You have to learn to love yourself, no matter how your body looks

Learning self love and body love takes time.. .it definitely doesn’t happen over night. It can sometimes feel like a continuous journey, reminding yourself to love yourself, to embrace your so called “flaws” and work on getting better/improving certain traits.

These past 2 days i have been reminded that self love doesn’t lie in appearance or how your body looks.

But also that your body will change throughout the years… you don’t always look the same. Not to mention that you have to learn to love yourself – not just your body – because what happens when you are 60,70, 80 and your body doesn’t look the same as it does when you were younger.

Many think that happiness lies in a body shape or a certain weight – but trust me… it really doesn’t. And if your happiness does lie in your body shape/a flat stomach/a certain weight then that happiness won’t be long lasting, because your body will always continue to change.

You need to find happiness within yourself, and with things that will last. If you place your happiness or your worth in the way you look or your weight, or the amount of calories you eat, it will be very hard to constantly feel happy.

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One of my tips when it comes to self love and body love, is to begin to appreciate and be thankful for what your body can do. That it allows you live life, and functions. This is a great step to learning to love yourself and not focus as much on appearance, but i also believe that deep down you have to learn to accept yourself – and the way you look/are – no matter your appearance or bodily functions. Because what happens if you get injured or can’t move, or when your appearance changes…. ? You need to be able to accept yourself no  matter what.

And i understand that it is easier said than done – but i think it is something more people should think about. To not just love themselves because of their appearance, or just because they can workout, but to be able to say that you like yourself no matter what. Or that you atleast feel comfortable and ok with who you are.

We live in a world that puts a huge focus on appearance and image, but there are so many things far more important than appearance. And health – overall health – being one of them! I.e make sure that you actually are healthy – mentally, physically, socially – and not just that you “Look” healthy, but also feel and are healthy. Not to mention that being able to live life, feel happy, reach your goals and dreams is so much more important than how many calories you ate or what the scale says.

Focus on inner happiness and health and accepting yourself no matter what. And if there are things you want to change about yourself – appearance or personality wise – just make sure you are changing them for the right reasons.

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Getting stuck in the recovery community – when “recovering” becomes your identity

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now, but never got around to actually sitting down to share my thoughts. That was until yesterday, when i brought up the topic of having exercise/gymrat/cardiobunny as my identity a few years ago. I became known as the “fitness person” and the runner in high school. It became my identity and later on when i started university, and realised that at least half of the people in my program were also interested in working out and known as the fitness person. I wasn’t really different… but also, because of having my identity be the fitness person it also made it harder to rest, thinking that… who am i if i am not working out? Over time, i had to learn that my identity is not in exercise and it doesn’t lie in my illnesses, either the past or present ones. I had to recreate an identity for myself, and see myself as more than just the fitness person or more than just the sick girl. Instead realise i was so much more than that.

What i wanted to write about in this post is getting stuck in the recovery community online. The recovery community on social media can be positive and helpful – you can feel less alone, but at the same time it can also be negative and keeping you sick.

You make friends with other people who have the same illnesses, you become known as the person who has an eating disorder and it becomes ALOT harder to let go and move on. If your whole identity – whether in real life or on social media, is based on having an eating disorder…. what happens when you are in recovery and need to let go? When you are no longer sick…. you will go through an identitiy crisis.

But you need to realise that you are so much more than the sick person. So much more than the person with an eating disorder. And even if you want to connect with people who have the same illness and can relate with you… it is not good to get too attached so that you can’t move on.

Remember that you are more than your illness – you are also your hobbies, the things that make you happy, your goals and your dreams, your thoughts. You need to find who you are – or recreate yourself if you have lost yourself in your eating disorder. I personally had to sort of recreate who i was after my eating disorder as i had lost so much of myself… But also that everything i had gone through had changed me and shaped me into a new person. So in a way, i don’t think i would be the person i am today if i hadn’t gone through everything i did in the past.

In a way, i guess you could say i haven’t truly let go…. because why do i still write about eating disorders or past experience from time to time? Or why do i have “recovered from anorexia” in my bio on instagram…. Is that truly letting go? Some would argue that no, i haven’t let go completely, and i accept that. For me personally (how i think right now, maybe my mind and thoughts will change in the future), but right now i think that i can still use my past experiences to help others. And many who see that i have recovered message me and find inspiration in what i post/write.

I can’t change the past or what i have gone through, and in a way it will always define me. But i no longer have eating disorder/sick person be my identity.

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One of the best steps to move forward for me was to let go of my old blog. Sure, there is so much positive on that old blog, so many people i could and was helping and so many good advice posts. But it still took up such ahuge part of my life and still holding onto the illness, even if i wasn’t sick, it was still a part of me as i had to keep going back down memory lane to write advice posts.

Not to mention that i realised that i never get any negative comments about my appearance anymore. Back when i had my old blog i used to get regular comments of people accusing me i was still sick or saying that i was too thin to be healthy or that i was working out too much. Or just overanalyzing everything i did and every choice i made. But now… none of it. And it is great. It may be that i don’t share as much of my personal life, so there isn’t as much to overanalyze and i don’t share as many pictures of myself…. but mostly i think that people don’t define or connect my present choices to my past eating disorder. I.e if i ever choose a salad when eating out i would get people telling me it was my eating disorder – even though i had been recovered for years and they had no idea what i was going to eat later, or that i was just craving a salad.

Finding people who can help you and inspire you can be beneficial in recovery, but at some point you need to move on. You can not have your identity be the sick person – you are so much more than your illness. Your illness is not YOU – no matter what illness you are struggling with.

Learning to find things you enjoy. Recreating yourself. Spending time with friends and family. Stepping away from recovery communities or others who are sick – so you can spend more time with healthy people. Find hobbies and interests and find goals and dreams to work towards.

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And it is also important to mention that you can not put your identity in your size either… i.e “the skinny person”. If your identity is your size, it will be much harder to gain (or lose) weight. And if you constantly surround yourself/see images of thin people with eating disorders, not only will your perspective on body image be skewered, it will also be alot harder to gain weight and reach a normal/healthy weight.

People like to put labels on others and group/categorize them… it makes it easier for the brain to just categorize people. But don’t let others define you, and even if you are known as the sick person, or the skinny person, or the fitness person. Remember that you can break free of those identities and you can RECREATE yourself and be whoever you want to be.  You get to label and identify yourself as whoever you want to be… if you want to be the artist, or the musician, or the horse rider, or even the vegan. But you can identify yourself as the happy person, the energetic person, the positive person. Your identity doesn’t have to be your illness.

 

Some posts from my previous blog that may help:

You are not your eating disorder

Recovery is about fully letting go

“Who am i?” – finding yourself

 

Scars, stretch marks & cellulite | Self love & dealing with your body changing

This is going to be a rather open and honest post, and i am questioning whether i even want to share this post or share my thoughts. I wrote this post several days ago but just haven’t really wanted to post it….. something holds me back when it comes to writing about body love/self love posts… it just feels like there are far worse problems in the world and that this is just a “silly, first world, white girl” problem….

In the past i was more open about struggles and wrote alot more body love and self love posts. It feels like body love/self love posts don’t really fit into the theme of nutrition-veganism which i have here. However, it is also part of my personal posts as well as part of a healthy lifestyle and mindset…. to be able to analyze and reflect over certain thoughts, and maybe be able to help someone in the same situation.

I am not someone who spends alot of time caring about my appearance or looking in the mirror. Infact, it wasn’t until April this year, when i moved into my own place that i finally got a full length mirror after 2 years of moving and renting a room in someone elses house.

Now that it is summer i have no problem walking around in shorts and a tank top. Infact, that is one of the things i long for during the winter…. to be able to walk around outside with shorts and a top!

One thing i have always struggled to accept and like about myself and my appearance is my legs…. throughout all the years, it has been the one body part that has taken the longest to accept and love. Though when i took the focus away from how my legs looked and instead focused on the fact that i can run, walk, use my legs and live life i stopped caring so much about how they looked and instead was happy that they work. I have legs that function and that is the most important.

However, a few days ago while looking in the mirror i realised that i have gotten a bunch of stretch marks on the back of my legs/hamstrings…. something i have never noticed before. I do know that i already have some cellulite, which is absolutely normal and i have pretty much just accepted that. Most normal, healthy female bodies have some cellulite as that is just how the female body holds fat. Last year, when i first noticed i had cellulite on the back of my legs it did bother me and i stopped wanting to wear shorts at the gym for a while. Which is so silly thinking about it.

But back to the stretch marks….. Maybe they have always been there and i just haven’t noticed because 1) i haven’t had a full length mirror, 2) i have been so pale during the winter and 3) it’s not everyday i am looking at the back of my legs hahaha

My first reaction to seeing the marks was to think…. “what, why, when?” Have my legs really grown that much…. i can’t do any real strength training with heavy weights for my legs because of my knee and hip pain, so it is alot of body weight exercises. Maybe my legs have grown and i haven’t really noticed – and if the muscle/leg grows quicker than the skin can adapt, then it can lead to stretch marks.

I already have some light faded stretch marks on the inside of my legs from during recovery. That was real hard to accept back in the past. But i have had them for so many years and they are very faded so i barely notice them now anyway. Just like my tattoos they are just there and a part of me!

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So why am i writing this post? Well because it is my sort of self reflection and to share my thoughts.

Because the crazy thing is that my first (well second) reaction was to think, “i need to stop training my legs. I should lose weight so i don’t get bigger legs.” I felt almost embarrassed thinking, should i stop wearing shorts… have people seen the stretch marks and what have they thought?

It BOTHERS me so much that this was my first & second initial reaction and thoughts. Living in a diet and photoshop culture where normal things like cellulite and stretch marks are something to embarrassed about, when they infact are very normal and not a sign that you are unhealthy.

My third reaction was to self analyze and reflect on my first response…. to realise that 1) why make myself feel bad about something i can’t control. 2) Why feel ashamed or embarrassed about something that is actually very normal and 3) why stop doing something i love because i think i should lose weight?

Did i feel better at once? No…. but i have spent years hating my body and struggled for so many years to accept and like my legs. I am not going to let a thing like this knock me down or make me spend more time and energy disliking my body.

The most important thing for me is that i have a healthy body and legs that work. The important thing is that i can use my body, use my legs… that i can workout and do something i love. I am not about to change that because society just shows us pictures of photoshopped models.

And i understand that there are people who have far more cellulite, stretch marks and scars than I do, but this is just my thoughts and my body.

It is not always easy to accept your body changing. And i remember when i was in eating disorder recovery and had to gain weight and realised that the gaining weight process had given me cellulite and stretch marks, despite still being underweight. That hit me HARD. But i just want to remind those of you who are in eating disorder recovery, or just anyone really, that those things are normal and not something to be ashamed of.

Of course, it is easier said than done. But my best advice is to just focus on being healthy and happy. Instead of focusing on your appearance, focus on creating a healthy life and a happy life. Making choices based on happiness and health and not on appearance. Do the workouts you enjoy, not ones you hate because you want to try to lose weight. Eat nourishing food that you enjoy so that you have energy to live, think, move.

But also to not spend so much time looking in the mirror. One of the worst things you can do is just stand infront of the mirror and be critical and analyze yourself… in the end you will just tear yourself apart.

HOWEVER, one positive thing you can do is to say 5 (Or more) positive things about yourself and/or your appearance each morning. Either say them out loud, think them in your head, or you could write down on a post it note and put it on your mirror so you see those things each day.

Also writing down what you love about yourself and your body as well as focusing on what your body can do, instead of how it looks can be very helpful with learning self love.

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Like mentioned, it is not always easy to  learn self love. Sometimes you just need to accept your body and move on. Realise that you are more than your body – and i know i might get comments saying that, “It is easy for you to say this when you are already thin”.

But hating your body takes so much energy and time. It prevents you from being truly happy as well as prevents you from living the life you really want to. Learning self love and self acceptance makes such a difference to your life and mindset. It may take weeks or months, but at some point you will reach that stage where you can just be happy in your body and realise that health and a healthy body is the most important, not so much if you have scars or a thigh gap.

I had thought i would share photos but i realised 1) i am not in the state of mind or acceptance that i want to do that and 2) it really isn’t relevant or necessary.

Why am i writing this post? Well because i wanted to share my thoughts, it is also a form of self reflection for me. But also to show that sometimes your first initial reaction or response to something isn’t always the best or healthiest… but it is the self reflection and how you actually react/your response that matters. I.e i am sure we have all had a quick unconscious judgement or initial response to someone or something, but with a few seconds after thought reacted differently or had different thoughts.

I hope this post helps someone else in someway!

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Living on your own when you have an eating disorder?

I was asked what my opinion was on someone with an eating disorder moving away from home/living on their own, and also if i would have been able to live on my own when i had an eating disorder.

I thought i would answer these questions in a post – and for everyone – as i think it might be important to think about if you have an eating disorder. To answer the second question first… i remember when i was 12-14 at the start of my eating disorder and the two things i longed for was the day i could move away from home – have my own place & when i could start getting tattoos! I remember thinking that when i was 16 i would move out and get my own place….. of course, as a 13 year old i had no idea what that would actually entail or the fact that having your own place costs alot of money and requires alot of responsibility. Also the fact that when you live on your own it is even more important that you can take care of yourself, that you can take care of a household and that you can be on your own….. 3 things i couldn’t do back then. I couldn’t eat on my own, i was scared of food and yes…. i wanted my own place, i have always wanted my own place. But one of the main reasons i wanted my own place from the years 13-16 was so that i could not eat/follow my eating disorder behaviours and no one would see me. I just wanted my own place so i could be sick and suffer on my own and no one would bother me or get in my way. Then when i began to recover, i still wanted my own place – oi have always wanted my own apartment and to live on my own but for other reasons i.e so that i can have my own personal space. So that i can listen to music and podcasts loud and not bother others, so that i can cook in peace and not bother others and so many other reasons why i want my own place. But in the past i just wanted my own place so i could use my behaviours and not eat and not be interrupted by others.

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So when i was sick with an eating disorder i would not have been able to have my own place and recover or be healthy… not even in recovery. It would have been too much responsibility and too much freedom which i could not have handled back then. So even if i could have had my own place i don’t think my family or the treatment centre i went to would have allowed me to live on my own.

Would i recommend living on your own if you have an eating disorder?

The answer is no. However it is not 100% no, because living on your own gives you alot of responsibility and freedom and it can infact make you grow up more… make you realise that you do need to take care of yourself, but also to “show everyone” that you can do it… show everyone who doubted you. However, if i think about my own personal experience in the past with my eating disorder…. i know that it would have been too much freetime, too much alone time and no one would have kept track on me/made sure i ate which wouldn’t have been good for me or my recovery.

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I know many want to move away from home when they are sick – just so that they can be sick without anyone bothering or interrupting them. But you have to be honest with yourself….. can you live on your own and take care of yourself? Can you eat your meals on your own? Can you cook food for yourself and eat all your meals on your own without feeling guilty or compensating? Can you eat normal portions and “Normal food” (i.e not just eat salad or fruit).

Can you rest and spend a whole day just on your own? Would you isolate yourself completely if you lived on your own? Would you be able to take care of yourself and the household? Would you be able to call someone if you were struggling or need to talk? Would you rest when you needed it?

If you can’t answer yes to all of those then i think you should wait and live with family – or whoever you live with so that you can have support (Hopefully!). In recovery you often need someone there to make sure you eat, someone who can sit with you after meals. Someone who can make sure you don’t compensate after meals, or that you rest and don’t overexercise. Someone you can talk to and someone who keeps you on track.

Of course, not everyone lives with someone/family who support them… infact sometimes living at home can be the cause of the problem or can make your eating disorder worse and moving away from home could actually be the thing that helps you recover. Example if family – or whoever you are living with – are very critical or mean to you, or if they are abusive or if they don’t support you. Then moving away from home, having your own space can be the thing that helps you find your strength to recover. But for most people…. they need to live with others and with family who help keep them on track and help them to stay strong enough to recover.

Another option could be if you feel strong enough to move away from home – but not strong enough to live on your own is to look for a place to live with friends or to rent a room somewhere. THis can be a first step… because you get more responsibility and you need to cook your own meals, shop for food and take care of a household. But you can also eat meals with others, you aren’t always alone, and the person you are living with would notice if you don’t eat/don’t buy food or if you are constantly exercising, binging or purging etc  So that can be a good first step to having your own place but still struggling/half way recovering.

This is just my opinion and thoughts from my own experience….. but i would love to know your experience – if you have/Have had an eating disorder. Do you think you could live alone while struggling with an eating disorder… maybe you did? Comment below, i would love to hear different opinions and/or stories.

Comparing lifestyles – feeling like you are not doing enough

I recently got a message which i felt i needed to address and write about – i think i have written about it before – but it doesn’t hurt to mention it again.

I was asked, how did i have the energy to both spend a whole day studying, maybe workout, and then come home and meal prep for almost 2 hours. And the person felt like they could barely do one of those things each day and felt like a failure because i was doing so much in a day.

I get similar messages like this and i think it is so important to talk about. First off – don’t compare your life or your day to mine. I don’t show you my whole day on social media, i just show bits of it. I also don’t show the days i do absolutely nothing… the days i just lie in bed and watch series.

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I am a very productive person and as i have written on my blog before it is not always a good thing. Infact it leads to me feeling stressed and like i am not doing enough despite doing alot more than an “average” person. I feel like i always have to be effective and working and this isn’t always a good mindset…. so i am trying to teach myself to rest more. You may see someone who works alot or is always productive/doing things, but that has it’s negatives as well….  I guess the quote, you always want what you don’t have is true. (I.e i wish i had the ability to rest more and not feel like i am not good enough if i amn’t productive.)

The important thing to keep in mind is that everyone is different. People have different lifestyles, different energy levels and different things going on in their life. Like i usually remind many of my followers is that they shouldn’t compare their exercise amount to “fitness people” online. Because for fitness people, it is their job to workout and post it on social media… they have the time to go to the gym twice a day and often their body shape is part of their job. Whereas someone who is studying full time or working 2 jobs or just someone who is struggling with mental illness and constantly tired doesn’t have that energy or time to workout so often – so you can’t and shouldn’t compare.

I have plenty of days where i do nothing and rest – you can’t always be productive. But like i mentioned, this isn’t shown on social media. I have times i compare my life with people online or even my close friends thinking… wow they are social, they have so much energy, wow they are doing so much each day and here i am barely left the house. But comparison won’t bring you anything good, it will just make you feel bad about yourself.

 

Instead be motivated but also realistic. Just because others are always doing things or it seems like others are always social or always working out or always studying doesn’t mean you have to do that as well. It is your life and you need to live it the way you want to. Also important to note that if you are struggling with depression or anxiety or other mental illnesses which affect your energy levels and overall life motivation then you just need to be kind to yourself and accept that somedays just surviving is an achievement. Not everyday has to be productive, sometimes just getting out of bed is the achievement for the day and that is ok.

So focus on your life and don’t compare yourself to others. I know it can be hard, but it is important to remember and not get caught up in what others are doing or not doing.

Also, when it comes to energy levels… eating enough and having a healthy diet is key. The times i don’t eat enough or the times i am stressed or have an unbalanced diet then my energy levels plummet. So the days i do alot and work/study 12 hours are always the days i eat alot of food and have alot of energy both physically and mentally! So if you feel you are lacking in energy ask yourself if maybe you need to eat more, eat different or if it is maybe to stress less or sleep more or a combination of all of them!

Focus on yourself and your life!!!
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