meet your demo babe ll arielle shares

meet your demo babe ll arielle shares

I will be the first to admit that I am not an active be.comer. It would be a conservative estimate to say that I do the video once a week. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done it because I see the video clips on Instagram and it’s almost like I’ve done them, even though my body hasn’t moved from my chair. If I am honest with you, and with myself, it’s infrequent at best.

I started the be.come project when I was traveling a lot for work and wanted a way to workout that didn’t require me to go to dark and isolated hotel gyms. There I might run into my fit male coworkers and feel horrible for only walking at a moderate pace on the treadmill next to their marathon speeds. When I found the be.come project and started doing it at home, I felt like I’d finally found something I could stick with – I cried the first few times during the final planks. I had pushed myself and I told myself I could do it and then, I did. And then, I stopped. For months. For absolutely no reason. I felt good when I did the videos, so why wasn’t I giving myself that feeling? that gift? And why don’t I give it to myself more now?

Part of it is laziness, sure. But maybe, part of me feels like I don’t deserve to feel good. Maybe part of me – the darkest part of me – wants to withhold the good feelings as some sort of self-destructive punishment. I’m taunting myself, “HA! You haven’t finished your work. You haven’t made any progress. You haven’t done anything worthwhile.” Therefore, I don’t deserve to feel good. Perhaps that why when I DO get on the mat, open my laptop, and start moving, I feel almost a little rebellious – standing up to my innermost demons that hold me down and keep me stagnant. When I get to the mat, I feel like I’m defying all my inner naysayers. When I finish my movement and I mark my feelings, I often choose “accomplished” – not only because I’ve done something good that is completely for me, but also because I’ve stood up to myself and given myself something so wonderful.

Arielle Sadan

As I write this, I feel like I’m processing so many parallel struggles I’ve had with these self-destructive tendencies. Since standing up to my inner bully makes me feel rebellious (which in and of itself is so empowering, since I’ve never seen myself to be anything besides abiding because “I follow the rules”), accomplished, and powerful, it makes sense that I would shy away from it. It goes against all the stories I tell myself about myself: “I am lazy. I prefer to be comfortable. I’m a good daughter. I follow the rules. I color inside the lines.” But these stories are not at all representative of how I actually am – I do cool shit! I travel. I left my job to start my own business. I take some big risks! I am cool and confident and funny and outgoing, and I don’t care all that much what other people think of me. It’s confusing to feel like I need to stand up to myself, but it also makes sense – we are our own worst critics, right?

On set as a demo babe, I made a quick comment about how I only started wearing crop tops when I started the be.come project. At the time, it was just an offhand observation, but I realize how even my infrequent trips to the mat have impacted my self-image and my confidence. I might not always love what I see or how I move (or don’t move), but the subtle shifts in how I dress, how I talk about myself, how I try and find more balance in my life, how I talk to my mom, sisters, nieces, and friends about their bodies and health… These are the things that make me realize that I can persevere. the be.come project has become a vehicle for a major change in me. It is helping me to create a new mentality, to forgive myself, to advocate for myself, and to just BE myself and be in my body in a whole new way. If coming to the mat makes me a rebel, then having these realizations on this page makes me feel like a ninja warrior. I’m grateful for this platform that makes me feel good when I come through, and helps me forgive myself when I don’t. I’m going to try to make it there once this week (it’s pretty cool to see myself on the screen), but if I don’t, I’ll at least try to practice some self-kindness and give myself a break. After all, ninja warriors don’t put themselves down when they drop their swords – they’re just resting a little. 😉

my be.come favorites:
song:
Meghan Trainer “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”
be.come move:
that move when we’re in a lunge and do the hip cocking thing
thing you hear in a be.come session:
SHOULDER KISSES! 
thing to wear when be.coming:
black tights and a tank top
place to take a session:
this amazing studio at my office I love to sneak into when there aren’t any classes going on

thanks arielle for sharing! you can follow @arielle.nadas

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how i’m feeling ll me, myself, and my anxiety

how i’m feeling ll me, myself, and my anxiety

Trigger Warning: Content below includes discussion on body image and mental health topics including anxiety. This may be triggering to some.

Ever since I became the social media intern at the be.come project, I’ve been challenged to look inward and really break down the way that I speak to myself. Like everyone, I have good days and bad days and I wanted to do an exercise to show how my personal thoughts about my body and myself change so much from one day to the next — one moment to the next. I figured it would be a good opportunity to identify the little things that make my day better while also getting up close and personal with my anxiety triggers. This should be interesting. Let’s get into it.

