Friday, March 25, 2016

Anastasia Amour: Self-Worth, Fitspo, and Ruby Woo Lipstick

I'm so excited to have Anastasia Amour as today's guest. Anastasia is a champion for body positivity, health, mental wellness, and all around good vibes. Her book, Inside Out, is a practical, down to earth guide to having a better relationship with yourself, inside and out.

Recently I had the honor to speak briefly to her about advice for breaking the cycle of women putting other women down, fitspo, and a few of her favorite things. Read on for more!

I loved your list of 55 ways to love yourself. You mention something I have become more and more passionate about- not putting down other women. We have been told from a young age that girls cause drama, that if you want to avoid drama, you'll avoid girls. We've been taught jealousy against each other, and to compare ourselves negatively to each other. What do you think we can do as women to make sure we are deprogramming from that, and why is that good for us, individually, as well?

The dichotomy of jealousy and comparison hurts us in so many ways. It keeps us from forming amazing friendships because we learn to see other women as threats, and it stops us from realising our true worth when we're constantly comparing ourselves to others. One of the biggest steps that I encourage girls and women to take to overcome this mentality is to start actively seeking out positive attributes in other women.

For instance, if you see a woman walking towards you on the street and you automatically find yourself mentally critiquing her, notice those thoughts. Tell yourself that those thoughts aren't helpful, and instead actively seek out something positive about her. Even if it's only tiny or insignificant (like maybe she's got a beautiful necklace on), it still counts. Get into the habit of doing that every time you find yourself needlessly critiquing or gossiping about another woman. The more you do it, the more habitual it will become and slowly but surely, you can begin to overwrite the previous patterns of jealousy. This helps hugely in positively influencing our inner dialogue, overall. And, as time goes on and as we become more aware of our thoughts and how they shape their reality, we can then improve the patterns that we set up for ourselves even more – for instance, by making a conscious effort to notice positive attributes about other women that aren't appearance-based.

But in order for us to fully recognise our own worth, we have to realise that other women aren't the enemy. We need to stop viewing femininity as a competition – someone else's wit, beauty, charm or success doesn't take away from our own, and we all rise by lifting each other.

You're so right! Such wise words, and definitely something we can all work on. Next, your post about fitspo really hit close for me. As someone who suffered in the past due to an eating disorder, I know that sometimes looking at "fitspo" has made me feel just as much self-hate as looking at models in magazines. Do you think that any fitspo is helpful, though? And if so, in what way?

Absolutely not. The core messages of fitspo are generally based around themes of fear, guilt and shame used as motivational tools. Through subtle language cues they teach us that fat is bad, that we need to repent for our food sins and that if we're not about to "puke, faint or die... keep going!" (no thank you, Jillian Michaels). We know that in the long term, shame is just not a sustainable motivator and keeps people trapped in perpetual infinite loops of insecurity, particularly when they're setting themselves up with such absolutist measures of success.

It's one thing to have fitness goals (like wanting to gain muscle mass or lose weight) or to look up to someone for their fitness – and I don't think either of those things are inherently problematic. But when you bring fitspo (in the cultural sense) into it, you're ultimately only harming yourself.

Recently you posted on Instagram about fashion and body image. Who are some of your favorite fashion designers? And who are some of your favorite fashion brands in terms of body inclusion?

I'm not hugely into fashion so I don't gravitate towards any particular designers. What I look for is a brand that produces ethically and if they have a body positive ethos, even better! Some of the best brands leading the charge in inclusivity, representation and diversity are Smart Glamour and ModCloth. There are other brands that do this too, but Smart Glamour and ModCloth in particular get it consistently right.

What are three songs that motivate you?

With Thoughts - Art Vs. Science
Spectrum - Florence & The Machine
Sonnentanz - Klangkarussell

Favorite lipstick shade(s)?

MAC's 'Ruby Woo' - it's a classic blue-toned Red and makes me feel like a bombshell.

Number one reason readers should buy your book?

Because we ALL benefit from body positivity! And whether you're just starting out on your journey or whether you're a seasoned self-love veteran wanting to reinforce those themes, the exercises will help you. I pinky promise.

Favorite feel-good movie?

I'm actually not a movie fan! When I want a pick-me-up, I always gravitate towards a sitcom (Seinfeld is my favourite).

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 (Anastasia chose Spectrum, by one of my favorite artists, Florence and the Machine, as a favorite motivational song! I couldn't agree more with this choice. Enjoy)

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