Understanding Fetal Movement during Pregnancy

Feeling your infant action for the very first time is a magical minute. What starts as a scarcely apparent flutter quickly becomes a full-on kick as your youngster starts to make her presence felt and by the end it can feel as if she is dancing a jig inside you. You will most likely also view a foot or a hand making out from time to time in the final maternity stages – pregnancy miracle.

Having an energetic bump not simply functions as a remarkable way to bond with your baby however it is likewise an excellent indicator that is well inside the bump. So just what should you be feeling as well as when? Right here is what to watch out for with the infant’s movement in maternity.

Pregnancy Miracle Book

When will I feel my infant for the very first time?

If this is your very first maternity, you will probably first really feels something at around the 18 to 20-week mark, although it can be later. However, if you have actually currently had a child, you might begin seeing that tell-tale twinge a little earlier.

What does it seem like?

In the first stage infant’s activities in maternity can feel like a gentle flutter, just like the butterflies in your belly you obtain when you are nervous. By week 24, you ought to be feeling precise kicks in addition to the dizzying squirm as she executes somersaults in all her vacuum. Child is still very small so don’t run scared if you go a few hours and even a number of days without activity At 29 weeks, area is becoming a little bit more confined as you move through the different pregnancy phases and the movements will be smaller sized and also a lot more defined. The child’s activities in pregnancy have the tendency to tail off from week 32 as well as instead of the normal pummeling of little kicks; you will feel a big lurching movement as your child changes position in her cramped quarters.

Facts about Pregnancy: https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Pregnancy

Being familiar with your baby’s activity.

Once you have learned to recognize exactly what is a kick (and what just caught the wind is), you will begin to get to know your infant’s program. Some come to be a lot more energetic in the evening as throughout the day they usually sleep as you enter. Others obtain spooked after you eat as the surge in your blood sugar level gives them a rush of power. The same could take place if you are nervous and producing adrenalin. You may even have the ability to realized the routine jerky movement as your child obtains the hiccups.

Suppose the motions quit?

It is typical to not feel your infant relocate constantly. She will certainly often sleep or simply desire a rest. By week 32, your infant’s activities in pregnancy will reduce significantly as room ends up being tight. However, if you observe a continual fall in movements over several days, a large decrease in movements or assume that she has actually quit moving completely; call your midwife or General Practitioner promptly.

Check out http://www.enfusemagazine.com/ for more information

Meal-Prep an Entire Week’s Worth of Dinner With Just 8 Ingredients

There's nothing worse than coming home after a long day of work with absolutely zero clue as to what you're having for dinner. That's when pizza happens for the fourth night in a row. Not that we're saying anything is wrong with that: We love pizza too, but since we already ate it three times over the weekend, it's about time we get in a few healthier meals. Thanks to this super-simple meal-prep plan, you won't have to think about dinner again. Except for like 30 minutes on Sunday. Let's do it.

Step 1:

Hit up the grocery store.

Got a pen and paper and 15 minutes? Write down these eight ingredients. Yep, only eight. We challenge you to time yourself in the store, because this is the shortest grocery list ever.

Shopping List

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup canned black beans
  • 8 ounces fresh salmon fillet (or fish of choice)
  • 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 avocado

Don't forget your storage containers:

  • 5 glass containers (1 for cooked sweet potatoes, 1 for salmon, 1 for chicken, 1 for quinoa, and 1 for black beans)
  • 2 large plastic bags for kale
  • Plastic wrap for avocado

And a few kitchen staples (you probably already have on hand):

  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon juice

Step 2:

Prep everything in 30 minutes.

