Thursday, September 18, 2014

Five Ways to Fall in Love (with Food)

I love food. It is not unusual for me to sit in front of a delicious plate of food and smile broadly with the words “This is my life! I get to eat this” running through my head. There are few things that compare with the delight of eating a slice of homemade bread hot from the oven or juicy peaches or gooey chocolate-chip-coconut cookies.
My friends aren't surprised to hear about my love of food, for I admit this infatuation quite frequently. But this wasn't always the case. I used to think I wasn't skinny enough to say out loud that I loved food; if I ever did say it, I’d imagine the people around me thinking, “Yeah, we can tell by looking at you.”
And truthfully, I’m not sure I always loved food. I fell into the common trap of labeling all food either “good” or “bad,” and these labels made it really hard to truly enjoy food. If I was eating a “good” food, say, an apple or carrots, I would think, “I wish I was allowed to eat ice cream.” If I was eating a “bad” food, say, cookies or French fries, I would think, “You messed up again. You’re disgusting.” It’s hard to love food when eating either feels restrictive or guilt-inducing.
I started to break free of these labels after taking a nutrition class. I was expecting the professor to second all these beliefs I had long held about good and bad foods. Instead, she taught that food is a beautiful gift we have been given to nourish our bodies and to bring enjoyment into our lives. She said that there was no such thing as good food or bad food. There was just food.
Since that class, I've slowly learned to love food, and it has been one of the greatest everyday joys in my life. Below are five ways for you to fall in love with food too:
1)      Remove the labels. What has been crazy to me about removing the “good” and “bad” labels from food is how many more foods I enjoy now. When salad was labeled “good” in my mind, I almost had an aversion to it because I felt like I had to eat it. Now, with the label removed, I really enjoy eating salad and sometimes choose it because I want to. Likewise, I have learned that I really don’t like most raw vegetables. They just don’t taste good to me. But whereas before I would have felt bad for not eating them or forced myself to eat them and not enjoy the experience, I just don’t eat them. No guilt because they aren't labeled “good” foods. Instead, I just eat cooked vegetables because those are delicious to me. (Seriously, go buy some heirloom tomatoes, onions, and squash at the farmer’s market—you can get cheap produce right before the market closes—and bake them in the oven. Divine!)
2)      Listen to your body. Babies innately know how much to eat, and they stop when they’re full. Unfortunately, most of us become insensitive to how our bodies feel about what and how much we are eating. Ever-growing portion sizes at restaurants have increased our perception of a full meal. This, added to parenting proverbs like “finish the food on your plate,” makes it hard for us to learn to stop when we are actually full. As I've learned to listen to my stomach, I’ve found that I enjoy food so much more because I’m not stuffed or bloated when I am done eating. Also, I tend to eat fewer sweets because my stomach feels upset if I eat too much.
3)      Learn about how your body works. Our bodies are amazing! Along with a plethora of other insights I gained in that nutrition class, I learned how our miraculous bodies use food to help us walk, breath, think, and live. As I've learned more about my body, I have gained motivation to provide healthy foods for it to work well. I feel a desire to eat fruits and vegetables rather than feel restricted to only fruits and vegetables.
4)      Learn about where food comes from. Historically, we as a people once used most of our time to grow, raise, and harvest food. Now we spend much less of our time and our money on getting food, and I believe that has made us less thoughtful about eating. As I have learned more and more about the hard work that goes into producing my hamburger or the corn and peaches that I so adore, I have become more thoughtful about eating. I have slowed down and enjoyed the ritual of eating. I have felt a greater sense of gratitude for the food that is before me, which has made me enjoy my food much more than I used to.
5)      Love yourself and then you’ll love your food. Food does not make you who you are, and your choices about food don’t need to define you. The truth is that part of learning to love food for me has been less about loving food and more about loving myself. As I have journeyed in accepting my body and valuing myself and all the complex facets of my being (not just my physical appearance), I have placed less value on what I look like. This has made my eating habits matter a great deal less. It has relinquished food from being a source of weight gain and ugliness. Now food is just one of many activities I enjoy.
One last thought before sending you on your way to loving food like a boss. I found that learning to love food was a slow process. It has taken a great deal of mental retraining to remove the deeply ingrained habit of labeling foods. It was a test of persistence in actually changing the way I think, but eventually the labels disappeared (most of the time) from my thought process, and it has been so worth it.

Cheers, Amanda Kae Fronk 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Open House Tomorrow!

Question: How often can you get your nails and hair done for free, eat yummy brownies, meet amazing women on campus, AND learn about what BYU Women's Services and Resources offers you—all in one place and at one time?

Answer: Once a year at the WSR Open House!

Tomorrow (September 18), from 11 am to 1 pm, drop by 3211 WSC to receive the pampering you deserve!

Bring your friends or just yourself. Can't wait to see you there!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All About That Bass . . . What Does That Even Mean??

