5 Paleo for Women Approved New Year’s Resolutions

5 Paleo for Women Approved New Year’s Resolutions

Woah, 2017. I can’t believe you are almost here!

At the writing of this blog post I’m pondering the making of new years resolutions.  Are they healthy?  Are they harmful?  Are they something in between?

I’ve gone back and forth, but concluded that, like them or not, new year’s resolutions are a part of our culture, exciting and important motivators that can give someone the push they need to make valuable and lasting changes. 

I’m not into crash dieting (or “diets” of any kind really) and I’m not into resolutions that end up making people feel worse about themselves when they fail to live up to unreasonable standards.

But health IS important, and focusing on feeling better and doing better in the new year is something admirable, after all.

So here’s my list of 5 Paleo for Women Approved New Years Resolutions!

#1 Cook More

Cooking is something I usually despise doing and avoid if I can help it.  But it gets old eating canned salmon all the time.

As the new year begins, take some time to plan a daily schedule.

If you’re a detailed list maker, you’ll love it and if you’re not, you might feel caged in, but sketching out your time might show you ways you can be more efficient and leave room for home cooked meals.

Try buying books with meal and shopping plans already inside for you.  Practical Paleo (find it here) is one of my favorites, because it contains meal plans for every possible variation of paleo.

There are other great books too.  Stick with ones that focus on easy recipes that can be made quickly like Well Fed Weeknights (find it here).  Or try books that utilize less dishes for easier cleanup like One Pot Paleo or Paleo Slow Cooker.

Cooking more will mean eating more veggies, one of the biggest indicators of a healthy lifestyle, and will cut down on the amount of rancid oil, sugar and Omega 6 you eat, making you feel healthier, improving skin and cardiovascular health, and probably helping you lose some weight.

#2 Lose Weight

Speaking of losing weight…

I might catch some flack here.  You see, I believe strongly in body positivity and the body positive movement.  That means I do hold firm to a belief in health at every size.

However, I also believe that weight loss can be a valuable goal for certain people. 

Excessive adipose tissue does produce inflammatory responses in the body and does contribute to a range of health issues.  And whether we like it or not, it IS something that we need to consider in our modern world of convenience foods and obesity related illness. 

If you’ve become out of sync with your body, feel you need to lose excessive body weight (and remember that doesn’t mean you need to be stick thin!) the only real difficulty is finding a way to do it gently, positively, and with as little guilt and shame as possible.

That’s where my weight loss program, Weight Loss Unlocked comes in.

It’s designed to help you lose weight efficiently but mindfully, learning to listen to the natural signals of your body, rather than the mean girl in your head. 

It can help you follow those New Years Resolutions without the fad dieting that normally goes with it.  I’d suggest pairing it with a great paleo cookbook with meal plans like the ones I mentioned above.

Find Weight Loss Unlocked Here

#3 Focus on Self-Love

While most people choose to lose weight at the beginning of the new year, it’s just as important to choose to love.

We often become our worst enemies and meanest critics, beating ourselves up and tearing ourselves down. 

Disordered eating, low self-confidence, so many things stem from not loving ourselves. 

To give and recieve love in the new year, we’ve got to start with healing our own hearts.

There are many, many people out there happy to help you do it.

To discover the sexy, confident woman you really are, try reading my book Sexy By Nature.

If you’ve strugged with disordered eating and are ready to take control of negative thinking, try my friend Kayla’s program Starting the Path to Recovery and Discovery here.  Try reading When Food is Love (find it here), a classic for any emotional eater.

If you’re shy, perhaps try pushing yourself to do something that sounds fun but makes you a bit nervous- go out dancing or join friends at a party. 

And if you’re always out to avoid being alone at home, perhaps try a night in of reflective thinking and journaling (Let it Out is a great resource) and sit with some of those emotions. 

You’ll gain self-awareness and balance which we all could use in the new year!

#4  Breathe More

Breathing is something we do far too often without really thinking about it.

Most of us don’t even use the full capacity of our lungs, but only a tiny portion of them. 

And breathe, just like food, is so important to life itself, and quality of life. 

Improper breathing can do damage to the body just as poor food choices can.

Proper breathing, taking deep, long breaths, and long, smooth exhalations, can also be a form of meditation that has been shown to reduce stress, calm the nervous system and relax the mind. 