After you go to brunch and speed through the grocery store (but before the binge-watching begins), set aside 30-40 minutes on Sunday to prep the simple ingredients.*

1. Cook chicken.
This is the best way to cook chicken so it's not one big piece of dried-up cardboard. *Wait until Tuesday night to cook your chicken. Foodsafety.gov says cooked chicken stays good for up to four days, so it's better to play it safe.
2. Cook salmon:
Whether you want to bake it or pan-fry, we've got you covered.
3. Cook quinoa:
Quinoa is simple. It's a 1 to 2 ratio; if you're cooking 3/4 cup quinoa, you'll need 1 1/2 cups water. Boil it until water dissolves, about 20 minutes, and it's ready for ya.
4. Roast sweet potatoes:
Roasting is so easy. Cube one of the taters and cut fry-shapes with the other. Add them to the same pan but separated, toss with olive oil, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
5. Rinse black beans:
Drain and rinse the black beans from the can and store them in a glass container so they're ready whenever you need them.
6. Prep kale:
Wash and remove stems from kale leaves. Break into smaller pieces (ya know, the size you'd want if you were eating a salad) then store in a large plastic bag with a paper towel to soak up any leftover moisture.
7. Arugula and avocado can stay as is:
No prepping necessary since those boxes of greens typically get triple-washed, and all you have to do with the avo is slice into it.

Step 3:

Enjoy ready-to-eat dinners Sunday through Thursday.

We like eating home-cooked meals Sunday-Thursday and saving Fridays for a night out on the town. We deserve it after being good all week.

Start-Your-Week-Off-Right Sunday Night

  • 4 ounces salmon
  • 1/2 of the roasted sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/4 avocado

How to plate: Toss arugula and avocado with olive oil and lemon juice. If you want to heat up the taters and salmon, pop in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Meatless Monday

  • 1/2 cup canned black beans
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/4 avocado

How to plate: Combine all ingredients into a bowl and toss with olive oil and lemon juice.

Taco (Salad) Tuesday

  • 4 ounces chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 of the cubed, roasted sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 2 cups kale

How to plate: Heat up the chicken and sweet potatoes in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Toss kale with olive oil and sea salt and massage so kale starts to soften. Add to a bowl and then top with avocado, beans, and shredded chicken. Shake as much hot sauce on it as you'd like and enjoy sweet potatoes on the side.

Workout Wednesday

  • 4 ounces salmon
  • 1 cup sautéed kale
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup arugula

How to plate: This one requires 4 minutes of cooking if you prefer cooked kale over raw: Sauté the kale in olive oil with sea salt for 4 minutes, until wilted. Microwave the salmon for 1-2 minutes. Combine quinoa with arugula and a drizzle of lemon juice, then pair with salmon and kale.

Thirsty Thursday (a Good Meal to Soak Up Happy Hour)

  • 4 ounces chicken
  • 1 cup arugula
  • Sweet potato fries
  • 1/4 avocado
  • ​1/4 cup quinoa mixed
  • 1/4 cup black beans

How to plate: Before you go out for happy hour, get in a big meal by adding warmed-up chicken over a bed of arugula, a side of sweet potato fries, and a combo of quinoa, black beans, and avocado smothered in hot sauce (if you want). We bet you'll even have leftover fries for those late-night munchies when you get home.

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9 Nacho Recipes to Make Game Day (Just a Tad) Healthier

Football is entertaining to watch, but let's be real… the best thing about the season is the food. Spicy wings, loaded pizza, and bar bites galore—all paired with an ice-cold beer and team camaraderie. Sounds like the perfect Sunday, no? If you're trying to avoid total gut-bombs, fortunately there are plenty of ways to enjoy healthyish game-day grub. The best part: There’s no need to skimp on flavor. These nine nacho-average recipes are proof.

Mini Nacho Pizza Recipe

Photo: Lunch Box Bunch

The toughest problem to tackle when it comes to eating nachos is that once we start, we can’t stop. These mini pizzas throw a Hail Mary pass by providing pure satisfaction in just one serving. Made with whole-wheat English muffins, vegan cheese, beans, and tons of veggie toppings, they’re sure to keep you full through halftime.

Grilled Zucchini Nachos Recipe

Photo: Two Peas and Their Pod

Zucchinis are making a comeback. They first stole the stage as low-carb noodle substitutes, and now they’re stepping in for the beloved tortilla chip. Top with melted cheddar cheese, black beans, and the usual nacho fixings. You won’t even miss that corn chip crunch.

Chicken and Black Bean Nachos Recipes

Photo: The Baker Mama

Sometimes the smallest changes yield the biggest results. That’s the case with this recipe, which keeps traditional ingredients such as cheese, corn, and pico de gallo, and makes small adjustments (like using black beans and grilled chicken for extra protein) to create a similar flavor with way more health benefits.

Grilled Sweet Potato Nachos Recipe

Photo: Pinch of Yum

Made with multigrain tortilla chips and sweet potato wedges, this spicy spin on nachos is enough to fuel you through a full marathon (running or movie, we’re down for both). It also comes with a side of cheese sauce to drizzle on top or dip in. Need we say more?

Vegan Cheesecake Dessert Nachos Recipe

Photo: Abbey's Kitchen

Dessert is best when shared, and this sweet plate is definitely good enough for a group. Make your own base with multigrain flatbreads: Cut two into triangles, sprinkle with cinnamon and coconut sugar, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Then top with a cashew-based cheesecake drizzle, and pick a few toppings, such as fresh berries, cacao nibs, or toasted coconut. This one takes a little more work than the others, but it’s worth the effort, especially for vegan or dairy-free eaters.

Greek Goddess Pita Chip Nachos Recipe

Photo: Vegetarian Ventures

Sick of the same old melted cheese and ground meat combo? Try these Greek-inspired nachos instead for a fresher take on the bar-food favorite. They’re made with pita chips instead of tortilla, and are loaded with feta cheese, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, olives, and a tahini dressing.

Apple Peanut Butter and Chocolate Nachos Recipe

Photo: Trial and Eater

You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate (though this recipe would taste great with almond or cashew butter too). Simply melt your nut butter of choice, drizzle it over small slices of juicy apples, and top with dark chocolate chips. Yum.

Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Nachos Recipe

Photo: The Roasted Root

Sunny-side up eggs are a great addition to basically any savory dish, and these nachos are no exception. Add them on top of blue corn chips, sweet potato slices, black beans, and cheese, then throw on some diced tomatoes, onions, and avocado (duh). These hearty nachos are definitely filling enough to be a meal, and with the runny eggs, your best bet is to eat them with a fork.

Buffalo Chicken Mini Pepper Nachos Recipe

Photo: Smile Sandwich

For those who want to cut back on carbs but don’t love zucchini, there’s still hope. Bell peppers make the perfect vehicle for nacho toppings, and unlike chips, the sturdy peppers won’t crumble when loaded. Spice up your night (and life) with this buffalo chicken version, which requires just five ingredients (plus mini peppers, of course): shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, blue cheese crumbles, green onion, and shredded white American cheese.

Originally published September 2014. Updated January 2017.

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Read This Before You Start Judging Big Girls at the Gym

In a doctor’s eyes, Katie Karlson is obese. She’s 5’9” and weighs more than 200 pounds. But those stats don’t tell you that she has worked out at least four days per week for the past six years or that she’s been a vegan for the past 10 months. By those standards, she’s healthier than most of us. But she knows many people see her and think anyone with her body type could never be healthy, let alone fit.

In a super-inspiring Instagram post, Karlson commiserates with all the other big girls (and guys) at the gym. The ones who were told they weren’t athletic when they turned the color of a ripe tomato while jogging in gym class. The ones who were taught to think of exercise as punishment—suggesting that in the process of nourishing themselves, they were doing something wrong.

Check out her wise words below—and see if she changes your mind about what healthy looks like:

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A Few Tricks for Kicking Insomnia (Without Medication)

A portrait of the author, Lisa Marie Basile A portrait of the author, Lisa Marie Basile

People say “I’ve got insomnia” the same way they say “I’m depressed.” They don’t mean the literal, actual, clinical condition. They mean, “I’m not sleeping as well as I usually do,” or “I’ve been kind of down lately.” But as I’ve recently discovered, true insomnia is like true depression. This year, I got to the point where my days were starting at 2 p.m. and ending at 6 a.m.; my body felt feverish and disconnected; swirling lights took over my periphery… and I knew it was getting serious. I wasn’t just sluggish or tired; I was disinterested and constantly fatigued. Any semblance of circadian rhythm was gone.

Have you ever had one of those incredibly turbulent years, where every month seems to bring about disaster after disaster? I know that basically everyone hated 2016 with a passion, but aside from all the major world issues and deaths, the year felt simultaneously unstable and monotonous—plagued with repetitive vulnerabilities and new problems. On a personal level, my job’s department shut down. Suddenly, I was unemployed and grasping for stability—change and I are not friends—and I developed my first bout of true insomnia.

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So I saw a doctor, who noted that the reasons for my insomnia were glaringly obvious. They were pretty textbook: I had no real daily schedule, I was battling anxiety over major life changes, I wasn’t very active, and the days were getting shorter as fall approached.

When I think back about my habits at the time, I see myself moping all day, working, and staying up all night. I even became a little addicted to the idea of staying awake through the night: Maybe I’d get more done? Maybe I’d wake up early tomorrow anyway? When I thought this way, sleep never occurred to me, despite knowing how I was wreaking havoc on my body. So it was me against myself—fighting sleep while simultaneously fighting for a desperately needed change.

There is no perfect cure for insomnia, since everyone experiences it differently. We all have our own triggers, and we all respond to potential solutions differently. Let’s just say that I’m picky, which means I really had to get creative about fixing the issue. Among the ideas my doctor and I discussed were yoga and sleeping pills. Now yoga makes me want to gouge my eyes out (I’m not knocking yoga—this is a me problem), and I personally tend to veer from the pharmaceutical route. So I considered my alternatives: working out, melatonin, and meditation.


Melatonin seems to be a great choice for plenty of people—and some science really seems to back that up. A friend of mine swears by its ability to knock her out immediately. Not so for me. After a month of use, I noticed even a half dose made me groggy the next day and caused the kind of dreams I can’t write about here.


I downloaded the Headspace app, which promises that its 10-minutes-a-day meditations could “help people stress less, exercise more, and even sleep better.” Yes, please. I’d force myself into bed around 9 or 10 p.m. to meditate, which due to my off-kilter schedule, felt more like afternoon tea time than any normal person’s bedtime. I was able to decompress enough to focus on the meditation, to breathe slowly, showing my body that the bed wasn’t an enemy. My body fell into a soft place, and even when my mind raced, I pushed through. I kept coming back to the core thought: my breath. It was simple, conceptually. Just be mindful. Just keep being mindful.

So I meditated one or two more times per day. I focused on releasing all that stress, anxiety, and self-doubt that had built up in the months of self-neglect. I confess I’m no expert, but I sensed a change, a release, like a grid was shifting beneath me. It don’t know if the meditation had changed my brain chemistry, per se, as science suggests it might, but I was definitely giving myself the chance to heal.

Working Out

I also started working out at night, not too close to “bedtime,” but late enough to tire me out. I hadn’t really stuck to a workout routine in a while, but I gave it my all: I went for an hour a few times per week at night, and really pushed myself. I wanted my body to feel tired, like it had done something. I wanted it to feel alive, to remind myself that I was an engine of blood and muscle—not a listless bag of bones. I actually cried because it felt so good to treat myself with kindness. Gray Line Break

These simple acts began to change things. Complacency had kept me in a spiral of sleeplessness, and laziness had made it all the worse. But by trying—and failing—and trying again, I found the right solution for me. I took actual care of my body, said no to the problem, and gave myself the time I needed to move through it.

Last month, my body slowly started to reverse itself, and due to utter exhaustion and my efforts, I’d begun falling asleep at a regular grown-up hour: 11 p.m. Getting my sleep back was, frankly, a magical experience. Looking back, my fling with insomnia feels like a manic nightmare—a physical representation of my fears and stresses.

“It was me against myself—fighting sleep while fighting for a desperately needed change.”

I’m still dealing with many of the same issues I had before, but I have a few new tools to combat them now. I still struggle with waking up early, and I still am tempted to stay up well past a reasonable bedtime, but I was never going to magically become a morning person overnight, although that’s certainly next on my list of things to try.

If I can go from making to-do lists at 3 a.m. to getting to bed before midnight, I can be the person who wakes up at 7 a.m. to—hey, let’s be audacious here—work out or clean house or, should miracles exist, write.

Lisa Marie Basile is the founding editor-in-chief of Luna Luna Magazine and moderator of its digital community. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Bustle, Bust, Hello Giggles, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, and The Huffington Post, among other sites. She is also the author of three poetry collections and holds an MFA from The New School. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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Plus-Size Triathlete Proves Most of Us Don’t Know What Being Fit Looks Like


Krista Henderson is one incredible athlete. She has competed in more than 20 races—triathlons, duathlons, and half-marathons. Plus, she’s a personal trainer and a spin instructor. Now she has one more thing to add to her impressive résumé: She’s the newest face of Lane Bryant’s activewear line, Livi. Henderson doesn’t have your stereotypical athletic build—and that’s the point. Lane Bryant’s newest campaign showcases super-fit women of all shapes and sizes, proving there’s not just one way to be healthy and in shape.

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Why Screwing Up Your New Year’s Resolutions Could Change Your Life for the Better

At the start of December 2015, I was preparing for my full transformation into an organized, energized achiever. The me I’d been my whole life—the woman who wore perpetually hot sauce-stained jeans and had developed a charming rash of unknown origin on her left ankle—would step aside, and let a kitten-heeled, Economist-reading, compost-making goddess take the reins. She’d be capable and organized, and I bet she could whip up a holistic remedy for that rash too.

I suspected that this transfer of power would be a hostile takeover, so I spent the better part of the month preparing myself for the challenge. I mapped out the life I wanted for myself, writing down more than 100 resolutions across fourteen categories. My goals ranged from the grandiose (write a memoir!) to the mundane (organize the apartment!).

In Google Drive, I created my own utopia, with pie charts to map my progress, a color-coded daily schedule, and fourteen folders full of possibilities. Go ahead, check out a few of my completely achievable life goals for 2015:


Screwing Up Resolutions Chart 1

1. Take an online class on sustainability.

2. Make my own toothpaste (cross-check with “Physical Self” folder for how many times per week you’re supposed to brush your teeth).

3. Start an online magazine about sustainable travel.

4. Figure out what sustainable travel actually is.

5. Make compost.

Dividing Line


Screwing Up Resolutions Chart 2

1. Become a yoga teacher.

2. Go to yoga two times in a row without feeling like you’re dying.

3. Wear more red lipstick (cross-check with “Sustainability” folder for vegan makeup brands with recycled packaging).

4. Make your own clothes.

5. Find all the buttons missing from three of your coats (cross-check with “Home” folder for where the f*ck those buttons might be).

6. Learn how to sew on a button without massive blood loss.

Some of the resolutions were more poignant. Another folder was full of longing for closeness with my clan, which was—and remains—spread across three continents.

