes me want to eat healthy food!! Pat yourself on the back that is a huge accomplishment.” I find it amazing (and inspiring) that because of my feel-good approach to writing, tasty wholesome recipes and healthy living approach to life, others want to follow in that path. I’ve had other’s write to me saying that I’ve helped their body image and confidence, that they love my healthy eating tips, and some who enjoy my silly, happy random posts that have nothing to do with dieting. Blah. The word diet just sounds scary. 

That’s exactly why I am working on writing a memoir: to help women see there is so much more to health. You see, I wasn’t always healthy. While I was thinner at one point (a good 15 pounds less than I am now), I was by no means healthy. I obsessed over food, wrote down everything I ate, counted calories, freaked if I didn’t work out at least an hour (or 3) a day, and thought boy’s didn’t like me because I was “fat.” That’s what my life was like for a solid 4+ years. It was absolutely torturous and I couldn’t find a way out.

But I did! Look at me today: a happy, curvy, perky, vivacious, lively, fun, healthy 23-year-old. I love my body, I love yoga, I love exercising because it makes me feel good, I love cooking, I love trying new restaurants and exotic foods, and most of all love life. I’ve come such a long way and I only wish other women who have ever struggled (or are currently struggling) can get to the point I’m at as well.

So stay tuned my fellow readers. This Healthy Chick is comin’ out with a book within the next year that’s gonna knock your socks off : ) I can’t wait to keep writing and bring you along on my journey to health and happiness. 

There is More to Life Than Calories & Weight

23 Sep

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Do you know that there was a time when all I thought about was calories and my weight? It was downright tiring but I simply couldn’t get it out of my mind. I’d count calories in everything I ate, even if it was just a tiny yogurt, an apple or a small salad. I’d weigh myself every day (sometimes five times a day) and beat myself up if the number on the scale went up at all (even .5 pounds). I’d exercise obnoxious amounts in order to burn off everything I ate and so I’d feel “skinny.” It was downright self-sabotaging and every time I look back on my former self, I can’t believe that this negative inner “weight talk” consumed an entire 4+ years of my life. There is so much more to life than that. 

While it’s sad to realize that’s how low I used to think about myself, I couldn’t be happier about the person I am today. Four years later, I’m now a happy, confident, determined young woman who doesn’t think an ounce about calories or stress about weight gain. I’ve finally come to the realization that there is so much more to life, and if you are happy with yourself and your body then the number on the scale doesn’t really matter. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my “fat days” occasionally or sometimes feel a teensy weensy bit of jealousy toward other women’s bikini bods, but my weight-consumed days are far in the past (Thank God).

It’s come to my attention, however, than many women went through or are currently going through the same sort of thing I went through. I hear women every day talk about “needing to go a diet,” wanting to drop 10 pounds or discussing the best fat free/low cal foods for weight loss. I see perfectly healthy girls skipping lunch or eating a 100 calorie pack and calling it a day. At times, I want to confront these women and tell them it’s all going to be OK and they will be able to stop obsessising with diets and weight loss soon enough. Then other times I’m tempted to butt in and tell them the answer isn’t a carb-free diet, sugar free soda or longer trips to the gym. There’s a lotttt more to it than that.

But at the same time, I’d also be lying if I told you that getting over my weight obsession was easy, or there is some magic wand you can wave to make everything normal again. (Wouldn’t that be nice?) Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and I had to go through a lot of self realization in order to get to the happy, perky, care-free self I am today. That’s why I’m in the midst of writing a book–a memoir of sorts–about the struggles I went through, how I overcame them, and how other women can do the same! Hopefully if I could finally get over the hump, then you (or your sister/best friend/mother/daughter) can too. 

As I sit here eating an open-faced turkey ‘n’ cheese sandwich on Ezekiel bread with sliced cucumbers and a side of sweet potato chips, I smile and think of how happy I am that I’m finally over those terrifying days of my past. Damn this is a good sandwich and I can’t wait to have another one of my chocolate chip pumpkin muffins afterward! 

Do you struggle with your weight or let negative thoughts consume you? Have you overcome that weight-talk as I did, and finally found your “happy place”? If so, how? 

Sexiness is a Sate of Mind: Let it Shine Through!

15 Sep

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Sexy. The dictionary defines it as three things: 1. provoking or intended to provoke sexual interest, 2. feeling sexual interest; aroused 3. interesting, exciting, or trendy. However, I don’t  feel sexy is really definable when you think about it, as it’s relative to the person at hand. What may be sexy to one isn’t necessarily sexy to another i.e. the guy I was drooling at while at the bar last weekend, my friend found to be “heinous.” Yes, she indeed used the word heinous. You can compare cars, dresses, ties, shoes, restaurants and everyone is going to have their own definition as to what he or she finds sexy. 

