It’s not just Trump: How we talk with girls about their bodies

I Am. How we talk to girls about their bodies.

“Locker room talk” and the old “boys will be boys” attitude creates and sustains rape culture and body shaming to persist. But how we don’t talk with girls about their bodies is also hurting them.

I Am. How we talk to girls about their bodies.

“You’re so pretty!” the speaker announced, looking directly at her. The 16-year old girl blushed, smiled awkwardly, and shrank down into her seat. Sitting 5 rows behind, I could feel her discomfort as half the room turned to look at her.

 

A few months ago, I spoke at an event for teen leaders. Waiting at the back of the room for the first speaker to finish, I watched and listened as he walked down the aisle to hand out papers for the co-ed group to take home. As the 60ish man spoke and walked, he came to the last row of students, handed a stack of papers to the young woman on the aisle, and exclaimed, “You’re so pretty!”

 

Her reaction hit me like a punch in my gut. She shrunk down in her seat and ducked her head down.

 

“Ick,” I quietly said out loud.

 

A minute later, realizing the back row didn’t get enough papers, the speaker returned, handed the same young woman a few more copies, and commented again to her, “You really are so pretty!”

 

The student cringed down in her chair even further, and her friends all turned and whispered something to her. Anyone could see she was hating this unwelcome attention, especially in front of teenage boys.

 

This time my gut was on fire.

 

It brought me right back to when I was 13 years old and waiting for my mom in the lobby of the bank.  A 30ish man walked up, stopped next to me, told me that I was pretty, and asked me out for a coffee.

 

I felt fear, out of my depth, and immediately worried that I had done something to attract this uncomfortable, dangerous-feeling attention.

 

I said “No!” giggled, and looked down with flushed cheeks at my long-sleeved flannel shirt and knee-length cut-offs as I walked towards my mom, wondering, why did he ask me?

 

My mom didn’t see it happen, and I didn’t tell her. I felt ashamed, somehow.

 

About a year later my 22 year-old brother got into a fist fight with a 20ish guy who came up to us, asked how I was doing and chucked me under the chin telling me I “looked fine.”

 

Male attention felt dangerous and troublesome. The “male gaze” isn’t just locker room talk and cat calling. It’s much more damaging than that.

 

Even though I hadn’t “done anything” I felt like I had done something wrong by getting attention and proceeded to wear bulky, long sweatshirts for most of my teen years. The last thing I wanted was more attention.

 

This kind of unwelcome attention feels like theft. It steals our ability to feel like we own our bodies. Even when no physical damage is done, these kind of comments damage the free expression of our beauty and full expression of ourselves.

 

How can we talk to girls about their bodies and the male gaze?

 

This question, and my anger at myself for not telling that male speaker to be more aware of how he made this young woman feel, has been roiling around in my body and brain for months now.

 

When it comes down to it, we live in a culture where many men feel like they have the right to comment on, touch without permission, and abuse women of every age.

 

I’ve asked friends and readers, and posted the query on Facebook and Instagram.

 

The first thing I’ve realized is we shouldn’t talk TO girls and women about their bodies. We should be talking more WITH them. Sharing. Educating about basic biology, not handing down judgments and approval willy-nilly.

 

Here are some of the comments and insights women have shared with me via social media:

 

Terricole: As a therapist I like the idea of figuring out guidelines as opposed to the ALWAYS or NEVER school of thought since we are all just flawed humans trying to do better. When it comes to weight gain or loss I def say no comment is the way to go. My 22-year-old niece just lost quite a bit of weight and her mother (my sister who is and has always been weight obsessed although she is very fit) kept commenting on how great she looked until my niece lost it and said,”Stop looking at my body with that critical eye. Your compliments make me feel exactly as bad as your not so subtle suggestions of how to lose weight when I didn’t ask you. STOP OBJECTIFYING ME MOM PLEASE! ” And when you think about it the flip side of the complement is a criticism and all of it is judgement. I grew up with 3 beautiful older sisters and my mother rarely commented on our looks at all. So although my weight fluctuated no one commented on it Consequently I felt loved the same pretty much all of the time. With my many nieces I would focus on gratitude for their strong healthy bods because not everyone can run, walk or hike etc. Also focusing on positive behavior(that was so kind of you to …) and good intentions is empowering and shows them what you think is important. Modeling a positive relationship to your own body & figuring out your own stuff from your family of origin will help you not hand down toxic stuff. This is really the greatest gift you can give to all of your kids (and yourself too!) ❤️

grace.freshfoodkcI:  I love conversations about bodies that wrap up the whole person. Talk about how their body shape, size, etc. reflects their life and passions. I love how your freckles show in summer-it makes me think of all of our fun park dates or I love how your strong legs could hike up this trail. If women grew up appreciating their body’s ability and strength, we’d have a lot less stress about the rest.

Heartenhealthy As a mom of 2 daughters I think about this A LOT. My 4 year old will ask when she gets dressed up for something or I’ve just finished doing her hair if she looks beautiful and I tell her that she looks beautiful all the time. I want her to understand that she is just as beautiful when she first wakes up in the morning as she is when she is dressed up or does something to change her appearance. I make sure we focus a lot on talking about what her body is capable of and the importance of who we are inside. We talk a lot about what it means to be unique and I tell her that it means everyone is special in their own different way. I feel like we are fighting an uphill battle with the current standard of beauty that we see in mainstream media. Thanks @deliciousalex for posting this question. Conversations like this are important in order to determine what we can do differently to raise our daughters to be confident and to reject the notion that appearance matters most.

