REPOSTED: THIS VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL IS DOING A 180 FROM HER DAYS AS AN ANGEL

by: ALISON FELLER via http://www.wellandgood.com

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.44.14 AM.png

As a Victoria’s Secret model, Erin Heatherton was one of the wing-adorned “angels” stalking runways in lingerie and flashing her pearly whites on billboards, buses, and beyond in the name of the brand. But now she admits life with Victoria’s Secret wasn’t always as chill and Swarovski-studded as it may have seemed—she faced serious body image struggles during her time with the bra-and-panty brand, Time reports.

“My last two Victoria’s Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight,” she tells Time. “I look back like, ‘Really?’” Heatherton, who walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show from 2008 to 2013, left the brand three years ago when, in spite of working hard, eating healthy, and exercising twice a day, she says her body “just wouldn’t do it.”

I was really depressed because I was working so hard and I felt like my body was resisting me,” she says. “And I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat.” After walking away from the runway, Heatherton came to a startling realization: “I realized I couldn’t go out into the world—parading my body and myself in front of all these women who look up to me—and tell them that this is easy and simple and everyone can do this,” she says.

Via Heather’s Instagram:

vs secret1

The breakdown to breakthrough moment in my life has allowed me to become the truest version of myself. In my moment of “failure,” I stood in the face of adversity. I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me. I am not perfect. Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself. I stood in my power. I thought of one of my favorite quotes, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a men’s character, give him power” – Abraham Lincoln. I look back on that moment now, and I embrace it. This feeling I once perceived as “failure” was, in truth, a powerful awakening for me to stand behind my purpose in life. I stepped away from hiding behind a fabricated version of myself. I no longer put actions behind my fears and insecurities. I made a choice to redirect my energy to be a catalyst for change. To create a channel for women to become the truest versions of themselves, along with me. (Stay tuned for more…) In the end, if you aren’t being true to yourself, then what the fuck is the point. #rebelwacause #empowerment #womensempowerment#empoweredbyyou

Now, the always-athletic supermodel (she played on her high school’s varsity basketball team, according to the Sun Times), is using her platform to spread awareness in hopes of helping other women. “I’m willing to sacrifice my pride, in a sense, and my privacy because I know that if I don’t speak about it, I could be withholding information that would really help women,” she says. “It hurts too much to keep it in, and that’s why I’m not keeping it in now.”

Advertisements

Instagram Isn’t Real

by: Alicia M. Blanco

IG

You are beautiful.

…without a filter.

Which leads me to this:

I LOVE me some instagram… it’s honestly my social media of choice. I love looking at pictures and posting pictures…

but it isn’t real! Not all the time.

Stop scrolling through it and comparing yourself to someone’s best version of themselves. You can bet they are ALSO going through some tough stuff, just like you. No one ACTUALLY posts the sucky stuff that’s actually going on.

It’s always a “booked it!” (after not booking five jobs before that one) and “selfie!” (which probably took over 70+ attempts before getting the right angle AND editing it with the right filter) and “on vacation, again!” (its like, where did they get the income to afford to go there, and there, with them, and those people, so often, and I’m over here trying to pay rent?)

I read an awesome blog just a few weeks ago called “What I Instagrammed vs What Was REALLY Happening” and it was soooo HILARIOUS and TRUE. So here it is. READ IT!! So damn good. Applause! I am so obsessed with great blogs. When I see a good one, I can’t help but to repost it. I just want to share the love and keep the wave going.

Imagine a world with no filters… just 100% honesty, transparency, realness.

Something tells me the statistics in depression would decrease if people didn’t have so much comparison throughout their days.

“Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes stuff to everyone else’s highlight reel.”

The Tragedy That Saved My Life

by: Tiphany Adams

Imagine yourself growing up in the countryside of Northern California with every kind of farm animal possible, engaging in activities that emphasized more on union with family and the outdoors than exterior beauty.  But by the time I was 8 years old, my parents divorced & my father began raising my sister and I outside of our countryside comfort zone. Around the time I hit middle school I started to struggle with self-esteem issues especially because of a birth mark on my neck. I began to get painfully teased & ridiculed based on my appearance.  I begged to have it removed for every birthday & Christmas. I would hide myself in sweats & turtle necks even in 100 degree heat. I even went as far to try to scrap it off. I planned how to hide it on the day I would get asked to prom or the day I would eventually get engaged.

Major trauma had occurred around that time period that stripped me of every ounce of self-esteem I had left. It lead me down a destructive path and eventually I ended up with more emotional pain then I knew what to do with.

