Body Talk: Whitney Tingle
Welcome to Body Talk, an S-Life series where we will be fearlessly opening this portal of communication about self-love, self-deprecation, and touching on anything and everything in between.
The aim here is not image-making, or perfection-seeking. Rather, it is to peel back the layers of the images we have each built of ourselves and who we are supposed to be, in faithful anticipation that we may unearth the absolute Love and Beauty that we have always been, and always will be. We each have unique bodies, and unique stories to tell about living in them. Here, we will be telling our stories, in the hopes that it will inspire you to reflect, and maybe start to re-write, yours.
Whitney Tingle, Co-Founder of Sakara Life
WHEN HAVE YOU FELT THE WORST IN YOUR BODY?
That was probably after I moved to New York. I really just fell out of balance working crazy hours, and trying to keep up with the New York City lifestyle, just going out all the time. I was living in a new place and hadn't figured out how to survive here in healthy way yet. I was a good 15 pounds heavier than I was used to being. My cystic acne had really gotten to a point where I was just so sick of it controlling a lot of my thoughts. When you're in New York, and you're seeing how beautiful everybody is here, it makes it feel just that much more present, and that much bigger of a deal. That’s definitely when I felt the worst in my body — it was out of control, not feeling pretty.
WHEN HAVE YOU FELT BEST IN YOUR BODY?
There are two times for me that I really felt best in my body; one, was when I was doing my yoga teacher training. I was doing yoga every day and just feeling really IN my body. I developed a lot of flexibility and strength. I felt like I could do anything in my body. The other time I'd say, is right now, just coming back from 10 days of doing yoga every single day at the Sivananda Ashram, eating clean foods, relaxing, helping clear my thought patterns, along with my food and lifestyle patterns. I'd say I feel really good right now, especially getting to eat Sakara every day.
"I know that I get to eat healthy food every day of the week. That's what keeps my body in balance. When I'm not eating this way everyday of the week, then I start thinking about food and my body and exercise a lot more."
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON THINGS YOU THINK WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR? HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I remember I just used to wish for clear skin, all the time, and just look at that. I knew the power of thoughts. I would try to stand in the mirror, and look at myself and say, ‘I have clear, perfect, glowing skin,’ every single day. Part of me was disappointed that it wasn't working. You don’t just wake up like that. I had to clear all the other stuff that was clouding my thought patterns first. It wasn't just creating that one positive thought pattern, and that would clear my skin…it was about clearing all the other negative thought patterns that I had about myself, that needed to be cleared for my skin to clear. Now, I guess it's changed because after living the Sakara Life, that was the thing that changed my skin and my body. I'm still fairly skin obsessed. I don't know if that will ever change. I still see the scars that are left. I look for age even though I'm not seeing it. I need to stop doing that. I think that is something that society makes you so scared of. It's all about fixing it, or preventing it. They make us think that we should be thinking about these things, or that we won't be valuable if we have wrinkles, or if we have a little love handle. We won't be accepted in society. Or men won't love us. I definitely don't think about it as much as I used to. I know that I get to eat healthy food every day of the week. That's what keeps my body in balance. When I'm not eating this way everyday of the week, like if I'm spending a week at my grandmother's house in the middle of nowhere Arkansas where you have to drive an extra hour to go to a grocery store where they even sell organic foods, then I start thinking about food and my body and exercise a lot more. It takes more effort to maintain my balance point. Before I found this way of life I used to think about it a lot. I would need it to find the solution. It drove me crazy. It's what filled all of my spare time in my brain -- thinking about what it was that was going to fix my skin, what was going to help me reach the weight that I was wanting to reach. I was going to try anything possible to find it. I was also feeling guilty. I couldn't eat certain things because every single meal was in question. Whereas now, it's not. Now, maybe one meal a day is in question, but the other meals aren’t, because I trust what I'm eating here.
"Wherever your energy flows, it grows. If you're putting energy into negative self talk, then whatever it is that you're thinking about is going to continue to grow and manifest. You have to start putting that effort and time somewhere else."
HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW WHEN YOU GAIN WEIGHT?
I notice it, but it doesn't have quite as big of an effect on me because I feel more stable in my career, and I feel more stable in my relationship. Those things fill me with satisfaction, and happiness, and love. That little bit of self-dislike with weight gain, or whatever, is minimized now because I feel so much happier from all these other aspects of life. The other thing is, I know where my body likes to live. I know what that looks like on the scale. I know what that looks like in the mirror. I know what it feels like in my clothes. I know that if I am falling out of balance, and I weigh more than my regular weight, then I know that I just have to go back to the lifestyle that I'm used to living with eating the foods, and working out on a regular schedule, and sleeping. My body will come back to that. I don't need to freak out. Wherever your energy flows, it grows. If you're putting energy into negative self talk, then whatever it is that you're thinking about is going to continue to grow and manifest. You have to start putting that effort and time somewhere else. I think about how much time, and how much money I've spent trying to fix my skin. If I would have put that into so many other places, like into starting Sakara earlier, or into charity, or taking a language class, or investing either in myself or others in a different way…that could have really made me love myself more, and maybe would have cleared up my skin issues that way. I do think that with skin in particular, that it does have a lot to do with how you feel about yourself, and self-dislike, and this desire for some sort of perfection where you're looking at every little pore. I mean, I love details. Danielle is fast, and like, ‘Let's get things done.’ I'm like, ‘OK, but let's look at every little detail and make sure that everything is perfect.’ I was doing that to myself when really, other people weren't seeing the details like I was.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN ANOTHER WOMAN’S BODY THAT YOU’VE ALWAYS ENVIED, AND ADORED?
I grew up with Victoria's Secret catalogs coming in the mailbox every week. Seeing fit, beautiful women with amazing abs, that was always something I envied. The stomach, for so many people, is that thing that everybody wants. Part of that is because it's so hard to get. That's what makes it so valuable. If it were easy, then everybody would have it, and then it wouldn't be so amazing. I'd say that that's probably it.
I really want to be able to do a press-up handstand, which takes so much coordination. That's also one of the things for me, like with working out, that I can't just do and hope for. Just like that same thing about the skin. I can't just stand there and be like, ‘I want clear skin. I don't understand so I'm going to manifest it by doing this.’ You have to actually do the work and clear out all the bad shit. You can't just stand there and do some crunches, and say, ‘I want to have Victoria's Secret Angel abs.’ It comes from actually being that strong! Don't focus on the workout for physical appearance purposes, but for the actual strength. Working towards something like being able to do a press-up handstand is really fun. It's something that you can actually see and gauge, and tell if you're achieving or not, which makes you more excited to do it. That's going to create the strength, and probably the abs, along with it.
IF YOU WERE MEETING YOUR BODY FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
You are beautiful, just the way you are. You always have been.