Operation Beautiful: Random Acts of Inner Beauty

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/7/2009 11:46 AM   :  165 comments   :  22,345 Views

The dailySpark recently featured a new website called Operation Beautiful in the weekly link round up. Because dailySpark readers responded so positively to the post about Operation Beautiful, we asked its founder, Caitlin, to tell us a little more about it.

My name is Caitlin, and I'm 25 years old. I began www.OperationBeautiful.com because I believe in a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle -- it's not just about what you eat or how you work out, but the caring and thoughtful things you do for yourself and others, too.

In 2006, I got my fitness act together and transformed my life. I live in Orlando, Florida, with my college-sweetheart husband and our two dogs, James Bond and Maggie Thatcher, and we both love living a healthy, active life. I work two jobs and am also a part-time blogger (at www.HealthyTippingPoint.com, which is my personal food and fitness blog, and www.OperationBeautiful.com.


Caitlin also took some time to answer our questions about Operation Beautiful!

dailySpark: What is Operation Beautiful?

Caitlin: Operation Beautiful is simple; all you need is a pen and a piece of paper. I’ve begun leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms--at work, at the gym, at the grocery store. I scribble down whatever comes to mind--“You are beautiful!” or “You are amazing just the way you are!” Now, the Operation has spread beyond me, and hundreds of other women are participating. The women write notes and send them in, and then I post them on the site for thousands of others to enjoy.



dailySpark: How did the website get started?

Caitlin: I really believe healthy living involves three things: food, fitness, and spirit. You can eat perfectly and work out religiously, but if you don't take the time to reach out to other people in a positive way, you'll never be satisfied. Operation Beautiful started because I was looking for a way to spread joy to other people. From writing my own blog, I know how deep our body image issues run, and by reaching out to others, you can help yourself, too.

dailySpark: Why do you think these anonymous notes are catching on?

Caitlin: I think women are surprised to find that they are making themselves happier by posting these notes. Leaving a note on a bathroom mirror or in a gym leaves you with such a positive feeling inside! Operation Beautiful gives you hope and a high-on-life feeling!

dailySpark: What message are you trying to send to women?

Caitlin: My message is two-fold: first, that random acts of kindness are so powerful, both for the receiver and the giver. Second, I just want women to realize that they are beautiful--and I don't mean physically beautiful. Every one of us has an inner light that shines through and makes us unique. We've spent so much time, energy, emotion, and money trying to fit into society's narrow definition of physical beautiful. But if we accepted and embraced the way we are instead of trying to reach an unattainable ideal, we would be so much happier!



dailySpark: Tell us about your passion for ending "fat talk."

Caitlin: I hate, hate, hate fat talk. I used to do it--I would pull on a pair of pants and say "UGH, I am so fat!" or push my stomach out and say, "I shouldn't have eaten all that ice cream, I'm a fat pig!" But then one day I realized that all this negativity was actually making my eating and exercise problems worse. When I yelled at myself for eating dessert, I would just "give up" and eat more junk. When I told myself I was a lazy pig, I would just sit on the couch and mope. When you lift yourself up instead of breaking yourself down, life is so much easier! If you wouldn't say it to a friend, why say it to yourself? Also, I think women mistakenly use fat talk to cover up their real emotions. When you say "I am fat," you're really trying to say "I am full with an emotion," like shame or guilt. It's so much better to just acknowledge how we really feel and move onwards instead of berating our precious bodies.

dailySpark: Share a little about your own journey to healthy living.



Caitlin: I began running three years ago, after one of my best friends had an intervention with me about my unhealthy lifestyle. I had always wanted to be healthy, but I could just never embrace the lifestyle when I was younger. Plus, the real issue was that I was massively out of shape! I was also very unhappy with the relationship I had with food and exercise, and I knew I was the only person who could change it.

So at 21, I stopped beer-and-pizza dinners, started to lift weights, learned about nutrition and began to eat well, and took my first steps as a runner.... Running was HARD at first. I could barely go a quarter mile without dying. I kept up at it and one month after starting to exercise, I signed up for a 10K.

Eight weeks later, I completed my 10K in 61 minutes--and it was 30 degrees and snowing! Within a year of running, I had lost about 10 pounds and gained so much endurance and fitness. Now, I workout about four days a week, love to participate in races, and enjoy making new recipes to serve as healthy fuel.



dailySpark: What are some of the strangest/least likely/most surprising places that people have left notes?

Caitlin: My favorite place that people have left notes is on scales at the gym. As women, we focus too much on numbers. It is natural for your weight to fluctuate, and there is no "healthy weight" that fits all women. If you treat yourself well, eat good food, and try to get in some movement, you're doing a great job with your fitness journey. A scale can tell you how much you weight, but it cannot say how beautiful you are! I also like it when people go to grocery stores and stick notes on the diet bars and books.

dailySpark: Have you heard from anyone who has found the notes? What has been their reaction?

Caitlin: Yes! I got an e-mail from someone who found a note in the bathroom. She said she loved finding the message and it made her so happy. I've also heard feedback from women who posted the notes at work and overheard their coworkers discussing the notes. The coworkers say things like, "That note is so sweet! I wonder who did that?" and the poster just smiles and agrees that it was nice.

Have you participated in Operation Beautiful? Will you? Are you guilty of "fat talk"?

Photos courtesy of Operation Beautiful! (My submission is the main image! I left it in my teenage sister's bedroom when I went home for a visit.)


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Comments

  • 165
    I love the message of operation beautiful. I am a complete fat talker but i'm working on changing what i say to myself. So that i can stay healthy. - 11/27/2012   7:54:05 PM
  • 164
    So beautiful, so thoughtful! I cannot wait to leave my first note. Thanks for coming up with this completely genius idea and for sharing it with the rest of us. - 7/26/2012   1:57:49 PM
  • JULIA1154
    163
    I love this. I do something similar around our home but had not thought of taking it out into the world. Now I will. - 1/31/2012   11:54:09 PM
  • 162
    What a wonderful idea! I can't wait to leave my first note! I think it will be in the ladies room at work! - 1/12/2012   8:58:06 AM
  • 161
    Wow thanks so much for sharing this simple and wonderful movement. Count me in!
    - 8/23/2011   5:44:00 PM
  • 160
    What a fun idea!!! Totally doing this!
    - 8/20/2011   2:45:47 AM
  • MSBODICIOUS
    159
    ALL YOU LADIES AND MEN OUT THERE
    I'm stretching out my arms to embrace you .. because here's a big SMILE
    Because Your Beautiful and don't lose that thought....Spot the beauty from the mirror of your soul. Look into your eyes and love yourself and it will reflect back outward for all the world to see. It will show from head to toe....In actions and in words. We be motivated to pass blogs around and respond more willingly.;. Good day people......I love People. I love smiles.......I am glad you feel good today......So throw your hands in the air. Feel the freedom of I Love You smothering you releasing the positive energy effectively and efficiency takes some steps forward with backbone..........:):):):):):
    Who can give away the most smiles today Take a smile :) and add a smile :) :) see how many smiles revolve around from the energy of moving your fingers and motivating your mind into gear.
    Thinking what we are thinking and stopping the negative :( frowns and tjurning them around :) to lighten your load.....See you lighter folks......:) smile pass it on and add a smile.

