Category Archives: Body Image and Recovery

Days 4 & 5 Vulnerability Post-Social Media Pressure

I missed yesterday and almost today. We were traveling and got stuck in lots of traffic and it just didn’t get done. Sorry, y’all! Life happens.
Day 3 and 4 kind of go hand in hand, but I’ll try to separate them out.
Social media and blogging can make me real self conscious and not just because I’m putting all my thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see. Because I’m not. I share what I want people to know, for the most part. However, I think a lot of social media influencers and bloggers feel the need to post often. I try to post 3 times a day, usually, but sometimes that feels like A LOT. and if you follow me, it may feel like a lot to you too. If so, I’m sorry. Ignore me!
There’s this pressure to not only post often, but they also need to be perfectly aesthetic and you feed needs to all blend and match and WHOAH THAT’S OVERWHELMING TO ME. Some days, I just don’t have anything to say or I’m too busy enjoying life (or not) to post. and on some days when this happens, I make myself post anyway and I almost ALWAYS hate whatever it is I posted. It feels so inauthentic. So sometimes I just disappear for a while because I can’t take the pressure.
Being inauthentic, to me, is one of the worst things I can do. I’ve worked so hard to move myself to a place of living my truth and showing myself and others love. Authenticity in the way I live my life is one of my number one goals. I never want to compromise that.
That leads into day 4, which is comparing yourself to people you see on social media. I am SO GUILTY of this. I’ve posted on the social media “highlight reel” effect before, but man it’s still so true. I find myself lost in the social media black hole of scrolling way back to the depths of someone you admire’s feed and by the time I get there, I want their life. I want to change my hair to look like theirs, dress like them, have 3 kids, and move to Hawaii. It’s so hard for me not to fall into that trap. What they are portraying to the world is their absolute best, and that’s fine!! I just have to remind myself that they  have bad days, flat tires, dog poop explosions, and dirty dishes just like me. We don’t readily post those things for the world to see.
I try really hard to be authentic without being negative. I want to be real with y’all all the time, but I also don’t want to seem negative when I share the daily struggles that humans go through. There’s a difference between negativity and real human life.
Honestly, human life is beautiful. As Gary Vaynerchuk pointed out in one of the many podcasts I’ve listened to of us, the probability of us being people is INSANELY small. We’ve already defied so many odds to become a human. Lets all make it count.
So there’s my vulnerability for day 3 and 4. I hope y’all are enjoying these #MagicofVulnerability posts. As scary as it can sometimes be to post them, it really is therapeutic.
Have a great week! I love you!

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The Magic of Vulnerability Challenge

Vulnerability.
I’ve been hearing that word tossed around a lot lately, but what does it really mean??
vul·ner·a·bil·i·ty
noun; the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
WHOAH. That’s pretty intense, right? SCARY. Those are big, meaningful words.
24 days ago, a blogger/social media influencer that I look up to IMMENSELY, Weslie Christensen, started a 30 day #Magic of Vulnerability Challenge (read her original post here). She’s effortlessly cool and really seems like the best mom in the world, so I wondered, what in the world does she have to be so vulnerable about?? Her life and little family just seemed imperfectly perfect. I’ve been following along with the challenge every day, but I had been too scared to join her. Until today.
It’s like something clicked. It changed. I feel this OVERWHELMING need to share this with you guys. The past 2 years of my life have been dedicated to healing, and as Weslie so eloquently shared in her original post, being vulnerable HEALS. It is NOT shameful or embarrassing, and it helps others know that they are NEVER alone.
You might think I’ve been pretty vulnerable with you guys lately, especially if you follow along on Facebook and/or Instagram. And I have. It took me a lifetime to finally be able to share my eating disorder and body dysmorphia with y’all. However, there are other areas of my life I’d love to share too. I want you to know who I really am, and I want to know you! Like REALLY! I DO!! I see these beautiful pictures of so many of y’all online, but I want to know more. What makes you tick? What have you trudged through and come out better for it? Is Vampire Diaries your guilty pleasure? Revealing these things can be terrifying, but REALLY freeing and healing. Lets share in that together!
So are you up for the challenge?? I hope so!
Tag me (@TheMSHippy) and the creator of this challenge Weslie (@weslie_) on Instagram and use the the hashtag #MagicOfVulnerability.
I want this to be a safe place to share. No judgement. No excessive advice. Just listening ears, sounding boards, and love. It doesn’t even have to be through a big public blog or social media post. You can DM me or just write it in a journal. Just get it out!
Just like Weslie said in her post, I promise I will find some piece of me in your story no matter how deep, dark, or ugly it is. I am just grateful and excited to share in this journey with you.
It’s like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff…see you tomorrow!

