3 Tips to Combat Difficult Body Image Moments

I made a YouTube video! 🎥✨ I want to share things that have helped me overcome anxiety, depression, and my eating disorder in a way that can be more direct, engaging, and effective. The power of video is undeniable so I decided to give it a shot.

In my first video I share three things I do to help me turn things around when I’m having a difficult body image day. I hope you find them helpful, and I would love to hear what helps you when you’re struggling with negative thoughts or difficult body image moments. I could use all the help I can get too so please share in the comments! 💖

You can find my brand new YouTube channel here! If you want to stay up to date on all the new videos I add make sure to subscribe. I am planning on releasing one new video a week that shares helpful mental health and feel good tips 🙂 Hope you’re having a lovely day! xoxo LG

Is your Wedding Day the best day of your life? An exploration...

Lisa Simpson Marriage

I have a lot to say on this subject so I will be breaking it up into multiple parts

Part I

A few years ago, a friend was upset with me when I was not able to attend her wedding. She was so upset that she stopped speaking with me and eventually told me that she had decided to give up on our friendship. She felt that I showed her that our friendship didn’t matter to me when I decided to not attend her wedding, as this was supposed to be “the best day of her life.”

I was surprised to hear that because:

  1. I do not share that same opinion

  2. I didn’t know it would be such a big deal, and

  3. I wasn’t expecting such a drastic response

I didn’t realize that a friendship could be terminated over not attending a wedding, so this got me thinking – is your wedding day really supposed to be the best day of your life? Why do so many people, particularly women, have this belief? And what are my views on it? 

Where I am from, which is probably like most places in the US, having a lavish, over the top wedding has become a show of status and wealth. I feel like people are trying to outdo each other and there is something about it that doesn’t sit well with me.

The number of destination weddings requiring you to travel to fancy far off places, spend a lot of money, and take days off of work for something that isn’t of your choosing just baffles me.

You’re asking me to use my vacation days and extra hard earned money to go to a place that I didn’t choose, and do a bunch of events and activities that I didn’t agree to do, for you? We are all adults now and I choose to do what I want.

None of it feels authentic to me and to be extremely honest, it feels like a meaningless display of pretense. What are people trying to prove? This is a special event for you and your husband-to-be and your close families to celebrate your love for each other, why are you asking people to travel across the world to a place where you don’t even live to do this?

Another element of this that makes me uncomfortable is when you put a lot of pressure on an event to live up to something huge - aka the best day of your life.

I have had multiple experiences in my life where I have big expectations for a certain day or event, and then it just doesn’t measure up and I am left feeling really disappointed.

For me these were things like: graduation, getting into and attending my dream school (Stanford) – this was a huge let down, getting into the sorority I wanted, my first job after college, or having sex, none of these things ended up being that great and they left me feeling low, so I shifted my perspective.

I have realized that things that I don’t make a big deal about, but instead simply enjoy and appreciate the moment, end up being some of my best days.  Like: meeting a new friend, going on a hike with them and then having a lovely glass of wine and conversation. Or a normal day that ends up being amazing because you slept well, wake up feeling good, have a delicious cup of coffee, go on a nice walk and read a good book - I have chosen to enjoy savoring the simple things.

To me, these big events are so done up and seem to be a bigger source of stress and anxiety than enjoyment, and I guess I don’t put that day or even romantic relationships on as huge a pedestal as it seems that most other women do.

In Part II I am going to dive into the history of marriages/wedding ceremonies and explore the feminist perspective on these topics.. Stay tuned!

Cool Things I've Seen Recently

Cool things I’ve seen recently

I’ve read/seen/listened to some interesting stuff on the inter-webs recently that I wanted to share. They have been thought provoking, inspiring, and fun. Hope you enjoy!

Inspiring

New York Times Article - Jenna Wortham on the Exhilarating Work That Leaves Her ‘Naked and Shivering’

TED Talk - Multipotentialites: Why some of us don't have one true calling | Emilie Wapnick

Thought-provoking

New York Times Opinion Piece: Don’t Let Sex Distract you from the Revolution

Pardon My French Podcast — Escaping Expectations with Hayley Quinn

TED talk — Searching for love to escape ourselves | Hayley Quinn

Giggles

Lets end things off with a good laugh — here are two videos that made me LOL:

SNL Weekend Update: Pete Davidson & John Mulaney Review Clint Eastwood's The Mule

James Corden: The David Beckham Statue Prank

Recovery Diaries: No One Can Give You the Answers

No One Can Give You the Answers

For so much of my life I just wanted to be told the answer or what to do. In recovery I wanted an expert to tell me this is the optimal way you should live to heal and thrive, so then I could do that and go on my merry way.  

When I realized my eating disorder wasn’t going away without the help of a mental health team, I thought – “Ok I’ll go into therapy, they will tell me exactly what I need to do to recover, I will do the work, and then be done with this.”

I am not joking – I went in to my first appointment with a notebook and my questions for the therapist, which were along the lines of – What are the steps to recover? What do I need to do to recover as quickly as possible? Exactly how do I do it? How long is this going to take? And what is my homework?

I thought I simply needed to focus, do my assignments, and then I could kick this thing.

I was SO wrong.

The therapists I have seen over the years have avoided giving me any sort of regimen, or clear answers on how I should live my life. They are always helpful but they never tell me what to do. When I got frustrated with the process a few months ago, I asked my therapist what else I needed to do to recover and what recovery would look like when I was there. I wanted to know where I stood in the process because I was so tired of dealing with this. And then I finally got my answer – she told me that recovery looks different for everyone.

My version of recovery is going to be different than the recovery of someone else who is suffering from a similar eating disorder. It’s not a clear cut one size fits all method. So, she couldn’t tell me what it would look like for me, it was something I was going to have to develop by continuing to do the work.

Although this is an annoying pill to swallow (wouldn’t it be SO MUCH EASIER if they could just give us the answers??!) it did ring very true to me.

In my experience, whenever I have followed some sort of plan or read about how some incredible person lives their life and tried to apply it to my life, it never really works. I always find myself doing those things for a little while but then slowly falling off the wagon and finding myself back to doing things how I feel comfortable doing them. Maybe I will learn some things that I enjoy, but I will incorporate them into my way of doing things.

I can never stick to some written out guideline that someone else created of how things should be done because they aren’t my way of doing things.

When we are so frustrated and tired of not knowing what to do, we wish someone could tell us the answer, or look at how someone you admire is doing something and do it the same way, but life doesn’t work that way and you will only be hurting yourself if you do that. That’s because you need to find your own answers, you need to figure out how you like to live your life, and you need to develop what works for you.

We are all so unique and individual. Our lives and preferences are different, what works for me is not going to work for you, and that is wonderful. Why would we want to be like someone else? Being able to go on a journey of discovering ourselves is a great gift of life. Why do we want to deprive ourselves of that?

The path to healing is learning about yourself and how to take care of yourself, through all the good and the bad. You can’t rely on other people to tell you what to do or to solve your problems, because they aren’t you. You need to tune in and find your answers inside of you.

2019 Musings

2019 Musings - The Original LG

Happy 2019! With the start of a new year I am always drawn to reflection. I reflect on what I am grateful for from the past year and what I want to focus on for the year ahead.

Over the years I have moved away from making specific resolutions because I have felt that it prevents me from being in the moment, enjoying where I am at in my journey now, and doesn’t allow me to leave space for the possibilities that present themselves to me along the way. However, I still want to take time to reflect on and identify what I want to cultivate for the year ahead.

That is why this year I want to set an intention instead of making specific goals. A powerful way of remembering your intention is to choose a word that represents it so you can continue to refer back to your intention throughout the year.

I recently read this quote from Mama Medicine and was so moved by it. I knew right away that this was the guiding light I needed:

The Original LG 2019 Quote

That quote made everything seem so simple to me. It made all of the things that I stress or worry about dissolve by reminding me of what really matters. And I felt like I could apply it to every area of my life. Truly any area with stress, suffering, or negativity — all I have to do is remember this quote and it immediately brings what really matters into the light.

I particularly found these words so powerful when thinking about disordered eating and the path to recovery.

When you are trapped in eating disorder mentality you are not coming from a place of love for yourself — you are coming from a place of fear. Fear that you are not enough the way you are, fear that things are not ok, fear of your body, fear and judgment of yourself, distrust of yourself, insecurity, self-loathing — whatever it is, it can all be traced back to fear.

This quote made it crystal clear to me that the path to healing is through love. Love brings about the power of healing and we are all capable of love. As long as we stay connected and true to love, we are on our way to healing and building a more peaceful and content life.

So as you have probably already guessed:

The word I choose for 2019 is LOVE

What is your word for 2019? Whatever it is — I hope it brings you joy and fulfillment this next year.

May we be guided by love for ourselves, love for all sentient beings, and love for this planet we call home.

Wishing everyone a happy & bright 2019!

xx

LG

The Power of Sharing

The Power of Sharing

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has read my blog and started following my journey this year. In the past I had been so afraid to tell anyone about my issues or share what I was going through. I kept trying to keep it locked up inside which made me feel stifled and frustrated.

I first started writing this blog in secret – only telling my mom and cousin about it. Slowly my confidence and readership started growing, and I began to feel a sense of joy in writing.

I never imagined the healing that writing about my eating disorder and mental health struggles would bring me. Being honest and expressing my thoughts has been extremely cathartic and gratifying. I have a better understanding of who I am and what I am capable of, I can speak up for myself and set appropriate boundaries, and have improved difficult relationships from my past by being in a better place myself.

If you have anything you’re ashamed of or scared to share, try finding ways of letting it out and sharing in a safe way. Whether that is journaling, finding a mental health professional you can speak with, or confiding in someone that you know truly loves you, do it.

The way to break these stigmas is to be able to talk about them openly, and the power that sharing brings you is incredible. Just make sure it is with someone who is worthy of hearing your story.

Thank you to all of you who have been open, supportive and generous for listening to my story.

I am going to be starting a series where I allow people to share their ED stories here on my blog. You can share your name or simply share your initials with your story, the way I did at first with LG 🙂 More details soon to come! 

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone!

xx

LG

The Recovery Diaries: Self-Acceptance

Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance – what does that actually look like? And how do you get there? I’m no expert on any of these things but I think it’s an ever-evolving process that we are constantly working on as we go through life. We will continue to have situations that show up that we have to work through regarding how we feel about ourselves. It might be dealing with something that has come up around how we perceive ourselves or how others perceive us, or ways we behave in a relationship or tendencies we have – the possibilities are endless because there are so many layers to self-acceptance.

The self-acceptance I am going to be talking about here is the one that frees us from beating ourselves up over things that we cannot change about ourselves, and instead helps us embrace all the parts that make us who we are. Stopping the fight and criticism of ourselves and deciding to let it go because there truly is nothing wrong with us.

I know this sounds vague, so the easiest way for me to explain is to give an example from my life and hope this helps you identify similar tendencies in yourself. Then you can apply this to your situation and work on releasing it as I am working on doing this as well.

Self-Acceptance

So here it goes:

For as long as I can remember I have been a small person. When I was in elementary school and you had to line up according to height I was usually the first person in line. When someone would say we need the short people in the front, everyone would immediately say – “where’s Lili?”

I didn’t think much of it when I was young, I simply accepted it as the way it was, and went on with my life. I was short, my mom was short, my grandma was short, and that was that. It wasn’t until I started getting older that so much started to become attached to it. One of the biggest things this created was being perceived as younger than I actually was, which resulted in people treating me like a child, and wanting to take care of me.

I started to feel insecure and bad about this, and would blame myself for it. If anyone ever told me they thought I was younger – my first thoughts would be: What was I doing that was making people think I was younger? What was I doing wrong? Was I not acting assertive or mature? Did I act like a child? Why did I have to be so child like?? All of this started snowballing into me believing that there was something wrong with me.

I had a college professor and a boss both tell me that I was smart but I would have an uphill battle being taken seriously in the professional world because I was a petite woman. They suggested that I should practice behaving and speaking more authoritatively.

I remember when my college professor pulled me aside and told me that, I felt ashamed and angry with myself. I hated myself for being short and for not speaking in a more scholarly way or something.

It didn’t cross my mind that MAYBE some of these things were simply out of my control. These were things that were part of who I was and what made me unique.

I turned 30 this year and this story has still been triggering for me. Something happened just last week around this that made me feel uncomfortable.  

But then I had a moment of awareness where I stopped and questioned it, and I thought to myself – why am I blaming myself for this? Why am I making this a bad thing?

I know that I am a responsible, competent woman who gets her things done, and just because I am perceived as younger, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is neither good or bad, it just is what it is, and beating myself up about it is unnecessary.

My body, my height, my voice, my spirit – they are doing nothing wrong. I am doing nothing wrong. This is simply who I am, and if I happen to have a lighter, youthful energy then I am just going to accept it as what it is.

If there are things about yourself that make you insecure, stop and think about them and ask yourself if there is actually anything bad about them? Is there really something wrong with it or is just that you think there’s something wrong or because people make you feel weird about it but it’s actually not good or bad, it just is what it is? If that’s the case let’s release it, we don’t need to be carrying around that negativity anymore.

So yeah – I am short, and will always be small, and might always look more like a child than a commanding voluptuous woman, and you know what I am learning to accept it. I’m done with criticizing and picking myself apart. It’s time for some loving self-acceptance and to start believing that there is nothing wrong with me - and I hope you start working on doing the same too.

You Don't Always Have to Be Nice

You Don’t Always Have to Be Nice

I recently had a very insightful moment with my therapist. I was talking to her about an annoying situation I had found myself in that I wished I didn’t have to deal with. It was something silly but it made me uncomfortable and the root of what was bothering me was that I didn’t want to seem rude or unpleasant to someone.

I was telling her my concerns and going down a list of what if this happened or what if that happened, and how I didn’t want to hurt their feelings but I wished this wasn’t even a situation in my life.

Then she said, “you have done nothing wrong so you have nothing to feel guilty about, and if you’re not interested, you’re not interested. Lili, you don’t always have to be nice.”

That was a huge lightbulb moment for me: I don’t always have to be nice. When she said it I realized that it was a box I was always putting myself in and it was exhausting. She continued on to explain that it doesn’t mean I am impolite or hurtful, but that I don’t have to be overly nice to people — I can be neutral and I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. I can simply say — I’m not interested, thank you. Or a simple: No.

You Don’t Always Have to Be Nice

I know this sounds like common sense but many people, ESPECIALLY women, have been conditioned to be people pleasers. We are afraid of letting someone else down at the expense of doing what is best for us. Or God forbid we come off as selfish, assertive, or having a strong opinion – women have been so trained to be agreeable, sweet, quiet, and putting others needs before our own.

I will admit it, throughout my life I have been a people pleaser. I am sensitive and I would take it personally if someone didn’t like me. Where do you think the perfectionism came from?

I wanted everyone to like me, not have one bad thing to say about me, and think I was important. And where did that leave me? Depressed with an eating disorder.

Trying to be sweet and nice to everyone has put me in many situations that I didn’t want to be in. I would force myself to do things that I knew intuitively I would rather not do. I didn’t know how to say no or was afraid of seeming rude or difficult, and then I would find myself wishing I was never tangled up in that situation to begin with.

Why do we sometimes think NO isn’t an option when it is 50% of the option – there is the yes option or the no option – and we should start giving the no option just as much weight as the yes. They are both equally valid.

As I get older and move into the new year, I am going to continue to work on releasing these habits of being a people pleaser and always being nice if it isn’t authentic. I am making it a priority to develop strength in setting boundaries, learning to simply say no, and stick up for myself and my needs. All of these practices are incredibly powerful and help you get to know and trust yourself better — because what matters most to me is that I like me.  

We shouldn’t be wasting any of our precious personal time doing something we don’t want to be doing because we are afraid of coming off rude or unpleasant in some way. Having the strength to simply say — No thank you — and not worry about having to be nice all the time will save us a lot of energy to do things we want to do and show ourselves the ultimate kindness and care.

Be Your Own Guru

Guru

Why are we constantly looking outside of ourselves for answers? Why do we think that external sources know better than us on personal matters? Why do we ask other people for advice or want their opinion on things that we CLEARLY know best on?

As I have been on a path of recovery I have had to go to various professionals to help me through different parts of the process. It is interesting because at first, I was so confused as to what was going on and just surrendered most things to them. I thought they knew more than I did because they were the experts and I didn’t feel like I had a strong ground that I was standing on. I was the one who was tangled up in these behaviors and didn’t understand why I was doing them – so I figured they had to know more than me.

As I have continued to do the work, I have gained my own strength and something interesting has started to shift. I have begun to realize that they might not know what is best for me. Their intentions are pure and they want to help me get better, but I don’t need to take every suggestion or accept everything they tell me as law and incorporate it into my life.

Because at the end of the day I am the person who intimately, deeply, inside and out, knows who I am better than anyone else ever could. I am starting to trust that when something doesn’t feel right inside of my gut it’s because it’s not right for me.

If they are suggesting something that immediately makes my gut squirm, I know that it isn’t right for me. I am picking up on these cues and trusting that there is so much knowledge in them. I am starting to develop a deep understanding and connection to who I am and that I know what is right for me more than anyone else.

Intuition

I know this sounds like an obvious thing but lots of people don’t practice it. We like to surrender big decisions or thoughts to someone else to decide for us. We freak out with the pressure and want to divert it to another source. Or we don’t want to have to think about it and just follow the way that is suggested in a book or magazine or something.

I have noticed that this behavior is prevalent in so many areas of our lives. I have friends who constantly ask me for advice on their relationships. I try to give them my unbiased opinion but the truth is that I am not in their relationship so I don’t REALLY know what went down in the argument they had, OR what their non negotiables are in a relationship. I know that for me those things would not fly and I would be out of that relationship but that is ME not them, and they need to figure out where they stand on those things to make those decisions. It would be pointless for them to make decisions regarding their relationship based on my standards because it is not their standards. 

A clear example where this shows up for me is food. What works for one person and how they enjoy eating and exercising is pointless for me to base my decisions on. To think “Oh because that’s the way Suzie Q does things, that is how I should do them,” OR “because this is how one person told me I should eat that’s how I should.” Why would someone else know what is best for me? My body is completely different than theirs. I am the only person who knows what kind of eating works best for me, what works for my body, makes me feel good, and how I want to live my life.

If you live your life based on the practices of someone else it isn’t going to work or you won’t feel fulfilled in that area of your life. Its hard to stick with something when it isn’t the way you like to do things or what feels authentic for you. 

This is a big practice that I am incorporating in my life right now: tuning in for guidance. Finding my answers from within and letting my intuition and my gut tell me what is the right way for me to live my life and what feels authentic to me. Because at the end of the day – in this whole big world – I know myself better than anyone else does and I know what is best for me.