I began praying and asking for guidance and even chose to get myself baptized at the age of 15. But by the time I entered into my senior year of high school I had already attended 5 different schools while dealing with so many issues. I felt lost without anyone to turn to. My mother had gotten herself wrapped up into her own addictions during this time as well. It was a mess.

And then there was the moment that changed my life forever.

I was in the backseat of a car with a sober driver that was struck head on by a drunk driver causing a collision of 130 mph–all were pronounced dead on the scene. I remember asking God to please let me live through this… and He did. They air lifted me to the hospital with a 5% chance of survival & I was induced into a coma for 3 weeks. When I awoke I knew I was alive for a purpose & had a divine mission to fulfill. The tragedy left 3 lives taken because of one persons decision to drink & drive, but the blessing is that I am here to relay a message of truth.

The first day I got into my wheelchair was emotional- words could not begin to depict what I felt. When I looked in the mirror for the first time seeing the big medal wheels, I cried in disbelief as I felt tingling throughout my legs as if they were asleep…and would never wake up. And that’s when clarity came…I remembered back to the time when I wouldn’t wear my hair up in a ponytail because of a birth mark…and here I was now. How would I get over the reflection I see staring back at me? How will society treat me? Then I came to the realization that it all begins with self acceptance & self-love & I began a beautiful journey of self discovery.

From that day forward I continued to embrace myself with love, support,  & prayer.

Had this tragedy never happened, it is likely that I would’ve remained dead inside. So in a way, this tragedy saved my life and made me see the world differently.

What it comes down to is we all have obstacles & tragedies that can change our situations but when we remove the superficial and connect to every living being on a soul to soul level we know we are all here on this earthly place for a divine reason… to give love & receive love. I share my story with you in hopes to gift you with love & acceptance for where you are right in this very moment.

Embrace your life! Focus on your inner beauty now and always.

Yoga & Mental Health

by: Jackie Roberts

IMG_8961

First off I feel a little self indulgent writing this! Especially since self study (or as we call it in yoga swadhyay) is all about being more present in the moment letting go of past and future dialogue to be in the here and now! But I feel like I have come or am rather coming through something that is worth expressing or sharing. Maybe by telling the story of me I can help another. Maybe I’ll even help my self!

I am an addict! What I am an addict of really has no consequence other than to color the story line which of course I will divulge, but it is important to know that we addicts are all pre-disposed to the same flaw. We can’t let go! We hold on to whatever whomever we are experiencing. We want more and we fear when the more runs out. This clinging and fear  is a lack of self love. The “I’m ok right now in this moment” voice of self soothing that my kin all lack.  Who knows when we loose it. There are theories on personality archetypes or experiences as in nature vs. nurture but no one really knows. I choose food.  I was 88 lbs when I got help over 15 years ago. And it has been an extremely messy up and down battle. Finally I float somewhere in the middle. Knowing my tendencies and making choices to not deprive nor abuse anything. Now whether it’s drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, pills, self mutilation, or even love it really all falls under the same umbrella of two inner dialogues. I am not enough or I don’t deserve to take up space.

I had an eating disorder for more time than I desire to admit. Today the choice to be healthy is not dependent on my pants size but rather conscious decisions I will myself to make that now make up a healthy ego. I have found a purpose or my dharma in life we call our purusha(truth). My truth is I  a teacher. I’m not perfect. And I can teach that that’s ok. In fact my perceived imperfections have served my students and give me a connection and approachability.

The choice to eat a healthy balanced diet that involves foods that are good for my constitution and avoid emotional triggers. An exercise routine that is void of excess and leans towards an intuition of exactly what I need in the moment. Yoga taught me to find my inner voice and always trust it. I start each day with a simple five minute mediation to check in.

The most enjoyable question I get from fellow gym goers as I enter my health club is “what are you working on today.” My answer always remains the same. “I don’t know… Whatever my body needs.”

This simple philosophy is how I live and do everything in my life. Through trial and immense error I have come to realize that how you do one thing is how you do everything. Addiction as much as recovery is about changing the negative habits. These habits include a recording we have in our heads that we don’t deserve to take up space. For women we are taught to negate this voice. It’s still shocking to me when I hear a woman I perceive as strong and capable say “what should I do.” “Well,” I ask… “What do you need.” This is where yoga not asana(this mere physical practice or western yoga) comes into play.

