Category — Self-esteem
I ran 6.2 miles today.
Well, technically, I ran 4 miles and walked 2.2 miles, but using the rules of mathematics, since I ran over half the distance, I’m rounding myself up from walking to running.
I’m not exactly the person who’s supposed to run 6.2 miles, or 4 miles, or even 1 mile. I’m a slow, heavy, 40-something woman.
Sometimes, when I doing my slow, steady stride, running so slow that I feel like I’m running backward, I find that my mind still doesn’t quite get what’s happening, and I’ll catch myself thinking, with genuine surprise, “Hey, how are you doing this? You’re running!”
How did I do it? [Read more →]
June 21, 2013 No Comments
You hear horror stories about being a big girl running in public. One of the biggest advocates for plus-size running quit blogging about her experience because of the hatefulness of the “trolls” constantly berating her on the blog. Add to that, she was assaulted (more than once) by passers-by in cars hurling insults, and the occasional beer can, at her as she jogged down the side of the road.
I’ve walked in public pathways for years without any such experiences, so while the thought of being heckled publicly was a little disconcerting, that wasn’t my biggest fear. My real fear was participating in a group. [Read more →]
June 20, 2013 No Comments
Here’s a short video on the connection between body image and business, or how a good hair day can translate into a good business day.
February 15, 2012 1 Comment
I read an interesting article in Whole Living magazine (June 2011 by Lori Leibovich) about a book called “The Self-Compassion Diet.” While the book is targeted at dieters, I found the tenants of self-compassion applicable to the business of life.
To quote from the article: “According to Kristin Neff, the University of Texas professor who created the self-compassion scale used in psychology research today. self-compassion has three essential components: mindful awareness, which translates to giving full attention to the present moment with as much acceptance as you can muster; self-kindness, or treating yourself with care rather than beating yourself up; and and common humanity, the understanding that suffering is part of the human experience and that you are not alone.”
So, wherever you are in your process, for the good or for the bad, make sure to give yourself a daily dose of self-compassion. Have acceptance for where you are today, treat yourself kindly, and remember, you are not on this journey alone, seek out those who can relate to where you are and where you want to be.
June 14, 2011 No Comments
For many of us, giving comes so naturally and easily that we have to be reminded not to over-give, either by giving beyond our means, beyond our time constraints, or beyond our energy levels. While I think that over-giving is often motivated by a heart full of gratitude and love, I also think that giving to the point of discomfort or pain can be motivated by a feeling that what we have to give (within our means, time, energy) or even more tragically, who we are as a human being, is not enough.
We’re taught from the time that we are little girls that our most important currency is “niceness,” and that the way we prove our worth is in selfless giving. Thus, from the beginning, we are programmed for a never-ending sense of not-enoughness. Not-enoughness leads us to undervalue what we have to give. I read this great thought in an article titled, “No, You Can’t Pick My Brain,”(by Nicole Jordan) on the tendency of women in business to undercharge for their services:
“Time is valuable and creative thought is even more so. Don’t undervalue either. As women (and compassionate people everywhere) we like to help and can get trapped in giving our time and ideas away for free because we’re afraid to ask for compensation. Or, just don’t realize it’s within our right to do so.”
Over-giving is a trap. What may start as heart-centered giving can become a burdensome obligation. Those around us can begin to expect and feel entitled to our over-giving, thus depriving of us our rightful recognition and further feeding our sense of not-enoughness. By staying so busy over-doing for others, we then don’t have time to stop and think about areas of our lives that may require change. The inescapable consequence of over-giving to others is an under-giving to ourselves. This can lead to the neglect of the most basic aspects of self-care—sleep, proper nutrition, exercise—in the name of caring for others. And the end game of over-giving is that eventually you have nothing to give to anyone else either.
So, if you find yourself exhausted from over-giving, then I encourage you to take your natural gift of generosity and turn it inward. Over-give to yourself. Give yourself time, attention, affection, and praise. Even if it’s only a half-day (a day of saying “No” to others and “Yes” to yourself), you’ll be amazed at the value of what you’ve been giving others. So, really as a reminder to myself, I remind you: You are the gift, and you are enough. Treat the gift that is you with all of the loving care and respect you deserve, so that others my benefit in a balanced and responsible way.
May 4, 2010 6 Comments
I have been a fan of Melissa Grossman of Hatch, Life Coaching for Women, since I discovered her a year ago through Ladies Who Launch. Melissa is gifted at cutting through the fluff and getting right to the core of an issue. She describes herself as the “Fresh Approach Coach;” I would describe her approach as the ‘Refreshing Approach Coach,’ as well.
In the latest edition of her Hatch ezine, she interviewed me about The Curvy Life and my philosophy of body love. I gained tremendous insights about myself as a result of the questions that she asked me. In particular, her questions regarding my relationship with the camera shifted my perspective regarding my approach to body image in general and toward my own body specifically. I thank her for that gift. And, how could I not love her for calling me “proudly curvaceous, voluptuously ambitious.” I think that I’m going to put that on my business cards.
I invite you to read this profile and to share your insights on your relationship with the camera, your big vision, and the big questions in your life.
Angela Stalcup is one of several friends I’ve made through the Ladies Who Launch network. In fact, I met her last November at the LWL Live Event in Atlanta when she sat in on an afternoon breakout session I facilitated. Little did I know that on that very day the seeds for her blog, The Curvy Life, were about to break out and see sunlight. The mission behind Curvy Life is anything but petite. If Angela has her way, it will change our expectations and perceptions around body image, our own bodies and thusly ourselves….[to continue]
October 10, 2008 No Comments
For my appearance at the Sandy Springs Festival, I’ve created a “Love Your Body” Starter Kit–a pink, heart-shaped Post-It note and an affirmation (based on the Pink Post-It activism project.)
If you would like an electronic version of the free Body Love Affirmation Card (courtesy of Authentic Beauty, LLC) just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Card” and I’ll get you a copy.
“Love Your Body” Starter Kit
Take one Post-IT
I am beautiful
I love and fully accept myself
I am perfect just as I am
Put on mirror
Read aloud while looking yourself in the eye
Now, go get your curve on!
September 20, 2008 3 Comments
The blurb for this episode says: “A tall beauty hopes to gather confidence and live out her dream of performing a sexy tango.”
While I could write volumes about each episode of this show, three points really stand out in my mind:
1. Grae likes her body only when she doesn’t know it’s hers.
Grae’s attitude illustrates that body dissastisfaction has very little to do with actual body appearance. She has nothing but good things to say about her body when she thinks it belongs to someone else. Why are we so unkind to ourselves?
2. Body loathing keeps Grae from being fully engaged in the world.
How many of us think that we are “too fat” to try something new, or to pursue our dreams? What about her body would make Grae think that she couldn’t dance? Let’s quit hiding and get out in the world and claim our space and our dreams.
3. It’s all about confidence.
I love the moment in the electronics store, with Grae’s picture on every screen, when the cute guy approaches her and tells her that her body is fine, that all she is lacking is confidence. And her transformation is really based on gaining confidence, even more so than getting a makeover.
Keep it curvy, Grae!
July 29, 2008 1 Comment
Me, trying to “Keep it Curvy”
I had coffee with a fabulous new curvy friend today.We had a great discussion on clothing woes–If only H&M had curvier clothes–the importance of confidence–A confident woman will never want for male attention–and the need for positive role models relating to curvier body types–we need more curvy romantic heroines in movies and on TV. When we parted, she turned to me and said, “Keep it curvy!”
What a great catch phrase! It captures the idea of “curvy confidence,” that our curves our positive and worthy of praise. Further, “curvy” can be a state of mind. A wise man once said to me, “A curvy road means you take your time and enjoy the ride. The same could be said for a woman….” Rather than speed down the highway of life, wind your way down the scenic, curvy route.
So, I’m going to add “Keep it Curvy” to my repertoire of phrases, with the idea of honoring the curvy-ness of life, in all its shapes and forms.
I’d love to hear about any other phrases that capture your fancy. Body love–let’s speak it into existence.
July 29, 2008 6 Comments
I’m so glad that “How to Look Good Naked” is back on for Season 2 (full episodes available online). I applaud the honesty of the women who appear on the show for revealing the depth of the pain created by body loathing. And I applaud the program for being one of the few (if not only) shows on television to feature a variety of female body types in a positive manner. How beautiful are the models in Kelly’s mirror exercise? Gorgeous, curvy women portrayed in a favorable light? Yes, please, may I have some more?
And how stunning is Kelly in her sexy, black lingerie?
As for the second season of the show, I like the changes, especially the move to hour-long episodes. I also like the addition of the catwalk–I hope that this is a regular feature. This allows for a more in-depth exploration of the impact of body loathing on the featured women’s lives.
In the first season, every time I would watch this show I would find myself wishing for the nude photo shoot. Now, I want to walk the runway in my undies and high heels!
July 22, 2008 6 Comments
Have hot pink Post-Its, will travel. (See earlier article: Body activism works to reduce the “thin ideal”)
I’m leaving “You are beautiful” notes on mirrors everywhere.
What have you been doing in the name of body activism? I’d love to hear about it.
June 24, 2008 10 Comments
Thanks to Rachel at The-F-Word.org for her article on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s (CNN) report in Time magazine and on his CNN blog. Gupta reports enthusiastically on the success of the Body Project, an eating disorders prevention program that not only educates women as to the source of “the thin ideal” (marketing messages) but also incorporates “civil disobedience” in its curriculum.
Since 2001, more than 1,000 high school and college students have participated in the Body Project, which works by getting girls to understand how they have been buying into the notion that you have to be thin to be happy or successful. After critiquing the so-called thin ideal by writing essays and role-playing with their peers, participants are directed to come up with and execute small, nonviolent acts. They include slipping notes saying “Love your body the way it is” into dieting books at stores like Borders [and on mirrors in public restrooms] and writing letters to Mattel, makers of the impossibly proportioned Barbie doll.
