Welcome to the Bettie Page Fitness Body Positive Health Challenge!

The building blocks of the Bettie Page Fitness Body Positive Health Challenge! Do as many of these as you can on most days.

The building blocks of the Bettie Page Fitness Body Positive Health Challenge! Do as many of these as you can on most days.

I’m honored that you chose to join me for the 30-day Bettie Page Fitness Body Positive Health Challenge, starting October 16, 2017, and ending on November 15, 2017! (If you haven't signed up, you can do so when prompted by the popup box when you enter this site, or shoot me an email at info@bettiepagefitness.com.)

Working toward health goals can be so rewarding and fun, but unfortunately there aren’t many places to do it without being subjected to body-shaming (whether subtle or obvious) and disordered thinking. As a licensed psychotherapist and wellness coach with expertise in food and body image issues, and creator of the first-ever body positive fitness videos, I’ve been inspired to offer a safe space where you can work toward your goals in the context of self-care versus self-punishment.

This is a judgment-free, weight-neutral, anti-diet zone, so you won’t find diets or weight loss advice here – just solid fitness, nutrition, psychology, and wellness info that you can use or not as you please. I don’t even like the use of the term “clean eating” because it reinforces a diet mentality and that whole “good foods vs bad foods” thing that I know can be so destructive.

The reasons I know that are because of my personal struggles with food and body image, as well as my professional experience. A bit of additional background on me: I’m also a health journalist, blog and social media editor for bettiepage.com, singer-songwriter, and now… author!!! I’ve got TWO Bettie-based books scheduled for publication in 2018, and you’ll certainly learn more about those in the near future.

Back to the challenge: This is an opportunity for you to work toward improving your health in a focused way with the support of others who have also joined the challenge. You don’t have to love your body to participate; you only need to be willing to take care of it or at least start working toward that goal.

To take proper care of your body, you need to know what it needs. To know what it needs, you need to be able to hear what it’s telling you, and I’ll help you learn how. That’s the overarching goal of this challenge – to learn to listen to your body and make decisions about your health based on what your body tells you instead of what any diet plan, magazine, fitspo page, your mom or friends, or anyone says.

This challenge will help you start shifting your thinking from an externally-focused viewpoint (based on calories, pounds, societal messages) to an internally-focused one based on how your body feels and what you know it needs. You will also be encouraged to expand your definition of what constitutes health and all the things that can influence it.

Yogi Bettie rocking Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) at the beach - and clearly loving her body! ~Photo by Bunny Yeager~

Yogi Bettie rocking Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) at the beach - and clearly loving her body! ~Photo by Bunny Yeager~

The main thing I want you to do is pay attention – to whatever thoughts and feelings may arise as you work toward your goals, any barriers that get in the way, and what seems to work well for you or not. Ideally, you will also take at least 10-15 minutes for self-reflection each night to record (in whatever format works for you) these observations in addition to noting how/what you did toward your goals that day. [When you’re done, do a breath-based or guided meditation for 2-5 minutes to sort of reset. I’ll offer more options, but for now, just set a timer and do a 4:2:6 breathing pattern: Inhale deep into your belly for 4 counts, hold for 2 counts, then exhale completely over 6 counts. Just pay attention to your breath as you go.] At the end of each week I’ll ask you to do a bit more focused reflection to assess your progress, notice any patterns, and tweak your goals if needed.

~ THE CHALLENGE! ~

The basic goals of the challenge are summed up in that Bettie collage at the very top of the page. 😉 You might want to save it to your phone or computer so you pull it up for a quick reminder of what you’re going for. In a nutshell: 

·         BE MINDFUL

·         LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

·         EAT 5-9 VEGGIES & FRUITS DAILY

·         MOVE DAILY

·         RELAX

·         SLEEP WELL

 

Here’s the expanded version with a few extra touches:

{Thank your body when you wake up.}

·         Be mindful. As much as possible, avoid distractions when you eat. Fully experience and enjoy your food. Same with exercise: Instead of just trying to get it over with, notice how your body feels as you do it, and appreciate all the countless cells and many systems working in your favor to allow your body to move.

·         Listen to your body. Throughout the month, you’ll learn a lot more about how to do this. For now, just aim to pay attention to how it feels before, during and after eating and exercising. You might also start simply getting in the habit of asking your body, “What do you need right now?” even if you can’t recognize the answers yet. 

