A couple of years ago, I saw a movie about a girl raised by a mother who hyper-fixated on being as prim, proper, and perfect as possible. She raised her to fit in with the people around her, regardless of who she felt most comfortable being. As the girl grew up, she made decisions based on how those around her might perceive her, rather than making decisions that best suited her. She kept her natural curls straight or tamed to smooth waves in order to be taken seriously and receive more opportunities. As an adult, she lived the American dream. She had a great job, a beautiful house in a nice neighborhood, luscious landscaping, a thriving social life, and all that a woman could ask for – except love.
No one hated her more than herself. She didn’t even realize it. After years of her mother strictly raising her to blend with the crowd to be treated with respect, she realized she was an empty vessel vying for respect and sincerity when she couldn’t find an ounce of it in herself. Throughout the movie, she tries to navigate this road to love. Of course, she felt completely lost and tossed by the waves of newly blurred reality. She had built her life around a set of ideas about the world and how she fit into it only to realize she had to tear the existing narrative to shreds to find true healing and empowerment.
Around here, I’m sure we can all relate to this woman. We are ambitious wives, mothers, companions, career women, and so much more. We have our lists of things that we value greatly.
“It doesn’t matter how fast you climb the ladder if it’s against the wrong wall.” – Mandy McAllister
We can easily get wrapped up in reaching for the next big thing or maintaining the right outward appearance. Too many people pause halfway through life and realize they’ve been playing the game of life for the right perception, not best interest. This affects how we spend money, the opportunities we chose to grab or negate, raise our children, and so much more. One of the sneakiest things about the effects of obsession with perception is that it will rob us of our big goals.
For example, we can decide we want our kids to be independent thinkers and leaders. In public situations, that can become a sticky situation when others expect us to rope our kids in and tell them what to do in every situation. When we allow the pressure of public opinions to drive our actions, we might make decisions that negatively impact our kids’ thought processes in the long run.
If we set out to cut fast food to give our wallets and bodies a rest from grease and inflammation, but our friends are constantly meeting over fast food, it’s easy to feel some kind of way for not partaking.
This has the power to be generational. The choices we make today can easily -and most likely will – become the choices we see our kids and our closest loved ones mirroring. When they see us caving into peer pressure – especially from people we hardly even like – they will begin to normalize putting their own best interests aside for the comfort of those who don’t have to deal with the consequences of their decisions.
Health vs. Perfection.
Western values have led the health, wellness, and diet industry to become a multi-trillion dollar industry. As a culture, we can’t get enough of it. However, if we’re pouring so much money into them, why aren’t we all skinny?
First of all, let’s address the fact that diets are categorized under “health and wellness.” Say this with me: Skinny does not equal healthy.
I am so grateful we are beginning to wake up to the realization that we should not be focusing on being the flattest tummy in the room. That kind of mentality robs so many women – truly, all people – of the ability to see how beautiful they are! But if diets are supposed to help people achieve wellness, then the real questions we need to be asking are along the lines of:
“Why are western nations filling trillions of dollars in perscriptions?”
“Why are aches, pains, and illnesses running rampant?”
“Why must diet culture damage our mental health to make us appear physically healthy?”
“Why aren’t we receiving long-term happiness and health from these diets?”
Diet culture keeps us focused on the wrong things. I don’t believe each diet was made with the intent of snatching our money and body-shaming us. Some wellness programs are made with sincere intent to get us on the right path. However, the general industry feeds into our fascination with surface flawlessness by promising smoother skin to look prettier, more energy to be more productive, and of course, weight loss. In western countries, we define “getting healthy” as restricting ourselves to bird food, counting calories, doing yoga, cardio, or jazzercise – no judgment – and in some cases, buying a whole heaping package of supplements, and other products.
Making our weight the ultimate enemy is one of the most dangerous things we can do. Skinny does not equal healthy. Nine times out of ten, restrictive eating plans are built for an “average” person. When we realize our bodies are literally like a fingerprint that idea sounds pointless and a little crazy…just a little. We are all made with varying cultures, genetic formations, and unique levels of metals, vitamins, bacteria, and more that change daily. The questions effective programs will be asking and striving to provide answers to are:
- “What foods benefit our wellbeing?” There are fad health foods, and then there are the foods that have all the nutrients our individual bodies need. Avocados are a hot commodity right now, but if you need to cut back on healthy fats and potassium, you might not want to have them every single morning of the week. Maybe reduce it to one or two times a week.
- “What is the state of your body right now?” We can’t fix an unknown problem. Effective wellness guides help us assess where you are right now so you can plan accordingly. If we learn what’s broken in our bodies, we can fix the things causing us pain or stress. Inflammation, headaches, joint pain, dizziness, allergies, asthma, heart problems, irregular blood pressure, and generational diseases can all be avoided or severely decreased with the right education and preparation.
- “How can we keep sustainable results?” (P.S. Suffering on flavorless grass and seeds forever is not sustainable.) When we learn how to make decisions for our current and ever-changing states of health, we don’t have to keep relying on google or our doctor’s teleconferencing schedule. True wellness can start with food but should stem far beyond it.
As women, we need to give ourselves grace and permission to act in the best interest of those we love most – and we can’t forget to put ourselves on that list. That is a command, not a request. You are worth loving! We need to shed the weight of others’ expectations in order to be truly well from the inside out. That goes for every facet of your life, especially your health. It’s so important that we dive deeper to heal from the source of the problem rather than maintaining an attractive appearance physically, mentally, financially, and all the other “-ally’s.” Taking the time to do this is the ultimate form of self-love.
Bringing the family back to the table,
Our 90 Day Reset is a program that helps you dig deep and heal yourself from the inside out!
Read our latest blog on how to heal seasonal and environmental allergies you thought you’d be stuck with for life!
Sakinah is an Army Veteran, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Wellness Advocate, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, and Home Grown Chef.
After the untimely death of her husband and business partner and autoimmune complications suffered by her daughter, Sakinah realized life was no longer business as usual. She made the collective decision to redefine how she and her family approached health and healthcare. She has a passion for helping families come back to the table by restoring healthy relationships with food, others, and self. Sakinah believes when women, the cornerstone of the family, learn to restore healthy relationships with food, others, and themselves, it creates a ripple effect for the entire family and generations to come.
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