"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."
-Sarah Maria

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"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

Program Consultant,

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

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Body Image & You

Pregnancy and Body Image

For many women, pregnancy poses another challenge to a healthy body image. A healthy pregnancy usually means weight gain of 25-35 pounds. If you don't gain enough weight, it can negatively influence the development of the fetus. Eating disorders before pregnancy can negatively impact your fertility, while eating disorders during pregnancy can harm the health and even life of the growing fetus.

Even knowing this importance of healthy eating habits during pregnancy, the required weight gain can create anxiety in even the most reasonable of women.

Here are some important tips for accepting and loving your changing body both during pregnancy and after child birth:

  • Listen to your body's wisdom:
    In a culture that promotes body sculpting and plastic surgery there is the prevailing myth that our bodies are the problem. Our mind has an agenda of what it thinks our body should look like, and we blame our bodies when they don't buy into the cultural lies.

    The fact is our bodies have an incredible amount of innate wisdom. Our bodies orchestrate millions of activities all at the same time. The human body can play the piano, tell a story, and create a baby all at the same time. The cells within our bodies are constantly engaged in a symphony of interconnection. Furthermore, the rhythms of our bodies are synchronized with the whole universe, dancing in delicate balance to lunar and solar rhythms, among others.

    The changes your body makes during pregnancy are brilliantly designed and orchestrated to promote a healthy baby. You must learn to listen to your body and honor the magnificence that it is.

    Don't let yourself buy into the culturally-induced hallucination that your body needs to be other than it is. Instead, learn about the wisdom inherent in your body. Begin to listen to this wisdom and honor it.
  • Understand and appreciate what is happening to your body
    During pregnancy, your body is constantly and consistently undergoing numerous changes. Your hormones shift drastically and your body begins to change to accommodate living for two instead of one.
  • Fight prevailing cultural myths
    The media is saturated with images of pregnant stars that develop cute bellies and then lose the weight almost instantaneously. They are then pictured as thin, beautiful women carrying around adorable babies. It is assumed that a woman should return to her pre-pregnancy body in 4-6 weeks. None of this is realistic. Again, your body knows what is best. You must fight to not be sucked into the myth that says your body should be thin within a few weeks of giving birth. What you can do is make healthy lifestyle choices for yourself and your baby and your body will slowly find its own post-childbirth equilibrium.
  • Make healthy choices, and let go of the outcome
    Healthy choices involve the right type of diet, exercise, and rest. A core teaching of Vedanta says that we can only control our actions; we cannot control the outcome of our actions. Again, prevailing culture would have us believe that if we only exercise enough and diet enough and take the right supplements and eat the right foods, then are body will become whatever we want it to be. Regardless of genetics, through enough will power we can all develop the perfect body. This is false. Each of us has a unique body type. What we can learn to do is make the healthiest choices given our unique psycho-physiology. What we cannot do is transform ourselves into something we are not. Learn to make healthy lifestyle choices. Learn what types of food are most appropriate for you; learn what types of exercises are best for you. Make healthy choices on a regular basis. Let go of attachment to the results of these actions and let your body achieve its ideal shape and weight.
  • Learn yoga and meditation

    One of the most important things you can do to improve your body image is to understand how your thoughts keep you trapped. Through meditation you will come to see that you are not your thoughts, but rather you are the thinker of your thoughts. You can learn to connect with this witnessing awareness, your spiritual essence. Your spiritual essence is a place of unbounded, unlimited, potential. Through meditation, you can begin to identify and detach from self-defeating thoughts and behaviors and learn to replace them with life-affirming outlooks and attitudes that will help you transform your life in the direction of your dreams.

Resources:
Post-partum depression and other psychological challenges regarding pregnancy and childbirth are very serious. If you are suffering or experience illness, please seek the necessary help. This may be a doctor, a certified therapist, or an eating disorder clinic.

Please visit our resources section for helpful links.

http://www.epigee.org/mental_health/bodyimage.html
http://www.4woman.gov/bodyimage/pregnancy/
http://parenting.ivillage.com/pregnancy/0,,nc26,00.html

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