Dividing Line


Screwing Up Resolutions Chart 3

1. Call grandma in Russia once a week.

2. Take guitar lessons with Dad over Skype.

3. Plan a trip to see Cousin Anya in Amsterdam before she has the baby.

Dividing Line

With so many hours spent anticipating the enormous successes that were just around the corner, New Year’s Eve felt miraculous. “Bring it,” I whispered as the clock struck twelve. And the next morning, I got to work: I clung to my schedule, ticking off boxes of fulfilled obligations. My apartment was practically spotless, I went to yoga, I signed up for an online course entitled “Introduction to Sustainability,” I called my mom almost every day, and I started a new editing job. I even made my boyfriend breakfast, although it was admittedly a kind of pumpkin mush that he could only describe as “not soup.” The first few weeks were promising… at least on paper.

How I actually felt was a different story. Obsessing over getting through my daily to-do lists, I barely left my apartment. Unplanned meetings with friends or long meandering walks were out of the question. I called my grandma out of obligation, usually as I hurried to a yoga class. Keeping the apartment spotless left no time for lipstick or kitten heels. I was stressed and disconnected, feeling only the occasional jolt of relief when the day was over, never in the process of actually performing the tasks I’d decided were so important.

Week by week, I began to slide into a full-on, slow-motion resolutions failure. It was like tripping on the sidewalk, taking an embarrassing, wobbly five steps, then hitting the pavement full force. Within nine weeks, the pie charts and the schedule were abandoned. Yoga soon followed, as did the “Introduction to Sustainability” course, as well as any attempts at homemaking.

I’m still afraid that they don’t know the real me, and one day they’ll discover that the person they love is actually twelve weasels in a Masha costume.

Having invested so much time, energy, and hope into this transformation, I felt devastated and guilty. Why did sticking to my resolutions feel just as terrible as abandoning them? Why in the world was there no joy in becoming who I wanted to be?

In the many months since, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why my plan failed so miserably. I read books like Anita Moorjani’s Dying To Be Me, Wayne Dyer’s Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling, and poured over Louise Hay’s website. I also tried meditation, and while that usually just turned into naptime, it also gave me space for introspection. In the end, I learned that my color-coded schedule was jinxed from the get-go. Basically, if my gigantic Near Year’s Eve resolution had been a building, it would have been condemned before I lay down the first brick.

Screwing Up Resolutions Aside from the fact that my New Year’s resolutions actively violated laws of time and physics, my biggest obstacle was this: I believed that once I became a person worthy of accepting, then I would accept myself. It seems logical, but there’s a catch—if I believed that I didn’t deserve to feel good, then how could I ever feel good? If I didn’t matter, then nothing I did could matter, either.

Once I made this realization, I looked to see which of my resolutions were jeopardized by a lack of self-love. The answer was “many.” One of the most raw and painful realizations came when I looked at my relationships. My family has always been on my side, offering support and love no matter what was going on in my life. But I still don’t talk to them as often or as intimately as I want to. Why? Because I’m still afraid that they don’t know the real me, and one day they’ll discover that the person they love is actually twelve weasels in a Masha costume.

This imposter feeling has kept me from my friends too. I convinced myself they were better off without me, despite their loving emails and phone calls. The feeling kept me from pursuing my writing, from experimenting with photography, making collages out of tissue paper… and a million other things. And that feeling has been my companion for a very long time.

One thing I do love about myself is my resilience. Once I untangled the mess I had made of my resolutions, I came up with a new plan, a better plan, with just one resolution for 2017: accept my value as a human being, just the way I am.

Why did sticking to my resolutions feel just as terrible as abandoning them?

So how does one go about learning to accept herself? I had no f*cking idea, so I began by accepting my love for ticking off boxes and making lists. I swapped out my folders of cross-posted resolutions for a small notebook, where every day, I write down the things that made me feel good, self-loving actions that I took, and any evidence I found that the universe doesn’t hate me.

Sometimes it’s really easy fill in the blanks: a friend paying me a compliment, buying myself flowers, receiving praise at work. Other days, I really have to scrape the bottom of the barrel (“took a shower” has made it on the list a few times) but without fail, every time I add something to the list, I feel better.

I’ve made small shifts that feel big. I tossed a pair of boots that looked great but made me want to chop off my feet to stop the pain. I leave parties the second I’m bored, raising a few eyebrows in the process. I’ve started to open up to my family about my feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes the most loving thing I can do is turn down a fun offer because finishing my work feels better than playing hooky. Sometimes I blow off work for an afternoon cuddle with my boyfriend and our cat. Anytime a panicked voice screams, “But what about all the things!” I remind myself that as far as self-improvement goes, my only job is to do what feels good.

I’ve also stopped defending myself. A year ago, had my boyfriend made an accurate observation about me being messy, I would have made him sit through a presentation on why that’s simply not true. These days, I gleefully respond with a “yep!” as I fish cookie crumbs out of my bra. It’s incredibly liberating.

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My coats are still buttonless, I’m still using store-bought toothpaste, and I have come to accept that I will simply never make compost. But I did do some amazing things this year: I visited my cousin in Amsterdam and got to see bright tulip fields from the air, and I started teaching a writing class that has brought me more joy than I could have imagined… plus, I finally figured out the cause of that rash on my ankle. Ironically, the culprit was the desk chair where I had spent weeks planning out all of my failed resolutions. I’d sat there the same way every day, with one leg tucked under me, my ankle rubbing against the chair’s edge day after day. In chasing down an idealized version of myself on paper, I had left my actual, imperfect, real self bruised and rash-covered. So I traded in the chair for a floor cushion, where I can sit cross-legged in front of a coffee table, a purring cat in my lap… and I feel so much better.

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Dating Other Women Helped Me Love My Own “Imperfect” Body

How Dating Other Women Helped Me Love My Own "Imperfect" Body

The first time I fell in love with a woman, I was 16, and everything about her seemed perfect: her curly red hair, her freckles, the way she moved from one yoga position to the next so effortlessly she seemed bored. Her name was Ruby.

In hindsight, I’m pretty sure I over-romanticized that first encounter, as one does as a teenager in search of self. We were at an outdoor yoga class at my local park, and everything seemed to shine brilliantly with magic: the pink lemonade that I sipped at the entrance; the soft, dewy grass between my toes; and the smile of the girl who set up her mat beside me.

While I couldn’t see it at the time, of course Ruby had imperfections. But there was one thing I remember that would have been called a “flaw” by most beauty standards, though I didn’t see it that way: She had cellulite—small, sweet dimples appeared on the tops of her thin legs. And even in a public space, she didn’t bother to cover them up or seem embarrassed.

That sort of carefree spirit was so foreign to me, and I envied it. I had such a distorted body image, partially formed by an all-girls’ school obsessed with making us look like “little ladies,” that I couldn’t even recognize myself in photographs. I wished I had Ruby’s confidence, her grace, her aura of self-acceptance. I remember going home that day and stripping down to my underwear. I twisted my spine to look at my cellulite in the mirror and thought, “I have something in common with a goddess.”

In my social circles, I’ve often encountered the assumption that queer people inherently have fewer issues with body image than our straight peers, but I can assure you, dating women is hardly a cure-all for body image issues. In my case, dating women has sometimes felt like an obstacle to self-love. The women I date always seem to be thinner than I am; they’re also traditionally prettier, softer, more feminine. And while I’m trying to unlearn the idea that being fat is “bad,” it’s always hard for me not to compare myself to my partners and feel like I’m inferior. When you’re held to the same standards as the person you’re dating, it can be especially easy to see your so-called shortcomings.

Self-love isn’t a linear journey.

When my girlfriend grabs her stomach fat and talk about going on salt-water cleanses, it’s difficult to look at my own body and think that I look fine. I sometimes find myself worried that strangers see us holding hands in public and think I don’t deserve to be with the woman I love because of the way I look.

