#BOAW2015: Where Does Real Beauty Lay?

boaw-logo-2015-originalHey there. Dana Ellington here with the 2015 edition of The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest.  This wonderful event is the brainchild of body-positive blogger and radio talk show hostess August McLaughlin.  If it’s anything like years past, you will definitely find some wonderful nuggets of inspiration and empowerment.  Click here to read more.

My entry last year was about body love and provided some simple things you could do to squelch the chatter of your inner critic. This year’s post adds more of those easy to fit into your daily routine, real life type activities that are sure to bolster your beautiful self.

Beauty as an Inside Job

Stop doing things to your outsides thinking it’s going to “make” you beautiful and start doing things to your insides that guarantee you’ll FEEL beautiful. Toss the diets, the expensive make-up, the thirty minute beauty regimen that is more than likely doing more harm to your skin overall than you think. Instead, focus on doing and eating things that promote the healthy operation of your body on the whole.

1.  Drink more water (there’s an ap for that, lol. I use Water Your Body) – While there is a lot of debate going on as to how much water you should be drinking, there’s very little about why you SHOULDN’T be drinking those sugary, useless calorie laden beverages the majority of us are fond of. I am a sweet-tea junkie. There wasn’t a meal that went down my gullet that wasn’t backed up by a 32oz serving of the sweet tea.  Since I started using the ap to remind me to get my fill of H2O as well, there isn’t much room for the sugary stuff. I won’t say all of these miraculous things happened to my “look” since the switch, but I will say I FEEL as if I’m doing a massive amount of good for my body, which in turn, makes me FEEL better overall.

2. Move Your Body (a.k.a. exercise) – most people I know dread the idea of going to the gym, or doing any kind of movement that can be remotely described as exercise. I get that. I used to feel that way myself. Until I made this critical shift in my thinking.  I stopped thinking of movement in terms of losing weight so I could fit into my skinny jeans and instead thought more about being HEALTHY.  I’m 47 years old. Skinny jeans and 47 years old don’t belong in the same sentence ;-).  But what do go together are the words “Health” (strong bones, steady heart beat, normal blood pressure, etc.) and “Beauty”.  Marketing campaigns aside, when you are HEALTHY, you LOOK good.  But, if the word “exercise” still makes you grimace, then ditch the “exercise programs” and instead, find some ways to move your body for 15 minutes as many times a day as you can squeeze it in; per many a self-help guru, “you can do anything for 15 minutes”. Set the timer on your phone or watch and dance like a mad person in your living room, walk the dog, play “catch the string” with the cat while standing, engage your toddler in a vigorous game of tag, stop by the gym and walk on the treadmill…DO SOMETHING that gets your body moving.

If you have any type of physical boundaries that make it difficult, painful, or dangerous for you to move, please share the activities you engage in that generate that inner “feel good” for you.  I’d like to be able to add to my list to make it more inclusive.  Thank you.

3. Eat to Live – There are just as many debates going on about what you should and should not be eating as there are about how much water to drink. Unless you have some medical restrictions to what you eat, I believe the basics are still valid. More fruits and veggies, less processed foods, and avoid those blatantly fatty foods that are heart attacks just waiting to happen. Mind you, the marketing gurus will do everything they can to get you to follow their advice, but your body knows what’s good for it – trust your instincts.  It took me a month or two to distinguish between a legitimate craving (for example, after a work out, I crave beef.  My body is screaming for protein) and a not so legitimate one (I’m bored – where are the chips?)  :-).  Food diaries are helpful here in that you can log how you feel when you eat certain foods, how they affect you emotionally and or physically. Armed with that information, you can determine what the legit cravings are and how to satisfy them in a health inducing manner along with developing strategies to deal with the others.

 Feeling Good ——–> Looking Good

No matter how many articles I read about what makes a woman beautiful, I can’t help but come back to my experience and how I see beauty in myself and others. It’s rarely, if ever, based on her looks. It’s more about how she comes across to me – does she radiate confidence (not arrogance); is she polite, kind, quick with a smile and encouraging words? Was that genuine laughter I heard? Working to foster those things in myself is the best and only way I’ve found to think of myself as beautiful. As I’ve written, if I FEEL beautiful on the inside, I believe I look beautiful on the outside.  And when it comes right down to it, beauty is an inside job. I think Dr. Angelou put it best in her poem, Phenomenal Woman – my beauty comes from ALL of the things that make up who I am, from the inside out :-).


15 thoughts on “#BOAW2015: Where Does Real Beauty Lay?

  1. Excellent points, Dana! There’s so much scary information out there, encouraging risky or merely unhelpful tactics. It’s refreshing to hear practical, enjoyable, sustainable tips like these. Indeed, beauty’s an inside job. 🙂 Thanks again for joining the fest!

  2. Your tip about drinking more water made me think of what I witnessed the other day. A mother asked her 3 year old if he wanted water, but before she realized he said yes, she said “or soda?”
    So of course, he changed his mind and wanted soda.
    I think sometimes parents assume that their children do not want healthy stuff and give them unhealthy alternatives.
    Thankfully for me, my mom restricted sugary drinks early on. At least now, I rather drink water than soda.
    I still need to work on points 2 & 3 though.

    1. That wasn’t a choice we were allowed to make most often when I was growing up. We either drank water, or milk. Juice was regulated to a small glass with breakfast, lol and soda was the rare treat you got to have on those special occasions when we went out to dinner. Now? Folks grab and go and rarely think about what’s going into their (or their kids) bodies.

      The turn around for me on all three points was choosing to live more consciously – to step out of the rut and make choices / decisions that satisfied my ultimate goal and that was to be healthy.

  3. Great points, all! I am now in my 60’s and I promise you that healthy eating in your 40’s will definitely brighten your later years. As I did not start eating healthily until I was 57, I know what all that processed food can do. That said, in the last five I have turned my life around following the tips you mention. As I do have a chronic condition, I found Peggy Cappy’s DVD, Yoga for People with Arthritis, remarkably helpful as well as acupuncture for lumbar issues. And yes, anyone can anything for 15 minutes. Loved this post!

  4. I absolutely love water. Next to coffee, it’s my go to drink. As for listening to your body re: food, I agree, too. I’ve noticed that there are times where I crave things like bananas (which I normally hate) or fish…. Those are times I’m beginning to realize that my body is missing something that these particular foods have. I used to fight it. Now, I listen. Now I just have to keep remembering moderation and portion control. 😉 It’s tough to get away from the “clean your plate” message to the “only eat till you’re full” message.

    1. I’ve cut back on going out to eat, so portion control isn’t as a big a deal. But to combat it when I do go out, I’ll portion out what’s on my plate (it looks as if I’m playing with my food, lol), eat until I’m full, then whatever’s left goes in the take out container. I’ve known others who ask for the to-go container right away, then when the food comes, they portion it out first – divvying up everything and putting the extra into the to-go thingy. Just a couple tricks to add to your arsenal :-).

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