Be the Beauty you Wish to See

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I havent blogged in a while, but I feel compelled to take this moment in time to celebrate you and tell you that you are one of a wonderful kind. There is only one you to make this world complete. Your gifts and talents are unique to you alone in this world, and I encourage you to embrace that and to not be ashamed.

We tend to feel too ashamed or embarrassed to allow the world a peek at who we really are behind the curtain of normalcy and conformance. The thing is…what is normal? A curtain. In all honesty it is nothing more than that; a curtain that exists solely to keep you in the good graces of others.

We’ve been trained since childhood to desire acceptance from our peers before anything else, but in reality this breeds unhappiness for all parties involved. Allow me to let you in on a little known secret – those people that you believe are exactly what you should be, are actually just better actors then you are. Underneath the pretenses they are as beautifully unique as yourself.

The things we see in others and in the world as a whole, are the very things that actually exist in ourselves. When we find ourselves unhappy, or feel that we have been wronged ‘left and right’, it is a good time to evaluate who we have allowed ourselves to become.

Good people see only the good and potential for good in others, and beautiful people see only the beauty in all of God’s creatures.

You don’t feel beautiful? That needs to be changed.

You are beautiful, and you will see this once you start seeing the world in a different light, once you learn to appreciate not what society tells us is beautiful about women, but what is truthfully beautiful about women.

You will understand that you are beautiful when you realize truth in all areas of life. Truth says that differences are beautiful. Differences don’t just apply to color and size, as I have often blogged about, but to everything that makes us different.  I’m controversially talking differences in opinion, political and spiritual beliefs, parenting styles and more.

So many of us, previously myself included, waste far too much of our precious time wishing that others would mirror our beliefs and opinions, and often times we even choose to un-freind those who’s beliefs and opinions differ too far from our own.

While this approach to life actually does sound logical enough, it’s not a sustainable way of living for those looking to incorporate love into daily life, as well as receive compassion from the world. To get, you must first give, so give acceptance and compassion freely.

Also, seriously how boring would life be if we were all of the same mindset? Ok, so say we all become liberals, what then? What will we all disagree over? Well, plenty of things I’m sure, but my point is that we’re not just caught on the specific issues over which we differ, but more on the confrontation. We as people are addicted to disagreement!

Never will we be all the same, and this is a very good thing. In a world where we all must meet one standard of beauty and of thought, only some can be ordained by society as beautiful and smart; in a world where beauty is defined by individuality, we are all beautiful and very valuable.

Choose to see the beauty that exists in life, and eventually everything negative will fade away.

Choose to see the beauty in others, and you, my friend, become instantly beautiful.

Choose to be the beauty that you wish to see.

Cut Your Losses, and Celebrate Your Victories

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Do you find yourself more often than not stuck in your past? Weather you’re feeling nostalgic, or you can’t let go of yesterdays heartbreaks, one thing is true; you can’t be in the present if you’re stuck in a phycological time warp.

I know exactly how this feels, and I still at times have to remind myself not to get stuck on the past, weather we’re talking about yesterday’s mistakes or we’re talking about four years ago’s mistakes. Regret is something I have personally struggled with more often than anything else, however less and less so the more time goes on.

Something I learned that helped me overcome this was realizing that a big part of why I couldn’t lay my past to rest was because I was afraid of the future. It’s natural to be afraid of the unknown, and in fact the only place we know how to live is in the past! When I realized that life is actually one big go around in the unknown, I was…more frightened then ever with some depression on top.

How do we learn to love life when we’re afraid of living?

We learn how to get excited about the prospects the future holds. The first step in doing this is to assess all that you have right now that ensures you to have a beautiful life in the unknown. Now, if you’re like me, upon first assessment you might come away discouraged. But I encourage you to look again…

Rethink something that you don’t like about yourself. Heres one example: I know a lot of girls who feel like they can’t fit in because their personalities are just too…let’s say distinct for lack of a better word. These women have a hard time meshing with their peers because others find them too…uncomfortable, weird, strange, ect. When I meet someone like this do you know what I see?

I see a bud that will someday become a flower. People who feel strange have merely begun to blossom into the beautiful people they will become. They merely need to allow themselves to bloom, and how do they do this? By surrounding themselves with light and love, i.e. people who will encourage/embrace/support them.  Run with the doers and the happy thinkers, don’t waste your time drowning with the downers.

And here’s the thing, you can’t physically be in the past. So when you’re there, it’s like your in limbo. Possibly you’re afraid to be in the present because you’re not only afraid of the unknown, but of the known as well. Sometimes we don’t want to feel what we know we will feel when we are present with ourselves. Do you know what I mean?

Here’s one more thing, we have to face our fears, no matter what they are, to overcome them. I encourage you to be totally present, both physically and emotionally. Allow yourself to be present with your feelings and your fears, and remember that you are not alone when you do so.

