Bella Figura: how to live beautifully, Italian-style!
“She walks down the street with a swing in her step and a lift to her head. She radiates allure as if followed by a personal spotlight. She is real and walking the streets of every city, town and village in Italy right now. She is the embodiment of Bella Figura…”
This is a quote from the marvellous (or should that be “marvellissimo”) book by Kamin Mohammadi. It’s title is Bella Figura: How to Live, Love and Eat the Italian Way.
As you might have already worked out, Bella Figura is to celebrate being a woman: “Impara a piacere a te stessa”, as the Italians say.
In other words, it is all about learning how to take pleasure in yourself.
Some of us are working women, some of us are caring daughters to ageing parents, and some of us are harassed mothers. While we struggle through our everyday lives – and our futile attempts to look just like Claudia Schiffer – we tend to forget the here and now.
Only to look in the mirror one day, and not recognise ourselves.
But by taking pleasure in the everyday, we can create a positive space with a reassuring absence of judgement (crucial in our non-stop, social media world in which it can feel like the whole world is judging your every move).
To achieve this properly, we must stop doing and discover how to just be. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but by slowing down the pace of life we can sharpen our senses, bringing satisfaction and satiety to our being.
In this, I think we can learn so much from Kamin. Here are her top Bella Figura tips:
- Seize any opportunity to get moving – whether you take the stars, do the coffee run at work, or hoover with gusto!
- Find a form of exercise that you love, bring it into your daily routine, and only go to the gym if makes your heart sing.
- Better still, join a dance class (or a Stride session!) Learning a new skill creates new pathways in your brain, and releases those feel-good hormones. • Good posture is all important – so walk tall, as if offering your heart up to the sky.
- Seek out nature, be it a city park, a tree on your street, or some wild and wonderful place.
- Slow down! Climbing stairs deliberately, rather than running up them, has been proven to help you shed an extra pound per month.
- Seek out your local community – don’t be fooled by the remote connections offered by social media.
- Love yourself! The Italian woman – the original Bella Figura – occupies her space emotionally and physically, with God-given entitlement.
- Nurture and protect your human – she is the only one you have, and she has been entrusted to your care.
- Cherish your connections; take proper time to return calls and reply to texts or emails.
- Drink a spoonful of excellent extra virgin olive oil four times a day (I prefer to have a tablespoon once a day).
- Get your coffee to drink in, instead of rushing off with a takeaway cup – and make sure the coffee itself is of excellent quality.
- Eat the highest quality whole fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses that you can find.
- Find bread that is made with pure wheat – many people with gluten allergies find they have no such problems with bread in Italy.
- At mealtimes, lay a proper place at the table and turn off all screens.
- Stay hydrated, but do not carry a toxic plastic bottle of water, and do not drink on the go – instead, go to a cafe and spend a few minutes drinking water from a glass, or keep a bottle of water on your desk.
- Drink alcohol in moderation – a small glass of wine with dinner is your guide (surprisingly, a report suggests that women with expensive homes and six figure salaries drink more than any other social group!)
As you can probably tell, I absolutely loved this book! It was such a passionate story to read, with such an uplifting message.
I live the values of Bella Figura in my own way, by taking time to make myself a steaming pot of tea or good coffee, writing with a fountain pen, and walking my dog slowly to take in the views. I suppose this is my way of adding value back into my life.
(I am also fully converted to the health benefits of olive oil – you can read more about those in our next post!)
So, how can you create the Bella Figura life for yourself?
A great way to start is to join us for a Stride session. You’ll become part of a friendly community, learn something new, get moving, and make some of that crucial time for yourself…all in one go!
To find out more, simply contact me on 07967 705547