Happy Birthday to The Little Book of Marilyn!

Get a double dose of pinup power with the Queen of Pinups & the Goddess of Glam

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Although Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe share space at the pinnacle of pinup stardom, people often like to pit these queens against each other – as in, “Are you a Bettie or a Marilyn?” But these two actually have lots in common, along with their own unique attributes worthy of our adoration and emulation, so why draw inspiration from both of these powerful, trailblazing women?

You learned all about being a Bettie in my book that was released last year, The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups. Now you can learn how to use Marilyn as your muse in Michelle Morgan’s wonderful new release, The Little Book of Marilyn: Inspiration from the Goddess of Glam, the second book in the “Little Book” of badass women series by Running Press. This gem is organized in a similar framework to the one I created for the Bettie book, so you can look forward to beauty and fashion how-to’s and DIY crafts, in addition to learning more about Marilyn’s backstory and the modern-day women she inspires.

Interior shot from The Little Book of Marilyn: Inspiration from the Goddess of Glam

Interior shot from The Little Book of Marilyn: Inspiration from the Goddess of Glam

I had the pleasure of interviewing this delightful author to get the full scoop on her latest Marilyn tribute. Check out our chat below.

Tori Rodriguez: How did you first learn about Marilyn, and what is it that feeds your interest in her? 

Michelle Morgan: When I was very small – probably no older than four or five, I watched Some Like it Hot on the television. I absolutely loved it, and for ages afterwards I asked my mum when “that film with the men dressed as ladies” would be coming back on! The funny thing was that I don’t even recall noticing Marilyn in the film at that point, because I was so busy laughing at Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis! Of course, growing up she was always on my radar because everybody knew about Marilyn and her career. However, by 1985 (when I was 15), Marilyn was even more noticeable to me because I was a huge Madonna fan and she dressed up as Marilyn in her video for “Material Girl.”

Later that year I went on holiday with my parents and my brother, and I saw a photo of Marilyn in the gold dress. It really struck a chord with me, and that night I told my parents that I was going to buy a book about her to read on the beach. The next day we went to a book shop and I was lucky to find an excellent biography by Fred Lawrence Guiles. I read it and was absolutely hooked. I spent all of my holiday money on postcards and pictures of Marilyn, and I remember my mum being concerned that I might be wasting my hard-saved money on what could be a passing fad. Little did she know – and little did I know – what was going to happen in the future!

I think for me, what feeds my interest is that I am deeply inspired by Marilyn’s life and career. She didn’t have the best start in life, and she suffered from depression and anxiety, but my goodness she was determined to make the best of her life. She is a brilliant role model and has brought so many wonderful people and opportunities into my life.

Interior shot from The Little Book of Marilyn: Inspiration from the Goddess of Glam

Interior shot from The Little Book of Marilyn: Inspiration from the Goddess of Glam

TR: How did The Little Book of Marilyn come about, and what can readers expect to find within the book?

MM: My publisher – Running Press – had just published your book about Bettie Page, and they were looking to do others in the series. My editor asked if I’d like to do one about Marilyn, so of course I said yes! I sent her some ideas, and we brainstormed back and forth until we came up with what we both thought would be a really worthwhile book. Readers can expect to see a short biography, interviews with fans, make-up and hair tutorials from the wonderful Suzie Kennedy, crafts, photos of items Marilyn owned, places she visited, and so much more!

TR: What was something new you learned while writing this book?

MM: One of the things I learned was that I can actually coordinate craft projects and photo sessions! I had never done that before, and it was definitely the hardest part of the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience. In the end, these parts of the book turned out to be something of a family affair: My good friend Suzie Kennedy did the make-up and hair tutorials, while my parents’ neighbor took the photos, then my aunt wrote the bag and hat tutorials, my mum and I helped cut out the material, and my dad photographed it all! So, I was very lucky with those sections, and the book means even more to me because of that.

Shot of Marilyn tribute artist Suzie Kennedy’s beauty tutorials in The Little Book of Marilyn

Shot of Marilyn tribute artist Suzie Kennedy’s beauty tutorials in The Little Book of Marilyn

TR: What are a few of the top takeaways you hope readers will gain from your book?

