Overcoming a Bad Body Image Day

Body activists don’t have it all figured out. I still feel the effects of our messed up society. If I’m lucky, it’s a simple “Aw man, I feel sucky” but other days it’s “I’m the ugliest person on the planet.”

Self-love has helped me build an armor against the evil voices hissing in my head, and more often than not, I can snap out of it pretty quickly. But some days, I can’t shake the pure hatred, even though my brain knows that it’s bullshit. I’ll fully admit that I have these days, especially when my digestive issues start flaring up or a war breaks out on my face.

You can have a bad body image day while still having a positive body image overall. We all have bad body image days, but it doesn’t have to be the theme.

 

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What happened? Just yesterday you felt fine. Now you feel like an overinflated circus balloon only able fit into palooza pants (maybe).

Sometimes our brains don’t always listen to reason. Sometimes our eyes don’t see our bodies for what they really are. Every reflection we look into is distorted and we shoot down every compliment and attempt to feel better about ourselves. It’s freaking HARD!

It sucks to feel embarrassed or unhappy with yourself, but in a world where we’re constantly falling into the comparison trap, it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve to flip your mindset around.

Remember, practice makes perfect  progress, so using these tricks over and over is the way to adapt and build new habits.

 

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❤ Hold up. Pause. Take a few moments to think and breathe before your decide to launch into a mental tirade on your appearance. Ask yourself: What am I feeling right now that’s making me unhappy? Is it stress, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed? What happened or what am I worried about that’s making me feel this way? What kind of a long-term solution can I put into place to change the thing that’s bothering me? And what kind of short-term self-care plan can I design in the meantime? What would be more beneficial to channel my energy into today?

❤ Do the opposite action. Find something on your body that you are thankful for and take a moment or two to thank it! This could mean writing it down, saying it out loud in the mirror, or quietly saying it to yourself. Instead of focusing on the way your body looks, start acknowledging and appreciating your body for all that it allows you to do. Your body is strong, powerful, and beautiful, regardless of it’s size.

 

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❤ Remember that nobody else is as hard on yourself as you are. We are by far our own worst critics. If you find yourself obsessing about how you don’t like a physical characteristic (especially one that you have zero control over), know that the majority of people you come in contact with today probably won’t even think twice about it.

❤ Stay off social media. It’s a constant stream of people’s highlight. Filters and photo-altering tools are everywhere. Instead of looking at photos and videos of perfection on social media, spend time with real people. Yep, real-life people that you see face-to-face, that haven’t been harming themselves as they prepare for magazine cover shoots and don’t have flawlessly airbrushed skin. Have real conversations, laugh (laughing = instant happy pill!) and keep your phone in your bag.

 

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❤ Practice self-care. Don’t let yourself go down the self-hate path. When you find yourself feeling the bad body vibes, find something else to occupy your mind and distract yourself with healthy coping mechanisms. Call a supportive friend, cuddle with a pet, pick up a good book, paint your nails, listen to your favorite song, color a picture, knit something, etc. Dig deep into that took box and find something to get blissfully lost in.

❤ Practice self-love. Instead of being mean to yourself, make the choice to practice self-compassion. Remind yourself of your ultimate goal to love and accept yourself. Instead of focusing on your flaws, tell yourself “I am a work in progress.” Repeat to yourself, “I was not put here to be perfect.” Over time you will begin to internalize this self-compassion and it will start to feel more natural.

 

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❤ Remind yourself of how much more you are than a body: A scale measures your gravitational pull towards earth. That is all. You are so, so much more than a number. You are your ambitions, your bravery, your triumph over adversity. You are your dreams, your passions, your soul. You are a living, breathing miracle. You are you!

❤ Feelings are temporary. Approach it the same way that you might with any other kind of bad day: Remind yourself that a day is only 24 hours long, and tomorrow might be different. Accept what you have no control over, and then focus on what you can change about your outlook. Remind yourself that feelings are temporary, and this feeling will pass.

 

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❤ Challenge your negative thoughts. Give that nagging voice the fleeting attention it so craves, and then remind it, “Even if that were true, I’d still be so worth loving.” Say, “Hey! That girl you’re bullying is my friend. She is pretty dang awesome!” You may not be able to change the way you feel about your body today, tomorrow, or a month from now, but you can begin the process by challenging the thoughts in the moment. Even if you don’t believe the things you say to counter the voice, it’s still important to speak out against it, because each time you argue with the thoughts, you are taking away some of their power and reclaiming your own. The more you challenge the thoughts, the less you will believe them. The more you argue back, the easier fighting the voice will become.

 

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And if none of these work, and you still feel stuck…

❤ Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Let yourself be frustrated, mad, upset, depressed… for five minutes. It’s 100% ok to experience negative emotions – it’s what makes us human. Having said that, it’s not fun to feel crappy. If you were to take a sip of tea that was too hot and burned your tongue, you wouldn’t just keep chugging it down, right? Similarly, don’t make your misery last any longer than it needs to. Whether that means throwing a tantrum on the floor, venting to a friend on the phone, punching a pillow, screaming in your car, or crying in bed, you need to allow yourself to feel your feelings. Let go of the judgement you have about what you feel and recognize that you are feeling these things for a reason. Give yourself permission to release your emotions and let everything out — just don’t dwell on it for longer than five minutes.

