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Living whole-hearted

Many people have come this way in the last few days because of my recent talk as part of the Self-Acceptance Summit so I want to share a post from a few years ago that details the Whole-Hearted Continuum I created for myself to promote more whole-hearted decisions that promote a self-acceptance practice that is rooted in the fact that I am enough (we all are!) just as I am not and not because of how many things I do or how many times I say yes to other people.  If this post lights you up and you want some advice on saying no, check out Talking You Into No and How to Say No!

 

not saying no to yourself

 

I believe that the world is full of need.

I believe that we are all here on purpose, that each one of us has a fundamental gift to give that is essential to healing this world.

I believe that it is imperative that we live our purpose.

I believe that by living our purpose, we heal the world and ourselves.

I believe that because we are here on purpose, we have to get really clear about what we say yes and no to because we only have so much time available to us to do the work that we are meant to be doing in this world.

I believe far too many woman say yes to far too many things, spreading themselves too thin to have the impact they not only want to have but need to have.

I believe it is time to change that.

I believe that we must say no in order to say yes.

I believe the time is now.

Let’s do it.

The Wholehearted Continuum

For years, I had two standards for  whether or not I said yes to a commitment.

1.  Was I technically available?  By that I mean, was the time of the commitment itself open in my calendar?  If so, I quickly moved to standard #2.  I didn’t think about whether or not I would have to break land-speed records to get to my next commitment or whether or not I had the time to do the prep work.  If the time itself was available, then that was enough for serious consideration (by which I mean, time to ask myself question # 2).

2.  Could I technically do it?  Note that I did not say ably.  So, was the question whether or not I could participate in the school bake sale or car wash?  Well, if the time was available, I couldn’t deny that those things were things I could technically do it.  I didn’t ask if they were things that I derived any pleasure from, if there were others who might be better at it or anything like that.  As long as you weren’t asking me to fix your car engine or cure cancer, I could probably technically do it (even if the it in question was something I didn’t like doing) and so as long as my calendar was open, I said yes.

And then, sometimes, the dread began.  I didn’t want to do the prep work.  I didn’t want to leave my boys (the big one and little one).  I didn’t want to get dressed to go or do my hair.  And then I would go and have a lovely time and, on the way home, I would say, “See!  You had such a lovely time.  You have the worst attitude ever.  You should improve it.”

But, eventually, I had this breakthrough thought:  I have a lovely time wherever I end up.  I am kinda wired to have a good time.

That a-ha moment along with another one that came when I realized that I was putting off all of these projects that were so heart-centered to me in order to make times for these invitations that I was getting to participate in things that were heart-centered for someone else made me realize something:  I wasn’t living my life purpose.  I was defusing it.

And I needed a new standards for discerning whether or not I said yes or no to an invitation.  No longer were my two questions– am I technically available and can I technically do it- enough.

So I asked myself how I wanted to feel when I was doing something.  The answer?  WHOLEHEARTED.  I really, truly wanted to be in with my whole heart.

Then I asked myself what wholeheartedness looked like for me.  Turns out: being happy to be there wasn’t enough.  The wholeheartedness, for me, needed to start much earlier.  And so I created The Continuum of Wholeheartedness for myself to better discern when and why I should yes or no to a request (when my calendar was really open).

Exercising the Continuum of Wholeheartedness

First, I need to be thrilled to be asked.  You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when someone asks you to do something that doesn’t sound all that appealing to you (and you start thinking, as you scroll through your calendar, please let it be that I am not available).  Yeah, that feeling is NOT thrilled to be asked.  If I have that feeling from the outset, I have to say no.

Next, I need to be happy to prepare.  So, let’s say that someone asks you to do something that you really are genuinely thrilled they thought of you to do it. Now, move to the next standard.  Do you have room in your heart, mind, and schedule to prepare for it?  If the prep work is going to leave you ragged at this particular time, and make other parts of your life hard (you have to stay up late, wake up early, skip workouts or other self-care or even alter important commitments you have made to others), then you have to say no.  When you are operating wholeheartedly, the prep work will feel thrilling, even if it is a stretch for you.  If it doesn’t thrill, don’t do it.