MM: I hope that readers will gain an insight into just how inspirational Marilyn can be and what a joy and life-changing experience it can be to be a fan! I spoke to various fans in the book, and each one has a lovely story to tell about how Marilyn has inspired them and changed their lives. She’s certainly changed mine, so if readers take away anything, I hope it’s the joy that being a fan can bring and just how much inspiration they can gain from Marilyn’s life and her career.

TR: For new fans of yours who love this book, they’ll be happy to know you’ve written others about Marilyn – tell us a bit about those and what’s next!

MM: Yes, I’ve written many books about Marilyn over the years. My first one was back in 1995 and was called Marilyn’s Addresses. Then in 2007, I wrote a full-length biography called Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed. That was expanded, revised and republished in 2012. After that I co-authored Before Marilyn, which was a book dedicated to Marilyn’s modeling career, and then last year saw the publication of The Girl: Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist. All of these books have a place in my heart, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to write them. Will I write another Marilyn book? Watch this space!

I’ve got four projects coming out next year (so far!), and while I’m extremely excited about all of them, I’m sworn to secrecy until the publisher announces them. Rest assured, I’ll be shouting from the rooftops when I’m able to share details, so please check my social media (@MMWriterGirl) and my website (www.MichelleMorgan.co.uk) for all the latest details!

♥ ♥ ♥

Body-Positive Mother's Day Gift Guide

Treat your mom to some self-care goodies that will make her body feel great — and make her feel great about her body!

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Bettie Page Fitness has a bounty of Bettie-inspired, body-positive gifts for your mama! (Order at bettiepagefitness.com no later than Tuesday, May 7th to receive US orders in time for the big day.) But we didn’t stop there – we also rounded up a bunch of other feel-good items that were designed with body-positivity or self-care in mind – or both! Check ‘em all out below; click the product name to link to the product or company site.

Bettie Page Fitness: Total Body Strength & Cardio (digital and DVD on sale for $15-20 at bettiepagefitness.com) ~ This was the first-ever body-positive video on the market, inspired by Bettie poses (shown throughout the video), with motivational gems and modifications throughout to make it easier or harder. This 45-minute session is truly a total body workout that includes strength moves (just a pair of 5-12 pound dumbbells are needed), cardio bursts, abs/core work, and yummy stretches at the end. You won’t find any “burn off those brownies” or “fit into your skinny jeans” nonsense here – just a fun, unique, challenging workout that aims to improve your fitness level and body image at the same time.

Bettie Page Fitness DVDs; photo by Pearl Davies

Bettie Page Fitness DVDs; photo by Pearl Davies

Bettie Page Yoga (digital and DVD on sale for $15-20 at bettiepagefitness.com) ~ Bend it like Bettie with the, uh, second-ever body-positive fitness video. (Yes, we’re proud bopo pioneers, happy to forge this path for all who are done being made to feel like shit while trying to be healthy!) Each move is based on Bettie poses that were inspired by yoga moves, so we’ve brought it full circle and now here we are. 😉 In this one, Tori encourages viewers to pick certain Bettie traits they’d like to cultivate as they move through this complete 40-minute yoga flow.

The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups (on sale for $14.45 at bettiepagefitness.com, autographed by author; also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers) ~ Don’t let the cute size fool you — this Bettie-inspired pinup lifestyle guide is packed full of retro goodness. 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.

The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups; photos by @miss.vintage.orchid

The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups; photos by @miss.vintage.orchid

Bettie Page yoga mats (on sale for $74 at bettiepagefitness.com, or save more with a Bettie Bundle) ~ Body-positive fitness is all about the joy of movement and keeping things fresh. As Tori says, “Don’t bore your body!” What better way to ramp up the fun factor with a yoga mat featuring a life-sized Bettie photo? Available in a range of exclusive designs. Mom will have the coolest yoga mat in class! These also make great wall art (hang with Scotch Command strips for damage-free hanging) and outdoor seating at the park.

