Tag Archives: peer pressure

Body Image

This may have been the most important topic I faced as a Teen Mom, or should I say, I was really into my looks. I think most of my friends were similar, but I had begun modeling school when I was twelve and I had been trained to be very aware of my look, walk, clothing and make up. I studied fashion. I learned how to prepare my mannerisms and voice. I did some work as a young teen, for L’Oreal as a hair model and representing Liz Claiborne’s newest line for a fashion show project. My main goal after graduating was working full-time as a career model once I turned 15. Like most girls in the modeling business, 15 was the age you moved to New York and started working. My path changed when my family and I moved to Jacksonville, Alabama half way through my eighth grade year. By the time I was turning 15 and completing my freshman year, I was emotionally invested in my high school. My dance team and friends were everything to me at that point. I mean, I lived and breathed high school and its social scene. Half way through my sophomore year, I found out I was pregnant. My life was thrown into chaos. Plans changed.

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I barely gained any weight at first, about 10 pounds the first 5 mouths. This changed once I moved back to Michigan and began attending an alternative high school with a teen mom program. I no longer had to hide my pregnancy, I began to use food as a comfort. Pregnancy is exhausting and I was experiencing it for the first time. I was still going to school 5 days a week, I never dropped out. I would usually crash as soon as I walked in the door. My mom and I stayed in a furnished condo while we house hunted, leaving the rest of our family behind in Alabama to wrap up loose ends and sell our home.

I could make excuses about the 50 pounds I ended up gaining as a teen mom, but apart from it being a super stressful season in my life, I was really uneducated about nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy. I was not monitoring my weight, even though I was regularly attending check ups. No one offered me diet help or said much about it. I gained a lot of weight quickly in the end, when hunger was the most intense. I was therefore left with a lot of weight to lose and, of course, I wanted to lose it very rapidly. I had my son in the middle of July and was due back at high school only weeks after giving birth. I was desperate.  I began a very restricted diet, even though I was breastfeeding. One day, walking down the stairs in my parents house, I began to black out. Luckily, I caught myself and sat down before completing my decent. That experience freaked me out and I learned I could not continue with too few calories. It was unhealthy. I could not starve myself and care for my baby. I did lose the weight, I am glad to say, but it took about a year – to a year in a half. It happened when I decided to go on vacation for spring break with some girlfriends to Fort Lauderdale. I joined a gym, gave up fast food and eating take out, and I finally lost that last 15 pounds that had just sort of lingered.

I’m now in a similar position as I battle off yet another round of excess body weight right after having a baby. I am older and caring for many small ones, so losing weight has become a science for me. I have to be smart and I have to find things that work for my ever-changing life and schedule. I did some research for this post recently, which I really enjoyed. I have made managing my weight a lifelong ambition, after all, once a model always a model. I am always wanting to look my best. Here are some things that have worked well for me:

Hydrate

I recently studied up on detoxing the body. The only problem was you can not detox during pregnancy or breastfeeding. But you can detox naturally. Avoid foods that don’t mesh with your liver like high fructose corn syrup and MSG. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water everyday if you are trying to lose weight. I like to use wide mouth mason jars to help me achieve this. I fill one with ice, a squeeze of lemon juice, a teaspoonful of raw honey and a dash of sea salt for electrolytes. It is a treat! The honey comes through in bursts and I enjoy it more than pop, which I have vowed to cut out of my diet. Of all the things that are easy to do to care for your body, drinking enough water has the added benefits of making me feel great and giving my skin a nice glow.

 I find Plus models convey a much closer vision of the real women I see everyday. Be careful, especially when looking at  photo shoots which are airbrushed and edited – selling an image that doesn’t really exist.

Yoga

I have been a walker all my life. I have been a runner, I have done 2 hour cardio sessions at the gym multiple times a week. Zumba, Dance, weight training class for a year, as well as, Pilates and Yoga. In all my workout searching, nothing has given me the results I crave like yoga. I was surprised, too. I only tried yoga during my second pregnancy on a whim, to pamper myself. I continued in it for the relaxation benefits it immediately brought into my life. Never did I expect it to transform my body in the ways I had been wanting, all those years before! A close second to yoga is Pilates. Pilates has given me quick results! I love Jennifer Kries method Pilates, its my go-to routine whenever I need to trim down my waist quick. For yoga, I was fortunate that my first instructor was from India. She was taught by her father from a young age and she was very knowledgeable. You can pick up some good techniques in a class setting and then continue to practice in your home. Working out at home is a must for me. I live in a region where weather is too harsh for several months out of the year and I need a plan that cannot be sabotaged by money needs or babysitter assistance.

Liver care

I have recently become aware of the powerful role our liver plays in weight loss. Certain foods and toxins regularly consumed can foil attempts to loose weight via exercise. This goes for alcohol, prescription and recreational drugs (never stop taking a medication without consulting your physician). We can care for our liver by numerous healthy foods like garlic, ginger, beets and coffee. We can drink lots of water. We can simply learn about liver care and make it a priority. If you have struggled to lose weight, this may be your problem. Oil pulling, salt baths and dry brushing are all techniques you can google to aid in liver health, All are safe for breastfeeding mothers, too! I have been doing all three for a month in preparation for this article, as well as drinking half my body weight in water. I can say that the most dramatic difference is the appearance of my skin. It glows, especially after the oil pulling. I have also lost five pounds, and do to a hectic writing schedule, I have barley had time to exercise this past month. I really credit the weight loss to the liver care regiment I have begun.

Cardio

Cardio burns calories and fat and feels amazing AFTERWARDS (NOT DURING). Cardio oxygenates every internal organ! Cardio activates the lymph by invoking gravity. Our bodies were made to move.The latest science in health care is linking muscle atrophy (not moving a muscle for extended periods of time) to a majority of diseases that plague humans as they age. Get moving and keep moving. Throughout your life, cardio is necessary.

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Keep a Food and Measurement Journal

I have learned this over the years. Just like anything, being organized and informed is key.

We hired a midwife for my second pregnancy, and it was my first experience with a midwife. They offer a much more personalized care plan than I was used to receiving and I loved it. One of the first things my midwife required of me was a food journal. She told me I could take a vitamin, but it would be better to get nutrients from my food. I wrote down what I ate everyday for a month and, WOW, did I eat better when I had to put it in writing! Using a scale and taking measurements are the same, in that you are tracking your progress and being aware. The times I gained too much weight in my life were times when I avoided the scale or didn’t own one altogether. Measurements are important for properly ordering clothing online, which I do a lot, and it has been helpful to keep track of my changes over the years. I always record my bust, waist and hip, thigh and upper arm. (I learned this in my weight training class). My measurements have generally been the same through all my postpartum months and I can see how long it took me to lose inches in the past. Knowing I have been successful before encourages me I can do it again!

Limit sugar

I have had great success by simply measuring my daily sugar intake. 40 grams per day is the standard consumption for sugar. This breaks down into 4 teaspoons equal 10 grams of sugar & 16 teaspoons equal 40 grams. 16 teaspoons is a lot of sugar, by the way. When I measured out my sugar for coffee and kept ingestion strictly under 40 grams per day, I lost weight and kept it off.

All of this equates to my main message of this post: Love Yourself! Now. Right Now. Just as you are. Because as women that have babies, our bodies are going to change. You can love yourself and take loving care of your body. You will feel better for it and you will look better, too. People will notice! Embrace your body. Love your body. You are a one of a kind stunner. Have the right body image by being the best version of you and not looking to society or media to dictate true beauty. True beauty is right in front of you, staring back from that mirror! #fight #love #TeenMom

 

Disclaimer: The previous tips are my opinions.They should not replace medical advice.

Date Rape & The Top 5 Ways To Avoid It

Victim unaware of plan, predator has a plan

    I was so unaware I was being set up. I was so ignorant to the gossip of the young men at my high school. I had no idea how entering high school would expose me to more people than I had ever managed before in my social life. I was unaware that the popular crowd of guys actually planned and boasted about which girls they wanted to have sex with; that they had a bet going on who could get to me first. I was a virgin. I was 14 years old. I had no way of understanding or competing with the mindset of my male counterparts. I was innocent to all this. I was an adolescent, still a child when in came to sexuality and what that even meant. This is normal. The real issue is that I was being exposed to sex and I had no real understanding of it.  Middle school was my first introduction. It was a limited word I had heard from my peers, but it was still happening around me. Entering into High School in a new town only increased my level of contact with peers who were sexually active.

I was alone, without the company of a trusted guide to help me navigate something I did not understand but I was facing daily. My parents had abandoned the time they would’ve spent with me, preparing me to face this world of peer pressure. I, in turn, abandoned them and the so-called respect & honor I was supposed to give their rules. I threw myself into school and my social life. I enjoyed most of what school had to offer apart from sitting at a desk for long periods of time. It had been made pretty clear to me that school and good grades were very important. Building my college resume was pretty much the pinnacle of my existence for high school. No one told me I was one of a kind, created for good works. No one explained to me I was more than a body with a soul, but that I was a Spirit destined for eternity. The repeated lecture that I was simply to remain a virgin until marriage, just because it was wrong not to, wasn’t enough information for me to stand my ground against multiple predators. And once they realized I was an open target, lacking a protective hedge of a watchful guardian, it was over for me. My fate had been sealed, their game had begun.

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Date Rape is real and I am going to say it happens a lot more than we know. I experienced date rape when I was only 14, the summer before my freshman year. I never talked about it. I never told anyone. For over a decade I believed it was my fault. That simply because I said yes to a date with a graduating senior, that somehow what had happened was my doing. So I sank into silence. I hid what happened down deep in a dark place in my heart. I was ashamed. It made me feel awful. I had simply been used and victimized by a guy from my high school. I saw myself as unworthy of respect from young men, simply because of the way this one person treated me. I needed counsel and help, yet I really didn’t feel I had any adult I could confide in. My mother had tried to shame me into not having sex. I love my mom and I get why she did it. I believe she really did want me to remain pure and abstinent, but the shame theory proved more lethal in this regard then at all helpful.

When I really need unconditional love and open arms, I felt sure I would receive anger and shame

Even from my own parents who were responsible to teach and train me. To be fair, there really wasnt this type of adult at my high school or church setting either. I needed to be told I could be a target. I needed to be told that some guys would ask me out just to try to have sex with me and that was the only reason they were asking me out. This fact was alone not enough, I then needed a plan on how to respond. I needed an adult helping me to decide which dates I should say yes to and which ones I should say no to. It’s too much for a new teen to manage. I needed counsel.

The really sad part of date rape for young ladies like myself, is that if somehow I could have told a responsible adult, the outcome of the next decade of my life could have been much better. If a caring person could have heard what happened to me that night, they would have helped me understand it was in no way my fault and in no way OK. I accepted being raped and it in turn affected how I allowed men to treat me for years afterwards. I do not want this to happen to anyone else.  Always know that no matter what has happened to you, bringing it into the light will cause healing. In telling your story you are yourself saying what happened is unacceptable and wrong. This is the first step. This is why I am telling my story and choosing to combat date rape.

 Top Five Tips for preventing Date Rape:

1. Stay in a group

 If this person is a total stranger or you are new to knowing someone, only agree to go out with a group of people – the more the merrier! Even if this is the most well-known individual in your high school and you have known each other for years, I still recommend Group Dating until you are of legal age. We all act differently in public and staying accountable should be a top priority if you want to achieve success.

2. Stay in populated areas

Busy restaurants, venues, movie theatres; think crowds. If date rape is the intention, your date will be trying to get you alone and seclude you from others.

3. Avoid alcohol and using recreational drugs

You are going out to meet another person and get to know them. This is definitely worthy of you keeping a sober mind. According to the University of Sciences: “74% of the perpetrators and 55% of the victims of rape within a nationally representative sample of college students had been drinking alcohol (Koss 1988)” Keep this in mind when you’re dating.

4. Always tell a trusted friend who you are going out with and where you are going.

Even in a world of GPS and technology, nothing compares to having a reliable friend or family member hear from you what your plans are and when you will be back. This person can be a safety friend that you can call in case of an emergency during the date, one that is willing to come and pick you up. So many times if I had only take this step, I would have had an immediate out for bad situations. Always tell someone where you are going and who you are going with.

5. Have a trusted mentor you can confide in about dating and turn to incase of rape.

I hate to say expect the worst and that is not what I am promoting, only that you have someone you can talk to. Never keep silent if you are the victim of rape. If your believe that you are mature enough to date you need to be mature enough to be accountable to the people who value and love you. Parents, teachers, mentors: They are doing what they do because they care. Find someone you can trust and open up to – this may not be your parents because you feel too intimated.

 

Facts about date rape:

From National Studies Of College Women

* 84% of women who were raped knew their assailants.

* 57% of rapes occurred on a date.

* 25% of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if: the women

asks the man out; if the man pays for the date, or the woman goes back

to the man’s room after the date.

* 33% of males surveyed said they would commit rape if they definitely could

escape detection.

* 84% of male students who had committed acts that clearly met the legal definition

of rape said what they had done was definitely not rape.

* 75% of male and 55% of female students in an occurrence of date rape

had been drinking or using drugs.

* Only a quarter to a third of women whose sexual assaults met the legal

definition of rape considered themselves rape victims.

* Many women do not report or characterize their victimization as a crime for reasons

such as embarrassment, because they do not want to define someone who assaulted

them as a rapist, or because they do not know the legal definition of rape.

Many women blame themselves.

* Nearly 5% of college women are victimized in any given year, meaning over 4 years

one-fifth to one-quarter of a cohort of women may be assaulted. Similar numbers

experienced attempted rape.

* The majority of rapes occur in living quarters–60% in victim’s residence, 10 %

in a fraternity, 31 % in other living quarters. Off campus victimizations also took

place in bars, dance clubs and work settings.

* 50% of high school boys and 42% of girls said there were times it was

acceptable for a male to hold a female down and physically force her to

engage in intercourse.

September 2005

References

http://www.usciences.edu/shac/counseling/daterape.shtml

http://www.k-state.edu/media/webzine/Didyouhearyes/daterapefacts.html

Dating, Sexting & Teen Culture

When does it begin for most young people? It can be a subject impossible to avoid in social settings. Age can vary from person to person but according to education.com, “As they reach the mid-teen years (age 14-15 years), they start having relationships with peers of the opposite sex”

So how does a fourteen year old “date” a peer? A relationship status change and chatting on Facebook? Texting? (I got notes. Do teens still do that?) Phone conversations? Possibly even hanging out? I remember one of my dates at 14 included meeting up at Subway in a group. As time went on, just like anything else, the stakes were raised. Homecoming, prom, spring break vacations – all things we did with a boyfriend or date. As a teen in the mid 90″s I was into cars and music. I wore a pager constantly in my front hip pocket and used a payphone to keep in touch. Many things were similar to what is still happening today, but two things that have changed dramatically are technology and social media. A simple Google search on sexting quickly reveals the high-profile court cases. Teens to adults are being prosecuted for capturing and sharing inappropriate images.

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I honestly cannot imagine what it is like to be a young girl today facing peer pressure to sext. On one hand everyone knows it’s a risk, on the other hand pressure makes us all do stupid things. In my middle school and high school years, I was caught off guard too many times to count. Boys/male peers would seem to be nice, but then make audacious requests that were always followed with relentless pressure. In some situations I simply ran away or got out of there as fast as I could. Other times I felt trapped and unable to say no. Maybe I had no desire to give in, but a nagging sense to fit in pushed me to do things I knew were wrong. Peer pressure is real. Bullying is real. If you’re a young girl wanting to date, be ready to fight off unwanted requests. Sexting has many consequences I fear young people are unable to consider under heavy pressure. Predators, haters and scorned X’s have the ability to share and pass images around the world in minutes.

Young people, think before you share any image of yourself. Think about your dream job. Would you want this image on your resume? Parents, if you are going to pay for your teens phone or PC then consider viewing their images on a regular basis. No unknown passwords or locked accounts. Teens, be smart and accountable. An adult looking over your shoulder IS NOT the worst thing, even though it may make you cringe. Teen dating means something different in this culture. It means you must be prepared, you must be responsible with technology and you must be mature. Crush on, teens. Dream big dreams for yourselves young people. Just be careful who you let influence you. Make a rule to keep selfies, and all images of yourself, for profile use and applications only.