The third standard is a good tell for me.  Will I be alright with getting ready for the experience and leaving my peeps to go?  I like being with my boys.  I like wearing my crazy curls on top of my head.  I like wearing slouchy jeans and blousy shirts and looking like a bit of an in process artist.  A lot of places that I am invited to don’t exactly call for that look.  So, am I cool with cleaning things up a bit and saying good-bye to my peeps to go.  If I am, then I totally know that it is wholehearted.

The fourth standard is one that is important to ask but, to be honest, never the one to base MY answer on– will I be joyful while I am there.  The truth is that I am joyful MOST wherever I end up.  But not everybody is and that is not even true for me everywhere (I will never be joyful in a great big event designed for networking) so I ask myself that question.  Can you see yourself feeling joy while you are fulfilling this commitment?  If the answer is eh, maybe or no, then your answer needs to be no.

The fifth standard is inspired by a friend of mine who will compliment a hard-worker by saying, “Oh, she’s a trash mover!”  I once asked her what she meant by that and she said, “There are two kinds of people after an event. There is the kind of person who is totally engrossed in cleaning up.  She’s carefully folding the linens, making thoughtful stacks of what goes where and isn’t afraid or above taking out the trash.  Then there is the other person who stands around and talks and acts above it all.”  I don’t know about you, but I want to be a trash mover and it is a good litmus test.  Being a trash mover requires BIG BUY-IN.  So when I think about this standard, I am inclined to ask myself, “Can I see myself being as excited to clean up after this commitment as I am setting up?”  If yes, then yes.  If no, well, then no.

And then there is standard number six: excited to bask in the afterglow.  Will you be peeling out of the parking lot asap, putting the commitment in your headlights, trying never to think about it again or will you be like, “wow. Wow. WOW.” afterwards.  Will your mind be percolating?  If you anticipate, percolation, then yes is best.  No percolation?  You know what to do.

The Continuum of Wholeheartedness has worked wonders for me.  It has made me think more deliberately about how to use the finite amount of time and energy I have available to me and has made me more discerning about when I say yes.  The great reward to that is that I am able to live even more on purpose and when I live on purpose, I actually make a greater difference in this world?

Can you see The Continuum of Wholeheartedness working for you?

Getting Wholehearted

Rosie-Molinary
Date: Tuesday, September 12th
Time: 7pm-8:30pm CST **PLEASE NOTE THE TIME ZONE**
Where:Anywhere you please. All you need is a computer or phone to attend class.
Are you a chronic YES-sayer? Has this somehow become more hurtful than helpful? Has your arms open-wide approach somehow encroached on your ability to set boundaries? Yeah, we get it. Join radical self-acceptance champion and author, Rosie Molinary, in this class as she helps you learn why saying no to non-ideal opportunities is an essential self-acceptance practice. She will unveil powerful tools to help you discern your boundaries and review empowering ways to say no to too many commitments while positively maintaining your relationships. Ultimately, you will walk away understanding how saying hard nos in order to embrace profound yeses allows you to more intentionally live a life of purpose.
REGISTER 

How to Improve the Most Important Relationship in Your Life

SAS Image

Do you struggle with self-judgment? Does the voice of your inner critic speak loudly of your ‘flaws’?

You’re not alone. Even people who’ve had years of practice with meditation, therapy, and self-improvement still struggle with the most important relationship we have—our relationship with ourselves.

That’s why I joined the conversation in the Self-Acceptance Summit, along with 30 world-renowned teachers, to give you the tools and knowledge to transform the way you treat yourself every day.