·         Eat mostly plant-based (veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, grains) whole foods – in other words, ones that aren’t overly processed – including at least 3 vegetables and 2 fruits daily, more if you’re already there (9 is the daily amount recommended by the USDA). Eat organic as much as possible, but don’t stress when you can’t. Your protein sources, of course, will vary based on whether you’re vegetarian or vegan or neither. Healthy fats are essential for everyone. Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water each day, more if you’re very active. Coffee and all kinds of tea are generally great for our health, unless you have a particular reason why you're not supposed to drink them - so enjoy in liberal moderation (in other words, unlimited coffee still isn't a good idea. Well, only in theory.) This isn’t a diet plan; these are concrete actions you can take to improve your health. Don’t be restrictive with your eating. Loving limits: Yes. Rigid rules: No.

·         Move daily if you are able – whatever kind you like. Some days you might only have time for a 10-minute walk or quickie strength workout… and that’s okay. Bring your full attention to it and make it the best 10 minutes of your day! {Thank your body when you finish.}

·         Relax. Be sure to carve out time regularly to do literally nothing, laze around with friends or your lover or dog, or whatever makes you feel relaxed. Even when we’re working on self-care, we need regular breaks from focusing on goals or it takes the joy out of it.

·         Sleep at least 7 hours each night. Most of us really do need 8, some need more and some less. But given our current global sleep crisis, a solid 7 each night is an excellent starting point.

Throughout the 30 days, I’ll be sharing tons of tips, tools, and personal stories that are relevant to our challenge goals. And of course, lots of the content will be Bettie-fied and pinup-infused, and I’ll also share splashes of Ayurvedic wisdom, psychology, feminism and other assorted offerings from my various areas of interest.

Now here’s what can be most challenging for many of us: Try to approach all of this with nonjudgment, self-compassion, and curiosity instead of the fear and perfectionism that health challenges can evoke. If you have days that you can’t meet all (or any!) of your goals, seriously don’t waste a minute judging and criticizing yourself for it. Let this be a truly healthy experience, and don’t bring any of that kind anxiety to this process. Instead, use that time and energy constructively and put it toward your self-reflection to figure out what might work better next time.

That’s the basic blueprint! Tweak as needed to make it work for you.

~ NEXT STEPS TO GET STARTED! ~

 

Bettie looking for her drishti through a spyglass!

Bettie looking for her drishti through a spyglass!

·         Go to this Facebook page and send me a request to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1626183777693897 (after you've signed up for the challenge by submitting your email address). You can refer back to this page for the basic challenge info (www.bettiepagefitness.com/health-challenge), but I’ll also be offering giveaways and discounts, Q&A’s and other special content exclusively on the Facebook group page, and that's where challenge participants can share ideas and support. Please note that I will not allow body shaming or comments or posts explicitly about diets, “clean eating,” weight loss, etc. – except in certain contexts. For example, if you want to share on the Facebook group page that all your co-workers are on a diet and you need support on how to resist the pressure to join in, I’m not going to forbid that, of course.

·         Find your drishti! You might find it helpful and less overwhelming to focus mainly on one goal, or to note one as your top priority for the challenge. For example, based on what you know about your current situation and needs, you might make the veggies & fruits thing your top priority. (For me, it’s definitely the sleep goal, though I need to strengthen all areas so will do my best in those too.) In yoga, the teacher often cues students to “Find your drishti,” which means focused gaze. Finding a spot to focus on often has this magical effect of bringing a sense of ease, strength, and balance to the pose you’re doing. I love using the concept of drishti as a metaphor in other areas of life. In this case, getting clear on your goal and keeping your eye on the prize, so to speak, can have that same effect of directing your attention – and thus your energy and other resources – toward it, making you more likely to reach it, and with less of a sense of frustration and struggle. If you feel like this might help, go ahead and choose your drishti for this 30-day challenge. (Totally optional!)

·         Start a notebook, app, or any way you prefer to track your progress. Keep it as simple as possible so you’ll be more likely to do it and keep it up.

That’s all for now! Keep an eye out for lots more to come!

Best of luck and warmest regards,

Tori