Compassion vs Competition!

Guess which mindset improves body image and disordered eating?

  ~Photo by Bunny Yeager~

~Photo by Bunny Yeager~

Do you ever compare your appearance to that of other women? (Okay, trick question because there’s no way you can be human and never compare yourself to anyone, especially in our era!) But if you find yourself doing it a lot, choose to view other women with compassion instead.

A new study by researchers at the University of Waterloo is the first to “demonstrate that trying to cultivate compassion for others—by wishing them to be happy and free from suffering— may, in turn, benefit one’s own body image and eating attitudes,” according to university reps.

The researchers instructed one group of women choose this mindset when they found themselves making negative judgments about their looks in comparison to another woman. Meanwhile, another group was instructed to think of ways they might be superior to the other women, and a third group was told tried to distract themselves to deal with the comparison urge.

The compassion mindset was the most effective approach – it not only reduced the degree to which women compared themselves to other women in terms of appearance, eating, and exercise habits, but it also improved their body satisfaction and reduced disordered eating behaviors.

So, you know what to do: Go forth and choose compassion over competition!  Not saying this will be easy (it won’t), but it’s absolutely doable and worth it. Look at it as an ongoing practice rather than an achievement – again, you’re simply cultivating this mindset, not trying to master it. You’re not going to feel compassion from your heart every time, so don’t judge yourself when you mentally wish someone well through gritted teeth and with inner resistance. 😉 BUT you can make the choice to go with the higher mind focus – whether you’re browsing your IG feed or IRL – and keep coming back to it each time that green-eyed monster tries to rear its head.

With love,

Tori

Bring on the Bettie! Channeling the Queen of Pinups

The traits we love about Bettie are so vivid, it seems like we can reach out and grab some for ourselves – and we can! Here’s how.

bring more bettie logo.jpg

BY TORI RODRIGUEZ

Almost 60 years after Bettie Page blazed a trail with her brief but mighty modeling career, countless women worldwide still emulate her iconic look: the style, the expressions, the poses – and of course, the bangs. The reasons for this go far beyond simple aesthetics. There is undeniably something about Bettie – lots of things, actually! – and we want to tap into those qualities that make her so timelessly special. Perhaps she’s like a mirror, showing us the possibility of being our most joyful, passionate, brave, creative, sensual selves. When you look at Bettie, those qualities are so vivid that they almost feel tangible, like you can reach out and grab some for yourself. There’s a sense that they are freely available to us too, with the reminder that Bettie gave us just by being unapologetically herself.

  For many Bettie fans, she resonates so deeply because we see ourselves in her.

For many Bettie fans, she resonates so deeply because we see ourselves in her.

She is truly the embodiment of joy, freedom, confidence, and fully expressed, shameless beauty and sexuality. By intentionally calling on the various traits we admire in her, we can cultivate them in ourselves. This is part of what inspired my company Bettie Page Fitness, home of the first-ever body-positive fitness videos. Each move in the workouts is based on a Bettie pose, and I encourage viewers to embody some of Bettie’s empowering and health-promoting physical characteristics, including her stellar posture (the “Bettie lift” as I call it), balance, and core strength. In the spirit of Bettie’s strong example of self-acceptance, these workouts encourage viewers to respect and accept their bodies, and to exercise because it feels good and is good for us, rather than for punishment or to conform to a specific standard.

Many of Bettie’s poses were what psychologists now call “power poses.” These are big, open poses that take up a lot of space – versus being closed off and hunched over with arms crossed, for example. (I think of power poses as symbolically claiming one’s place in the world.) Researchers have found that power poses can boost confidence and body image, reduce stress, and increase creativity. By infusing our workouts with moves similar to hers, we can further encourage those effects.

  Bettie doing the Wonder Woman stance... a classic power pose..

Bettie doing the Wonder Woman stance... a classic power pose..

As with the physical context, we can also choose to be like Bettie in any other way we choose. Some Bettie fans talk about having a “What would Bettie do?” sort of thing going on. By sometimes moving and living like she did, we can experience the feeling of being fully alive and in charge of our bodies and lives. When we need more courage, authenticity, playfulness, sensuality – whatever it might be – we can summon it from our muse, who thankfully has left us with endless examples of what those qualities look like. She’s an archetype of self-actualization, really. Whether in your workouts or any other area, ask yourself how you might “bring more Bettie to it.” It’s sure to be a fun experiment, and it might just change your life.