There is nothing more difficult in life than the not knowing. We are ruled so heavily by our minds and the thirst for knowledge how do we let go? You can train endless hours for a marathon to prepare the physical bodies stamina and endurance, you can study countless hours for an exam, and you can pre heat an oven for a perfect cheesecake, but how do you begin a quest for equanimity of the heart? We begin to know that it takes a life time of trial and error to discover…we know nothing at all.  And when it comes to the human condition; fear, love, grief, regret, joy, lust, and longing we all have a metaphorical blindfold on. So why ask how? How can we just be. Meditation is said to help accept the unanswered questions and allows a beingness, but until that moment when the bomb of uncertainty goes off how do we surrender?

I find myself still going to that place of gripping tight instead of letting go. I am knew to meditation and yoga. And by new I mean about 10 years. I am certain it will take one or two lifetimes for me to fully embrace it and even begin to understand being in the moment.  I know it has made a significant difference on who I am both inside and out. That my internal temperature runs cooler now that I sit and just breathe into the nothingness  of the present moment.  I practice non attachment but still I feel detaching completely out of the sights.

Love for me is the most challenging of all attachments. It is the reason I have choose a sobriety so to speak from relationships since my last ended in divorce. I have limited my physical encounters as well and made loving intimate  friendships more my focus. But as I venture back out there I realize I am a hopeless romantic. I have tried many a times to maintain a practice of letting go in my relationships but in the end maintaining detachment when it is appropriate to let go is like a weapon of mass destruction.  It blows to bits any semblance of balance or inner harmony. I begin to fight and struggle to hold on to something that was never in my possession.

So I guess the question is…how do we let go of expectation and allow beginnings and endings to simply flow through our being. This is advanced yoga.   We can not control life or circumstance but merely remain neutral to its out come. Having gratitude for the mere sake of gratitude itself. Because it feels good. Yoga is a practice.  And we, no matter how we feel must practice anyway

Yoga is not designer 120 dollar pants on a 90 dollar mat in the trendiest studio with the hipist teacher with quasi famous patrons while drinking a green juice…yoga is just not that fancy or glamorous when it’s real…

It is the painstaking intimate dedicated study of the mind, the body, and their relationship to each other which affects the spirit. It is the study of the space inside or the lack there of metaphorically speaking and literally.

It is the stillness and movement of breathe and the pause in between. It is a deep connectedness to everything you are and what you observe. It is beyond the physical or external yet completely tied to the flesh, the skin, the bones, organs, and connective tissue.  It is our relationship to everything and everyone in our life.  It is our addictions, aversions, and how we define ourselves through those habits.  Yoga is acceptance. Yoga is this moment. Yoga is being present with what is. It is the frequency and the music of your heart beat. Everything that occupies matter vibrates at its own unique beat. Yoga is the harmony and symphony of that beat.  This is my story. My song, This is my yoga. Yoga is now…atta yoga anusasanam.

IMG_5934

@jonescrow photography

#NoFilter Needed

by: Morgan Martin

morgan

Physically, you probably don’t see much of a difference between these two pictures. But, it’s what you don’t see where my story begins. The girl on the left only smiled on the outside knowing the extreme measures she took to have those “abs” and reach “perfection.” Fifteen years later, the woman on the right not only smiles, but laughs on the inside because she knows she achieved the SAME exact results by doing it the healthy way!

The measures I took in order to present the “perfect Morgan” left me feeling pain and shame.

While I believe in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and physique, I spent too much time focusing on my outer beauty in an unhealthy way. The danger of this, is that it forced me to deny myself the freedom of fully living and being the person that God had so perfectly designed me to be, which is the Proverbs 31 woman “who is fearfully and wonderfully made.”  I struggled daily to keep up an image of perfection that I created in my mind.

When it came to my mental health and body image, I felt I had it all under control but in truth, my obsessive behavior was out of control. My physical appearance consumed my thoughts. I took excessive amounts of diet pills and other extreme measures to keep up an outward appearance of perfection. And it hurt.

It became a constant battle between my inner and outer self.

Outwardly, “Perfect Morgan” didn’t feel so perfect at all, but, I thought I was at least looking the part. “Perfect Morgan” wasn’t the type of girl to have fun and eat sweets, potato chips, fried chicken, pizza, or anything with too many calories, which, lets face it, could be anything in excess. But then behind closed doors, my inner self was the exact opposite from the character I played in public. When no one was watching, I would eat all of the things that the perfect Morgan wouldn’t.  After binge eating, I’d feel so ashamed and afraid of the pounds it would put on my body that I would purge to get it all out of my system. What began as a “one time thing” slowly became more and more frequent.  And before I knew it, I was dealing with bulimia. This eating disorder took away my happiness – and all because I wanted to look a certain way.

