living intuitively

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Posts tagged health
ebb and F L O W
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Life is a repeated cycle of getting lost and then finding yourself again. There are many smaller cycles within that cycle where you get lost to a smaller degree and then remember yourself again. Sometimes you do it to yourself on purpose, consciously or unconsciously. Every time you get lost it is so that you can learn something or experience something from a different perspective.
— Jay Woodman

Tell me if you relate to this:

I’ve been going through a funk. I feel…off. Out of touch with others and myself. Not [as] connected to others or myself. Things don’t flow like they usually do.

This isn’t the first funk and it won’t be the last. And that right there…that’s a life lesson I’m continually learning: that life is cyclic. In every way: physically, emotionally, spiritually, biologically, professionally…all of it. There are ebbs and flows in all things. Flow is an operative word in multiple senses. It’s key to remember to go with the flow of life, and not resist it.

Easier said than done, right??

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I may get a few “ME TOOs” from the following statement: I derive much of my value and worth from my accomplishments. Not just the big achievements (awards, degrees, etc) but also my daily doings. I measure the success of my day by my productivity. Not healthy, and something I acknowledge and work on daily.


We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of time and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Discipline is my default. As I keep learning throughout life, too much discipline can be as detrimental as too little. It’s about BALANCE: physically, mentally, emotionally…all of it. Going 100% all the time ain’t sustainable and ain’t healthy. I consider my drive/discipline my biggest strength(s) and my biggest downfall(s). Being driven + disciplined generates my accomplishments but also causes my issues (physical/spiritual/emotional).

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Let’s take fitness and nutrition for an example (or exampleS, I guess, since they are two areas? You get what I mean!). It’s naturally much easier for me to restrict myself and push myself than it is for me to indulge/relax myself. And before your eyes roll out of the back of your head like, “Gag me! Get over yourself” let me note: This isn’t a humble brag, trust me. Your body needs ebbs and flows to thrive and operate optimally. It doesn’t do well when you’re stuck in one speed, whether that’s fast or slow - or even moderate. My go-to gear is turbo.

Not only that, but I go on kicks with certain foods that last for YEARS, y’all. I shit you not. My body craves the same dang thing(s) day in and out, multiple times a day. For example, I’ve been eating the same salad daily since 2016 (only breaking when I travel - and even then, if I have a kitchen, I grab ingredients to make it). I would have it for every meal (and occasionally do). My body legit craaaaves it. Yes, i’m a weirdo, but I have theories for why I crave it repeatedly: 1. The nutrients are what my body has shown to be deficient in/what my body needs to sustain my current lifestyle; 2. My palate prefers fresh, plant-based ingredients. Before this prompts another eye roll, here’s why: This is partly because I grew up eating healthy, wholesome foods, and partly because I focus on giving my body what it truly needs/wants, allowing me to eat intuitively. It just makes me FEEL better. This may sound obnoxious - I get it. But look: We all have our superpowers. Some can belt it like Beyonce, some can move it like Michael…I genuinely love eating like a bunny. It is what it is.

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Okay, back to cycles and balance regarding fitness and nutrition: My go-to gear is hard and fast (that’s what she said. I HAD TO. I’m sorry. Yes, I’m secretly a 12-year-old boy). I get a high from powering through an insane workout and only eating a certain amount. Part of it is a control issue, sure - that’s a whole other conversation (if I feel frustrated/powerless in other areas of my life, I focus on the areas I can control, blah blah blah). But also: My body and mind both like routine. It'’s easy, it’s energy efficient, and it’s proven in the past to be effective. But just because something was previously effective doesn’t mean it will continue to be effective - and this is true for SO MANY ASPECTS of our lives, including eating and exercising.

If you haven’t been seeing/feeling the results you want, this next part may be your missing key:

Finding one approach and sticking with it ‘til the end of time is not only boring, it’s ineffective. Unrealistic. Life is not static, it’s dynamic, and requires us to be so as well (if we want to thrive and step into our power).