~To shop Bettie Page Fitness videos, yoga mats & more, click HERE!~

The Odd (But Awesome) Way Happiness Is Contagious

It turns out there’s a solid reason for the term “infectious joy”—research confirms happiness really can be caught.

bettie and friends beach.jpg

BY TORI RODRIGUEZ

In a 20-year longitudinal study of almost 5,000 people that was published in 2008, researchers at Harvard University and the University of California at San Diego found evidence for “clusters of happiness.” The sunny emotion was shown to spread across social networks, extending up to three degrees of separation—as in, it can spread to the friends of your friends’ friends. Neighbors seem to be most influential—if one becomes happy, the other is 34% more likely to follow suit; an upbeat friend who lives about a mile away boosts your happiness odds by 25%; spousal influence is 8%; nearby siblings: 14%.

“Emotional contagion is deeply rooted in our evolutionary past,” says study co-author Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, a physician, sociologist, and director of the Human Nature Lab at Yale University. “One can think of emotions as a primitive form of communication: it is of use to me to notice and copy your fear, disgust, anger, or happiness.” Indeed, these less pleasant emotions are contagious too, so just be mindful of this subconscious influence we can have on each other’s moods.

A study published in PLoS ONE showed that you can pick up someone’s joy just by watching someone else watching the happy person (like a happiness middleman!), meaning our moods can affect people we don’t even know—and theirs ours, and without our awareness. 

A joy transfer can take place even if you’re not physically near the person: a study that Christakis co-authored in 2014 found that emotions also spread among friends on Facebook. “When people make a positive change in their lives by being or acting happy or optimistic, they not only benefit themselves but many others – and those others are generally people they care about,” Christakis says.

~This article by Tori Rodriguez was originally published by Prevention Magazine.~ 

Your Body Knows Best!

So learn to listen to its cues for guidance about how to treat it, instead of all that monkey-mind mental chatter (which is often infused with negative messages from ourselves and others) that can leave us feeling lost, defeated, and confused. In upcoming posts, I'll explain the importance of body awareness and offer tips about how to hear what yours is telling you. Check back soon! 

  ~Photo by Bunny Yeager~ (If you want a censored version for sharing, see our FB or IG)

~Photo by Bunny Yeager~ (If you want a censored version for sharing, see our FB or IG)

What Is Body Positivity All About?

It’s not just about loving how you look! Consider this your BoPo primer.

bettie body pos.jpg

BY TORI RODRIGUEZ

In a trend we hope will continue to take off, recent years have seen a clear shift among celebs in how they talk about their bodies. Stars like Kristen Bell, Ashley Graham, Serena Williams and Chrissy Teigen, for instance, have stood up to body shamers and proudly accepted their so-called "flaws." These displays of body love reflect the body positivity movement, which advocates accepting and appreciating yourself as you are.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't aim to improve your health if that's a goal for you–after all, that's the point of my Bettie Page Fitness videos. (Humblebrag: They're the first-ever body-positive fitness vids!) It just means you try to do it from a place of self-love versus not-enoughness. "The goal is to repair your relationship with yourself–to not only find acceptance for your physical body, but to claim and love every part of you internally," explains Kelly U, a blogger whose raw, vulnerable approach to sharing her journey to body acceptance and recovery from an eating disorder has not only helped her find healing but to help her fans feel less alone and more accepted.

  ~Bettie in Pigeon Pose, clearly loving her body!~

~Bettie in Pigeon Pose, clearly loving her body!~

Still, a lot of body positive content ends up overdoing the "love your looks" aspect, and while that can be important, it ironically reinforces the appearance emphasis that we already get slammed with nonstop. "While there are many pros to social media–inspiration, connection, community–it can also shred the web we weave for body positivity," says Kathryn Budig, a yoga teacher and author of the recently released book Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance! The endless stream of carefully selected, highly edited photos can trigger compare mode and make us feel inadequate.

Body positivity is about so much more than the external. Instead of just loving what you look like, try focusing on these four things instead.

