Rebranding Me: Learning to Love Myself


Welcome back to Tantalizingly Tasteful! Today I want to talk about something a little bit out of the ordinary for me: body image and self-confidence. Being confident in yourself and your abilities is much easier said than done, but I think the process of getting there is something that needs to be discussed. I want to share my own personal story with you. This is something I’ve been working on for about a year now, and I’m honestly still a little hesitant, but I know that so many people go through the same kind of situation and I want to open up the discussion. So, here goes.

I’ve spent my whole life being overweight. I knew in kindergarten that I was different from the other girls in the class. When I walked, my shorts would ride up my thighs (what has affectionately been known as thwedgie in my family), I couldn’t run as fast on the soccer field, and I couldn’t easily be lifted up. But as a kindergartner, you don’t really understand that having a bit more body fat than the other girls in class is going to make you stand out in a bad way.  I was also one of the only kids in class that wore glasses, and to five-year-old me, that made me “uncool.” I would play a game with my friends in which I would take my glasses off and say “cool Toni,” then put them back on and say “nerdy Toni.” How did I get the impression that a pair of glasses defined who I was?

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A shot from elementary school field day, complete with my classic “thwedgie.”

In elementary school, I was the first of my friends to wear a bra, and it wasn’t because I was the first to hit puberty. And yet, I still didn’t really think anything was too wrong with me. It didn’t really hit me until fourth grade, when a “popular” girl I considered a friend nicknamed me Jell-O. I didn’t understand why she was calling me that, so I was thrilled to think that I had finally made it into the “cool girls” crowd. When I got home that night, I excitedly told my parents about my new nickname, only to have them explain to me that it wasn’t a very great nickname to have. I was incredibly hurt to think that the people that I considered friends saw me that way and, even worse, seemed to be out to make fun of me because of what I weighed. I think about that realization a lot.

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This one’s from my cousin Effie’s wedding. I was 11 and a junior bridesmaid. I had gained weight between the fitting and the actual wedding, so my dress ripped during cocktail hour. I was humiliated.

Fast forward to middle school, when I just continued to gain weight and started growing facial hair due to polycystic ovarian syndrome. At that point, it had become more common knowledge to me that I was the heavier friend, and while my friends really didn’t have anything to say about my “physique,” it was quite evident that I was just different and sometimes had to be left out. I could never share clothes with my friends, I could never eat as much as my friends, I struggled to keep up with them in sports. I had girls pull my bra strap and laugh at me because my bra wasn’t supportive enough for my chest. One of my best friends pointed out to the entire gym class that I was growing a beard. I started to become ashamed of my body, a feeling that I would never wish on anyone. And instead of combating my issues with an improved diet and more exercise, I comforted myself the only way I knew how: food.

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A photo of my mother, my youngest brother and I at a bat mitzvah. Clearly I did not know what a bra was.

In high school, I tried to pretend that I was more comfortable with my body. I had accepted that I was just bigger than my friends, but my weight was still a source of contention with my family. My parents have always been super supportive, and when they worried about my weight, it was always for the sake of my health and not my appearance, but it was (and still is) a sore topic for me. My grandmother was notorious for not giving me a second serving of food to keep me from gaining weight. My parents often told me that certain clothes just weren’t meant for my body type. Even my five-year-old cousin told me I was fat. For me, realizing that even my family remarked that I was overweight was heartbreaking. I felt like no one saw me for my personality or interests, but only saw me as the girl who needed to lay off the pasta and hit the gym. This realization brought on a rough time of self-doubt, self-loathing, depression, and self-harm. When I finally got myself out of that slump, I decided I was going to take ownership of who I was and focus on bettering myself and getting healthy, not necessarily skinny. I told my parents that I needed them to support me despite what I looked like or what I decided to wear. I thought this inner transformation would be good for me in so many ways.

Here’s a picture from marching band in ninth grade. I remember loving this picture because I thought my hair looked so long.

But then prom season hit, and two years in a row, no one asked me to be their date. And I couldn’t help but attribute it to the fact that nobody wanted to go with the fat girl. Of course, I was heartbroken, and debated not going to prom both years, but ultimately I went and had a great time. But the idea still remains in my head that no one wants to date me or be friends with me because of my weight.

A picture of me, alone, at senior prom. Luckily I still had a great time.

I had a similar experience at the beginning of college. Before I moved in, I was considering joining a sorority, but at the actual club fair, I noticed that no sorority sisters even considered approaching me. Instead, they were approaching the teeny tiny skinny girls, the girls who were the “populars” that would have made fun of me in elementary and middle school. It was then that I realized that my body weight can sometimes prevent me from achieving everything I would’ve liked to, and it was then that I was inspired to write this post.

This is one of my favorite selfies from freshman year. Before I found my close friends, I would go home every weekend because I felt so out of place.

That was a year ago, during my very first semester of college. I had completely different friends, completely different interests, and a completely different outlook on life. Originally, this post was supposed to be a wake-up call to me and to anyone reading, a cautionary tale that would hopefully teach people that they should keep themselves from getting heavy so they can prevent themselves from getting hurt. Now, I see things very differently.

It’s taken me a long time, but I’m finally getting to the point that I’m realizing I love the person I am. There may be things I want to change and things that I regret doing, but I’ve learned over the years (and especially the last six months) that the only person I need approval, attention, and love from is myself. The only person who can help me is myself. It also helps that the friends I have now like me the way I am, so I’m not forcing myself to be something I’m not.

I wish I could detail how I got myself to this point, but honestly, I think it was just spurred by a sudden realization that if I can’t love myself for who I am, no one else will. I do have some recommendations, though, that I know have helped me feel happier and more confident and empowered.

  1. Read self-help books: Yes, this is corny, but after reading even a few pages of self-help books, I always feel refreshed and inspired. One of my favorites is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, even though I haven’t even finished it yet. I used to read it every night before bed during the spring semester of my freshman year, and it made me feel like I could take on the world just the way I am. Some more on my list of books to read are Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

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    You can get your copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller for $10.96 at Barnes and Noble.
  2. Work out: I’ve been talking about this up and down for the last six months, but working out has made me feel a million times better about myself. Every time I work out, I go into beast mode, and I feel like I can accomplish anything. Find an exercise routine you love and stick to it. Not only is it good for your body, but it’s also good for your soul.
  3. Listen to pump-up music: I literally have a playlist called “I DESERVE BETTER” that’s filled with songs that make me feel better and remind me that I am worth the work and worth being treated well. It’s filled with some of my favorite songs, like Hair and Shoutout to My Ex by Little Mix, Stronger by Britney Spears, and Down in the Dumps by Walk the Moon. I highly recommend putting together a playlist that makes you feel great about yourself and helps pick you back up when you start to fall.
  4. Get motivational wallpapers: Inspirational phone backgrounds and computer wallpapers are my guilty pleasure. I like to change them every month just to get something a little different. I always find it so inspiring to turn on my phone or laptop and get some sort of pick-me-up.

    This is the wallpaper on my laptop right now and I love turning it on and seeing this.
  5. Don’t take things so personally: I’ve always been a very sensitive person, and I always let people’s reactions to me affect the way I feel about myself and everything around me. Recently, I’ve come to the realization that you don’t always know what other people are going through, so you can’t hold things against them or let them get you down. Like I said, the only person’s validation that matters is yours, so don’t let yourself get down because of a stupid comment someone else said. When I dyed my hair purpley about a year ago, one of my best friends made a comment that if I lay down on the grass, it would look like Barney. His opinion meant a lot to me at the time, and I was upset about it for a while. Since then, I’ve realized that it’s my hair, not his, and if I like the way it looks, I don’t have to really consider his opinion.
  6. Do what you’re passionate about: Doing things that you love to do and are good at are great for a confidence boost. Plus, if you get involved with something you’re passionate about, you can find other people who are passionate about the same thing and you immediately have something to connect over. When I started writing for my school newspaper last semester (even though it was for class credit), I met so many awesome people who were also passionate about journalism. It was really inspiring and motivating for me to get pointers from them and just be surrounded by people who loved to interview people and write just as much as I do.
  7. Journal: One of the best ways to release negativity is to write it down. I find that every time I write down what’s bothering me, I can better recognize what the problem is and then find an appropriate way to deal with it. Also, I can write down all the positives in my life and reread them if I start feeling down. I also love picking pretty journals that inspire me to write and work hard, like this one from Barnes and Noble.

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    Be Awesome Today Bound Lined Journal, $9.95 at Barnes and Noble
  8. Find support: The biggest thing that has helped me come to terms with the person that I am has been my religion. I was born and raised Greek Orthodox, but I didn’t really get into learning about my religion until I was 16 and went to Camp St. Paul for the first time. Since then, I’ve become more confident in myself and my abilities because I know that God made me the way I am and only sends me challenges that He knows I can handle. Now, I’m not trying to tell you to start going to church every single day or to convert right this second. All I’m saying is that everyone needs someone or something (healthy!) to bring you back when you start fall. For those of you who are not religious, I’d recommend finding something or someone that always has your back and best interests at heart. I have a handful of really close friends that constantly cheer me on and pick me up when I fall. I’d be nowhere without them. Even my parents are there for me whenever I need them, and I can tell them absolutely anything without them judging me or putting me down. The bottom line is that it feels amazing to know you have people who love and support you all the time and can pick you up if you start doubting yourself.

I hope this post gave you a bit of a look into my life and some inspiration and motivation to start loving yourself completely and entirely. Don’t forget to keep me in the loop as you embark on your journey!!

xx,

Toni
Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com
Twitter: @TTasteful

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My 2017 Goals + Tips


I’m all about setting goals for myself, but sometimes, deciding exactly what I want to accomplish can be tough. After two weeks (yes, two full weeks), I’ve finally compiled some New Year’s resolutions that I’d like to share with you, as well as some helpful tips I use to narrow down my thoughts.

My Resolutions

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Above are my resolutions for the new year (which I typed out on Canva, a great site for designing everything from cards to resumes). I chose to organize them by category (more about organization to follow!) and list one way I can go about actually achieving each goal. I think this will help give me a good start and keep me accountable. While there a lot of things I’d like to be able to accomplish this year, these 20 tasks are the things I felt were most important and most attainable. I’ll probably print these out and hang them up on my desk to keep me inspired and remind me what I set out to do.

Tips

Like I said, setting goals can be just as hard as actually achieving them. Here are some pointers on how to successfully set your own 2017 resolutions (and it’s never too late to do it!)

  1. Write them down: Last week I mentioned to my friends that I hadn’t written down my resolutions yet and they all said something along the lines of, “You write them down? That’s smart. Maybe I’d be more successful if I wrote mine down.” I’m not even kidding. I really believe that writing them down holds your more accountable and can inspire you to keep on chugging. Write them down or type them out so that they look nice, then put them somewhere you can see them and be reminded of the things you want to accomplish.
  2. Record your thoughts: I found that I had a lot of visions for myself and things I wanted to change, but no concrete goals to set for myself. So I picked up my journal (for the first time since June… oops) and wrote down all of my thoughts. Five pages later and I had a better idea of exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Take the time to write down your thoughts and desires and watch how clear your goals become. Bonus points if you use a cute journal like this Shoot for the Moon journal!

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    I have this journal and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. I used it to record all my interviews last semester, and it really served me well.
  3. Organize: One way to help make making resolutions easier is to organize them in some way. I like to organize mine by categories that correspond to the different things going on in my life, but I have also seen people organize theirs by priority or even by month. Find a way to organize your goals that will help you to stay inspired and know what you actually need to do.
  4. Limit yourself: I know people usually say the sky’s the limit, but in this case, I’d say limit the number of goals you set for yourself. It can be tempting to set 100 goals, but it’s just impractical. The reason I was able to set 20 goals for myself was because they were relatively small goals that can be accomplished within the scope of my average day. There’s no way, however, that I’d be able to achieve 20 big goals. Limit to yourself to what you are confident you can achieve and apply into your everyday life.
  5. Look it up: Sometimes you’re just out of ideas or can’t find the words to correctly convey what it is you want to accomplish. So what do you do? The same thing you always do: look it up. I love checking Pinterest for resolution inspiration. I literally just type “resolution” into the search bar and so many ideas come up. If you’re stuck, don’t be afraid to do a little research!

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    Here’s some inspiration I found on Pinterest, posted by Easy College Coupons!
  6. Set achievable and measurable goals: My last tip for you is to set goals you are confident you have the ability to achieve and can easily measure your progress with. When I was writing my own resolutions, I was very tempted to write something like “go on a weekend trip,” but I didn’t because I’m not sure if that will be achievable for me when it comes down to time and money. It can still be something I’d like to do, but not necessarily something that I’m recording as a New Year’s resolution. The same goes for something like “lose weight,” but more so because it’s not quantifiable. Losing one pound still counts as losing weight, but that definitely would not be my goal. Even saying something like “lose 50 pounds” might be unrealistic because you can’t be sure that’s achievable. My recommendation would be to set smaller, achievable, quantifiable goals like “work out x times a week” or “record food intake” that are easier to accomplish and can still lead you to the outcome you desire.

I hope that my New Year’s resolutions and tips helped inspire you to chase your goals and dreams this year. I’m looking forward to another year of sharing my life with all of my Tasters. Wishing you all your best year yet, full of love, laughter, and happiness!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

Twitter: @TTasteful

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Tuesday Tunes: Workout Jams


Working out just isn’t the same without killer tunes. I can’t work my hardest unless there’s music pumping into my ears. It keeps me energized and motivated when I need it the most, and can sometimes transport me away from the mundane.

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Wish I could be running by that view right now… but sometimes music alone can take you away. Image via Google

And this isn’t even just a me thing… Studies have shown that while music not only elevates your mood, it also helps you keep your pace while exercising and helps you focus on the task at hand. Music is just enjoyable, and can make you feel great.

What’s great about music is that everyone’s taste in music is different, which means there’s no one “official” playlist. Sometimes, the music you listen to while working out is dependent on the type of exercise and the setting. For example, you definitely wouldn’t hear the same type of music in a meditation yoga class as you would in a high-intensity kickboxing class (highly recommend checking iLoveKickboxing out here by the way!) Plus, you’re not always in the same mood when you’re working out. So, does that mean you need to have multiple playlists ready for your different workouts? Maybe… or you can just rely on someone else’s. I, for one, generally like making my own, so I’m here to share some of my favorites tracks and playlist ideas with you! I even started a new Spotify account just to share them with you. Make sure you follow TTasteful on Spotify to see my full range of playlists!

STRENGTH

The way I see it, this playlist is just about pure energy and strength. These songs make me feel strong, powerful and in control of my life and self. When I hear these songs, I feel raw strength and drive. I’m not sure I’m doing it justice honestly. I just feel like I can tackle anything with this soundtrack. Some songs include Power by Kanye West, Thunderstruck by AC/DC and Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers.

BOY BYE

I admit it, a lot of times when I work out, I channel my emotions into it. Doesn’t everyone? That’s exactly why I have this playlist, which is a playlist that not only gets my blood flowing and heart pumping, but also reminds me that I deserve better than whatever crap I’m dealing with. One of my favorite songs on this mix is Too Good by Drake, and some others include 7/11 by Beyoncé, Roar by Katy Perry, and We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister.

Girl Power

One pre-made Spotify playlist that I love is the Girl Power playlist. With artists like Lady Gaga, the Spice Girls and Selena Gomez, this mix is perfect for when I need a little bit of reminding of how strong and kick-butt women can be. Nothing brightens my day like inspiring songs like Confident by Demi Lovato and Kill Em With Kindness by Selena Gomez.

GREECE SUMMER

Something that I do love to listen to while working out, even though it’s not on Spotify, is any Greek summer mix. I’m half Greek (and darn proud of it), and listening to this music while working out can just take me away from the New York dreariness sometimes. It provides a much-needed escape and pick-me-up. This one by DJ Golden Feta is my personal favorite right about now and almost makes me feel like I’m back in the Mediterranean.

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This music makes me want to go back to the motherland so badly…

Naturally, this is just the beginning. I’m always looking for new music (shout out to my best friend Grant for always sending me links) and am always adding onto the playlist. Please let me know what you listen to while working out or if you have any suggestions for me! Good luck on your own playlists, and don’t forget to follow TTasteful on Spotify for inspiration!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

Twitter: @TTasteful

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Friday Finds: Pinterest + New Fitness Plan!!


No day is better than Friday. I don’t have classes on Fridays (ha!), so I usually spend my time sleeping late, going to the gym, and browsing social media. So, why not  peruse social media AND be productive by blogging about it?

Welcome to the first of (hopefully) many Friday Finds~

Basically, I’m just going to list a few cool things I found on the social media of my choice that I think you guys would enjoy. Please don’t forget to tell me what you think and share your Friday Finds with me!

OH and make sure to stick around till the end so you can take a peek at my new fitness plan 🙂

FRIDAY FINDS: Pinterest!

Pinterest is my source for information, motivation, inspiration and creation. I am highly addicted and love trying out the new ideas I find on there. Here are five pins that I’m loving this week:

1. Morning Yoga in Bed: Let’s be real, I am definitely a lazy girl. So if I can spend just a few more minutes in bed AND stretch at the same time, you can count me in! This awesome graphic, originally from Fit Girl’s Diary, demonstrates some easy yoga poses we can do to stretch and energize our bodies before even rolling out of bed. What’s not to love about that?

yoga-in-bed
Wish my bed looked this neat… Make sure to follow Fit Girl’s Diary on Pinterest, @fitgirlsdiary14!

2. Rainbow Smoothie: Yeah, this is pretty darn cool. Not only are these multi-color smoothies totally Insta-worthy, they’re also naturally good for you! Complete with fruits and veggies like bananas, mango, beets and spinach, this smoothie by The First Year will give you plenty of essential nutrients. Can’t wait to give this one a try!

rainbow-smoothie
If you try this super cool smoothie, make sure to let me know what you think! Check out more of The First Year’s recipes on Pinterest, @thefirstyear!

3. Work, Work, Work: This week has been a little rougher for me than others. I was so ready to jump right into my new plan and work to achieve some goals, but come Monday morning, I was feeling under the weather and dealing with some unwelcome drama. This little quote right here kept me going through the week. I didn’t miss a single gym day and kept eating well instead of giving in and saying, “Oh, I’m sick, I’ll just start over next week.” It’s all about mindset, and honestly, this image kept me in the right one all week. Thanks to skinny-healthyme.tumblr.com (now http://www.nutrifitblr.com/)  for the original post!

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Had this up on my computer all week… just saying. Repinned from @standouthealth

4. Dutch Sister Braid: I am always looking for new ways to wear my hair to the gym instead of resorting the the same old ponytail, especially since I go to the gym after/in between classes now. This super cute braid and pony combo from MakeupWearables is trendy and chic, but more importantly, practical. So excited to test this look out!

dutch-sister-braid
How can a hairstyle be so pretty, easy and practical all at the same time? Make sure to follow them on Pinterest, @makeupwearables!

5. SCARVES: Just because I’m adding some new content doesn’t mean I’m not still going to post about fashion! Yesterday was the first day of autumn, and I am so excited about the change in fashion that comes with the change in seasons. The layering, the boots, THE SCARVES!! Yes, I have a slightly unhealthy love of scarves. What I love about this look found on Wachabuy is that I can totally imagine myself wearing it and still being totally comfortable and practical. Most of my gym times these days are scheduled after or in between classes, so outfits like this that can transition from the classroom to the Arc Trainer are perfect for me. And a scarf makes it even better! Just gotta trade the Starbucks for my water bottle and the tote for my backpack…

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Lovin’ this outfit inspiration… Check out @wachabuy on Pinterest for more ideas!

 

If you all love Pinterest as much as I do, make sure to follow me and let me know what you’ve been loving and pinning!

And onto the next bit, here’s…

MY FALL 2016 FITNESS PLAN!!

So, after a lot of research and thought, I finally put together a plan for myself to follow on my journey to a healthier lifestyle. I compiled some (more) Pins I found and took my own schedule into account to decide how I should work out and when.

