“Feeling Fat” Today?

feeling fat nametag

I know you have those days when you feel fat and disgusting, no matter what you do. We all have those days. And guess what? It doesn’t matter if you are ACTUALLY fat (like me) or not. It’s really not about your body.

Think about it. How can you feel fabulous in the exact same body on a different day? Exactly.

I learned a loooong time ago that this is a head game, through and through. I remember when I was 16 and feeling fat wearing my snug fitting navy blue/turquoise pinned striped skinny jeans (although they were not called that back then!).  This is etched in my brain (which amazes me and shows the power of emotions), me sitting on the edge of my water bed, talking on the phone (with my 25 foot cord–I’m totally dating myself here) and looking at my ENORMOUS thighs in those pants.

soccer thunder thighs skinny jeans

I was an athlete and had powerful beautiful thighs back then. But what mattered wasn’t that I fit current beauty standards, it was what was going on in my head. I felt “fat”. What I really felt was insecure, unhappy and tired, but all that stuffed emotions got put onto my poor thighs.

Later that year, on a youth ski trip, I was still “feeling fat” and by now very unattractive because I kept liking boys who didn’t like me back. It was on that trip that I performed my very first BODY LOVE EXPERIMENT. Woot.

This experiment is called the “As If” game. I decided I would act like I was the hottest girl on that bus and that every boy wanted to date me (I was not a particularly deep teenager!). The results amazed me. It was like I became a magnet. I exuded confidence and BAM!

The lesson I learned that trip impacted me hard: It’s ALL in my head. The fact that I even remember all this when I’ve forgotten so much of my youth attests to this.

This is a powerful, life-changing, pretty much instantaneous experiment.

You’ve got to deal with your issues, obviously. My little experiment didn’t fix my problems, but it sure put them in perspective.

 

It’s like putting on Marilyn Monroe’s mink coat or something.
To-all-the-girls-that-think-youre-fat-because-youre-not-a-size-zero-youre-the-beautiful-one-its-society-whos-ugly

Have you ever strutted your stuff? Did it boost your confidence? I would love to hear about your experiments. Comment below or email me.

Have a fabulous day!

 

Love,

 

Michelle

PS If you want to share more body love experiments come join our FB group! Or sign up for the email group to be kept up on the BLE happenings by going to https://BraveGirl.me

blog-feel-fat

 

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The Land of the Beautiful and Body Image Triggers

SUP_paddleHI_hawaii_yoga-5446What are your triggers?

That is my question for this week to you all. I’m back in my home town, where I grew up and lived for 35 years. The beach is in my blood! I love it here. AND, I have lived away from all this for almost 6 years. I lived in the hippie pot growing boonies on the Mendocino coast for 5 of them.

People were very relaxed, natural and accepting. You didn’t see a lot of cosmetic surgery, and the place was definitely not focused on how one looked for their social acceptance and self esteem. The natural beauty of the redwoods meeting the sea seemed to imbue the culture there with respect for a more natural state of things. Most women didn’t wear make-up much. Of course, there was a fashion aesthetic and it was fun and funky! Anyhow, my point is that even at the beach, the pool or wherever you could just BE without worrying about being judged on your cellulite content!

Six years is enough time to really be able to see my hometown with even fresher eyes; to see what level of the frog-in-the-soon-to-be-boiling kettle is going on here in relation to what is considered beautiful and how people are valued. I can see how easy it would be to feel insecure if you didn’t fit in the land of the beautiful people which strives for physical perfection. Obviously, this is a generalization. Plenty of people of depth and significance live here that don’t focus on the superficial. But you CAN feel the vibe especially strong in certain places.

I’m noticing all this in the context of having gained some weight recently beyond my comfort zone (yes, fat people have comfort zones too!) due to hypothyroidism and peri-menopausal hormone craziness. I laugh at it actually because I am in a phase of working out regularly at the gym and I think it is so funny!

So, I’m not really triggered per se. But I am watching all this and thinking about it. I’m talking with my body a lot. Happily, I can report that I’m not reverting back to teenage insecurities even when I’m around them! Yay for growth. smile emoticon

What are your triggers in our society? Share below please!

19 Years of Wedded Bliss!

19 Years of Wedded Bliss…IMG_20150422_164259

Ah, wedded bliss…If you believe in that, I’ve got some swampland in Florida to sell ya at a great price! (As my dad, the real estate broker always used to say!)