It’s an imperative especially for those with anxiety, and may help anyone with stress-flaring conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, autoimmune conditions, and more. 

With the new year, I’m vowing to remember to breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity.  I hope you’ll do the same.

#5 Let Go

And as I work to breathe out negativity, I’m going to be trying my best to let go of anger, expectations, and arbitrary standards I place on myself and others. 

2016 was a hard year for many and it’s easy to pick out the bad things that happened and let them stew and boil within us.

We can focus on that negativity, that anger, and let it fester. 

Or we can consciously make the choice to let it go. 

I don’t have a 3 step program to help you do that (though I’m sure one probably exists!) but I think we should try it nonetheless.

Let’s focus our hearts and minds on the good in 2017 and work for peace, justice, and positivity in the new year.

I will.  I hope you will too. 


What are your new year’s resolutions?

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

This Week in Paleo: Starting the Path to Recovery and Discovery

This Week in Paleo: Starting the Path to Recovery and Discovery

There comes a time in each person’s life when they must decipher their own motivations.

In fact, there are probably many times we do this as we seek to learn more about ourselves and come to a greater awareness of who we are.

In the paleo community, many of us swim dangerously close to the deep waters of eating disorders.

We  sometimes hide behind “healthy” food as a mechanism of control.

We sometimes fall a little too deep into our community until the world around us and the food around us begins to create deep fear.

We often worry about our waist size above all else, even our underlying health, even our relationships.

Is there a little (or big) part of you that has strayed into those deep waters?

Do you eat calories, macros or food?

Does food that isn’t “clean” or “paleo” cause you fear or anxiety?

Is being the “healthy role model” more important to you than anything else?

Is being “fat” one of your greatest fears?

Kaila Prins, an advocate for women’s health and a dear friend in the realm of disordered eating recovery, has been helping women face these issues for a long time, ever since she herself began to overcome the battle several years ago.

Her new program; Recover. Discover. Emerge. is changing the way women everywhere think about disordered eating and recovery.  

The program is intended to help those suffering disordered eating, exercise, and mindset issues that are holding them back from fully reaching a place of body acceptance.

The course is intended to introduce you, in two phases, to the world beyond “recovery.”

Kaila is the perfect person to be teaching this course and I’m so excited she is finally doing it!

She has always offered up her help and advice to women when they need it most and couldn’t be a kinder, more beautiful soul.

I know you will get out of her new program something amazing.

Some of us struggle with issues of disordered eating more than others, but it’s common for those of us who need the help most to feel the most resistant to it.

Are you ready for a change?

Are you ready to uncover the beauty of the path to “discovery”?

Are you tired of beating yourself up over the way you look or the food you put into your mouth?

Recover. Discover. Emerge. will help you.

Through a series of phases, Kaila will walk you through exactly how to overcome many specific issues related to body image, disordered eating, exercise bulimia, and more. 

By the end, you’ll have learned what to do to recover, but more than that, you’ll learn about the beautiful life waiting for you beyond recovery.

You’ll discover.  And then you’ll emerge.

The program starts October 9th. 

To learn more about this phenomenal opportunity, visit the program website for Recover. Discover. Emerge. here. 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Want a healthy macronutrient ratio? Do the exact opposite of what you’ve been told

Want a healthy macronutrient ratio? Do the exact opposite of what you’ve been told

For my entire life, I feel like I’ve been given nothing but dietary limits.

Limit meals to 3 per day. Limit snacks to 1 per day. Limit dessert to 1 per day. Limit fruits to 3 per day. Limit fat to 30 grams per day. Limit carbs to 50 grams per day. Limit calories to 1200 per day. Just kidding. Limit calories to 800 per day.

Don’t do this, don’t do that.

Diet in America–the healthy diet everyone always talks about–is always about a limit. It’s about a number. It’s about a prescription, a border, a container. The most trending diet searched on Google in 2015 was the “20/20” diet.

Diet in America gives you a restrictive number, and it’s supposed to be some silver bullet. It combines two of America’s favorite things–numbers and willpower! (I wish I were joking, but I’m not.)

It says: hit this target, strive for this target, work for this target. The more hardcore you are, the better you are. The more hardcore you are, the more willpower you’ll have, and the more the rewards are within your reach. If only you can manage to restrict yourself this much, to this precise amount, you will finally be the healthy, thin woman you always deserved to be. 

