Our obsession with picture-perfect bodies ages over decades. Truth be told: we have always equated self-worth with size. As for me and my house, I have never felt comfortable in my body and as the lockdown went on and on, I found myself longing for the body I had in years past. Even then, I thought I was fat. I realized in those moments that my lifetime relationship with my body was toxic.
Not to mention, all the memes in 2020 about quarantine weight. From the quarantine 15 to eating your month's worth of favorite snacks in one day, the innanets had us all feeling guilty for living and adapting to our new normal. As much as we wanted our unusual standards to disappear once 2021 arrived, that's not what transpired. It high key feels like we are basically in an extended version of 2020 with all that is happening in the world.
Our favorite auntie and all-around icon, Tracee Ellis Ross, reminded us of this when she recently posted a video recounting all that we have endured since the beginning of the lockdown. More importantly, she discusses her own struggles with her body and how she had to adjust her expectations while extending grace.
"I don't know about you guys, but after the insanity of the year that we have been through, over a year now that is, you know, it's still creeping along, I didn't like transform my body, exercise like a crazy woman and turn into a vegan. And, and as a result, you know, my body feels different.
"I sat more than I'm used to. I didn't do the same amount of cardio. I wasn't in the gym because of the circumstances of what we were all living in and are all living in. There was like this funnel that was like funneling joy into very small spaces."
The Black-ish star continues to say that joy is a major part of well-being and humanity. It's what makes us feel good. It sparks spontaneity and connection and those beautiful feelings were instantly funneled into our little individual spaces. We totally agreed with Tracee when she professed that most of the things that were in that little funnel were food and drinks because it brought us solace and comfort. The moment she started judging herself for making certain choices, she started asking, "What am I doing?" Which reminded her of a friend who had a contentious relationship with her body after having her first child and decided to write her body a "thank you" note.
"I realized that the softness that I'm experiencing in my body, a little bit of extra weight--all of us have our own version of that--is actually something to say, thank you for that. The softness that my body has been incredibly wise--that thank you for keeping me safe during COVID or if I was a body that got COVID keeping me healthy through and fighting through a virus--that with all the sharpness and harshness and violence and fear that has been around that perhaps the softness of my body is a blessing that it has been able to nurture me in a way that my mind could not...
"I really encourage and invite all of us to just receive the wisdom of our bodies right now and allow the softness, the weight--whatever that looks like and be grateful. Like, I feel like I've made it through this year. And in some ways I've gotten deeper. In some ways I've gotten bigger in some ways. I am forever changed in some ways... I don't think that my physical body is the most important thing to come out of this very difficult time... I think it is--this is a time for us to offer compassion everywhere to our bodies and to each other."
What a powerful, healthy way to reconnect with our bodies. I remember when I started therapy, one of the topics I was the most uncomfortable broaching was my relationship with my body. My therapist told me that one way to reconnect with parts of me that I don't love is by talking to those very parts. Y'all know I looked at her like she was crazy, right? What do I look like caressing my belly and talking to it? It's safe to say I told my therapist I would think about it.
Two days later, I was scrolling on Instagram and saw Lizzo caressing and talking to her belly.
She said in her caption:
"I started talking to my belly this year. Blowing her kisses and showering her with praises. I used to want to cut my stomach off, I hated it so much. But it's literally ME. I am learning to radically love every part of myself. Even if it means talking to myself every morning."
Both women serve as powerful reminders to love yourself, your whole self. But especially the parts of us that our hardest to love.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.
Featured image via Tracee Ellis Ross/Instagram
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
One thing about Megan Thee Stallion is that she’s going to motivate you to stay active. From afar, she seems like the perfect gym bestie, and up close, it looks like her workouts would have us gasping for air. But hey, she doesn’t call her routines “bootcamp” for nothing.
After an extended break from social media and the public eye, the Houston Hottie is back sharing the high-energy workouts that are keeping her lean and she’s happy to report that “the results have been resulting."
The 28-year-old rapper dropped an Instagram Reel, detailing the workout routine that’s putting her endurance to the test. With the help of her personal trainer, Megan has one word in mind when it comes to her progress and that’s: “Consistency.”
The “Savage” artist has been traveling, making “hot girl moves," and after returning from a trip to New York, she expressed that her trainer is pushing her to keep the same energy back in the gym.
“I had just gotten back from New York and I told my trainer, ‘Look, friend, I was having a time. Can you please take it easy?’” Megan said. “He said, ‘Hmm, I’ve seen you doing all that hot girl s—, so what you need to do is get in that gym and have that same energy.’”
Her trainer then instructed her to do jumping squats with an exercise ball and resistance band around her legs for an extra burn. “I put my thing down, flipped it, and reversed it and that’s what happened. This sh– burned like a motherf—,” she teased in the video’s voiceover while executing both forward and backward jumping squats.
It’s clear that when it comes to Megan’s fitness, her trainer doesn’t play around about pushing her to her limits. In the next set of her cardio moves, we see the Grammy-winning artist jumping rope and moving on to a combination of mountain climbers and lateral jumps over a speed hurdle.
“Right here, that’s when I realized: I’ve been saying my trainer’s crazy but I know he’s really, really crazy because he must think that I’m trying out for the Houston Texans or something,” she joked.
To finish her workout, Meg hit two more barbell exercises, one being a set of cleans with 10-pound weight plates on the barbell. She then closed out by doing lunges with the barbell racked on her shoulders.
Of course, the best way to close out a workout is to nourish yourself with a balanced meal. Meg showed off her delicious post-workout plate with salmon, a sweet potato, and assorted veggies.
With so much of her public life being shared on the internet, it’s nice to see her letting us in on her progress in a fun and motivating way. “I just want to be transparent with y'all. Working out hurts, but it’s really a mental thang, so go do it!”
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Taylor Hill/Getty Images