If your body wrote a letter to you, what would it say? How does your body really feel about the way you look at it? What does your body think about the way you treat it?
If you are ever in need of a good wake up call, try this exercise. You will be amazed by what actually comes to the surface.
I am so blessed and honored to work with a program called True Body Project here in Cincinnati. This program has a “mission to empower girls to identify and connect to their true bodies, to grow their authentic voices, and to advocate for the health and safety of girls and women everywhere.” Yep, that’s right, I GET to be a part of this. I am always mesmerized by the 15, 16 and 17 year-old girls who sit in a circle with me each week. Their words are far beyond their years. They have so much to say, so much to offer. They know and understand the way media portrays women and they feel the pressure to look a certain way, dress a certain way, be a certain way. However, in our small circle, this pressure melts away for a period of time and none that exists.
Today, we sat down to have a personal dialog between ourselves and our bodies. I usually get blank stares from the girls when I tell them about this activity. Typically, I am met by “You want us to do what?” or “Huh??” and yet somehow this produces some of the most raw and honest words the girls ever put to paper. I always write along with the girls and it’s very interesting when I go over what I have written. It reminds me how powerful a pen and paper can be. So as we shared today, I counted one of the thirteen girls who wrote mostly positive things. If you’re a numbers kind of person then that is a whopping 7%. One of the girl’s writing really tugged at me today. This particular girl is no more than 4foot 8 at 15 years of age. She began her writing about how her body felt so small up against the rest of the world. She said her skin felt so thin. As she continued to share, her body continued to criticize her and so on. She wrapped up by saying, “I usually feel so small, but here in this circle, I feel so very tall.” And that was exactly what I needed to hear.
When I was 16 years old myself, I wish I could have had this same conversation with my own body. I was never overweight by any stretch of the imagination. However, I had been out of ballet then for about a year to keep with school, babysitting and work. I needed something to fill the void left when I stepped away from my dance shoes. I began exercising and taking step aerobics classes that I absolutely loved. Without even trying, I lost about 15 pounds. At this point, I was surely underweight, but the attention I began to get was all positive. For the first time that I could recall, people were constantly making comments about my body. I received compliment after compliment about how amazing I looked and how “good” I must have to be to look like this. This attention was so very confusing and since I was at a point in my life where I was still really molding into who I was, I started to associate my body with my self worth. Looking back as I sat today with these girls, I realized that I was where they were once. I wished that my 16 year old body could’ve sat down and written a letter to my 16 year old self.
After finishing my letter today with the girls, I decided that this time I will take it a step farther. This time, I will write back. And today, it will be a love letter. Today, to my body, I will be nice.
Ok, so where does the “Cinnamon Spice” part of this post come in? I am just about to get there…
Are you a fan of Larabars? I sure am! They are one of the easy grab and go snacks I began buying when I was starting to rid myself of processed foods. I was stunned that I could easily read and pronounce every one of the small list of ingredients. I was not a fan of paying $1.50 or more for one measly bar when I was certain I could make them much more easily. I took to Pinterest and started finding recipes for the bars that I loved. After a few recipes, I decided to take a stab at a few of my own. I love my food processor and use it almost daily. It makes a recipe like this with only 6 ingredients an absolute snap to make. hope you find these as simple and tasty as I do!
Cinnamon Raisin Larabar Bites
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw pecans
9-10 Medjool Dates(pitted)
1 1/2 T cinnamon
2 T raisins
Dash of sea salt
1. In a food processor, mix almonds and pecans until chopped.
2. Add in dates, cinnamon and sea salt and mix until dough begins to form. If the mixture seems dry add a bit of water to the mix.
3. Remove blade from the processor and stir in raisins to the mixture.
4. Roll into balls and put in the fridge to set.
After testing plenty of these, I can assure you they taste amazing right away even without the refrigeration. These are great for when you are on the go and need a snack. Enjoy!
Click here for more on the health benefits of dates.