Thoughts By Natalie » body image honest talk about beauty, style, wellness and life Thu, 26 Jun 2014 12:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Embrace Mon, 19 May 2014 12:00:09 +0000 “Our bodies will go through many changes in our life. Our bodies change through aging, pregnancy, illness, weight loss, weight gain the list goes on. One thing we must learn to do is love our bodies before, during and after…. Be loyal to your body, love your body, it’s the only one you’ve got.” —Taryn Brumfitt I recently discovered a movement and documentary that are right up my alley. The woman quoted above is a fighter for healthy body image, especially among women, and she’s created all kinds of hype for her new documentary with this unconventional before and after shot, which she shared on the Body Image Movement Facebook page: After all kinds of feedback—some good, some bad (haters gonna hate)—she decided to start the Body Image Movement, and soon afterward she was approached by a filmmaker to tell her story in a film that they’re calling EMBRACE. According to Kickstarter, this “funny, touching, heart wrenching, inspirational and life changing full-length documentary film” will include Taryn’s story—how she went from a body hater to a body lover. She will share her journey from being devastated by feeling ugly while sobbing on the bathroom floor to proudly posing nude for ...]]> 8 Why I Write About Style Thu, 15 May 2014 16:46:14 +0000 Style. It’s a topic some may think is unimportant or uninteresting or even vain, but it’s one that I am quite passionate about and so I thought it could be good to dig deeper into the why behind my style posts. To start, I have to note that beauty and style are two totally different entities to me. I believe that so much that I’ve even kept hair and makeup posts in the style category here on the blog to ensure they stay separate. Beauty is something that runs so much deeper than what we wear, and it absolutely must be kept separate. It’s a small way I’m trying to change the conversation and redefine the way that our culture uses the word “beauty.” That being said, just because style has to do with the exterior, doesn’t mean it’s silly to care about it. We can’t get consumed in what we wear, but having fun with the way we dress can play an important role in self-awareness and developing a healthy body image. Aside from writing, style is my favorite form of self-expression. I believe that all style is good style when it’s authentic to who you are—it’s in imitation ...]]> 25 #AerieREAL Mon, 10 Feb 2014 23:12:48 +0000 Although I’m not usually one to talk about undergarments, I just can’t ignore the significance of the new campaign Aerie is running to promote their lingerie. No more retouching. No more supermodels. All real looking gals who are so radiant and beautiful in their own skin! My favorite part of the campaign is that it’s not one of those “real women have curves” things. Because the reality is, not all women do have curves. Some of us have blessed bottoms or and hourglass shape, others have tiny chests and straight figures. Every single body is different, and this campaign definitely celebrates that reality—not just in their ad photos, but also in a helpful way on their site by letting you filter and actually see women wearing your cup size. How cool is that? What do you think of this campaign? Let’s discuss!]]> 14 Is The Biggest Loser Finale Sending the Wrong Message? Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:56:01 +0000 I’ve long been a fan of The Biggest Loser. I love the inspiring stories they share from the contestants, seeing people overcome strongholds in their lives that have kept them at an unhealthy weight, and seeing them get a second chance at living a healthy, fully-alive life. But after last night’s finale, I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to watch the show again. If you didn’t watch it, check out the video above for a quick recap of what went down. In a nutshell, we see contestant Rachel Frederickson celebrating victory over weight she couldn’t get rid of, and unfortunately we see her weigh in at a brand new unhealthy weight—one that is way under what her 5’4″ frame should be, medically speaking. I think it’s worth mentioning that I am not a thin-shamer at all. I think everybody has a different shape and size, and that whatever our God-given size is is a-okay and something to be celebrated. I have several friends who are naturally thin and do not have an eating disorder in any way, shape or form. That being said, it’s sort of a different story altogether when we’re talking about a very public weight-loss ...]]> 31 Self-Care, Freedom & Living More Fully Mon, 20 Jan 2014 16:35:21 +0000 Remember back in November when, as part of the Dean Street Society Happy Hour Blog Tour, I shared about how I say “no” to overwhelm? Well, today I’m doing something fairly similar. When Katie Den Ouden reached out to me about joining 24 other women in coming together to support, celebrate and promote each other in sharing our journeys to truly feeding our souls, freeing their bodies, and loving our lives as part of the Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour, I absolutely without hesitation said, “YES!” After all, that’s pretty much what I’m all about. So, as part of that today I’m answering a few questions related to self-care, freedom, and living more fully… What self-care habits are non-negotiables for you? How do you find time for self-care? Over the past five years, self-care has become very important in my life. After struggling to break free from the bondage of anorexia (and later the reverse upswing that can happen during recovery, binge eating), I realized that I needed to be intentional to nurture my body and soul on a daily basis, rather than neglect it and cope with the aftermath of my broken life. Since I work from home, a ...]]