Cut your losses, whatever they may be, no matter how hard it may be, and celebrate your victories, both that have been accomplished and will be accomplished.

To sum up…plus a little extra:

#1) Recognize why you’re living in the past with your mistakes

#2) Recognize your beautiful points ( things that may be mistaken as faults by society )

#3) Surround yourself with those who are comfortable with themselves and therefore can be a positive force in your life

#4) Cut your losses ( stop focusing on your mistakes ) and celebrate your victories

#5) Be present with yourself and always strive to be positive

I’d also like to add that you should be able to move on from the past with the understanding that it’s alright to still feel what you feel about certain situations. For instance, if someone hurt you and you want to forgive them but don’t know how or are not ready yet, forgive yourself now for not being “over it”. The forgiveness for the other party involved will undoubtedly come with time. The less pressure you put around yourself concerning past life experiences and losses will make room for a more positive and healing atmosphere to take their place.

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Enough is Enough

Enough is enough

It’s time to stand up against harmful ways women are portrayed in media 

By Zoe Story 

By the age of 13, 53 percent of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78 percent by the time girls reach seventeen (Women’s Media Center).

Where does this come from? Is it instinctual, genetic? Do we wake up one morning and just decide to fear the muscle and baby fat that keeps us alive, and despise our once desired curves?

I recently had the pleasure of discovering the documentary “Miss Representation,” a disturbing look at what today’s media has become and what its messages really are. Jennifer Siebel, an actress, filmmaker, devoted wife, and soon-to-be mother, sets off to try to make a better world for her daughter.

Siebel herself suffered the pain and pressure that the media puts on girls. Being surrounded by images of air brushed, primped and impossibly perfect looking models and actresses, she felt the pressure to conform and starve herself. With the fear that her daughter and other young girls would go through the same agony, she interviewed and questioned young and old women in high positions of power as well as high school students about their views and feelings they held toward the media.

She hoped to find solutions to the everlasting problem of the distorted image that America holds toward women. She was successful; this film hit home.

As a 17-year-old girl, living in today’s society, reading Glamour and watching reality TV, I am surrounded by “sexy” women acting like complete idiots and dieting till they are skin and bones. Growing up in a society that supports the lie that woman are only beautiful when they weigh 100 pounds and dress in the way that men want them to, it’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and be completely satisfied with what you see.

When is it going to be enough?

Sixty-nine percent of girls in fifth-12th grades reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape (National Association on Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Distorders).

Shouldn’t this be enough proof?

Siebel begs men and woman to stand up and put an end to harmful media exposure. I accept the challenge, and agree to abstain from my usual magazine choices and to stop watching reality TV shows that broadcast an unhealthy image of how American society thinks women should look.

I am hoping for a better future and asking all of you to take the respect challenge. As Jennifer Siebel says, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

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Written by Zoe Story,
Peer Health Educator at Homer REC Room

5 Steps to Staying Motivated

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Any time you’re out there on a limb making new lifestyle changes, motivation is the key factor that keeps your engine revving. Weather it be a new diet or exercise regime, or maybe you’re simply trying out my One Week Anti-Stress Challenge https://holisticgirls.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/one-week-anti-stress-challenge/, you need motivation to have consistency, and you simply can’t reach you’re goals without consistency.

Many people develop various ways of staying motivated, but even more people give up before their goals have been reached. This is completely understandable; making changes this huge are entirely overwhelming.

So, what might a person do who has all but given up trying to keep motivated? What might one do who is to the point of wanting to give up?

These five steps can get you back on track and on you’re way to reaching you’re goals.

#1) Let go of your mistakes – If you’ve recently given in and eaten something you wish you hadn’t, or if you’ve skipped a week of exercise, it can be easier to stay off the wagon than to jump back on. This is partially because you’re frustrated with yourself. You feel as though all the time prior to your perceived ‘failure’ was wasted and there’s no point to continue because you will only continue to fail. Let go of the pre-conceived notion that success comes without failure. Knowing that no one is inherently without imperfections will help you to have a better outlook on your circumstance. Your successes won’t be determined by the off days you have here and there, but by your willingness to keep on trucking and by your lifestyle overall. 

#2) Learn to let go of your comfort zone – For example, for me the biggest comfort in my day came after the kids went to bed and I could zone out, watch a movie, and EAT. This was a very hard habit to break for me, because at the end of the day I didn’t care about my goals as I did in the earlier part of the day, I just needed something for me. When I told myself that drinking warm tea would someday be of comfort to me if I made it my new nightly habit, I was able to finally change things. Now I don’t wake up in the mornings feeling full and unmotivated, which makes me so much happier than I was before. And guess what? It took much less time than I thought to form this new healthy comfort!