I suffered alone and I suffered quietly. To everyone else, I appeared to be happy, fit and whole on the outside, even though I was dying on the inside.

It was difficult to admit all of this, until now. I’m so grateful for God, because through reading His word and surrounding myself with good people, I’ve been able to break free from the monster I created.  I credit my recovery to God and the genuine kindness, concern, faith, support and love from others. I was so ashamed of my past for so long that it prevented me from stepping into my calling of coaching others to live a healthier and happier lifestyle without taking unhealthy measures as I once did.

Seeing results by simply living an overall healthy lifestyle has been so rewarding. I think it’s one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself! When my mind is less concerned about obtaining perfection, I notice the happier I am with my imperfections. In fact, I’ve learned to love them!  (The mind is a powerful tool in the healing process.)

If I can stop just one person from taking unhealthy measures and mentally exhausting themselves about their outward appearance, then I will consider my life a success. The obstacles God helps us overcome are the same obstacles He will use to build our testimony to help save and inspire others.

Through finally breaking free from the bondage of the “perfect Morgan” I can now use my personal story to help others.  I’ve never felt more beautiful than when I’m being open, honest, transparent and anything BUT perfect. Ironic?

If you are going through a difficult time or can relate to my story, please know you’re not alone in any way. There are 7 billion people in this world and the more and more of us who start to GET REAL and take off the filters of this perfect life we try to portray, the bigger the WAVE of change we will see in the world.  When people feel like they can relate to others, walls come down and healing can really begin. 

What’s Hott and What’s Not

by: Rikayah Crawford

rikayah

The girl that you see to your left in the picture was a bit chubby, insecure, and did not understand her inner beauty. That’s the girl who tried to take her own life.

The confident young woman you see to the right is the exact opposite. In that picture I understand that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I now understand the love I have for myself from within overflows into my outward appearance. Loving yourself is what’s hot. But obsessing over your appearance is not.

The world we live in today has shattered the authentic meaning of self-esteem and confidence. It has been dismantled by the misconceptions from the media, peers, celebrities (and really good filters.) The theory of “what’s hot and what’s not” has invaded the impressionable minds of young girls. As a result, many young women have referred to self-esteem as “feeling good” about themselves while others equate esteem to arrogance, conceit and egotism.  Damned if we do and damned if we don’t take a selfie!

Often times we embody the reflections and opinions of those around us.  It’d be nice if there was an instruction manual for how to overcome the tough times and judgments of others. In my life I’ve had lots of those tough times- hardships in my relationships, insecurities around other women, and ultimately the contemplation of committing suicide.

There was a moment in my life when I hit rock bottom due to the overwhelming insecurities I felt about the way I looked and interacted with others.  I had allowed the opinions of others about me to become my reality. Worst of all, I had blamed every problem and insecurity on myself. I was so hard on myself. Every day I struggled to look in the mirror.

It was the morning after the night I attempted to take my own life that I realized that I wanted more for my life than so much attention to be on my physical reflection.  And it was clear I survived that dark night for a purpose.

If I wanted to be successful, it had to begin with the renewing of my mind and making changes from within rather than analyzing so much about my exterior.

My parents always told me, “Rikayah, every gift that God has blessed you with and everything that you go through is not only for you but for you to share with someone else.” I didn’t see it at the time, but now I see how my story can help other women who might be able to relate to body image, depression and suicide.

By surrounding myself around positive and uplifting people and focusing on my inner beauty it enabled me to pick myself back up and begin again. As a result of focusing on my inner self, the rest of me started to transform, too. Today I love the skin i’m in, without a filter, without comparing myself to others, and truthfully without giving a damn about what others think.

Even though I have endured some heavy stuff in the short time God has granted me, I know I have a purpose and I plan to live out. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please encourage them to seek help TODAY. It’s never too late to transform your mind.

Miss Universe 2015

by: Alicia M. Blanco

nia1

I will never forget this past weekend attending the Miss Universe 2015 pageant in Doral, Miami. It was seriously so much fun watching not one, but TWO of my friends compete!! One of my very best friends Nia Sanchez (Miss USA 2014) nearly won the whole thing placing 1st runner up! It was incredible to watch her on stage that night and it has been even more incredible watching her in her overall journey.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned through my dear friend Nia over the years:

1.) Never give up! – Nia never gave up on her dream to go to Miss USA. As a result, she ended up on the stage at Miss Universe! Imagine if she had quit with the first “not yet” she received or surrendered to any discouragement that came her way.