1. What your body can do.

From keeping your heart ticking to getting you through a workout, your body quite literally lets you live. "Being able to wake up every morning and run and lift and do all of the things my healthy body allows me to do is the ultimate gift," says Cherry Dollface, a model and YouTube star known for her empowering and encouraging way of interacting with fans. Good health is a major priority to her, especially because she has heart condition, and keeps the emphasis on what her body is capable of instead of how it looks. "I finally realized that my life is more important than a few dimples or droopy bits–and that my body is a miraculous, strong, beautiful system."

  ~Bettie looking proud of her progress with the Splits! We know, we know... square the hips.~

~Bettie looking proud of her progress with the Splits! We know, we know... square the hips.~

2. How your body feels.

Budig teaches her yoga students to focus on how the postures feel, not how they look. This simple lesson is "wildly applicable to all aspects of our life, but especially to those situations that involve the physical body," she says. "It's a simple way to reconnect to the amazing ability of our physical bodies when we concertedly take the time to nurture it." When you're in a pose, mid-run, or even lying in bed, shift your attention to how vibrant, strong or relaxed you feel. "Then give yourself a supportive pat on the back for how responsive and amazing this physical body is."

  ~Move your body however it wants to be moved!~

~Move your body however it wants to be moved!~

3. What your body has been through.

Embracing body positivity might help some women discover a sense of pride about scars and stretch marks because of what they represent, while others may find ways to heal long-held body shame. "I was teased my whole life for being too skinny, and I grew up as many women do feeling insecure and uncomfortable about my body," says Cherry Dollface. After she began interacting with large numbers of women on her channel, she realized that lots of women have unresolved issues from childhood and teen trauma about their bodies. "This is something that practically every woman deals with, and I realized that I have a voice that I can use to help them feel better in their skin."

  ~Our bodies endure so much -- like the gall bladder surgery that caused Marilyn's scar that she's flaunting loud & proud! If you don't quite love your body yet, at least try to give it the respect it deserves and take care of it the best you can.~ 

~Our bodies endure so much -- like the gall bladder surgery that caused Marilyn's scar that she's flaunting loud & proud! If you don't quite love your body yet, at least try to give it the respect it deserves and take care of it the best you can.~ 

4. What your body needs and wants–and what it doesn't.

This means honoring your body's basic needs for things like movement, food and sleep, as well as respecting its limits. "For me, body positivity means actually caring for my body, not trying to change it to make it appear better," says Kelly U. She learned that she was using food and her body as coping mechanisms for internal struggles, and would try to make up for shortcomings through cycles of starvation, binge eating and over-exercising. Now, she views exercise as a self-loving activity that keeps her healthy rather than a way to maintain a perfect physique. "All in all, I prioritize my mental health and maintaining a healthy relationship with myself–that is body positivity to me."

  ~Bettie giving her body that thing we all need more of: SLEEP!~

~Bettie giving her body that thing we all need more of: SLEEP!~

(This article by Tori Rodriguez originally appeared on WomansDay.com)

Bettie's Beach Yoga Shoot!

Bettie's yoga practice often showed up in her modeling poses – especially in this shoot with Bunny Yeager! 

bettie yoga collage.jpg

BY TORI  RODRIGUEZ

Having created an entire fitness video based on Bettie’s yoga-inspired photos, I’m always thrilled when I come across another one of these gems, so a certain shoot she did with Bunny Yeager is especially satisfying in that regard. It seems as if Bettie was drawing upon yoga for lots of different poses that day – I like to imagine that she was enthusiastically practicing during that time of her life, and so these moves were top of mind when it came to striking poses for Bunny’s lens. Take a look at yogi Bettie!

  Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)  

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)  

  Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

  Standing Wide-Legged Half Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Standing Wide-Legged Half Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

  Monkey Pose/Yoga Splits (Hanumanasana)

Monkey Pose/Yoga Splits (Hanumanasana)

  Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

  Flipped Dog (Camatkarasana) ~ with elements of Wild Thing and Upward Bow/Wheel Pose

Flipped Dog (Camatkarasana) ~ with elements of Wild Thing and Upward Bow/Wheel Pose

8 Ways to Keep Your Workouts Body-Positive

The overall theme: Fitness should make you feel good!

