Category Archives: Body Image

Dear Universe: My Body Makes Me Sad

Dear Universe,

I know that when sometimes people are stressed, they emotional eat. Sometimes when I am stressed and overwhelmed I can’t even see my body. And I mean SEE it.
Sometimes I drink cups and cups of coffee to help me stay awake and so I won’t feel hunger. Hunger is an awful feeling. Don’t worry, I don’t have an eating disorder. Please don’t worry about that. I still eat. Food is delicious when T makes it.

So I was good and scheduled an appointment with my psychologist. He sat patiently and listened. He said I need to work on it. I agreed. It is an issue. Sometimes I don’t like being touched. Even a hug. That needs improvement. I am working on it universe, I swear. The other day I wrote words all over my stomach. That area is the most sensitive part of me. I still listen to all the hollywood bullshit that we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
I wrote BEAUTY, STRONG, PERFECT, LOVE, and RADIANT all over my upper torso. It helped, Universe.  It helped a lot. I am in charge. Not images that I am bombarded with.
Universe,  I follow all of these amazing body positive people. They inspire me. I want to be like them. Like “Hey this is me I don’t give a shit what you think”. They speak better than that, but you know what I mean.

Universe I am tired. I need to sleep. I am tired of putting out my own personal fires. It’s too much. I think I will be better. This will get better.

Love,
Sita & Jojo

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Why I Have Decided to Love My Body

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Hey everyone. I hope you are having an awesome Wednesday. Or Thursday, depending on your time zone.

If you haven’t noticed, there is a huge body acceptance movement happening online and in real life situations. There are so many awesome bloggers who talk about fashion for curvy figures, and how they love their bodies even though society is constantly telling them that their bodies are somehow flawed and unhealthy. Why are we saying that one body type (ie skinny bodies) are better than another? No. That is not the case. In my world, every body is beautiful and deserves respect. I would like to throw a shout out to
The Militant Baker and Facebook Blog Curves Become Her.

I want to join the discussion. As a twenty something year old, I have an average body type. I am not accused of being unhealthy, even though right now I will tell you that I am. What does a healthy body even look like? People who are gorgeously heavy are told that they have health problems on a regular basis. What about skinny people? What is our measurement for healthy? My point is that large people can be healthy, and skinny people can be unhealthy. I feel like I am beating a dead horse at this point, but you get what I mean.

I have written posts in the past about body image, but I wanted to tell you something. It is ridiculous to compare yourself to the other bodies around you. (This can be a very hard thing to do, especially if your body is not seen as desirable in society. I understand that). I have had a lot of body image issues, but lately I don’t care what other people think. It’s okay to have parts of your body that you are self conscious of, and parts of you that you love. For example, I can be self conscious of my thighs and my stomach. On the other hand, I love how my shoulders are curved. I think I have a great smile, and I love my tattoo. If you love your body you are not always thinking “I will date when I lose x amount of pounds. I will take that family photo when I am a bit leaner”. No, by not loving ourselves we miss out so much on life.

This was a potentially controversial blog topic, but I wanted to get it out there.

Also check out this awesome YouTube vid by vlogger Justin Dennis. She is great! Justin Dennis Stop Fat Shaming!

Love you all xox

The Effect of Poor Body Image on Relationships

cute photoHey friends! So I haven’t talked about body image in awhile, so I thought I would give it a whirl. About 5 years ago my body image was in the gutter. I was also in a relationship with a wonderful man, who cared about me like the Earth cares about the Sun. He loved me, just the way I was, but there was a problem with that: I didn’t love me just the way I was.

I would always marvel at his intelligence and would ask him to explain his homework and classes. He was funny, silly, and loved to make puns with me. You’re probably thinking, but what does this have to do with  body image? I’m getting there. Don’t worry.

My poor body image put a huge strain on our relationship. There were days when I couldn’t even cuddle with him because I felt shitty about the way I looked. He loved my curves, but some days I would just throw my arms up and say “I can’t! I’m feeling too ugly”

As I look back on this experience, I am purely awe stricken. Here was my boyfriend, who loved me unconditionally but I couldn’t reciprocate because I was so unhappy about my body image.

With a whole lot of courage from myself, as well as my boyfriend, I took up a running class. I even managed to find a running buddy, who is still my friend to this day. When I started to learn what my body was capable of, I began to think of how it functioned, and not how it looked. I saw my body as a vessel that could potentially improve race scores, and I was focused on improving my running technique.

I was elated. I consistently told my boyfriend about how I was improving, and he was so supportive all the way through.

happinessWhen I took up running, my body image issues weren’t magically cured. Poor body image is something that can take over your every waking moment of every day. During that period, there was not a period where I would wake up, swing my legs out of bed and say “Ew my thighs are gross.” I worked out 5 days a week, and did a lot of walking up and down the stairs of my university campus. (I will tell you that there are a lot of stairs!!)
I am about 25 now, and I finally feel good about the way I look., and most importantly- how I feel as a person.

I feel that it is very difficult to talk about poor body image.  without it leading to body shame. I find that talking about poor body image leads to a ripple effect: one girl says she feels fat, then the other says she is so ugly, and so on and so forth. Also one thing: one cannot FEEL fat!! It`s not an emotion!!

We need to build an alliance and stand strong together. Fat and skinny shaming is not the answer. Accepting each other, and our selves, as well as being able to talk about body image in a healthy way is key. I would know, I’ve been there ;).

Confessions of an Epileptic: My Body Image Sucks

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I have struggled with my body image for a long time, but have always found it a difficult subject to broach. “I feel like my hips are fat.” isn’t the most glamourous way to start a conversation. For the record, I am self conscious of my thighs, especially my hips. Also from a women’s studies perspective, it is worrisome that talking about negative body image as it may create more negative body image amongst my friends. I never really had a safe way of talking about it with my friends, as it is hard to know who may feel triggered by certain comments. Additionally, I never thought that body image and chronic seizures could have any form of correlation. Through having severe seizures and the feeling of complete loss over my own body has made me feel negatively towards my body in general. Also going from completely active with regards to working out at least 6 times a week to only going for moderate walks every day (if I could muster it) was a complete life style change that I was not sure I was willing to accept. These added on challenges to an already feeling of insecurity towards my body has been a difficult path in these past couple of years, especially because I want to feel at peace with my own body and how I relate to it. 

   Sometime in late 2012 I was put on Topamax, which is an anti seizure medication. Topamax completely suppressed my appetite, which is a common side effect, although it does not occur in everyone who takes it. Dinner became the most painful meal of the day, as I had to sit at the table with my parents and literally shovel food into my mouth. Eating was no longer enjoyable and started to feel more like a chore than an enjoyable way of socializing with my friends and family. I felt full all the time and no longer had any cravings or desire for some of my favourite foods. I still ate food, but the pounds fell off as they pleased. No one said much, except for the scale screaming my weight up to me past my toes. I began to notice that my face was slimmer and my jaw line seemed to be less cushy. It wasn’t until I went to a program coordinator for the Social Work Program at my university did I realize how evident my change in weight was. Although I wasn’t there to discuss my weight, she had no issue in telling me her thoughts on my appearance. “Wow Sita! You’re so slim! I can’t believe it! You’re just so tiny! You look so great!” I ignored her comments and looked helplessly at my friend who had come to the meeting with me. I pushed past her comments to further discuss the academic matters I was there to see her for.

      After the meeting I just felt so confused. Was it good that I was “so thin?” Did everyone secretly think I was fat beforehand and now was just a convenient time to tell me that I was too skinny, yet looking great?My current ‘skinny’ weight also happened to be my stupid self internalized “goal weight”, but I here I was getting a slap across the wrists saying I was “too skinny!!” Due to my insecurity of my body image I should have been elated at losing so much weight, but I started to worry that I would continue to lose more weight. I didn’t have much more to lose! Although I did not have an eating disorder, I felt uncomfortable having lost so much weight. My old weight was healthy! I had more muscle on me and I exercised at least 6 times a week. At this weight I was so sick I couldn’t even go to the gym and my friends and family were constantly watching my back, braced for my next seizure.

    Okay let’s fast forward to 2013. Thank gawd I was taken off of the Topamax (which was a relief because it slowed my brain processes in addition to making me lose weight). It was great to have my brain processing at a sharper speed again but I had lost so much muscle due to my sedentary lifestyle. I was also fearful of having a seizure while exercising at the gym, and ultimately that fear came true when I fell off of a stationary bike. After that incident, I felt like I did not belong in the gym anymore. For a period of months I started to feel more and more like a blob, while constantly reminiscing over the days when I could run 5 km in 30 minutes, and when I took Burlesque classes with my friends. (Yes, that’s right! Burlesque!) This feeling of being ‘too soft’ and ‘not muscular enough’ trickled into 2014 until the beginning of May when I did a fitness class with a friend. It was a Barre class which was high intensity yet still close enough to the ground in case anything happened. Also the fact that I had a friend there helped a lot. Today my thighs are killing me but it was so worth it! I also bought a 10 class dance pass from Groupon which was valued at over 100 dollars but I paid only 19 dollars for it! I can’t help but say that it’s a helluva deal! I can’t wait to do some more Zumba, Burlesque, hip hop, and the other styles of dance that are offered. Dancing isn’t super close to the ground like the Barre class was, but I am too excited to back out now! Since I will be working out more, I bought a pair of cross trainers for the dance classes and other aerobics classes in general. I love them! Aren’t they cute?! 

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SO SO much shoe love!

I guess I’ve kinda come full circle: supposedly too skinny, to feeling like a blob, and now back on the dance/exercise bandwagon again. It’s amazing how seizures have affected my body image and how I view my body. Even though I was insecure about my body image, it has intensified during my period of illness. It is slowly recuperating, but it just goes to show how illness can affect how we view our own bodies and or our loss of control over them. In this case, epilepsy is highly relevant as epileptics literally have no control over their bodies when they are seizing, which is absolutely terrifying. It is also amazing how the intensity of a person’s seizures can limit them from every day physical activities that people who are not affected with some sort of illness may not think twice about. Remember to count your blessings, and if being fit for you means taking a short walk every day then pat yourself on the frigging back! You deserve it! Yay for being fit again! I can’t wait! Love you all! xox

Epilepsy and Fitness

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Hey guys! How are you doing? I’m doing pretty well these days. Since I’ve been better, I’ve been more into exercising and aching to get back into my regular exercise routines.

I have always been into working out and exercising. It’s one of my passions, and I find that it helps me burn off my stress and its a guaranteed space where I’ll get to be alone and be ‘in the zone’. I also think it helped me with the epilepsy, because one of my main triggers for seizures is stress. So, I could go to the gym and burn it off and work hard and then when I left, I would have a peace of mind. Throughout high school and university, I was what you could call a ‘gym rat’. In my first year of university it was well known that if I wasn’t around in the residence I was either studying in the library or working out in the gym. Over the years I have picked up different exercises, such as when I took a boot camp (that was fun!) and I incorporated them into my own workouts.

My workouts usually consisted of this: I would start with a a warm up on the stair master (or laps around the track), and then I would use the weight machines, but I wouldn’t like to spend too much time on them because I prefer to use free weights and full body exercises, because I feel that’s the best way to build muscle, instead of just sitting on a machine. Then I would use free weights and do bicep curls, etc, with ten pound weights (my arms aren’t super strong, I have most of the strength in my legs). Then I would use a swiss ball and do a bunch of squats and other exercises on the mat. It was a really good workout! That was just a basic run down of my workout, but I don’t want to go over it in tiny little details, because trust me, I could. 😉 I usually left the gym covered in sweat, because I always gave it my all, and I wasn’t’ satisfied with myself if I only did a mediocre job. Let’s admit it: I am a bit of a perfectionist.

When my seizures became out of control, I stopped going to the gym because there was no way I could do any of those exercises with the amount of seizures that I was having. I could easily fall off the stair master, fall off a weight machine, drop a free weight on my foot, or collapse on a mat. It would be dangerous, not to mention embarrassing. So, needless to say, I am extremely out of my routine of going to the gym and I miss it terribly. So, ever since the Fall of 2012 I have gradually been losing a lot of muscle mass and I am anxious to gain it back. I have been doing little workouts at home with a mat and doing everything I can that doesn’t require equipment, plus daily walks, yet I am anxious to gain my muscle back!

If your seizures are uncontrolled, here are some tips to still maintain your fitness level:

1.Try to go for a walk a couple of times a week with a friend or family member
2.Do simple exercises, such as crunches on a mat at home
3Watch your portion sizes and avoid sweets so as to avoid putting on extra pounds
4. Remember to stay hydrated!

Even though my seizures are improving, I need to remember to take it slow with the workouts. I have the tendency to dive back in to things and then have repercussions as a result. I really want to be able to do things that I did before the breakthrough of seizures (such as going to the gym four times a week, Zumba, and  running) I need to take it easy. Does anyone have any suggestions or is in the same situation? Hope you’re having a good week! Love you all! xox

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Stomping in My Bitch Boots: A Lesson in Self-Love

Hey all! Sorry I’ve been a little MIA, life is crazy with school and other things that gobble up time, but I’m back! Enjoy.