So without further adieu, here it is! (I color-coded it just for you guys:))

fitness-plan-fall-2016

My cardio usually consists of the Arc Trainer, which I set to “Women’s Weight Loss” mode. It gives me the option of “Hill Climb” and “Speed Bump” (I think), and I generally alternate between the two. Sometimes, I use the bicycle machine or go on a run instead,  but the Arc Trainer is my preferred method of exercise.

As far as my other workouts, basically all I did was pull ideas from the following three pins and combine them based on what I thought I could handle physically and what my schedule allowed.

exercise-circuit-schedule
This pin that I repinned from @POPSUGAR served as the basis for how much time and what body parts I exercise each day.
weekly workout circuit plan.jpg
This graphic from cocolifestyle.tumblr.com is the framework for what exercises I use to work out each body part. I ended up changing some of them a little bit based on what I can handle physically and what I can actually do in my dorm room (like I don’t have weights so I can’t do tricep extensions), but it’s definitely a good place to start.
30-day-abs-and-squats-challenge
I love challenges with particular outcomes in mind, so I definitely wanted to add this 30 day challenge from Fitness Republic so I could consistently work my problem areas.

So far, I’m really loving my new plan. I do my cardio at the campus rec center during the day, either after or in between classes, and then do my strength exercises when I get back to my room. I’ll go through one circuit, then do my sit-ups, then another circuit and crunches, then the last circuit and squats, and then I’ll end with the killer one minute plank. (Yes, I am weak and shake the entire time, but I’m working on it!) I won’t lie, it is pretty exhausting, but it’s totally worth it and my body already feels better. I also make sure to record everything I eat and every exercise I do in the MyFitnessPal app. It helps me keep track of my progress and everything I’m doing.

I hope that one of these pins or my new plan inspires you to try something new in your life, whether it be directly from something you see online or something you have to manipulate to fit your lifestyle better. Remember, we’re not cookie-cutter people, so not everything is going to work exactly the same for everyone. Don’t forget to let me know what you thought about these pins and what you’re working on at home! Until next time…

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

Twitter: @TTasteful

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#MotivationMonday: Fresh Starts


Mondays suck. We all know that. Especially rainy Monday mornings like this, when you’re sleep deprived because you couldn’t sleep due to a throat ache and totally fogged down by the dreariness outside. That’s my case today anyways. But…

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Mondays mark new beginnings. The weekend is over, and it’s a chance to seize the week and make it your own. Sure, it’s back to school and work, but who knows what this week could bring?

Start out on a positive note and set yourself some goals. They don’t have to be large, broad goals, but even the small stuff will make a difference. My goals for this week are to implement my new workout plan (stay tuned for a post with some details later on this week!) and to blog three times. I’m already off to a good start on both of those, so I’m hoping this week I’ll stay productive and motivated!

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It’s only 8:05 AM, but I’m already feeling productive. Got my laptop running and my tea next to me… repping the Stony Brook J-School!

My advice is to start your morning off right. I’m a firm believer that if your day and mood are good from the beginning, nothing will be able to bring you down. For me, that means starting my morning early, sitting by my dorm room window, and getting stuff done. Just writing this is motivation enough for me. Oh, and don’t forget the tea!! (Same Lipton tea I drink at camp by the way, so that’s boosting my mood too). Do whatever you have to do to get yourself in the right mindset, whether that be drinking your morning coffee, going on a quick jog, or simply catching up on social media.

Remember, this is your journey, no one else’s. Set yourself goals you think you can achieve, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You are your own person with your own set of talents, life experiences and challenges. If you’re going to compare yourself to anyone, compare yourself to your past self, so you can see the progress that you’re making.

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Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the difference. You can’t expect yourself to make an entire life overhaul in a day and be successful. Baby steps are great and totally acceptable. As playwright John Heywood said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Be patient with yourself as you work towards your goals, and keep going if you stray. One mistake can’t take you completely off track. Nobody’s perfect, so just keep going. You’re totally worth the journey, the effort and the patience. I know you can do this!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Monday and productive week ahead! As always, keep me updated on your thoughts and progress! See ya in a few days 🙂

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

Twitter: @TTasteful

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My Big Fat Fabulous Life: #NoBodyShameCampaign + PCOS


Hey, guys! Hope everyone’s been enjoying their holiday season so far! Today I’d like to take a little bit of a different route and talk to you guys about something that’s very close to my heart: PCOS.