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Nature itself is cyclic (eg seasons), and so therefore are our bodies. I mean, our sleep has cycles, so why wouldn’t our metabolism? No day is truly the same, with our energy input/output, hormone/stress levels, etc. Our energy intake/expenditure must keep pace accordingly. And moreover, our bodies are fascinatingly intelligent. It’ll soon realize it’s receiving a certain number of calories and adjust accordingly. For example, if it’s only getting 1000, it’ll slow down to accommodate. That’s why it’s important to change it up and keep it dynamic and guessing, regarding both content and amount. Same with our fitness regimen, on a macro and micro level. Sure, steady-state cardio (SSC) has its place (walking, for example, can be restorative in multiple ways) but HIIT workouts kick SSC’s booty when it comes to efficacy and efficiency.

Not only that: intense SSC - especially prolonged (for an hour+ without any breaks) - can actually be detrimental! As in it will actually do your body (metabolism) more harm than good. This is good news for your sanity, your size, and your schedule! Sure, movement is the most important thing, but a 15-minute HIIT/Tabata workout will yield faster and better results than going for an hour run at the same pace. Plus it’s more FUN. Way easier to stay engaged. And doing the same workout over and over (even if it’s an interval workout) ain’t good either. Gotta switch up the type, duration, and intensity of workouts. Fitness queen Chalene Johnson covers this on her podcast, The Chalene Johnson Show (Episode #403 Calorie Myths: The Problem with Eating Less and Moving More and Episode 414 Cross-Training Your Nutrition and Getting Honest About The Fitness Industry).

it’s important to work with our bodies and their natural flow. Same goes for our lives. Some of you are good at this. Some - like me - must learn this.

Play and downtime are JUST AS IMPORTANT as go time. Science is continually and progressively proving this. To be at the top of our game in any area, we require recovery. This is the same for our minds and muscles! A truly fit person knows this, and prioritizes recovery. There’s no glory in going hard 24/7 with no breaks. I used to be one of those who took pride in never “needing” a rest day and having a hard time relaxing - whether regarding my workout or my work. But now I know this indicates faulty thinking and unhealed areas. It’s working twice as hard for half the results. NO THANKS.

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Relaxing our mind and body allows our body to restore itself. Letting our imagination run free sparks inspiration and innovation. It’s important to embrace - not resist - the fluctuations. When you’re feeling drained, just allow it. Don’t fight it. Defying it will just make you spin your wheels and delay your recovery. Sure, it can be tricky to know when to nudge yourself and when to back off, but keep at it. Eventually you’ll dial in and know what you need and when you need it.

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One of my tricks is to just remove the pressure from myself. I stop telling myself I HAVE to do something, and tell myself I don’t have to do anything. I get to do what I want. I grant myself grace. And magically, somehow, whenever i remove that impetus, I usually reclaim my motivation. Not always, and when I don’t - that’s when I know I truly need rest.

And you may again get lost in the noise and need to recalibrate, and relearn this lesson of going with the flow. But c’est la vie. This only proves the point that life is cyclic, and we often revisit past lessons, and will continually do so.

Just remember:

For a truly balanced and fulfilled life, the lows are as important as the highs.

xx,

-w-







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D A R E to be Y O U
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.
— Sophia Bush

Let me start off by saying this is not directed at any particular person (man, what an opener, right?).

I really want to express gratitude for all of the good vibes thrown my way lately, specifically about my physique. People have been so kind and complimentary (vocab check: in addition to “free” it also means “expressing a compliment; praising or approving - fun fact for the day!).

People have noted I look thinner, and have commented on how svelte I look and how hard I’ve worked to get there.

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The truth is…I haven’t. Worked hard at it, that is.

Let me explain. I actually liked the way I looked before my [slight] weight loss (it’s not like I’ve dropped 20 lbs, but even minor weight fluctuations on my petite frame are noticeable - for “good” and “bad”). It was a long road to escape body dysmorphia and the sick societal “six pack or bust” ideal. I learned to truly celebrate my curves and embrace my body type. I understood strength and fitness trumped physical form. What I could do and how I felt doing it were far more important than what I looked like [doing it].