I started this project after being super sick for 2 weeks – wherein thoughts of my body rarely entered my headspace. As I venture outside for a walk in midtown, I find myself focused on external stimuli a lot. I’m overly aware of how everyone on the street might perceive the way that I look. It’s making me wish that I brought my sunglasses so I didn’t have to look passersby in the eyes. I feel super self-conscious that I’m not wearing any black or grey. My social anxiety swells anytime I feel like people on the street are noticing me at all. I’m actually super concerned about drawing any attention to myself, so why did I wear a floral sweatshirt? 

I also can’t remember the last time I was brave enough to walk in New York without my headphones. It’s clear I’m conscious of the strain that being alone with my thoughts in certain situations can have on my anxiety.

anxiety-is-the-dizziness-of-freedom

​Generally, my thoughts get way more negative when I’m around people than when I’m alone. On top of that, I am much harder on myself in public when I don’t “blend into the crowd.” I went to my second appointment with a registered dietician — who I am seeing NOT to begin a diet or to simply lose weight, but because I need help understanding and adjusting my relationship to food. When I told her the premise of this blog series and how I was feeling that morning, she was immediately encouraging and gave me the small boost that I needed to walk home with some confidence. Head up. Shoulders back. Deep breaths.

The next day I woke up and felt pretty decent about my body. I didn’t feel bloated or like I was “paying for” what I ate the night before, as I often do. I looked in the mirror and was content with the curves of my stomach and marks on my hips — which is a truly rare feeling for me in the last couple years. I like taking note of the days that I treat myself with the respect my body deserves, as they come and go regularly. I used to try to blame my hormones for my negative self-talk, and while I have found that my anxiety levels peak at a certain point in my cycle, being unkind to my body is much deeper rooted than that. On days like this where I’m actually feeling the way I hope to feel everyday, it’s so helpful to take inventory of my feelings in this way. I’m happy I can look back on this at times when I need to know that it’s not impossible for me to be good to myself.

"why is it that I’m willing to say or do things to myself that I would never say to a loved one"

The following day was a bit rough. My best friend sent me flashback photos of us together 4 years ago and I was immediately guilty of seeing the old picture and making comparisons to my current appearance. Because of this project, I actively decide to have a conversation with myself, employing some of the lessons I’ve learned since working for the be.come project. Why did I endeavor to be a past version of myself instead of putting my efforts towards loving who I am right now? I know that everything I go through makes me a better, wiser, more interesting version of myself – so if I stop longing to move backwards, maybe I can find the momentum (I so desperately desire) to move forward as who I am in the present. I try to tell myself all the time that I don’t want to be who I was in the years past because that Jaime didn’t know herself nearly as well as today’s Jaime does.

Having said that, even as I make these notes, I am stopping myself from grabbing my stomach and my hips and my thighs — I’m definitely bullying myself more now than the last few days. I don’t feel good about it but this painful degree of self-awareness required to complete this blog is actually providing me with some relief. Having to sit down and admit that I’ve literally hurt myself — dug my nails in too deep, caused bruises — brings it to the forefront of my mind and won’t allow me to ignore it. Why is it that I’m willing to say or do things to myself that I would never say to a loved one in a million years? I’m really good at avoiding the things that cause me anxiety, so I’m finding that this is a really challenging but worthwhile exercise. Also I’m happy just being aware that old pictures are a major trigger for me to spiral – I’m always looking to know more about what makes me tick.

At first when I finished this exercise, I was a little bit disappointed to be ending on a somewhat negative note. After I thought about it for a while, it actually started to make me really happy. It’s much more idealistic to believe that my week would only get better as it went along, and much more realistic to address the ups and downs as they naturally occur. So although my last day recording my feelings for this project wasn’t a festival of joyousness – I’m truly content that the progression rings true to me. My reality is taking the good and the bad as they come, and hoping that I have opportunities like this one to be introspective and gain insight into myself. I hope that by honoring my authentic feelings, it gives others permission to honor theirs. If you would like to participate in this series, please email us at [email protected].

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taking up space ll shape interview

taking up space ll shape interview

This interview originally appeared on Shape.com on July 29, 2019 by Bethany C. Meyers as told to Faith Brar

My eating disorder began when I was 15 years old, a cheerleader in high school. Cheer was my whole life. When I wasn’t busy competing or at sporting events, I was practicing.

