"My mission is to empower people of all ages, races, and body sizes to embrace the body they have been given and learn to love themselves so they can live their dreams."
"Working with Sarah Maria has helped me to see that I am inherently loveable, beautiful, and valuable, no matter what. She has given me tools and techniques to break free from self-hatred and put love in its place. I am incredibly grateful for her and her incredible program. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to love her body and lover her life."
-Gabrielle Forleo, age twenty-six
Chopra Center for Wellbeing
"Sarah Maria's teachings are an amazing gift. It's an outstanding program that has changed my life! I highly recommend Sarah Maria's program to anyone who wants to experience living their most successful, beautiful life."
-Mary Schmidt, age forty-five
"Sarah Maria has shared many tools with me. But much more important to me, and what has been most meaningful, has been her quality of compassion. It is a gift and is like a gentle, deep awakening. Sarah Maria is a remarkable individual who works with the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual person. I cannot thank her in a way that seems adequate"
-Leigh Ann Jones, age fifty-four
|HOME||BODY IMAGE & YOU||EATING DISORDERS||PRODUCTS & SERVICES||PRESSROOM||ABOUT US||CONTACT|
Confronting Media Messages: A size 2 is not Fat
Every woman living in this culture knows the standard for beauty: you should be thin, young, and toned, and the thinner the better. Of course, having large breasts is a bonus. This is the message that is projected by the media, and it is a message the most women have listened to, putting them at war with their own bodies and creating feelings of shame, guilt, and inadequacy, and dissatisfaction.
How many women look at their bodies and think they are beautiful? Very few. According to statistics, 80%-90% of women don't like their bodies. In fact, many of them hate their own bodies. This dissatisfaction affects women regardless of their body size, age, or ethnicity. They can be young or old, fat or thin, from various ethnic backgrounds, yet they share one thing in common: dissatisfaction with and disappointment in their bodies.
Our culture projects a clear message that one-size-fits-all in terms of body size and shape. Nature, however, has a different view. Women come in an infinite variety of shapes and sizes, colors and complexions, all of which are beautiful and deserve honor and respect. Sadly, our vision has become eclipsed: we have accepted the cultural lies that tell us we are not beautiful unless we are a size two.
So we are faced with a choice: we can try to force our bodies to become a size two, hoping that we will like ourselves then, or we can live with constant dissatisfaction and disappointment, believing that our bodies are inadequate in some way.
But wait - isn't there another choice? Yes, there is. The other option is to learn to love, honor, and accept our bodies and ourselves as we are, right now. We can begin to accept ourselves as we are, without believing that we need to be different. When we do this, we can begin to discover our inherent beauty, our unique radiance that makes us shine brilliantly. This can only be accessed, however, when we are willing to step out of the cultural paradigm that says we are not good enough unless we are a size two.
Changing our vision of beauty and accepting our bodies and ourselves completely is not an easy task. It takes a concerted effort to counteract the message that we are being fed daily through the media and the culture. With a little practice, however, you can transform the way you look and feel, unleashing a reservoir of vibrancy, energy, enthusiasm, and creativity.
Here are some tips for learning to love your body and transform your vision of yourself:
Have you defined beauty narrowly, either for yourself or others? Do you only think thin is beautiful? Or can you find beauty in everybody? Notice if you make judgments about other people's beauty as you go throughout your day.
If you notice that you have subscribed to a culturally-dictated vision of beauty, be willing to expand your views. When you look at other people and when you look at yourself, practice finding beauty. What makes someone unique? What makes her shine? Is it because she is a size two? Usually not. It is the infectious way she laughs; it is the gentle warmth of her smile. It is the strength of her muscles, or the softness of her curves. Everyone has different features. Unfortunately they often go unnoticed because we are focusing on what we should be, instead of the beautiful beings that we are in fact. Where is your beauty? As we learn to see the beauty in others we can learn to see the beauty in ourselves, and visa-versa.
Yes, gratitude is a practice, and when engaged in regularly it will transform your life. It is so easy, in fact it is automatic, to pick out what we don't like about ourselves, what we think should be different. We look in the mirror and grimace at the wrinkles, the sags, and the cellulite. Instead, practice standing in front of the mirror and honoring your body with gratitude. What features do you like about your body? What has your body done for you? What illnesses has it healed you of? What activities has it let you participate in? Every evening, stand naked in front of the mirror and honor your body with thanks and gratitude. This can be very challenging, since most of us don't like to look in the mirror because of our harsh, critical, and judgmental voices. If you practice this exercise diligently, however, you will slowly transform you relationship to your body and yourself.
Being healthy is a good thing. Life is much easier when we feel at the top of our game physically, mentally, and emotionally. "Being healthy", however, can often become code language for "trying to restrict our food so that we get our body closer to some false ideal." Therefore, practice making healthy choices without being attached to what might change on the outside. Focus on choices that make you feel good on the inside. Most people feel better when the exercise or practice yoga and eat healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. Make healthy choices, but let go of an attachment to the outcome. When you consistently make healthy choices, your body will slowly find a healthy equilibrium. Our body's intelligence is astounding; we need only provide the right environment.
One of the most important things we can offer ourselves is unconditional love and acceptance. Some of us received this unconditional love growing up; many of us did not. Regardless, we need to offer this love to ourselves. Wherever your body is at, whatever health challenges you have had, whatever unhealthy choices you have made, be gentle with yourself. Let yourself know that you have done the best you could. It is only from this place of gentle love, acceptance, and compassion that we can begin to heal, grow, and develop into the radiant beings that we are.
Lasting change begins with us. In order to create a culture that honors women for their unique beauty, we must first learn to see ourselves with love, compassion, and acceptance. We must find and honor our own beauty; only then will we be able to create a culture that honors women in all their varying shapes and sizes.