Well hello, hello! It’s nice to “meet” you all. My name is Allison and I’m the Community Manager at Bad Yogi. A few quick stats to add some substance behind the name and the fingers behind the keyboard:

  • Yes, I’m an avid (bad) yogi and instructor.
  • Currently residing in SE Minnesota in Rochester, home of Mayo Clinic. Previously residing in San Diego, CA with roots in Pittsburgh/ Northwest PA.
  • I’m a dog person, but an overall animal lover.
  • My parents named me Allison Catherine with the purpose of being able to call me Alley Cat. If there is any other reason, I’ve not heard it.
  • My maiden name is Potter. I am not related to Harry, nor am I a wizard… now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

When I joined Bad Yogi and learned that one of my roles would be to work with all of the amazing contributors, but also find ways to bring Bad Yogi Magazine to the next level for all of our devout community, I was psyched! First order of business, test out monthly “focuses.” Pretty quickly, I decided that I wanted to kick things off with a discussion on all things body image.

Body image (and body love) is something near and dear to my heart, as it’s been something that I’ve struggled with for much of my adolescence and into adulthood.

Spoiler alert: Poor body image and/or eating disorders are not always about getting to an ideal size; rather, they’re often more about not liking ones self or what ones body stands for. There is no discrimination in age, sex, body type, race or otherwise that results in you having either positive or negative body image perception. It can affect you at 80lbs, 400lbs, or anywhere in between.

On a positive note, anyone can learn to love their bodies and have a positive body image. Huzzah!

Photos from “Female” by Kacy Johnson (www.kacyjohnson.com)

 

HOW DID I GET HERE?

Personally, I was your average looking teen with a whole lot of hidden anxiety over my body. I saw what others did not. My perception of my body and its value was warped for a very long time. From the outside, I looked like your happy, healthy young adult. Inside, I was a girl who desperately wanted to be someone she simply was not, which resulted in:

  • LOADS of negative self-talk for much of my adolescence and into adulthood.
  • Yo-yo diets.
  • Elimination diets.
  • Diet pills.
  • Binging and purging for 10 (secret) years.
  • “Saving my calories” to go out drinking.
  • You name it, I probably tried it…

Why did I just link all of these obscene diets to my negative body image? For me, they all were one and the same. My body image was determined by what I did, or did not, eat. If I’d eat “too much” I’d look at myself in the mirror with disgust. But, if I followed every rule of my unattainable diet, I’d somehow feel like I was becoming the woman I wanted to be. Same goes for exercise- stay on my #namaslay game? Happy camper. Skip a day, or even worse, days? Suddenly, I would look in the mirror and see someone who just was not me. When you have a distorted body image, every mirror can look like a mirror from a fun house.

Don’t ask where I got this belief that I should be, and could be, an ultra-petite blonde with the perfect, perky breasts; delicate features; a perfectly round backside; the perfect number on the scale; and, all the while, fitting into a size 0 pant.

These perceptions and beliefs are So. Not. Right.

 

HOW DID I MOVE PAST THIS?

It took literal years to figure out how to love myself in a healthy way. It took A LOT of yoga, which I attribute to getting to know my body more closely, and how it best likes to function. It took countless inspiring Pinterest quotes, reading personal development, and a lot of digging into the dirt of my past to figure out who I am and why I am that person. It took a cross-country move to realize that I don’t need to let everyone else’s opinions rule my life. It probably required therapy and may still require it someday.

It took A LOT of work.

It also took realizing and believing that WE ARE ALL MADE DIFFERENTLY. We literally come in ALL shapes and sizes, and just because I have broader shoulders and a larger chest/ ribcage than my ‘itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini’ wearing friends doesn’t mean that I don’t have a body worth embracing.

An ad posted by Victoria’s Secret in 2014 vs. a response from NYC retailer, Dear Kate, including women with truly perfect bodies.

 

WHAT I’VE LEARNED AND WHAT I KNOW

While I’ll admit that I still have ‘off’ days, I’ve also learned that as perfectly imperfect as I am, that I am enough. Comparison is the thief of joy. I’m certain that I read that on Pinterest somewhere.

We live in an already judgmental world that we really don’t need to add to the negative self-talk. Rather, we need to be our own biggest cheerleaders. We should all feel lucky to live in a world of different, beautiful humans with different, beautiful stories to tell.

So for today, I’m going to love every (extra) inch of myself, embrace my imperfections and realize that I am a constant work in progress and that is an amazing thing. We always have the opportunity to better ourselves, whatever that may mean to you, but we have to start by accepting ourselves just as we are.. We always have another day, another chance, to work on loving ourselves a little bit more. I plan to be a beautiful work in progress until the day that I cease to exist. I AM ENOUGH.

 

THE BAD YOGI ‘BODY IMAGE’ FOCUS

We’ll be sharing stories spanning different topics on body image throughout the month of June, so check back often. Some articles you can look forward to:

  • How I learned to love my self(ie).
  • How gaining weight taught me to love my body.
  • Your guide to a body confident kid.
  • Body image after you’ve lost the weight.
  • How abs didn’t equal happiness.
  • Stories from real yogis who have embraced their diverse bodies.
  • …and MORE!

We genuinely hope you love these stories and look forward to hearing from you. Share your stories with us. Share your battles. Share your victories. We’re all in this thing called life together, and more than we’d sometimes like to admit, we are all much more alike than we think.

 

 

 

 

pbr