How often do you feel pressure to rise to the occasion of unrealistic expectations of a beauty standard imposed upon women since the beginning of time? What about the anxiety you feel just thinking about walking into the gym only to be met by the scrutiny and judgment of the other women there? Imagine what Eve must have felt like when she put those fig leaves on? Up to that point she probably thought she was fine running around Eden naked and wild and hairy and free just bouncing, because however it was that she was…SHE WAS GOOD! But then she perceived something was wrong and BOOM! That’s when it all jumped off. Thanks Eve, we’ve been working to get this right ever since! Since that time cultural bias, other people’s opinions, and our own insecurities have heavily influenced women to fit into a physical mold that was not necessarily cut for them. Culturally, beauty standards run the gamut depending upon the time in history and what people’s taste at that time. The flavor of the moment runs the gamut from blonde hair, blue eyes, wasp waists, thin bodied, thin lipped, tight little bottomed women with big breast to thick bodied women with hairy legs, small breast, big hips, full lips, and round bouncing bottoms. Additionally, women perpetuate this drama by doing anything and everything in their power to mold their bodies to meet these standards. We simply demand our bodies to deliver unrealistic results that individually we may not have even been designed for.
We all in some way publicly or privately seek to enhance our beauty through clothes, makeup, hairstyles, cosmetic surgery, exercise, diet and more. However, if low self image and low esteem are the driving forces these enhancements can go awry, be futile, and costly. Issues then arise as we move from adorning and enhancing to altering and mutilating. An unhealthy self image along with feeling pressured to meet a perceived beauty standard can create an insatiable desire for acceptance and approval. Therein begins the process some women take to tweak and sometimes recreate themselves in order to feel wanted and beautiful. Taken to the extreme, they no longer look refreshed or real, but rather prefabricated and remodeled. It’s easy to understand how women fall prey to this cycle. We are constantly bombarded by images of unrealistic physical attributes that have tricked our minds eye into believing we are inadequate. But when your self esteem is intact and you are comfortable in your own skin, you can adorn and enhance absent of a need to destroy and recreate! I think it’s really cool and important for women to do all of the things that make them feel even more of who they are. When we do things to ourselves based on someone else’s perception of how we should be then we are lost, unable to feel free.
What I propose is this: that we learn to accept and celebrate our beauty for its unique imperfect brand of perfection that it was created to be. We need freedom from people’s opinions. There is confidence in freedom, and confidence is sexy! The attraction is to the confidence that is swaying your hips, not just to the circumference of your hips! Yet traditionally we have been motivated by the dysfunctional opinion of others. Interestingly, we are now living in a time where across cultures it appears men desire women to look the same. Clones if you will: long hair, big behinds, big breast, full lips, tiny waists. Bring me that girl with a big ole butt! It’s time for a revolution! It’s time for women to take charge of their self esteem, affirm and compliment themselves and each other. Regroup and release the notion that you are not good enough in the skin that you are in. Regroup and release the notion that we have to compete against each other, and unrealistic relentless images and ad campaigns, plus beauty standards that are not conducive to expressing the real you. Unapologetically proclaim your beauty and unique qualities! Only with a healthy attitude and healthy self esteem can changes and enhancements be made to your body through clothes, makeup, hairstyles, exercise, diet, cosmetic surgery and more that will leave you feeling refreshed and confident. Accept, embrace, and edify what you have and who you are. Love, maintain, enhance, and promote yourself and your unique brand of beauty! Encourage and empower other sisters along the way and fully become who you came to earth to be! Hug yourselves, love yourselves, and let’s talk soon.
Why do women find it so hard to make time for themselves? It could be the images we are fed from birth that we are caregivers. Do you feel guilty when you close the bathroom door for the sake of privacy while your toddler screams to the top of their lungs? Perhaps a lack of confidence has caused a pattern of people pleasing. Whatever the culprit it’s high time we take care of ourselves! Think of it as though we are on the plane and the flight attendant gives us the life saving instructions to take the oxygen mask and cover our own face first before helping the person next to us. It is the same thing in real life; we need to put the oxygen on first! Making your needs the last stop on the list does not make you selfless nor does making yourself priority make you self-centered. Ignoring your appearance and your mental, emotional, and spiritual health while putting other’s first does not make you a selfless or virtuous woman. It will, however, make you unhealthy, unhappy, and unattractive.
So what is a woman to do? I’m glad you asked! Make yourself your first priority, after God of course. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror and then take a good look at your calendar and make a date for yourself. Proclaim that day “Selfish Day!” Yes, for most of you that didn’t even feel right reading it! Say it out loud several times in front of that mirror, “I am taking care of me on ‘Selfish Day’!” That’s right; this will take some practice. If you think your panties are in a bunch wait until everyone that is accustomed to your neglecting yourself reacts! Now it’s time to prioritize and set boundaries. It is time to bring balance and harmony to your life. Try the following activities:
Respect yourself. Self sacrifice is self destructing behavior. We teach people how to treat us. When people realize that you will sacrifice your health, happiness, and well being for their approval by placing their needs ahead of your own they view you as a target, a victim. When you understand your worth and begin to respect yourself, your time, and your health then people will know to respect you.
Update your doctor’s appointments. Tie up all loose ends! It is impossible to enjoy “Selfish Day” until you do so. Call all of your doctor’s and schedule an appointment, don’t forget your mammogram, Pap smear, and Flu shot and to schedule again for next year.
Begin or update your fitness routine and start eating clean. Consult with your doctor before you begin any new exercise regimen or diet.
Plan “Selfish Day”. Pick a date and take yourself on a date. Make that date annual! Plan to begin the day in peace with prayer, meditation, and affirmations. Select an activity that will bring you joy and leave you feeling refreshed and purposed. Starting a year ago today, I found immense joy daily, working out with Fit Like Me Divas from 7pm-8pm. It is my selfish time!
Enjoy “Selfish Day”! It has arrived and you deserve it! Delight in the solitude and enjoy your own company. You have a new outlook and it is time to celebrate!
Hug yourselves, love yourselves and talk to me soon!
Sisterhood is a beautiful thing y’all! Whether acquired through birthright, adoption, young pals making a pact, or a century old sacred ceremony, sisterhood is a beautiful thing! It is not only beautiful but necessary as we make lifestyle changes toward physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthier choices and decisions. It is necessary to develop bonds with other sisters that share our interest, outlook, style, and energy….or not! Maybe we are opposite in every way but ohhh so complementary together! You know how we like to shop, dress each other up, hook each other, and party?! Or, get serious and organize a march, contemplate important causes, serve our communities, and mentor younger sisters! Maybe it’s to celebrate a graduation, a marriage, a baby, a book, or new business! We love to collaborate, set, tackle, and accomplish goals like going back to school, losing those last ten pounds, or learning to ride a motorcycle! Then perhaps a sister is at her best when she prays, comforts, strengthens, and encourages another sister by holding her hand as she comes out of the closet, buries a child, divorces her spouse, or hears the dreaded diagnosis, or yes, even as her head presses the dying pillow. Because that’s real life and we need each other’s support to make it through.
As my parents only daughter I relish in the memories of my pretty girl cousin’s and their sisters! How we walked to school together, grew up in and out of each other’s homes, celebrated each other’s successes, and mourned one another’s losses. I marveled at their relationships: the chatter, the secrets, the laughter, the sharing, the caring, and the sensitivity! I envied their indelible bonds and longed for that closeness. It’s my honor to hold in the highest regard my relationships with my sister cousins and my sister friends. Each bond is a blessing that enriches and nourishes my life and I easily reciprocate. Navigating the sea of sisterly relationships is sometimes choppy and adventurous, yet; finding true emotional, spiritual, soulful connections is priceless. As we realize we aren’t really how we are often portrayed, we can drop our guard and know that when I shine, you shine, just like that! My shining illuminates you; it does not leave you in the shade! We are all ultimately looking for the same connection with another sister that mirrors respect, dignity, and loyalty. An affirmation that we are accepted, loved, and supported. Just what we needed, sisterhood, a beautiful thing!
What is New Year’s without a resolution? It’s like the 4th of July without the fireworks! But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. Annually, hundreds of thousands of people start the New Year feeling renewed, refreshed, filled with newfound sense of purpose. New Year’s energy often ushers in exhilarating thoughts of possibilities and potential. Feeling energized and exhilarated at the stroke of midnight right along with the New Year, the promises start ringing in! People find themselves determined to find a better job, drop that zero and find true love, tame those wild two year olds, achieve spiritual Zen, have multiple orgasms, and lose weight all at the same time! While many individuals making New Year's resolutions are confident of success, in reality how many actually achieve their goal? How can we up the ante and stick with our commitment? We believe achieving a goal is really driven by where you focus your attention.
That’s where Fit Like Me Divas (FLMD) comes in! Welcome to the New Year and our new Blog where we focus our attention on shaking the fat and confusing the muscles! We are here to support your lifestyle changes and weight management goals. Currently, we are taking that new found New Year’s energy and shaping our bodies, getting into the best shape of our lives! Our well rounded approach to weight management supports all your other New Year’s goals mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When you take care of your body, it takes care of you. Nevina “Nevie” Gray, W.I.T.S. certified personal trainer and founder of FLMD has boundless energy not just on New Year’s but on every day and leads by example. The Fit Like Me Divas studio is located at 2146 Priest Bridge Court, Suite #5, Crofton, MD 21114. Nevie’s goal is to support women in attaining healthier lifestyles globally. That support can be found here where we will post mini workout videos, challenges, menu suggestions, answers to your questions, as well as dialogue with you.
Take those New Year’s Resolutions and resolve yourself to living a healthier lifestyle supported by information found on FLMD Interactive Blog. It’s not too late to channel that new found New Year’s energy into the journey of your lifetime! Come on, what are you waiting for? Shake the fat and the guilt of unfulfilled New Year’s promises, make a commitment and begin your journey with our support today! Hug yourselves, love yourselves, and let's talk soon!