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Embrace Your Fabulousness!

Today I have a very special treat for you. My very good friend Danielle is guest posting for me today. She is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Editor In Chief of the free online health magazine ENJI daily.  I cannot say enough about how wonderful this woman is. So, I won’t.  You will know once you read her post and visit ENJI daily.

As I read her post, I was enlightened and inspired. I know you will be as well.

Also today, because I feel so so fortunate to have this special person joining my site, I am running a little giveaway of some of my favorite things from this beauty challenge. It’ll be a surprise, but you’re going to want to enter. The winner will get a lovely box of awesome stuff. These are products that I love and use faithfully. I know they will become favorites of yours as soon as you try them.

Have a beautiful day!

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5 Ideas to Inspire You to Embrace Your Fabulousness!
It couldn’t have been a better day. Miami beach, sun sparkling on the water, sand hot under my feet, chillin’ under the umbrella, a cold beverage in hand, jams humming on a little speaker. Precious family time, and so rare to have everyone together.

Should have been the Best. Day. Ever. Right? It might have been, if not for that tape running in my head, telling me to feel horrible about myself as I watched swimsuit model-gorgeous women stroll by. Want to go in the water? Uh, no thanks, I’ll stay here. Picture time! No, please, no pictures of me. I am so _________. I will never be __________. Why can’t I just _________. What’s wrong with me? Even next to my loving, supportive step-daughters and daughter-in-law, who I know care about me deeply, I felt giant, exposed, uncomfortable, a sharp contrast to (what I perceived to be) their perfect, beautiful beings.
So, how was that working for me? No bueno. That voice was loud, crushing my self-esteem, making me feel unworthy and isolated.
The voice can be a sneaky SOB. Often when you play the comparison game, you come up inferior, and put yourself down, as I did. Other times, you might come up superior, feeling smug, better than. In that case you may feel like you’re winning, but here’s the thing – you’re still losing. The results of game don’t matter, because it’s all judgment. You’re either judging yourself, or you’re judging others.

Is that voice coming from a place of love? Will it lead you to happiness?
I’m going to tell you something you already know. It’s ok, sometimes we need to hear things over and over again before they really sink in. I know I do.

Comparing yourself to others doesn’t bring you happiness. Happiness comes from loving others, and loving yourself.
I tend to want to take on my challenges – “go to the mat with them,” as my husband says – and positive body image has been, and continues to be, one of my biggest. So when I started ENJI Daily, I knew I wanted to have a section that I could fill with inspirational, feel-good stories that would give me confidence. I wanted to surround myself with – and share the stories of – like-minded people who are embracing their fabulousness.

In the spirit of today’s challenge, Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Embrace Your Fabulousness, here are 5 ideas to inspire you, pulled from the virtual pages of ENJI!

#1. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude.
It’s not as if I didn’t love Amy Poehler before I encountered her series “Ask Amy” and this video, but here she proves to be more than just a funny lady.

“When things get dark,” she says, “when you feel really crappy about yourself or your body or how you look, sometimes a good way to help yourself get out of it is to have some gratitude.” Less than three minutes, this could turn your whole day around. Check it out.

Speaking of gratitude, I loved this story from Andrea at ImperfectLife.net. This is a woman who completely changed her life – from an unhealthy lifestyle to eating well, doing cross-fit like a champ, and even becoming a personal trainer! Though she tries very hard to measure her success by her fitness goals, a few weeks before writing this post, she “got caught up in the vanity of it all,” and felt “frustrated, discouraged, and sad” about her body.

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So, what did she do? She turned it all around by having gratitude. Read her story, “10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body.”

#2. Change the Tape.
Watching this video from Taryn Brumfitt, on the verge of tears, I knew it had to be shared with the ENJI community.

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Besides sharing her moving personal story about her struggles with body image, Taryn interviews other women, asking them the first word they think of when they think about their bodies. There were women of ALL shapes, sizes, and ages, and the most common word that popped up? DISGUSTING. What a hateful, awful word, and yet, that’s how so many of us feel when we look in the mirror.
I’m kind of late to the party, but I just discovered Louise Hay (who’s been an inspiration to many since the mid-70s) in the last year. Her book, You Can Heal Your Life, was sort of like a gentle, loving, caring knock upside the head for me. Like, hello? Running that tape in your head, telling yourself you’re not good enough, is the ultimate waste of time and energy. And yes, you can change the tape!

