FIRST THOUGHT: What’s Disordered Eating?
Think about yourself or someone you know and answer a few questions: Do you have anxiety associated with certain foods? Do you feel guilt or shame after eating something? Does your weight or exercise or eating habits consume your thoughts? These are just a few characteristics of disordered eating, something that has become all too “normal.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about how commonplace it is to talk with your girlfriends about how you’re not eating this or that; how you’re trying out this diet or that wellness plan. It isn’t easy being a woman. We’ve all probably spent too much time comparing ourselves to others, particularly our physiques. I’m tired of it, aren’t you?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 50 Million
The World Wide Web can either squash this ongoing trend or promote it. It’s crucial that we step back and take a seriously critical eye at the content we, particularly our daughters and other girls, consume. There are a staggering 50 million users on YouTube creating all kinds of stuff, from adorable complications of puppies falling asleep to “How to fold a fitted sheet” to dangerous propaganda. Click and scroll wisely.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Sarah Stevenson, Founder of Sarah's Day
One of those 50 million users is today’s Woman to Watch, Sarah Stevenson. She’s from the land down under (are Australians tired of hearing that?) and uses her YouTube channel, Sarah’s Day, to promote a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on body positivity. Yes, please.
Sarah doesn’t have a formal education in health, wellness or fitness. She’s self-taught; she dropped out of university to focus on her channel full-time, and it looks like it paid off, because her near-million followers appreciate her advice and ideas, and brands pay her to promote their products. Only content creators with a big following get paid for their content, so Sarah has been able to make a business out of her channel, even selling a line of active wear.
One of the stories Sarah has shared that garnered significant interest was how disordered eating affected her periods. Now, she focuses on eating whole foods and uncomplicating her meals.
One of Sarah’s nuggets of advice? Stop counting calories. For Sarah, it took the enjoyment out of eating. We all know that’s one of life’s pleasures! Instead, Sarah listens to her body, her intuition. If you only base your eating habits on calories, you’re missing out on higher-calorie foods that are super good for you, so you officially have permission to devour that avocado toast this morning.
There’s something to be said for using your surroundings to support a healthy lifestyle, too. Sarah says any time she was a bit grumpy, her mom would send her outside. A change of scenery, fresh air and sunshine often turned things around. Part of feeling good and looking good has quite a lot to do with how good your heart feels, right?
It’s important to take inspiration from influencers without following their regimen or routines down to a T. Being yourself is the healthiest thing you can be. When Sarah looks back to her school days, she remembers comparison taking up a whole lot of space in her mind. Her school didn’t allow makeup, making it tough to hide from her cystic acne. While her friends seemed to develop quickly, Sarah was still waiting for puberty to kick in. The result of all of this? More time spent hiding herself than having fun.
Now, Sarah knows what matters: a healthy, drama-free lifestyle so she can feel her best and be her most productive, happy self.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Let’s end the day with a little food for thought from Sarah Stevenson:
"Act confident and no one will question you."