  ~Bettie nailing Reverse Plank at Funland Park in Miami; photo by Bunny Yeager~

~Bettie nailing Reverse Plank at Funland Park in Miami; photo by Bunny Yeager~

BY: TORI RODRIGUEZ

Exercise and body positivity can make for confusing bedfellows. On one hand, working out helps you get in closer touch with your body, makes you feel stronger, and helps you appreciate what you can do — all good things!

On the other hand, group-fitness instructors too often preach the “long and lean” gospel, magazines tell you how exercise can give you a “beach body,” and your friends talk about how they need to hit the gym tomorrow to make up for the pizza you’re sharing tonight. Not to mention the proliferation of “fitspo” imagery on social media, which makes it even harder to separate working out from trying to achieve a nearly unattainable body type.

But let me tell you: It is possible to make your fitness routine body-positive. As the creator of the first-ever body-positive workout videos, Bettie Page Fitness: Total Body Strength & Cardio, and Bettie Page Yoga, I'm always encouraging exercisers to think like Page (who, though you may not know it, was an old-school body-positivity icon!): She loved to move her glorious body in lots of different ways and didn’t give a lick about a bit of cellulite here or a belly bulge there. I rounded up some of my favorite body-positive fitness tips, along with input from a few experts I love. The overall theme: Fitness should make you feel good.

  ~Tori and crew in the Bettie Page Fitness: Total Body Strength & Cardio video~

~Tori and crew in the Bettie Page Fitness: Total Body Strength & Cardio video~

❤️ Don’t Do It To Earn Food. Just go ahead right now and disentangle food from any strange equations based on exercise. Getting those two bound up — “How many minutes on the treadmill would this brownie cost me?” — can drain the joy out of both, and is even a feature of certain eating disorders when it becomes extreme. Old-school fitness culture and thinspo have us conditioned to think we have to work up an appetite and “run off” calories. We don’t. It’s not a zero-sum game. If you’re taking generally good care of your body, it knows just how to deal with indulgences and excess. Food: You don’t have to earn it, you just have to eat it. Bon appétit.

❤️ Do Take The Inside-Out View. “Don’t be attached to a number as a goal,” says Kathryn Budig, a yoga teacher and author of the recently released book Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance! “Focus on how you feel, not on how you look.” This taps into mindfulness, which a new study linked with less focus on appearance and more exercising for internally motivated reasons such as the health and mood benefits. And, of course, yoga helps: In the study, an eight-week yoga program helped in these areas while also improving mindfulness.

  ~Total babe showing off her excellent Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)~

~Total babe showing off her excellent Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)~

❤️ Do Express Your Gratitude. Yes, do it even if it feels corny at first. Budig suggests trying this project, similar to one from her book: “Write your body a love letter! If you remind yourself that you and your body are on the same team, you’re more likely to go into your workout feeling connected and ready to progress without judgment.” Describe at least five things you appreciate about your body, and add to it over time as you think of more. Give it a glance when the two of you are at odds.

Burlesque sensation Dita Von Teese illustrates Budig’s point perfectly: “I remind myself of how fortunate I am that I have the physical capabilities to exercise, that I am grateful to my body for serving me well, and exercising is a way to thank it!” Von Teese is the author of Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, which emphasizes uniqueness and self-appreciation. “I try to replace any negative thoughts I might have about how my body looks with something positive about what amazing things it does for me — how well it works, letting me walk, stand, jump, and dance.”

❤️ Don’t Bore Your Body. It only reinforces that tired “exercise-as-torture” myth when your workout starts feeling like same ol’ drudgery. Body-positive fitness is about pleasure, not punishment. Try as many different types of movement as you reasonably can and want to, including some not-so-obvious options. “I’ve always done Pilates and ballet, but I’ve also done yoga, Zumba, water aerobics, hiking, stretch classes, Body Rolling, trampoline, and fencing lessons, all for the sake of finding new ways to get moving,” Von Teese says. “I recently started seeing a CrossFit trainer and I love it. It’s a whole new world that is such a departure from Pilates and ballet, and it’s keeping me interested.”

