How To Start Loving What You See In The Mirror

Oh, my heart. Today’s post is a beautiful and raw look at body image from our incredibly radiant holistic nutritionist Jackie McCaffrey. What’s more, Jackie includes another gift at the end of this post with her FREE e-book of her latest gluten free, vegan mason jar recipes! Read on as Jackie shares her tips for how to start loving what you see in the mirror.

How to Start Loving What You See in the Mirror PIN

Body image is a subject that just never seems to get old, no matter how tired we get of hearing about it. More and more, those who are considered plus sized models are being featured in the media and the call for super thin bodies is less pronounced. Conversations about bodies are very important to have, however they are still placing emphasis on the need to define a body type in the first place. For me, this is okay if the conversation is around the health implications associated with a particular body type, thin or overweight. What I find difficult however; is when the focus around bodies is simply about the way we see each other.

It may surprise you to know that I struggle with my own body. I always have. I’m not sure what, if any one thing, has contributed to this. I have no doubt that years of gymnastics, dance and well, high school, where the shape of a body seems to have such massive importance, had some influence on this. I can’t remember a time in my life where I was completely comfortable and happy with what I saw in the mirror. There is a constant feeling of room for improvement that gnaws at me. The ritualistic ‘untagging’ of photos of me on Facebook because you can see a little cellulite is exhausting.

I’m a nutritionist but I’m also a performer who has worked in the burlesque industry which celebrates all body types. My comfort on stage is why many are surprised when I open up about my struggle. And believe me, it doesn’t mean that because I can’t seem to look at myself without judgement, that I am judging others. I truly love all the forms the body takes. I covet the curves as much as the long legs or ripped back muscles of those I see around me. A close friend was part of an interview of women in their 30’s for a Canadian magazine and was asked if she likes the way she looks naked. She answered with an enthusiastic yes, which I’m sure she assumed I would have done as well, but the sad truth is while I may have said yes because it is what I should say, internally I would have been screaming NO!

My background in nutrition allows me to be more logical about why my body is different than it was even five years ago. I started training in aerial silks during that time, which has greatly increased my muscle mass and thus the number staring back at me on the scale is the highest it has ever been. So while I can reason why I weigh more it doesn’t explain why my clothes fit a little tighter or heck, why my breasts have become a cup size bigger. What does explain this is my age. I’m on the cusp of 40 and our metabolism changes because our energy expenditure tends to decrease, as we get older. In fact, the volume of skeletal muscle in the body decreases and the percentage of fat tissue increases with age thanks to age-related decreases in basal metabolic rate. What does this mean? It means that I am normal. It means that I eat really well, I get regular exercise including weight bearing and cardiovascular activities, and I add supplements and superfoods to help keep my body working optimally. I am doing everything I should be doing. (Check out this post to learn more about metabolism.)

My logical self can look in the mirror and say, you are 38 and you look great! You have no physical barriers that stop you from doing anything you want! So why, can’t the rest of me look in the mirror and LOVE what I see? A friend of mine recently posted this to Facebook: I have a rare mental disorder. It causes me to look in the mirror every day and think – This is the best I’ve ever looked. Hope I’m never cured. How you perceive yourself (inside and out) is one of the few things you have control over. You might run out of lipstick on any given day, but self love can be a bottomless resource.

I love this so much and want so badly to have this rare disorder as she puts it and I am sad that she is right, it likely is a rare disorder. How wonderful for all of us to look in the mirror and see ourselves as the best we’ve ever looked – every damn day. How amazing to have that bottomless well of self-love to draw from.

I want it! Do you want it? What can we do to help us find acceptance and self-love?

Meditation

A chance to find space to focus on only yourself. Time to look inward and work through the important questions and issues that you may face. There are a number of great guided meditations online like this one from Louise Hay or look within your local community to find a mediation center to join.

Check Yourself

Change the conversation with your inner voice. Each time you begin to criticize or ‘if only’ yourself, stop and force yourself to think instead about the things you love. For me, I like to flex my badass biceps and remember that I worked hard to have those pipes! That helps to quiet the naysayer hidden within.

Journal

Writing in any form can be cathartic but I find allowing myself to sit in my cosiest chair and put down in writing 3 things I am thankful for can be a great help. I can then go back on days when I am feeling down and read what I have written. Putting the judgemental and critical thoughts down on paper can also be a good way to get them out of your head – and then I like to rip the page of the journal out and do a good old fashioned burning, dancing in my underwear with sage, ritually cleansing away those thoughts. Away with you!

My intention for spring is to work on my own body image issues. I want the blooming of the flowers to inspire openness within myself that will celebrate my body and I want to spend all that critical energy on the amazing and positive ideas and plans I have brewing in my pretty little head.

References:

http://www.louisehay.com/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8361073

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Jackie McCaffrey
Jackie McCaffreyHolistic Nutritionist
Jackie is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and runs her own holistic nutrition practice online, focusing on the needs of artists. She works to help her community find balance and understanding about which foods and supplements can help them with injury prevention and repair, stamina and overall longevity in the arts world. Jackie also works with clients who are looking for more general health and wellness help along with those who are looking for some more intensive protocols to help manage chronic disease.

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Sometimes Bad Things Are Good

Exactly one week ago, I thought my world had collapsed. I made a discovery that blew the roof off the mausoleum where I thought I had laid my trust issues to rest. There they were, alive and well, dancing before me and taunting me with the prospect that I would never be good enough to land the kind of life that I dream of. The secure, happy kind where home is the safest place you can know. It was a shitty way to start the week, but sometimes bad things are good.

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Now, I’m looking out at my garden and the sun is shining on a perfect spring day. Fresh air and breathing space have changed my perspective enough to realize that I don’t have to run for the hills. I can stay in this and see how it plays out. I’ve never really been good at that sticking around stuff. It’s amazing what having kids will do. And therapy. We can’t forget to respect those years of therapy.

Even the people you choose to honor with your trust make mistakes. It’s inevitable that these mistakes will hurt you the most, and sometimes these mistakes feel pretty fucking personal. This doesn’t mean your people don’t love you, or can’t love you the way you need to be loved. In my case, I’m not sure what it means yet. What I did realize, drifting through this latest storm, was that I just had to make sure I was safe. I can’t control other people, but I can control me. I can make myself secure. Nobody else should be tasked with that. That’s just asking for trouble.

Even the people you choose to honor with your trust make mistakes. Click To Tweet

So now, mama needs to get paid. My time has to be spent making money, first and foremost. It’s no coincidence that all of this personal stuff happened at a “what am I doing with my life” kind of moment.  I hadn’t been blogging here because I was feeling discouraged about this blog, about my book, about writing in general. I took a lot of other stuff on, half of which wasn’t paying me any more money than my writing has (which is basically nothing). Writing can happen in the spaces left after the bills are paid. Isn’t that what writers do anyway? If I want this writer’s life bad enough, I will make it happen.

And so Universe, I’ve taken my power back. I’m open to new opportunity, especially the money-generating kind. I want to be self-sufficient and I want to earn the money I’m worth. Money is such a big, crazy energy, and I’m making all kinds of peace with it. Every time I take it for granted, or ignore it, that money energy bites me in the ass.

Don’t we all need to talk about this money stuff more? With each other? With our kids? Why is it so private? Why are we so ashamed when we ‘get it wrong’? Aren’t most of us getting it wrong, most of the time? It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

I have money shit. I’m owning it. If you have money shit, I won’t judge you. If you want to talk about it, I’m listening. Empower yourself, even if you aren’t in it alone. Learn everything you can. Get good advice. Follow it. Rely on yourself to clean up the money shit, because nobody else will do it for you.

Last week I thought I’d have to start over. This week, I’m staying and I’m taking a new and proactive approach to MY life. Sometimes bad things are good.

 

#HERstoryCounts

Hey lovers! I’ve been dreaming of a series of posts that feature real people, just like you and me, who are following their own passions. As this idea was forming in my over-worked brain, a gorgeous opportunity just landed in my lap, by way of a dear friend and an incredible creative force, Melissa Major. M turned me on to Jennifer Neales, who is hard at work collaborating with a posse of women (or womyn, as she prefers) to create a unique piece of theater that will hit the stage in Toronto on April 22nd. #HERstoryCounts is a series of monologues, autobiographical in nature, crafted and performed by a fierce and diverse collective of female performers. One look at their Indigogo campaign and I quickly realized I had stumbled into the gorgeous, switched-on, inspiring and empowering antidote to all of the soul-crushing lady-hate the Internet has been spewing at me of late. I’m happy to have Jennifer featured here in a guest interview, to talk about this remarkable piece, and the incredible creatrixes responsible for birthing it.

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Five Simple Rituals to Celebrate Spring

Ahhh…Spring is in the air, can you feel it? I can’t wait to celebrate the Equinox and open my heart and my soul to the new possibilities and the fresh start that Spring has to offer. I’m more than ready for warmer days, gentle rains, and the arrival of buds and blossoms everywhere I turn. In honor of the Vernal Equinox, here are five simple rituals to celebrate Spring.

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5 Ways to Stay Focused on Your Passion

My three-year-old son is asleep. (Scratch that, was asleep.) I know he’s not himself because he willingly allowed me to bundle him up in the stroller and wheel him into unconsciousness on this glorious pre-spring day. This is something he usually fights tooth and nail (literally, sometimes). Unless there’s a mob of other three-year-olds, like at school, Noodle isn’t napping. He’s not at preschool today because he’s staying home to smear snot and spittle all over every square inch of me. He’s lucky he’s cute. All of this to say that when you’re a work-from-home mom, ain’t nothing getting done with a sick baby. What better time to take a look at staying focused on the things you are passionate about?

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