Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

I didn’t go looking for diet recovery, it found me. Looking back now I’m amazed at how long it took me to see that obsession with weight loss had completely consumed my life. At my various low points, I obsessed over my weight loss quest for the majority of my waking hours. I tried every diet and “health plan” I could get my hands on and scoured pro-ana sites for advice. If someone had offered me instant weight loss in exchange for a decade of my life, I’d have said yes — enthusiastically and without hesitation.

My journey along the…

Women need to own our authority

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Why is it so hard for women to own our authority? Why do we spend so much time seeking the opinions of others and looking for authority outside of ourselves? And how do we reclaim the power and sentience that is rightfully ours?

Here’s what I’m seeing: The world is full of “experts”, some of whom actually have various kinds of wisdom or expertise, others whose knowledge or methods are more questionable. And surrounding many of them are throngs of bowing and scraping devotees, desperate to gobble up each pearl of wisdom they utter.

Some followers will be long term…

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Something I hear often from other white women, particularly in the spiritual or healing space, is that they don’t follow news or politics. The reasons they cite are various — feeling upset or scared by what they see happening in the world, not enough time or a feeling of not wanting to engage in “negativity”. While it’s certainly understandable to feel overwhelmed, you also need to understand that the decision to “check out” of what’s happening is not neutral — in fact, your privilege is what makes it possible.

You can choose to not see the unpleasant, brutal and dehumanizing…

Community matters…

I’ve written about how American individualism damages our health and wellbeing in the past but this week has illustrated just how much in living color. From empty grocery store shelves to people continuing to plan large events in spite of dire health warnings, we’ve seen the downside of the “me first” ethos all week.

In much of Western culture and particularly in the US, we’re conditioned to believe that we must take care of ourselves at all costs (because no one else will) and that we should always put ourselves and our loved ones before the greater good…

I ran out of fucks on my 40th birthday. Seriously. Unlike when I turned 30, I wasn’t thinking about how much I was supposed have accomplished or what I still “had time for.” It was more about what I didn’t feel like I had any more time for — most notably — bullshit of any kind.

At the time, I didn’t know if other women felt this around turning 40 (I now know that many do) and I didn’t stop to consider that this might be a actual life stage thing because I’d given up expecting for anything in my…

from those of us who struggle to find one who will respect us

I got a text from a dear friend last week about her attempt to find a primary care physician in the city where she’s recently relocated. She was shaken and stunned at the way she was treated by a doctor who had never laid eyes on her before that day.

I wish I could say that this surprised me but I’m all too familiar with this type of interaction, having gone through it many times myself with doctors, nurses, dentists, hygienists, naturopaths, chiropractors and others who provide health related services. I have to admit that it pissed me off even…

Photo by Inês Pimentel on Unsplash

A while back, I published an article about how the self-help industry sometimes gaslights us. It got a lot of response, mostly positive, but also generated confusion for some people. What I was referring to in the article is a viral strain of misinformation that has affixed itself (like a tumor) to the personal growth conversation for more than a century: toxic positivity.

The roots of positive psychology can be traced back to the mid-twentieth century and form a basis for much of what is written and practiced in the personal development industry today. This approach is based in research…

“You create your reality through the power of positive thinking.”

“If you’re unhappy, that’s on YOU.”

“Shift your mindset and you’ll manifest all you desire.”

“Positivity will set you free.”

What do all these statements have in common? Aside from the fact that they are infinitely meme-able (and arguably vomit-inducing) — they also articulate a particular school of thought in the personal development world that may be more harmful than helpful.

The ideas above are a combination of beliefs at the heart of Western capitalist culture mixed with a disastrous oversimplification of positive psychology research from the late twentieth century

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a woman say to me — in a hushed tone, often looking around warily to see who might be listening — that she’s “not a feminist, but” and then go on to explain that she doesn’t approve of a particular flavor of misogyny, or that she thinks maybe women deserve to be paid equally, or not harassed at work, or perhaps, treated like actual human beings with thoughts and feelings that might not revolve around living up to a patriarchal ideal at all times.

My response is usually to smile…

Wellness has become a key measure of personal success — just ask the Instagirls. We all know that the image of a successful woman isn’t complete without the obligatory performative displays of yoga in exotic locations, expensive organic lunches, or “fresh from the gym” selfies (in full makeup). These images are more than a plea for validation. Not only do they encapsulate a signaling of wealth (and arguably whiteness) that’s downright disturbing, but they continue to reinforce the notion that health is something we do, rather than something we may have limited control over.

The fact is, we’ve long equated…

Jen Pavich

feminist life coach, shame resilience teacher, justice advocate, cocktail queen and cat lover.

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