If you want to amp up the bopo Bettie bliss for mama, snag one of the Bettie bundles — the big one comes with a yoga mat of your choice, BOTH workout videos, and the Little Book of Bettie (on sale for $99.00). The small bundle comes with both vids and the book (on sale for $38.25).

The big Bettie Bundle includes a Bettie yoga mat, both fitness videos & The Look Book of Bettie

The big Bettie Bundle includes a Bettie yoga mat, both fitness videos & The Look Book of Bettie

Scentered wellness products. As an integrative psychotherapist and Ayurvedic wellness coach, I’m all about the wonders of essential oils, which I’ve written about for Women’s Health Magazine and WomansDay.com. I was thrilled when this brand reached out to me and sent me samples of three of their gorgeous products, which are all natural and never tested on animals. The candle and balm gift sets are divine, but my current fave is the survival kit because I can keep them with me in the cute little travel bag and use whichever balm the situation calls for. The info below is slightly modified from the company’s product descriptions. 

~Ultimate Survival Kit ($80 at https://us.scentered.me) -- The perfect gift for those that deserve a little of everything,  this kit contains one of each of the fab five Scentered essential-oil based therapy balms; De-Stress, Sleep Well, Love, Escape and memory boosting Focus with a neat zip up and go travel bag. These therapy balms are a 100% natural blend of essential oils with moringa and shea butter, with a non-greasy, nourishing formula – non-spill, totally portable. A gift to help your nearest and dearest stay centered, whatever life throws at them, enabling them to do their best at work and at play.

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~I Want to Sleep Well gift set ($49 at https://us.scentered.me) -- The perfect start to your bedtime ritual whether you are at home or away. Containing a travel candle and full-sized therapy balm, the calming floral blend harnesses the therapeutic benefits of lavender, chamomile, and ho wood to help you drift into a restful and restorative sleep.

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~I Want to De-Stress gift set ($49 at https://us.scentered.me) -- Take comfort when dealing with the demands of modern life. Containing a travel candle and full-sized therapy balm, reach for your De-stress, whether it's a hard day at work or family or personal challenges, our soothing blend with herbal notes of calming chamomile, neroli, and cedarwood will help you keep it all in balance.

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Bettie Page Wines ($25 at bettiepagewines.com, or save with a Bettie Page Wine Club membership) ~ Because antioxidants — duh! Wine (especially the red kind) is chock-full of these health-boosting compounds that researchers have linked wine with a range of benefits, including lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. All wrapped in beautiful Bettie labels with new designs released regularly – an extra cheers to that! Oh — but moderation is key, of course. (Sorry. Livers are important too.)

Bettie Page Wines gift set

Bettie Page Wines gift set

Bettie Page Clothing and Bettie Page Lingerie (bettiepage.com) ~ Grab a gift card from BettiePage.com so mom can get decked out in gorgeous pinup-style clothing and lingerie that comes in a wide range of sizes. She can use the gift card at bettiepage.com or in person at the Bettie Page Store in Burbank, CA. This description from bettiepage.com sums it all up:

Combining sex appeal with quirky charm, we at Bettie Page pay homage to the late pinup star by letting the influence of Bettie guide all of our designs. As modern Betties, we are playful and sweet, yet refined and sexy. We resonate with the duality of being both sides of a coin at the same time, just as Bettie did. We embody the strength, progressivism and independence that she personified, to show the world that modern Betties are not just pretty faces. We are here to boldly stand for who we truly are and being our most authentic selves.

AMEN!

Bettie Page Store gals wearing the Liz Dress

Bettie Page Store gals wearing the Liz Dress

Teaney ($17 for 5 oz, $33 for 10 oz at Teaney.shop; free shipping with code FREESHIPPING) ~ A special cup of soothing goodness fit for a queen – like your mother! Packed with healing, yummy herbs and a scent to die for, this heavenly concoction makes for the perfect little daily ritual to sip on some self-care.

All 3 blends are sublime, but the one that feeds my soul the most is the Turmeric Golden Milk with Ashwagandha Latte Elixir (made with raw honey, organic coconut, turmeric, ashwagandha, passionflower and extracts of vanilla, cinnamon, cardamon and ginger… and lots of love from my wonderful Ayurveda teacher Anna Russ).

Product details: Wind down with this warming elixir that utilizes the famous Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha and passionflower with warming chai spices. Wonderful anytime you need to press pause. No blender, no filter, no steep time required! Just add warm milk or water, stir and enjoy an instant AHHHHH!

Teaney also offers these delicious blends: Cacao Lavender with Reishi + Valerian Root Latte Elixir and Matcha Mint Rhodiola Latte Elixir

Left: the 3 Teaney blends; Right: a cup of heaven AKA the Turmeric Golden Milk Ashwagandha blend

Left: the 3 Teaney blends; Right: a cup of heaven AKA the Turmeric Golden Milk Ashwagandha blend

Superfit Hero (prices vary; superfithero.com – free shipping in US for orders over $75) ~ Noting that fitness is for every body, this line is “designed for ultimate confidence no matter your sport or your size.” Each item is “tested and approved by athletes size XS-5XL, making Superfit Hero the most inclusive premium activewear brand on the planet.” Ethically made in Los Angeles. While you’re visiting their site, be sure to check out their directory of body-positive fitness professionals!

SuperCool Pocket Leggings — Magenta Stripe Print from Superfit Hero

SuperCool Pocket Leggings — Magenta Stripe Print from Superfit Hero

Anti-Diet Books. Help mom give diet culture the finger with any or all of these body-positive, anti-diet books that encourage readers to honor their bodies’ signals, heal their relationship with food, and focus on health from a place of self-love versus self-punishment. P.S. — Diets don’t work. (Links to purchase are listed below the pic in order shown.)

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Diversity on the Pinup Scene

It was such an honor to feature many of these beautiful babes in The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups! Plus, Miss Velvet Wren, Diamant Duchess, Angelique Noire, and Ashleeta Beachamp offered their thoughts about diversity on the pinup scene.

Jenny Rieu, Angelique Noire, Ashleeta Beauchamp, Vintage Vandalizm & LaCoreXicana at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend (photographer unknown)

Jenny Rieu, Angelique Noire, Ashleeta Beauchamp, Vintage Vandalizm & LaCoreXicana at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend (photographer unknown)

The Trap Pinup Diamant Duchess (by Brooklyn Brat Images), Ashleeta Beauchamp (by Lars Kommienezuspadt)

The Trap Pinup Diamant Duchess (by Brooklyn Brat Images), Ashleeta Beauchamp (by Lars Kommienezuspadt)

Miss Velvet Wren (Amber Rhodes-Lapoint), Angelique Noire (by Romain Court)

Miss Velvet Wren (Amber Rhodes-Lapoint), Angelique Noire (by Romain Court)


Bettie's Advice for the New Year!

In this excerpt from the book Bettie Page: The Lost Years, Bettie wrote these words of wisdom to her sister Goldie for New Year’s 1999 – exactly 20 years ago!

The ultimate optimist, Bettie was always looking up!

The ultimate optimist, Bettie was always looking up!

In her letter to Goldie, Bettie wrote:

I’ve got a big sign up on my bedroom wall, among others, that I’m trying with all my might to do: “I must practice positive thinking at all times and eliminate negative thinking.” Do you know it makes all the difference in the world as to how you feel if you don’t moan and groan about all the bad things that have happened to you throughout your past life, if you put it all behind you and expect good things to come to you. Chances are they will just because you believe it.

As part of my studies on anti- aging and longevity (I’m trying to live to be 100+ in good health as much as possible), I’ve been reading a lot about the power of the mind to heal. You know there are two truisms: you are what you eat and you are what you think! Your mind influences every part of your body. You are only as old as you think.

Your mind affects your body’s ability to make itself sick or well. Your thoughts determine whether you become old as you age or stay young. How you think results in how you feel. Unhappy emotions and poor self- image can lead to disease.

I know from personal experience that this works, Goldie (oops, I mean Gloria). Maybe you should copy all of this in big letters and put it up on the wall where you can read it every day—like I do—and DO it!!! Believe me, that’s the best possible New Year’s resolution you could make.

♥ ♥ ♥

A Quickie with Model Stefania Ferrario

A quick interview that is… Jeez, you have a dirty mind!

♥ All photos of Stefania courtesy of @stefania_raw ♥

♥ All photos of Stefania courtesy of @stefania_raw ♥

I first learned about Stefania Ferrario – one of my very favorite models ever!! – from an Instagram post by Dita Von Teese, and I quickly fell in love with her look, vibe, and body-positive, be-you message. I soon found out that she’s a fan of Queen Bettie, which makes perfect sense, as the two goddesses have a lot in common.

They’ve both had to deal with size discrimination in the modeling industry, are fierce advocates for courageous self-expression, and refuse to conform to mainstream norms. Not to mention they are both iconic beauties who are innovative and creative, and they freely express their sexuality in a way that is joyful and authentic. Clearly, I could go on and on. But I’ll let Stefania tell you a bit more about herself in this quick Q&A.

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BY TORI RODRIGUEZ

Bettie Page Fitness: You seem like you’d be a blast to hang out with. What do you like to do for fun in your free time?

Stefania: Watch horror movies and music clips from the 80’s, lol!

BPF: What are your favorite types of exercise?

Stefania: I've enjoyed trying out Tai chi, and now yoga on my new Bettie Page yoga mats!

BPF: How do you strike a balance between being mindful about your eating without being too restrictive?   

Stefania: I just remind myself, “Everything in moderation” – including moderation itself! :)

BPF: What some of your favorite ways to recharge?

Stefania: I like taking my time to do my glam makeup when I have the chance. Otherwise, I'll put on my James Dean and head out bare-faced and boyish. 

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BPF: When did you first learn about Bettie? 

Stefania: To be honest I cannot remember the exact time. It feels like I've always known of her.

BPF: What are some of the things you most love and admire about her?

Stefania: She was a free spirit in numerous ways. She lived her life to the fullest and tested out different avenues in her life. I feel bad that time got to her, however. She was always beautiful to me, even in her later years. 

BPF: What’s next in your world in terms of work, personal, or anything else you’d like to share?

Stefania: I just want to keep modeling. I'll be staying in Australia from now on, however, after my experiences of treatment in the great USA.

BPF: It sounds like somebody deserves an ass-whuppin’… I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope you’ll change your mind someday and return to grace us with your spectacular presence!

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♥♥♥ 

Food Fix: Permission vs Panic

Improve your relationship with food by shifting your focus from deprivation to abundance

No need to panic… you can always have more later!

No need to panic… you can always have more later!

BY TORI RODRIGUEZ

“You can have more later.” Isn’t there such comfort in hearing that?  There’s something about having a sense of choice and abundance that makes us tend to take only as much as we need or want.

I used to have a wicked sweet tooth, and when I was trying not to indulge, when I would finally “let” myself, it felt like it was my only chance to do it for who knew how long. “Get it while you can” was the message, which only served to create feelings of scarcity and anxiety around food. So I would eat way too much and then feel out of control and physically awful – energy crash, headache, and all-around ickyness. Over time, as I worked toward cultivating a healthy relationship with food, I learned about proper nutrition and the basic physiology of how consistently overeating, especially sugary foods, affects our insulin and blood sugar levels and pretty much every system in our bodies.

I began making choices rooted in treating my body with kindness (learn about the Health at Every Size approach HERE), paying more attention to how my body felt than to the rules my mind rehearsed – more of an internal versus external focus.  When I gave up the restrictive approach and knew I could have more later of whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, because I was no longer constantly trying to “get back on track,” I began eating enough to satisfy but not enough to sicken. 

Do your friendships feed you? What about other areas of your life – do you feel nourished or deprived?

Do your friendships feed you? What about other areas of your life – do you feel nourished or deprived?

Sometimes I would take myself up on the offer to have more, but just as often I’d forget about it or not want more when later came. I was surprised to discover that, given the choice, I rarely wanted as much as I once thought I did. The have-more-later approach allows me to pause and pay attention to how my body feels and make choices accordingly, rather than mindlessly inhaling half a cake and barely even tasting or truly enjoying it.

I’d venture to say that most of us have experienced deprivation – imposed by others or by ourselves – whether with food, love, acceptance, or self-expression. Start working toward awareness of what you’re hungry for, both with food and otherwise. Turn your focus away from rules and limits, and focus on adding the things that nurture you in whichever parts of your life where you’re not getting enough of what you need. If you’re strongly driven by “shoulds” and “should nots” with your eating, it’s highly likely you operate the same way in other areas.

Obsessing over rules keeps your relationship with food in your head – fixating on what you can and can’t, should and shouldn’t eat; what’s “good” or “bad” or “fattening” or not – instead of driven by your body’s cues. It makes you act on external factors instead of intrinsic ones, which is disempowering, ineffective, and can give you a sense of disconnection from yourself and others.

Try for the most part to make food and exercise choices based on a combination of what you know about your body (this is the priority) and what is known about how to achieve and maintain good health (and there’s much more to it than what or how much to eat or work out! Plenty of sleep, socializing, and relaxation, are also essential, for example). If you’re not clear in these areas, set out to explore both. Seek to empower yourself with knowledge, but don’t trust sources that shame you for your choices or generally make you feel like shit about yourself, and expect and embrace a trial-and-error process as you discover what fills you.


Enjoy every single bite! Celebrate food and life!

Enjoy every single bite! Celebrate food and life!

Move away from restraint and deprivation, and start thinking abundance, adding, expanding, enhancing, fulfilling, and satisfying. Instead of “eat less junk,” start with “eat more plants.” Guess what? You’ll inevitably eat less junk. This is a good metaphor for feeding your mind and spirit too – the more you get what you need, the less you’ll want what you don’t need. So instead of trying to subtract the junk, aim instead to add the nutritious stuff. But just as importantly, DO NOT fall into the guilt trap when you eat the junky stuff… that will just continue to feed the binge-shame-restrict-binge cycle.

Get to know your body by asking yourself (even if the answers aren’t readily apparent), “What really satisfies me, in terms of food and otherwise? How do I physically feel after I eat this? After I eat X amount of it?” Ideally, you’ll jot these notes in a journal so you can notice patterns over time. Approach it like a lifelong experiment to explore and find out how much and what kinds make you feel happiest and most alive, given your unique design.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between feeling bad physiologically – nausea, headache, bloating, lack of energy – and feeling like a terrible person because you ate something deemed “bad.” Start placing more emphasis on the former, and remember that all foods can be enjoyed in moderation – and in excess at times! Food doesn’t intrinsically have moral value, despite the media’s and many confused humans’ longtime tendency to frame certain foods as “sinful” and “bad” and something one “cheats” with, along with the common reinforcement of those views by family, friends, co-workers, and even the people who are supposed to be experts. I’ve seen many a fitness pro or dietitian promote these dangerous ideas.

In the process of unlearning deprivation, you may at first eat more than you need. But eventually, with the reassurance that you can have what you want or need at any time, you’ll come to trust yourself. Then you’ll realize there’s no need to overdo it, and the fear and panic will subside, becoming unnecessary.  “You can have more later” is a powerful message. ♥





Weight Stigma Worse for Health Than Being "Overweight"

Research shows that anti-fat bias has more of a negative impact than weight itself.

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BY TORI RODRIGUEZ, FOR MEDICAL BAG

As obesity rates continue to rise, healthcare providers have increased efforts to encourage weight loss in patients considered to be overweight in the interest of reducing associated harms like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. However, emerging evidence suggests that these efforts may also cause harm by promoting weight stigma, which has been linked with a range of negative health outcomes and an increased risk of death. Read the full story here: https://www.medicalbag.com/medicine/weight-stigma-vs-obesity-providing-compassionate-care/article/810901/ 💗

 

The Bettie Page Fitness Body-Positive Wellness Plan!