Karenmeiercoach Completely agree with @terricole 👌 – modeling a positive relationship with your body is key. I also think it’s important to discuss the importance and beauty of body diversity – that bodies come in all shapes and sizes! 🙏

 

In short, there are a lot of opinions about how we should talk to and with our girls about their bodies. And that’s just the women.

 

To me, one thing is very clear:

 

By commenting (repeatedly) on a woman’s appearance, we risk making her feel more self-conscious, more uncomfortable, and less seen for her whole self.

We make a woman’s worth all about how she looks and her body becomes a commodity. Something to be owned or used.

She becomes a thing, rather than a person.

 

The anger I felt at that older man commenting on the young woman’s looks boils down to this – he wasn’t engaging with her as a whole person, he was, in a few words, patronizingly giving his approval of her, and drawing a lot of uncomfortable attention to her, by reinforcing a patriarchal (Yes, I said it) norm that pretty women are more worthy and deserving of special treatment.

 

Like my 13 year-old self, many teenaged girls don’t appreciate too much attention. Attention and the male gaze are rife with danger for all women:

 

  1. We are taught to crave attention and approval of our appearance, and yet
  2. If we cross some invisible and ever-moving line of seeking too much attention, we risk being labeled a slut, high and mighty, or worse.

 

Attention feels like a dangerous, can’t-win proposition for women, and it begins with these seemingly innocuous comments.

 

I wish I could go back and pull that man aside, tell him the truth – his comments were more damaging than anything – and ask him to refrain from making approving statements about women’s appearance in the future.

 

I would ask him instead to acknowledge women for their hard work, for their accomplishments, for their strength and resilience.

 

The conversation about women’s bodies must change. And we have to start changing it amongst ourselves.

 

Stop buying and investing in the appearance-based celebrity gossip culture that Jennifer Aniston so eloquently spoke out against. Tell young women how strong they are and how their hard work is noticed and appreciated. Have meaningful conversations with them about what they see on television and in magazines, and even on Instagram. Find out how it makes them feel to see models and movie stars be appreciated only for their looks.

 

Once we allow women to be fully seen, we may finally create a culture of true beauty, one that’s safe for every woman to shine in all of her strength.

 

How can we talk with girls and women about our bodies?

 

First, we should be talking more with each other about our bodies.

Not commenting on each other’s bodies, but sharing our experiences and feelings about growing up female.

 

We should talk about celebrity culture and the impact that social media has on our body image and connectedness.

 

Recently Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers was at her gym when she used Snapchat to broadcast a picture of a middle-aged woman using the shower in the locker room. Mathers captioned her Snap, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

 

Not only was the model and radio host making fun of another woman’s body, she was illegally posting a nude photo of a woman without her permission in a body-shaming way. Mathers’ gym, L.A. Fitness, immediately banned her from ever using any of their outlets again, she was fired from her radio job, and is now under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

 

This is a case of woman-on-woman body shaming gone very wrong, but it happens all the time in more subtle ways. Last year, blogger and runner Kathy Sebright shared a story of how two women commented that she had “put on a lot of weight” at a July 4th parade when they thought she couldn’t hear them. Her invisible story of struggling to help her young son and family manage a horrible illness were not visible to the women; they didn’t see her whole story, only her current shape and weight.

 

Just as the speaker felt it appropriate to comment on the young woman’s beauty, bringing her attention she clearly didn’t want, the female model felt it appropriate to negatively comment about the woman’s body at the gym, bringing her attention she clearly didn’t ask for.

 

How can we end this cycle of shaming and hurting? Is banning and firing the answer? I felt the anger and understood the immediate reaction to ban and fire Dani Mathers after her shameful and illegal Snapchat fiasco.

 

But, is this really going to solve the problem?

 

I believe we need to talk with boys and girls, men and women about what happens when we comment on each other’s appearance. We need to share our experiences with each other and with our children so that they feel entitled to respect their own bodies, and so they respect other people’s bodies just the same.

 

What if instead of firing Dani Mathers, her radio station had assigned her to both record a conversation with the woman she photographed and to interview a new woman every week for the next year about a personal body-shaming incident and how it affected the woman?

 

How can we include men in this evolution?

 

And what about men?

 

As the mom of a 9 year-old boy, I’ve worried and struggled with what to say and how to raise him so that he’s a “good man” that respects and stands up for women as well as himself.

 

We look at the progressive sex education books together, learning about anatomy and the differences between men and women, so that he has real knowledge. We call our body parts by their names: penis, vagina, breasts, and vulva, rather than “down there, willy, or nana’s” so that we aren’t making jokes about the human body rather than being factual and easy about it all.

 

We teach him that his body is his own, and no one may touch him without his permission. The same goes with friends and family: every person is in charge of their own body. You respect theirs, and demand that they respect yours.

 

We don’t force him or even ask him to hug family if he doesn’t want to. Why force kids to do something physically that they don’t want to do?

 

I’ve told him it’s nice to comment positively on someone’s clothing, but not on their body. Not because you don’t like how they look, but because people are very sensitive about their bodies and we want people to feel happy in themselves.

 

We’ve come up with “safe words” so that when any kind of physical play becomes too much for him, he can shout “RED!” and we know it’s time to immediately stop tickling or wrestling.

 

By teaching young men to respect their own bodies, as well as everyone else’s, we can raise the new generations not to fall into the same shameful traps.

 

What should I have said to that 60 year old man?

 

I wish I had pulled him aside, out of view of the students, and told him how his comments actually affected this young woman. I would ask him to not draw attention to young women’s appearance, but instead to comment on their strength and intelligence. And I would beg him NOT to go talk with her about it, even to apologize, because, knowing women’s inclination to shoulder all blame, she would probably end up apologizing to him in the end.

 

But I didn’t. I may always regret that.

 

Instead, I took the stage and taught the group about the wisdom of their bodies. I taught them a practice I wish I had learned at a much younger age, but one that any of us can learn to our advantage:

 

I told them how to feel “YES” and “NO” from their own bodies, and I want to teach you how to do this now too:

 

Sit with your eyes closed and place a hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Take 5 deep, slow, relaxing breaths.

 

Feel and say YES out loud. YES. YES, I want this. YES, this is for me! YES, I know this! YES! YES YES!

 

How did that feel in your body?

 

Now take 5 more deep, slow, relaxing breaths to settle down again.

 

Feel and say NO out loud. NO. NO, I don’t want this. NO, this is not for me. NO, I don’t like that. NO NO NO!

 

How did that feel in your body?

 

I asked how many in the audience could feel a difference between YES and NO in their bodies, and more than half the room raised their hands.

 

This practice, I told them, could be used for choices, small and large, throughout their life. What to eat, what to wear, where to go to college, who to date, how they’re being treated…

 

I shared that, especially for the young women in the room, they were going to need to learn how to tap into this truth in their bodies. Their truth and desires will be squashed again and again by unconscious or uncaring forces in the world.

 

We all need, men and women alike, to practice feeling what our bodies are telling us,  honor and respect ourselves, gather support around us, and continue to speak up for our truth.

 

I don’t have all the answers.

 

But I’m a woman with a fiery interest in helping create a world where every young woman feels like she owns her own body, grows up not fearing her own beauty (and honey, we all glow with a divine inner beauty!), and where all women feel free of shame so they can shine their fire freely.

 

Maybe the best we can do now is share and grow this discussion, talk with each other about how we feel, and share our experiences.

2 Body Myths That Keep You From Feeling Free In Your Body

“I want to feel free.”

You’ve told me this again and again, in podcast questions, comments, conversations…

This desire, this craving, for freedom is very real, very powerful, and very human.

To be free means:

  • not under the control or power of another
  • able to act as one wishes
  • no longer confined or imprisoned
  • released and relaxed

We crave Freedom-

When we women finally feel free in our bodies,

our power, confidence, and abilities grow.

We can move mountains, write manifestos, and create movements.

In short, we can change the world.

But there are 2 old myths that are keeping us from that state of freedom we crave.

And once we see them, question them, they dissolve and we are free from them:

Myth #1: When you “get your body back” you’ll be able to be happy

Myth #2: You lost something valuable when you lost your virginity

These two myths have kept us afraid in and of our bodies, and chained to old ways of thinking, rather than free.

Myth #1:  

There’s no need to “get your body back.” You have a body and never lost it.

You may have had kids, survived physical trauma, grown older and wiser, and so your body has changed, but you never lost your body. She’s still with you.

When you’re in a constant state of body-hate and body-shame, your current body feels your hatred, and feels the stress.  This results in disrupted hormones, lower libido, high cortisol, and lower metabolism.

In short, this myth of a “lost body” is keeping us stuck in our current state, and makes it very hard to heal our biology in order to get back to a place of good energy, balanced hormones, and, well, freedom.

There are ways of living, what I call “heart habits” in my book Women, Food, And Desire, that help you feel into your body, appreciate “her,” and trust her messages (AKA intuition/cravings)…

Nature walks, dancing, yoga, roller skating, or any kind of joyful movement can help you appreciate your body as you move into your next phase of well-being.

Joyful movement is any way of moving that feels fun, loosens up your joints, uses your muscles, raises your heart rate…and fills your soul and heart with appreciation for your body.

This “lost body” myth overlaps with another older, more insidious myth that effects us women in deep ways.

Myth #2: 

The fear of “losing our virginity.”

You may not have thought about this idea for a long time, but remember back to what it was like as a young woman?

I remember in high school when my girlfriends and I were as worried about weight gain as we were about “losing our virginity.”

Who would be first? Who would be last?

Who were the other girls we knew who had already “lost it?”

“Losing your virginity” is an old, yet powerful idea that is keeping us women afraid of our bodies. Again, you didn’t “lose it” – you had sex or made love for the first time.

But we were/are still afraid of the stigma attached to sex, and our desires for it.

Losing your virginity means as little about your value as a person as the number on the scale…

Yet these two things are used by society, friends, family, and our own brains to brand us as “good” or “bad.”

Since sex was so loaded with danger, food became “safe sex.” Food become the safest way to indulge in our need for pleasure, when what we really desire is good clean physical intimacy.

In order for us women to feel ownership, agency, love, and true self-worth,

we must become aware of these myths, notice when they pop up in our relationship with ourselves and other women, and notice how they effect our self-esteem.

It’s not some thing that has to define who you are, it’s just sex.

Or weight.

Or food.

Or pleasure.

When we women finally see sex and food for what they really are, we can appreciate them both for what they are, and not define ourselves by them.

When we stop judging and defining ourselves by our food and our pleasures,

we can truly be free.

3 ways to grow your intuition, heal your gut + listen to your body better

In this final of three parts on how to listen to your body and grow your intuition,

Today’s exercise is a guided meditation I’ve recorded that you can listen to in order to feel what your body is saying on an even deeper level:

Body Love Meditation

I recommend that you set aside 15 minutes to close your eyes in a quiet place, listen to this without interruption, and experience what a loving connection with your body can be like.

For part 2 of this series, the YES/NO exercise, go here:
Yes/No Exercise

Click here to order your special gluten-free certified probiotics
to help you repopulate and heal your gut with the right microflora necessary for intestinal health.

certified gluten-free!

3 steps to trust your body + grow your intuition. Step 2: Yes/No Exercise

When I talk about “listening to your cravings” or “following your desires” you might think I’m a little out there…

…but I truly believe, and have experienced first hand, that when you listen to your body, and follow what you “hear” or feel, you treat yourself better, feel more empowered, aligned, and trust yourself more.Honoring your cravings is akin to listening to your intuition.

These are all messages from your body, your soul, your higher power, whatever you believe in, that are pulling you towards a stronger place in life.So I’ve created this 3 part series to help you focus on how to grow your intuition, as the benefits are the same as listening to your cravings…You will have a stronger connection with, and love for, your body.And your gut is the place to start, as I detailed in part one of this series.

Order your gluten-free probiotics here for gut healing:

Intuition gets stronger with practice, once your gut is healed.
Because the health of your gut plays such a strong part in your ability to hear your body’s intuition,
healing the gut, as I shared yesterday, is the first step in strengthening your intuition.

Gut-level mastery is born from consistent awareness and action taken upon that awareness.
The more you listen to your gut, act based on what you’ve heard, and practice, the stronger your sense of self becomes.

You will free and doubt your body less because you are listening to, and trusting her.

Today’s lesson on how to grow your intuition: Yes/No exercise

download your Intuition E-Guide here: 

grow your intuition

1. Close your eyes and feel what a YES feels like.

Think of your FAVORITE person, place, or memory.
Really envision them, or the moment that you love.

Now ask your body: Is this one of the best people or place in my life?
(this should elicit a YES response from your body)

Now write down what you felt in your body when it “said” YES to you:

Perhaps you feel a warm surge in your tummy, a rush of tingles through your chest, heat in your head,
or shivers down your thighs.

This is one way your body tells you that something is good, or to say YES to something.

2. Close your eyes and feel what a NO feels like.

Think of an injustice in the world, something that you would change if you could.
A moment or event that made you angry or incensed.

Now ask your body: Can I stand for this in the world?
(this should elicit a NO response from your body)

Now write down what you felt in your body when it “said” NO to you.

Maybe you felt a sinking feeling in your gut, a wave of prickles through your chest, heat in your throat,
or pain somewhere.

This is one way your body tells you something is wrong, or how it says NO to something.

As you can see, or maybe you felt this too, your gut is often involved with these Yes/No questions.
Your gut is a part of your intuitive system, and when it is healthy, happy and moving properly,
(as opposed to bloated, constipated, or pained) it will more clearly be your intuitive guide.

Today, I invite you to practice asking YES/NO questions and hearing your body’s response:
will the left-hand elevator come before the right-hand elevator?
Am I going to arrive at the restaurant before my friend?
Do I have time to catch my train even though it looks like I might miss it?

Ask these questions through the day, and notice what your body tells you.
As this may be the first time you’ve narrowed your focus onto your intuition, it might feel clunky at first.
But be assured: the more you ask and listen, the sharper your skills at hearing what your body is telling you becomes.

Be sure to order my favorite gluten-free certified probiotics this week,
to help you repopulate and heal your gut with the right microflora necessary for intestinal health and stronger intuition.

In the comments below, share your YES/No experience and what you discover as you begin to test and listen to your “gut brain!”

3 steps to trust your body + grow your intuition. Step 1: Heal your gut.

“At times you have to leave the city of

Wouldn’t it be great to hear and trust your body all the time? To feel like you’re on the same team?

When we love and trust our bodies, listen to our feelings, instincts, pangs, and whispers…
…both physical, and emotional…
…we get strong.

We shine.

We stop saying yes to things we don’t want, and start taking powerful action in ways that serve
ourselves and the world.

This is a 3-part series on how to trust your body and grow your intuition.

WHY?

I have been asking and listening to what you want…
You want to feel free, peaceful, and strong in (and about) your body.

And this is such a beautiful path into a happy and healthy life:

When you trust your body and follow your intuition, you feel stronger about yourself,
and it’s the first step to reclaiming your body.

Today is Step #1:
Heal Your Gut, So You Can Better Hear What It’s Saying

Your gut (digestion, stomach, intestines) literally feeds your gut feelings and intuition.
Butterflies in your stomach, nervous knots, and a “gut feeling” are all signs from your
“second brain” to tune in and pay attention.

Gut feelings are like cravings: they are just messages we can choose to hear and take powerful action on.

But we don’t.

We have been trained, told, and scolded into NOT paying attention to our guts.
And when we are out of touch with our intuition we become paralyzed.
Making decisions becomes horrible and tedious.
We end up doing endless complicated analysis, factoring in every possible aspect,
and it takes us days to make up our minds.

And even when we do make a choice, we second guess ourselves.
It’s exhausting!

It’s hard to listen to your intuition:
WHY?
1. The current medical establishment has told you your concerns are wrong, you worry too much, and we women are woefully undereducated about our bodies
2. Society tells us we are “too emotional” “worry too much” and just too ____. That means we stop listening to our bodies and intuition shuts down.
3. Our health gets compromised with low energy, gut health impairment, hormonal upset, and a poor diet of inflammatory foods which leave us:
– in constant pain + discomfort…and unable to hear our intuition/gut
– bloated, constipated, and carrying the “spare tire” of stress fat that makes us hate our bodies…and unable to hear our body and intuition/gut.

So this week, I’ll focus three emails (and Friday’s podcast) on how to listen to your body, and strengthen and grow your intuition.