On other notes, what makes a woman feel sexy changes from person to person as well. And I was very interested in digging deeper into the minds of different women of all ages to see what sexy means to them. First I’ll start with myself. This may seem strange, but I feel my absolute sexiest when I’m in tight workout clothes heading out for a workout. Yes, a form-fitting tank and some cute cropped yoga pants with a pony makes me feel 1,000000 times sexier than when I’m decked out to the nines in heels and a dress. Why? Because I’m doing something that makes me feel good about myself (exercising) and in turn makes me feel good about my body and my look. Hence after a long, sweaty workout I feel oh so sexy on the inside out (yes, even if I have sweat dripping down my face and my hair is a little knotty). No perfume, minimal make up, lots of sweat and still I feel on top of the world. 

The thing that I realized is: sexiness is a current sate of mind, an attitude of sorts that varies from person to person.

Another reader agreed with me on what sexy is to her, saying that she feels her absolute best after finishing a race. Why? Because she feels amazing about what she just accomplished, in turn making her feel confident and hot. Some women said it had more to do with glamour, and they feel their best with painted nails, super high heels and a hot, trendy dress. This, I’m guessing, is because they feel good about themselves in the mirror and this feel-good state carries outwardly. I can relate to these women in a way. Sometimes when I’m in super high heels and a glamorous outfit, I know I look good, so I feel good on the inside and my confidence shines (it’s a chain of sorts). Therefore, while I may look like the same old Rachel to the outside eye, the inside Rachel is feeling sexy and confident and that’s what people see.

I had some other more unique responses. One woman said she feels her sexiest after a few glasses of wine because after having kids her body isn’t the way it used to be, in turn making her feel sexy much less often. While she said she is working on it, I suggested to her that sexiness is a state of mind and if she can find something that makes her feel good on the inside, I can assure that she’ll in turn feel sexy on the outside. Maybe this could mean throwing on some sensual lingerie that she feels good in, not that her husband will necessarily like. Or it may mean putting on some tunes and dancing around the house half naked, just letting lose. There’s a million things to do that can alter your inner mindset, letting your sexiness explode. The thing is it has to be something you do for you not someone else; that’s when your true sexiness will shine. 

Some have no problem with feeling sexy, and walk through life with confidence and sex appeal every day. That’d be nice to be one of those people, but for the most of us the feeling of sexiness comes and goes. One woman responded with an extremely bold and honest answer. “I feel my sexiest when I’m having sex.” What a blunt answer. Then I thought about it, and can understand how for some women this is a huge boost of confidence. I mean, what other time are you more in tune with your body? If you can feel your sexiest when you’re having…um…sex then more power to you! I think that’s a wonderful thing.

When it’s all said and done, sexiness is healthy and us women shouldn’t be afraid to feel sexy and be sexy. It’s empowering, stimulating and such a confidence booster. So I dare you to go out and be sexy today. Rock the sexiness, and feel it from the inside out! 

When do you feel your sexiest? Do you recall any times you’ve felt not-so-sexy or things you’ve done to boost your sexy confidence? 


Confessions of a Sensitive Chick: How What You Say Can Make or Break Someone’s Day

14 Sep

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I have a confession: I am a very sensitive person, and sometimes tend to care wayyyyy too much what people think of me. It’s mostly because I take what people say very seriously, especially those I value most. Sometimes this can be a very bad thing because I’ll let the tiniest little negative comment affect me in a BIG, BIG way. Someone told me I was big-boned once, and I thought about it all day long, feeling fat. When a coworker once told me all I think about was guys and that I need to get over myself (and my drama) I cried at work. When a guy in college told me he wasn’t ready for a relationship, I assumed it was me and wondered what was wrong with me. Was I not pretty enough? Why did I let these little comments get to me? Who are they to make me feel bad about myself? What they say shouldn’t matter, after all. 

I specifically recall when I was a junior in college in an advanced Health Communication seminar class. The crazy, negative, intimidating teacher (who everyone in college feared may I add), went around the room asking all of us what we wanted to do when we “grow up.” “I want to be a writer,” I said timidly. (For an outgoing person, I’d always get so timid in college lectures.) “A WHAT? SPEAK UP!” she screamed back at me. “A writer…I want to write for a magazine,” I added quickly. “FUR A MAGAZINE? CATS HAVE FUR. It’s FOR, F-O-R. Before you become a writer you may want to learn to speak correct grammar.” I was humiliated. I completely shut down. I felt stupid/hopeless/mortified/embarrassed/weak. 

So what did I do? I dropped that class first of all, then went home and sobbed to my dad (sorry dad). But what my dad said to me turned my day around in a snap. First he made a lame attempt at a joke, saying I should have said “FUR YOU!” But then he told me how great of a writer I am, how wonderful of a daughter I am, and how much I have to offer. Suddenly, I was back to my normal self, high on life, just from his one little chat.

You see, sometimes my sensitivity to what people say can be  a good thing (when they say nice things, that is). It’s a shame we can let those little negative, hurtful comments get to us so much and don’t relish enough on all the nice, positive things people say. Think about it: you remember those terrible, mean, god awful things people said about you (behind your back or to your face), but those little happy comments seem to fade away. 

