Stigma & How It Ruins Lives

I’ll be honest; this is my heaviest blog to date and I have no idea how to approach it, but something in me is yearning to do it. I’m touching on a subject that is wildly opinionated and oh so sensitive. I’m nervous, you’re nervous. Let’s see if I can royally mess it up.

 

I want to talk about a silent killer. No not the hidden sugar in ketchup, but stigma.

 

There is always a reason why I write a blog. So let me give you the back-story. I was recently speaking with a girlfriend and I wanted to share with her something, something about myself, something intimate. **cue vulnerability. But before I had the opportunity to, she made a remark about a unrelated topic, I’m not going to tell you but lets just call her Suzy and for the sake of this blog lets just say she said something like “yeah but that’s what gay men do.”

 

Instantly I thought:

  1. Suzy, you are ignorant.
  2. If my eyes don’t deceive me, you are not a gay man so how do you know.
  3. And lastly, now I know that I will never share with you, because you have listened to gossip, media, hearsay, and mean opinions and guess what – you’ve applied stigma. You’re small-minded and now I think less of you.

 

Disclaimer: Suzy doesn’t exist and she never said that. I sometimes create mean friends for the impact of this blog.

 

Stigma is a mark, a blemish, and a scar that cannot be removed.

 

But you know what gets me fired up the most? Stigma isn’t you (or me) thinking. It’s not an autonomous thought. Stigma is a brainwashed, snow balled effect of misinformed Chinese whispers.

 

I don’t believe we create our ideas from thin air; Stigma is a mob mentality.

 

Mob mentality, describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviours. Examples of mob mentality include nationalism, globalism, stock market trends, superstition, home décor, festivals, and clothing trends. And then we have mental mob mentality – people influenced by their peers to adopt certain thoughts, here we go…

  • Stigma around women who show their gorgeous bodies off and have a lot of sex (slut shaming)
  • Stigma around gay men and HIV
  • Stigma around sex workers
  • Stigma around single mums
  • Stigma around people that went to a high profile elite university
  • Stigma around women that are 40 and childless and/or marriage-less
  • Stigma around men that are 40 and bachelors
  • Stigma around people that go to the gym a lot
  • Stigma around people that don’t go the gym
  • Stigma around alcoholics
  • Stigma around addicts
  • Stigma around people who live in low income suburbs
  • Stigma around children from domestic or sexual abuse.

 

To only name a few….

 

But how do I know that there is stigma? Because as you’re reading those words, you instinctively conjure up previous associations of what we know (or think we know) about them. We can’t help it. Our whole lives and the way we think sometimes is, and has been a mob mentality.

 

I think that if you have NOT experienced any of the above, you actually don’t have an educated opinion on it, would I be right? (For example: if you have stigma about alcoholism for example, make sure you’ve been a full blown alcoholic to be able to speak up so well informed on the matter)

 

I don’t even know why I’m writing this blog or where it’s going. I started it with an optimistic oomph and now it seems to be dying on its derriere. I’m a woman aware of stigma around her and a voice to say I see it, but no suggestions on how to change it. If anything, lets just start to talk about it with ourselves and our loved ones and see where we have been placing stigma and judging people close to us because of it.

 

I’ll leave you with this – I feel that the more stigma we place on people and their circumstances, the more we:

a) Shame them into not sharing with us their lives, their troubles and even their joys.

b) We narrow the scope of people we can relate to, connect with and learn from.

c) We are ultimately small minded and annoying to be around.

 

Over and out

Pen

Identity & Being Yourself

Imagine me, one Tuesday afternoon, chilled out to the max, work complete and looking for something to do. Sounds harmless yes? Wrong. I stumbled onto my Instagram page and thought it would be a grand idea to redo my bio. Fast-forward 3 hours later – me, rocking silently in a corner questioning who I am and where I belong in this world not to mention this social media sphere. All I needed to top it off was a dinner party and someone to ask “and what do you do for a living?” *cue full-blown anxiety attack.

 

At one point I deleted the entire Instagram bio and just wrote ‘human’.

 

The truth of the matter is, I haven’t known where I belong in the industries I’m in for a while now. I am majority writer, long time personal trainer, absolute Author of a cookbook, on the side uni-student, with undertones of a debaucherous rebel dying to express herself on her social platforms. But I am a lone ranger. I keep my head down and work away in all of these areas without being fanatical about one or the other. Hence confusion with how and where and when to express myself and what I do.

 

Recently I’ve been scared to post anything but fitness in case my fitness followers don’t continue to follow, scared of posting my writing in fear of my fitness readers not finding relevance, scared of posting non-food inspiration to my cookbook followers. And scared of posting a wildly irrelevant post that represents me but yet has no place anywhere.

 

For too long I have been scared to publicly change identities.

 

Why?

 

That is ludicrous.

 

And has me exhausted.

 

With some self-reflection I see it’s a bigger case of letting go. I have been known as a famous cover girl, model and public figure personal trainer and I have followers that have followed me for nearly ten years because of that. It’s sometimes difficult to let that go and move into a new phase of my life without fear that people (my followers) wont follow suit. I used to be a full time personal trainer and part time writer, and now I’m a full time writer and part time personal trainer. I asked myself, why is the struggle so real to show that?

 

Because, history does in fact define us. Our previous successes make us who we are and we undoubtedly cling to them as an identity. So transitioning can be resistant. Then lets discuss labelling, labelling is a huge business nowadays – every app or platform or subscription has a “describe who you are” section.

 

What I realised was, I needed to define what I’m passionate about:

  1. Inspiring women to be fit and healthy.
  2. Inspiring women to wear their personalities in the form of their fashion.
  3. Inspiring women to break the societal mold and create a unique and exceptionally diverse life.
  4. Inspiring women to have self-expression, equality, sexual autonomy, and empowerment with their bodies, therefore creating an insight into nonconventional ways to live their lives.
  5. Writing about all of the above.

 

I’m going to set you homework – I’d like you to do the same. Write down 5 things that you are passionate about. Then take a look at them, and see how they light you up but also that they don’t define you, they are not your set identity, they are changeable and in ten years they may not be you – and guess what? THAT’S OK. You are an ever-evolving human, your interests’ change, and your mentality changes and so do your goals. You are not defined by an Instagram bio, resume, a job title or a fixed idea of how your life was or is.

 

This is a bigger picture I feel, one that I cannot even attempt to attack here on my wee blog. Instead, I’ll just leave you with this…we are at the height of a decade; a decade of judgment, image conceptualization, and identity crisis. We are encouraged to chase our dreams, be authentic and embrace ourselves, but then body shaming, slut shaming, and labeling are higher than ever.

 

We are so confused, on the brink of a breakthrough.

 

The world is screaming “BE YOURSELF, but be careful…because we will judge you for it”. I refuse. Instead of being someone you follow because of a label, I’d like just to be followed because I’m another human, doing her thing, without a rule book – and if I can be your relatable mentor then that’s pretty cool too.

 

You will have noticed this blog transforming, into a lifestyle blog – not just health and fitness. So I do hope you come along for the ride.

 

Until next time, be unapologetically you.

Penny xxx

 

I Don’t Understand Why You’re Single

I have never used my blog as a platform for a rant but today, I must (and it’s my blog so I can write whatever the hell I like).

“I don’t understand why you’re single, you’re a good looking successful girl” 

Read that again.

Firstly, let’s address how superficial and down right mean that comment is, not to mention how utterly stupid and misinformed you sound. So I’m good looking, right…therefore I must be in a relationship? and what do you say to people that you consider not good looking? “Yeah I understand why you’re single because you’re so ugly and all” and what about if I were less successful? “Oh that makes sense for not being in a relationship, because you’re a failure.”

Secondly, you’re insinuating that there must be something wrong with people when they’re single. You’re an ignoramus. I sometimes wonder how you got a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband to put up with you and your teeny tiny fixed mindset.

And finally, my favourite would be “Don’t worry, you’ll find him” – the generalisation that floods my world nowadays is that being single is terrible and that the ultimate goal in life is to be in a relationship and meet ‘the one’ (Disney brainwashed much?) Bull. And the sooner you evolve past your archaic mentality the better for both of us. Just a reminder, this is 2017 – we are at the peak of equality, freedom of choice, empowerment, fertility indifferences, and female sexual autonomy…so please keep up.

I am single because I choose to be single, not because no-one chose me.

The amount of times I’ve been verbally attacked by people bewildered that I am single and that I don’t want to follow (like a sheep) the protocol – I know it scares you, a woman you don’t understand, so here is some insight into my mind – I have one life and I’m going to choose to live it the way I see fit, not the way I’ve been told to live it by society, history, traditions or bullying. I have been questioned relentlessly, misunderstood, patronised and the most hurtful…isolated and excluded from social gatherings because I am single. This is not acceptable behaviour.

So before you assume someone is unhappy being single, ask them. I can guarantee the answer will be “hell yes!”…followed by a “high five sister!” and a champagne cork popping in the background.

Everyday I decide to be single, in a tinder fairytale…I could be in a relationship with someone, anyone, human, goat or tree, anytime, tomorrow, but my life choice right now is to be single – and my quality of life feels no different because of this. But I do wonder why it bothers you so much?

I put to you, if society has stigmatised single people to be unhappy, then to be happy you must be married? How many married people do you know that are happy? See, the point is mute as it is irrelevant. Marital status does not determine happiness or success.

To the people that judge me to my face or often behind my back because I am a woman that intimidates you with my forward thinking, confuses you and leaves you feeling uneasy because you don’t understand how I live my life with such freedom – I am a woman that doesn’t need a relationship to feel fulfilled, that doesn’t want to get married because it has no value to her, and I am a woman that is bossing life successfully and actually enjoys being single **shock horror!

So let me make this perfectly clear for your societal conformed and robotic little brains to comprehend – I am happy in my life and yes I am single, they do go together.

With Love and Lust,

Penny

(Aka Samantha Jones spirit animal)

Disclaimer: I few things may pop up in your feels from this blog. Lets clear them up before any keyboard warriors get trigger happy.

1) I love marriage. I think it’s beautiful. It can be done well, and successfully – so this is not a blog discrediting being in a relationship and/or being married, I’m simply saying – its not for me and people shouldn’t push their beliefs on others.

2) These are my feels, not yours. You don’t even need to get it, just nod and look away.

3) I hope that from this blog people who apply stigma and generalise their single friends can now see a different point of view.

12 Ways To Reduce Cortisol & Tummy Fat

Cortisol, along with norepinephrine and epinephrine are our fight or flight response hormones and are produced by our adrenal glands. Each of these stress hormones are released in different ratios depending on the stress you are faced with. The hormone Cortisol can present itself in many ways. Most people think that cortisol is simply being stressed, or feeling stressed emotionally, but there are many more in depth causes to stress. When our cortisol is high it can accumulate body fat around your mid section, especially your umbilical area.

Things that can disrupt cortisol levels are anger, conflict, aggression, diabetes, dieting, excessive caffeine and sugar, lack of sleep and skipping breakfast, just to name a few. Foods that raise cortisol are alcohol, caffeine, gluten, licorice and excessive sodium. Foods that help reduce cortisol are high fibre foods, whey protein, vitamin C, and phosphatidylserine (BSE), which is a natural chemical, found in mackerel, herring, chicken, beans, pork, leafy greens and beef. Cortisol is probably the hardest hormone to control because, well, it’s out of our control. I suggest along with picking cortisol friendly foods, addressing where in your life elevated cortisol may be coming from. Eliminate stressful situations, relationships and habits.

Cortisol And Digestion
You may not think that cortisol impacts food and digestion but it does. When you are stressed, whether it’s a lion in the room or a deadline at work (same thing to your adrenals) your body stops producing insulin so you have plenty of glucose ready to fight, and relaxes the muscles of the stomach, you body is smart, it would rather conserve energy to save your life, from your deadline, than digest food.

To manage stress and decrease the body’s output of the hormone cortisol, follow my top 12 ways to reduce physical stress and ultimately trim down your tummy.

1. Stop Doing Cardio On Machines.
Cardio equipment such as the stepper, cross trainer, bike and treadmill give off ‘dirty’ electricity and cause cortisol to rise in your system, instead, get outdoors and enjoy your workout.
2. Avoid Food Allergens.
When you eat something that your body has intolerance to it causes cortisol to rise. Avoid your known allergies and steer clear of common food that causes intolerances such as: over consumption of eggs, artificial flavors and additives, artificial sweetener’s, dairy, wheat, gluten, and soy.
3. Avoid Foods That Are Unhealthy.
This means processed and packaged foods, foods high in trans fats and sugar.
4. Ensure You Are Getting Enough Fibre.
Aim for at least 25g of fibre a day. Low fibre leads to poorer insulin health and an increase in tummy fat.
5. Eliminate relationship stress. This is a given, if you are in an unhappy relationship or experiencing emotional stress of some description it can effect your health, and ultimately your cortisol levels.
6. Fix Your Gut Flora.
If your gastrointestinal health is compromised it can lead to belly fat gain and elevated cortisol.
7. Limit Fructose In Your Diet To Only Fruit Sources.
Avoid all fructose corn syrup.
8. Take Magnesium.
Magnesium helps to decrease cortisol and calm the body. Optimum times for magnesium is post workout and before bed.
9. Eliminate Work Stress.
This isn’t as simple as it seems, as we sometimes cannot control the work environment we spend so much time in. I would suggest reevaluating your working relationships, time management, and procedures to ensure your working day runs as smoothly as possible.
10. Drink More Water.
A major cause of elevated cortisol can be dehydration. To ensure you are hitting your required h2o target use a notepad to tally up your water consumption, your water requirements are dependent on your level of activity and body weight.
11. Commit Yourself To Achieving Excellence.
Change your mindset to that of a positive, can do attitude.
12. Relax!
Engage in activities that you find relaxing and calming. Such a massages, saunas, walks with girlfriends, reading a book, yoga, Pilates and stretching.

BioSignature Is Coming To Sydney!

I have exciting news for you! I’m taking The Hormone Connection love on tour!

I’ll be in Sydney the 25th to the 27th August* and I am super pumped to be hosting BioSignature Consultations. So if you’ve been dreaming of working with me and are wanting to revamp your metabolism, health, hormones, body and ultimately your quality of live – then NOW is your chance!

Included in your BioSignature Consultation will be…

Hormone Profile / Body Fat Analysis / Nutrition Plan / Supplement Plan / Personalised Lifestyle Plan – Sleep, Digestion, Toxin Load & Gut Health / Starter Pack eBook

For $250

So hands in the air if you’re ready for CHANGE? If you’re ready, Awesome! Send me an email and secure your Hormone Consultation* with me.

*limited spots available and 25% deposit required to reserve your spot.

Love & Hormones,

Penny