*Trigger warning*: This episode may be triggering for listeners who have battled or are currently battling any form of eating or body image disorders.
Have you ever hated your body? Or maybe you always have? We start receiving messages and comments about our bodies at a very young age. Those messages we receive, whether from media or the people in our lives directly or indirectly, imprint the way we think about and view ourselves and our bodies later on as pre-teens, teenagers, and adults. This has led to generations and generations of women struggling with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and body hate.
Today I’m sitting down with Jenna Rammell, wife, mama, CEO of The Daily Essential Co., blogger at @jennaskitchen, a Presidential Diamond with Doterra Essential Oils, and a woman who has a story that so many can relate to; growing up hating her body and believing she was not enough.
Jenna joined me on this episode to bravely and openly share her personal journey from truly hating her body and being at war with it like so many of us are, to the place she’s at now with body acceptance, true self love and every step in between.
In this episode we discuss:
• Jenna’s past of hating herself and constantly being at war with her own body
• How our thoughts create our feelings which create our realities
• Using meditation to change your thoughts
• Navigating and responding to comments and projections from others
• How gratitude and present living will change your life
• Shifting goals, gains and always working towards body achievements to loving
and accepting yourself exactly how you currently are
• Truly defining self love and self acceptance
• You are easy to love!
• How to loving others while still honoring ourselves
• Changing the way we talk about and treat bodies for the next generation
Jenna is extremely passionate about empowering women to love and believe in themselves and the message she wants everyone to know is, “you are easy to love!”
This is a conversation that we ALL need to pull up a chair to and participate in. We have the power to change how we look at, talk about, treat, and love our bodies and in turn how the women around us and after us do the same.
How Jenna’s story began: hating herself and constantly being at war with her own body
Jenna remembers being a little girl and hating her own body. And studies show that while heartbreaking, that is not uncommon for young girls. Infact, one study reports that by age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen. Heartbreaking.
Jenna viewed herself completely differently than she actually was; bad and unloveable. As a young girl she found herself constantly dieting, restricting, obsessively exercising with the sole intention to get better and look better.
About 6-7 years ago, after she became a mom, she realized that something needed to change but that it wasn’t her body.
It was the way her brain was firing.
The thoughts and messages she was saying and believing about herself which were not changing how she felt, they were constantly making her feel worse.
She was ready for a change.
How our thoughts create feelings, which create our realities
Jenna started to become aware of the very negative and shaming thoughts she was having all throughout her day that so many of us have:
- “These jeans don’t look good”
- “I have nothing to wear”
- “I’m so fat”
- “Why do I look this way?”
- “I need to lose weight”
- “Why did I eat that last night?”
- “Why can’t I be more disciplined?”
We often don’t even consciously realize how many of those thoughts we have every single day.
Those thoughts may be common but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. When Jenna started to consciously take note and become aware of all of the harmful and destructive thoughts she was having about herself each day, she knew that her mindset and the things she allowed herself to say needed to change first!
One of my favorite quotes is: “You are not your thoughts, you are the thinker of your thoughts.” – Unknown
How powerful is that? And it’s true! We can choose and control and change our thoughts because our thoughts create our realities and beliefs!
Two quick tips to change your thoughts:
- Recognize and become aware! Zoom out and try to notice when you’re having a thought that is hurtful, degrading, or unhelpful.
- Flip the script, ask yourself how you can change and redirect the thought and reword the thought to be kind and loving. The more you do this over a long period of time the more your beliefs and feelings about yourself will change which will improve how you feel!
Tip: If you wouldn’t say or think something about a friend or loved one then do not say it to or about yourself.
Because we need to be friends and loved ones with ourselves, too, not just others.
The negative thoughts, of course, will creep in every once in a while, even after you’ve been flipping the script. But they’ll be less frequent and you won’t give them as much energy or let them stick around as long.
Using meditation to change your thoughts
Jenna shared that while she had meditated before, she really hadn’t made it a priority or a consistent daily practice until she started intentionally working on flipping the script and changing her negative self-talk to positive!
Meditation to help with awareness and change your thoughts doesn’t have to be an hour long activity. It can be 1 minute! There are even many guided meditations out there!
Meditation is not about not having thoughts, it’s about being aware of our thoughts because if we aren’t aware of them then we can’t work to change them!
But what about what other people think? Navigating and responding to comments and projections from others
Sometimes comments from other people can be extremely hurtful and triggering. Those comments can often times be well meaning and other times just downright mean but the intention behind the comment really doesn’t change how they make us feel, right?
I asked Jenna how she handles these situations, especially being someone who shares her life so openly online and receives thousands of comments and DMs.
“I dont think it’s an opportunity for me to get on a soapbox and preach to them because they’re just seeing something in you that they don’t like or feel confident about in themselves. But I do want to take a moment and be honest about my journey because I hope moving forward they can think about the impact of their words.”
“Everyone has a story and it’s just about being more careful and holding space for people.”
How things really started changing for the better for Jenna (gratitude and present living)
Jenna shared that when she started really working on gratitude and present living things really changed for the better.
She realized that when she focused on what was working, what felt good and right to her, what she liked about herself, she was able to notice more and more things and in turn started to feel better about herself. When she started to intentionally search for things to be grateful for, she was able to find that her list truly was never ending.
When we have such a tight grip on something; an outcome or result or whatever the case may be, we often miss all the beauty and joy and life happening around us.
Gratitude journaling may sound silly but don’t knock it until you try it (and I encourage you to try it for 30 days!).
What I like to do is write down 5 things I’m grateful for each morning. They have to be specific and not repeat something from the past week. So rather than “I’m grateful for my son” I’d get more specific and say, “I’m grateful for the joy that my son brings to my life”.
“When you fill your mind with beautiful things: with friendships, service, gratitude, joy, kindness, there isn’t room for bullshit!” Jenna proclaimed.
Now, living presently can sometimes be hard to do. It’s so easy to think about the past and the future and miss what’s currently going on.
“Living presently allows us to see and to feel so good in our bodies that I think it’s the answer to almost anything.” says Jenna.
Surrender and celebrate what is and be so mindfully grateful while doing so!
(A manifestation advisor shared a lot about this in her episode, HERE, if you’re interested!)
Jenna also highly recommends the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck if you need some help in this area!
Shifting goals, gains, and always working towards body achievements, to loving and accepting yourself exactly how you currently are
Often with weight and body image overall we’re always reaching for something more. Ways for our bodies to improve, or in the fitness world have “gains” or comparing ourselves to someone else (who oftentimes has a completely different body type as us), and telling ourselves we’ll be good enough *when* (we lose the weight, we gain the weight, we can lift a certain amount or run a certain distance, or the number on the scale is a certain number, and so on).
When we become so fixated on the way we look and wrapping our self worth and value up in our appearance, it’s all we think about and we lose sight of what’s truly important and what actually defines who we are and our worth (hint: you’re worthy EXACTLY as you are!)
Now, all fitness and body goals aren’t bad. It’s fun and encouraging to challenge and push yourself for something. But telling ourselves that we aren’t enough until we reach them or that we will be enough when we do, that’s something we want to move away from.
Jenna shared that after she had her youngest baby she walked this line very carefully because it was new territory for her.
She at first didn’t know how to focus on fitness and her body while still loving herself every step of the way.
What she found was that, “my goals changed in noticing how it helped me mentally, in noticing the difference it made in my energy, in my mood, in my life, in my business, in my marriage, every which way. I just made a goal to move every single day in some way and that is still my goal. I workout because I notice how much better I feel. And taking notice of that instead of having the whole workout be to get rid of my love handles but instead of focusing on how good I feel.”
Focusing on how we want to feel when it comes to fitness and diet, not how we want to look. Truly ask yourself, “How do I want to feel?”
This conversation made me really think of how many women have only ever worked out to improve their appearance and for no other reason. That is so sad!
And it’s no wonder so many people hate working out because the focus is on looking “better”. I think that most people who truly enjoy working out and exercising have discovered how much they love how they feel whether during or after.
What physical activity do you enjoy? If you don’t enjoy the gym but you enjoy running outside and you like how that makes you feel, do that thing!
Focus on how you want to feel, not how you want to look!
Truly defining self love and self acceptance
Something I wondered about going into my conversation with Jenna was if self love and self acceptance go hand in hand. Do we have to love our bodies to accept them? She says yes.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t things about your body or yourself that you sometimes wish were different or want to change, it just means that your focus isn’t there all the time. That at the end of the day you still fall on loving yourself and your body above whatever it is that you wish was a bit different.
These things absolutely go hand in hand.
Your body houses your soul, and for Jenna’s story while she started out with working to love and accept her physical body, doing that work led her to accepting who she was as a person inside, too. She was able to heal inner child wounds and other beliefs about herself that didn’t have to do with just physical appearance.
You are easy to love
Jenna shared with us that for her whole life, she believed that she was hard to love.
We sometimes think that this kind of belief is because of something traumatic or lacking in our childhood but Jenna shared that while she had great parents, great friends and a great life, she still believed she was hard to love.
She now knows that she is easy to love.
She no longer hates herself and while this is hard work, she explained how loving yourself and stopping the self hatred breaks chains for future generations.
It can be easy to believe that we’d feel differently about ourselves if we had more love or better relationships or something external but loving yourself truly starts from within and believing that you are easy to love (because you are)!
“Realizing and deciding that you are easy to love and that you love yourself unlocks so much freedom from the shackles and chains of hating yourself and when you do that, you’ve begun to heal generations, communities, your family. It allows for so much light and love to come in to you that you can then give out to others. When you’re able to raise your vibration and the love that you have for yourself, so can other people. They’ll be forced to do it because they just have to be around you.”
“Everyone IS easy to love!”
How to love others well while still honoring ourselves
There is this fine line between loving others and showing them that they’re easy to love and also not letting the weight of their opinions be the strongest force. It’s a hard line to walk but an important one to say the least.
This is where boundaries come into play. Jenna shared we picture boundaries to look like big walls up around us but boundaries are simply a filter in which we invite people in.
If we’re able to establish healthy boundaries with other people then we’re able to shed that shame and guilt of that life lived for them.
Living for other people takes you further and further away from loving yourself.
Because when we do that, we’re honoring them and our desire to get them to love and approve of us whereas if we worked from a place of loving and approving of ourselves, the true relationships will stand strong and the ones that won’t stick around anyways, will fall away.
Jenna says, as someone who has served and served until her knuckles are bleeding, they will not see it if first you don’t see it (that you’re easy to love) in yourself but second there are just some people who are not meant to be in our lives.
When we constantly feel misunderstood and judged, shamed, or disliked by someone, allow it to be an invitation telling you that this isn’t meant for you.
Changing the way we talk about and treat bodies for the next generation
Isn’t it interesting (and extremely outrageous) how even at very very young ages, we praise young girls for being little and “tiny” and praise young boys for being big and strong?
And if someone has a different body type than that, it’s commented on with judgement, shame, and unsolicited advice.
Let’s all make a promise to not make comments to young girls about their bodies that we wouldn’t say to a young boy and not say things to young boys that we wouldn’t say to young girls. Children have such incredible gifts and strengths and commenting on their body (in a negative or positive way) sends a hidden message that how we look are what’s important
Some favorite compliments and affirmations to pour over children that don’t have to do with looks:
- You make everyday better.
- I love being your ____ (mom, dad, aunt, grandma, etc.)
- You’re such a kind ____ (friend, daughter, son, brother, sister etc.)
- You are so loving and thoughtful.
- I admire how you trust yourself.
- You have such creative ideas!
- Your determination is inspiring.
- You bring so much joy and happiness to the world, I’m so glad you’re here.
- It’s so easy to love you 🙂
I’m also sure we all have memories of someone in our life talking negatively about their body or the need to lose weight or diet, etc.
We hear our moms or grandmothers or friend’s moms say these things from a young age and within those comments, we start to soak in those thoughts as our own. If we don’t see the role models in our lives love themselves, we will grow up to not love ourselves, right?
So let’s change how we talk about and treat our bodies for the next generation.
Jenna’s biggest piece of advice in this category is to not talk about our bodies in front of our kids or other kids in our lives. Be so careful and intentional not only how you speak about and praise your kids, but also how you talk about and praise yourself!
If you’ve been doing this, please know it’s never too late to change your thoughts and your words. Start today. Don’t let this feel like it’s too late.
And remember friend, you are easy to love!
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Connect with Jenna Rammell
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