During practice, we always had to wear sports bras. Coaches had to be able to see our bodies in order to observe or correct our form. I was a flyer, a position where it helps if you’re light so that it’s easy to propel you into the air.

No one ever said out loud that you needed to be a certain weight to be a flyer, but it was very much a vibe you couldn’t ignore. The smallest people were going to be on top of the pyramid—that’s how it had always been. That vibe first introduced me to the idea that not all bodies are the same—being small was somehow aspirational.

That same year, my mom started struggling to lose weight. She joined a weight loss program at our church and I remember tagging along with her a few times. During one of my visits, the woman leading the group brought out this blubber-like prop that was meant to represent the fat in your body. (Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.)

The woman then emphasized how bad fat was and passed the prop around so that people cringed at how it looked and felt. I distinctly remember seeing it myself and just feeling inherently scared of it. I wanted so badly to be healthy and didn’t want that icky-looking fat in my body. As a result, I started labeling foods as good and bad. In my mind, I thought I was nurturing my body—not eating fats, carbs, or any “bad” foods that could lead to weight gain. But in fact, I had developed a disordered way of eating, where those foods began terrifying me and soon controlled the way I was living my life.

This perception of food stuck with me as I entered my 20s. My cheerleading days were far behind me but the pressure to look and be thin was still at the forefront of my mind. I became the person who started following every diet trend out there. First I became vegetarian, then graduated to veganism. To clarify, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these diets. Honestly, all the power to the people who can follow these ways of eating in a healthy way—but for me, it was all about restriction.

Case in point: After being vegan for a while, I moved onto into raw foodism, taking restriction to another level. For two years, I only ate uncooked and unprocessed foods. If you couldn’t pick it from the ground, I wouldn’t eat it. In the beginning, eating so clean felt great. But ultimately, it became detrimental for me at a personal level. I was in this “religion” of restriction and kept finding myself wanting to “sin.” And when I did sin/or cheat, it led to binging, which then led to me hating myself for failing. It was a vicious cycle that quickly spun out of control.

"we have this idea that the less space you take up, the more important that you are. it helped me to think about taking up more space, to owning more presence."

Similar to how I developed my eating disorder, overcoming it was gradual. Some people have a singular defining moment or experience that forces them to make a drastic change in their life, but for me, it took time.

As I approached my thirties, I became tired of feeling unhappy. No matter what I ate or how much I worked out, I was never satisfied. I also realized I wasn’t alone in that feeling. People around me, who had seemingly perfect bodies, were also unhappy. It started to become evident that the pressure to look a certain way and reach an unattainable aesthetic had nothing to do with my body itself. It was much deeper than that. It was about society’s expectations. Once I understood that I had unknowingly taken the first step to learning how to love myself.

During this time, I also started sharing my thoughts about food and my journey to recovery on social media. There is something so freeing in being honest about what you’re going through. Opening up about my thoughts—the way I viewed food and my way of eating—removed this blanket of shame I’d put on myself. As I started sharing those feelings, people started to respond. Each time someone said they totally related, were thankful that I opened up, or were encouraged to overcome their issues with food, I felt encouraged and empowered to continue doing what I was doing.

After years of difficult but constructive conversations with myself, what I put into my body became determined solely by how it made me feel. It might sound simple, but it’s a very helpful technique. Sometimes eating ‘bad’ foods (notice the quotes around bad, because I really don’t believe in food labeling) makes me happy. I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong with that. If you go by how food is making you feel, I truly believe you naturally know when and how to indulge in a healthy way.

Even though this is something I practice to this day, there are still moments when I feel challenged. Recently, I went up a clothing size. For a moment, I let myself feel nervous and negative about it. But I paused and asked myself why I was feeling that way.

After some introspection, something struck me: Women, in particular, are often told that they can’t or shouldn’t take up space—in both an energetic and physical space. Being loud, having a bold opinion, or fighting for a position of power are all qualities often defined as un-feminine and are discouraged by society. And physically, those born into a female body are told by society to be a certain size and shape. That being small is somehow powerful. It all boils down to not being allowed to take up space

What I’ve realized, though, is that you don’t need anyone’s permission. You simply need to allow yourself to take up space, to be powerful on your own terms, and to stand out. So what if your favorite pair of jeans no longer fit? Your body does not define who you are. As long as you feel good, it shouldn’t matter what others think.

It’s been five years since I’ve truly embodied that way of thinking. I say that because getting to that level of peace with yourself takes practice. Self-acceptance and self-confidence is a muscle. If you work on strengthening and solidifying it every day, you will get to where you need to be.