Don’t waste so much time thinking about how much you weigh. There is no more mind-numbing, boring, idiotic, self-destructive diversion from the fun of living.
— Meryl Streep

Obsessing over what I looked like was consuming a ridiculous amount of mental and emotional bandwidth. ENOUGH. Honestly, I just maxed out (physically, mentally, emotionally). So I dug deep and got to a fantastically solid place. I lived intuitively, I ate intuitively. Life was good.

And then randomly my appetite started ghosting. I don’t know about you, but my appetite naturally ebbs and flows - independent of my physical activity. Sometimes I’m barely hungry, other times I’m a food fiend.

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This time, however, my appetite stayed extremely low, oftentimes non-existent. It’d reappear every once in awhile, but for the most part - gone-zo. We’re talking 6+ months. For an intuitive eater honoring their appetite, I was knocked for a loop. I only ate when hungry, so when you’re never friggin’ hungry, you can see how this starts to mess with you. When you get to the end of the day and you’ve only had a piece of fruit or two and a salad, you feel you should eat. Your body needs a certain amount of calories to thrive, and it’s not like I’m couched up all day doing nothing (even then, you still need a minimum amount of calories to, you know…EXIST).

Every so often I’d eat just to eat, to keep my energy levels up. I felt fine - nothing else seemed wrong physically. I dialed back on my workouts to protect my caloric expenditure. What got me was the mental aspect. I started missing eating! Sure, you should lean more toward eating to live rather than living to eat but what’s so wrong with enjoying food for food’s sake?!! It’s one of life’s pleasures! I can’t tell you how stoked my salads make me. You can still honor your appetite while feeling gaga over grub. Eating is a necessity, so why not feel blissed while doing it?!

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Your diet, exercise routine, and stress level lay the foundation for how you feel, so fuel your body with good nutrition, break a little sweat each day, and set aside time to unwind.
Because it’s hard to feel bad about a body you’re taking great care of.

Okay, bringing it back to my post’s purpose. Amid all of the kind words and good vibes, I felt compelled to clarify my weight loss isn’t intentional. Personal evolution in all of its forms is a beautiful thing, and I don’t discredit it in any way, but…I think it’s important for us to push back against a world insisting we look a certain way. A world that praises emaciation over health. Visible muscles over a healthy metabolism. This is my reminder for us all (YES - ME INCLUDED!).

I’m not going to sacrifice my mental health to have the perfect body.
— Demi Lovato
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Simply because I’ve grappled with it myself, one of the causes for which I’m most passionate about advocating is self-acceptance, in all of its various forms. Especially in an era where social media heightens the stakes, amplifies the risks, and elevates the standards.

Shoutout to all the people out there trying to love themselves in a world constantly telling them not to.

Society offers conditional acceptance based on our physical appearance. The strongest, most rebellious act you can do is DARE to be your own self. Accept and love your body. Exercise and nourish it to amplify its health and strength, not its aesthetic and sex appeal. Honor and work with its natural rhythms. Stop fighting it, just because social media demands you look a certain way. This includes de-fogging the lens through which you appraise beauty (others and your own!) and rejecting the unattainable beauty ideals. Unconditionally loving and accepting yourself in a world that’s doing its damndest to change you is the most revolutionary act of all - and one that is CRUCIAL to your health and wellbeing.

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We come in all different shapes and sizes.

