If we really want to see a change in the way that the fitness industry speaks to women, then those of us fighting the good fight need to stick together. From time to time, I’ll be showcasing women who are out there living healthy, vibrant lives and spreading a positive message. When I stumbled across Caitlin Boyle’s blog I knew she would be a perfect fit for The Balanced Life. As you know, I’m a believer in ending “fat talk” and I found out on her blog that she is too! Match made in heaven. She’s a perfect example of a woman who is passionate about healthy living but doesn’t let the pressures from the media dictate her worth and beauty. Below is a little interview with her and how she started the incredible Operation Beautiful movement. Read on…
Hi Caitlin! Can you tell us a little about you before we get started?
My name is Caitlin Boyle and I’m 26 years old. I was born in Miami, Florida and now I live in Charlotte, North Carolina with my husband Kristien and two dogs. I majored in Creative Non-Fiction and Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. I used to work as an urban planner, but now I make a living as a blogger, author, and motivational speaker. Operation Beautiful began on my personal site, Healthy Tipping Point.
What is Operation Beautiful, and what inspired you to start it?
The site started in June 2009 and I’ve received over 7,000 notes from all over the world since it started, including notes from Asia, Europe, and Africa. Operation Beautiful involves posting random notes in public places for other people to find. These notes typically encourage a positive body image or outlook and include phrases like “You are beautiful inside and out” or “Scales measure weight, not worth.” I was inspired to start Operation Beautiful after having a really bad day at work; I wanted to do something small and simple for someone else to make me feel better!
Why do you think so many women struggle with self-esteem issues?
There a lot of negative messaging in our society, and the issues start young – did you know the average girl goes on her first diet when she’s 8 years old? The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities. It’s time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn’t even exist in the real world. It’s OK to look like a human!
I couldn’t agree more! Do you think the media will ever change their attitude towards promoting healthy body image?
I think society needs to ask them to change, and then I hope they will listen to consumers.
What do you hope for the future?
There is a lot of negative messaging in our society. The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities. It’s time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn’t even exist in the real world. It’s OK to look like a human!
What do you think should be our “goal” in terms of healthy diet and exercise?
I think the goal is to find something active that YOU like to do and regularly incorporate it into your life for pleasure, not because you feel like you ‘have’ to do it. Also, eat healthy foods and enjoy treats in moderation. Above all else, remember that the goal is HEALTH, not size or weight. Healthy looks different for different people.
I love it. Before we wrap up, can you tell us about the Operation Beautiful book?
The Operation Beautiful book is called Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Time. It was published in August 2010 by Gotham Books and was featured in Glamour, Fitness, Women’s Day, FIRST, and on The Today Show. The book includes 125 amazing notes and stories, as well as tips on how to lead a happier and healthier life. The book is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders.
For more from Caitlin be sure to check out her two blogs: