Empowering Discussions

Mindful Eating Practice – Filling Your Plate With Mindful Intention

Food is so ingrained in our daily lives that it’s easy to eat without being mindful of what exactly we are putting in our bodies. This week I encourage you to pay close attention to your diet.
My diet used to revolve around three goals; eat to be full, buy the cheapest food, and buy tasty/comfort food. When I chose to spend a month not eating meat, I noticed changes in my body. For me, eating vegetarian felt better. I had more energy and didn’t feel indigestion as often. I chose to stick with a vegetarian diet. As my knowledge about food progressed, I begun to pay more attention and eventually cut out dairy because it doesn’t agree with me.
Now I choose to be more picky when it comes to what I consume. My diet revolves around three new goals; eat nutritious food, buy organic as often as possible, and be conscious of the waste created by my food choices.
Here are some notes and questions to cultivate a mindful food practice:
  • When eating, slow down and savor the taste and texture of your food.
  • Notice whether you have a preference for salty or sweet foods.
  • Notice how different foods make you feel.
  • Why are you eating? Is it because you are hungry, anxious, or bored?
  • Do you eat on a schedule or do you often skip meals?
  • Do you snack without thinking or plan your snacks ahead?
  • Are you eating for nutrition or comfort?
If you want to dive deeper into what you consume, journal about your food for a week or a month. Record what, when, how and why you eat, and how your diet makes you feel.
Peace and hugs, Leah
If you like this mindfulness practice, you can read more on my Patreon page.  You can have access to even more content once you become a patron. Be sure to check out the rewards you can receive when you pledge $3 or more each month.

I’m an artist and writer on a mission to bring healing arts into the mainstream. If you would like to support my heart work, please consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon.com/Loviedo. For $1 a month, you can fund programs like my D.I.Y. Therapy: Healing Depression E-course, my monthly “Radical” e-zine and other creative healing projects, like “Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists & Writers“.



Like this image? You can download it for free on my coloring book page! https://impoweryou.org/color/
Empowering Discussions, Poetry

Four Actions to Cultivate Body Positivity

Every time I walk past issues of Cosmo and other “women’s” magazines, I cringe. Mainstream media has become a teeny bit better about showing different body types, but are still full of ads and articles that body shame, in a sneaky way. I flipped through Cosmo and saw a page encouraging women to not shave their vaginal area. Yet they made sure to sneak in an advertisement for a new razor. Since February is about love (and African-American history), here are four actions you can take to encourage body positivity and self-care.

 You are the only person who can love yourself unconditionally. The choice is up to you. Below are a few practices to guide you.

  1. Start recording compliments. Every time someone, even your parents, compliment you on anything, write it in your journal. Or if you don’t have a journal start writing the compliments on paper and see how many you can collect in a week. The trick with this is that you must read the compliments later. Set a reminder on our phone to read those compliments every 7 days. Do it now! Put this book down and set a reminder to start collecting compliments. Then set a reminder a week from now and set a reminder to read the compliments.
  2. Find or take a photo of yourself when you look your best. Hang that picture up where you can see it daily and remind yourself that you look good! If you don’t have a good photo or your camera sucks, get a professional picture taken or ask one of your friends who can has a good camera.
  3. Stop the butt cycle. Yes, the stinky butt cycle. You know when someone compliments you and you reply, “thank you, but…”? That’s a stinky butt. Stop yourself from saying that. Each time you say that, pinch yourself. When you receive a compliment the only thing you need to say is “Thank you”.
  4. Surround yourself with people who support you. If you have friends or family that put you down, then you need some distance. If someone is consistently hurtful, then you need to cut those ties temporarily or permanently.

This is an excerpt from the new book, Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists and Writers. Download the free e-book version at https://www.patreon.com/posts/book-launch-self-16085856

If you want to learn more about body positivity and find support, I highly recommend the following resources for creating body positivity: 

The Love Warrior Community: http://www.lovewarriorcommunity.com  

Rae Across America: https://www.facebook.com/RaeAcrossAmerica

Peace and hugs, Leah

I’m an artist and writer on a mission to bring healing arts into the mainstream. If you would like to support my heart work, please consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon. As a patron, you can use and fund projects like my D.I.Y. Therapy: Healing Depression E-course, my monthly Radical e-zine, future books and other creative healing projects, like “Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists & Writers“.

Empowering Discussions

“How to Achieve a Better Body Image”

How to Achieve a Better Body Image

By Rae Lawrence

As humans, we all have the tendency to fall prey to struggling with body image.  However, there are ways to overcome this trap and re-learn self love and self acceptance.

