Finding Peace in Your Body

I recently got asked how I figured out a way to body love. I used to pick on myself. I didn’t like the way I looked. There were favorite body parts, like my abs, that I especially focused on. I was constantly trying to loose weight. I wanted to maintain a weight lower than what was commonly recommended for my height. Then one day came a moment when I did some serious soul-searching. I wrote down my true values. None of them turned around bodily measurements. I also recognized that when I was in contact with others, I never paid attention on their weight. I wanted to see them as they really were, a person with interesting things inside. So, I figured that I needed to apply my core values to my life as well.

I decided to stop the fight between my weight loss wanting mind and the actual needs of my living body. Trying to maintain a lower than normal weight led me to controlled and inflexible behavior. Keeping things where they naturally aren’t supposed to be is hard work. Some people spend their lives fighting with the scale, deciding that they’ll never go over a certain number, come what may. But in the meantime they are limiting how much they really experience this life. There were times when I’d stay at home just because I didn’t want to eat more and thus didn’t have the needed energy to go out and enjoy other’s company. Or maybe I’d go but only be a shadow of myself because I was exhausted. These are rather extreme examples but you get the picture.

I decided to allow myself the amount of energy, nutritious food, that it needed to fully function. Slowly I incorporated all foods back into my life. I had forbidden foods like nuts, chips, pizza or chocolate from myself. I now go by the 80-20 principle. I try to eat 80% clean, just because I know it makes me feel my best, and 20% indulgence. I’ll have that chocolate chip cookie if I want to. I do physical activity every day. I do it because it helps me to feel good in my body and also boosts my mood. I know that I have to be mindful of maintaining my happy spark alive. I also know that I have to be proactive. I take myself out for a walk or do some yoga before I feel too sad.

I have recently focused more on health magazines and social media in comparison to the fashion magazines that I used to read. I still like fashion and read the glossies I subscribe to, but I pay attention on not getting any negative body vibes from them. If my day’s good and I’m feeling great in my skin, then there’s no problem in looking at a young girl with a very thin (and probably photo shopped) frame. But if I’m already feeling self critical so then maybe that day I need to entertain myself with other things.

I continue to look for articles, social media influencers and messages that support my quest for body love. I’ve found a group on Facebook where women support each other’s sports and health goals. That has been a very positive experience. That is why I was inspired to start my own Happy Place fitness community here in Quebec City.

So, what’s the secret to body love and peace within? Deciding to want it more than anything else and then doing all you can to get it. There’s beauty in putting yourself out there and giving encouragement to others. That’s why I wrote this post.

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

I’m done bashing my body. I’ve decided to stop complaining once and for all. Yes, I’ll never be perfect, but does that really matter? I don’t expect perfection in others, so why in myself. I believe that many of us will be freed to truly live, not just to get by, when we uncover the key to unconditional body happiness.

I read an article talking about three points leading to body wellbeing. Let’s start. The first point is the most powerful. Focus on what you love about your body, not on what you don’t. Let’s stop wasting our precious time on complaining about this and that. The tummy that isn’t as flat as I’d like or the shoulder bones that don’t define themselves as clearly as once before. Is my body functional? Does it enable me to truly live, to go where I wish and pile up on activities that I long to engage in?

The second point is about stopping negative internal talk. Practice and learn how to talk to yourself like you would to a dear friend. I would never ever tell a friend that they don’t look their best today or that their cheeks look too chubby to be cute. I don’t even notice these things in others. According to my values, I’d find that small-minded. So, why would I pick on myself in such a way?

The third point banishes our damaging habit of comparing. We compare body weight and firmness of tummy but also jobs, finances and success. This leads to what. Deep dissatisfaction, ungratefulness and general lack of motivation. Let’s appreciate our lives, bodies and doings to their true value. I am unique. So are you. Let’s do “us”. I believe that practice makes perfect. Once you catch yourself in the comparison game, snip it off right there and then.

What do you think? Are you game?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

How to Start Loving Your Body?

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

Sometimes it’s fun combining sporty stuff with chicer things. I’m a glam accent loving gal but no way will I let my sporty side be hindered by inappropriate clothing. I want to endure on my feet the entire day – so footwear has to follow. First I thought that the flashy pink sneakers would be a total style clash – but then saw it differently. I find that they bring a modern, one non-coordinated color accent to the outfit. After a busy day in South Beach my feet thanked me, as well.

Check out my Instagram feed on the right side. I’m also now on Bloglovin’.

Pink Sneaker Power

Miami’s South Beach is an enticing combination of good ol’ American business hustle and bustle, tropical easygoingness and some culture, too – Versace’s old home, the Smithsonian Museum and the Art Deco street. South Beach lets you experience itself as you need. Drinks are as big as buckets – this is America after all. Sushi was expensive but served with detailed explanations and enthusiasm, and it really was delicious.

Pink Sneaker Power

Miami holds a big part of my heart. I just feel good there. It’s so far from the freezing roots that I have but who said that in our hearts we couldn’t belong to somewhere completely else than where we were born?

Pink Sneaker Power

Jumping for joy… My beach tradition now, I reckon.

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

In this shot I used my ballet background. I pulled up my left hip in order to accentuate the curve. Try it and you’ll see the boost in your body image.

Pink Sneaker Power

Sweet sunset time just the two of us.

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

Pink Sneaker Power

Ready for the new week, chicos and chicas?

Freedom Ballet

I recently met a lovely, bubbly person, Anne-Sophie on the Net. She is blogging from Switzerland under the title Fighting Anorexia and sharing about her battle and victories over an eating disorder that had her in its gloomy grips for fourteen years. Anne-Sophie also travels abundantly, leading an intercontinental life – the title of her second blog.  Her communication is clear and inspiring. She starts her podcasts stating “they are about life”. And surely they are – a life where we dare to feed ourselves so that we can go out and do things that really matter. With no degrading, accusing or insulting self-talk.

Anne-Sophie put up a challenge. Writing out reasons for recovery and about the sparks of hope that keep you going. My disordered eating started when I was a fifteen. My ballet teacher told me to lose weight. All of a sudden, food became my enemy. The less I ate, the better person I was. Entered self-hatred and frustration. The result: binge eating. I would eat uncontrollably, afterwards feeling sick and so painfully ashamed. I never vomited, but “controlled” the situation with fasting and hours of sports. This was my horrible secret for fourteen years.

Then came happy changes in life and I was able to eat normally. A stressful situation, a need to tone up for a fitness exam, slowly but surely brought my old demons back. From 2005 to 2010, I gradually ate less and less and subsequently became severely underweight. My body mass index was 15, the anorexia limit being 17,5. In the summer of 2010, I didn’t want to put on a gram. But started recovering anyway, merely because I was afraid  to lose my husband. What man would love a sack of bones?

In one and a half years I  have put on about half of the weight I should. It has been a rocky road, with ups and downs. Today I am becoming positively fed up with this eating mess. I want to have energy to do what I want. I want to be healthy and be done with cramps and pains, constantly wondering what the heck is wrong with me, and deep down knowing that if I just fueled myself the way I am supposed to, all the troubles would be gone.

The sparks of hope on this roller-coaster ride back to a life are important to remember. When the bad day comes and I feel like the fattest person on earth – how petty and not-so-true Susa does that ever sound – I pull these precious drops of gold out. I feel strong enough to go out and do sports for a longer time. I get that lovely boost of fresh air and the pleasure of a good jog. When you are anorexic, you never know when your energy levels could plummet. Recovery means being able to go eat out and have a social life. This can do wonders to your couple, too. Sharing food is such a normal part of our life. I can have a body that doesn’t make people uncomfortable – when you are sickly skinny people start making open, rude comments. Now men are noticing me again. Flirt has returned. This feels soothing. I am able to think about other things than food – disordered eating takes so much energy, counting calories and worrying about maintaining the routine-filled system.

I also carry a timid hope that one day I could truly love myself and body the way I naturally am. I would love to go back to take a ballet class. Ballet gave me an eating disorder – now I want to claim my life back, and have ballet too.  But just as a way to celebrate Susa!

I am writing about this very personal issue – now in detail – because I hope that by doing so I could be of encouragement to others. That my suffering – and now I am actually in a better place health-wise than in years – would serve a purpose. I never wanted an eating disorder. It is no one’s fault. It just happened. Presently, I am tackling the final obstacles to break out. I would like to be a fighter partner to whom ever needs one. We’ll exchange messages and support! Just write me.

Here is my story… handle with care. What is your point in life needing some freedom ballet?

Art by Susa