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meet your demo babe ll cassie shares

meet your demo babe ll cassie shares

I have been be.coming from the very beginning. I instantly fell in love with the beta project to the point where I scheduled my life around Bethany’s Instagram live-streams between the trial period and the app release – I just couldn’t get enough. Since then, I have been be.coming most days of the week, and it has drastically changed my relationship to fitness and to my body. Shooting the be.come project videos as a demo babe was an incredibly empowering experience that I am so grateful to have had.

I was a little hesitant to write this despite my devotion to the be.come project and the significant impact it has had on my life. I grew up as a serious dancer and movement has always been important to me. By most societal standards, I appear thin and overall “fit,” but body image struggles do not discriminate by pant size. the be.come project has taught me that the journey towards body neutrality is a universal one. I remember being mortified at 11 because no matter how much I tensed and tightened by body in my pink ballet tights, I could see “jiggling” in the mirror. Now at 22, I still judge my body more harshly than I would anyone else’s, leading me to bizarre conclusions: I find that there’s more of me where I’d like less, less of me where I’d want more, parts that should be harder or softer, that my proportions are off? I scour my memory for past choices I can blame for stretch marks that are actually just a product of growing up. But because of the be.come project, I’m getting better.

I found the be.come project in college, when I wasn’t dancing seriously anymore but craved the combination of discipline, power and grace. Ultimately, I fell in love with the movement. I had experimented – briefly – with going to the gym and other group fitness classes. While I’d been fearless in the dance studio, I felt super intimidated and defeated by other fitness platforms. the be.come project felt both familiar and challenging. It wasn’t mindless working out just to sweat or lose weight. Instead, these were routines that I could practice and perform…and that made me happy.

I’ve stuck with the be.come project because it creates an atmosphere that’s free of chatter about how my body looks or the food I’m putting into it. Everywhere else I’m surrounded with talk about “working off calories” and I’m an actor in an industry that’s obsessed with appearance. I was asked at a recent work event if I “starve myself” to look the way I do, and another boss is constantly commenting on what and how much I’m eating. The reality is that I do my best to maintain healthy relationships with food and fitness and these comments can make me consider whether I should be paying more attention or eating less. However, when doing the be.come project, I’ve learned to quiet those thoughts. My goal is never to do the routine because I think I ate too much or my body doesn’t look a certain way. It occupies such a positive space in my life as a result. I love that I can be.come at home because I have the time and space to find a healthy motivation to move without having to deal with comparisons to the world around me.

Cloutier be.come pic

Because the be.come project has done so much for me, participating in the shoot was an absolute dream. I was less nervous and more excited for the opportunity to be a part of this platform and to work out in such an inclusive, supportive space. If I had to pick my three emotions on the app, they would be: strong, confident, and joyful.

I was also left with a new sense of accountability to the be.come project’s mission, especially when the videos came out. I had the opportunity to demonstrate the movements, shouldn’t I also be demonstrating the self-love and acceptance? I’ve become so aware of how I’m talking about my body, especially as I work with young children in whom I can already recognize the beginnings of negative self-talk. the be.come project has taught me better, and I feel empowered to share that positivity. I’ve taken the shoulder kisses to heart and ending each routine with a little dose of gratitude has profoundly affected me. I can do nothing but thank the be.come project, if only for showing me how to thank myself.

thanks cassie for sharing! you can follow @cassandra_cloutier_

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words we wish for

words we wish for

In our new series, words we wish for, we will be posing questions to the community in order to gain perspectives from individuals from all walks of life. In our first installment, we posed the question, “I wish someone told me _______ when I gained weight” and here are some of the responses.

I wish someone told me…

+ I am still beautiful and worthy. I am not a disappointment

+ To focus on all the ways I’m thankful for my body; how appearance has nothing to do with what your body can do

+ That they see it and it’s fine instead of minimizing or ignoring it

+ My partner would still love me, but my family would judge me

+ I didn’t need to feel ashamed of my body or myself

+ I did not lose my value as a human being

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 1.54.30 PM

"I wish I never heard 'you have such a pretty face' over and over again. It gave me a false sense of security and zero confidence"

+ Why my mom would be so upset

+ It means nothing because my weight has nothing to do with who I am or what I can do

+ I’m human and this is what my human body looks like and that’s okay

+ To appreciate yourself for how you are at all intervals of your life

+ Be kind to yourself. Stop hiding

+ Nothing. I wish they had treated it as the non-issue it actually is

+ I am still me

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