  1. Stop avoiding your body

    We know that one way to maintain negative body image is to avoid your body. So, in order to break this cycle, stop the avoidance! Face up to your body and get to know it, lumps, bumps and all. Get used to being with your body. If you usually avoid mirrors, start approaching them. Look at yourself as a whole person – don’t just focus on the bits you don’t like. Try to spend more time naked. Walk around the house nude! Practice touching your body: a good way to do this is to buy some nice moisturizer and rub it all over. Try other activities that you would normally avoid: go to the beach, go clothes shopping, go belly dancing! The more you do to get in contact with and accept your body the way that it is, the more you are likely to develop better body image.

  2. Stop checking

    Some people check rather than avoid, which also perpetuates negative body image. Checking is when people repeatedly check their bodies for evidence of continuing “disgustingness”. A person might study their body in the mirror for hours at a time, or pinch their sides to check on the “fat”. Write a list of your “checking” behaviors. Once you have recognized what you are doing, make a point of refusing to check, or try to cut down. If you have “pinch the fat on my stomach” on your list, and you notice you are doing this 20 times a day, aim to cut down to 15 times, then 10, then five … then stop!

  3. Stop comparing

    One form of “checking” behavior is comparison. This is when you constantly compare your physical attributes to those of other people. It can be challenging to stop negatively comparing yourself to others: for many people, it’s such a habit it is automatic and happens hundreds of times a day. Try to notice when you compare yourself to others and make a note of when you compare, who you compare yourself to, and what you say to yourself when it happens. Is it fair? Is it realistic? What effect does it have on how you feel about yourself? What can you say that may be more helpful?

  4. Check out your assumptions

    People sometimes interpret normal, everyday things as evidence of their “fatness”. For example, a lot of women think that if their thighs or stomachs wobble, this means they are “fat”. In actual fact, wobbliness is a normal female characteristic. We’re made to wobble! For other women, the normal fluid retention that happens when they are premenstrual can be viewed as a “sign” that they are putting on weight. Try to notice what you are assuming to be evidence of “fat”, and look for the facts. This may mean doing a Google search, discussing your assumptions with friends and family, or even asking your GP.

  5. Separate feeling bad from feeling fat

    When you have weight or body image issues, it can be hard to separate feelings from how you feel about your body. For example, if you have a stressful day at work, a fight with your partner and get a parking ticket, you start to feel bad. You may then start to also feel “fat” and unattractive. If you start to feel this way, ask yourself what has triggered this feeling. Try to identify the real issue, and separate it from your body-image issues. Another common experience is for people to feel “fat” after they have eaten. In this instance the trigger is body image-related. When this happens, remind yourself that your weight and appearance was the same before this feeling hit. So, though you may feel different, your weight hasn’t changed.

  6. Practice self acceptance

    Having a negative bod image is like having a critic in your head. The critic is a harsh, derogatory narrative that makes nasty comments about you. For example, “I look disgusting in this outfit” or “I can’t believe how fat I am”. The critic makes you feel awful, because you believe it. Because you feel terrible about yourself, you look for ways to feel better. You may eat something, which gives momentary pleasure, but minutes later the critic is back to comment on how much of a pig you are for eating. The big key to changing negative body image is to kill the critic, and learn self-acceptance. This means accepting yourself as you are. Cognitive techniques are very effective in helping identify and change critical thinking. It can take time, but it’s worth it!

Check out more of Rae Lawrence’s work at http://raelawrence85.wixsite.com/raeacrossamerica & https://www.facebook.com/RaeAcrossAmerica.

Rae is currently a 3rd year doctoral student where she is studying psychology. She aspires to work in the field of forensics. Rae suffered from an eating disorder for 10 years and has been in recovery for nearly 5 years. She finds that she feels her best when she is helping others.

As a result of this, she has created a non-profit organization, Rae Across America, where she creates and hosts several fundraisers per year which raise money to help send individuals in need to eating disorder treatment. Rae and her husband, Ryan, live in Richland, Washington. Together they enjoy hiking, watching football, spending time with their children, visiting family, and traveling.

I’m an artist and writer on a mission to bring healing arts into the mainstream. If you would like to support my heart work, please consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon. For as little as $1 a month, you can fund programs like my D.I.Y. Therapy: Healing Depression E-course, my monthly “Radical” e-zine and other creative healing projects, like “Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists & Writers“.