Remember that everyone feels this way from time to time. You’re not alone! Coping with bad body image days may not be easy, but it is possible.

And now I’d like to know, what do YOU do when you have a beyond crummy bad body day? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

I’m looking forward to hearing them so I can put them in my pocket for next time. Because, y’know, there will be a next time.


My Secret to Reading Tons of Books

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray

Go throw your TV set away

and in its place, you can install

a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”

  •  “Television” by Roald Dahl

 

I like to believe that people who don’t enjoy reading simply haven’t found the right book yet, but more and more I see that this isn’t the case for most people.

Our attention spans have decreased. We can’t sit still enough to read books. Instead, we pick up a book only to then take out our phones and endlessly scroll. When we stop scrolling, we forget why we picked up the book in the first place.

The beautiful stories that lie in literary fiction are awaiting us.

 

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For me, reading is like breathing. Sometimes when I’m reading, I’m so immersed in the other world that I can’t even hear my mom calling me for dinner. Reading lets me get out of my head and explore something else. In the words of Rory Gilmore, “I live in two worlds, one is a world of books.” Among many things, reading broadens your perspective, relaxes your mind, amplifies your creativity, expands your vocabulary, and sharpens your focus. 

In fact, the one habit ultra-successful people have in common is their reading habits. (Check it out!)

And there’s nothing sexier than a book shelf.

 

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When I’m not doing other things, you’ll find me like this, curled up with my nose buried in a book, which stirs a question by many — “How do you read so much?”

Always be reading. That’s always my first answer. The single best way to read a lot of books is to always be reading. On your commute. Before bed. At lunch. It’s not about reading at the cost of doing something else, it’s about reading when you aren’t doing anything. You’d be amazed at how often you can sneak in a few pages. Baby napping? Read a page. Waiting in the doctor’s office? Read a page. Five minutes until class starts? Ok, you get the idea.

 

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Set a goal. On January 1, I set a reading goal for the year. Note: it’s important to make it a realistic goal. It’s always better to start low and surpass your goal than struggle to hit it. I set a goal to read, on average, a book a week, or 52 a year. It doesn’t work out to exactly a book a week, but the goal keeps me on track.

Read what you love. I do think you can cultivate a love of reading. Many of us learn to not like reading because in school, we’re forced to read in a way that doesn’t work for us — the wrong content, the wrong pacing, the wrong explorations. If you are trying to cultivate a love of reading, read things that you love. It could be comics, it could be memoirs of your heroes, or it could be small town mysteries. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t know, start something and see. The important thing is to be honest with yourself. If you don’t like it, stop reading it, even if it’s the book of the year, and even if your best friend said you’d love it.

 

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Don’t be afraid to quit a book, but do so sparingly. If some book isn’t doing it for you, it’s okay to quit reading it, but I’ve found that persevering often reaps rewards. A good rule of thumb is to only quit a book after you’ve gotten a third of the way, or even half of the way through. 

Wean off social media. Try to cut down on time-wasters. Turn off your phone. Think about the hours you spend mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. With all that stimulation gone, your mind will find reading literature a lot more appealing.

Get a library card. Reading is free! Get all the books your heart desires. The library is truly my happy place, and it is gravely underutilized.

 

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Build a reading list. I am a die-hard Goodreads fan. Right now I have about 713 books in my queue. If you finish one book, pick up the next. I like to read a single page of a new book as soon as I finish the last book. This way, I’m committed to reading another book. 

Download Goodreads. It’s the only social media I will ever tout. When I type ‘goo’ into my browser, Goodreads comes up before Google.

  • It makes reading social. 
  • It encourages you to read more books. 
  • It helps you keep track of books you’ve read and want to read
  • It recommends books based on your interests

And much more!

It’s like the happiest cult I’ve been a part of. Anytime someone mentions anything to do with books, I say, “You know what would help with that? Goodreads.” Go ahead and follow me while you’re at it. 

 

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Get started. That’s it. The final tip is to quit with the excuses and just dive in! I’ve compiled a short list of some of my 5-star rated books of a variety of genres to get you started:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Happy reading!


Why I’m No Longer Vegan

Disclosure: I have nothing against veganism, nor am I trying to impose my beliefs onto others. This is simply my experience and how I responded to this lifestyle.

I have waited 4 months to write this blog post out of fear of backlash, but I think I am finally ready to explain more about why I chose to leave the vegan community.


A 2012 Ode to Nature

I can vividly remember the days of my childhood when hot air met cold air; the days when the night sky looked as dark as the smudged ink on my fingertips. A bolt of lightning flashed spectacularly across the night’s ruptured black abyss with thunder roaring its mighty approval.

Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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