Month: April 2014

Pretty Hurts

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

This is such a powerful video and song. My favorite part is where the pageant host asks Beyoncé the contest what her aspiration in life is…Beyoncé stutters for a moment before deciding that her aspiration in life is to be happy. While the rest of the video is showing just how unhappy she real is maintaining this pretty façade.

Pretty hurts. We shine the light on whatever’s worst.

So many women are spiraling out of control. They’re abusing laxatives, abusing diet pills, purging, cutting their wrists all the while wondering if any of it will ever make them pretty….or happy.

Reading this blog will not make you pretty. It will not make you happy, or satisfied, or content.

Pretty is a societal standard wrapped up in years of somebody else deciding what perfection is.

Beauty comes from within. If you believe that you are beautiful. That you have worth, then you do and you are. No one can take that away from you.

If you are currently struggling and you feel like you’re at the end of your rope. All you can see around you is a never ending tunnel of abuse, depression, purging, and darkness…then please visit the National Suicide Hotline. You can click, call, whatever works for you.

But as a friend, let me tell you that you are beautiful. You are loved. You are worthy. I want you to stick around and live an amazing, full life.

If you’ve been to my blog before, you know that I’ve experience just how badly Pretty Hurts.

A 2001 study looked at 13,601 high school students and asked them to record where they thought their weight lay in comparison to “right about the right weight for me.” 64% of participants were actually within the healthy weight range for their height/age, however over half of all participants felt that they were “too fat” or “too thin.” And it was the self reporters saying that they were an either edge of the extreme that were twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and to act on them.

19% of the participants had had suicidal thoughts in the last year.

~10% had attempted to take their own life.

All this because of a distorted perception of beauty and its ideals.

Why do we obsess over perfection? Over a number on a scale? Over every single, solitary calorie that passes over our lips?

I can’t answer that. I don’t know why we do it.

But I know the effect.

It means that almost 1 in 5 teenagers have thought about ending their lives over it. It means that 1 in 10 have tried.

We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

It’s the soul of a society that needs surgery.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

But revolutions don’t happen over night.

They start in the hearts and minds and souls of those who can be affected by change.

Change your mind about your  body.

It’s a magnificent thing.

The very fact that we don’t have to think about breathing astounds me. We don’t have to tell our red blood cells to clot when we get a scrape. We don’t tell our immune systems to fight off infections. Our bodies do this all on their own.

You’re body is amazing.

Love it.

Respect it.

Smile, beautiful. (:

Happy looks great on you.

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Get Stronger: Be Strong, Sexy, & Confident

The other day at the gym, I got the pleasure of putting one of the regular guys to shame while working out my back in the free weight area. He had that look on his face that just screamed: “Wut. But you’re a girl.”

7 Weeks ago that would have never happened. fitspo

My husband is in law enforcement and he has a physical fitness test coming up in a few weeks, so a month ago when he came home from work and told me that he needed to get in the gym, I challenged myself to get in there with him!

I’ve basically done a 180 from the workouts I was used to doing (i.e. cardio, cardio, cardio, abs, cardio) and went to weight training 4-5 days a week for about an hour at a time. As a weight lifting noob, I was pretty self- conscious about being in the free weight area with all of the manly men. However, my husband was right there with me. We did the exercises together, he showed me proper form, and over the last month I have gotten a lot stronger!

I tell you all this because lifting weights has changed the way I view myself and my body.

I feel strong.

I feel powerful.

I feel like I can face any challenge and conquer it.

I can already see the changes my body is making to compensate for the damage I do to it in the weight room.

And that is really, really, cool.

I don’t know about you friend, but the hours I used to spend on the elliptical seem nearly ridiculous now. I never felt strong or powerful on the elliptical. The little emergency band that keeps you tethered to the machine was my mindset. I was a slave to cardio and to always eating at a caloric deficit. But now, I’m slowly increasing my caloric intake. All the research I’ve read tells me that it is impossible to build muscle when eating at a caloric deficit.

infographic weight trainingTo lift weights, to build muscle, we need to eat!

And eat well!

Since high school I would say that I ate a healthy balanced diet. Lean meats, lots of veggies, lots of fruit, almond milk (I can’t drink normal), whole wheat. I mean I ate really well! But a couple weeks ago, I stumbled across this blog and she was describing my life. She had always eaten pretty healthy, but wasn’t seeing the results she wanted. So she started tracking her macros (i.e. grams of protein, fat, & carbs).

So I went to a few of the different macro tracking websites: MacroFit,

Elite Impact Labs

and http://macronutrientcalculator.com/.

The numbers these give you will be different! Take an average, pick the one you like the best and start there! All of my calorie estimates were almost 1200 calories more than I’d been eating, so I’m slowly working my way up to that! I’m currently at 1600 per day, but even getting that high is a struggle for me some days! My compensation for this is that I focus on my overall percentages of my macros. I’m eating 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. So my goal every day is to eat those proportions of calories throughout one day!

And let me tell you….I feel awesome! I have energy, I’m not hungry all the time, I feel like my body is utilizing every single calorie I give it!

And this new weight lifting regimen coupled with my new found love of macro tracking has given me my biggest boost of confidence in years!

I feel sexy, confident, and beautiful!

So…what’s holding you back?

I challenge you to click on some of those links I posted, read about macro tracking, read about weight lifting! And then get out there and try it! Grab a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, whoever and do it together. Commit to a lifestyle change that will give you both a huge boost of confidence and make you feel awesome!