(Says Oprah, anyway.)

So this is what diets are all about.

This is what, by and large, paleo is about, too.

Paleo talks so much about macronutrients. And nearly every single bit of advice you will ever hear about macronutrients in the paleosphere is that you should “keep them to” some level. It’s carbs, by the way, that paleo is mostly worried about… other worlds, like vegetarianism, do the same thing with fat.

“Keep carbs low,” they say.

“Limit fruits to a small handful of berries a day.”

“Be sure not to have too much.”

“Go ahead and eat carbs, but not too much.”

“Have some carbs, but only post-workout.”

“Don’t eat more than 200 grams of carbs a day, or else you’re in the “danger zone” with “insidious weight gain.””

You might think things were different.

These days, paleo talks the big talk. It says that it’s progressive about macronutrients.

But all it does is limit them in a different way. 

Instead of saying, “keep carbs under 30 grams a day” it says, instead, “only eat carbs in the evening meal,” or something. Between 6 and 8 pm. 4 hours before bedtime, they say.

To which I say,

“hell no.”

Don’t set macronutrient maximums, set macronutrient minimums

From my point of view, the right thing to do is to throw dietary maximums out the window.

Let’s stop talking about food like it’s something to be corralled.

Let’s stop talking about food like it’s a problem.

Let’s stop talking about food like an indulgence. 

Instead, let’s talk about food like it’s healthy. Let’s talk about food like it’s energy, and fuel. Let’s talk about food like it’s nourishment.

You need food in order to reproduce. You need food in order to be active. You need food into order to feel happy, to feel good, to be kind, to go on adventures, and to live your life.

Protein is a part of this. Fat is a part of this. Carbs are a part of this. Calories are a part of this.

And none of those things (unless you have some specific health condition) should be restricted. None of those things merit fear.

They are all just different components of food, and food is that which gives us life.

In fact, it is much more unhealthy to undereat than it is to overeat. I would rather see a woman eat 400 grams of good, natural carbohydrates a day than 4…. 4000 calories instead of 40.

So let’s stop setting macronutrient maximums, and instead set minimums.

Fat grams, per day, should be at an absolute minimum 30 grams. That is an absolute basement minimum, and should ideally be at least 45 or 50 grams a day as a minimum.

Protein should be 50 grams daily, minimum, for women (and more for athletes).

Carbohydrates should be 100 grams daily, minimum, for women (and more for athletes). If you have a particular health condition such as diabetes or really want to be “low carb,” then 50 grams daily should probably be reasonably sustainble for you. But let’s be real. Most of us don’t need to do that. At all.

Calories should be 2000 minimum, daily. For women.

There, I said it. 2000 calories a day. I’m done pretending like it’s good or okay to eat less. I’m done rationalizing our restrictive eating behaviors. I’m done thinking that it’s okay to undereat, just because society says you don’t deserve to eat, or to have meat on your bones. You can eat less than 2000 calories a day and survive, certainly. And I want you to eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel good and full. But if you ever dip below 2000 calories a day because you don’t feel good about yourself, I hope that you read this post, and read my other posts on self-love, and read my book Sexy by Nature, and look at yourself in the mirror every day and say “I am hot. I am worthy. I am smart. I am capable. I am amazing, and lovable.” Because you are, and I’ll be damned if I let a nutrition label or a jean size or a nasty comment shouted at you from a passing vehicle ever let you feel otherwise.

Eat as many carbs as you want! Eat as much fat! Eat as much volulme! At whatever time of day you want! 

I don’t care! The universe doesn’t care! Your body doesn’t particularly care! I mean certainly, your body cares. But it can be healthy with carbs, healthy with fats, healthy with protein, and healthy with varying calories, eaten at any time of the day! Really!

So in my opinion, the healthy thing to do is to set minimums. The smart thing to do is to set minimums.  The loving thing to do is to set minimums.

When you do this–when you set minimums instead of maximums–you start to think of food as something you should be welcoming into your life with open arms. You think of food as nourishment. You think of food as a gift, and something to be cherished.

And then yourself, as a being worthy of that gift.

 

For  my post on whether you can love yourself and lose weight, check it out, here.

For my post on why I love healthy at every size, check it out, here.

 

 

So there it is. My feelings about macronutrients today. I’m feeling fiery. How about  you? What do you think of this idea? How does it work for you?

 

Tired of living with macronutrient limits?  Here's why setting a minimum is a MUCH better idea.

 

 

 

 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Can You Lose Weight and Still Love Yourself?

Can You Lose Weight and Still Love Yourself?

As a paleo blogger, I keep my ears in a lot of different conversations happening on the web. This helps keep me as open-minded and informed as possible. (Or I try, anyway.)

Two of the conversations I like to pay special attention to are the weight loss conversation, and the body image conversation.

Huh??  is the most common response I get to that. People very often just don’t get it – they don’t get how I can care so deeply about both.

I get a lot of questions from readers — and even from fellow bloggers and authors — who ask me what I think about the relationship between weight loss and self-love. They tell me you cannot possibly care about both at the same time.

They say there is no way I can promote weight loss on one hand, but also on the other hand, tell you (my readers) to love yourselves unconditionally. 

Is it possible to both be on a weight loss journey and still love your body as it is?

You bet it is.

Here’s how:

1) Remember your Weight is not Who You Are

The most important thing you can do for your self-love while trying to lose weight  (or doing anything, really), is to remember that you are far more than the way you look.

In fact, I would argue that you are NOT the way that you look, at all. Period.

You are your values, your personality, your quirks, your history, your family, your friends, your passion, your work, your relationships, your love, your spirit, your energy.

Your body is your home. That’s all. The way that it looks does not make you who you are.

This is not an easy recommendation to follow, I understand, but I promise you that the more you focus on the things you love about yourself that are on the inside, the less you will feel like you need to be at war with what’s on the outside.

2) Prioritize Health

Another great way to love yourself and lose weight at the same time is to focus on the aspects of the weight loss journey that are not aesthetic.

Sometimes losing weight can make you healthier and decrease the amount of inflammation you have in your body (if you have a lot of it).

Health, energy, peace, positive outlook, and improved physical fitness are all great benefits that you might get from weight loss.

The way that you look is honestly way down at the bottom of things that you can get from weight loss, in terms of how good they are and how much they help you live a happy, fulfilling life.

3) Acknowledge Your History

You have a set of genes you were born with.

You have an immune system that was set up by your infant care and nursing environment.

You have a body that has endured decades of bad meals, peddled to you by corporations that profit off of Sugary Cereals and Franken-Foods.

You have endured health crises, stressful life events, and so much more.

No one in the world knows your story as well as you do. You are the only person who knows what you and your body have been through.

Embrace your story. Embrace where you and your body are right now at this moment. Accept your past, and walk forward together, with your body.

Don’t let people make you feel judged, especially when they don’t know your story. Instead, hold your story close to your heart, and remember that you are your own being with your own needs, and on your own path.

4) Acknowledge that Your Body is Trying to be Healthy

From the day you were born, the only thing your body has tried to do is be healthy.

This is a real thing.

Certain obstacles have gotten in it’s way… from bad medical advice to poor science to those Franken-food peddlers I mentioned above…

But the point is that your body is not to blame.

You are not to blame.

You are both victims here.

So instead of going to war with your body for weight loss, I recommend getting on your body’s side and go to war together against the world.

Your body is doing it’s best – so don’t be mad. Give it a hug and all the compassion you can muster. Your body really, really deserves it.

5) Get Comfortable with Who You Are

The more you love who you are on the inside, the less you need to stress about what’s going on on the outside.

Sometimes we think that our problem is our bodies…

But what it actually is is ourselves. 

Sometimes we use our bodies as a target for hate, when what we are truly uncomfortable with is a problem within ourselves.

Maybe you feel unworthy. If you do, ask yourself why. Maybe you feel afraid. Ask yourself why. Maybe you don’t think anybody likes you. Ask yourself why.

Then, once you figure out why, you can help tear down those illusions and build up a more positive vision of yourself in their place.

Ask yourself if you can become more comfortable with who you are… hell, ask if you can become super confident and badass about who you are!

The more you love yourself on the inside, the more you can make changes to the outside without feeling like so much is at stake.

6) Envision Your Body as Your Home or  Your Car

Your home is your shelter. It’s your safety. It’s your cozy abode.

It has four walls that protect you, and it has central air, and it keeps you comfortable and alive.

For that, you have every reason to be unendingly grateful.