Today is Step #1:
Heal your gut.

Your gut-brain is your intuitive brain and emotional brain, and contains almost as many neurotransmitters as your head-brain.
Your gut is responsible for most of the serotonin production in your body, a neurotransmitter important to balanced mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning.

If you have a history of gut troubles like IBS, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, pain, or food sensitivities, healing your gut is important for your health and strengthening your intuition.

  1. Stop eating the Toxic 6 for 1 week: corn, soy, gluten, dairy, sugar, and caffeine

    1. These foods are highly inflammatory and impair digestion, and cause leaky gut syndrome in many people.
    2. When you remove these foods the inflamed tissues can repair and digestion can return to normal.
  2. Start taking twice daily doses of probiotics (make sure your probiotics are gluten-free!! Try my favorite here: http://alexandrajamieson.com/probiotic-cleanse/) to repopulate the gut with healing and calming microflora

    1. A major story on supplements in the NYTimes uncovered hidden gluten contamination in more than 1/2 of all probiotics!
    2. Gluten is one of the top gut killers, so it’s important to remove it completely in order to heal your GI tract as you strengthen your intuitive practices.

certified gluten-free!

Here is a quote on why we should trust our intuition more, from one of my favorite actors of all time:

“At times you have to leave the city of

Healing your gut is the first step to a stronger intuition, not to mention better moods, and a happier tummy.

The next step will help you begin to hear your gut and intuition more, with a special guided meditation.

For today, eat toxic-free foods, and order your probiotics!

xo,
Alex

What You Need to Know Right Now About Loving Your Body

She was struggling…

with food,

with nutrition,

with body image issues,

with what steps to take next in her life…

After 7 years as an elementary school teacher, a breakup, and a major move across the country, Lyndsi felt lost.

  She's just getting started...

 A good friend told her about my work, and we had a Skype chat…

“It was really powerful…and I’d never worked with a coach before.”

She hadn’t tried this.

She’s tried almost everything else…

books, retreats, weight watchers, extreme diets, and more.

Then we started meeting on Skype for 4 months…

I coached her through the emotions of worthiness, confidence, confrontation, and career dreams.

WATCH LYNDSI’S STORY UNFOLD HERE:

NOW:

She’s not eating when she’s not hungry anymore.

She’s present, more peaceful in her thoughts, and more confident in her body.

She’s LOVING her body more!

And the super cool, exciting thing?

She’s taking major steps to create the future and career that she has dreamed of.

A center for women to heal their bodies and relationship with food.

Lyndsi is truly being the change she wishes to see in the world.

She’s taking major steps to create the future and career that she has dreamed of.

A center for women to heal their bodies and relationship with food. Lyndsi is truly being the change she wants to see in he world.

“I’ve had wonderful coaching and community to help me take those steps forward.”

For the first time, the vision of her life and career feel possible, exciting, and joyful. Lyndsi found the support, direction, and inspiration she needed to take her next step…

xo,

Alex

P.S. Applications for the Vitality Mentorship, a 4-month group and private coaching program with me, are open: have you looked at the program yet? Have you filled out your application? Why not? I am curious – just email me at alex@alexandrajamieson.com with any questions…or fill out your application here by June 6th so we can see if this is the right next step for you! 

9 ways to get out of your comfort food zone

9 ways to

We all have ideas of what we wish to become.

9 ways to

I was with my son, on our way to the park so he could try out his new skateboard. “Are you ready to go down the ramp?” I asked.
Wonder Boy looked up at me and said, “I don’t want to…I’m scared.”

I didn’t miss a beat, looked into his eyes, and replied,
“It’s ok to be scared, but it’s important to try it anyway.”

It’s a powerful message.
“Trying it anyway” is at the heart of a fully lived life.

It’s what I tell my clients when they know they need to ditch sugar and gluten.

It’s what I tell my clients when they need to have a big talk with their partner or boss…
or finally start dating.

It’s what I tell myself before taking on a new big idea for my work.
(podcast? a book about cravings? interviewing experts on masturbation??)

Without anyone else encouraging us to try new things,
we tend to dig ourselves deeper into our comfort zones.

Busy schedules, long-held habits, and old mindsets can lead us to shut off our hearts and minds and just coast on autopilot.

We keep using the same old comfort foods to help us handle stress, which keeps the extra weight on, and keeps our energy depressed.

A part of us knows that those old comfort foods will keep us in the stuck spot where we are, so that we won’t have to step into that uncertain next step.

We let the fear keep us from moving forward and just let life take us where it wants.

Our comfort food zone, hiding in the foods that exhaust us and make us feel heavy, keeps us from even trying to make the changes we dream about: dating, asking for the raise, changing careers, and more. Much more.

Is it too late to change?
That’s the great news; It’s never, ever too late to “try it anyway.”

But we get stuck in “fixed mindset.”

Positive Psychology shows us that we can have choose one of two mindsets: Fixed or Growth.

“Fixed” mindset is when you think you can’t change, you can’t learn anything new, you avoid challenges, when you see other people succeed it brings up jealousy, and you want to be told you’re smart.

I believe you can develop a growth mindset, and all it takes is knowing there is a new way to think, and to start watching your thoughts more closely!

Growth mindset says you can learn new things and change:

Growth mindset is open to asking for help, says “I don’t know how to do this…YET,” believes that you can learn something new, enjoys watching other people succeed, and wants to be acknowledged for working hard.

I try to show my kid when I’m trying something new, share any doubts, and share when I don’t reach the goal. I show him the process of what it means to try.
The wins and the losses.

Our culture is too danged focused on WINNING – that being 100% perfect, #1, and the BEST, is the only acceptable option.

B.S!

Moving out of your comfort zone requires us to break free from the past and old ways of perfection thinking, and push ourselves to do something we wouldn’t normally try.

But here’s the secret magic lurking just behind the fear:
often, the simple act of just trying something new can help you move out of your comfort zone.

Here are 9 simple ways to move out of your comfort zone:

9 ways
• take a cooking class
• take an art class
• volunteer for a local organization for 1 day
• take a new route to work
• say ‘Hi’ to someone new in your neighborhood or at work
• plan a trip to a new part of your city, or a place where people speak a difference language
• visit a new place of worship
• take a hike to a new park
• take the first step towards making one of your dreams a reality

Does it still feel too overwhelming? Here are some additional pointers:
• do some research on the first 2 steps needed to make one new thing happen – then act
• ask someone who has done the new thing you’re interested in about why they like it
• take a friend with you when you try a new activity or go some place new
• stop thinking of yourself as “fragile” – you are beautiful, but not a delicate flower
• call to mind a time when you did something new that was fun
• depend on yourself for your happiness, instead of others

And even if your attempt doesn’t work out the way you thought it might, it can still lead to growth and positive results. The most successful people on earth went through major failures before they became successful.

The more new things you try, the more you step out of your comfort zone, the less you’ll need  food to make you happy. The less depressed you’ll feel. The more energy you’ll have.
The more LIFE you’ll have!

What I am asking you to do is simple: do just one thing differently this week.

Your life is waiting for you, just outside your comfort food zone.

Ready to work with an experienced coach to help you

get out of your comfort zone and utterly transform your body + life?

CLICK HERE TO APPLY by June 6th for the Vitality Mentorship with Alex: 

3 Confidence Boosters That Will Make You Blush

3 confidence boosters

I still feel like that 12-year old girl in the back brace.

3 confidence boosters

Diagnosed with pretty major scoliosis, a curved spine,
I was given a hard plastic brace that added 1-inch to my girth, and
went around my body from below my hips up to my armpits.

For 23 hours a day, for 2 years, I wore the uncomfortable,
sweaty, bulky brace. It bit into my ribs, and rubbed red marks
into my hips.

Worse than the physical pain, I couldn’t wear any form-fitting clothes,
and had to wear bulky t-shirts and pants with elastic waist bands that
would fit over the brace.

That brace helped straighten my spine, but it made me extremely self-conscious
and chipped away at my self-confidence between the ages of 12 and 14.

It has taken years to recognize the impact of those years on my confidence,
and years of inner work to heal my relationship with my body.

From deformity to healed, from wrong and embarrassing to lovable.

Confidence. No matter what your story, we women have an especially shaky relationship with it,
and that has a huge impact on our lives and health…

our ability to ask for what we need…
our ability to speak our minds…
our power to change as we grow…
our mastery of life and skills…
our ability to reclaim our bodies as perfect, strong, and worthy of love.

How can we grow our confidence in ways that are truly empowering?
How can we have fun with something that feels so serious?

Why do I care about women’s confidence?

I started to read the applications for my Vitality Mentorship program,
and almost every woman wrote about her painful relationship with her body, food, and confidence.

And I saw that it effects everything we do, everything about our lives, what we are willing to sacrifice for…

…how we take care of ourselves,
…how we show up and share our gifts with the world,
…how long we are willing to put up with people and circumstances
that hurt us or keep us returning to comfort foods to try to manage the stress.

Confidence is like a secret nutrient of our well-being.

I’ve been consciously healing my own confidence since my early 20’s,
when I began to sense the impact of that back brace on my ability to reclaim my body as my own.

In my own way, I’ve discovered 3 easy, fun ways to begin to grow my own confidence, and I want to share them with you.

And they might make you blush!

Because in order to boost our confidence from within, have to admit our greatness, be willing to try and fail in full view of others, and claim our right to pleasure and fun!

These 3 methods have helped me see my impact on the world,
my ability to feel good no matter what weight or state my body is in,
and to have fun in my body again, which is my foundation of emotional confidence:

3 Confidence

1. PLAY:

Hula hoop, roller skates, kite flying, biking, anything that involves moving my body
in a non-competitive, skillful way, brings me confidence.

When you playfully move in your body, your state changes, your hormones reach a peak of metabolic perfection, and the benefits of moving with joy bring your body into alignment so that you can drop weight (and inflammation) with less effort…

and begin to love moving in your body more.

From dancing along with Beyonce’s backup dancers in a concert video (badly) to
strapping on my hot pink roller skates and trying to finally learn how to turn right, over and over again…
when you play to learn some new physical skill, you build a new pathway of communication and love
with your body.

This weekend I finally figured out how to roller skate and turn right – and it was glorious!

Now, it took 3 or 4 trips to the local basketball courts, countless stumbles, and hearing my
own kid giggle when I flailed wildly while trying to learn…

But finally learning something new in my body, mastering a new physical skill, reminded
me of all the things that I’ve already learned in this life.

My invitation to you:

Pick your play! What sounds fun to you?
Finally learning to throw a frisbee with bullseye accuracy?
Hula hooping in your back yard?
Trying that new dance move you saw on YouTube?
1 minute a day to practice handstands against a wall? Summer salts?

Get out and play and have fun in your body – and dance like nobody’s watching.

2. PLEASURE TIME:

If you’ve been listening to my Crave Cast podcast this month, you’ve heard my interviews
with the groundbreaking sexual health experts to bring attention to the healing powers
of “self-pleasure” or masturbation.