Do you ever have those days where you catch yourself in the mirror and you’re all like “Oh god when did I get this hot?” Well, I was having one of those days today when I caught myself in the mirror of my elevator while I was hauling groceries back to my apartment. Now, I’m generally not shy about looking in mirrors, but today I was caught off guard. I think I’m a prettty good looking lady, but I didn’t expect to look so good after hauling my groceries down the road and into the lobby. I imagined sweat stains at the pits of my shirt and that my long dark hair was in distress after being out in the sun and being blown around by the wind. Neither were true! My outfit was still perfectly put together, and dare I say that I even looked smaller than I remembered myself?

I think this awesome feeling was due in part to the fact that I was wearing my amazing ‘Bitch Boots’. My Bitch Boots are this amazing pair of lace up boots that have zips on the side (so you never actually have to tie them up), and look totally rocking with a pair of skinny jeans tucked into them. I even remember buying them: I was with my friend Sam looking around in Aldo. Before going shopping I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy anything and that it was simply to be a window shopping excursion. But no! Everything changed once I lay my eyes on my boots. Made of black leather (or probably fake leather, but shh) they were all hot, feminine, powerful and dare I say hipster all in one! Plus they were on sale, so that was a major bonus. Before I knew it I found myself trying them on, modelling them in one of those tiny little mirrors that make it so you can see only your feet.

They were amazing! I had to have them! Sam didn’t discourage it. I figured I would get a good bang for my buck, as they would last and wouldn’t go out of style for a while. Even though I loved them, I wondered what the boyfriend would think. I imagined him making fun of me, accusing me of being a hipster. Not like he can talk; he loves bands that no body knows and he just emulates that vibe sometimes. (Sorry bf, but remember I have leftover chocolate cake that you want!) Regardless, I was gonna buy them and wear them even if no one else liked them.

These are the Bitch Boots!

This idea of feeling powerful regardless of what other people think of you is essential for good self-esteem and confidence. However, it’s easy to let other people’s ideals of beauty rob you of this power. You can totally forget about your natural beauty by absorbing some bullshit mainstream idea of what is hot and what is not. Fuck those bastards! You should be the only one who decides what features of yourself make you hot.

Just yesterday I was at the grocery store buying some groceries for a little get together I was having with some friends. Since it was a Saturday afternoon (prime time for grocery shopping) I spent some time in line waiting to check out my groceries. Now, while I was waiting it was absolutely impossible to ignore the headlines on all the magazines. That 5 to 10 minute wait in a grocery store line is how I get updated in the ‘pop world’. (Oh and www.jezebel.com).

The tabloids on Star Magazine (I think it was Star) are what caught my eyes first. Headlines such as: Too Skinny and Starving to be Perfect leaped out at me. There were images of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Gwen Stefani, and Jessica Simpson, and there was something critical to say about each of their appearance. Jessica Simpson was criticized for her baby weight and recent weight loss. How can you criticize someone for their weight gain during pregnancy? They just had a baby for gods-sakes! Kim Kardashian’s picture was accompanied with something along the lines of Still wanting to lose some more pounds, while Gwen Stefani’s picture had a quote with something along the lines of I practically starve myself to stay skinny. Oh, did I also mention she was wearing a crop top and you could practically see her ribs?

What. The. Fucking. Hell. This magazine is criticizing female celebrities for being too skinny, but at the same time these types of images are what perpetuates poor body image, crash dieting, and excessive exercising. Of course it goes in the opposite direction too: some people may binge, deprive themselves of food, or follow extremely rigid excercise and eating plans. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit angry. It seems as though there is no such thing as ‘good enough’ when it comes to bodies and appearance. If a woman is too skinny, she is accused of having an eating disorder. If a woman is too curvy, it must be mentioned all the time. This extreme idea of thinking in terms of being too skinny or being too heavy leaves little room for the development of positive body image and self-esteem. I would also argue that it leaves one in a constant state of worry and concern about their body. Er, let me rephrase that: sometimes it leaves me in a state of worry and concern.

Anyways, with all this scrutiny of women’s bodies in magazines, it’s great to have one article of clothing that always makes you feel awesome, no matter what the day. Even though the way magazine articles still anger me with regards to how they scrutinize female’s bodies, I have learned to separate myself from it and see it as realistically as possible. These women don’t get a break with how they look because they are under scrutiny all the time. I’m guessing this makes them need to look a certain way, because that’s what their manager wants, and it will help them sell more albums, or do better at the box office. Maybe they would actually love to be ten pounds heavier, but they are sacrificing it to follow their dream. I can’t judge.

It’s true!

I, on the other hand, don’t have the paparazzi following me, and I am the only person that passes criticism on myself. (Well other people do I’m sure, but I don’t notice and don’t really care that much). I have learned that I have power over how I feel about myself, so I am going to love the way I look, and love the way that makes me feel. So if a pair of awesome boots is what gets me there in the process, why the fuck not? These boots to me are more than just a pair of boots. I am reclaiming the word ‘bitch’ to encompass something strong and powerful, and it can be used as a compliment rather than an insult.

Life is too short to spend time worrying about all the little lumps and bumps. (Perceived or otherwise). Don’t let beauty ideals and ideas of perfection stop you in your tracks. You are perfect just the way you are, so keep on stomping in your bitch boots.

Thank you so much for reading. I would love to hear from you if you have any comments or suggestions for new topics or how I could improve. Love you all xox

Is it Insane That I Love My Body?

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Over the years I have had many conversations with people (namely women) about body shapes and how people feel about their bodies. These conversations never come up in a formal way. Often they are the result of shopping for new clothes, going out to eat, and partaking in exercise classes.

I remember a year ago my friend and I were changing into our dance clothes because we were taking a dance class at a nearby studio. As we were changing in the locker room, my friend exclaimed “Oh look, a scale!” I remember seeing it before and made sure not to say anything, just so I wouldn’t have to weigh myself. My friend stepped on and was instantly disappointed that she weighed 10 pounds less than she thought she did. When it was my turn, I weighed 10 pounds more than I thought I did. It was interesting how we were both equally disappointed. My friend was happy with the weight she was at and was disappointed that she had been unable to maintain it. I had been exercising regularly and eating healthily, so gaining ten pounds didn’t make sense! In that dance studio change room we exchanged our own little form of body dissatisfaction. Neither of us were totally satisfied with our weight, because in part, we have been trained to always look for imperfections. I forgot about it during our dance class but lamented to my aunt the next day over the phone. She calmly reminded me that I had been running on a regular basis (I was training for my first 5k) and how muscle weighs more than fat. So I just had strong thighs and calves! Thank goodness.

Can you believe this?!

It’s interesting though. Even though all of these conversations about bodily dissatisfaction are seen as embarrassing or shameful, everyone in our culture does it! I have never talked to a single person who didn’t express some dissatisfaction with regards to how they look. I would even go so far as to argue that it is ‘in’ to complain about your appearance. No one wants to be the strong tall one (figuratively speaking) in a group that has nothing to contribute to the lamenting of extra fat around the mid-section, jiggly thighs, and thin arms. From my perspective, it seems as though disengaging from ‘fat talk’ sends the incorrect message that a person is too good to have flaws. I don’t agree with this, I think it would be great if more people disengaged from this type of behavior. But let’s think about it: we all want to fit in, and if we fit in by sharing the same type of dissatisfaction with others is a way to do it, it’s an easy route to take.

But here’s a revolutionary idea: What if we actually loved our bodies and had no problem with it? What if we just said, “yeah I’m hot!” And what if it wasn’t a lie you were making to yourself? What if you were actually in love with your curves, or how narrow your hips and legs are? What if you thought it was awesome how tiny your boobs are? What if, what if!

A couple of years ago I met a girl who was so obsessed with food and her appearance that every single conversation somehow gravitated towards the size of her stomach, food she wouldn’t allow herself to eat, and how she needed new pants because hers were too big. We weighed about the same (I only know this because she told me) yet she was much taller. I couldn’t help but turn over every stone of our conversation in my mind. Is it weird that I like the way I look, even though I like to eat pizza and ice cream on occasion and even though my stomach isn’t flat? Life is bizarre. She looked more like the ideal form of female beauty than I did, yet she seemed to be more unhappy with her appearance than I was. I found these conversations to be very triggering. I began to wonder if it was bad that I was content with my body, despite some extra weight around the mid-section and curvy hips. Was it okay to be happy with the way I was? Did I need to monitor my eating in order to be happy with myself?

Apparently not, because it was obvious how unhappy this girl was with her appearance. And no kidding! I would be unhappy too if I saw all my friends enjoying food that I love, but wouldn’t allow myself to have.

This girl has her own story, and it’s not my job to tell it for her. In a way though, I am glad we had the conversations that we did, because it makes me more aware of what’s triggering for me. Also, I try to shut down those “You’re-not-good-enough” thoughts as quickly as they come, because I’ve learned that they waste hours, days, weeks and sometimes years of amazing life that could be lived to its maximum potential. Also, let’s face it: we all have days where we feel crummy about ourselves and that’s okay. It’s hard to feel fantastic 100% of the time. But in the meantime, I’m going to continue to work at loving me for who I am, and not be ashamed or embarrassed about it.

Yup, I’m awesome.

Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to share any of your thoughts! I would love to read them! xox