Yet you can also expend effort re-painting the shutters, or oiling the squeaky hinges on the front door.

You can love your home with all your heart, and still want to make changes.

The same concept applies to a car.

It gets you from point A to point B, which is super amazing.

Yet you can also change the oil, or pad the brakes, or pimp out the stereo system.

Think about your body like you would your home or your car. You have never ending gratitude for how amazing they are… yet in a fun and lighthearted way, you can make improvements.

It’s like a cool new episode of Celebrity Cribs or Pimp My Ride. 

You can love your body, and still want to make it better… for both of your sakes.

7) Progress with Patience

Patience is the key to just about every important thing we will ever do in our lives.

Weight loss is no exception.

Your body has been through many trials, as have you personally.

The more patience you can muster for yourself and your body (because you both really are trying your best), the less stress you will endure while losing weight, and the more fun you will have.

Sit back and breathe. A few steps forward, a few steps back. No big deal. Patience!

8) The More You Love Your Body, The More it Loves You Back

The more you heap love on your body… with patience, with acceptance, with listening, with giving it the nutrients it needs…

The more it loves you back.

The more you give your body rest and healing, the more it actually heals. 

This means all the benefits you like, such as better energy, better mood, lower inflammation, and even increased weight loss.

Not like you need that to happen – but it does!

And this is definitely a real thing that women witness all the time. It is, in fact, the underlying principle of my book on women’s bodies and confidence, Sexy by Nature.

9) Do not Self-Sabotage

Avoiding self-sabotage might be easier said than done, but it definitely can be done.

The problem with sabotage is that most women do it before they even realize it’s too late… by compromising their healthy habits, going out drinking, eating too many “cheat” – “unhealthy” – meals.

The best way to avoid it is to be constantly vigilant about it from the get-go. Constantly remind yourself that change is okay. That you are doing the right thing. That your choice is good for you, and that nothing scary will happen at all if your body changes size.

Get yourself ready for the change, and embrace it when it comes.

Self-sabotage can really make self-love difficult, because it makes us frustrated with ourselves. If that happens to you, it’s okay. If you can avoid, though, all the better!

Just remember: love, acceptance, and patience progress are the name of the success game. (I talk about self-sabotage more in this post: How to Stop Self Sabotaging Weight Loss.)

In sum…

Some people think that you cannot love yourself and be on a weight loss journey at the same time, because self-love means no change. 

This is wrong.

Some people believe that you can’t love yourself unless you are on a weight loss journey, because self love for them means getting as skinny as society wants you to be.

This is also wrong.

For me, self-love and weight loss are two things that can exist independently, but that do work really well together, if you do them right.

In fact, if you happen to use the program I wrote for female weight loss, Weight Loss Unlocked, you will find that all of these principles are laced heavily throughout the book. I use self-love practices to support weight loss rather than to antagonize it, by coupling loving practices with the best tools and tips I know from the science of women’s bodies.

(If you don’t use the program obviously that’s no big deal, but if you’re curious you can check it out at this link.)

And, as ever, I would love love love to hear what you think! If health or weight loss are involved in any of your resolutions this year, what does that mean to you? How is it influencing your life? How do you feel about yourself? I want to know!

loseweightloveselfPIN

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

5 Must-Know Things About Self-Love

5 Must-Know Things About Self-Love

 

The following post is a guest post by…. you guessed it! The world famous and super fabulous body-image expert Summer Innanen. And she’s got a brand new book out that’s available for FREE on the 27th… read to the end to get a link for it!

 

When you’ve struggled to have a positive body image, it can be difficult to feel optimistic about getting to a point where you love yourself. As someone who spent most of her life hating her body and measuring her self-worth by her jean size, the idea of loving myself seemed completely far-fetched. Feeling comfortable in my own skin was a state of being that I’d never experienced.

 

Years later (with lots of self-discovery and support!) I can truthfully tell you that I rarely think anything negative about my body anymore. I don’t compare myself to other women. I don’t let my body hold me back from wearing clothes that aren’t “flattering.” I no longer seek others’ approval to build my self-worth. Through this process and helping other women to do the same, I’ve learned so much. I want to share some of the things that I wish I’d known when I started this journey – these are excerpt that are pulled from my book Body Image Remix.

 

Here are 5 must-know things about self-love.