Well I need to go hit the gym. It’s leg day.

Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.

Stay smiling, & Stay strong, beautiful!

Happy and Confident look great on you (:

 

Abuse: Deeper than Bruises

Hello, My name is Sarah and I have been a victim of an abusive relationship.

This is my story.

Before I share my story, I want to get us all on the same level.

Abuse is defined as the “cruel or violent treatment of a person (or animal) especially regularly/repeatedly.”

Abuse encompasses more than just physical violence, in fact there are 6 main forms of abuse that occur within violent relationships:

Physical 

Standing over you, getting “in your face,” blocking a doorway, grabbing you if you try to leave, kicking, punching, biting, slapping, choking, threatening to harm you, using weapons, throwing things, breaking things, punching walls or doors, driving recklessly, burning, cutting, pulling hair, stabbing, strangling, tying or confining you, preventing you from seeking medical care, murder.

Emotional

Insults, put downs, intimidating you, embarrassing you in public, talking down to you, not listening to or respecting your feelings, making threats, telling you you’re not “GLBTQ,” “man,” or “strong” enough, being jealous, possessive, controlling; excessive or threatening texts, wanting access to your messages, email, FaceBook/MySpace, spying, checking up on you, accusations of cheating, making you feel like you need to justify yourself, giving you no privacy, shaming you for your sexual orientation.

Verbal

Yelling, shouting, swearing, continuously arguing, interrupting, talking over you, put downs, using loud and threatening language and tone to cause fear, name calling, intimidating you, mocking you, abusive language.

Economic

Withholding money, opening up a joint account but you don’t have access, forcing you to leave your job, forcing you to get fired, shaming you for how you spend your money, not allowing you to work or get an education, putting all the bills/credit cards in your name, preventing you from using a car.

Mental

Playing mind games with you, twisting everything around so nothing is their fault and all of their behavior was caused by something you did or didn’t do, accusing you of doing things that they are doing, lying, manipulating you for control or sex, threatening to “out” you to parents, friends, classmates, distorting reality so you think you are losing your mind.

Sexual

Rape, unwanted sexual touching, vulgar comments, pressure for sex, forcing you to have unprotected sex, forcing you to get pregnant or to have an abortion, sexting, forcing you to have sex with other people or to watch your partner have sex with someone else, forcing you to use or participate in pornography.

ImageMy Story

In the summer of 2010, I met a guy at the summer camp where we worked. We hit it off and soon enough he asked me to be his girlfriend. He seemed like a great guy: funny, personable, charming. So of course I agreed.

That’s when it all started to go downhill.

It wasn’t too long before he started putting me down verbally. He would make comments about how I wasn’t “smart enough” to understand whatever it was he was talking about at the time. He would tell me to just “stop talking.” I didn’t really think anything of it…he was just being a guy right? Wrong.

From there he moved to my emotions, he would continue to make off handed comments about how my body wasn’t “hot”, “fit”, “attractive” and how he wished I looked more like celebrities like Megan Fox. So I started dieting. I lost about 20 pounds in 2 months. But even that wasn’t enough to make him happy.

The previous two behaviors continued for weeks…it became my new normal. I didn’t even realize that anything was amiss. Then things got worse that winter. He followed me upstairs at his parent’s house one day when they were out.  He proceeded to makeout with me. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but then he started making moves that I was not at all comfortable with. I kept saying “No. I don’t want to. Get off me. Stop.” Over and over and over again. That day he stopped.

Sometimes he would stop if I said “No.” enough times. Other times he wouldn’t.

Over time…there were times when I wouldn’t even protest. I felt like I was just an object. It didn’t matter what I did or said, I could just be used. He manipulated me into thinking that if I didn’t go along with it that I was a bad person. In my clouded head, I didn’t even realize that what was happening wasn’t normal and that it was incredibly unhealthy.

As a devout Christian, I also felt shamed, soiled, used, disgusting, violated and I felt like it was my fault for letting it happen over and over again. So I didn’t say anything to anyone. I pretended like everything was wonderful between us.

It wasn’t, but I was afraid of what he would do if I broke up with him. He was prone to violent outbursts when he was angry and I was legitimately scared that he would do something to me if I did.

So 2 years later with continued manipulation and abuse, I even agreed to marry him when he proposed.

About 3 months later though, he cheated on me. And in that hurt, I finally found the confidence to walk away. And even at that moment, I never even realized that our relationship had been abusive.

It took me a long time after we broke up to realize just how toxic our relationship was.

I knew that it was bad, sure, but I would never have said that he had abused me. It wasn’t until a psychologist explained to me the different kinds of abuse and that my situation fell within those bounds that I came to terms with it all.

Once I said the words: “I was in an abusive relationship.” I was able to start healing.

Healing took time. It took tears. But it happened.

I always have been a strong willed, independent woman and it scared me that even I could have so blindly been in an abusive situation. And the fact that I did, doesn’t make me any less of a person. It doesn’t make me weak or unworthy. It is an experience that I would never wish on anyone, but I am stronger for it.

Conclusion

I am now happily married to a wonderful man who is incredible and who loves me for me. I know this week’s post is a bit different than what I normally discuss, but my low self confidence in my own beauty was a huge factor in my situation, and I want to make sure that other women know the different forms abuse can take. Abuse doesn’t have a standard form that it takes, it’s unique to every relationship. However, there are common threads that I believe everyone should be aware of.

Thank you for reading my story.

You are a beautiful, strong, human being.

So stay smiling, beautiful! Happy looks great on you! (: