From Teen To Adult In 4 Steps

All girls will go through puberty at some point between the ages of nine and fourteen. This is the point at which a child’s body starts to grow and get ready for adulthood. There are some big changes that occur in a girl’s body during this time, some of which can be very strange and hard to come to terms with. However, no matter what happens to your body during puberty, there is no need to stress out about it! We have all been through it before and know exactly how you are feeling. Here are five of the most common things that change in a girl during puberty.

Breasts Develop

One of the most obvious physical changes to occur in a girl’s body is that her breasts will start to develop. At first, she will develop small breast buds, which will then become more fuller and grow into breasts. Not only will girls start to see these developments, but they will also start to feel them. That’s because their nipples will become slightly tender and sore. If you do find that your nipples and breast buds become painful, this is nothing to worry about and perfectly natural.

Periods Start

One of the main changes that girls worry about is the start of their periods. Most girls start at around 12 years old, but some can be as young as eight when they get their first period. There are various signs that signal a girl is about to get her period. These include a dull ache in her belly and a white discharge from the vagina. Once your period starts, you shouldn’t feel self-conscious about it. As long as you are using tampons or towels correctly, no one will be able to notice. Be sure to maintain good personal hygiene during the period, as this can reduce the development of infections:

Notice The Opposite Sex More

During puberty, there will be some big hormonal changes in your body, and as a result, you will start to notice the opposite sex more. This means that you might start to fancy boys and could be sexually attracted to them. Even though you may feel ready to experiment sexually, you should wait until you are married. Abstinence is the best way to protect against unwanted guilt, regret, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections:

Gain Weight

Most girls find that they gain weight during puberty. This is a result of the hormonal changes, as the body is getting ready to bear children. You will find that your hips become a lot rounder and you start to develop fuller thighs and arms. Don’t worry, though; this doesn’t mean you are getting fat! It is just your body changing from a child’s into a woman’s! There are other factors that may affect the weight gain, such as going on the contraceptive pill.

Once you are prepared for puberty, you shouldn’t find the changes that much of a shock, and will be able to be happy throughout this phase!

Go SAD For Your Health

Health is a wonderful thing that keeps your mind and your body functioning. Until something goes wrong and then everything feels broken: The mind is out of focus, the body is out of shape, and you find that your mood is not as joyful as it used to be. Often, the cause of a health problem can be easily identified: Bad habits! Indeed, your body is able to sustain bad habits for a very long time before it starts showing signs of tear and wear. This is exactly why it’s important to take care of what you have now before it fails you tomorrow. When it comes to health habits, you might be thinking of fitness regime and hitting the gym every day or so. You are right! But don’t be fooled by it: There’s more to health than putting your favorite gym gear on – even if it’s the latest pair of running leggings from a sports brand! -, taking care of yourself means being aware of the factors that could harm your body or your mind and actively taking all the measures you can to prevent any risk. Some would even say that staying healthy is a full-time job! So, look out for the SAD factors of your health and make sure to monitor them closely.

S For Sexual Health

You have probably already heard the big S word, but don’t worry, today there won’t be any talk about the bees and the flowers! Sexual health is absolutely essential in your life as a young adult. Young adults are, by the way, a recent term that describes anybody from 13 to 14-year-old to 25+, and you probably came across the term in your local library. Books such as Harry Potter are for young adults, for example. What this means about your health, is that your body is as ready as it could be: There will be no further growth development. As a result, you should look at it as an adult body and consider the health risks of the grownup world. From your early 20s, you should start screening for cervical cancer, as well as self-examination for breast cancer. However certain health providers do give clinical breast exam for women over 20s. Additionally, if your periods cause you problems every month from severe cramps, heavy, long, frequent or irregular cycles, the pill might be something for you. You can even order the contraceptive pill online if this is the easiest way for you. 

A For Attentive Lifestyle

You need to be attentive to the signs that your body gives you: If you are feeling tired often, it may be more than a bad night sleep, you could be suffering from a deficiency in vitamins or minerals for example. As bad habits need time before they inflict their lasting effects, it’s essential that you use the time now to develop a healthy lifestyle that is focused around listening to your body. You will soon recognize the signs of healthy routines as your body will feel better for them. For instance, if you start going to the gym regularly, you will soon notice that your body doesn’t only get fitter and stronger, but your mood will improve, and your sleep will be more refreshing. The same argument is valid for switching to a healthy diet. The positive effects will rapidly be noticeable, and this will help you to redefine your health.

D For Depression

Depression is often misunderstood and mistaken for having a bad day. In truth, there are almost 3 million of teenagers between 12 and 17 years of age, who suffer from depression in the USA. This number increases as people hit their 20s. Unfortunately, it is tricky to identify depression, or to take it seriously, if you have never faced it before. The symptoms are varied, but generally, feeling low and without energy, experiencing eating disorders, feeling worthless or even guilty are common to a depressive state. When left untreated, depression can cause long-term problems as it will have a negative impact on your education and your professional career, and it is likely to lead you to develop a form of substance abuse such as drug or alcohol. Additionally, as if things were not bad enough, teens and people in their early 20s who have a tendency to go through depressive moods can develop serious bipolar disorders in their later years. So save yourself any future troubles, and talk to your doctor if you are feeling down.  

Here’s To A Healthier, Fitter You This New Year

healthy-youAt some point or another in life, we all have goals to be the healthiest version of ourselves. What healthy means one one person, won’t necessarily be the same thing for another, but the important thing is that you’re working on being the best version of yourself that you can be.

It’s hard to stay healthy at times too, so the only thing you can do is give it your all. When you exercise or school in college, things seem a little easier, but in the holidays or after college, if can be that little bit harder. Bad food choices or stress over examples can also make it all the more difficult. So, instead of trying to transform your lifestyle completely, why not focus on a few key areas and find out what works best for you.

Fuel Your Body

Some of our favourite foods aren’t that great for our health, and we know that. But, they don’t do an awful lot of damage in limited quantities so remember that. Don’t try to cut out the things you love from your diet, work on fuelling your body instead. It is important that you get enough energy from the foods that you eat, so think about basing your main meals around proteins, carbs and fruits or veggies. But there are plenty of new ideas that you can use to ensure your nutrition is good too.

Sleep Well

When you’re cramming for exams, fitting in extra classes or if you have a lot of extra curricular activities on, you can find it hard to get to bed on time. But, on your mission to becoming your healthiest self, you’re going to want to make sure you sleep well. Work on winding yourself down before bed. Even if you get in late from practice, take a bath and allow your body to relax. The chances are, you’ll get a solid night’s sleep because of it and have more energy the next morning.

Move A Little More

If you’re not on any sports teams or don’t take phys ed. you might notice that your activity levels are lower than they used to be when you were a little kid. It’s not a problem, but a healthy lifestyle does involve exercise. 3-5 times per week is what on average a healthy amount of occasions to get exercise in. So, if you’re not that active, try and challenge yourself to move more. Maybe you take up a new class or start cycling, either way, find something that you’ll enjoy and suits your schedule.

Find A Balance

Aside from focusing on what you eat and how much you move, other areas of your life can contribute to your overall health levels. Even if you’re a star athlete with a diet that a nutritionist would be proud of, not enough sleep, too much stress or exhaustion can still make you unhealthier than ever. So, it’s important to find balance in your lifestyle. Not only do you need to balance school with a social life to find a middle group and be happy, but you should also try to stress a lot less about things and make time for the passions that you have in life. You’ll live a much healthier life if you do.

What It Feels Like For A Girl: The Facts On Periods

girl-w-skateboardThere’s no getting away from it puberty can be embarrassing, awkward and downright painful. By now you’ve probably experienced buying your first bra, dealing with spots that seem to have sprouted overnight as well as hair growing in all sorts of weird places. Even though you don’t want to think about it, much less talk to anyone, it’s important that you understand what’s happening to your body. That emotional rollercoaster you feel like you’re on most of the time? It’s all down to your ovaries which, in turn, kick starts your body into producing the hormone estrogen which every woman has inside her.

Elsewhere, there’s other stuff going on too. If you feel like your breasts aren’t growing much, or growing at different rates that’s normal too, breasts continue to grow until your early twenties, so it all evens out eventually. The important thing to realize is we all go through it; it doesn’t last forever, and it’s a vital part of becoming a strong, healthy woman.

That Time Of The Month

You’ll feel bloated, crampy, annoyed or sad for no reason and things just seem that little bit harder. A period, or menstruation occurs because of the eggs your ovaries release every month, they normally last between two to eight days and can be irregular at the beginning. Your period happens when the uterus lining thickens to help an egg develop, but when you aren’t pregnant, the lining is then shed, released as blood out your vagina and into a sanitary pad or tampon. Despite jokes about ‘the crimson wave,’ ‘Niagra falls’ and ‘red devil’ the amount of blood present is tiny, only one to two tablespoons even though it feels like a lot more.

Just Like A Pill

Contraceptive pills are often used as a precaution against pregnancy although they can be used to help treat conditions such as Endometriosis, to regulate periods and even to make heavy periods lighter. It’s taken by millions of women all around the world for many different reasons. The contraceptive pill is taken daily and the tablet controls ovulation, stopping eggs being released as well as making the womb lining thinner, so any egg is less likely to attach. The thinner lining is what makes period lighter, which also tends to help with severe cramping as well.

Your Body Your Choice

Despite what you may think, not everyone is ‘doing it’ and many teenagers are often pressured into losing their virginity before they’re ready. Remember, your body is awash with hormones, and it can be a confusing, even frightening time for lots of young women. Nothing is a hundred percent effective against pregnancy or guilt, so it’s better to wait until you are older. In fact, many couples wait until marriage to have sex for the first time, which is a decision you will never regret!

You Are a Temple: 1 Corinthians 3:17

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

corinthian-317I was a fat child.  To say I was pudgy or chubby or even plump would insinuate that I was cute, and I wasn’t.  The kids at school called me Fatso.  Fatso.  Playground mockery is so ridiculous; just looking at that word I wonder where they came up with it, but within that word is a thousand implications that still make me tear up.  Unwanted.  Ugly.  Disgusting.  Rejected.  Hated, even.  As a fat and sensitive person, I went home more times than not, crying.  My dad told me that if I didn’t want to be made fun of for my weight, I should do something about it.

And so I did.  Or I tried.

The summer between fifth and sixth grade, I lost over twenty pounds.  I got lots of attention.  One teacher even asked if I was sick.  The names changed; I was suddenly called…Skinny.  Looking at that word, all I feel is empty.  It took me less than a year to realize that while the girls didn’t call me the same names, they could still be mean in other ways.  And I discovered that even though I had a new label to wear, I still didn’t feel so great about myself.

A Temple.

I was reading in 1 Corinthians a few weeks ago and loving the verses.  I was praying over them and meditating on them when a highlighted verse on the page over caught my attention.

You are that temple.

To be told that I am pretty or loved or valued makes me uncomfortable at best, downright suspicious at my worst.  Those playground children planted seeds, and I have spent most of my life sowing them.  Long after the bullying stopped, I continued to look in the mirror and say things that make words like Fatso sound like compliments.  To be told I am a temple is a hard pill for me to swallow; it goes against everything the world, and then myself, have conditioned my soul to believe.

And judging by the conversations I have had, and the state of the world that surrounds us, I know that chances are, you don’t believe those words, either.  We try to fill our self-esteems with products marketed to us to make us prettier, relationships that will complete us, lofty goals and impossible achievements that will feed us validation, and labels everyone around us deems acceptable to give us identification.  Meanwhile, all of that goes against the truth that we are created with a purpose, and that we are loved and treasured, right now, for simply being.

If we accepted that simple, yet completely profound, concept…we are loved, we are a temple, and completely believed it, how different would our behavior be?  I know for a fact that I would stop hesitating because of my insecurities and start doing more for others.  I would save a heck of a lot of money, knowing that new hair color won’t transform me into the image my Pinterest promises me I will become.  I could keep myself from wasting years in a toxic relationship because I know I am worth being loved by someone who understands my value.  I would stop abusing my own body by poisoning it with food or substances that are not good for me, or, on the flip side, I would stop punishing myself by restricting myself from getting the nourishment my body needs.  I would stop comparing myself to everyone else and would be satisfied with all my abilities…and my limitations.

And most importantly, I would stop listening to the whispers in my head that tell me I am not good enough.  I would fill myself up with the truths and the promises of the Bible, so much so that all the ugly lies would have no room to reside.

If I believed

That I am

A Temple

My entire world would change.

It’s sad to me that I found it easier as a child to alter my physical appearance than it was for me to change my internal dialogue.  I want to live out my life the way God intended for me to live it, and each time I try and fill myself up with fluff that abates the pain in superficial ways, I only get further from His vision for me.  The truth is, His promise is enough, and I have to commit myself daily to doing what I can to realize it.

The world is preaching love as a solution to the violence and the ugliness that surrounds us.  And they are not wrong.  We need to love each other more.  But I think that the love has to find root in ourselves, and for ourselves, as well.

So do me a favor:  Go to the mirror as soon as you’re done reading this and tell yourself you are a temple.  If it makes you squirm or giggle or uncomfortable, that’s okay.  Tell yourself again.  In fact, write it on your mirror in your favorite lip gloss so you see it when you look at yourself.  Tell yourself you are a temple numerous times a day until you believe it, and keep telling yourself as a reminder.  Tell yourself as often as you need to, to keep the lies and the poisons at bay. Tell yourself you are a temple so often that when someone, including yourself, tries to tell you you are anything less, the lie sounds so ridiculous, you pay it no attention.  Tell yourself you are a temple so often, you see the beauty in others, for they are temples, too, and treat yourself and them, as nothing less.

1 Corinthians 3:17- If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him, for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.


Dressing Up Your Self Esteem

by Veronica Williams

bridesmaidsDon’t you find it interesting that when we put on new clothes how good it makes us feel inside?  It’s as if putting on new things makes us feel clean, shiny and refreshed.  Some might compare this with the feeling we get when we accept the Lord Jesus as our personal savior.

What other things make us feel good inside? A healthy and positive relationship with God as well as the basic things we need in life to nurture our bodies.  Our physical bodies need to be sustained and once this has been achieved we can then consider our spiritual and emotional life.  It might also be argued that in order to have a good and healthy self-esteem we need to feel loved, appreciated and encouraged.  Can we buy the things we need to have a positive self-esteem? I personally don’t think so, thus going shopping for clothes, while it has a ‘feel good factor’ will not enhance our self-esteem for very long.

I like to look and feel good as well as the next person, but have realized that my physical appearance is only a small piece of the picture and I also need to have a spiritually healthy outlook and attitude.  Essentially I am arguing that God needs to be at the center of my life.  I need to be able to praise and communicate with him on a daily basis, and I need to know that he answers and directs my footsteps.

The thought of shopping for my sister’s impending wedding was somewhat daunting.  She had asked her future sister-in-law and our two cousins along with myself to be bridesmaids and we were having a meeting to look at materials and styles for the bridesmaid’s dresses. I believe the fact that we were having a meeting to communicate our individual views and ideas would also offer an opportunity for us to feel included and a sense of being valued in the coming event.  I was loved enough by my sister for her to wish me to be included in her wedding party, I was appreciated and my views would be taken into consideration when we looked at the style and material for the dresses and I was encouraged to understand the importance and significance of marriage in a spiritual context.

In our discussions we considered a variety of factors, not least of which was our body shapes and sizes.  If we think about it, we are all individuals with our own special requirements and physical shape. How we look and how others view our bodies may affect our self-esteem.  If we receive many complements and positive comments about our looks, then we would probably not focus on anything negative in our appearance.  On the other hand, if others are inclined to pointing out our negative qualities this could in time have a detrimental effect on our self-confidence.

I personally believe that we are all attractive and all have certain good qualities. Some people, especially teenagers with changing hormones and body changes, may tend to see the negative in their physical appearance.  I reiterate our hormones may make us moody and even temperamental.  However, if we have the correct moral barometer in place we will be able to accurately assess our individual needs and have an understanding of our internal and external beauty.  There is a chapter in the scriptures (Psalm 45:9) which refers to girls as being daughters of the King.  It says that young woman are essentially princesses with all the connotations that the word implies.

As the bridesmaid meeting progressed we discussed in depth the material which we thought would suit each of our skin color and hair.  We also gained an insight into each others views and preferences.  We agreed on material and color, however we varied in tastes and the length and style of the dresses.  Finally, we decided that all the dresses should be long but we could choose different styles for the bodice. Each of our differing tastes were accommodated!

We all have different tastes and its okay to select or prefer one thing above another.  It reflects that we, in caring about each other’s preferences,  are also showing that we love and care for one another. In having an open discussion we learned more about ourselves and each other and most importantly Christ was at the center of this pre-shopping expedition.



Fall in Love with YOU: Tips on building Self Esteem

By Akilah C. Thompson

girl-in-mirrorTake a moment to look in the mirror and ask yourself, what do you see?  Your response should be uniqueness, strength and beauty.   Low self- esteem is one of the major challenges people face every day, especially young women.  Images reflected through magazines, television, music and social media have caused us to idolize celebrities and want to look like them.  But what we fail to realize is, a lot of what we see is not real and does not reflect true beauty.  Adobe Photoshop, cosmetic surgery, and professional makeup could make all of us look like superstars. But why would you want to be a copy when you can be an original? We are all made with differences ranging from the color of our skin, to the shape and size of our body. No matter where you are from or what you look like, take pride in who you are and fall in love with everything about you. True beauty lies within. Embrace your originality.


Here are a few tips that will help you build your self-esteem and inner confidence.

Create a daily mantra or affirmation.

Start off every day by saying something positive about yourself. For example: “I am an extraordinary person and I can conquer all things.” By simply telling yourself this, you are creating a mentality and atmosphere that will allow you to be productive and seek goodness in anything you do.  There is power in words. Speak life to yourself.


Celebrate Your Achievements

Do you reflect on your accomplishments and reward yourself?  It takes hard work and dedication to set goals and achieve them.  Every level of success is important and it should be celebrated. Whether it is getting your driver’s license or getting a good grade on an exam, take time to congratulate yourself and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is not easy to stay determined and complete a goal.  So give yourself a “You Go Girl” in the mirror with a smile, indulge in a tasty dessert or whatever else you do to celebrate and enjoy the moment.


Challenge Yourself

One of the biggest steps to building self-confidence is by conquering your fears. Remember fear is mental! It is F-alse E-vidence A-ppearring R-eal in your mind.  For example, if you dread public speaking, it will be difficult to get over that fear if you don’t force yourself to get up and speak in front of people.  Just by taking the role as a host in a school production, joining a Toastmasters club or even being on the debate team, you can begin to build that confidence. These situations will force you to step outside your comfort zone and help you become stronger in that area.  The same thing you fear now might be the one thing you are supposed to end up being the best at in the future. Never hold yourself back.  Tackling your fears could possibly lead you to your greatest accomplishments.



We all make mistakes and that is a fact.  Life will undoubtedly, have its ups and downs.  The key to dealing with disappointment is learning how to tell yourself everything will be okay when you fall and get back up. Self-motivation is essential. You have to be able to encourage yourself when there is no one around to do it for you. Positive self-talks will help you push through any obstacle you are faced with.  When your conscious tells you “I can’t do this”, you say out loud “Yes I CAN”.  Remember to continue to keep saying “ I am Extraordinary”.  Continue to speak positivity and great things will happen. Also, surround yourself with positive people that give off good vibes, keep you motivated and want to see you succeed. With an “I CAN” attitude and supportive friends, you will be equipped to overcome any obstacle in your path.


Eat Right and Stay Fit

Eating healthy and exercising is another way to boost your self -confidence.  When you are eating right and exercising regularly you will start to glow, feeling good about the person in the mirror. If you look better, you will feel better about yourself. Eating fruits, vegetables, good carbs and a variety of lean meats allows your body to maintain strong bones and gain energy. Exercising keeps the body active and working at the best of its ability.  Keep in mind that exercising does not necessarily mean getting a gym membership.  You can ride a bike, jog around in your neighborhood, go swimming or even pull up a dance video on YouTube and get sweating! Make healthy eating choices while staying active and you will see your confidence soar as people continuously compliment you on how great you look.


BE YOU……Don’t Compare

Embrace the person you are. Nobody’s perfect, we all have flaws and faults and that’s what makes us human. Your values, gifts, perspectives, voice and physical features make you one of a kind. UNIQUE! Express your voice and showcase your talents, don’t let anyone bring you down.  Stop comparing yourself to others because you are the way you are for a reason. Laugh harder and smile brighter because you have something to offer the world. Be comfortable in your own skin and accept both your external and internal beauty.

Confidence brings light to your inner self. Define what makes you different and create your own personal style. At the end of the day, there is no one like you and you should love being you. Be grateful for the life you live and strive to be a light for others in the world.

What Girls Want: A Global Take on Body Image

What Girls Want: A Global Take on Body Image

Food psychologist Denise Greenaway shares experiences with Aboriginal tribe

camelThis September when I was in the middle of outback Australia on a 5-day women’s retreat, I had the opportunity to talk to some wonderful girls and young women about what they really wanted in their lives. It seems they wanted the same things as other girls I’d spoken to in other parts of the world, e.g. Europe, Asia, and the United States of America:




What they didn’t want was to be judged by their looks: their skin color, their hair, their physiques, their shortcomings.


They had a lot to say about how it felt to be girls and young woman and they had some advice for others too:


“Be what you want to be and live life to the max”

“Love yourself for who you are and not what you look like”

“Only be yourself, don’t try to be anything that anyone else wants you to be.”

“When you believe in yourself, you find the dream of your inner soul.”

“Find your own beauty, it’s different from everyone else’s.”

“Respect yourself first. Then others will too.”


One young woman, we’ll call her Ella, had her own camel, Rani. I watched her feed Rani, groom her and take her for a ride.


“You really love that camel,” I said to her as she brushed Rani’s coat turning it silky soft.


“And she loves me,” Ella said. “Unconditionally.”


“Unconditionally?” I asked.


“Yes,” Ella said. “Rani never judges me. She’s loyal, strong and takes me wherever I want to go. All I have to do In return is love her back, feed her well, play with her and give her my respect.”


Then she pointed to the word she had carved into the camel’s fur. RESPECT.


“That’s to remind me to treat my body the same way as I treat my camel. With respect. Because when I feed my body well, exercise her and love her, she returns the favor.”


“That’s very wise,” I said. “May I tell other girls about you and your camel?” I asked.


“Sure,” she said. “And tell them to see themselves through the eyes of their pets, not through the eyes of a mirror, because a mirror can’t love you like a pet does…unconditionally. ”

About the Author:

Denise Greenaway lives in Ocean Shores, Australia where she is a consulting food psychologist and therapist, educator and lecturer. Greenaway has traveled all over the world to schools, summer camps, corporations, prisons and reservations, lecturing about women’s issues and healthy body image. She has written two other books, Mirror Mirror, a body-image fairytale workbook for girls aged eight to twelve, and Rainbow Food, a healthy eating workbook for schools and families.


The Designer

The Designer

by Nadia Gyane

shadow, frameOne day I was taken in to see one of the top and well-respected designers in all the land. It was a great privilege to be picked as one of the lucky people to get a professional and well respected designer to make something just for me. I sat down in his studio and watched him make the piece right before my very eyes. Everything that he made was beautiful, so I knew I too would get something beautiful and unique because nothing he ever made was the same. He was very detailed and hand made every piece. I sat and watched him mould each shape into place, carve every shape and transform the piece of clay into a fantastic figure. He was such a professional. At first I couldn’t make out what he was making, I thought it could be a dress, maybe a hat, a pair of shoes or even a jacket, but he said that he had a very special surprise in store for me; something I could have never imagined.
He unveiled the finished piece to me and I was truly amazed. I had seen nothing quite like it ever before in my life. He told me that this piece came with some instructions. I was to clean it regularly, as it usually got dirty, I was to dress and apply the right fitting clothes onto it. I was to exercise it, if I wanted to keep it in that shape and for it to stay healthy. I was to feed it and love it. I was to honour it and safeguard it from those who wanted to violate or harm it, and I was to use it to do my job on the earth.

I could not believe it, this body was so amazing and looked so amazing. This was me in the flesh. He then said “You are to live in it, while you are here on the earth and to maintain it. It can get ill if you overwork it or if you do not pay enough attention to it. I have programmed it to let you know when you are hungry, so that you know exactly when to feed it, and when you are tired so that you know when to rest. This body works best when working on a balanced diet, well rested and is often exercised. It doesn’t respond well to stress, worry or unforgivness, as it will only make it prone to illnesses.” He then handed me the Bible and said, “Apply this medicine to any sicknesses your body has. Exercise it regularly and feed it well with nutritional food in order for it to stay strong and healthy, and help you with your task. Remember that this body that I have made is only there for you to live in while on earth, it does not represent who you are and you did not make it, it belongs to Me. I have given this to you, to do what you have been called to do”. The designer politely said.

I got up and examined the body that had been made just for me, its skin was so soft, and design so unique, I couldn’t wait to try it on. It fit perfectly and I looked great in it. I then made a promise to myself and to the designer that I would keep it and maintain this body. That I would not abuse it, disfigure it or change it, but I would honour it and love it as my own, and work with it to accomplish my purpose on the earth. I left the designers studio with a new step in my walk and a twinkle in my eye, I then stopped and said to the designer “When do I need to return it?” He turned and said to me “Oh don’t worry about that, it will let you know when its time to go.” He smiled. I shut the door and left to begin my journey here on earth in my brand new beautiful body made just for me.

My Body, My Food, My Way

My Body, My Food, My Way

Quick Tips To Fit Into The Body You Were Born With
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE

food plateOne of the best parts about being a registered dietitian is hearing my clients’ success stories and knowing that they were able to change their lives using a non-diet approach to their health.

Just yesterday, a client wrote to tell me her thoughts on one session we had, during which I educated her on the concept of “intuitive Eating.” No longer does this client use a scale, and she feels better than ever. She described the result like that of Harry Potter—magical.

Another client texted me two weeks ago to tell me that she never thought she could be a certain size by eating all foods, especially having recovered from an eating disorder. If ever there were proof that diets don’t work, this is it. It is far more important to feed yourself with love and confidence, and to view food as fuel. This is the most helpful and liberating approach to creating personal balance and ideal health. In other words, rather than wondering day after day how to fit into a pair of skinny jeans from the 90’s, ask yourself, “How can I accept and love the jeans I am wearing?”

Teenagers are among the most obvious victims of mixed messages, perhaps while watching mom try on clothing in front of the mirror or their best friends in the fitting room. There’s also the fact that teens are exposed to myriad magazines, with homogenous photos and captions that define beauty in a single, often unattainable way. The avenues for comparing oneself to friends, family and even complete strangers are many and varied, and when combined, their comprehensive effect can be truly detrimental to their psyche.

As a registered dietitian, I like to emphasize the fact that everyone grows at a different rate based on different emotional and nutritional needs. Our genetics and our environment affect our bodies, and while we can perhaps change our surroundings, we cannot—and should not try to—change our DNA.

Instead of longing for a body that is not genetically possible, look in the mirror and see yourself as a whole. You are not pieces or body parts; rather you are a beautiful young woman.

Start by saying, “I am okay. I am enough.” Then identify one or two things you like about yourself. Perhaps it is the shape of your ears or the color of your eyes. Whatever it is, simply give yourself credit and recognize that your body is ever-changing and possesses nutritional needs that may be different than that of your friends—let alone different than they were last year.

Next, think about all of your internal qualities. Perhaps you are funny, sensitive and shy. Maybe you are the life of the party in your small group of friends. Or maybe, you have just a few good friends, but they value you because you are sensitive and listen when they need your support. What does this mean in terms of self-worth? This will differ from one person to the next. Translate it. Recognize that you are worthy.

When it comes to maintaining a balanced and nutritious lifestyle, consider the concept of thinking inside your body rather than listening to the outside. While the idea sounds strange, the act is quite straightforward; all you have to do is identify when your body wants to eat and why.

There are three types of hunger: physical, emotional and behavioral. Are you eating because you feel physically hungry and need to fuel yourself? Or are you bored while doing your homework and just noshing to pass the time? The goal is, whenever possible, to eat for physical reasons only. Of course, it is okay to sometimes eat for emotional or behavioral reasons too, however, if you find yourself eating for this reason often, consider talking to your parent, your school counselor or a therapist.

Eating for physical reasons is easier than you think. Try:

  • Eating regularly, meaning every 3 to 4 hours.
  • Balancing each meal. Be sure to include the 3 macronutrients—carbohydrates, proteins and fats—in some form during breakfast, lunch and dinner. A mixed meal may consist of whole-wheat pasta with salmon and olives (a carbohydrate, protein and fat).
  • Incorporating at least 2 of the 3 macronutrients when snacking. This might be an apple with hummus (a carbohydrate and fat) or crackers with cheese (a carbohydrate and protein).
  • Not to deny yourself. If you want a cookie, just have it rather than trying to eat diet foods or 10 little things that probably will not satisfy you. In the end, you just end up eating the cookie anyway, so give yourself permission now and move on with it.

Following these parameters and consuming this combination of food regularly is important for a number of reasons. For one, it helps to keep your energy and mood stable throughout the day. In addition, by never allowing yourself to feel as though you are starving, you also prevent yourself from binging or eating until your belly hurts.

Getting yourself to the point of intuitive eating, when you eat for physical reasons naturally takes time. Approach eating with a mindset of body acceptance, and in time you will thank yourself. Work with the body you were born with, accept whatever you can, and feed your body appropriately. Doing so will actually keep your metabolism efficient, your energy high and your body in tune. This type of self-care will allow you to be your best through adolescence and adulthood!