  ~Dita Von Teese taking fencing lessons with Olympic silver medalist Tim Morehouse~

~Dita Von Teese taking fencing lessons with Olympic silver medalist Tim Morehouse~

❤️ Do What You Can. Respect your body’s limits, and set your own pace. “If you have to cut out of a class early because you can’t do anymore, that’s okay — give yourself credit for going and getting halfway through,” says San Francisco-based fashion blogger Chastity Garner Valentine of GarnerStyle. It’s far wiser — and kinder — to work your way up slowly than to get hurt or burned-out and end up not exercising at all. Challenge your body when you can, and back off when needed. If there are moves you’d like to try, but they feel out of reach based on your fitness or mobility level, ask a personal trainer or group-fitness instructor to show you some modifications that might work better for you.

❤️ Don’t Make It All About Weight. “I don’t work out to lose weight anymore,” says Kierra Sheard, a Grammy-nominated gospel singer, actress, and blogger. She exercises to protect her heart health — and her relationships. For instance, she might do a kickboxing class when she’s pissed off, she says. “That’s also a form of self-love to me — it allows me to release my anger and stress, and to maintain my character by not doing what I would really like to do to some people” in certain ultra-annoying situations. Bonus: Regular exercise helps boost body image, suggests a 2013 study published in PLOS ONE.

 ~Marilyn rocks a Shoulder Stand variation~

~Marilyn rocks a Shoulder Stand variation~

❤️ Do It For The Countless Health Perks. Exercise can reduce stress and the risk of various diseases while improving mood and longevity, and it just makes you feel better. “Any time that I feel tired or even on the verge of getting sick, I find that working out makes me feel more energized,” Von Teese says. Consider fitness a tool you can use anytime that has both short-term and long-term gains.

❤️ Do It For You. Avoid the comparison game at all costs. It rarely helps, always hurts, and you can’t measure your success with someone else’s yardstick. You’re on a completely different path than everyone else around you (including on social media!), so “be kind and patient with yourself,” says Blake Von D, a Chicago-based lawyer and style blogger. “As long as you’re enjoying yourself and are proud of your journey, you’re on the right track.” As sappy as this may sound, this concept is crucial for staying consistent with exercise and keeping it body-positive: Working toward self-acceptance and self-compassion is essential, or else we’re right back to all that punishment stuff.

~This article by Tori Rodriguez originally appeared on Refinery29.com~

New Bettie Book Announcement!

A lifestyle guide inspired by the Queen of Pinups, Bettie Page, The Little Book of Bettie offers real advice on fashion, makeup, fitness, and more for today's modern woman who loves a little dose of retro.

 ~  The Little Book of Bettie is scheduled for release on May 8, 2018  ~

~ The Little Book of Bettie is scheduled for release on May 8, 2018 ~

I’m beyond thrilled to announce the upcoming publication of my first book, with none other than Queen Bettie as the subject and foreword by our modern-day goddess, Dita Von Teese!! (Somehow, I’ve managed to keep this under wraps for almost a year, and you have no idea how much self-restraint that took!)

This gem is called The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups, and its scheduled release date is May 8, 2018. (See pre-order link at bottom.) Here’s the scoop:

The celebrated Queen of Pinups styled her own iconic hair, did her own makeup, fashioned her own swimsuits, and was ahead of her time in endless ways, making her a source of inspiration to stars like Madonna, Beyoncé, and Katy Perry. Against the backdrop of the conservative 1950s, Bettie Page was an advocate of pleasure, fun, liberation, and body-positivity. There's so much to be learned from her!

Within The Little Book of Bettie you'll find:

* Bettie's remarkable backstory

* Retro fashion and styling tips

* Vintage hair and makeup lessons

* Bettie-inspired fitness routines

* DIY pinup accessory how-tos

* Advice from "Bettie Babes" like Dita Von Teese, modern-day pinups and entertainers, and everyday women who love Bettie!

Filled with both color and black-and-white images, The Little Book of Bettie is a beautifully gifty, celebratory look at the groundbreaking style of one of the greatest icons of pop culture. 

About the Author:

Tori Rodriguez is the blog editor for BettiePage.com, manages Bettie’s official social media pages, and has written about her for various leading publications. She is a freelance journalist, licensed psychotherapist, health and fitness expert, singer-songwriter, and creator of Bettie Page Fitness. Tori lives in Atlanta.

~Click HERE to pre-order The Little Book of Bettie!

~Click HERE to shop Bettie Page yoga mats, fitness videos & more!