Tag Archives: self-worth

Permission Happiness: Granted

27 Apr
Jane Austin and homemade chili? I don't mind if I do!

Jane Austen and homemade chili? I don’t mind if I do!

I’ve been noticing in my own life that it’s really hard to do something kind for myself without justifying it, or to allow myself to feel moments of happiness and joy without feeling guilty or shameful about it. Maybe you can relate.

It’s sad and fascinating and frustrating all at the same time. Why can’t I spend an hour–candles lit and hot tea ready to drink–reading a good book without justifying “I’m not being lazy, it’s for work?” And why am I waiting for the hands of judgment to punish me for enjoying chocolate truffles and snuggles with my man?

Logical Me wants to know why I do it and how can I fix it. Emotional Me wants to fully indulge myself, then mentally punish myself for weeks to come.

…And then there is this small, steady voice. It is barely audible, but when I breathe–just breathe–I can hear it. It’s stronger than I think. It reminds me that when I give myself permission to be kind to myself, to discover what makes me happy, to engage in simple moments of pleasure, that I in turn give my mother, my niece, my friends, all men and women, permission to do the same.

Accepting and loving ourselves gives others permission and strength to do the same.

I call that voice Loving Me.

Mindful Eating for the Holidays: A Guide to Ditching Food Shame and Elastic Waistbands (Part 2)

17 Nov
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An eye-pleasing foundation to my Mexican Chicken Soup: celery, broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers and garlic. Pretty to look at, healthy for my body and tastes delicious!

You’ve just finished a fun dinner with friends and can’t possibly think about eating any more… that is, until you are presented with the dessert tray–a glorious presentation of apple crisp, pumpkin pie and brownie sundae topped with hot fudge sauce and candied walnuts. You order dessert, even though you are full, and  finish every last bite.

… And then it begins, “Why did I do that? I’m such a pig. I shouldn’t have done that. I feel horrible. I wasn’t even hungry, but it looked so good. Ugh, I’m disgusting.”

You’ve just experienced the strength of eye hunger, one of eight hungers we possess, compounded by your nagging inner critic (does that dude EVER take a break?). The typical American will gain 5-7 lbs over the holidays and eye hunger has a lot to do with that, so let’s explore why this little booger hampers our holiday bliss and what we can do to keep our eye hunger working for us and not against us.

First, let’s define it: Eye hunger is when you become hungry looking at food (via in person, on TV or in a magazine) or reading a recipe, even if you just ate. Many studies have proven that our eyes will override our mouth, stomach and body. For instance, subjects at a movie theater who were given stale popcorn ate it just because it was there and they could smell it. It didn’t even matter that it tasted awful.

So, over the holidays when you are surrounded by mounds of delicious turkey, mashed potatoes and caramel pecan pie slices, use these helpful tools to satisfy your eye hunger without eating double and feeling miserable.

1. Create beauty. Our eyes appreciate beauty, so use pretty plates, napkins and table decor.

2. Surround yourself in beauty. Get out in nature, savor your favorite piece of art, look at pictures of your beloved, listening to soothing music.

3. Cook and eat food of various colors, textures and shapes. Arrange it beautifully on plates and bowls. It takes just as much time, but with a little extra thought, it can make a huge difference in improving your food relationship (and health).

4. Use a small plate. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, a 1/4 with protein (meat or vegetarian based), an 1/8 with starch (potatoes and grains) and an 1/8 with healthy fats (you can also skip the starch if you have diabetes, Celiac disease, etc.). If it is a holiday or special occasion where dessert is served, consider sharing your dessert with one or two people. Or consider a healthier dessert such as dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Ummm… yes please!

Now it is your turn! The next time you buy groceries, practice purchasing vegetables of every color to ensure eye satiety (green, orange, red/purple and yellow/white). If you don’t eat a lot of vegetables, then do it with fruits and vegetables such as making a roasted vegetable salad with broccoli, carrots and cauliflower served with a protein and eating red grapes for dessert. Now that’s a feast to behold!

If you missed part 1 of this series, check it out here!

We Never See Our True Beauty

29 Sep
Are you ready to feel amazing?

Are you ready to feel amazing?

I was 17, the summer before senior year, watching a PBS documentary on ballet dancers. I, a dancer myself, was in awe of their beauty and grace. About 10 minutes into the documentary, I had an awakening.  Let me back up…

Like many females, I have wrestled with body image issues since I was young. I was called a “dog” more times than I care to admit and have been ridiculed for being too skinny, too flat-chested, too dorky, too everything! Unfortunately, I chose to believe those comments and soon found myself staring at my body and face in the mirror with hatred and disgust. All I could see was a homely girl with frizzy hair, glasses, a flat chest and a big butt. I even created a mantra in high school, “I’m glad I’m not pretty, because I actually had to develop a personality.” I used that mantra a lot.

But then came that PBS documentary. As I was watching the ballerinas, I realized they were small-chested like me; had a muscular butt and thighs like me. I went numb processing that discovery. For once in my life, I felt like I belonged. I felt like it was finally okay to have the body I have, regardless of what anybody else said.

We never see our true beauty…

I’m not over my body issues. I’ve used food to cope with loneliness and to “fix” me; and I’ve believed that when I’m prettier with a better body, I will finally deserve happiness. I worry because I work in the fitness industry—an industry notorious for placing emphasis on how an individual looks, rather than how healthy and happy they feel—and who wants to train with a fitness coach who has a (gasp!) flawed body?! Through a lot of practice, I’ve become more mindful, more aware that I don’t have to wait until I’m “fixed” to live my life fully. There’s nothing to fix.