I want to make it an effort to remember more of the positive things people say to me. You know, the little things people say throughout the day that can turn your day around, making you high on life. Those are the things we should remember. Yesterday was the perfect example of this. As many of you know I was having a “blah” day, and no matter what I did I couldn’t snap out of my blah-ness. And you know the deal. When you’re feeling blah, every single thing that happens gets to you even more than usual. Therefore, minor, trivial things suddenly seemed to be bigger than they actually were. Anyway, I walked home from the cafe I was at all afternoon still feeling “blah” when I turned on my computer to find one of the nicest compliments (from someone I don’t even know…on Twitter!) 

“I just spent the last hour reading your blogs…So inspiring. Thank you!!! #amazing” (@heatherg22)

Wow, someone spent an hour reading MY blog? And she’s inspired by it and found it amazing? I suddenly felt on top of the world. After all, my goal is to inspire women day by day through my writing, hoping they can take a little something from it and learn a tad along the way too. So when a reader sends me a wonderful compliment such as this, it reallllllyyyy makes me feel good. You see, the tiniest things people say really do make a difference, especially for someone like myself who takes what people say so seriously. 

So lesson learned: next time you’re about to say something to someone that may not come out quite so nice, bite your tongue. And next time you wonder whether or not you should compliment someone or do something out-of-the-ordinary nice, DO IT. What do you have to lose? We need more little, nice happy thoughts in this world to dwell on (instead of little mean, thoughtless ones). After all, it makes for a much more cheery day!

Are you sensitive to what people say to you? What’s something not-so-nice someone’s said you just couldn’t get over, or something wonderful someone’s said to you that completely brightened your day? 


Bring Your Inner Beauty OUT

7 Sep

This morning after breakfast, I went into the bathroom for my usual makeup routine. Moisturizer. check. Few dabs of liquid concealer. Check. Touch of powder. Check. Mascara. Check. Eyeliner. Check. Then I saw some bright pinkish/purply lipstick at the bottom of the bag, something I haven’t used for a verrryy long time. After all, I’m a pretty simple girl and normally just stick with clear lip gloss or vaseline if anything on my lips. But today was different. This lipstick had a story behind it. “bibo,” it read in cursive across the outside. “bibo? what the hell is bibo?” Then I remembered what it stood for when my mom gave it to me a few years ago: bringing inner beauty out. 

So what did I do? I grabbed ahold of that lipstick, twisted it up and applied some on my lips. Sure, it’s bright and a little bit much but I was going to rock this lipstick for all that it’s worth today. That’s exactly when I decided that I would also make today dedicated for bringing my own inner beauty out. No feeling fat. No feeling sorry for myself. No comparing myself to other women. No, today I will rock my purple lipstick, throw on a cute outfit, smile and feel absolutely beautiful from the inside out. 

So what exactly does that mean? What the heck is bringing your inner beauty out? How does one take the beautiful woman who lies inside of them and bring that out? Well after some serious thinking, I decided what that means to me, and think you too can learn to appreciate your inner beauty…and let that shine loudly from the inside out.

Bringing your inner beauty out is…

*Eating that fresh, homemade chocolate chip oatmeal cookie or slice of pizza and not feeling guilty about it for the rest of the day. It won’t make you fatter. You still are beautiful

*Putting on that adorable dress that hugs your curves and thinking, “I feel good. I look great in this. My body is wonderful the way it is. I’m going to rock this dress.” 

*Dabbing on some hot red lipstick (or purple in my case), and smiling at every person you walk by on the street

*Telling someone you admire that they are beautiful rather than envying them. Jealousy is ugly. Appreciation is beautiful. 

*Writing a love note to your friend/husband/mom/new crush

*Giving a stranger the 25 cents he needs to cover his coffee, or giving up your seat on the train without thinking twice about it. 

*Covering up that big, ugly zit with a little cover up, and moving on with it. It’ll be gone tomorrow, and here’s a little secret: no one else is looking at it. Go out and enjoy the day! 

*Seeing yourself for who you are when you look in the mirror, rather than what your pant size is or how big your bags under your eyes are today

*Telling that stupid number on the scale to “f*ck you!” That number doesn’t define who you are. Don’t let it ruin the rest of your day. 

*Not feeling sorry for yourself because you are a single girl surrounded by COUPLES, but instead concentrating on Y.O.U and everything you have to offer. Just try to smile and be happy. Men are drawn to happy, confident girls.  (I sometimes struggle with this one, but am working on it). 

*Walking up with confidence to the guy you think is “too good for you” or “too hot for you.” He’s not. Do it. 

*Not beating yourself up over a little arm/thigh jiggle and instead priding yourself for having a body that allows you to move/dance/run/twirl/play. 

*Laughing uncontrollably with your friends, and knowing it’s OK to be silly and act like kids some days, or every day. 

*Telling yourself ten things you absolutely love about yourself and would never want to change. 

*When you’re feeling down about yourself, throw on a comfy outfit and go lay in the grass…in the sun…with a coffee or tea to go. 

What does beautiful mean to you? What’s your advice on bringing your inner beauty out?

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