Forget all the complicated diets and scary exercise regimens. Stick to these tried-and-true basics for optimal health.

The building blocks of the Bettie Page Fitness Body-Positive Wellness Plan! Do as many of these as you can on most days, and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t.

The building blocks of the Bettie Page Fitness Body-Positive Wellness Plan! Do as many of these as you can on most days, and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t.

BY TORI RODRIGUEZ, MA, LPC, AHC

[This info was the basis for last year’s Bettie Page Fitness Health Challenge. We will be doing the challenge again this November. To sign up, enter your email when prompted by the popup box when you enter this site, or shoot us an email at info@bettiepagefitness.com.]

As a psychotherapist, wellness coach, and health journalist with expertise in food and body images issues among others, I often find that when people want to improve their health or other areas of their lives, they feel compelled to make big, sweeping, fancy changes that are either impossible or unsustainable (not to mention joy-sucking and boring). What I’ve also learned throughout my many years of professional and personal experience is that the most effective approach to getting and staying healthy is to simply focus on the tried-and-true basics. This sometimes doesn’t appeal to people who are ready for things to be completely different RIGHT NOW and want that shot of hope that comes from planning to radically overhaul their lives (uh, diet culture, anyone?)

But the letdown when you realize it isn’t doable is more painful than the initial fleeting feel-goods. Diets don’t work, and you don’t need any complicated plan to make major, lasting changes. If you’re ready to give up those quick fixes that quickly fizzle and want to create sustainable changes that actually feel good, then focus on these 6 key areas and just do as many as you can on most days. Make a commitment to yourself to keep it judgment-free and weight-neutral, and keep your inner perfectionist out of it! This is about building a strong, healthy foundation and learning to listen to yourself 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. (That includes me – which is why these are all suggestions that you should adapt to your own needs.)

Love this bo-po illustration… Does anyone know who the artist is?

Love this bo-po illustration… Does anyone know who the artist is?

This solid self-care approach 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. Note: You don’t have to love your body to improve your health; you only need to be willing to take care of it or at least to start working toward that goal.

♥  THE PLAN

The basic goals are summed up in the Bettie collage at the top of this post. You might want to save it to your phone or print it out so you’ll have a quick reminder of what you’re going for.

{Each day, 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. 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 5-9 veggies & fruits daily. 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 frame foods as “good” or “bad, and don’t be restrictive with your eating. Loving limits: Yes. Rigid rules: No.

♥ Move daily if you are able – whatever kind you like. The Bettie Page Fitness videos are great options for strength, cardio, and yoga, especially when you can’t make it outside or to the gym. 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.} If you can’t manage any physical activity, do some extra rounds of breathing exercises to create internal movement – you’re still vastly improving your health by increasing oxygen and detoxing your cells, soothing your nervous system, increasing endorphins, and lots more.

♥ 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. If being with other humans rejuvenates you, then your relaxation time might sometimes include socializing… also a key component of optimal health, though some need more or less people-time than others.

♥ 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. {Before you sleep, thank your body for getting you through another day.}

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Now here’s the part that can be most challenging for many of us: Try to approach all of this with non-judgment, self-compassion, and curiosity instead of the fear and perfectionism that health plans 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 of dread and anxiety to this process. Instead, use that time and energy constructively and put it toward figuring out what might work better next time.

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 reflecting, do a breath-based or guided meditation for 2-5 minutes to sort of reset. Here’s one of my simple faves: 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, and when your mind wanders, gently return your focus to your breath. If you want to try different breathing techniques, check these out: https://bit.ly/2xxz7ug

At the end of each week, set aside more time for focused reflection to assess your progress, notice any patterns, and adjust your goals or strategy if needed.

That’s the basic blueprint! Tweak as needed to make it work for you. Stay tuned to this site and explore previous posts for more tips and articles about health, fitness, body image, Bettie (of course), and more!

Best of luck and warmest regards,

♥ Tori