You do you, boo.

xx,

-w-

I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn’t.
— Adele
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W O R K it I N not just O U T
Photos taken by Abbey Armstrong Photography, edited by me

Photos taken by Abbey Armstrong Photography, edited by me

The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
— Thomas Edison

Tell me if one or more of these thoughts have ever crossed your mind:

  • I need to lose weight
  • I need to tighten up
  • Why am I not seeing results? I've been careful with my eating yet...no change
  • Okay, so I've been exercising consistently annndddd still nothing
  • If I'm not seeing results, that must mean I'm clearly not hitting it hard enough. Time to really drill down with my workouts and my eating
  • Carbs are enemy #1. I'll cut them out completely and get crazy shredded
  • I was up studying/with the baby/sick all night, but I need to be consistent with my early-morning workouts. Gym time for sleep is a sacrifice I gotta make
  • Pain is gain. Exercise and "clean" nutrition aren't meant to be easy/enjoyable

As Dwight from The Office would assert: FALSE. As The Grinch would aver: WRONG-O. As the...okay, you get the idea.

Health isn’t about being ‘perfect’ with food or exercise or herbs. Health is about balancing those things with your desires. It’s about nourishing your spirit as well as your body
— Golda Poretsky

It's so easy to get trapped in the mentality that if you aren't seeing results, that means you need to work harder in the gym/be more disciplined in the kitchen. 

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Some truths to consider:

  • What's happening internally is more important than what's happening externally

You can kill yourself in the gym and eat as "cleanly" as possible, but if you're stressed/sleep deprived/hormonally imbalanced, you won't see results. Moreover, the stress you place on your body through intense workouts/calorie (or carb or fat) restriction could actually be CAUSING weight gain. Real talk. Your body's job is to keep you alive and functioning optimally, so if it feels like its wellbeing is threatened in any way (excessive energetic output, insufficient nutrients/calories) it will spring into shutdown mode. 

  • Hormones reign supreme

Hormones are sneaky little bastards and can wreak havoc on your metabolic health. If you've been exercising regularly and honing your nutrition, yet still feel you're fighting an uphill battle, start side eyeing dem hormones. Consult your doc about running some tests to ensure all is well on the hormonal front. And don't go jacking up your hormones by ignoring your body's cries for help. Hormones are affected by multiple factors: lack of sleep, stress, excessive exercise, improper nutrition (inadequate caloric intake, insufficient fat/carbs/protein, etc). Do right by your body and it'll do right by you.

Piggybacking off of these first two points:

  • Stress is ew and sleep is BAE

This is where working IN is paramount. More important than working those bunz is minimizing your stress. Your physical health reflects your mental health. Your results depend on being solid mentally. Trust me when I say you'll reap a much larger reward when you prioritize your mind over your body. Get your mind right, and your body will follow. Sleep is a crucial component of this. Sleep restores and heals the body from the daily stresses it faces. Fight the urge to skimp on ZZZs. Your time is much better spent ensuring a full 8 hours than rising early to work out. Rather than compromising sleep to get an hour workout, try sleeping in later and then doing a 15-minute full-body HIIT strength and cardio combo. Honestly, if you hit it hard enough, 15 minutes are plenty to rev up the metabolism and keep you fit, and you have more time for life/rest. 

Shift your thinking from weight to self care. “I need to lose weight” becomes “How can I pay attention to what my body needs?”
  • Every body is different

Some respond to lower carb grub (and maintain optimal energy). Some thrive on a vegan/vegetarian subsistence. Some do best on high fat nourishment. It's all about finding YOUR sweet spot. You'll be able to *feel* when you find it.

Listen to your body. It’s smarter than you.

The same goes for exercise. Some people can run a marathon a day and be totally functional, or work out for two hours six days a week and still have energy to spare. Not moi. I love high-intensity workouts but my body does not. It does much better with mostly low- to moderate intensity workouts, with one or two harder ones sprinkled in per week. When I do two back-to-back intense workouts, I'm down for the count the rest of the week. My sleep takes a hit, my concentration suffers, and it's Zombie Whitney. Also (but less important) my muscle definition decreases. What have YOU noticed with your body? Experiment to find out.