Gupta remarks that the Body Project is “seeing remarkable progress so far in an area that has seen few if any truly effective programs at all.” What makes this project more effective than most? Studies have shown that media education is not enough ( See the previous post: Media images make us feel bad–and it’s getting worse). Women and girls are more educated than ever about the plastic nature of media images; however, our body dissatisfaction continues to increase. Could it be that the effectiveness of the Body Project is the combination of education and activism?
Knowing that we are daily manipulated by media images can create a feeling of helpless and powerlessness The activism of the Body Project gives the participants a sense of personal power in the battle against external messages.
What I love about this approach is the simplicity–a Post-It note on a mirror is about as easy as it gets. So, I challenge everyone: be a body activist. If you must, begin with your own mirror, and move from there.
I’ve got my Post-Its–mirrors of the world, watch out!
June 17, 2008 3 Comments
Last weekend, when I was waxing poetic to an activist friend about how I loved the “Sex And The City” movie even more the second viewing than the first (yes, I went to see the movie two days in row), she replied:
Why would you care about the lives of rich, skinny, privileged women who spend $100,000 on shoes?
That’s a great question, and the the reason that I didn’t invite her to see the movie with me. In fact, both times I saw the movie, I went by myself. I am not the “typical” SATC fan (if there is such a thing): I was late coming to the show—I didn’t start watching it until several seasons into the show. I don’t have a gaggle of girlfriends with whom I gathered to gawk and gab about the show (a straight male friend of mind convinced me to give the show a try.) In fact, for many years I felt guilty for enjoying the show—doesn’t this just promote a doubly impossible beauty standard for women of never too thin, never too rich?
However, not only do these wealthy, thin women entertain me, they make me feel powerful and proud. I left the theater thinking, “I’m forty and fabulous, just as I am.” So I have to wonder, can a curvy girl really feel empowered by SATC?
I’ll give my take on the question in my next post.
June 8, 2008 4 Comments
I wasn’t surprised when I saw yet another article on the negative impact of media depiction of ultra-thin actresses and models on body image; however, the findings of researcher Shelly Grabe and psychology professor Janet Hyde describe a sweeping analysis of 77 previous studies involving more than 15,000 subjects that reveals:
“We’ve demonstrated that it doesn’t matter what the exposure is, whether it’s general TV watching in the evening, or magazines, or ads showing on a computer,” says Grabe. “If the image is appearance-focused and sends a clear message about a woman’s body as an object, then it’s going to affect women.”
The effect also appears to be growing. The researchers’ analysis reveals that, on average, studies conducted in the 2000s show a larger influence of the media on women’s body image than do those from the 1990s, says Grabe.
“This suggests that despite all our efforts to teach women and girls to be savvy about the media and have healthy body practices, the media’s effect on how much they internalize the thin ideal is getting stronger,” she says.
In the past several years, I’ve been excited to see media consumers becoming more educated as to how to deconstruct media messages and media images. Dove has deconstructed images of beauty–Tyra Banks has pulled the curtain back on modeling. Sadly, even though we know that the images that we see are not only unrealistic, but that often they are unreal, we are still impacted.
Or, let me change the “we” to “I”–I know that these images are plastic and manipulated, but I still feel the gut punch of the current standard of beauty. Sometimes I find the mental and emotional fight to be exhausting. But, I refuse to give up. I want to love my body, to embrace my beauty, to be grateful to my body for allowing me to enjoy the fullness of life.
[Quote Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008, May 12). Sweeping Analysis Of Research Reinforces Strong Media Influence On Women’s Body Image. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/05/080512163828.htm]
May 25, 2008 No Comments
It is no surprise to most of us to read that body loathing has become the norm for American women, with the majority of women in the U.S. expressing dissatisfaction with some part of their body; however, Denise E. Laframboise, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Hartford, says that at least half of all American men are now experiencing body image dissatisfaction.
The Hartford Courant.com features an interview with Laframboise on therapies for treating body image dissatisfaction. This is an informative interview on body image; however, I was struck by the 50% number for men and negative body image. I find that when I speak to groups of both women and men, there is always at least one man that expresses concern over his body image. Laframboise associates this trend with college-age men; however, I’m hearing men of all ages who are suffering with body concerns.
Here’s a quote from the article:
There is lots of evidence that body-image distress in men is increasing. … There’s a real spike in college-age men. For some reason, those younger men are just getting bombarded by media images that are really unrealistic.
In research, we get about half of the men (who are distressed with their bodies) expressing the same things as women: I need to lose weight. The other half of men are very different; they want to gain weight, bulk up, become more muscular.
I hear the “I need to lose weight” from guys a lot. What are you hearing?
And to the guys out there: how are you dealing with the pressures around body image?
May 19, 2008 3 Comments