Register for the live broadcast at no cost here:

Self-Acceptance Summit:

How to Overcome Self-Judgment and Live a Life of Bravery, Compassion, and Authenticity September 11, 2017 through September 20, 2017 

 When we accept ourselves, we become more courageous and capable of doing good in the world. I hope you’ll join us for this extraordinary gathering of teachers as we learn to change the way we treat ourselves—and everyone around us.

Register for The Self-Acceptance online training summit  and be sure to tune in for my presentation, titled Radiate which airs on September 15th at 8 pm EDT.

P.S. Sounds True is offering their One-to-One gift program, which will send a copy of the entire summit to a person in need when you purchase the upgrade package. You can learn more here

Real Talk in Parenting

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Join my friend and colleague Réa Wright for a series of intimate conversations with Me and other remarkable mothers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and 3 amazing teenagers. We will be diving deep to explore what it means to be an authentically connected and engaged parent and why it’s critical to walk the path of self-discovery and healing as a parent. Join us here for FREE.

Your Longings Made Manifest

 

The semester started on Friday.  Here is the letter I read my body image students at the end of class.

LongingsMadeManifest

Yesterday, you looked in the mirror, and, instead of your inherent greatness, you saw flaws.  You saw things you wanted to change and not everything that made you powerfully, wonderfully, uniquely you.

Last night, in a deep conversation with your friends, you had a powerful thought, the kind of thought that would have changed the whole conversation, maybe would have changed you, but you doubted yourself and so you swallowed it inside of you.  Tucking it away, forcing it out of your mind, so that great big belief would not threaten your status quo in its hunger to get out.

This morning, you walked to class and compared your body to someone else’s.  Your body, a body that has worked so hard for you, that has allowed you to experience every good thing you have known, a body that has kept you going through all the hard stuff, through all the difficulties that have been thrown at you.

And then you walked into our shared space, a space that I hope will become a sanctuary to you, a place that I hope will quiet your inner critic enough so you can see the fabric of which you are made, you can recognize your worth, you can embrace the idea that you are just fine as you physically are right at this moment- not just because that is true, which it is- but because you come to understand that what the world most needs from you is not your trappings but your longings made manifest. 

If you yearn for art to be inspiring or children to feel loved or food to be breathtaking or houses to have souls or communities to have gardens or technology to be accessible or music to have your unique viewpoint or patients to have soulful care or records to be broken or whatever else it might be that speaks to your soul, I want that for you, too, and I want our space and time together, our journey, to be one that supports your recognition of your worth, sparks your awareness that the world needs you and your unique solutions and galvanizes you to embrace what you have to offer.

Today, you will tell me your name, your major, your graduation year, your hometown, the last great book you read, and why you chose to take this class.  You will say you needed Body Image class for your Women’s and Gender Studies minor, for your art major, for your public health concentration, because it fit into your schedule, and, maybe, just maybe, if you can muster the courage to say these words, because you knew when you saw those two words on the course guide that you wanted desperately to have a different relationship with your body and your soul.

And here is what I can promise you.  I will do everything I can to see you, to hear you, to understand you, to help you to understand yourself, to empower you to see your greatness, to inspire you to understand that while you are lovely because you are uniquely you that it is more than just your loveliness we need—that we need your fire, your passion, your purpose.  I will remind you that our bodies are ever changing and so to build a foundation of our worth on what we physically have to offer right this minute is to invite disruption over and over again.  And I will implore you to understand that your soul will always lead you right, will always let you blossom, will always let you shine.

On the day you last walk out of our sanctuary, I hope that you leave this space with your eyes up, ready to recognize and greet those who approach you not just because you know that other souls should be seen but also because you understand that to hide your soul from us is to deny the world of one of its greatest gifts- you.

I hope that you will be able to meet your eyes in the mirror and see purpose and clarity and passion and self-acceptance staring back, that you will treat your body like a guest of honor to your life because it has served you so well so far and you want to continue on that journey, and, ultimately, that you will not hesitate to give the world everything that you uniquely and powerfully have to offer. 

Welcome.  I am so glad you are here.  I am honored to walk alongside you.  I cannot wait to see where we are going.  Let’s get started.

After Charlottesville

DSCN36179 years ago today, we learned about this baby boy and, in that moment, our hearts clutched around him, somehow convinced that we were meant to be together.  That first day, we were so absolute, so steadfast in figuring out what we needed to do for the adoption that no darkness entered in my mind. And then, the next day, the darkness arrived. Were we fools to bring a baby boy from Africa to this country, to possibly subject him to racism, something that he might be more protected from in his country of origin?

Stricken, I called one of my dearest friends, one to whom I could always talk candidly about race and ethnicity and she heard me out through my sobs and terror. She relived the personal- my own experiences with being spit at, shunned, profiled and belittled for my brown skin, and the more political with me, helping me to move through the hard stuff to remember our interconnectedness, my own growth, when others stood beside me through the hard stuff, when I stood up for others. On the other side of that conversation, I felt compelled to choose hope, to choose faith and love and progress and connection.

A few months later, Barack Obama was elected president and I went out and bought a newspaper to put in a keepsake box for the baby we would soon bring into our lives.  And, then, as my years as a mother ticked by and as often happens when there is historic progress, there was a backlash to that election. Backlash too numerous and vast to number here but it has been harrowing and heartbreaking over these years to watch the beauty of otherness- whether it be race, ethnicity, religion, gender, orientation, and more- be devalued, vilified, condemned, and erased.

We were on vacation at our favorite beach last week when news broke about Charlottesville. Overwhelmed by my feelings, I concentrated on the little boy in front of me and I was reminded of a scene on this same beach when the boy was a toddler.

He was at the age where his exuberance exploded out of him and had to be shared. Most days on the beach, we were positioned right by the families we had seen all week. Dear friends were with us and we played bocce, built sand castles, jumped waves, and collected seashells with the children over the course of each day.  One day, there was a change in the groups around us. A group of younger adults with a confederate flag sat down and one of its members removed his shirt to reveal a confederate flag tattoo. Of course, our exuberant boy chose that one man for show and tell that morning, running towards him with every seashell find. My stomach churned as I went after my little boy and redirected him.

“We got you,” our friends said, putting their arms around our conspicuous little family with our three distinct ethnicities, loving us through the discomfort, making sure that our belonging was clear to those around us, easing our alienation and fear.

This is what alliance looks like.  Whether it is in the quiet of a friend moving closer to you and putting his arm around you when you feel vulnerable or in the energy of a group of strangers standing up for what is right, we have to use our access to bridge distances, offer companionship, insure protection.

And so here I am, exactly 9 years later, tamping down my own fear in order to once again choose hope, to choose faith and love and progress and connection.  Thank you for being connected to me. Let’s keep extending our hand.

The Kids are Alright Spring 2017 Part II

Devin

At the end of each semester, my body image students write a process paper where they synthesize their learning- both personal and academic- for the semester. These papers are always a delight to read and there is so much wisdom in them that I just have to share a fraction of it (with my students’ permission, of course) with you. Here, some wise words from my students this semester. May they give you hope and inspiration the way they did me.   

Love is within; it is something that no other person can provide, no material object can eternally cover. Self-love is the root to success. In order to make it in this world we have to be willing to stand outside of the norms of hating our bodies, and, with a bold face, start a revolution of loving ourselves. I now take every day not as just a blessing to be thankful for, but I also look at each morning as a new way to spoil my body. I don’t necessarily mean by shopping for new clothes or getting all the new makeup, but instead I mean thinking of new ways to spoil my inner and spiritual body. What grains can I eat to benefit my physical body today? What time can take out of my busy day just for meditation to spoil my spiritual mind? My life is different because I no longer look at my body as a decoration, but as a working machine. ~Sarah

One of the main ideas I will keep with me from this class is the concept that beauty is not defined solely by physical appearances. Considering what I truly believe are beautiful traits or characteristics was different and somewhat difficult at first. I felt as though everyone, including myself, was conditioned to believe that beauty is solely how symmetrical your face is and how white your teeth are and how slim your waist is, but I have learned that it is truly so much more. I believe that to be considered beautiful someone must be positive and enthusiastic. I am also attracted to intelligence because I love being able to hold conversations with people who are articulate and knowledgeable. Discussing my definition of beauty with other people was refreshing and empowering as it opened my eyes to the fact that I meet my own definition of beauty. ~Samantha

So many times in this world we are judged for the length of our eyelashes and expected to keep contained the unique qualities that make us who we are. There is no rationality to judge and yet we all do it, every day. We don’t know what our side-glances and backwards comments do to another individual. We have no idea what is going on in that person’s life and how they internalize our silly judgments. Honestly, we all need to feel accepted. But there is no one path to acceptance. There’s no “perfect” skin color, face, body…perfect doesn’t exist. Trust me, that’s not a bad thing. Unique exists though…Stop comparing, stop envying, and stop judging. Devin

Life is tough, society is tough, and, with bad things going on around me, my focus on myself should be positive. In the midst of all things bad, I can be good. I am good. That is what I learned from this class. I learned that things happen in life and people say things, influences influence you, but at the end of every day the only opinion of yourself that matters is your own. Molly

Thankfully, I believe the world is promoting uniqueness more and more each day. Beauty is not something we earn, not something we can apply on our faces and not something we must work on. Beauty is something each one of us already possess. Devin

One of the things that surprised me those most this semester was what one of our guest speakers said, she said “I realized that there was one day in my past where I looked my best and I never knew it. I never took advantage of it then”. That was when I realized that I do that. I get stuck in constantly judging myself and comparing myself to others when I could just love myself for who I am right now. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, what could happen to me or what my body will be like in the future, so shouldn’t I enjoy the things that my body can do right now? I can run and jump and hike and swim, things which not everyone can do and I am blessed beyond belief to be able to do those things right now – so why am I not doing them? This was my “aha” moment. The moment when I realized that who I am right now is a blessing, not a curse and I should love my body accordingly.  Rachael

The Kids are Alright Spring 2017 Part I


-Sarah

At the end of each semester, my body image students write a process paper where they synthesize their learning- both personal and academic- for the semester. These papers are always a delight to read and there is so much wisdom in them that I just have to share a fraction of it (with my students’ permission, of course) with you. Here, some wise words from my students this semester. May they give you hope and inspiration the way they did me.   

Body image. Isn’t that exactly what it is? Just a mere image.  It’s not a definition, it’s not a standard, and it’s hardly an expectation. My body image is up to my discretion how I view it. My body image is meant to only supply me happiness, because the rest of the world is looking to make profit from it.  The world wants to make profit off of the unbelievable structure that has carried me successfully through 22 years of life. The body that has blocked me from illness, the body that has offered resiliency and support through the hardest experiences, people are trying to exploit, degrade, and make profit from. No more. No more will I accept society’s belittlement of my home. For my body is my house, my tattoos and piercings making it a home. My body is my safe haven, and it’s time my-self image reflect that. Sarah

Some how along the way, most of us have displaced ourselves from value. We’ve latched on to an idea that beauty and, thus, worth is one path. The ironic thing is most of us are always searching for that path, a path that doesn’t exist. If we are to grow as individuals, we must let go of our preconceived ideas on what makes us less or more worthy than another individual. Devin

I want to encourage and advocate to girls and women that being raw is okay because it is the only time where you can feel your strongest, most empowered, most free, and the most beautiful that you have ever felt. I would tell my daughter to not let society or media determine your beauty. Only you can define your own beauty and that you should never feel like that you are any less than anyone else. I would tell my son to respect women of all diversity, flaws, and curves; to not ridicule, belittle, or degrade women. In the future, I want to live in a society that not only celebrates masculinity but femininity as well. Anika

It’s easy to compare your body size to other girls, especially in college. That’s the normality of society, right? Most people hope to stand out from everyone else, with sole recognition of appearance. But, wouldn’t that make you tired? The spiritless effort of keeping up with the latest trend or trying to meet the “perfect” standard, wouldn’t that make you exhausted? Rachel

Beauty does not come in a one-size-fits-all standard. Truth is, there is no standard. Who says any one of us is more beautiful than the other? Who says what I have to offer the world is any more inspirational than the classmate sitting next to me. We all have a gift waiting to be unwrapped. That sounds corny, but maybe the corny things are what we need to hear to remember our worth. Devin

I’ll be back next week with another dose of inspiration from my students!

Stay woke, dear heart.

stay woke dear heart

We started together at a time when the world was changing– when it felt unfamiliar, maybe even broken to some of us, when it was shifting on its axis and it demanded of us a type of shifting, a refocusing on what was important, what mattered.

Maybe in that moment Body Image felt like the most frivolous thing we could be thinking about or maybe it felt like the most important, like the very thing that we needed to consider so we could resolve it for ourselves and get onto the things that felt most urgent in our soul because we finally came to understand that we are each here on purpose and for every minute that we spend distracted by our hair, our waist, our skin, our musculature, our height, those are minutes that we are stealing away from our meaning and maybe just maybe healing our brokenness would empower us to be one part of the world’s necessary healing.

In the midst of those maybes, here is what I came to learn about you, here is what I cannot help but celebrate:

The way you showed up every single week broken-open and honest. Willing to create the type of earnest, open space and experience that made each one of you feel safe, made each of you willing to talk honestly about race, gender, sexuality, bodies, parents, partners, peers and more, that made each one of you less afraid to bare witness to the pain that permeates our collective existence and the personal brokenness that can sometimes feel impossible to superglue into something new, something that will actually serve us better.

The way you held your brokenness with reverence, not downplaying that it mattered—because it matters, dear heart; you matter– but how with courage and fortitude and hope, you held your brokenness up to the light, allowing the light to perform its service by making things less frightening, by offering a spotlight for a whole new way of seeing things, by putting a shine on your scars in a way that you never could have imagined.

The way you fought for the world with your heart wide open. Not one of you is comfortable with the status quo. Not one of you wants to live in a world that profits off our self-hatred. Not one of you wants your own joy or healing to come at the expense of someone else’s. Each one of you is so eager to do your part not just for your own healing but for the world’s.

The way you woke up to what your heart, body, and soul needed. The way you shifted into the type of profound awareness that will not just keep you safe in this world but will make this world safe for every single one of us.

And so here is what I want you to know as we gather together for one last time in this space and experience that we joined souls and hearts and hands to create together:

You have everything you need inside of you to heal yourself, to help others, to offer comfort and courage and conviction in our efforts to reconcile the world’s pain. You are already worthy. You are always enough. And you are, unequivocally, a radiant light that is needed.

When the day ahead of you is hard, when the voice in your head is unkind, when the person before you is trying to pass off their pain to you, I want you to stop in that moment and revisit these words, remember this truth:

You have within you a type of light and magic that creates safe spaces and your magic is available to you and your community at any time. Get quiet. Remind yourself of all that you have done and created and experienced. Remind yourself of the deep truth of your purpose. Set your intention. Then begin. Never stop beginning again. Stay woke, dear hearts. Stay in your magic.

At the end of each semester, I write my students a letter that is unique to their class.  This was the letter for my body image class this semester.

Want to read some past letters?

The struggle is for you.

You can change us. 

The world is aching for you to show up. 

The world needs your lightness 

We hunger to be known.  

Answer the call into your own greatness 

Radiate Love 

Do the world’s work 

And here is the letter I share with them on the first day of school.  

