Body Image Issues

Can a Fitness & Wellness Regimen Empower Women?
Celebrity Trainer Explains 3 Reasons Why It Can

From an early age, women have foisted on them images of the “ideal” female body, and self-esteem can plummet when they fail to measure up.
But celebrity trainer Holly Perkins says it’s time women stop buying into those societal pressures.

“There’s this perception that all women need to look like perfect runway models,” says Perkins. “They can feel the anxiety building when they are trying to meet someone else’s expectations. That’s when the effort to lose weight or get fit can add to the stresses of life instead of relieving them.”

Certainly, women should want to improve their health, get fit and look gorgeous all at the same time, says Perkins, who recently released a home-exercise system designed specifically for women called baladea (, with regimens she developed to fuse fitness and wellness exercises.

But getting in shape needs to be something women want for themselves, and not an effort to mimic some airbrushed image on a magazine cover at the supermarket, she says.

Perkins realized several years ago that her clients met their weight-loss goals faster when she created programs that addressed both their fitness and wellness needs at the same time.

They also felt happier about themselves. So she incorporated yoga and other stress-relieving and relaxation techniques into the baladea program.

Perkins offers three reasons why the right fitness and wellness regimen can empower women and emancipate them from society’s image pressures:

•  Because looking good makes you feel good. That’s especially true when you’re trying to look good to please yourself and not others, Perkins says. “There’s this sense of empowerment when you exercise, eat a healthier diet and lose weight because it’s what you want and not because of peer pressure or societal pressures,” she says.

Self-esteem rises when you improve your image on your terms, she says, and as a result “looking gorgeous never felt better.”

•  Because the science says so. Research shows that stress can keep you from losing weight and might even cause you to add pounds. Even if you eat well and exercise, an excessive amount of stress can counteract all your efforts. That’s why meshing fitness and wellness works so well, Perkins says.

 “Stress reduction and relaxation can significantly improve weight loss,” she says. “That allows you to look and feel your absolute best.”

•  Because while improving your look, you also become healthier. You will feel amazing not just because of elevated self-esteem, but because your body really is functioning better because of the diet and exercise, Perkins says. Your energy level will rise and “you will feel ready for anything,” she says.

“You can look awesome and you can feel happy at the same time,” Perkins says. “It’s all about letting your true self shine.”

About Holly Perkins

Holly Perkins is a national fitness expert and developer of baladea (, a customizable fitness and wellness system for women. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), one of the most prestigious certifications in the industry. She believes that making fitness a fun lifestyle is the best way to achieve true change. As one of the nation’s leading weight-loss experts and a highly sought-after celebrity trainer, she has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and on national TV shows.

Strong Female Characters & Vulnerability

Strong Female Characters & Vulnerability

a guest post by LK Hunsaker

The current trend in romance novels is for the heroine to be strong, independent, and usually feisty to some extent. It makes sense, since women have found their voices and are taking every advantage of their newly broken barriers. These days, you’re liable to hear a woman talking more like a sailor, excuse the cliché, than even male sailors talk. I’m not so sure public swearing is a step in the right direction, but of course the freedom to do so very much is.

But what defines a woman as strong and independent? Does she have to be vocal, headstrong, and have it all together? Does she have to be dominant over her partner? Does she have to make a good living or be her own boss? Does she have to be self-assured?

I don’t think a strong woman must be any of those things. She can be, but she doesn’t have to be. Sometimes strength, true strength, means that despite her quiet nature, her tendency to take the path of least resistance, her disorganized barely-paying-the-bills daily life, and her constant fight against her doubts, she keeps stepping out that door, going to that dead-end job, watching for other paths, and giving it her best try.

Vulnerability that doesn’t give up is true strength. Independence is making the choice to be who you are despite the current trends, even when it looks for all the world as though you’re behind the times or lack confidence. Sometimes confidence, true confidence, means accepting you aren’t and don’t want to be one of the crowd because it doesn’t work for you. Stepping away from the crowd, knowing you’re bucking the trend and will be considered a fringe element and unusual and often fully overlooked in favor of those floating with the tide takes true strength. I love those heroines, the ones with cores of steel hidden by a gentle, non-abrasive exterior. It takes real strength to be gentle and kind. Men are finally learning this in recent times. We women must remember it, as well.

Strength can mean a lot of things, as Delaney tells Eli about rescue in Shadowed Lights, my newest release featuring a very strong social phobic heroine.

SLcover-72p-9x6AUTHOR BIO

Ella M. Kaye is a pen name for author LK Hunsaker’s shorter, spicier romance line featuring dancers of various genres in lighthouse settings. They focus on the darker side of life, with such themes as devastating injury, destruction, and emotional trauma. At the end, though, there is always a light.


Shadowed Lights

by Ella M. Kaye 

When her sister loses her house to Hurricane Sandy, Delaney Griffin welcomes the family into her home. Months later, with five noisy kids and an overbearing brother-in-law threatening her sanity, Delaney spends much of her free time at the wildlife refuge, which also works as her refuge. Still, the lack of privacy, along with space to dance, her only passionate release, causes her debilitating social anxiety to escalate.

Eli Forrester has come from small town Indiana to Barnegat, New Jersey with his company to help restore the coast. A high rise worker who loves new people and new places, he fears nothing, except water. When he accidentally kicks one of the sea critters Delaney is trying to help rescue, he is drawn to the quiet New Jersey girl. Unwilling to take her cues to leave her alone, Eli is alternately put off and turned on by her odd behavior.

Under shadow of devastation, fear, and forced separation, Delaney and Eli search for their own rescue light