“Solo play,” another name for masturbation, is a highly effective way for women to balance our hormones,
release pent up stress, increase fertility, and as important…
a way for us to find out how much good we are capable of.

Sex is a part of life, but for many of us, it’s an emotional, tense, uncomfortable part of life.
I believe as we get in touch with our body’s ability to feel pleasure through solo-play, we:

– are more confident in asking for what we want, in the bedroom and out in the world
– feel more capable of getting back into the dating scene or reconnecting with our partner
– draw better boundaries for our bodies and our energy

My invitation to you:

Schedule space in your life for solo play at least once a week.
Choose a new toy or simply use your hand and some organic coconut oil.
Light a candle, take a bath, and enjoy your own playground, your body.

If you’re looking for expert advice on how to embark on a solo play ritual, check out the last four episodes of my Crave Cast:

3. THE  NEW GRATITUDE RITUAL:

Gratitude journals are nothing new – you’ve probably written down 3 things you’re grateful for
and felt pretty good about it.

But new science from the world of Positive Psychology shows us that there is a more powerful,
more beneficial way to honor what you’re grateful for.

In fact, this new way is much more empowering, and will build your confidence in short order:

My invitation to you:

Today, as a new, more powerful ritual, write down 5 things in your life that you’re grateful for –
and the role you had in making those things happen.

It’s not just about receiving good things, and having a positive periscope on the world…
…it’s about taking ownership of your impact on the world.

You need to remind yourself that you HAVE taken action that yielded positive results – and when you do it again, again and again, you will naturally grow your confidence.

Now I want to hear from you in the comments below –

How does your confidence effect your body and health?

Which of these 3 ideas will you play with this week?

Sometimes we need to borrow confidence. Getting into a community of curious change-seekers, who can offer you support in those moments when your own confidence is low, is the best way I know how to make lasting improvements to your body and life.

Applications are now available for my 4-month Vitality Mentorship program:
go here to apply by June 6th!

xo,
Alex

3 myths about how to change your body that must die

3 myths

3 myths

I was one of those people who struggled and failed to change my life

and eating habits for many years.

 

Even thought I had written three books on vegan cooking, was helping

people heal their own bodies and change their lives, I was in a yo-yo

cycle with sugar. And totally. stressed. out. 

 

Even though I was expected to know a lot about it, I still felt addicted to

sugar and couldn’t break free of the daily cravings. It was ruining my

health (repeated candida attacks) and my life (no focus, no energy)…

sound familiar?

 

When I finally discovered the answer to transforming my life-long addiction,

I was so surprised to see that I had been following three rules that were actually keeping

me stuck.

 

And these three rules are e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. They are so ingrained in our collective

culture that we don’t see them. Like fish who swim in water, we just live in it, not

questioning the reality of what is all around us.

 

What if we could see the false ideas around us and use new tools to help us create lasting change in our habits, eating, and thoughts?

 

That’s what I want to share with you today.

 

Because once you get that these three myths are really harming you, keeping

you stuck in your body and life goals, and totally not necessary, you can finally break free of your food and thought habits for good.

 

And get the body, energy, and life that you really desire.

 

After I share these three myths, and what you can do to dissolve them,

you’re going to have the chance to apply these new rules for change in

a powerful way, with my personal guidance.

 

 

The 3 Myths About How To Change Your Body That Must Die:

 

  1. Once you know what you should do, you’ll do it. AKA: Facts Don’t = Change.

 

It’s not enough to know you should change, or even what the next few steps are that you could take. If knowing was enough, we would all be eating, living, and creating in much different ways, right?

 

I’ll bet you know at least 3 things you “should” be doing differently right now that would have a big impact on your health and life. You’re not alone:

 

90% of people who have coronary-artery bypass surgery have not changed their eating habits or lifestyle 2 years after, even though they know their life depends on it. These folks are told by doctors that they must change their diet and lifestyle if they want to live a healthy, happy life. But they don’t do it. And they know the facts.

 

What does work, if knowing the facts don’t? Community.

 

Too often, like my client Susan, we try to make big diet and lifestyle changes alone. But we don’t live in a bubble – we are all part of a family, community,  or tribe that can either support us or sabotage us. Most of us try to make changes alone, or are surrounded by people who don’t know how to show up for us in a meaningful way.

 

What does work is getting into a community that supports and inspires you to keep making powerful changes, every day.

 

This means forming a strong, emotional relationship with a person and a group of peers that inspires a sense of hope and belief that things can be different.

 

If you wanted to learn to paint, or take up archery, or learn to speak Spanish, you would want a teacher, a mentor, a coach, and a team to help you through it. When you have a coach or mentor and an accountability group who believes in you, you start taking consistent action that gets you where you want to go.

 

  1. Fear + Comparison Are Killers: Ritual Is Key

 

I see too much ‘fear based marketing’ out there, especially when it comes to the health and weight loss world. Some diet coaches, programs and books just try to really SCARE people in the hope that it will motivate us to change.

 

Fear has the opposite effect, especially for most women who are already over-stressed: we turn to food to calm us down, leading to a bigger problem than before.

 

Fear can also show up as comparison, which is rampant in our culture.

We are “creatures of comparison” and naturally weigh ourselves on the scales of “am I as good as her?”

 

This is our fear-based ego showing up, trying to save us from making a mistake. But it really has the effect of keeping us stuck from playing full out, going for what we want, and stepping into any stage where we might be recognized for our true value.

 

The cure for fear and comparison? The consistent action of daily rituals.