 

  1. What self-love really means.

Contrary to what certain body wash companies might have you believe, loving yourself doesn’t mean you walk through a door that says “beautiful”. We misinterpret self-love as meaning we’ll wake up and wink at our reflection in the mirror everyday. While it’s great to have moments where you feel sexy (and you certainly deserve it!), I want you to know that embodying self-love is so much more than this.

 

At its core, having a positive body image is about having unconditional love and compassion for yourself. It’s about knowing ourselves, showing up as ourselves, and treating ourselves with trust, respect, and kindness. It’s about knowing that we’re enough just as we are – even if we don’t like every part of ourselves. Focus on treating yourself with the utmost kindness and respect, regardless of your appearance, and you will find peace of mind much more readily.

 

  1. It’s about your beliefs.

When I ask women what they struggle with when it comes to body image, they always mention parts of their body that they “hate”. Your body is not what you struggle with in reality. What you struggle with is the negative voice in your head that is telling you there is something wrong with you. Changing your body is not going to make that go away.

 

While your self-loathing may dissipate momentarily if your body shape changes, it’s generally a false sense of validation that is not intrinsic or long-lasting. Unless you deal with the beliefs inside your head, thinness is not going to be the catalyst to your self-love. This change needs to come from within, and you get there by changing your mindset. A huge piece of cultivating positive body image is about identifying the beliefs that are holding you back, challenging them and choosing new beliefs that will support you moving forward.

 

  1. It’s not an overnight process.

Self-love is a complex masterpiece and it requires patience. It is not a diet. There’s no immediate payoff. If you have been buying season tickets to the crash diet mayhem in our culture, you might tend to expect big changes in short periods of time. Cultivating self-love happens in the complete opposite way—it consists of so many different layers, inputs, and outputs. There are huge rewards, believe me, but they are often less tangible and not always immediate. Patience is extremely important in this process.

 

The journey to self-love is the furthest thing from linear and it’s definitely not the shortest distance between two points. Some days, you might feel like you’ve taken three steps forward and then five steps back. Sometimes, you might feel a euphoric sense of peace, and all seems right in the world. The beauty of this journey is that with each setback, you learn more about yourself. You appreciate how far you have come and become better equipped to surf the rough waves in the future.

 

It’s impossible to jump from hate to love, so celebrate every step you take along the way.

 

  1. It’ll feel scary and that’s a good thing.

I want you to get in touch with what you want in life by loving yourself—to feel more confident in social situations? To hit the beach in a bathing suit? To walk past a mirror without doing a stomach check? One of the things I encourage women to do is to start doing the things they have been avoiding in the body they have today. Whatever it is for you, I guarantee there is a level of fear that rises to the surface when you think about doing those things. Usually this fear is rooted in, “OMG, what will people think of me!” It’s critical to recognize that this is the good kind of fear. This is the kind of fear you want to link arms and dance into the sunset with.

 

Here’s the truth: Loving yourself and showing up to this party know as life as your true self takes serious guts and is the ultimate act of rebellion in a society that tells you who you should be. That means it’s going to feel scary to do the things you’ve been avoiding. Accept and lean into this fear knowing that every time you take action, it will get easier and ultimately it’s going to lead you to a more freeing and joyful existence.

 

  1. Compassion over confidence.

On the heels of that last point, stepping into your fear and faking it until I make it is only one piece of the puzzle. We don’t always need more confidence; what we really need more of is compassion.

 

Confidence is the courage to show up as the woman you want to be today. Compassion is the capacity to embrace imperfection and be OK with the outcome, no matter what happens. One of my favorite unattributed Pinterest quotes is: “Confidence is not ‘they will like me,’ it’s ‘I’ll be OK if they don’t.’” Where this quote falls short is that confidence doesn’t actually help you to be OK if they don’t—compassion does. Compassion helps us to forgive and be kind to ourselves and is all about the ability to relate to yourself with kindness. If you’re relating to yourself in a harsh, disrespectful, or unkind way, it’s time to change that. Being gentle, kind, forgiving, and understanding to yourself via compassion is the most important skill to master in order to foster self-love.

 

If you’re ready to get on with the life you’ve been putting on hold and stop letting the scale, your jean size, dietary macros and Fitbit points dictate your self-worth, then get the book Body Image Remix for free when it releases on Friday November 27th here.