> 15 Shrinking Women Tue, 10 Dec 2013 13:00:02 +0000 Have you seen the spoken word poem, “Shrinking Women” by Lily Myers? I just discovered it yesterday and am so glad I did. The video shows her performing her slam poem about body image and disordered eating, and was awarded Best Love Poem at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. It’s honest, direct, beautiful and true, and I hope you’ll take a moment to watch it (or at the very least, read it below). SHRINKING WOMEN by Lily Myers Across from me at the kitchen table, my mother smiles over red wine that she drinks out of a measuring glass. She says she doesn’t deprive herself, but I’ve learned to find nuance in every movement of her fork. In every crinkle in her brow as she offers me the uneaten pieces on her plate. I’ve realized she only eats dinner when I suggest it. I wonder what she does when I’m not there to do so. Maybe this is why my house feels bigger each time I return; it’s proportional. As she shrinks the space around her seems increasingly vast. She wanes while my father waxes. His stomach has grown round with wine, late nights, oysters, poetry. A new ...]]> 8 I Love My Body As It Is Tue, 12 Nov 2013 13:00:23 +0000 Have you heard of Robyn Lawley? She seems to be in the news constantly lately, and while I find her Facebook page too scandalous to share publicly here, I’m super thankful for the conversations she’s been starting regarding body image, modeling and fashion. Above is a quick 5-minute video clip from her appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show that I hope you’ll take a moment to watch and be encouraged by. If you’re at work or don’t have the time or space to watch the video, let me share my absolute favorite part with you. At 0:39 after briefly mentioning the terrible names she’s been called as a model (“pig” and “hefty” to name a couple), she says, “It’s fine. I’m really confident and I love my body as it is.” Later she notes that she’s started saying that regularly, and it’s amazing how much of an impact it has on the way she views herself. I absolutely love that attitude. Don’t you? While it may not be easy for us to say it and mean it, I think there really is value in choosing to say it out loud regularly (even just to ourselves in the mirror), because the ...]]> 12 Life Rule: Don’t Wear Pants That Hurt Tue, 29 Oct 2013 17:30:06 +0000 I recently made a new life rule that has me feeling happy (and significantly more comfortable): don’t wear pants that hurt. We all have those too-tight and too-small pants we attempt to squeeze ourselves into, yet they aren’t really doing us any favors. Likely, they aren’t as flattering as we imagine. But more importantly, they are really uncomfortable, causing us to think more about what we’re wearing (and how it’s cutting into our bodies) than the people we’re talking to or the activities we’re doing. The decision to implement this rule in my life came shortly after purchasing my Minnie pants from J.Crew. I just couldn’t get over how comfortable they were, and I found myself wanting to wear them constantly. On top of that, they look super put-together and make me feel great. Isn’t that how all clothes should feel? Clothing is both a covering and an expression of self. It should not be a torture device, nor an enemy. If our pants make us feel less-than, uncomfortable, unattractive or overly-fidgeting, I want to encourage all of us to replace them with just the opposite—even if that means a bigger size or a whole lot more stretch in the ...]]> 16 Loving Your Body Now: Overcoming Conditional Confidence Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:00:22 +0000 I’ll love my body when I lose weight. When my skin clears up. When my thighs are slimmer. When my stomach is flat. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a conditional love for our bodies. Whether it was in middle school when we dreamed of having more curves, or 10 years later when we cursed every curve on our body. We want what we can’t have, and we refuse to love our bodies until they’re in whatever perfect state our twisted minds want them to be in. It’s a messy situation. Is it wrong to want to look different? What does it mean to really love our bodies anyway? Is it possible to love a body that isn’t the way we want it to be? These are the questions I want us the dive into together. First things first, what about wanting to look different? Truly, it’s a natural desire to want what we don’t have. The grass can always be greener, and we will always want something different. Whether we wish we were curvier or skinnier, taller or shorter, we each have a certain size and shape that we’ve been given and we can’t change that. However, I ...]]> 4 Skinny Jeans Thu, 12 Sep 2013 10:46:00 +0000 My “skinny jeans” hang in the closet, begging for me to try them on. I know they are too small, and that especially after eating a rather large burrito for lunch, I definitely won’t be able to squeeze my full body into their tiny legs. I decide not to try them on, because I know the outcome will ruin my day. Nonetheless, they remain on their hanger, waiting for the day when they will fit me again. When I say “skinny jeans,” I’m not talking about the super-slim fitting style of denim that one wears with boots or cute flats. No, I’m talking about the jeans that fit me when I was skinny. Some might say I’m skinny now—or at the very least athletic—but I often don’t believe them. After years of fighting anorexia, I confess I often still have a distorted body image. I know that what I see in the mirror isn’t always what’s actually there—after all, there isn’t any human way I could gain 30 lbs overnight, right? Regardless of our pasts, the reality is that we don’t need to have walked through the psychological disorientation of an eating disorder to fall into the bad habit of ...]]> 2