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Lately, what I've been doing is setting my timer for 23.5 minutes (random, I know - that's just what the interval time app I use defaulted to) and perform various exercises for a minute nonstop. This works for me, and my body responds exceptionally well to it. It keeps me from mentally and physically burning out. It feels doable (less than 30 minutes - easy peasy lemon squeezy!) and keeps me on track. Shockingly, I've still maintained my strength and stamina despite giving up the longer, more intense cardio and strength workouts.  Again, it's all about honoring your body's cues and finding your fitness and nutritional sweet spots.


Nature gets it right. Human intervention gets it wrong.
— Dr. Libby Weaver

Working out/eating well doesn't have to suck! Explore your options to find what jazzes you up.  You truly do have so many, so don't feel like you have to resign yourself to the dreadmill (I personally can't stand the treadmill - I get so bored!). 

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Mindful eating means trusting your body, not a calculator.

The same goes for nutrition. Healthy eating doesn't mean bland food or bust. There are SOOO MANY delicious natural flavor choices out there! Play around with natural seasonings and spices to find what gets you going. It may require an upfront investment of time and energy to experiment, but then you'll get the hang of it and that investment will pay off. And lucky us, living in the world of social media inspo. Delectable recipes at our fingertips! All those social media influencers did the hard work for us. I personally recommend simply eating intuitively and listening to your body, rather than following a specific protocol, but it's totally up to you! It might help to use a structured regimen as a guide (emphasis on guide - try not to get obsessive and rigid!) while you get your feet wet if you're not following a certain protocol. A good place to start is the Whole 30 protocol. The best rule of thumb is to eat food as close to its natural form as possible.

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Mindful eating is very pleasant.
We sit beautifully. We are aware of the people surrounding us. We are aware of the food on our plates. This is a deep practice.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

I've never agreed with the saying, "Live to eat, not eat to live." Food/eating can and should still be enjoyable! Sure, if you're emotionally eating and ignoring your body's satiety cues, that could be problematic. But why not derive joy from a biological necessity, something we do multiple times daily? Mindful eating - really relishing the food and making that mind-body connection - can really transform the experience and ensure you are on the same page with your body and heeding its needs.

Remember when your body is hungry, it wants nutrients, not calories.
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Create healthy habits, not restrictions.

xx,

-w-

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B O D Y as B O S S
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What’s my goal weight? I don’t have one. I will not be defined by a number. My journey is about feeling strong, confident, and healthy.

I've had some people reach out lately mentioning they've noticed a change in my physique, and demanding to know my current regimen. First of all, thank you. I appreciate the good vibes.

Secondly, the honest answer is: living intuitively. Practicing what I preach. Letting my body call the shots. 

Fall in love with taking care of your body.

What I mean by that is, I listen to my body and act accordingly. I eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full. My appetite has always ebbed and flowed, so I've made a conscious effort to honor the fluctuations. Sometimes I want to eat everything in sight, sometimes I could go all day long with only one snack in my system.

When you ditch the diet mentality and allow yourself to eat what your body wants, and there are no “good foods” or “bad foods” it acts like reverse psychology: now that you can have it, you don’t really want it.
Same with exercise - let your body move how it feels like moving, not in the way that will burn the most calories. Don’t let the anticipated calorie burn dictate what workout you do.

When I do eat, I eat what my body craves: fruit and veggies. No, really. I really and truly have always loved fruits and veggies. That's just my palate, man. Some people naturally have a six pack. Some people can belt it like Beyonce. We all have our blessings, and mine is I naturally love to eat like a bunny. If your eyes are rolling into the back of your head right now, I get it. But trust me, there are ways to make nutritious food taste good to even the strongest veggie-averse taste buds. So who knows, maybe one day you'll drink the carrot juice (I'd say Kool-Aid but that's kind of the OPPOSITE of nutritious, ya feel?!). If you follow me on Instagram, I share some of my favorite concoctions and recipes. Give them a try!

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Focus on your health, not your weight.

