Find What Makes You Feel Healthy

Find What Makes You Feel Healthy

Be natural. Be positive.

Recently, I've spent a lot more time on Facebook that I would really care to admit. I've seen a lot, a lot, of things in the past week alone. I've seen videos of "this will restore your faith in humanity!" and videos of adorable babies and dogs and cats and other wild animals. I've seen videos of "galaxy cakes," and other sweet treats. I've seen so much. True, the repetition of subject matter is probably just due to the lack of variety in the pages I follow, but still, it's like "We. Get. It."

But nothing makes me feel this way more than all of the articles and videos and posts I've seen about body types. It ranges from body positivity to body enhancement to all sorts of unnatural nonsense. And to be very frank, it's irking me a lot. In the past 3 days, I have seen an article about an obese girl and her ultra-thin friend wearing matching outfits to promote body positivity. I saw an article about a girl who refuses to apologize for her breast enhancement because "isn't it every girl's dream to see her boobs fill out her body?" Hmm... And then I saw an article about tooth bedazzling, where they use a process to glue Swarovski crystals onto your teeth. WHAT?! WHY IS THAT A THING?! And don't give me that because I can nonsense. That does not make sense to me. We all had braces, we know how irritating that was! Donate to charity if you have that much extra cash lying around. Or just buy a regular crystal structure!!! Macy's has a lot of them! And to the people who invented it- good job! Way to make money off of extorting people's unbelievable consumerist ideals.

There's so much media out there about "unnatural" body types, from people who are happy with the way they look and want to share that love to people who are willing to artificially alter themselves so they look more like their ideal body type. Both of those extremes are fundamentally unhealthy. The Body Positivity movement started off as something incredibly noble and necessary. Women in media were given unrealistic expectations for body size by models and Hollywood actresses, and the fact of the matter was that not everyone had the genes for full curves, flat tummies, and 3% body fat. Personally, I've struggled with this my entire life. My family's genes are built to be fuller and rounder with a slower metabolism. As a young girl being constantly and overwhelmingly bombarded with media, I was so upset that no matter what I did I couldn't get thin. For me, the movement was incredibly liberating. It told me that I could love my body either way, that I could be happy with who I was even if I was fat. It properly shamed fashion critics who called J-Law, a size-6, a plus-sized actress (this still pisses me off so much.) It was an incredibly effective moment too; curvy is the new thin. Progress was slow and at times a little backwards, but it was there nonetheless.

But now, people are taking it too far. The movement was intended to respect and create inclusiveness for all body types, but instead people are taking it as an excuse to be obese. Hold on now, hear me out before you get too mad at me. Obesity is not healthy. It causes so many health issues and puts you at risk for a cacophony of diseases. But the body positivity movement tells us that it’s okay, it’s okay for you to be overweight because every body type is beautiful. This is dangerous territory. Fellow Odyssey writer Olivia Scherzer says it perfectly in her article when she explains how the body positivity movement encouraged her to wolf down buckets of ice cream, just because it’s okay for her to not be skinny. That’s dangerous, because it is just unhealthy. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while, but eating junk food everyday just because you can is not a sustainable life choice. The article by Jessica Torres and Alle Connel, while an entirely noble and just cause, is just not valid. I’m sorry, but overweight people do not look like skinny people, no matter what they wear, and there’s a reason for this! Overweight people are not as “aesthetically pleasing” – to put it in the most crass way possible—because it’s unhealthy to be overweight. Centuries of favoring slim, healthy bodies evolutionarily has brought us to the point where we associate healthy with slimmer bodies, which is biologically correct. The most biologically natural human body does not have excessive amounts of fat on it. It’s unnatural for people to be obese. Keep in mind that I’m not saying that people need to be stick thin. No, we’ve already established that there are a million body types from thin to curvy, and all are natural. There is no one desirable body shape, but it can be generally agreed upon that a 330 pound person is not a natural body shape. That’s the result of bad choices or quite possibly an eating disorder or another type of disease. But when there is a way to avoid to that extra weight, we should try to avoid it, due to the health reasons behind it. Obese people are at risk for diabetes, heart disease, joint disease and so much more. The body positivity movement now needs to move from a focus on inclusivity of body types to a focus on gaining a more healthy body.

My personal story has helped me to see why this is so important. Like I said before, I struggled for years with my body. I dieted, I gave up sugar and fats, I wore shapers, I wore loose clothes. I tried so hard to get that body that I thought would be the most desirable, or to at least trick others into thinking I had that body. Let me be clear, I wasn’t fooling anybody. Eventually, it clicked for me. I just don’t have thin genes. I’m going to be a heavier set person my entire life—that’s just something I have to live with. The body positivity movement, of course, helped me to see that this wasn’t the end of the world. I could still be beautiful, so long as I felt beautiful on the inside. And I most definitely did not. My biggest indicator: I was tired of being out of breath when I ran up the stairs too fast. That is not healthy. So, I took the next step: I got healthy. I got the gym membership and actually force myself to go. I changed the food I eat, and even though it was a really tough break-up with pizza and ice cream, I’m truly so much happier for it. I dropped a few pounds, inevitably with all the increased cardio, but I’m still as round as ever. I don’t “look” any thinner or any better, but by God do I feel better. My mysterious back pain is gone, I can easily run around without breaking a sweat, I feel so much stronger. I made my choices to live a healthier lifestyle, and even though I didn’t get a perfect beach-body, I feel like I have one.

Of course, this by no means everyone needs to go workout every day and never eat processed foods ever again. It just means that you need to find what makes you feel the healthiest. If you’re more of a yoga person than a running person, by all means, do yoga. If you like swimming, swim. If you’re not really an active person much at all, then find whatever it means for you to be engaged and healthy. Maybe that's painting or reading. Maybe it's just going for walks or hiking. Maybe you are entirely happy with your physical condition because you may be overweight but can still do everything you want to do. That's incredible and I sincerely applaud you. I wish I could say the same. Whatever the specifics are, it's all about you finding what keeps you healthier and happier. This is what body positivity needs to move toward. It’s so much more natural this way. Changing lifestyles to find peace with your body—that’s positivity.

Like my mans Kendrick Lamar says,

I'm so f-----' sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin' natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin' natural like ass with some stretchmarks

Be natural. Be positive. You don't need to artificially enhance yourself, and you don't need to force yourself into loving a body you don't feel healthy in. You just need to find what makes you natural.

Cover Image Credit: Erica Mesirov

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.


I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.


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