Five Posts to Transform your Self-Image, Health and Relationships

I invite you to join me on this new and exciting journey!

Over the next five posts and over the next year of Instagram posts I am going to share some of my favorite tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, keeping a positive self-image and creating the healthiest diet for your body type and temperament. These tips are important for children as well as adults. A healthy self-image and lifestyle can impact your productivity, mood, relationships, ability to learn more information and even your ability to combat challenges that come your way (health or other challenges).

These five articles will form the core of the project and will give you insight into the who, what, why, where and when of this journey. Daily inspirations will be shared via Instagram and will be labelled “BEarth Institute Tip #”. Furthermore, these daily tidbits will be distributed by newsletter. So if you want to know more about this project enjoy these articles first – then follow me on Instagram for weekly insights on well-being, balance, temperament insights, recipes, my favorite healthy “life hacks” and much more.

So why did I call this article, “Five Posts to Transform your Self-Image, Health and Relationships?”

Because I know that some of you that read our blog are more focused on early childhood education. So I am just letting you know that we are not changing the focus of the blog. I am simply going to post five core articles about healthy living as part of our holistic approach at The BEarth Institute and The Avicenna Institute. Once this series is finished our blog will go back to publishing a variety of health-related, childhood education-related and other familiar articles. However, you will always be able to refer back to this series if you need to.

During this blog series and after you can continue following this journey for daily inspiration at Instagram thebearthinstitutedotcom. Instead of regularly blogging about this journey I will be sharing daily tips and photos at the Instagram location.

During this series I will be answering:

  1. WHO – Who am I and what has my journey been like so far from age 0 to 49? Who can embark on this journey with me?
  2. WHAT – What am I doing now? What exactly is this new series all about? What can you do to improve health, self-image and relationships?
  3. WHY – Why am I creating this series now? Why am I inviting you to join me?
  4. WHEN – When did I start this journey and when will it end? When is the best time for you to start?
  5. HOW – How can you use this information to improve health, self-image, and relationships for yourself and your family?

Let’s start with WHAT.

What is this journey all about?

Over the past 31 years I’ve run companies that focus on natural living, education and well-being. However, along the way I have not shared a lot about my own journey. Part of this was because when I first ventured into this world social media was non-existent. Can you even imagine a time without Facebook and Instagram? When I first started my journey I had to send snail mail to friends and family if I wanted to communicate with them and there were no websites, blogs and social media sites. When I started my first company I had to fly to New York just to show photos to a potential client! There was no other way to show them!

As the years progressed I embraced social media and the growing Internet – after all it solved so many problems I had been seeking solutions too – how does a world traveller with many interests stay in touch with all their friends without spending hours each day at a desk with pen, paper and stationary?

However, there was always one aspect of social media I never quite fully embraced – the “personal documentary”.

One type of “personal documentary” is the “Life-style Guru”. I see many women who run healthy-lifestyle companies like The BEarth Institute sharing daily photos of their own life and suggesting that if people to live like them they will be healthier. In many cases this can be true. However, The BEarth Institute has always been about finding what impacts your well-being personally – not mine – so I never felt like I wanted to influence people by sharing my unique journey.

Another type of “personal documentary” I have seen in social media is the “Before and After Transformation Journey”. This can be very powerful for some people – especially when done to share with friends and family. I have really been inspired and felt so proud of my friends that are sharing these kinds of posts.

However, I have always felt a bit uncomfortable with those posts for myself since I am representing The BEarth Institute and not just sharing with friends and family. I feel like so many of them focus on the destination and not the joy and the “beauty in the now” of the actual journey itself. I look at many of the “before” pictures people post and I think, “you are gorgeous, unique and wonderful – why are you posting this picture as if it is a negative thing?” I have helped many clients and students in their transformational journeys over the past 30 years but I still have not felt like that style of social media post suited me or the company either.

Finally, I always felt like I didn’t have enough information to share. I am a scientist at heart so I always felt I was “lacking data”. When I lost weight twice before in my life I felt like “well this is all new to me – so why would I want to share my clumsy learning process with others?” As I made healthy lifestyle changes at age 20, 30 and even again at age 40 I thought “I hope this works” and not “I am sure this is going to work so let’s share”.

I’ve wanted to feel like what I was sharing had some significant data to back it up.