And although I truly love the taste of fruits and veggies, I love more how they make me FEEL. That's a major motivator for me. And for the particularly open minded, I recommend following Medical Medium (@medicalmedium on Instagram). It's been a life changer for me. He's alllll 'bout dem fruits and veggies - especially fruit - and explains what various kinds do for your body. I strongly strongly suggest checking him out if you have any persistent illness/condition - everything from insomnia to rosacea to asthma to acne to aches to...ANYTHING. If you don't feel 100%, he will get you there. Though I have yet to follow his full detox protocol (basically pounding a smoothie every day with certain superfood ingredients) I do drink fresh celery juice every morning. I'll do a post on this later.

Eating well is a form of self respect.

I also let my body dictate what movement I get in. That means I've been working out less than EVER, and when I do - I check in with my body to see what I feel like doing. Some days I feel like working legs, so I'll hit those. Some days, I feel like I need a good cardio HIIT sesh. Others, I just want to focus on upper body. And many days - the most I get in is a simple walk. THAT'S IT. If i'm feeling exhausted, then I let my body recover. I'm now living in an alternate universe where my self-admitted workout-hating sister works out more often and consistently than I do. Whaaaaat?! Never saw that one coming!

Fitness has been a focus of mine for as long as I can remember. What that means is...I have to be careful about not stagnating - mentally or physically! What I've found that helps is I'll set an interval timer on my phone (I use the app Interval Timer) for about 25 mins and do various moves for a minute each. For fresh moves, I follow and bookmark workouts on Instagram from @alexia_clark, @sandyrxfit, @taralynemerson, etc. I try to share fitness inspo accounts every Friday on my Instgram stories, so if you're needing some inspiration, I got your back!

The most consistent workout I do is Pound, which I teach at Gold's Gym every Tuesday at 5:30 PM. If you've never done it, it's a full-body, drum-inspired cardio workout using weighted rip stix. It's a BLAST. When we're not squatting or lunging (which is 80% of the class), we're working abs/booty. It's ahhhhmaaaazing. We also take it up a notch by incorporating plyometrics (jump moves). It definitely helps keep me fit. Plus, there's just something about losing yourself in the beat and jamming out like a rock star. Come try it out!

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The last thing I want to say is...I truly accept my body at all sizes. It's been a journey getting to that place but once you do...it's liberating and intoxicating and so so wonderful. I no longer see my body as something to conquer and manipulate and dominate. I see it as an ally. In my opinion...that, rather than any muscle definition or size, is the ultimate goal.

xx,

-w-

I A M pretty part deux
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Why are middle school girls skipping the awkward stage and going straight to pretty? No, no, you get braces and wear blue eyeshadow. You do your time.

I don't know about you, but I'm progressively amazed at how "mature" teenagers look these days. And no, it's not because I'm getting older. It's because the teenagers of today are night-and-day different from the teenagers of the past! It used to be a rite of passage to take selfies (complete with brace face and cringe-worthy makeup) screaming of adolescent awkwardness. These days, selfies include perfected posing, expertly-applied makeup, and strategized lighting. I'm convinced they added a "Perfecting Your Pouty Face" to the middle school curriculum. NO FAIR. 

My sister and I are continually floored each year when our high school seniors (she photographs, I style) show up already knowing how to move their bodies and pose. They know their angles, they nail the fake laugh, they slay the smize (smiling with your eyes)... It's a whole new breed.

A really good amiga recently shared a Beauty Redefined article titled Save Your Girls From Instagram (linked below and in the blog's Resources). A must read for everyone, especially parents.

The article spotlights the message society (which includes you and me!) sends our youth, particularly our young women. Here's a little taste:


You exist for others’ viewing pleasure. Your happiness and self worth [are] directly connected to your ability to command increasing likes, follows, and DMs. Your beauty is defined by specific ideals set constantly out of reach and ever changing. [Your] joy will come from documenting perfectly poised, styled, and edited images of your experiences - not the experiences themselves. Your looks are your most valuable asset. Your body will earn you love, popularity, and self esteem.

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I mean...where do I even start with this? So much to dissect! And it's spot freaking on, is it not?!