Breathe that in… there is nothing to fix.

Whether we’ve been teased for being too fat or too thin; too tall or too short; red hair or blond hair—it hurts all the same. I work with amazing people who struggle daily with losing weight, feeling energetic and healthy, knowing what to eat and thinking that their life would be better if only they looked like this month’s magazine cover girl. I can relate. So, here’s a thought, let’s work on loving ourselves, on embracing our beauty, showing compassion towards others, being mindful of our own needs and celebrating each other for our intelligence, humor and grace. Let’s encourage each other to have strong, healthy bodies; let’s compliment each other; let’s be ridiculously gorgeous without apology; let’s cook healthy amazing food and feed it to our friends and family; let’s be the person our loved ones can be proud of—that we can be proud of. Let us just BE… and embrace all that that is.

If you would like to feel truly nourished and create self-acceptance and body freedom, join me for a 6-week course beginning October 21st, 2014. Please email or call for more details. 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

Negative Self Talk: A Love Story

18 Aug
IMG_1126

Sometimes you feel like you are struggling to get to the top, until you realize just how beautiful the journey is.

One day Negative Nancy met Negative Ned at the grocery store. Which, of course, never really happened because they were both so caught up in their own head that they couldn’t even acknowledge each other. Thus Negative Nancy and Negative Ned continued being negative.

Then one day Negative Nancy was checking out the strawberries because, as she told herself, “I’m so fat. I need to eat better, because this,” she grabbed her stomach, “is so disgusting.” Negative Ned was two feet away at the supplements aisle checking out the protein powder because he thought, “I need to get ripped. No woman wants to date some scrawny loser.”

Negative Nancy placed her strawberries in her cart and glanced to see an attractive man looking at supplements. That same man she saw two weeks ago. They made eye contact. She immediately looked down, slouched her posture and thought, “He’s so handsome. He can’t see me–I look horrible. Get out of here!”

As Negative Ned turned towards the fruit stand to buy some berries for his protein smoothie, he made eye contact with a beautiful woman. That same beautiful woman he saw two weeks ago. “Say something, smile. No,” he told himself, “she’d never talk to you.”

Negative Nancy and Negative Ned stole glances from time to time as they continued shopping. Finally, Negative Nancy stopped in an aisle and took a few deep breaths. “Okay. You can do this. You are a smart and caring person. Any man would be lucky to have you. Now stand up straight, and if you are lucky enough to run into him again, smile. You can do this.”

One aisle over, Negative Ned was doing the same thing, “C’mon man. You’re funny, you’re a good guy,” he told himself, “say hello and ask her a question. You got this.”

Once again, Negative Nancy and Negative Ned met… well… their carts crashed into each other.

“Whoa! I’m sorry! I should NOT drink while driving,” Ned said, holding up his water bottle and smiling.

Nancy laughed. They continued chatting and laughing, and then they realized that being Nancy and being Ned felt really good–no–it felt amazing… and Ned totally got her number. Way to go, Ned!

Aww… love stories. Now I want to hear from you. When you notice the negative self talk going on in your head, try these three tips, because you never know what you could be missing around the corner.

  1. Congratulate yourself because you are aware.
  2. Notice how your body is reacting (what is your posture like, how does your stomach feel, etc.).
  3. Take four deep breaths and think of two positive qualities about yourself.

How do you feel now? What is helpful about these three tips? What other strategies do you use that are helpful? Sharing is caring, so leave a comment below.

Go get ’em, Tiger!

What Are You Going to Choose?

9 Jun

Do you ever feel like you’re a deflating balloon? Not a slow deflate, but a just-let-go-of-a-fully-blown-balloon-spinning-out-of-control-and-helplessly-flailing-about sort of deflating balloon? Yeah, me too. But there is one key word that simply isn’t true: we aren’t helpless.

 

I tend to forget that. Maybe you do too. It is so easy to let the negative self talk win. It is so easy to believe we aren’t good enough, that we have nothing valuable to share. In fact, I just spent this entire last week binge watching three Jane Austin movies and feeling sick to my stomach because I’m so afraid to fail at something I really want to do. Something I really believe in.

 

It is scary to put ourselves out there… but far scarier to never try. And the thought of never trying and therefore never knowing terrifies me.

 

We have a say in our life. We have every right to feel deflated, upset, scared, disappointed, angry… and we have every right to feel excited, joyful, loving and happy.

 

So, what are you going to choose? Are you going to helplessly flail about as though you have no choice? Or are you going to acknowledge you’re deflating, give your balloon a few deep breaths and enjoy floating among the stars?

 

I would love to hear from you in the comments below. What helps or inspires you to keep moving forward during times of self-doubt?

Your Weight is Not Your Worth

24 Feb

IMG_1765You are not your weight.

You are not a clothing size.

You are not a body shaped like fruit.

You are not a fad diet or exercise regime.

You are not the negative noise in your head.

You are not your circumstances.

You are not your career.

You are not your hobby.

You are not your checking account, savings account or money market fund.

You are not your home, your car, your smart phone or your diamond ring.

You are not, and never will be, what someone else says you are.

 

You are your compassion.

You are your graciousness.

You are your unique soul.

You have always been, are, and will forever be the love you show to others and to yourself.