Monday, 19 June 2017

Closing a Chapter

Clothing: Twist Fashion
Bracelet: DearLovesCo.

We are nearing the end of our time in the first home we have grown our little family in. Trust me, we are excited. Very excited. However, call me sentimental; my heart sinks a little with the thought of leaving the very place my babies came home to, took their first steps in and made so many memories in.

At the same time, Sean officially graduated from Seminary and got his first job closer to home than we ever imagined. We thought there was a good chance we would have to move away to accommodate his career choice, but we are incredibly fortunate to be staying right here for now. For me, this year was a big year of running a small business, blogging more consistently and finishing up 10 wonderful weddings for 2017 while being a stay-at-home mom. We knew this change was coming but was not quite expecting it all so suddenly.

In all of it, it's been more than a tad bit overwhelming for all of us. We love it, and we hate it, all at the same time. I know I find my anxiety rising at every additional task we take on as a family and yet this change is just that much more work. At the same time, we are trying to cherish these last few weeks in this place we have called home.

I hate moving, with a passion. It is by far my least favorite task ever other than cooking, and we have done it more than a few times while being married. This one is the biggest though. The one we have to unassemble a crib and a toddler bed and move a million times more junk than we have ever owned in our entire life (there will be some hardcore purging being done).

All that to say, we are simply rolling with the punches. We are lucky to be facing "happy" struggles vs. "sad" struggles and know in a matter of months this will be nothing but a memory.
We are upgrading to a home with a backyard, an office, and rooms for all. We're not quite in a place to buy a home, but renting couldn't be a better option for us for now and we are so grateful for the incredible opportunity to do so.

We're excited to be in a home we will truly try to make our own over the next couple years and have a place we can host small get-togethers, make a little studio space for work, and let my children run around in circles in the backyard.

Moving sucks, but change is good. And although I am going to miss the familiarity of this little home, only three rooms to clean, and sweet neighbors that are right outside our front door we watch daily... we know this change is going to be good.

Monday, 12 June 2017

We Are The Beholder

"People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that we are the beholder." - Salma Hayek 

Last week I wrote a post about body image issues and just a few ways to keep it positive. I shared a few behaviors that I established and continued to do in the months and years after finishing up my eating disorder rehabilitation program that I found helpful. They weren't easy and I didn't do them perfectly every time, but I made a strong dedication to these behaviors and they were remarkably life changing. 

To piggy back off that last post, I thought I would share a few messages that I told myself which helped me feel confident as I pursued the recovery of a positive body image. Convincing my mind was my greatest battle. I am sure many of you would agree and can relate. Changing my behaviors was one thing but changing my beliefs and the messages I told myself was key to my continued success. I read a lot of positive quotes and my favorite bible verses daily. I remember coming home and sticking sticky notes on all my mirrors with encouraging verses and quotes I hoped would slowly reshape my mind, even if it was just for the day. There were three very clear messages I habitually told myself. Even now, when I find myself feeling insecure about my post-partum body, I remind myself of the following three messages.

"Perfection" is an unattainable standard
We all know "perfection" is unattainable. And if anything, each person's perception of perfection is different. Yes, culture has some sort of "perfect" body image they have portrayed to us through marketing and photos. But as many of you know (and if you didn't, you need to know) most advertisements have been tweaked, tinted, enlarge, minimized, stretched, and colored to create this unattainable "perfect" body image. And funny enough, in reality, what has been considered beautiful has changed from over time, from culture to culture, and even from person to person. So, through my tough days, I told myself this daily. "Perfect" is unattainable, so be free to set your own standard of beauty which should start with you being you. Own it. 

I have a great purpose
This my favorite message I told myself during my recovery. I have a great purpose in this world, no matter what others say or what I am sometimes tempted to think. None of us will ever know the power and the impact of our lives. No matter how awesome or how boring you think your life is, you have a purpose. No matter how much money you make or don't make, you have a purpose. No matter how important or unimportant you feel you are, you have a purpose. No matter what, you have a purpose. We may not always understand what it is or feel it, but our lives make a difference. Since you are a package you need your body to carry out this purpose. Your body, therefore, plays a vital role in you living out your purpose. But you are more than your body and what you look like. Learning to love ourselves and recognize that we have a purpose will help us learn to accept and love the skin we are in.

Who I am, makes me unique.
You are the only "you".  You are special, and no one will ever be you. Your imperfections make you unique and it is your uniqueness (again, by simply being "you") that makes you beautiful. We all come with our own quirks and gifts. Embrace what you find happiness and love in and no that those are the things that make you "you." 

"Love your body, and teach your mind to respect it." - unknown

You may also enjoy: When Someone You Love Has An Eating Disorder

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A Few Steps To Better Body Image

I often am asked, almost 10 years out of my eating disorder, if I still "struggle" with body image.
Since an eating disorder was a by-product of bigger things that have happened in my life, the triggers, that pushed me into my eating disorder, will sadly always be there. However, I'm happy to say that they now have less and less of an impact. But, certain messages that were spoke to me as a child will always be a hard pill to swallow and I may always struggle with those insecurities. Whether I am at a grocery store or in the safety of my own home there may always be things that trigger me. But, thankfully, over the years I have found better ways to cope with these triggers and ultimately how I feel about my body. 

I am no longer a 16 year old with an eating disorder. I am 31 years old and have given birth to two babies. Things have changed, my body has changed, and I have changed. Thankfully, I have never been more "ok" with it. As I said above, this didn't happen overnight. Moreover, although I can't control all "triggers," there are a few things I did differently when I came out of my program in 2007 that I believe have helped free me from body shaming.

Quit the life

This is one of the biggest things I did when I started my recovery process. I quit modeling, acting, watching "America's Next Top Model," dieting, and anything that made me body conscious, including going to the gym. Surrounding ourselves with people, jobs or extracurricular activities, in which how we look is of importance, can be incredibly deteriorating to our self-esteem. So, at that time, I gave up on everything I felt would bring up insecurities about what I looked like, or I looked like in comparison to. At first, it was not easy. But I began to spend more time filling my head with things that mattered to me, more time in a job where I could give back and more time with people who shared the same interests as me. The cumulative effect was to both insulate me from anything triggering and give me purpose and value beyond how I looked. Eventually, my triggers became less trigger-some. Therefore, Once you get a point you feel very confident you can face those triggers without the negative messages and thoughts attached to them, you can start adding them back into your life because who doesn't like a little "America's Next Top Model?" And we all know going to the gym is a healthy part of life. Everything in moderation though. Most of those things don't trigger me anymore but it took a long time of taking them out of my life to get here (let's remember it has been 10 years). 

Surround yourself with like-minded people

Find friends who are like-minded. If you find friends who are consumed with body image you most likely will as well. It's just like gossip, or people who compare. If you spend time with them, we often grow to be like them. This doesn't mean ditch your friends, but be conscious of the amount of time you spend with them and the influence they are making on you. Also, find people with whom you share hobbies and interests that are outside of what one looks like just physically.

Know Your Value

Said best by Alessia Cara: "You should know you're beautiful just the way you are, and you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart."
I am well aware we live in a culture and time where beauty is found in a size, a skin color, a hair color, a build... but it is all garbage and the world has it so wrong. Some of the most beautiful people I know are those with kind, generous, authentic souls, despite all the things I listed above. We are much more than what we look like. We come with kind hearts, generous hands, incredible brains, passionate souls and more. The world really does need to change its heart on this matter and maybe one day it will. We all have a purpose on this earth and we all come in different shapes and sizes... know you are "beautiful just the way you are."

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