Seriously though, my hubby and I recently celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary and it has not been all perfection. Yet, we are still going strong even with all the challenges we’ve had over the years.  I’ve been thinking about why we haven’t ended up as another statistic of divorce (aside from my hubby’s Saint status!).

Why does any relationship last and what makes a good one?

There are MANY answers to that question, but a few points jumped out at me. And guess what? These are all elements you need to have a good, strong, loving relationship with your own body/self also:

Forgiveness, Humor, Compassion and Commitment are the ones that came to mind first.

In this post, we are going to talk about the importance of forgiveness. I think you will be surprised at how it can impact you in little insidious ways that stop your progress in living the life you want, feeling as good as you would like to and loving your body over-all.

Forgiveness:

Lack of forgiveness leads to bitterness, cancer, divorce and a whole lot of other problems in any relationship. When you don’t forgive YOURSELF for all the things that you judge yourself for, you enter a cycle of shame that is self-perpetuating. And guess what? You have to step off that merry-go-round because it does not stop.

When we hold unfogiveness in our hearts (minds) it causes subconscious blocks and stress in our bodies. Stress, as you probably know, is the cause of about 95% of all illness.

You might be amazed at the things you hold against yourself if you start looking at it. These areas of forgiveness can cause all sorts of emotional problems, like anxiety and depression, as well as, success sabotaging actions. The power of your sub-conscious is astounding–90% of what you do is motivated by this undercover part of your mind. If unforgiveness is hiding out back there, you can be sure it is affecting you in ways you might not even imagine.

Here is a silly little example (and just so you know, these silly things can be powerfully sabotaging also):

I was feeling very agitated one day and the overwhelm was piling up with all the undone tasks, including the things I was procrastinating on (article coming on that!).  I was judging myself harshly for not getting it together, which just made me avoid things even more! So, I went to the gym to do my interval elliptical workout (really boosts my mood) and did a forgiveness exercise in the sauna afterwards, since no one else was in there.

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Forgiveness Exercise:

Out loud I stated:

“I forgive myself for _________________. And I love myself even though I am human!”

And I forgave myself for every little stupid thing I could think of like procrastinating, staying up too late, not eating breakfast, berating myself, not planting the tulips, not writing my blog in forever and a day, not….you get the idea. For you, depending on where you are in your life, it might be for hating your body, for calling your cellulite “disgusting”, for punishing your body by working out to hard, or not eating enough food. Anything really. You’ll have to look inside and see what your “little things” are.

After I did this exercise, a huge burden was lifted off me! All those tiny little dumb things I was holding against myself, judging myself for, were released and let go of. (Here’s my little Instagram post on it.)

A lot more can be said on this topic, fantastic books have been written about it, like the classic by Lewis Smedes, Forgive & Forget.

forgive and forget book

Obviously, there are a lot more elements that go into a strong happy relationship. One big one is the power of intimacy, but I’ll leave that topic for another time.

Until then, what has your experience been with forgiveness? Do you find it hard to forgive yourself?

 

 

 

BBL Speakers Amber Karnes, Dr. Carla Hannaford & Kristina Hess, JD

Amber Karnes – Building Body Positivity with Yoga. The impact of permission, consent and owning your body space on body acceptance.

Dr. Carla Hannaford – The importance of Heart-Connection and Movement in Embodied Love. The power of the heart over the brain, female biology and the importance of playful movement.

Kristina Hess – Sharing her journey in Body Love from a Spiritual Perspective. Overcoming disordered eating, compulsive exercise and finding the path to real love and acceptance.

Amber Karnes. www.BraveBodyLove.com Kristina Hess Quote Each of us is unique with special gifts Carla Hannaford #BraveBodyLove

 

“Bringing Women from All Over the Globe Together

in an Epic Online Event to End Body Image Issues and

Awaken Our Collective Female Power.”

With Michelle Hess + 35 Experts

February 14-28, 2015

BBL Speakers Emily Rosen, Julie Nowak, Bethany & Emma

Emily Rosen — “How Your Eating Psychology Affects Your Health and Body Image.” It’s not just what you eat, it’s how you eat.  The stress factor and digestion. The real story on emotional eating and more!

Julie Nowak – “Embodying Food Justice and Body Positivity” exploring the intersection of therapeutic farming, feminist food studies, eco-psychology & finding healing from food struggles.

Bethany & Emma – ” Pudge PDX: Enriching the fat community through body positive events and the size acceptance media collective.”

Emily_quote2_edited-1-Hurting bodies, hurting communities, Julie Nowak www.BraveBodyLove.com Brave Body Love to me means consciously...Bethany Tate www.BraveBodyLove.com -You get to live in your body however..Emma McIrvin #BBL2k15

 

“Bringing Women from All Over the Globe Together

in an Epic Online Event to End Body Image Issues and

Awaken Our Collective Female Power.”

With Michelle Hess + 35 Experts

February 14-28, 2015

BBL Speakers Joy Bufalini, Lisa Torba, Ragen Chastain

Joy Bufalini — “How to Short Circuit Overeating and Embrace Self Care during Stressful Times.”

Lisa Torba – “Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life” with Your Signature Element.

Ragen Chastain – “The World is Messed Up, But You Are Fine.”  An interactive talk that examines the messages that come to us through popular culture about beauty, our bodies, and our health.

JoyBufalini BraveBodyLove.com #BBL2k15 Lisa Torba quote pic copy Ragen dance quote

 

“Bringing Women from All Over the Globe Together

in an Epic Online Event to End Body Image Issues and

Awaken Our Collective Female Power.”

With Michelle Hess + 35 Experts

February 14-28, 2015

BBL Speakers Shawnta Pulliam, Sandy Ross, Carrie Leigh Sandoval

Shawnta Pullium–Nurturing Body Image Resilience in Girls

Sandra Ross– It’s Time to Get On With It! (All the way from Australia!!)

Carrie Leigh Sandoval–Helping Our Girls Drop the Worry and Love Who They Really Are ​

Never let others define beauty for you. Shawnta Pulliam #BBL2k15 #BraveBodyLove Saying no to the beauty industry is...Sandy Ross. #BBL2k15 Carrie Sandoval #BBL2k15

 

“Bringing Women from All Over the Globe Together

in an Epic Online Event to End Body Image Issues and

Awaken Our Collective Female Power.”

With Michelle Hess + 35 Experts

February 14-28, 2015

Summer Camp for Grown-Up Girls

BLSC promo_edited-1I LOVED summer camp as a kid.

Every year our youth group from church (plus all the friends we invited) went to Forest Home in Southern California. We played, competed as teams, bonded, flirted with boys, learned stuff and appreciated God in nature. It was awesome. I can still smell the SoCal mountain pines.

One of my favorite memories is sloshing down the massive metal slide into the cold lake. I was always a bit nervous and excited because it was up so high. But my screams made it even better! Ahhhh…

Taking challenges and trying new things was a must at camp. I came across as a very confident kid–and I was in the general sense–but I also was a big scaredy cat inside. My nerves were always on high alert when it was time for competitions and physical risks. At the same time, I loved the absolute thrill of doing it anyway!

That is one of the many positive elements of a good summer camp: you are stretched and challenged to try new things and reach new levels of risk tolerance. Trying new things that make us uncomfortable sometimes gets harder as we age. As adults, we have been hurt and now know that we can actually get hurt–physically and emotionally.

The thing is if we don’t take the risk we don’t ever grow. And in creatures that were made for constant change and grow that ends up meaning stagnation.

water_slide

Challenging ourselves to new heights is best done in a SAFE & CONTAINED environment, like summer camp when we were kids. We were surrounded by friends and people watching out for us, making sure we didn’t do anything TOO stupid. We sometimes were allowed to dip our toes in first and at others we were thrown in with all our clothes on–metaphorically and physically.

My goal in gathering women together to play, grow, connect and learn more about loving themselves is to provide that SAFE CONTAINER for dipping our toes or even jumping in feet first!

What was your most exciting summer time risk? What do you think you are ready for now? 

Let me know in your comments below!

To Love & Adventure,

Michelle

PS. Our FREE virtual gathering for women starts in two weeks! Sign up here

Books and Emotional Muscles…

nitestand books

Here is a picture of the current books I am reading that are piled on my night stand and the floor. A few are actually still on the floor! You can see that most relate to my book club themes…

Do you have more or less?

It’s so fun to read amazing books, but I find I miss talking about them with others, so I started a book club that related to my interests in courage, confidence, connection, women’s studies, food, body acceptance and being healthy. I figured if I am already reading this stuff, you might as well join me in the fun! (Don’t forget about audio books for those of you with long commutes).

As a visionary creative type, moving from idea to action has been challenging at times and the bane of my existence at others! Working with my coaches and other groups really is key for me to implement my dreams. I am not a “lone implementer” by any stretch of the phrase. Not everyone is this way, but a lot of people are. How about you? Do you do well with deadlines, gentle pushes and others cheering you on in your endeavors?

(Take the POLL below!)

Honestly, as a social people person all this working at home can become a real drag and to liven things up, I’ll distract myself from typing up blogs or finishing projects. It’s hard to keep my nose to the grindstone unless I’m in school or something. I’d rather go play.

The thing is that to get our gifts out to others we have to put a little muscle into it, otherwise they just lay dormant in our lives going to waste. (TWEET THIS)  

We can’t just leave the books on the nightstand, we actually have to open them and read. So I do things that build up my emotional and production muscle— Just like my yoga practice builds my physical muscles.

Just as I am a “go to yoga class” kinda gal (v. do an hour at home all alone…), I like building up all sorts of muscles with other people. For example, two amazing women joined me in a mastermind to implement what we are reading and practicing in our lives. We all are at similar stages in our processes of spiritual, emotional and “mindful eating” growth. It has been a tremendous blessing to be a recipient of their wisdom, honesty and encouragement.

The value of a mastermind group lies in the commitment of the people involved, the guidance of the facilitator and the quality of the group members. (That’s why I screen my BraveGirl Coaching mastermind participants!). And really, not everyone is ready for the intimacy and bared soul work that comes with such a group.

There are other great options though. Like a private FB group.

Which you are invited to! Wanna give it a whirl?

If you are into the books we read in book club then this group is for you! You can read more about it here.

So, back to my original question:  Seriously, how many books are piled on your nightstand?! Post a picture on the blog! I want to see the proof!!! I’m looking forward to seeing your fotos on the blog!

To your insight and action!

Michelle

Emotional Integration Methods, Part 2

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Part 1 of this article, we looked at how natural emotional reactions can be triggered by primitive reflexes, among other things…

In addition to neutralizing in real time the charge of the emotion, we can then release it for greater freedom and peace.

The method is as simple as the previous techniques and equally profound in effect.  Many people have come up with variations on releasing these emotional “stores” in our bodies.  You can use techniques from Brain Gym, The Sedona Method, Heartmath or others.

It is helpful to be led through the process with a coach or practitioner the first time, but not necessary.

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The Heartmath website has a free survey for you to take that relates to this topic. Just click on the link below.

Welcome to the Stress & Well-Being Survey™

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The main component in all these methods is in noticing what is going on in your body, being with it and STAYING with it until it dissipates.  Usually, when we get uncomfortable with these negative feelings we want to escape them as soon as possible.  But, instead we need to remain in the presence of these emotions.  This is counter-intuitive to how we live, but it works.

The Sedona Method

I’ve used The Sedona Method while on the pre-core machine at the gym with great success.  I had a client that was really stressing me out with her habit of negativity and over-reaction.  I liked this client but was feeling avoidance at the thought of her name.  I had just picked up a book on The Sedona Method and was eager to try this cerebral approach.  I visualized this person in my mind, felt the aversion, pedaled harder and began the internal questioning process:

1.      Name it.  What are you feeling now? (aversion)

2.      Could you welcome this feeling? (No!)

3.      Could your release this feeling? (Yes!)

4.      Will you release it? (Yes, please!)

5.      When? (Now?)

I went through the cycle about three or four times, naming each different feeling as it arose.  And finally, when I felt complete I could picture this client and I actually smiled.  The Sedona Method doesn’t instruct that you need to be moving physically, but with my training with educational kinesiology I knew it could only be beneficial–and it was.

You’ll notice by my answers in the parentheses that it doesn’t matter if you answer “no” to any question.  Just keep breathing and going through the questions until you feel the emotion has released.  There is much great work that can be done with this simple method. (For more info go to www.sedonapress.com).

These methods can be combined with body centered tools that engage the heart/mind and body simultaneously.  This is probably why doing repetitive cardio helped my Sedona process.  All these techniques are useful for use on your own, although some take a bit of instruction or facilitation.

Brain Gym

Brain Gym is one brain/body integration method that listens to your body to unblock whatever is internally holding you back.  Again, this is a simple method involving 26 physical movements to achieve profound change in learning ability and overall emotional health.  This system of integrating activities is taught in person either one on one or in a group by a licensed professional.

Brain Gym

Brain Gym (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many schools are using the techniques with their students to enhance learning ability and readiness.  Once you have worked in person with an instructor you can use all you have learned on your own at home.  Some changes are instantaneous and others unfold over time. (For more info go to www.braingym.org). A benefit of this program is that it is appropriate for even the smallest child (you don’t need to be able to talk, unlike other methods that are more cerebral), whereas other methods profiled in this article are more fitted to school-aged children that have passed a certain developmental stage and adults.

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