Here are some questions to ask ourselves:

  • When looking at a new account, how many times do you peek at the person's followers, to secretly know just how much credit/respect/social media cred to assign that person?
  • How many of you monitor your own likes and followers, feeling jazzed when you get more? 
  • How many times have you been out with friends/on a date/on a vacation/etc and focused on exactly how to curate a shot so you can post it on social media? (Because if you don't 'gram it, did it even really happen?) You're more intent on making it appear as if you're having the time of your life, than actually having the time of your life.
  • How many times while standing in the checkout line have you seen women's magazine covers advising us on how to "Embrace those curves, Mama (pg. 15)" then instructing on how to "Drop 15 to get that summer body you've always wanted (pg. 16)"? (Mixed message much??? Especially when they then offer a delicious cake recipe on pg. 17!!)

Do any of these questions resonate with you? I know they do with me. 

Sure, we can blame social media for objectifying females, but the truth is, we receive/send similar messages every day: through the way we talk to/about each other (little ears are often listening!), the way females give/receive validation and respect, the way we define health/fitness (visible abs do NOT always equal a healthy, fit body!), the way we try to attract romantic attention... Few and far between are the guys who slide into my DMs telling me what a "sweet spirit" I have. But we can't really just vilify the dudes because we're A L L part of the society which perpetuates this image-centric message. And a major conduit for this message is social media.

Social media is powerful, right? Don't get me wrong, it offers an array of benefits. It can connect like-minded individuals and twin souls (romantic/platonic). People you normally wouldn't have crossed paths with otherwise. It cultivates friendships, nourishes visions, ignites movements, sparks ideas, facilitates partnerships. But it also can send a dangerous message: that what you look like matters most. From celebrities advertising flat tummy teas, to "fitness" influencers guiding you how to transform from flab to fab, to beauty advocates teaching you how to "glow up" (all accompanied by body-baring, perfectly-poised pictures because those get the most likes) - it all solidifies the message that your image is your identity, and your source of value/worth. 

I mean, H E L L O - it's hard enough growing up and navigating puberty. But to do it in a time where beauty standards have been raised to supermodel heights - forget about it! Being constantly inundated with images of peers who have *seemingly* achieved those standards - it's beyond defeating and exhausting and disgusting. And dangerous. So so dangerous. Hence the rising rates of suicide, and bullying, and depression. 

PARENT PSA (public service announcement): Even if you spend considerable time on social media, you have no idea to what kids are really exposed. They are savvier than you are, and targeted with ideals and messages you aren't. As the article asserts:

 

We are here to promise you that the burden of objectification that will be placed upon your daughter’s shoulders is much, much heavier than the burden you will carry by encouraging her to stay off Instagram. Even if everyone else is on.

The article provides pros and cons for parents to consider, questions to discuss with their kids, and suggested rules for social media usage (should parents decide to allow it). Even if you don't have kids, I highly recommend reading the article, because it affects us all. None are immune.

So let's start a revolution, by first loving ourselves (see previous post for inspo!) and encouraging and allowing others to love themselves. Let's change how we talk to ourselves, how we talk to others, and how we talk about others. Let's emphasize good hearts and kind souls instead of tight bunz and toned legs. Let's promote intelligence and good vibes over beauty and looks.

And this isn't to say you have to choose between liking fashion/makeup and being a good person. Hell no! I mean, look at me - I style clients to look and feel their best, and have a whole blog section dedicated to style. To me, it's a form of art and self-expression. Where it becomes bad news is when you're unable to separate your identity from your image; when what you look like and the attention you receive control your emotions and feelings of self worth; when you let beauty standards/others' opinions keep you from living your life and doing things. For example: Are you one of those people who does juuuust enough at the gym so you can still walk out looking cute? Screw that. That right there is prioritizing your looks over your health. No bueno!! 

Let's all take care of ourselves and one another. Deal?!

https://beautyredefined.org/save-your-girls-from-instagram/ 

xx,

-w-

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