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Going Vegan Helped Me Love Myself

If you have followed Mississippi Hippy for a little while, you know that I have spent a lot of my life struggling with body image and disordered eating. While I began recovering from my eating disorder about 8 years ago, my body image and food issues have lasted much much longer.

This was me at 5 years old. I was 5 years old when I was first told I was fat. I remember the day. I remember where it was. I remember what I was wearing. I remember EXACTLY what the person said. Words can be so damaging.

This was me at 5 years old. I was 5 years old when I was first told I was fat. I remember the day. I remember where it was. I remember what I was wearing. I remember EXACTLY what the person said. Words can be so damaging. Please excuse the old, grainy pictures.

If I was to track my progression on a chart, it would look much more like a roller coaster than a straight shot up. For YEARS, my happiness has been tied to my weight and how I perceived my reflection in the mirror. I was at my absolute happiest only when I was losing or had lost weight. It’s amazing how much a number on a scale can dramatically change your mood. It changed my brain. If I didn’t see what I wanted to see on the scale every morning, I was definitely not going to see what I wanted in the mirror that day. This would lead to obsessing over everything I put in my mouth that day and logging it into MyFitnessPal. I punished myself by doing workouts that were KILLING my body and old injuries just because they burned tons of calories. I always felt so guilty if I ate bread, potatoes, rice, or anything with carbs. If I did eat them, I binged, and I would immediately start figuring up how much cardio I needed to burn it off. I lived to hear, “you look like you’ve lost weight.”

I was miserable, and this is SUCH a miserable way to live. Honestly though, I just figured that’s how I was going to be forever. I was happy enough with other aspects of my life to make up for hating what I saw in the mirror most days. I lied to myself and others about how I had learned to love myself when in reality, I really only loved myself when the number on the scale was lower than the day before. I started thinking that’s what self-love was.

Body Pics

Left: I remember feeling so good about myself in this picture because it was my first time to wear it and the bottoms were bigger on me than they were when I bought them a few weeks before. However, I would have never taken a photo facing the camera head on. Right: My wedding day. I felt so beautiful, but I was so worried about my dress fitting the whole morning. I’d like to point out that I was the smallest I have ever been and was still considered overweight on the BMI scale, which is a load of crock, by the way!

When I became vegan back in November, I had pretty much given up on ever thinking that one day my ultimate happiness wouldn’t be tied to what I saw on the scale and in the mirror. It was not something I thought would even change when I was standing in front of all the beef in Kroger deciding that I couldn’t eat meat anymore. (whole story here) I didn’t become vegan to lose weight. I stopped eating animal products because I genuinely don’t like meat and hate the pain and negative impact animal agriculture causes. I gave up the dairy and eggs when I began researching the health benefits. Quite frankly, I had even prepared myself to gain some weight because of all the stories and testimonies I had read online about going vegan. I did gain a little at first, but I think that was more due to it being the holidays.

In March, I decided to get more strict about avoiding oils and cutting back on the added fats like peanut butter. If you know me or pretty much any of my best friends, you know that we’ve been known to eat whole jars of peanut butter in a day. It’s my FAVORITE. Don’t even get me started on Jif’s whipped peanut butters. HEAVEN. Anyway…I had been doing more and more research on the HCLF/Whole-Food, Plant-Based vegan diet, and it really resinated with me. Fast forward 4 months and I’ve realized that I haven’t really had a negative thought about my body or what I put in my mouth since March.

WHAT? WHO AM I?