My Big Fat Fabulous Life

My Big Fat Fabulous Life is a new reality show premiering on TLC on January 13. The show follows a woman named Whitney Thore as she works to overcome the affects of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which caused her to gain 200 pounds. Whitney, who was a thin dancer as a child and teenager, began to rapidly gain weight in college. She eventually quit dance, saying that she just couldn’t stand to look at herself in the mirrors.  Whitney, now almost 30 years old and about 360 pounds, has begun dancing again, having become more comfortable in her body. She recently posted a series of videos of her dancing, entitled A Fat Girl Dancing, which led to increased popularity and her #NoBodyShameCampaign. The idea behind this campaign is that no one should shame another person’s body, no matter what it looks like. Whitney’s new show will follow her as she tries to regain control of her life and body. She says, “I may be fat, but I’m still fabulous. I have one life to live, and it damn sure better count.” You can check out trailers for her upcoming show here.

What Is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, known as PCOS for short, is a disorder that causes a woman’s hormones to be out of whack, which can cause irregular periods and difficulties getting pregnant. PCOS has a tendency to cause rapid weight gain, hair growth on the chin, sideburns,chest and stomach, and acne, as well as an inability to lose weight, because ovaries affected by PCOS make more male sex hormones than they should. Most women that have this have small cysts, or small fluid-filled bubble, on their ovaries. PCOS can also cause the body to become insulin resistant, which could lead to diabetes.

The trouble with PCOS is that there are a lot of unknowns. No one really knows what causes PCOS or how to diagnose it. Also, about 70% of women with PCOS do not show any symptoms. Many doctors believe that PCOS is passed down through a family line, but they still can’t be sure.

While there is no known cure for PCOS, many doctors recommend treating the disease with exercise, a balanced diet and not smoking in order to decrease its affects. But for some, that is just not enough. When someone’s body just does not respond to these methods, a doctor may prescribe medication such as metformin, clomiphene, or spironolactone in conjunction with hormonal birth control. The hope is that these medications will regulate one’s ovulation and sex hormone levels.

Recognize Yourself?

Do you see yourself in this description? Talk to your primary care doctor and they can tell you what your best bet is. Many doctors recommend going to see a gynecologist or endocrinologist, but always consult your doctor first, especially if your symptoms are severe.

PCOS and I

PCOS is close to my heart because I was diagnosed with it when I was only 12 or 13. I have a family history of the disease: my grandmother and aunt both have it. I have an irregular menstrual cycle, uncontrollable facial hair and a very easy time gaining weight but an incredibly hard one losing it. I also get cramps every day. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for as long as I can remember. I have seen doctor after doctor, but nothing seems to have helped. I’ve been on metformin and spironolactone, but neither worked. The next step for me would be hormonal birth control, but I have yet to decide if that’s the path I want to take. In the meantime, I’m trying to improve my diet and exercise routine. I stopped being a vegetarian nearly a year ago, so I’ve added more proteins into my diet and tried to cut out carbs, which just help testosterone multiply in my body. I’ve also started doing Zumba and the results have been awesome so far! My advice to anyone who sees themselves in this description is to definitely talk to your doctor, but also try to do a little by yourself: Improve the way you’re eating and exercise! I’m definitely not an expert, but I can tell you from experience that I always feel better when I’m trying to improve those two aspects of my life. Get your friends involved, too, and the whole thing becomes way more fun. I had some friends over to do Zumba last week, and I not only worked out, I got some great laughs in the process!

Thanks for reading, guys! If you want any more info on PCOS or want to help with the cause, check out the PCOS foundation’s website! Also, if you guys have any questions for me about how I’ve been dealing with PCOS or what doctors I’ve seen, I’d be more than happy to help. Also, let me know if you’d like to see more health and body-related posts on my blog! Talk to me in the comments below, or send an email to tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com! Also don’t forget to follow my Tumblr, tantalizingly-tasteful.tumblr.com, my Pinterest @TTasteful, my Lookbook account, http://lookbook.nu/tonirose08 and my Instagram, @tonirose08! Love you guys xx