But on the other hand, there’s transference. The beauty I saw in Ruby’s “flaws” made it easy for me to see beauty in my own. I met Ruby back when I still believed in the concept of “leagues” — she would be out of my league by any mainstream teen movie’s standards. I thought she wouldn’t like me the way I liked her because I wasn’t as conventionally attractive, but she proved me wrong. She didn’t just love me; she actively pursued me. She didn’t just think I was beautiful; she worshipped me the way I worshipped her.

This surprising turn of events led me to think two revolutionary thoughts:

1. Maybe I’m attractive. Maybe, just as I loved Ruby’s thighs and untamed eyebrows, she loved something that would be considered “imperfect” about me—my soft arms, or my strange chin.

2. Maybe Ruby loved me for reasons other than my appearance.

Ruby and I didn’t last, but loving her was a learning experience. In loving her, I ultimately opened the floodgates to loving myself. When I saw beauty in her imperfections, I learned to apply the same eye to my own body. I found myself thinking of the things we call flaws, and wondering why we’re trained to think this way.

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I wanted Ruby not because she was “perfect”—she wasn’t—but because there was a light inside her that shined for me. So why should I hold my body to a beauty standard that I don’t hold my romantic partner to? When I try to be full of love, I can shine as brightly as Ruby did, and my so-called imperfections can’t stand in the way of that.

Self-love isn’t a linear journey; I still fluctuate between treating myself with the gentle kindness I deserve and wanting to cut my stomach off with a knife. But slowly, I’ve managed to transition out of thinking, “I hate my body” on a daily basis. For a while, I replaced it with the thought, “Actually, I look great!” But now I try to remember the most important part: “It doesn’t matter how I look. I love myself anyway.”

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10 Minutes. 6 Moves. One HIIT Workout That’s Perfect for Beginners.

The words high intensity sound intimidating on their own, but when paired with interval training, they can be downright terrifying. But HIIT isn’t scary. In fact, it’s a super-effective way to build muscle and increase aerobic capacity in a short amount of time. Ease into it with this quick home workout.

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This routine is low impact, which means you won’t be doing the explosive, plyometric moves typically associated with HIIT. You’ll perform each exercise deliberately, focusing on form, which is the perfect way to ease into this type of training. And since it’s only 10 minutes, you’ll use the most of every second by doing crunches during the rest periods. You don’t need anything for this workout, but an exercise mat is optional. Ready? Hit play to get started.

To recap: No equipment is needed for this class. An exercise mat is optional. Warm up. Each move is 45 seconds on, then 15 seconds of crunches or rest if you need it.

Reverse Lunge With Knee Tuck
Push-Up With Reach
Plié Squat

Looking for more short and effective at-home workouts? Grokker has thousands of routines, so you’ll never get bored. Bonus: For a limited time, Greatist readers get 40 percent off Grokker Premium (just $ 9 per month) and their first 14 days free. Sign up now!

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The One Thing You Need to Read Anytime You Start Hating on Your Body

We’re working to get to the place where the little voice in our head is our personal cheerleader, not the one who picks out all of our flaws. But in the meantime, there are plenty of people you can follow on Instagram for a daily reminder that you (and your body) rock.

We’ve seen dozens of these messages before, but this self-love manifesto from eating disorder survivor @kellyufit stands out from the pack. It’s the kind of thing you should screenshot for the next time negative thoughts about your appearance start creeping in.

Go ahead, give it a read, and maybe try saying it to yourself in the mirror once in a while:

Photo: Instagram/ @kellyufit

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Kayla Itsines Wants You to Stop Feeling Guilty About Taking “Me Time”

Sure, you use #treatyoself when you snap a pic of an indulgent dessert or the bomb outfit you just bought. But when was the last time you had uninterrupted “me time”? That kind of self-care can seem selfish or lazy. But Kayla Itsines, the trainer behind the popular Bikini Body Guides, reminds us in a recent Facebook post that there isn’t anything wrong with taking time for yourself. In fact, the decision to carve out a moment to chill means you’re smart, in control, and taking care of your body. Preach, Kayla!

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