Now, to be fair, I have to tell you that I have lost about 20 pounds since I cut out oils and limited my added fats, but it’s not something I was focusing on. I stopped getting on the scale every day because I wasn’t consciously doing anything to lose weight. It has been very slow and steady. Believe it or not, I even stopped doing any type of regular workout. I had stopped my bootcamp classes that were killing my joints because they were very expensive, and I simply couldn’t afford them anymore.

I decided to give my body a little bit of a break around this time to see if my constant knee and hip pain would go away. I started doing more yoga at home because I love how it makes me feel mentally and physically, not because I was punishing myself for eating something “bad.” I went on walks around the neighborhood with my husband, and I went for runs occasionally because I felt like it. On May 14, I ran a 10k without training because some friends of mine were doing it, and I thought it would be fun. I’ve always loved the atmosphere and feeling of accomplishment when you finish a 5k, so I figured I’d walk most of it. Who cares, right? I ended up finishing in a much better time than I ever imagined I would and running a really good (for me) average mile time.

Post Magnolia Meltdown 10k on May 14, 2016

Post Magnolia Meltdown 10k on May 14, 2016

How could this be? My brain went into a tailspin trying to figure out how this could have possibly happened. I hadn’t trained or really worked out in 3 months, and I had been eating tons of carbohydrates without really thinking about it. Then it dawned on me–I had been at peace with myself since March. I was listening to my body and what it needed/wanted. I wasn’t obsessing over food or numbers. My knees and hips didn’t bother me during my run because I had been showing myself love by giving them time to heal. I was eating a diet that was made up of primarily carbohydrates without feeling guilty and being totally satisfied. On top of it all, I was losing weight without even trying or noticing.

Changing my diet to one that is high in carbohydrates, low in fat and full of whole, plant based foods has changed my life. THERE I SAID IT. I have never been happier with who I am and what I see in the mirror. I have never been more unaffected mentally by what I put in my mouth every day. I make smart, healthy decisions like it’s second nature, because it is now. I splurge with Oreos, beer, or Wendy’s french fries on the weekends, but I have still yet to feel deprived. I eat when I’m hungry, and I stop when I’m full. I am active, and I workout because I LOVE it, not because I have something I feel like I need to burn off. Very rarely do I track my food in MyFitnessPal anymore, and if I do, it’s out of curiosity–not guilt.

I know it sounds crazy that becoming a HCLF vegan did all of this. On the surface, I also know that eating this way seems extremely restrictive and difficult to maintain. It may even sound harmful to some. However, once you’ve done your research, it’s SO EASY and the healthiest way to eat.

I don’t get crazy about things when I go to restaurants or eat at a friend’s house. I actually had to ask my mom to stop telling the wait staff that I’m a “weird vegan” when I’m giving my out-of-the-ordinary order at restaurants. Without fail, the cook or manager would always come to the table to discuss my dietary restrictions, and I would feel so bad! Haha! I just finally had to ask my well-meaning mother to stop because it freaks people out. To me, it’s not worth  making others uncomfortable or their life more difficult. I ask for no cheese and DEFINITELY no meat, but if it comes out looking oily or the cheese is left on my salad, I don’t worry too much about it. I pick it off or eat around it or just eat the oil. I bring my own food to friend’s and family’s houses. Not a huge deal.

I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts by Lindsay S. Nixon of Happy Herbivore and Meal Mentor, and she always says to “strive for progress over perfection.” I’ve really taken that to heart. It’s also important to remember that in social situations, like eating out or parties, that you shouldn’t  be there solely for the food. You should be there for the fellowship and company of your friends and family. Also, we live in extremely advanced times. You will not die from your short term hunger. I PROMISE. (Unless you’re diabetic or something, then by all means do what you have to!) You can be hungry for a little while. You can eat after or before or bring a snack in your purse. Start scheduling catch up sessions with friends around activities like a walk or bike ride instead of food. These things have all been helpful for me.

Please note, I am not a doctor or an expert in eating disorders. Nor am I a nutritionist or certified personal trainer. I’m just sharing my personal experiences because when something makes you feel this good inside and out, HOW CAN YOU NOT SHARE IT WITH OTHERS? I am passionate about helping and inspiring others, and if my sharing can touch just one person, it’s more than worth it.