We may habitually think the same thought over and over so that it does not seem we are choosing the thought. But we did make the original choice. We can refuse to think certain thoughts. Look how often you have refused to think a positive thought about yourself. Well, you can also refuse to think a negative thought about yourself. – Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life
Something Amy says in her video (see #1) really struck me. She says, when you talk to yourself, about yourself, imagine you are talking to your daughter, or younger sister. “You would tell your younger sister or your daughter that she was beautiful, and you wouldn't be lying. Because she is, and so are you.”

You can find Taryn’s story and video here: This Woman Wants To Change How All Of Us See Our Bodies. A good cause to support.

#3. Recognize How Negative Self-Talk Impacts You

I’ve been turned on to so many amazing resources through ENJI Daily, and one in particular I highly respect is Marsha Hudnall, along with her team at Green Mountain at Fox Run, a healthy weight loss retreat for women. In her post Loving Your Body – Your Best Beach Beauty Must-Have, Marsha reminds us just how DESTRUCTIVE it can be we engage in negative self-talk:
• We’re less likely to eat healthfully.
• We’re less likely to exercise.
• We might even be triggered to binge eat.

“Bingeing and isolating ourselves can represent forms of self-punishment that make us feel even more discouraged and depressed,” she writes.

Earlier I asked the question, how was judging myself working for me, and now I challenge you to ask yourself the same question: How is that working for you?

How do you feel in that negative space? Is that helping you achieve your dreams? Or is opening the door to more destructive behaviors?

If I’ve given you something to think about here, go ahead and write it down. Then write down five things you could start doing today to put yourself on a positive path. Pick one, and do it every day for the next week!
(Side note: I must give credit to the very wise “Gutsy Girl” Sarah Kay Hoffman for bringing that question to my consciousness – simple, direct, profound.)

#4. Let Go of Judgment.
Is there just a hint of truth Amy Schumer’s skit, “I’m So Bad”? (Warning: a little NSFW.)

As Robin Hilmantel points out in her article, Why We’ve Become So Obsessed with Judging Others’ Food Choices—and Our Own, these ladies, though, ahem, supportive (“Pringles? They’re like air!”), are so preoccupied with their “food transgressions,” they fail to recognize all of the really ugly things they do to themselves and others.
When it comes to food-shaming, are you your own judge and jury? Are your friends sitting in judgment of your choices? Are you judging them?

Simply put, food is neither good nor bad, and by listening to external voices about what we should or shouldn’t eat, we lose touch with that internal feeling of hunger and fullness, which we should use to guide our eating decisions. And while eating as healthy as you can is an excellent goal, perfection isn’t worth making yourself insane. You can find more great tips from the experts in Robin’s article.

#5. Do Something Courageous.
Do you have rules about what clothing you can and can’t wear, hiding your body at the expense of comfort? ‘Tis the season for bathing suits, shorts, tank tops, sundresses – do you dread it?
Cece Olisa of PlusSizePrincess.com did, once spending 40 minutes trying to find a “summer” outfit that would hide all the flaws she saw looking in the mirror. Sweltering on the subway, she recognized it was time to stop hiding and make a change. And she uses a pretty awesome word to describe how she’s feeling now: LIBERATED.

Cece embraced her imperfections and just went for it. Although it may be scary in the beginning and take some time to feel comfortable, in the end, you might find a new level of confidence like she did. I loved her story, and you can find it here:

Wouldn’t you know, as I was writing this, another story along this same vein popped up in ENJI – Moms, Put On That Swimsuit. Writer Jessica Turner passionately encourages moms, don’t worry about how you look or what others will think, put on your swimsuit and splash around with your kids.
Why? For two very good reasons, she writes: “Because when women stay on the sidelines because of insecurity, we are modeling unhealthy behavior to our children and we are missing out.”
Just try not to get a little teary as she shares her story and the impact that her PRESENCE had on her kids, a big reward for being courageous.

Embracing your fabulousness may not come easily or immediately – like any other important change in life. It may take some digging deep and some soul-searching to find your confidence. But, here’s the thing: When you find that dazzling, feel-good smile to light yourself up, you also light up the world around you, and you teach your daughters and sisters (and sons and brothers) that everyone is beautiful.

Yours in good health,
Danielle

Danielle Hart, MS Holistic Nutrition, is a holistic nutrition consultant and the Editor in Chief of ENJI Daily (www.enjidaily.com), a free online wellness magazine updated daily with the latest research, healthy recipes, and fitness and lifestyle tips. Her mission is to help individuals navigate the vast (and sometimes contradictory) world of wellness information, and to inspire change.

Photo Credit: Purple Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

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