#3) Visualize your new life – Visualization is a crucial step to to motivation. Many times visualization is motivation. Set aside at least a few minutes every day, upon waking up or before going to bed at night, to visualize yourself reaching your goals. Often times we spend most of our time unconsciously and consciously  believing that what we’re working for really isn’t even possible. This is what determines who is successful  and who isn’t. By making time to visualize positive outcomes you are shaping your subconscious ( which is exponentially more powerful than our conscious mind ) in a constructive way.

#4) Keep your eyes on the prize – Often times our motivation can be derailed when we pay too much attention to what others around us are accomplishing. For instance, it’s natural to see others reaching their goals with what seems to you like extreme ease, and to feel frustration at the slow pace of your own success. Keep your eyes ahead and on your own work and you’ll be not only more successful, but happier. Everything happens for different people at different times, and everyone is struggling with something, weather you can see it or not.

#5) Give yourself a pat on the back – Being too hard on yourself will get old fast. It’s important to enjoy what you’re doing, so make it as fun as possible and give yourself a pat on the back for your awesome efforts. You are working really hard, and you deserve some praise!

The Fat Myth and Stopping Cravings

We all know the deal – trying to loose weight? Avoid ALL fat. Low fat this, low fat that. Right? Wrong! I’m here to tell you that weight loss just got a lot funner, easier, and TASTIER!

Truly, this isn’t new information; it’s been proven first in the infamous ten year Nurses Study ( though these results have had many spin-offs ) and again in every factual fat study conducted since that time.

The truth is that eating a diet full of fats is healthy for many peopleand actually even essential! That’s why omega 3’s and omega 6’s are deemed essential fatty acids ( found oily fish and oils such as fish, krill, flax and hemp ), they are crucial for healthy cognitive functioning and emotional health, as well as prevention from Alzheimers disease and dementia.

While I’m not saying that everyone should be on high fat diets ( as bio-individuals we all have different carb/fat needs ) I do want to stress just how important it is not to leave them out of the equation. For any of you on weight loss journeys, it’s also important for you to know that as long as you consume low fat dairy products you will not be able to loose the weight. It’s really backwards from what we’re taught, so we need to simply adjust our perception of fat.

Not only are low fat foods unhealthy because of their fake and toxic ingredients, but when you eat a food that has been stripped of it’s natural fats, your body will know that something is missing and thus you will experience unstoppable cravings that usually manifest in the form of  sweets and CARBS! Now, carbs are good, but not in excess. Also, low fat/high carb diets create low LDL and high triglycerides, which is the proven causes of heart disease. You want to find that right balance, which varies from person to person. Experiment and see what feels right; whatever feels right is what will stick.

So for any of you who would like clarification on just which fats are healthy, I will make a list below. ( Note: not ALL of these fats will be right for you. As I said, you will have to experiment for yourself, but at least this gives you a reliable ballpark range to work within. I will also narrow it down for you by putting the fats into blood type categories, meaning if you know your blood type you will have an idea of which fats will probably tend to be a better fit for your body. )

Be sure that all the oils and fats you purchase are unadulterated, meaning organic when possible, and raw or unrefined ( with the exception of peanuts, which should not be eaten raw because of harmful bacterias that occur during growth ). It is especially important when purchasing fish oils that you are buying organic and from a reputable brand. Here are two fish oils I personally use and trust. photo-12

Type O: Linseed ( flaxseed ) oil, cod liver oil, sesame oil, coconut oil in moderation, oily fish, krill oil ( should avoid dairy fats ) raw almonds/butter, pumpkin seeds, raw walnuts/butter, raw macadamia nuts/butter.

Type A: Linseed ( flaxseed ) oil, olive oil, coconut oil, cod liver oil, hemp oil/butter ( should avoid dairy fats ) all raw nuts/butters.

Type B: Olive oil, coconut oil in moderation, generally does well with quality dairy products ( cultured butter, yogurt, cheese, raw milk, kefir ), cod liver oil, fish oil, oily fish, hemp oil/butter, linseed ( flaxseed ) oil, raw almonds/butter, raw macadamia nuts/butter, raw pecans/butter, raw walnuts/butter.

Type AB: Olive oil, cod liver oil, fish oil, krill oil, linseed ( flaxseed ) oil, hemp oil/butter, peanuts/peanut butter, raw walnuts/butter, raw almonds/butter, raw macadamia nuts/butter, pistachios/butter.

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For more information on blood types check out Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s book Eat Right For Your Type.  It provides credible information and guidelines, though I for one believe that bio-individuality goes even farther than the four types. It’s certainly a concept that’s fun to play around with though, and many, many people have extreme successes with their health by implementing this as a lifestyle.

Don’t give up just yet! It takes many tries to find the one way that works!

And don’t forget – have fun with your healthy living adventures!