I realize this lifestyle is not for everyone, but if you have any questions about it or getting started, I would love to talk with you or help you in any way I can. Just leave me a comment, shoot me an email, or contact me via any social media outlet.

I love you all a whole, whole lot!

x0-chelsea



Things I’m Tired Of…

Late last night, in the midst of my insomnia, I posted a Facebook status talking about various words I’m tired of seeing/hearing. It was a hit.

July Facebook Status

Now, excuse me for being a bit negative, but do y’all feel me?? LIKE COME ON!! Is anyone else as tired of seeing this kinda stuff plastered across your social media outlets as I am?? It’s annoying. It’s negative. It’s depressing, and it’s down right STUPID.

So I thought I’d add to/expand on my list and tell you the things I’d rather see.

Taylor Swift/Tom Hiddleston/Calvin Harris-WHO IN THE WORLD REALLY CARES? Let the girl live her life and stop over speculating.

 

Kardashian-I’m going to go ahead and lump Kanye and his disgusting new video in this one.

Trump/All of the Clintons/Politics-I hate them all. They all SUCK. They’re all mean and rude and will do anything to get what they want. They’re above the law, and they all make me want to move to a deserted island.

Lip Kit-It’s low quality. It’s an exact copy of “insert lip gloss here.” It’s being released at midnight. It’s sold out. Buy the insanely inflated priced lip crap here. BARF.

Low-carb/bikini body/perfect body/abs/weight loss/cleanse-You are beautiful and perfect the way you are. Carbs are not the enemy. If you have a bikini and you put it on your body, CONGRATS! YOU NOW HAVE A BIKINI BODY! Cleanses don’t work, and they are dangerous. Eat whole foods. (Preferably plant-based) and move your body. Be happy and love yourself and appreciate your body for what it does for you every day. That’s all you need to worry about.

Flesh eating bacteria-I just find this term gross, and I keep wondering if there is really all that high of a chance that you’ll get this grossness from touching the Gulf of Mexico water….

Things I’d rather see…

What you ate today

 

A selfie when you’re feelin yourself

Pictures of your kids/significant other/family

Your prayer requests

Your praises/triumphs/answered prayers

CUTE ANIMALS (If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know that’s all I post.)

Your travels

Lifting others up

Every mundane detail of your life as long as it doesn’t involve the first list

Don’t y’all miss the days when social media was full of these things? I know I do.

In college, my sorority used to do these things called Sunshines. They were kind of like the snap cup from Legally Blonde 2. (Classic/Stereotypical. I know. Lay off me.) We would send a box around during meeting and put a positive note to someone else in the room into the box. At the end of chapter meeting, someone would read them all out loud. They were just little warm fuzzy to make you feel good and lift everyone’s spirits. Usually, they were pretty funny too.

We need like a social media sunshine intervention for the world or something. I don’t know.

Share your “sunshine” with me? Convince me that I shouldn’t delete all social media because the world is going in the crapper!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming….

xo-Chels



What is an HCLF Vegan?

What is an HCLF

I got tons of questions about veganism and my diet after my “coming out” post, so let me explain.

High Carb. Low Fat. HCLF.

I say vegan for understanding. Many in the vegan world would HIGHLY disagree with me when I call myself a vegan. However, if I say I follow a “whole-foods, plant-based” diet, I get blank stares. It’s also a mouthful, so let me explain…

A vegan is someone who doesn’t consume, in any way, anything that comes from an animal. That includes, but is not limited to: food, drinks, clothing, make-up, cleaning products, furniture, and so on. That’s great and all, but like–you’d pretty much have to live in a hut in the woods to be a true PURIST vegan. Me, I strive for progress–not perfection.

While I try really hard not to use anything that comes from an animal, sometimes, it just happens. I mean, rubber tires have animal products in them, but I’m not going to stop driving my car. I like to focus more on the diet aspect of things. I think it makes this biggest impact globally, too.

Apple and Pad Thai Soup

MOVING ON.