 

3D

 

Summer Innanen is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Body Image Coach. She helps women all over the world to ditch their diet demons, amp up their confidence, and break free of chronic dieting and guilt through her private and group coaching at summerinnanen.com. She is the author of Body Image Remix, creator of the 21 Step Body Image Remix program and host of Fearless Rebelle Radio, a podcast dedicated to empowering women to live life on their own terms.

 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

The Myth of Female Sexual Complexity

The Myth of Female Sexual Complexity

Today is a day for ranting.

Today is a good day.

Here we go.

…..

Have you ever heard someone say “the female body is so complicated?”

Have you heard female genitals referred to as complex, mysterious, strange, alien, or elusive?

Have you ever heard the female orgasm described as “impossible” in large part because “it’s just more difficult to make it happen for women than it is for men”?

Perhaps you have heard the female body described this way your entire life, so none of this seems strange to you?

This is exactly the case for nearly every woman and girl in America today.

Today, we live in a world in which the female body is a “mystery.”

It’s complex. It’s elusive. (By the way, if you can get it to orgasm, you are a hero.)

Most people probably just basically think these sorts of statements are true. “Sure,” you may say. Of course that’s true. It just makes sense.

And even if people think that this whole mysterious idea is incorrect, it’s likely that they don’t find it problematic. So they don’t care all that much. What’s the big deal? Who cares if the female body is thought of as mysterious or not? Should anybody care? Does anybody care?

This girl does:

Stefani Ruper

 

 

And she cares a lot. Here’s why:

The Myth

I believe that “female complexity” – especially with regard to genitals – is a myth.

I believe we have constructed this myth over the course of centuries and decades. Throughout Western history, men have been considered normal. But women have been abnormal, deviant, tempting and even devilish. (Trust me, I study religion for a living.) Men have been the status quo. Women have been The Other.

Men’s bodies have been acceptable, and women’s bodies have not. Men’s bodies have been studied extensively and treated well, and women’s bodies have not. Men’s bodies have been applauded for their ability to rape, dominate, and insemniate, and women’s bodies have not.

Moreover.

Men’s pleasure has been and today continues to be thoroughly studied, advocated, and glorified. Think of all of the pop culture references to oral sex performed on men. Think of ‘milk shakes’ bringing all the boys to the yard. Think of Christina Aguilera in Eminem’s Slim Shady and who she gave head to first.

Think of all the drawings of penises you see scribbled over journals, lockers, graffiti walls, and even people’s faces when they pass out drunk. Think of being asked to join the “pen 15” club when you were in junior high school. Think of the way in which it is acceptable to say “penis” in public, but everyone kind of lowers their voice when they say “vagina.”

Think of all the Cosmo articles about how to please your man. Think of the expectations placed on your ability to perform oral sex on a man, starting from a young age. I very, very clearly remember a good friend of mine disappearing behind a factory with a boy to pleasure him when we were twelve years old. Twelve! She did not receive sexual attention from a man in a loving manner until years later. I also remember the high amount of pressure placed on me and my girlfriends as we began journeys into sexuality and adulthood, and needed to give our partners oral sex or else we were prude. I am by no means saying that the way we behaved was awesome. Nor am I saying that we need to stop teenagers from being sexual. Not at all. Neither  is the case.

But what I am trying to demonstrate is that in our culture, male pleasure is very significant, and the male reproductive organs are much more acceptable than the female.

Nowadays, our culture is definitely less skitish about female pleasure, don’t get me wrong. But that doesn’t mean any significant battles have actually been won.

Deconstructing the myth

I believe that the whole idea that the female body is sooooo complex guys omg arises out of our culture’s attachment to and acceptance of male pleasure. It is a fabrication. It is a lie. It (subconsciously) justifies our persistent denial of female sexual equality and needs.

And it needs to stop. Now.

Imagine, if you will, a culture in which the female sex was dominant.

Is it not easy to reverse the roles? Is it not easy to imagine vulvas scrawled on subway doors, lewd pop culture images of men pleasuring women, and penises shunned as abnormal and complicated to please …. whereas vulvas are celebrated for their simplicity and ease for pleasuring?

Consider a diagram of each the male sexual organs and the female sexual organs.

If you remove as many mental biases as you can, can you not perhaps see that the penis and the vulva are actually not all that different? That they are actually not all that more simple or complicated than one another? In fact, the general anatomy of these two structures is the same, and made out of the same tissue! A clitoris is simply a small version of a penis – or, a much better way to put it: a penis is simply a large version of a clitoris. Lips are the female equivalent, more or less, of testes. And then there is a vagina, in which a penis can go. The female anatomy is not a huge mysterious complexity. It is not. It simply is NOT.

We only think it is, because we have been told it is.

I invite you then to think about what it takes to sexually pleasure male or female genitals. In our culture, we always say, “it’s so easy to please a man” and “so hard to please a woman.”

But  please. Excuse me. At least you can breathe when you perform oral sex on a woman. You cannot always really do so when you perform oral sex on a man, because there is oftentimes a large object in the way of your wind pipe.

And is it all that more “simple”?

No! It isn’t. (And I can say this, I really can, with experience, because I have sexual relations with all genders.) The penis has good erogenous zones and bad ones, just like the female genitalia do. And it can be approached in many different complex ways, just like the female genitalia. Some people like some actions, and some people like others.*

Period. End of story. Everybody has preferences. It’s not just women.

We think women are harder to please because we have come from a history of shunning the female body.

Now: it may be slightly easier to bring a man to orgasm, especially young men (seriously, wow)… BUT data collected in hospital studies actually tells us that when women and men masturbate, it takes them the exact same amount of time to orgasm. 

This fact is alarming, because what it means is that we have literally convinced ourselves that women cannot orgasm simply because (many) guys simply don’t want to make it happen…

and used something like “but female genitalia are so complicated!” as an excuse.

Guess what, everybody.

Not that complicated.

Broader implications

You might  think then… so what?

“I don’t care all that much about sex.”

“I don’t care all that much about physical pleasure.”

Well, to be honest with you, I don’t either.

But I care about this so deeply because it is a part of an underlying problem:

when women are ignored, denied,  mistreated, or misunderstood sexually, it means that they are being ignored, denied, mistreated, and misunderstood in other realms, too.

None of it is separate from anything else. Our culture’s attitude towards women permeates all aspects of our lives. 

Because we do this. We think that women are mysterious. 

Men are simple, we say. Women are complex!

Men are rational. Women are emotional and impulsive.

Men are straightforward. Women are circular.

Men are sane. B*tches be crazy.

These things are all very real, and very problematic.

So what do we do about it?

Chipping away at one specific angle of gender misconceptions at a time – and especially one as emotionally charged as sex organs – will go a long way toward making a more equitable, compassionate and empathetic future for the sexes.

I really believe it will. I do, I do.

-We get more open (pun unintended but awesome) in general about the vagina and the whole vulva.

-We become more comfortable with the words themselves. Vulva. Vagina. Clitoris. Vulva. Vagina. Clitoris.

-In fact, we make a point to emphasize the words ‘vulva’ and ‘clitoris’ because ‘vagina’ – the one that’s most well-known – is only the most famous one because it’s the part a man puts his penis in.

-We teach those words to young people as easily as we do other sexual terms.

-We have discussions with our lovers about how to please us. We don’t expect that people just know. In the culture we live in especially, that’s just not in the cards. It’s not necessarily fair. So we have to communicate openly and lovingly with our partners about what works for us and what doesn’t.

-We stand up for our right  for sexual pleasure, along with all other kinds of reciprocity and empathetic treatment.

-We talk with young boys and girls about gender dynamics, and the history of gender imbalance.

-We educate young people about the physiology of both male and female bodies equally, and do not do so with language that discourages comfort with the female body.

… and that’s all I’ve got for ideas for now.

 

Do you have any ideas about what we can do?

Please let me know! I feel very strongly about this (not like that wasn’t obvious)….

So any input you have would be great!!

 

Finally, take a look at these three awesome books, which are the cornerstone of my sexual know-how and a big part of the reason I wrote this blog and feel this way:

She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman

He Comes Next: The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Pleasuring a Man

The Guide to Getting it On: A Book about the Wonders of Sex

And this post:

The Real Reason Women Orgasm Less Than Men

 

I believe that "female complexity" - especially with regard to genitals - is a myth.

 

 

*The fact that we call the penis “simple” in fact I think has been detrimental to male pleasure, too – because it stops hetero women and queer men from treating this organ with the detailed attention it deserves.

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.