My Body My Story with Kelsey Tangel
Our interview with Kelsey (@kelseytangel), who is now an acupuncture doctor in Chinese Medicine and yoga instructor, documented her thoughts on how anyone can have a balanced and healthy lifestyle and what made her a strong driven woman taking on several careers today.
To her, body positivity means appreciating everything your body is capable of and having love and respect for your very own body. Kelsey is also a yoga enthusiast who spent years making yoga a central part of her healthy lifestyle. For Kelsey, yoga is a way of communicating with herself. It lets her know how she is feeling physically. More importantly, it lets her connect to how she is feeling emotionally and spiritually.
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am a doctor of acupuncture in Chinese medicine as well as a yoga instructor.
Q: Have you ever been told that your body is not perfect? How did you feel?
A: I grew up dancing, and I have a very vivid memory of coming back to the studio after summer break and having my dance teacher says that some girls have clearly gained weight over the summer and I remember feeling that she was looking directly at me. That was really hard to experience. I have always been a taller girl, so I feel like being tall and having extra weight made me feel like I was big. That is just a challenging idea to carry with you when you are going through puberty.
Q: What is body positivity to you?
A: Body positivity to me means appreciating everything your body is capable of and having loving respect for your body.
Q: What is the biggest decision you have made to improve your lifestyle?
A: Making yoga a central part of my life has been the best decision I could have made in building a healthy lifestyle. Yoga is so much more than building the physical body, which of course it benefits, it builds flexibility and it builds strength. For me, yoga is really a way of communicating with myself. It lets me know how I am feeling physically. More importantly, it lets me connect to how I am feeling emotionally and spiritually.
Q: What does it mean to have a balanced and healthy life?
A: Having a balanced healthy life means that the majority of the decisions you make are healthy. That means most of the food you put in your body is clean or ideally cooked by yourself. It means that you are getting a good night’s sleep. It means that you are consuming positive inspirational material, it means that you are speaking positive words to yourself, then the balance element comes in and that you need to be forgiving. If you are travelling and you don’t have access to a salad and instead you eat dumplings, you need to be okay with that. You can’t beat yourself up over every single decision you make, you have to be flexible and forgiving and that’s going to make life a little bit happier and you don’t need to be so hard on yourself.
Q: What would be your top tips be to people struggling with body image and low self-esteem?
A: Try to appreciate your body. We are only given one body and it is the way that we are able to engage with the entire world. Instead of looking at your body with a limiting mindset and being judgmental, really try to look at ways that your body feels good and experiences and foods that also make you feel good. Life is way too short to have judgements on your body and restrict yourself. You are going to be with your body every single day, try to make it a friend. Try to learn more about it, and fuel it in ways that empower it. Life is way too short to feel the pressure to be thin and to be hard on yourself. So, try to have a sense of gratitude for everything your body is capable of doing.
Q: Kelsey, if your body could talk right now, what do you think it would say?
A: I think my body is always talking to me. We have open communication. I think it would say thank you Kelsey, keep doing what you’re doing.
Kelsey’s advice on starting a self-love journey? Start home-cooking, get a good night’s sleep, consume positive and inspirational materials, engage in positive self-talk and appreciate your body.
Be flexible and forgiving. Always remember you are good because you are what you are. Start trying to love yourself as a whole by embracing your imperfection.
To watch other interviews from our “My Body My Story” series, click here.