Archive for ‘Body Image & Self Acceptance’

December 20, 2010

3 Ways to Give Yourself–And Your Curves–The Gift of Lovingkindness

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™

Metta

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug!

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug!

 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug! 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

 

Tell Yourself “I Love You”

This one is very important because it’s very seldom done. Looking in the mirror each day and professing our love for ourselves is a great esteem booster. I’m not talking about egotistical love. I’m talking about the type of love that makes you get up at five AM to work out or  to say no to that piece of cheesecake – well, maybe not cheesecake! 🙂 The point is Loving yourself, and the body you have, is a must and shouldn’t be neglected during the holidays.

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug! 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

 

Tell Yourself “I Love You”

This one is very important because it’s very seldom done. Looking in the mirror each day and professing our love for ourselves is a great esteem booster. I’m not talking about egotistical love. I’m talking about the type of love that makes you get up at five AM to work out or  to say no to that piece of cheesecake – well, maybe not cheesecake! 🙂 The point is Loving yourself, and the body you have, is a must and shouldn’t be neglected during the holidays.

 

Take a Self Care Sabbatical

After a day or two of shopping you will need some time to unwind from all the pushing, being trampled over and other less than pleasant experiences of holiday shopping. Why not take some time to unplug from world by visiting your favorite spa? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to finishing that juicy novel; why not fix yourself a nice cup of [insert your favorite holiday beverage here] and enjoy reading it to its awesome conclusion. You don’t have to do it alone either. Grab a few of your voluptuous friends, leave the little ones with hubby or a trusted neighbor and then pamper and party the day (or days!) away!

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug! 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

 

Tell Yourself “I Love You”

This one is very important because it’s very seldom done. Looking in the mirror each day and professing our love for ourselves is a great esteem booster. I’m not talking about egotistical love. I’m talking about the type of love that makes you get up at five AM to work out or  to say no to that piece of cheesecake – well, maybe not cheesecake! 🙂 The point is Loving yourself, and the body you have, is a must and shouldn’t be neglected during the holidays.

 

Take a Self Care Sabbatical

After a day or two of shopping you will need some time to unwind from all the pushing, being trampled over and other less than pleasant experiences of holiday shopping. Why not take some time to unplug from world by visiting your favorite spa? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to finishing that juicy novel; why not fix yourself a nice cup of [insert your favorite holiday beverage here] and enjoy reading it to its awesome conclusion. You don’t have to do it alone either. Grab a few of your voluptuous friends, leave the little ones with hubby or a trusted neighbor and then pamper and party the day (or days!) away!

 

The Point

While ‘tis the season of giving, don’t get so caught up in pleasing others that you forget about your own joy. After all, a happier you means a happier everyone around you! If you can think of other ways to show lovingkindness to yourself please share them in the comments below.

During this, the season of giving, sometimes we neglect the person that needs our care and love the most: ourselves. We spend so many hours shopping, wrapping and preparing for Christmas that we forget to take some time for ourselves to relax and regroup. Here are several ways to offer yourself some much needed attention and stave feelings of Bah-Humbug! 

 

Don’t Neglect the Small Things

During the hectic holidays, we tend to forget about the small things that make life more enjoyable and meaningful such as playing with our children, quality time with your significant other (while wearing your favorite curve flattering ensemble), connecting with extended family or simply preparing a home cooked meal. These are the things that define the memorable moments of our lives; not how much money you saved purchasing little (or big) Johnny’s X Box 360. Cherish the little things; don’t sweat the things that aren’t so important. You’ll find that your are much happier at the end of the day.

 

Tell Yourself “I Love You”

This one is very important because it’s very seldom done. Looking in the mirror each day and professing our love for ourselves is a great esteem booster. I’m not talking about egotistical love. I’m talking about the type of love that makes you get up at five AM to work out or  to say no to that piece of cheesecake – well, maybe not cheesecake! 🙂 The point is Loving yourself, and the body you have, is a must and shouldn’t be neglected during the holidays.

 

Take a Self Care Sabbatical

After a day or two of shopping you will need some time to unwind from all the pushing, being trampled over and other less than pleasant experiences of holiday shopping. Why not take some time to unplug from world by visiting your favorite spa? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to finishing that juicy novel; why not fix yourself a nice cup of [insert your favorite holiday beverage here] and enjoy reading it to its awesome conclusion. You don’t have to do it alone either. Grab a few of your voluptuous friends, leave the little ones with hubby or a trusted neighbor and then pamper and party the day (or days!) away!

 

The Point

While ‘tis the season of giving, don’t get so caught up in pleasing others that you forget about your own joy. After all, a happier you means a happier everyone around you! If you can think of other ways to show lovingkindness to yourself please share them in the comments below.

 

Happy Holidays!

 

Advertisements
December 13, 2010

For the Men: You Don’t Have to Look Strong to Be Strong

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™
Sebastian Columbo's Superman

Sebastian Columbo's Superman

Greetings TVP Fam!

As I was surfing the digital universe I came across this video discussing male body image and wanted to share it. In the piece, University of Florida Exercise Researcher Heather Hausenblas mentions how the body image of the fictional character Superman has changed over time:

“When you take a look at the Superman now versus the Superman 20 years ago, I mean he’s hyper muscular now and you know action figures have hyper muscular even children’s costumes, you take a look at Superman or Spiderman they’ve got the built-in muscles so I think it’s here to stay. It’s what we see, and what kids see, what adults see, and that’s what they think, ‘okay this is what I need to achieve’.”

1930s Superman

1930's Superman - Big contrast from the "Muscle Head" image today

Indeed, if you look at the Superman of the 1930’s you will notice that he wasn’t very muscular. In contrast, the current Superman in comics is, as Hausenblas described, almost unrealistically muscular; just one of many distorted images that we, as men, find ourselves attempting to live up to daily.

True strength has little to do with how much external muscle you have and more to do with your internal ability to handle any giving situation in a calm and mature way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have a strong body but that doesn’t mean you need to go all out to be this super muscular behemoth. The images the media feeds us daily are of the exception, not the rule. It makes about as much sense to expect to achieve a Superman physique as it does for a woman to want to have a body like Barbie.

Listen guys, the long and short of it is this: You can be strong without having to kill yourself in the gym or by taking harmful drugs. I’m willing to bet that while physical strength may be appealing to women, having a guy who is confident and mentally strong is  just as sexy (if not more so!).

What do you think? Is getting ripped overrated or do you think this obsession with men and muscle is OK? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

December 6, 2010

Developing an Authentic Relationship with Your Body

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™

authentic

Authenticate | © 2010 Michael Stagg

You can’t be something you’re not | No matter how hard you try.
You can’t keep grasping for the earth | Not if you hope to touch the sky
You can’t change where you’re from | You can’t deny who you are
You have to learn to love you | You have to shine your own star!

I had the pleasure of listening in on a conference call a few nights ago entitled The Fruit of the Womb: Unlocking the Hidden Secrets from Your Own Birth Canal. The host of the call was Azziza Jafari; her guest speaker was my good friend and mentor Mu Shemsu-t of the Master Force International Leadership Academy. While the call was undoubtedly geared toward women, I found myself very interested in this topic which focused on“the secrets we carry with us from the programming we received while in the warm confines of our mother’s womb”.

There was a lot of healing and transformation during this call. One of the key elements that kept coming up was the need to be authentic in our interactions with others as well as within our own internal dialogue. This was a huge thing for me as I have been contemplating my own relationships and what I was contributing – good or bad – to each of them. In the realm of health and wellness, I asked myself if I had been genuinely pursuing my goals or was I just “talking the talk”. The answer was a nonjudgmental yet firm no.

Here’s something to give a try: make space in your day for about 5-10 minutes of conscious introspection (If you would like suggestions on how to meditate send me a note for suggestions) and ask yourself the hard questions where your body image is concerned. “Am I being loving toward myself and my body?” or “Who and I really losing this weight for?” are two that come to mind. Grab a pen and pad and jot down your responses. Are they showing you that you’re being authentic or are you “faking” your way around the issue. If it’s the latter, consider re-evaluating the core reasons behind what’s bothering you and consciously (and honestly) decide to do something about it. You may want to consider bringing in a coach or a mentor to help. Joy Tanksley and Flossie Alexander are both great when it comes to resolving body image and lifestyle challenges for the curvier among us. I highly recommend them both.

Is it easy to live authentically? No, it’s not. I’m still working on be more authentic and I know it’s a trait to must be cultivated daily. What’s important is that we begin to take note of those times when we are not being genuine – with others and ourselves – and make an effort to change the way we do things. Just being mindful of our authenticity (or lack thereof) is a step in the right direction. Do you have any suggestions for living more authentically? Please share them in the comments below.

November 29, 2010

Skinny Does Not Equal Healthy

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™

 

Christina_Hendricks_Voluptuous

Christina Hendricks: Classy & Curvy

Over the Thanksgiving weekend several interesting conversations were held by the women in my family regarding their current weight, wanting to loose weight and just a general disdain for being overweight. It was amazing to me because (1) I can relate to some of the things they were saying – yes, men have body image issues too – and (2) no one seemed focused on what really mattered: being healthy.

I know the media bombards you with images of super skinny women and men with abs that only Photoshop can give but the true measure of your beauty is not provided by the scale that most of society uses. I submit that there are probably more healthy “fat” people than there are “skinny” people in the world. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that even at my current weight of 330 pounds I’m healthier than most of my friends because I don’t smoke, I exercise and I watch what I eat.

You do not have to be a size 0 to be healthy. Be happy with the body you have and treat it like the temple that it is and you will be doing a lot better than most. Even if there are some things about yourself you’d like to change, don’t do so because of what society says you should look like. Do it because you want to live a longer, healthier life and you want to look and feel better for your own sake.

Check out What Ellen had to say about body image and being healthy:

November 15, 2010

Weight Just a Doggone Minute!

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™
Surprised Woman

You're probably not the size you perceive yourself to be...

Hey TVP Fam!

I just watched an interesting video posted by fellow Twitterer @Alareya of a young British woman with a bit of a body image challenge. Watch the video and then come back and tell us what you think in the comments. I’d wager a lot of us have the same outlook about our bodies as the woman in the video.

 

http://twitter.com/#!/Alareya/status/3985335105101824

 

Video by: How to Look Good Naked

November 8, 2010

Your Body’s Calling

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™
365:279 Vulnerable

Image by seq via Flickr

Before anyone asks, no, I’m not referring to the R. Kelly song! So, what do I mean by your body’s calling? Read on to find out…

Look in the Mirror. What Do You See?

As a – ahem – man of substance, it’s not uncommon for me to look in the mirror and take a good long stare at myself. I’m not being narcissistic; in fact, I think it’s the opposite since most times I force myself to objectively survey the person staring back at me. What I’m doing is looking in the mirror for acceptance – self acceptance.

Learning to Love What You See

Like most people, I have my days when I love what I see in the mirror; some days, not so much. One the days when I feel like I’m having a poor body image day I:

  1. Breath
  2. Ask myself why I’m experiencing poor body image today
  3. Recall experiences when I’ve had a good body image day and see what made that day different
  4. No matter what, I affirm that I am a worthwhile human being regardless of my size and choose to be happy as I am.

Your Body’s Calling…Are You Listening?

Everyday, our bodies beckon us to accept the person we see in the mirror. It yearns for us to finally realize that we are more than our dress or pant size. It compels us to exercise our right to experience the love that no amount of fad dieting, surgery or “comfort food” can grant us – it’s called self love.

Do you hear your body calling? How do you heed the call? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

September 27, 2010

Why Weight Loss Surgery Isn’t for Me

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™
Gastric Banding

Gastric Banding - Image via Wikipedia

Greetings TVP Fam!

For the past day or so I’ve been involved in a discussion over at the official page of TVP on Facebook and on Curvy Goddess Lounge. In this discussion we are talking about weight loss surgeries and the dangers they pose. Everyone is different and what works for each of us that are on a path of increased health through weight loss varies. For me, I know that procedures such as Gastric Bypass and the Lap-Band System just would not work for me and here’s why:

It’s Just Too Darn Dangerous

The Lap-Band site lists over 30 complications and risks involved with their product including:

  • Spleen or liver damage (with the spleen sometimes needing to be removed
  • Weight regain
  • Death

Granted, all medical procedures have risk but I’m just not convinced that the benefits outweigh them. Especially when there are simpler alternatives available for me.

It’s Expensive

According to the bariatric weight loss surgery guide site AnneCollins.com, the average cost of gastrointestinal surgical procedures is about $25,000. You can by a gym membership (which averages about $40-$60 a month) for life!

Fortunately, because of the severity of the obesity epidemic in America, many insurance companies are beginning to pay for the procedure (It’s how my mom was able to afford the Lap-Band surgery).  I just can’t – and won’t – shell out that kid of money for a procedure that is unlikely to work for me.

It Doesn’t Address the Real Underlying Issue

For me, the biggest reason I wouldn’t invest in weight loss surgery is that it is an external means of addressing what is for many an internal issue. The surgery will have short-term success but in the long run, if the underlying problems associated with being overweight aren’t addressed then it will eventually lead you right back to square one.

In high school, I weighed close to what I weigh now which was close to 400 lbs. While I made up my mind to loss weight and get healthier I realize in retrospect that I wasn’t doing if for myself. I was doing it to please everyone but myself and even though I lost close to 250 lbs. I gained it all back because I didn’t address certain issues I had about my body, my weight and my eating habits.

To Each His Own

Weight loss surgery isn’t for me. I refuse to go under the knife to “get skinny”. Some people may see it as their only option to lose weight. Whatever you decide, for those of you considering surgery as a weight loss option, please do your research before committing to doing anything. Talk with your doctor, your family or a trusted friend and ask yourself “Am I doing this for me? Is there a safer way to lose this weight? Do I really want this?”

I’s sure there are people who both agree and disagree with my stance on weight loss surgery. I urge everyone to share their experiences and opinions in the comments below.

September 20, 2010

Let the Haters Hate

by M Stagg | The Voluptua Project™
Jill Scott Performing at the 2007 Black Lily F...

Image via Wikipedia

At some point in your life someone is going to criticize you. They won’t like the shape of your body. They won’t like the clothing you wear. They may not like the fact that you are seated next to them on the bus or train. There doesn’t need to be a justifiable cause for the way these people act toward you. We are all born to do something in our lives. For some, that thing is being a hater.

Let the Haters Hate

It’s futile to try to get a Hater to change their opinion of you. Sure, you could politely ask them why they feel the way they do but the answer will neither validate their judgement of you nor does their opinion matter. When you get to the core of it all, the person judging you (or when you judge others; it works both ways) is doing so because of some deep seated “flaw” they perceive about themselves.

Love Conquers All

The best thing to do when someone rolls their eyes at you, giggles as you pass by or says/writes something negative about you is smile. As Jesus said: “Forgive them for they know not what they do”. The Dhammpada states:

Not by hate is hate defeated;
Hate is quenched by love.
This is the eternal law.

Dhammapada 5

Nothing is more baffling to a naysayer than your unwillingness to feed their hate with more hate. It’s like a fire starved of oxygen; with no fuel it has no choice to find another fuel source or cease to exist.

So the next time someone makes a hateful comment about your body, your clothing, your smile or anything else about you simple smile and proudly state that you are happy with the you that you are and keep it moving! 🙂

For your viewing pleasure:

Hate on Me Lyrics

%d bloggers like this: