You Are Worth More Than Food And Exercise

You Are Worth More Than Food And Exercise

Exploring other parts of yourself will bring you freedom.
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I grew up during the late 90s/early 2000s, just as people were just starting to realize that maybe soda wasn’t all that great to have regularly for people’s health, especially kids. And so, like a normal fifth-grader, I declared war on the beverage and completely forbid myself from having it. And not only was I proud of myself for obediently ordering only water wherever I went, I was vocal about it.

Totally normal behavior for a 10-year old, right?

It is when we’re raised into diet culture that teaches us that food and exercise define us and give us a sense of worthiness.

How many times have you heard someone exclaim, proudly, how they don’t eat certain foods, have gone x number of days on some kind of diet, or that they only exist off “clean foods?” Has that made you feel compelled to compare yourself to them, justify what you do or don’t eat, or feel generally crappy about yourself?

Me too.

The same goes for exercise! It’s so common to have people tell you how often they workout, how far they’ve run, or how intense their workouts are. I have absolutely no problem with people exercising, but when talk about it is constant, unsolicited, or makes me feel worse about myself/others, I think it’s important to look at further.

We need to look at intentions. What is the reason behind this constant chatter, the need to tell everyone about their diet and exercise?

Our society has taught us that we should be celebrated for eating “clean” and working out every day. We look at health as something that makes someone worthy and morally “better” than those who don’t, for whatever reasons. And whether it’s said outright or not, it comes across as superiority from those who constantly use their food and exercise behaviors to validate their worth.

Are you talking about these things because of this?

My point from all of this is that we are worthy humans for so many reasons beyond what we eat or don’t and whether we exercise or not. There’s so much more DEPTH to us beyond that. In my recovery from my eating disorder, I’ve found that I have to focus on all the other aspects of why I’m worthy. I’m worthy because I’m a great friend, passionate about helping others, and simply because I am a worthy person. Food and exercise and the way we talk about them shouldn’t define our worth.

I encourage you to dive deeper than that and leave that conversation at the door.

Cover Image Credit: SONAH Photography

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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