Here’s a rough run down on what an HCLF, plant-based, whole-foods diet is…

  • No meat. This includes red meat, poultry, wild game, fish, and seafood, (Except maybe oysters. There’s a big debate. Google it.)

  • No dairy. (cheese, yogurt, milk, etc.)

  • No eggs.

  • Minimal oils and processed foods.

So now that I made the negative list first, which is so not my thing, lets look at EVERYTHING you can have. The list is much longer. Trust me.

  • ALL fruits

  • ALL veggies

  • ALL beans

  • ALL legumes

  • ALL grains

  • ALL potatoes

  • Oats

  • Breads

  • Pastas

HCLF Vegan

Some variations of HCLF diets, like the Raw til 4 diet, make the argument that you can eat ALL you want of these things and you won’t gain weight. Some believe you can lose weight eating that way too. I disagree. Healthy foods still have calories, and you can still gain weight by eating too many calories of healthy foods. That’s where portion control comes in. I try to keep my day’s calories between 1200 and 1500 with 80% of my calories coming for carbohydrates, 10%  from fats, and 10% from protein.

DON’T WORRY. That’s more than enough protein than my body needs in a  day. If protein deficiency were a pressing issue in the vegan community, the world would know what the medical term for it is. For the record, it’s Kwashiorkor, and you would also have to be calorically deficient for a LONG period of time to be protein deficient. Actually, there are a lot of vegetables with WAY more protein per calorie than most meats. All of my fat and protein come from plant sources, and I get plenty of it for my body. The only supplement I take is B-12, and MOST people are deficient in B-12, not just vegans.

Now, lets make it known that just because something is vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. This is a common misconception that my own husband still has a difficult time grasping. Haha! There are TONS of “accidentally” vegan foods, meat substitutes, and vegan junk foods that ARE NOT healthy. Oreos, Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, and Sour Patch Kids are all vegan, but they are certainly not healthy.

Lets think about it for a second. I’m not a nutritionist, but it’s a well known fact that if you are eating a diet that is high in protein, high in carbohydrates, and high in fat, AND you are eating a surplus of calories like most Americans do, a person will gain weight. Makes sense, right? Since my daily intake of carbohydrates is so high, I just don’t have room for much else without packing on pounds.

HCLF Vegan 2

Let me just say, I have never felt better. I am more satiated after every meal and for longer. I don’t feel convicted and confused about eating an animal I claim to love. My eczema that I’ve struggled with since I was an infant has COMPLETELY cleared.

Best of all, my relationship with food has improved drastically because I don’t feel guilty for eating a potato, and lets be honest, potatoes make me really happy. I’ve shown myself that I can lose weight eating the things I’ve been avoiding since the 7th grade when I went on my first Atkin’s Diet.

I’m not saying that I never slip up and eat something fried, an Oreo, or vegan ice cream. I usually eat one or all of these things every weekend. I had Fruity Pebbles for lunch today. I also have to be honest and say that I’ve eaten some cheese or accidentally consumed dairy somehow here and there. My stomach ALWAYS regrets it, though, and my eczema returns immediately. Progress over perfection, though.

I’m not the type of girl to ask EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT in my order at a restaurant. Yes, I’ll ask for the cheese to be left off if I know its on there, but sometimes it’s not listed. My bread showed up with parmesan cheese sprinkled on it the other day. I just ate it. I don’t want to be rude and annoying and put people out. Every time I’ve sent something back or been very specific at a restaurant, the manager or cook comes out, and I always feel like the biggest jerk. I live in the deep south. People think I’m psycho already. I don’t need to add to anyone else’s stress that day. It’s really ok.

or

If there isn’t something on the menu for me, which is rare, I can be hungry for a little while. I can wait until I get home. I won’t die. I can drink my water and smile. Chances are, I’m there for the fellowship, not the food.

Now if the vegan world gets wind of this post, I’ll probably be crucified. It’s whatever.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? I want to hear from you! Ask me anything on SnapChat (@chelseaeli), Twitter (@ChelseaTThomas), and Instagram (@ChelseaEli), or leave a comment!

-chelsea eli