 

Change in our lives happens as a result of dozens and dozens of small things that we need to actually learn by doing and doing it again and again. Ritualizing self-care, self-love, bold action, loving thoughts, and eating for your aliveness – these are how we overcome fear.

 

I’d rather focus on “what’s RIGHT with you” and your strengths, than digging deep into your past traumas and hurts. Consistent, loving commitment to strengths, and rituals that make you come alive, are the powerful instigators that help my clients like Ellie create lasting, transformative change.

 

Ritual is infused throughout spiritual traditions as a way to help us manage hard times, connect in a healing way, and remember our true desires in life.

 

Profound change can happen even in the toughest situations. But it requires consistency in building new skills and rituals of the heart.

 

  1. “Just Work Harder!” Willpower Ain’t Enough, Time To Think Different

 

Working harder on the wrong things is crazy-making! We’ve all tried the low-calorie, low-fat, low-flavor foods that didn’t satisfy us long enough to finally heal our bodies.

 

You can’t just use up your limited amount of willpower every day to try and get through the stresses of life.

 

It’s time to think differently about food, get clear on what your big motivating desires truly are, and share your stories about how you got where you are.

 

All this helps to vision and create a new reality that can only come from new thinking.

 

My most successful clients like Ivana are willing to share their deepest true selves so that I can help them see the impact those old beliefs have on their life now.

 

Trying to muscle through calorie counting and a week-long juice cleanse does not heal the fact that your mother obsessed about your weight or that you have a serious food intolerance.

 

You can change your own life, and using new neuroscience, positive psychology, and functional nutrition, you can grow your resilience and skills for change in a truly powerful way. 

 

The 3 keys to true and lasting change are: community, consistency, and thinking different. New hope, new skills, and new thinking.

 

These tools are available to you now, and I invite you to dive deeper into this work today.

 

Today I am opening registration for my brand new Vitality Program, which offers personal coaching from me for four months, group support from women just like you, Susan, Ellie, and Ivana, and much, much more.

 

Click here to discover more about this opportunity and to apply: 

xo,

Alex

 

P.S. If you have any trouble with the application, please connect with my Community Manager Jan – we’d rather you reach out to us than fight technology alone! jan@alexandrajamieson.com

 

Is self-love the missing ingredient in your weight loss plan? 5 Reasons To Masturbate

If you’ve tried every diet, cleanse, detox, and fast, and you’re still having trouble feeling good in your body, it’s time to really get serious:

It’s time to add self-pleasure (AKA masturbation) to your gym + juicing schedule.

Well, not JUST masturbation, but anything that brings you sincere physical pleasure that also balances your hormones. And arousal and orgasm are most easily achieved through masturbation, especially if you’re single, or in a sexless relationship.
5 reasons masturbation is a MUST for balancing hormones (and dropping a few pounds):

1. According to the 2009 University of Michigan study[i], orgasm help the body release oxytocin, the “love + bonding” hormone, which in turn lowers cortisol,
the main stress hormone chronically elevated in many women (like me!) and lead to stress eating, and weight loss resistance.

2. Higher levels of oxytocin makes us happy, which keeps those emotionally-triggered food cravings for sugars, cheese, and other “happy foods” at bay. This surge also raises levels of a substance called CCK, which helps control your appetite. Just start! Even if you’re not an expert, your own digits are ready to help you begin at home. Oxytocin levels are usually increased simply through the physical stimulation of the clitoris, vagina, cervix, and breasts. So even if you don’t reach climax, you’ll still be releasing these powerful neurotransmitters. Women who enjoy more sexual stimulation have more balanced estrogen and testosterone. These hormones add fire to sexual desire,  improve mood and memory and can even help prevent abdominal fat.

3. In my book, Women, Food, And Desire, I tell the story of a client who wasn’t dating, and wasn’t masturbating. She had also been suffering tummy trouble for years, and worked a very stressful job. Bloating, gas, and the dreaded “muffin top” that wouldn’t budge. I took her to Babeland, a clean, well-lit place for sex toys, and we talked with a knowledgeable staff member who helped her pick out her first non-toxic vibrator. After a couple of weeks of self-exploration, she noticed a major difference in her digestion! And she certainly had a nice spring in her step!

4. Daydream, girl! Another study[ii] reveals that sexy daydreams release testosterone in women – which means, when you read erotic fiction, or watch any kind of porn that excites you, your body will begin anticipating encounter, which naturally raises your libido. Babeland.com has some great options for the desire seeker.

5. Orgasms help us sleep, which may be the best reason of all to masturbate. Oxytocin, that wonderful love drug, creates an overall feeling of relaxation and even sleepiness. Vasopressin and melatonin, two other neurotransmitters associated with sleep, are also released during orgasm.

Masturbation happens in most relationships, so if you’re not talking about it with your partner, bring it up. Share this information with them!

If you’re single, and not masturbating regularly, start including self-pleasure in  your life, consistently.

The psychological and emotional benefits are so helpful for what ails us:

Wouldn’t it be nice to feel relaxed, satisfied, and good without needing a cupcake?

For more great insights on the benefits, myths, and latest science around masturbation, check out the latest Crave Cast podcast episodes!

I’ll be interviewing some of the top experts on female desire, sexual health and more!

Go here to subscribe to the Crave Cast: 

Happy May!

xo,

Alex

 

[i] J Sex Med. 2009 Mar;6(3):739-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01123.x. Epub 2008 Dec 5.

[ii] Horm Behav. 2011 May;59(5):754-64. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.12.005. Epub 2010 Dec 24.

 

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