After almost 50 years of life, raising three healthy kids, living a healthy life for decades, dieting successfully twice before and running a few successful businesses, I finally feel like I might have enough data to support this new blog and Instagram project 😉

What really inspired me to start this, however was a new trend in social media I have noticed and this one has made me stop and say, “Something needs to be done!”

There has been a lot of progress made in embracing diversity in fashion and advertising (no matter who you are fashion and advertising are going to impact your self-image) but a specific demographic of women which I am part of has been left out.

This got me thinking – how many other people are being left out as well? And what does this do to a person’s self-image? Remember what it was like when there was no diversity in fashion or advertising? It was horrible for self-image. But it is almost just as bad or worse today for people who are still not represented. Because before you could say, “Ah how silly fashion and advertising are – everyone looks the same!”

But now, the thought process for someone who is young and impressionable or with low self-esteem or  might be, “Wow! Fashion and advertising have become so diverse but I am still being left out so I must be really low on the totem pole of beauty.”

My specific demographic at this time is a plus-size woman who is almost 50 (I was born June 6, 1968). I will always be “plus size” by the way the fashion industry defines it. I am 6’ 1” and even at my “ideal medical weight” I am a size 12. And if you saw me at a size 12 you would probably try to feed me because I look all “skin and bones”. So ideally, I like to stay at a size 14. I am a size 20 now but we will talk about that later this week in the part of the series where I talk about WHO I am.

The fashion and advertising industry has done a lot to embrace plus-size women. But even with the progress made in this category the message is still, “It is only OK to be plus-size if you are also under the age of 30”*. The only time you read about a woman age 50 or over in the fashion industry it talks about how great their “bikini body is still great”. This is a typical article for this age group: Marysol Patton, 50, shows off incredible figure on beach:

*There is an additional caveat that it is only OK to be plus size if you wear cute clothes and make up but that is for another article another day. There is a big difference in how a plus-size model is treated when she is at a fashion shoot as opposed to when she runs to the corner store in a t-shirt and sweats without make-up. This same discrepancy is not found in the “under size 6 model” demographic.

What is your demographic? Have you been left out too? How and why?

So this brings me back to the WHAT. WHAT is this blog and Instagram series about?

This series is about me sharing my journey with others for the first time in my life. Why have I run healthy living companies for 31 years? What has my private life been like during this time and what is my journey now?

Through sharing my own journey I hope to illustrate that healthy living is about getting your own unique needs met (I will provide tips and resources on this based on over 30-years of experience), healthy living is greatly impacted by our self-image, and that creating greater well-being in your life can impact your education, health and relationships in positive ways.

Over the years I’ve also felt like I wanted to do more for my clients beyond education in the realm of herbs and nutrition. So many clients I have worked with have come to me saying, “I am so unhappy. Can you help me change this?” I have always been able to help them using holistic education and suggestions. However, what I also try to do for them beyond that is to help them also be happy now. I have seen people’s lives transform on a very deep level when they can embrace the now and be happy with it as well as follow a path of change. These two things do not have to be opposing.

One example of this type of thinking can be found in my lecture “Becoming a Whole Mother” which talks about embracing and loving each step of motherhood while creating our own “mothering mandala of transformation” . My book, The Temperaments and the Adult-Child Relationship also focuses on embracing the beauty of every temperament while also learning tools for change that can help each temperament live the healthiest life possible.

By sharing my own personal journey I also want to encourage others to embrace every moment and stage of their life with positive energy. I want to encourage others to embrace every weight, every age, and even every health condition they have – embrace what is happening now! You may be surprised, as I share my own journey, about some of the self-image issues I had over the years. You may also be surprised at how being unaware of my own unique needs contributed to some major health issues when I was younger.

Finally, the “cherry on top” of this series is personal. I always wanted to be a model when I was younger. Why? I always loved cute clothes and playing dress-up. It wasn’t about being seen as a model (or anything else based on the hard work and reality of that life). It isn’t about supporting surface ideas of beauty. It was (and is) only about the possibility of living a magical life where I could play dress-up every day. One day I could be a princess and the next I could be an exotic creature in another land. Unfortunately, my self-image was very poor so I never pursued my dream. You can see this old photo below. This photo is myself at age 16. Why in the world did I have a poor self-image? The girl in this photo is stunning!

So now, at age 49 I am going to embrace that dream. I may not be 16  anymore but at age 49 and size 20 I have a much healthier self-image and am 100 times more confident than I was at age 16. So let the journey begin! Let’s have some fun! Please follow the details of this journey at Instagram thebearthinstitutedotcom

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