May You Always See the Beauty in Being Good to Yourself

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I am so excited to share a post from Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, author of Body Kindness.  Body Kindness has been one of my go-to gift books this year and I was thrilled when Rebecca agreed to sharing her thoughts here as well as provide a book for a book giveaway!

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By way of quick background, Rebecca is an award-winning registered dietitian, certified health and fitness specialist. Lauded by The New York Times Book Review as “Simple and True,” and called “a rousing guide to better health” by Publisher’s Weekly, Body Kindness helps readers create a healthy, happy life with mindful decision-making and choices that fit their interests.  Now, enjoy this wisdom from Rebecca and details for the book giveaway!  

scritchfield-cooking-girls

I dedicated my first book, Body Kindness, to my daughters, Audrey – age 4 and Isla – age 2 and this was my wish for them: “May you always see the beauty in being good to yourself.” I want them to understand that it’s not our appearance that makes us beautiful, it’s in the kindness we give ourselves each and every day.

Our culture has it all wrong when it comes to beauty. With images of unattainable ‘ideal’ beauty bombarding us daily, we are taught that the most worthy thing we can do is to put all our energy into trying to “fix” our appearance. Weight loss is usually at the top of the list. I believe treating yourself with kindness and compassion is beautiful and weight is just a number. Weight should not be used as a label to define who you are as a person or the value you bring to the world.

The diet and beauty cultures are designed to always leave us feeling not worthy enough, so most of us mistakenly associate weight and shape as evidence of good health. We spend our hard earned money trying to correct our “problems”. From beautifying our skin with abrasive chemicals to going to any measure possible to lose weight. We are the victims of beauty ideals and the diet culture that teaches us to believe that our bodies are problems in the first place. Our bodies are not problems. Diet culture is.

 

As a nutrition and fitness expert, I strive to help people become truly well (mind and body) by establishing self-care habits they feel really good about. There are a lot of great things that come from eating nutritious foods, exercising in ways that feel good to your body, and making time for good sleep to tie it all together. But there is such thing as overthinking it and expecting perfection — perfect behavior, perfect body — and then criticizing yourself when you don’t measure up. That’s a trap! Be aware of it and carve out a kind, compassionate path to better habits.

You can opt out of diet culture and be good to your body at the same time. That’s where happiness and health converge. Over the years I’ve learned that real beauty isn’t found in any particular size, but it can be found in every size. You can be healthy and beautiful with cellulite, thick thighs, junk in the trunk, or virtually any body shape. Emotional health is an equal part of the equation.

The beautiful truth I strive to show my daughters every day is the power within us all to make the very personal choice to be good to ourselves. But I didn’t always see this truth. In fact, I dieted most of my life and I was one of those body-shaming experts who put people on diets. All that time, I was a pawn in the diet culture that created me. Now I cringe at the harm I undoubtedly caused people thinking I was being helpful. I’m well aware that the majority of health experts are out there acting like the “old” me. Unfollow them. Unfollow anyone whose mission involves your body oppression, not your liberation.

Eventually, I hit a diet “rock bottom” and I gave up dieting and changed my values. I now support the Health at Every Size principles that encourage respectful care and weight inclusivity (duh, I know!)  Everything I do, whether it’s engaging readers in Body Kindness, sharing people’s stories through videos, or conversations on my podcasts, my mission is to dismantle diet culture in the hopes of my girls and future generations are empowered to invest in things they actual need and want, rather than live a life of always feeling not good enough and overspending on needless crap.

We can choose to realize that beauty is not defined by weight or size and together we can be leaders for our daughters and anyone we influence. Imagine the good we can create in our world if we help others find the beauty in being good to themselves (and resist and reject anything else telling them they’re inadequate).

Want to win a copy of Body Kindness?  Enter my giveaway by sharing one way that you practice (or wish) to practice body kindness with yourself by Friday, May 12th at 5 pm EST.