It was a long road but Nia never lost her hope, joy, optimism or faith. In fact, those traits of hers seemed to only magnify and increase with each closed door. This is why it feels so damn good to see her kicking major butt in life these days!  She allowed any and all backlash, “haterade” and tough times that came her way in pageant land to serve and prepare her for her future.  Every disappointment she encountered ended up fueling and motivating her, increasing her confidence profoundly, and sharpening her into the poised, sophisticated and timeless beauty we now call our Miss USA 2014. She’s such a boss…

Chelsea Caswell celebrates with Nia on stage at the Miss Nevada USA 2014 pageant moments after Nia is announced as her successor.

Chelsea Caswell celebrates with Nia on stage at the Miss Nevada USA 2014 pageant moments after Nia is announced as her successor.

The night Nia was crowned as Miss Nevada USA 2014! It was only the beginning!

The night Nia was crowned as Miss Nevada USA 2014! It was only the beginning!

When my girlfriends and I sat in the audience on the night she was crowned Miss Nevada USA, it was tears galore. So many emotions were overflowing that night and I’ll never forget the look on her face when we all ran onto the stage to hug her. Deep in my heart, I knew it was only the beginning for her. Great things happen for people who persevere through all the doubts, insecurities, obstacles and naysayers.

Months later she stole the show at the Miss USA pageant in Baton Rouge and was crowned as our Miss USA 2014!! I could try explaining how intense and emotional that night was to watch, but this video says it all. (Note: It was just like this at Miss Universe. We are such an emotional group of girls lol)

nia7 nia8

2.) Always be thankful and humble/ Never change – So just to recap: Nia won Miss Nevada USA in January 2014, won Miss USA in June 2014, got engaged to the love of her life Daniel Booko in October 2014 and placed first runner up at Miss Universe in January 2015.  As Miss USA, Nia has such an insanely busy schedule, especially in preparing for the Miss Universe pageant. On top of all the pageant prep, she also has a schedule jam-packed with photo shoots, appearances, charity events and so much more. Despite all the cameras flashing and opportunities coming her way, Nia has remained just as humble as ever. She’s still the same Nia I met years ago. She’s still incredibly thoughtful and sincere and puts so much effort into making others feel happy.

Immediately after the Miss Universe pageant, Nia wanted to go out to eat at BJ’s Brewhouse (priorities people!!), but unfortunately it closed at midnight. When we got there five minutes before they closed, the restaurant welcomed Nia and her friends and family in for an additional two hours after closing to the public. Nia was so thankful of course, that despite being incredibly tired, I found her sitting in a booth signing autographs and thank you notes to the entire staff who stayed late to serve us- and that’s the type of girl Nia is: humble and gracious. This was only an hour or so after coming off a nationally televised pageant where she was front and center! Yet, there she was, thinking of others and wanting to make people happy. I will never forget that about her. She hasn’t let the attention and glamour change her heart.  She’s a real inner beauty queen!

Post pageant pazookie!

Post pageant pazookie!

NIA12

Julia Dalton, me, Anastagia Pierre Friel, Alyssa Campanella, Nia Sanchez, Claire Schreiner, Meagan Tandy, Kristen Dalton after Miss Universe

NIA13

Nia aced every portion of the competition. She was flawless. Truly glowing from the inside out!

NIA15

3.) Trust in God’s timing. – When I think of Nia, I think of the scripture Esther 4:14 “And who knows but that you have come into your royal position for such a time as this?” Nia literally waited and waited until it was finally her turn to come into her position as a titleholder. The timing was so perfect because look at all that’s happened in her life under HIS timing. It’s stunning! Sometimes in life we think we know what’s best for us. We want what we want and we want it right away. When we don’t get the things we want in our timing, we grow weary and frustrated. I’ve learned to trust in God’s timing over my own because His plans for me are so much bigger and better than my own hopes and dreams. God clearly had a major plan in his timing for Nia’s amazing journey and it really taught me to fully surrender to God’s timing with all my heart.

NIA16

This is why when Nia wasn’t crowned as Miss Universe on Sunday night, we knew it was setting her up for something even bigger. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12– and that’s the kind of crown a girl like Nia fights for every day.

Congratulations Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014 and 1RU Miss Universe! Your reign as a titleholder may only last for a year, but the legacy you are creating and leaving behind will last forever and ever.  And THAT is what I call a QUEEN.

NIA17