Saying No to Diet Culture

Hi Everyone,

This week I’m talking all about diet culture. What is diet culture? It’s essentially a society and mindset that is centered on weight and size (over your actual health). Is this healthy? No. Is it super common right now? Unfortunately yes.

Society has a gravitation towards “thin” bodies because it’s what we see most in media and on magazine covers. Whenever you see notifications in your email inbox or advertisements for the latest skinny tea or magical vitamin, chances are the words “weight loss” will be in there somewhere to reel you in. How to get a bikini body, how to drop the pounds… these headlines are so common and are associated with “getting healthy.” While there is a lot of progress happening to expand the definition of beauty and less emphasis on the “ideal” body that truly does not exist, so many people worldwide are still get discouraged from the effects of diet culture.

Diet culture essentially ignores science and body diversity. Body-types exist for a reason! Genetics play a major role in how your body responds to nutrition and fitness, as well as different types of fitness. Weight loss has become more marketable than promoting how to maintain authentic emotional and physical health, and positive relationships with food.

IMG_3935

IMG_3933

Why do you need a positive relationship with food? Because you don’t want to spend your life seeing food as calories. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend calorie counting to anyone, unless istructed by a doctor for health reasons. Seeing food as solely negative or positive for weight loss is not only restricting, but it creates stress and anxiety if you “slip up.”

My motto for food: if you do indulge in something that is low in nutrients, has higher saturated fat than you would like to admit, or is full of empty calories, indulge in moderation. For instance, I probably haven’t had soda in a month, but I had a root beer today while I worked on my website and it was glorious (shoutout to Trader Joe’s for making a more natural formula). I had zero guilt.

While we’re on the topic of guilt, stop referring to food as “guilty pleasures.” Even if it’s a joke between you and your friends, it could be effecting your relationship with food at a deeper level than you think. Peep me eating a cupcake below for my brother’s birthday. A cupcake, yes. It was piña colada flavored. 

IMG_0150

Diet companies are advertising weight loss in the form of trends, making them more attractive by categorizing them by season or attempting to customize them to you by pulling at your emotional insecurities with body image. The tricky thing is, we’ve become so used to it as consumers that it seems normal. And people feel bad if their bodies don’t meet the margins.

To be clear, I don’t read the magazines or look at celebrities diets they swear by to maintain their figures. I listen to my own body. This is crucial. If one take-away from this post resonates, I would hope that would be it. Focus on what works for you, learn what your body likes and dislikes. I can guarantee that piggy-backing on what works for someone else will frustrate you anyway. If this sounds opposing from what companies and sponsored instagram advertisements have been trying to sell you… good. That’s music to my ears.

A little background on my weight (not weight loss) journey. I had a somewhat negative relationship with fitness up until 2 years ago, given how much cardio I felt I needed to do to be “fit” and skinny. I honestly had no business doing cardio on top of my collegiate tennis training, and I was over-exercising. Yes that happens! I didn’t want to do extra, I just felt that I was more attractive being a lot lighter in weight. No wonder it was hard for me to gain a bum! How much I have learned since then, let me tell you. And I am spending LESS time in the gym.

I’m not saying it’s easy to navigate all the types of fitness or the broad spectrum of healthy diets. I myself am now questioning if I need to make changes for my digestion and gut health, not for a trend or for the goal of weight loss. I just want to live my life feeling good internally, because that is more important to me now, as I’ve jumped through hurdles with my body image in the past.

IMG_3953

I sincerely hope this discussion of body image and diet culture either resonated, or has inspired you to look at nutrition and fitness in a more positive light!

Stay bold and confident xx

Check out my Instagram for my recipes, fitness tips, and mental health  at k_stateofmind.

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18232251/?claim=c36ecczhdtd”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

-Kelly

 

6 Tips for Mental Health And Self-Care

Hi everyone,

This week I am writing a piece very applicable to the title of my blog (K State of Mind). I wanted to touch upon mental health awareness and why it’s important. This post is recognizing tips I use to maintain a positive state of mind, and you’ll get to know me a little more along the way. ♥

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Let’s get that out of the way. As someone that loves fitness, I can be very happy physically but low mentally.

Mental health is often not a comfortable subject to discuss. It’s often cast aside, to prioritize other parts of one’s life. People have amazing talents of compartmentalizing; putting some obstacles, issues, thoughts into mental boxes to later work on as they tackle the most urgent task at hand. However, just as machines can go into overdrive, so can a person.

I wanted to share my favorite effective ways to aid my mental health. I find them to be really good mood boosters, or ways for me to get out of my own head. And trust me, I am guilty of being an over-thinker.

♥ Writing/journaling

I’ve been writing since I was little. It started out as journal entries, and merged into poetry. Poetry is a huge release for me, not to mention a form of creative expression. I can sometimes find out how I really feel after reciting my own words back to me.  I feel as though my thoughts and emotions are being channeled into something I can utilize and reflect on.

IMG_2065

IMG_2047

I am sure that one day I will write a novel. I have multiple ideas already, one in particular that would be so exposing it makes me a bit nervous to even consider. Writing is something I would highly recommend to anyone, whether it is even jotting down ideas or concepts. Writing is extracting ideas from your mind and putting them somewhere else. If journaling could be your thing (I’ve been in and out of this phase), do that. Get a small journal and carry it with you as a sort of experiment, and you’ll be amazed at the self-reflection.

♥ Organization

I find that my mood is lessened when I’m disorganized. When my room is a mess, I’m either too busy in my schedule to be my tidy self or I’m too moody to clean it properly. Basically, my room is a clear way of knowing how I’m doing. I like to be tidy and know where everything is. A cluttered mind is similar, isn’t it?

Committing to a planner is a good idea. Even if you have a relatively regulated schedule, you’ll find yourself holding yourself accountable more often if you use a planner. Whichever method you choose, electronic or not, keep yourself as organized as you can to avoid things slipping your mind. Forgetfulness is natural, but if you have something written in your planner, you won’t have to experience the stress of that forgetfulness . Stress is not your friend.

IMG_2075

♥ Exercise

Yes, I love to exercise. As you have seen from my social media and bio about my journey as a college athlete, exercise is ingrained in me as a positive thing. Which I am immensely grateful for. Exercise releases endorphins that moderate stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise also aids better sleep, which, let’s be honest, is commonly associated with mood fluctuation. Cognitive function has also been connected to exercise. The benefits are really endless here.

Whichever form of exercise you like- weights, cycling, running, yoga… make going to a class or hitting the weights a priority in your routine. If you watch one less Stranger Things, you could get a workout in. Over time, your body image positivity will increase and your mind will start to automatically desire exercise. If you don’t know which kind of exercise to start with, write a comment below and I’ll brainstorm with you. xx

IMG_1937

IMG_1992.jpg

IMG_1984

♥ Nature

Getting out into nature is therapy. The fresh air and lack of concrete gets me every time. The limited technology and surplus of wildlife makes me ask myself why I don’t spend more time outdoors. Drive past the highway and take the side roads. Go on a hike or spend time at the lake.

Did you know that urban living increases the occurrence of anxiety and mood disorders? It’s interesting to think how our daily exposure, whether urban or rural, effects our mental health.

I did happen to write a blog post a few months back about hiking and its benefits for mental health. Check it out here.

1042 edit

♥ Music

Music is lovely, plain and simple. Whether you’re into R &B or Country, Rap or Pop, music is a definite mind release. My go-to feel good music (yes I just wrote that) is country music. It’s simple in all the right ways and always lightens my mood. You won’t find country in my workout playlist, though.

IMG_1927

♥ Unplugging

I feel like this is sometimes the hardest thing to do in our current generation. We love to have our phones next to us when we sleep, in our pockets, on the table as we work. We jump to see our notifications, group chats, or hilarious memes. We communicate constantly in person and on social media.

What sometimes really helps? Unplugging completely. I know this is a solution from personal experience. My phone dies on occasions, and I actually feel momentarily relieved. I don’t have the option to check my phone. Who’s messaged me, what someone DM’ed me on Instagram or tagged me in on Facebook. I don’t need to know. I can just unplug. I don’t have to communicate.

Communication is essential, but constant communication? Definitely not. Unplug and draw yourself a bath, or take out your neglected library book. Social media and your emails will be there when you plug back in.

Anxiety has effected my life, there’s no denying that. My body reacts to stress and anxiety, so I focus really hard on these tips to keep myself balanced. I’ve had anxiety attacks. There shouldn’t be any shame in acknowledging things like this, and I have zero shame in it. While I’m a confident and strong person, I have the moments where the small voice in my head seems to dominate my confident one. It happens. It’s a journey of getting to know yourself.

IMG_1036 Edit

Self-Compassion and self-care should be on your life’s to-do-list. Imagine they are written in permanent marker.

 

I hope my personal tips were helpful. xx

Have the best week,

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Surrounding Yourself with Plants for your Health and Happiness

Hi loves,

This is a plant dedication post. Because plants are essential, not to mention they have 10/10 aesthetic.

As the air gets progressively more polluted, you know what saves the day for your oxygen and respiratory health? Plants. They may as well be the superpower of global warming. The earth is heating up and there are more cars made every day, and more chemicals are released into the air and water. No, this isn’t a negative post. Read on.

I love plants. When I walk into a nursery and there are designated rooms and sections for various plants, my heart is warm. No joke. I’m growing my plant collection and there are so many benefits of owning plants in your home.

IMG_0020

IMG_0044

IMG_0036

Pictured above is me finding the adorable cafe in Sky Nursery and explaining to the barista what it’s like shooting for my blog when random people are staring at me like I’m not wearing pants. She found it all pretty entertaining. Back to the plant admirations..

Plants are the cleaners of the air we breathe. They absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale and replace that carbon dioxide with fresh oxygen. There is a reason why people feel they can breathe again when they go into nature after living in the bustling city. There aren’t as many plants and trees in a city. In fact, cities like New York, the city of concrete, are known to be extra unhealthy for your lungs and skin because there is no plant life around you. Your skin is just taking in all of the free radicals in the air.

In addition, research studies have revealed that indoor air can be up to ten times more polluted than outdoor air. There is quite an accumulation of dust and bacteria, even mold, that can occur in your household. Homes have a lot of plastic from plastic bags and containers, trash, cleaning supplies, detergents… all items that can cause allergic reactions. If you have sensitive skin or have had history of contact dermatitis, you might want to consider switching to healthier “greener” household products and adding plants to reduce your indoor air pollution.

If you want me to get all historical on you, the early Greeks and Romans started the trend of bringing plants inside, and they were onto something. The victorians also favored potted plants. A University of Michigan study even noted that being in the presence of plants can boost your memory retention up to twenty percent. I do not have the direct link to this resource, that is completely off of memory.

IMG_0037

IMG_0067

I really got into my plant collection due to receiving them as gifts. Plants make amazing gifts, simple yet thoughtful, and they have a higher life expectancy than flowers. Flowers are a nice thought, but they wilt in that vase in your kitchen whereas plants grow and expand.

On another note: if you are trying to train yourself to get a pet, get a plant first. Pay attention to its health. If you leave a plant in a dark corner, that’s a red flag. Plants kind of need the photo in photosynthesis.

IMG_9983

IMG_9985

Plants have amazing healing properties. Instead of buying aloe vera gel, why not have the gel from the real source? I now have my own aloe plant and I use the gel for sunburns and scratches. Not to mention it will continue to grow and the gel will be 100% natural and directly plant derived, instead of getting it from a plastic tube in the supermarket.

Another reason I have personally become so fond of plants is my recent switch to plant-based makeup and skincare. The result? Absolute bliss. My skin can tell the difference. No extra chemicals, no fake ingredients, just the good stuff.

I fully plan to continue this plant loving series with details of my new “green” makeup and skincare routines, so stay tuned for those! I hope you enjoyed these pictures in the nursery and my reasoning to start becoming a plant mom. xx

My outfit in this photo set is all from Athleta, paired with my Adidas Originals Superstars.

My Instagram blog page is @k_stateofmind and my photography page is @kellyzphoto.

-Kelly