Inside Out, Heatwaves and the Wonder of a Full Circle

Anastasia Amour has released her incredible tome, Inside Out! To receive a 15% discount, use the unique code, found here then go to her shop!

We are having a spate of heatwaves in Australia. It’s the kind of oppressive weather that sees you seal yourself in your home with the aircon. It is too hot to even consider going to the local swimming pool. The thought of walking at all is enough to drain your energy. I did go out Monday, into the city for a class my daughter attends. It was hot, though not yet a heat wave. The view more than made up for it.

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Afterward, we went to see a friend in hospital. Strangely enough, it was the hospital where I nearly lost my life five years ago. It happened to be around the corner from the building where I nearly lost my life two decades ago. I went past the old orthopaedic ward, where I lay flat on a rotor-bed for months. I greeted the vision that appeared in my mind’s eye. If everything is happening at once, as per quantum physics, then she may have been aware of my presence. She wouldn’t have thought in her wildest imaginings that she would still be here in 2015. She could hardly take in the year 2000 and its impending approach! I looked at my daughter as we got to the lift. She was unaware of the memories contained in this place. She didn’t know that she had cuddled me, touching my face, as I was taken down to have surgery to save my life. My pregnant friend was hospitalized a week ago. She has been through hell, since a car crash. Her spine was broken, and she has had much pain. She went into labour just before we arrived, and we stayed until her husband could be with her. She ended up having a beautiful baby boy. Life comes full-circle.  I had only bad memories of this particular area of Sydney, of threatening men and general menace. Here I was, talking my friend through the pain. My daughter was the visible sign to her that a lady with spinal injuries could cope, and that her child would be fine. We both delivered by caesarean, and it was a blessing to be able to provide her with  hope when all seemed uncertain. Meaning coming out of nonsense.

I am in the process of moving house. We were given notice at our old place five years ago, just before Christmas. It was shortly after I had been discharged from this very hospital after having two surgeries. I was weak and exhausted, and our run-down cottage was the first place I saw. “It will do,” I said at the time. You know when it is time to move on, and we have found a gorgeous house. I am packing a little bit at a time. Between working, home schooling, and the many, many things I am doing that are necessary and time-consuming, there is little time for anything else. I would love for time to be fluid, but it is a harsh taskmaster on this planet of ours. I can only do what I can do. I am well aware that this spine is rather unstable, and that ironically, at a time I need to be more active than ever, I shall need to rest it more so that it isn’t taxed to the point of breaking. Pacing myself and making lists on scraps of paper (which I then either misplace or pack). I have so many lovely friends who have kindly offered to help. I appreciate both their offers and their love. I am telling this body that I have twelve more days to get it all done. As an eccentric, I long ago set myself a set of rules that not only make me feel safe but make sense. I have a rule that any house I move into shall be set up within four days, not a box in sight. I tell my body that it only has to keep going for four days after the move, and then rest shall come. Sweet, wondrous rest. After one week, I shall be ready to rejoin the world, in time for Christmas. Sounds like a plan to me!

 

 

Inside Out by Anastasia Amour is out now!

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I have just read Anastasia Amour’s 14 Day Guide. I well remember how it felt to torture my body as a teenager. My eating disorder was created by a combination of insensitive words, feeling out of control of my young life and a desperate need to be perfect. Alternating between bingeing and throwing up, and not eating at all. Exercising to the point of fainting. Feeling that death was less intimidating than shedding the demons destroying me. It’s time for us to loosen the shackles, to stop destroying ourselves in the name of some ideal that we can’t really define. Self-love has to start here and now! For our kid’s sake as well as our own. My weight has fluctuated throughout the following years, due to surgery, recovery, IVF and endometriosis treatments. I have had my weight commented on when I have gained pounds, and again when I have lost those pounds. When my face became rounder after several months in a spinal bed, it was remarked on. There was little I could do about my situation and it left me feeling awful. I look back at those pictures and guess what? I see a girl who is a healthy weight! How about we stop the commentary? Let’s put it into the basket of subjects one doesn’t bring up, alongside enquiring about someone’s fertility. Inside Out is a divine little book, consisting of a 14-day guide, which aims to change how you see yourself and your body. It contains many practical tools and exercises. Let’s redefine what it is to be you, and shake off the shackles of the dieting industry. You can’t improve on perfection! Anastasia’s book contains 14 exercises that will offer practical support whilst you kick-start your body-confidence.

Questions for Anastasia.

What concerns you the most about the media? Is it the images they use, the words, or a combination of both that is so harmful?

The current state of the media is so problematic, and you’ve nailed it. We’re a visual culture and there’s no questioning our saturation of digitally-altered images and ‘flawlessness,’ and when you combine these with language that’s absolutely littered with ideas of fear, guilt and shame- appropriated as marketing tactics…well, you’ve got a very dangerous cocktail. In many ways, I strongly doubt that we’ll move away from the current media format anytime soon-but that’s not what concerns me. What concerns me most is the wide reach that the media has now, particularly to young people. Somewhere along the way, we’ve started to blur the lines between advertising and soft porn and we’ve widely accepted the notion that “sex sells,” to the extent where ad exececutives feel it compulsory to use female sexuality as a commondity to sell everything from cars to boxes of cereal. This is concerning on multiple levels but the biggest issue I have is the age at which the exposure starts. If grown women struggle to not internalize these toxic media messages about worth, sexuality and body image, what hope do young girls have? Girls and teenagers blossoming into women are confronted with more than ever before, and the implications of this are truly terrifying.

The diet industry is more powerful now than ever before. Why do you think this is?

Its simple-because the diet industry have so craftily set themselves up to grow bigger, better and stronger with age. When you set up your consumers to not only feel a perceived demand of their own accord but to experience that demand from your actions, you’ll always have the benefit of being a supplier. That’s well and good, except its not-not at all. This isn’t just selling pens or printer toner…this is screwing with people’s mental health. This is creating insecurities, blaming and punishing people for experiencing those insecurities and then offering them a magic solution to fix the very insecurities that the diet industry itself contributed to. It’s immoral, it’s unethical and it’s damaging so many lives. What the diet industry doesn’t want us to know is that those who are overweight and need to lose weight to keep their bodies healthy don’t actually need the diet industry at all to do this. Diets and fads don’t work. They might help you shed a few kilos initially, but they do nothing to keep you healthy in the long term. Ultimately, we’re building a culture that searches for shortcuts and hacks. When we take a quick-fix approach to our mental and physical health, we’re treating the symptoms of our conditions and not the root cause. This is a huge part of why diets fail to create sustainable, positive lifestyle change-they help you to minimize the symptoms of your condition (excess fatty tissue), but do nothing psychologically to tap into the emotional issues around your relationship with food and your body. That works out just fine for the diet industry because they get the illusion of helping you whilst simultaneously ensuring that you remain a lifetime customer.

Why did you write Inside Out?

Having experienced anorexia and bulimia, I know what it’s like to loathe yourself in every way. Whilst counselling can be helpful, I also know that therapy isn’t for everyone and that many individuals prefer to educate and empower themselves on their own terms-I’m one of those people. Through my personal experiences, studies in psychology and mental health and via my own research, it’s my goal to provide sound and practical advice to women who prefer to do their own introspective work, or who don’t have access to a counsellor. ‘Inside Out’ is a resource that I wish I’d had access to at the lowest points of my self-esteem and body image. There are a lot of self-help books out there that fill your mind with “fluffy” advice on one end of the spectrum, and then highly scientific, psychological textbooks that are delivered in an inaccessible manner on the other end of the spectrum. Inside Out isn’t just for those diagnosed with eating disorders and body image issues. The techniques that it breaks down are applicable to all women who’ve ever had moments of body-loathing. Inside Out is my love letter to the reader. It preaches empowerment, validation from within and fearless body confidence-things all women deserve to experience!

Finally, how can we affirm young girls and help them to seek self-love, rather than praise from outside themselves?

The way that we affirm young girls is symptomatic of our cultural values and often, we end up forcing these ideals onto children through conditioning and selectively complimenting only the “acceptable” traits. How often do we see little girls encouraged to pursue maths, science or sports? How often do we see little boys encouraged to explore the full spectrum of their emotions? Instead, we encourage notions of femininity and masculinity as mutually-exclusive concepts-we compliment little girls for being pretty and packing up their tea sets, and we compliment little boys for being smart and rough and strong. We can make a great start by complimenting young people based on all sorts of positive traits, regardless of their gender. I believe we can go further by encouraging young people to set their own compliments and praise themselves, rather than relying on those around them to tell them that they’re pretty, smart and capable. This starts with setting an open and encouraging dialogue within the family where each member is celebrated for discussing their positive attributes. We’re all happier and more productive when we’re enabled to choose we want to be, rather than being pigeonholed into someone else’s idea of what we should like about ourselves.

Anastasia is offering my readers a very special deal! When the book launches on November 14th, this link will go live. On that date, go to the shop and enter the code below to get 15% off! This is a book that will help redefine what it is to be you, far away from societal pressures.

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For more info, go to Anastasia’s website.

Here is Anastasia’s bio.

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