We've all heard the catchy tune and it's probably stuck in your head and has been for weeks (wait, is that just me?) Anyway, at first when I heard the song I got really excited because I heard phrases like, "every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top" or "You know I won't be no stick figure silicone barbie doll, so if that's what you're into then go ahead and move along." I mean, these lyrics are empowering and wonderful and strong! So at first I really bought into that message of the song. Love yourself. If someone thinks you're not good enough, tell them to take a hike because you're perfect how you are! YES! Plus it's catchy. Win, win, win.

But then the more I listened the more I realized that the song kinda doesn't actually say all of that. Disappointing. I know. With lyrics like "my momma she told me don't worry about your size," I'm thinking, I like where this is going, yeah, I'm dancing. And then she ends the sentence with "she says, 'boys like a little more booty to hold at night.'" Wait, what?! Did she just say that? So . . . the only reason we should like whatever "perfect" size we are is because boys like it? No! Don't agree! And then hearing about having "all that boom boom [whatever that is!] that all the boys chase and all the right junk in all the right places," I'm all of a sudden thinking that this isn't actually an awesome, empowering, body-loving song. And then I cry a little for the state of the world, but that's another topic for another day.

So, my question is this: why do we (as a society) think that the only reason for women to love our bodies is because it's what men/boys want?! Why do we have to sexualize women in any way at all? Hey little miss pop star, there is MORE to you than what a boy wants to chase or grab! I wish we could send messages to the world, and especially women, about loving yourself because you DESERVE it and not because you're something that is desirable or sexy or because you're an object.

All of this hopefully is making you take a second to really pay attention to the stuff we're hearing daily! Sure this song is incredibly catchy and fun, and dang do I sound good when I'm singing along to it in the car! But what are you hearing and starting to believe and what are our daughters/nieces/sisters hearing about where their value or beauty comes from?

By: Lauren Drean
Women's Services Intern

How to Combat a Rainy Day

Rainy days can sometimes get you down, especially if you’re ill-prepared. I had one of these days last week. During a particularly fierce rainstorm I found myself caught walking across campus without a coat or umbrella. As I half-ran half-trudged I passed by a big window and had the opportunity to glance at my reflection. I felt the familiar twinge of “I’m not good enough” as I regretted the time I had spent on my hair that morning, time that now seemed to be wasted because I looked like I had just stepped out of the shower.

The thought “I’m not good (beautiful, successful, outgoing, popular, exciting, happy) enough” is all too familiar to many men and women alike. This single thought can cause hopelessness, inner anger, fear, depression, and many more negative emotions.

But you are always good enough.

As I looked at my reflection and longed for smooth, flowing hair instead of the damp mop plastered to my face, I caught myself and decided I did not want to feel that way. There are three steps I repeat to myself during these times, and I repeated them now:

Step one: “I am feeling inadequate, but that is not me. I am not inadequate. How I am feeling does not define me. I feel inadequate, but I do not have to feel that way if I don’t want to.”

Step two: “I feel it in my stomach. It feels like a vacuum, like nothing else can be there because it’s taking up all the room, but it also feels like emptiness at the same time. It feels like ugliness and unhappiness. This is not what I choose to feel.”

Step three: “Thank you for checking in, I love you, I love you, I love you.”

Usually I follow step three with a quick prayer of gratitude.

The three steps are designed first to recognize the emotion you’re feeling, then to identify where you feel it and how it feels, and finally to dis-identify from the emotion, allowing room to instead feel love and gratitude.

You are not your emotions.

It’s a weird concept and can be hard to believe, but it’s true! Just because you feel angry sometimes does not mean you are an angry person. Just because you feel inadequate does not mean you are inadequate.

Our emotions are the result of neurons firing in our brains in a certain way . . . They do not define or make up who we are. Who we are is not defined by our brains, what we look like, or how our bodies work. Who we are is simply this: We are Spirits, created by Heavenly Father. Spirits who have been given a body and a mind as tools.

Our minds are tools and our bodies are tools—meant for use by our Spirits. Why let our minds and bodies take the driver’s seat in life when we know they are the source of “natural man” instincts? Why not let our Spirit guide us, knowing that it is the Spirit which receives revelation and instructions from the One who can see the whole path.

When you find yourself allowing those negative emotions to creep in, ask yourself, “is this revelation? Is this truth? Or is this a product of my mind?” Then do the three steps:

Step one: Identify the emotion you are feeling. Affirm to yourself that it does not define who you are. Refer to the emotion as “it,” allowing yourself to sever any personal connection you may have with that emotion.

Step two: Identify where you feel the emotion and what it feels like. Recognize that the where and what of the emotion is the product of neurons in your brain and a physical response from your body, and that you can choose not to feel that way if you let your Spirit take the wheel.

Step three: Thank yourself for checking in on your feelings, and tell yourself you love you. Then of course direct the same expressions to your Heavenly Father.

Your emotions do not have to rule you. You can choose to feel only peace, love, and joy when you put your faith not in what your mind tells you, but in God only. You are not inadequate; you have divine heritage! You are your Spirit, a child of God, and that is the beginning and the end.

By Janai Gariety
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