Sunday, October 3, 2010

realism & optimism

i am very aware that i'm skinny.It is good to have ambitions about your body. It is good to want to build muscle and be stronger. It is good to want to tone up and lose some fat. It is good to want to eat healthy and feel better. Honestly, it’s good to want to make the body you’re given as fit as it can be. What is not good is having unrealistic expectations about yourself.

There are some things you can’t change about your body. For instance, I will never be pencil-thin. I carry my weight in my hips and even if I only weighed 100 pounds (which would look sickening, by the way), I would still be shaped like a pear. I have a prominent nose and it’s not going anywhere. Some men are naturally thin. Some women have thicker legs than others. Some people have knobbly knees and bony shoulders.

Some people look at others (particularly celebrities) and yearn to look just like them. But you know, I will never look like Keira Knightley. Nor will I ever have a bust as big as Kim Kardashian’s. But I can eat better, exercise more, look better, and feel better because of the choices that I make about myself. I can hone the body I have into its most beautiful state without being worried about comparing it to someone else’s.

It’s okay to want to improve—it’s not okay to want to be someone you not only aren’t, but can’t be.

Be the best you possible.

image by klaireebearr on Flickr

Sunday, August 22, 2010



Don’t ever trust Mirror. I have found that Mirror is pretty much a consistent liar, and honestly, who wants to listen to a liar?

I know Mirror is a chronic liar because on Wednesday when I was getting ready for work, Mirror told me my hair looked awful. She said it was frizzy and wasn’t curling in the right places. Needless to say this was pretty disheartening, but I had an early meeting so I didn’t have time to mess with it. I just ignored Mirror and went to work anyway.

Throughout the day, people kept commenting on my hair. “Your hair looks different today…I like it.” “I love the way your hair is curling today, kind of wavy.” “Your hair looks nice today.” All the while I’m thinking, Mirror said my hair looked bad! What is going on here?

And then I went to talk to a friend of mine, and noticed that her hair looked awfully cute, and I told her so. You know what she said? “Really? I think it doesn’t look too great today.” This is when I realized…Mirror is a liar. If Mirror had told the truth, my friend would have realized how adorable her hair was on Wednesday.

Have you ever tried to convince a friend that her hair looks fine, her shirt doesn’t make her look fat, or those shoes don’t make her look stumpy? It’s a really hard battle to wage considering your friend’s Mirror pretty much yelled at her, degraded her, and made her feel terrible.

But the honest truth is, as we all know, mirrors aren’t the ones lying to us. We are the ones looking out at ourselves, and we are the ones that are so critical. More important than the fact that your hair must look fine because your friend said so is the fact that we are too hard on ourselves. We’re the ones who are judgmental.

Let’s see the beauty in the mirror today. Let’s rewrite the way we see ourselves.


photo (Between Our Equilibriums Are Positive/Negative Mirrors) by DerrickT via Flickr

Sunday, August 15, 2010

blog share: exercise tips from the happiness project

Check out this blog post from The Happiness Project:

12 Tips for Getting Regular Exercise -- and the Benefits for Happiness and Fitness.

I found these tips to be really encouraging, especially since I often struggle with exercising on a regular basis. Do yourself some good today…check out the post and then go get some exercise! :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

what if…

"Be willing to be your own best friend, and talk to yourself that way, too."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

the weight obsession


I have a scale in my house, but not for the same reason as most people. Most people take their weight and obsess over it—their weight becomes their worth. I have a scale so I can accurately calculate my body fat percentage, a measure of health.

Our culture has become so obsessed with two things: weight and appearance. Because of this obsession, many people let their actual health fall to the wayside, lost in the fray of counting calories and fitting into one size smaller. The amazing truth is, when you’re healthy, the weight and appearance factors fall right where you wanted them to be in the first place. And even then, when you’re healthy, you don’t really care as much about weight and appearance. You feel so much more energized and so much more confident when you’re healthy, that those other things aren’t as important anymore.

I don’t want to imply that weight isn’t important. When you’ve already found yourself in the unhealthy weight category, it is important to get your weight under control. Being overweight can contribute to diabetes, stress on the muscles and joints, and can lead to heart attack and stroke. But if we treat our bodies as though health is our priority, we will eat well, exercise regularly, and otherwise take care of ourselves. A healthy weight will follow.

Body fat percentage is a far better measure of your current health. Basically, body fat percentage tells you how much of your body is fat and how much is lean body mass (muscles, bones, etc.). There are different ranges for different people depending on gender and lifestyle. For instance, men don’t need as much body fat as women do in order to be healthy. Also, naturally, an athlete’s body fat percentage will be far lower than an average person’s percentage. I strongly recommend that you do some research and find out 1) what your current body fat percentage is, 2) what it should be, and 3) what you need to do to be healthy based on what you find.

I encourage you to check out this website where body fat percentage is explained in an easy-to-understand way. The site also shows a chart of healthy body fat percentages. One of the most important points this particular site makes is that often a person’s weight goal is actually an unhealthy weight. Go check it out—you might be surprised by what you find.

The most accurate way to calculate body fat percentage that’s available to the average person is to use a hand-held body fat analyzer like one of these. Luckily for me we already have one of these in our house because my husband is a personal trainer and he bought one to use with his clients. They’re really not too expensive, especially when you consider how much money people sometimes spend just on a scale. But if for some reason you’d rather not buy one, you can also use online calculators like this one. They’re not as accurate, but they’re still a better measurement of your health than just a scale.

It’s quite difficult to rewrite in our minds what’s important, but the weight obsession is a dangerous one.

Prioritize health.

Monday, July 26, 2010

this is me


This is me. I chose this picture very specifically for this post. I’m not wearing make-up, my hair isn’t done, I’m not really posing for the camera trying to look my best, and, most importantly, this is a profile picture, and I much prefer a straight-on shot of me than a profile pic. We’ll get into why in another post, but I wanted to go ahead and post a picture of myself that isn’t my best picture, if nothing else to show you that I mean to be transparent here. I want anyone who reads this to understand that you aren’t the only person who feels the way you do about your body. It’s very important that all of us get it—it is normal to have these struggles and feelings of inadequacy. But what isn’t normal is letting those struggles and feelings run your life. See that it might not be the best photo of you and move on. A photo only shows people your visual aspects, and those aren’t the most important, despite what our world might be telling us.

I also wanted to post a photo of myself to show you that it isn’t just certain types of people who feel insecure. I’m a relatively average girl. I am overweight but not by too much (according to health standards, mind you!). I have relatively clear skin, small ears, a nose that curves out, uneven toes, unruly hair, dark under-eye circles, and very peely finger nails. Why is all this important? Because I have to live in this skin, with these bones. This is me, and I have to improve myself as much as I can to live healthily and happily, but I have to accept the things I can’t change.

And so do you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

the antivanity 101

“Seeking health & happiness in a world demanding flawlessness.” 

I have always felt very passionate about the issues of self-esteem, media, body image, societal expectations, and health vs. superficial beauty. This is probably because I struggle with all of these myself. Please don’t anticipate that I have it all figured out. I struggle particularly with confidence among other things. But we all do. All of us have felt like we’re too tall or too short or our boobs are too big or too small or our feet look funny or we have weird knees.

Here on The Antivanity I’m going to write about my own struggles with self-esteem and body image, about how to try to combat those negative feelings we have about ourselves, and especially about prioritizing health over looks (something I notice almost 100% of women grappling with in my daily life). I’m no expert, but I’m right in the thick of it…

just like you.