    - 8/20/2011   1:44:44 AM
  • 158
    What a great idea Caitlin!!! Such a powerful message that you're getting out to all of us women while also touching complete strangers...way cool! I'm inspired to become a part of Operation Beatiful!!! - 8/11/2011   2:48:00 PM
  • 157
    What a great idea!! I'm sure this will help kids as there are so many negative messages out there. - 7/19/2011   11:09:17 AM
  • 156
    Thank you for starting this wonderful, positive, uplifting thing in life!! - 3/2/2011   3:21:07 AM
  • 155
    I am definitely going to start doing this! I'm going to check out OperationBeautiful.com first, get some ideas, and get going. - 2/22/2011   1:55:19 AM
  • 154
    this is BRILLIANT!! I wish i could have found these notes. I know alot of girls can use this type of boost. Im going to start doing this! - 2/21/2011   7:34:51 PM
  • LIBERRYANN
    153
    I'm a teacher in a junior high school. A tough age for most kids. You have inspired me to try this at our school. I know many girls could use the boost it may provide them. - 1/23/2011   11:29:13 PM
  • 152
    What a great idea...anyone can do it...anytime. Awesome. I am going to start doing this too. - 11/30/2010   8:47:12 AM
  • 151
    I made up a bunch of messages and I carry them around with me everywhere. I put them in every store, doctor's office and library I visit. - 11/24/2010   4:58:20 AM
  • 150
    I love doing this publicly. I have never participated in this program but I've used then at home for myself and anyone else that reads them. I think this is a great way for all of us to grow in love towards ourselves and others. Thank you. - 10/13/2010   6:26:07 PM
  • CARLYANN6
    149
    I've seen these post its around campus at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. They put a smile on my face every time! - 10/8/2010   10:33:58 AM
  • 148
    I am going to join this movement. I am plotting my note as I type. I want to give someone a lift today! - 10/8/2010   8:12:59 AM
  • 147
    when you make another person smile, it gives you a smile on the inside, and that's a good feeling. - 10/7/2010   6:27:06 PM
  • 146
    What a wonderful idea! - 8/22/2010   8:16:35 AM
  • WINEDINETRAVEL
    145
    Thanks for the great idea! - 8/4/2010   9:07:28 AM
  • OMOMEADA
    144
    Im located in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa. This is a very inspiring story. I will definately start leaving notes of kind messages, where ever I get the chance. Thanks for sharing. - 8/4/2010   6:30:14 AM
  • 143
    I LOVE THIS!!!! I will go to that site right now!!!! - 7/11/2010   2:01:44 PM
  • 142
    Oh my goodness!! I totally found some of these notes on a bathroom mirror at my college!! I thought it was so cool, I took a picture of it! I just thought it was someone nutty like me, and I thought it was so cool that she wanted to make my day special. So she did!!

    I think this is awesome!! - 7/8/2010   4:49:43 PM
  • 141
    Elegant, empowering and lovely action on behalf of women everywhere! Fabulous Caitlin! - 6/23/2010   9:07:49 AM
  • 140
    I love the "Leaving kind words" idea....I'm going to start doing that! - 6/17/2010   12:36:45 PM
  • 139
    I am amazed at the kindness and insight one person can have! I have made a lot of changes in my life towards becoming healthy, but this is one area I do need to work on. Caitlin has inspired me to do better... - 6/14/2010   11:51:49 PM
  • 138
    What insight to have in your 20's! I LOVE this idea! - 4/6/2010   1:42:40 PM
  • 137
    I will most definitely be looking at this site. What a wonderful idea to do random acts of kindness and brighten someone's day, who may truly need it. - 4/5/2010   4:41:37 PM
  • 136
    I have to check out your website!!! I love this idea!! You are amazing and beautiful! - 4/1/2010   8:13:51 PM
  • 135
    Thank you for the inspiration to begin this lovely variation of a random act of kindness. Operation Beautiful is something everyone who encounters a posting can enjoy and take to heart. - 4/1/2010   12:17:30 AM
  • 134
    THANK YOU for sharing the beauty within to help us with the outside beauty!
    You are a true GEM! - 3/29/2010   2:12:06 PM
  • 133
    Just wonderful. Hope it continues to spread...I will do my part as well. - 3/28/2010   6:49:49 PM
  • 132
    Ever since reading the original article, I posted it on Facebook & keep pen/paper in my backpacks & purse, so I'm ready to go! Keep forgetting, but this week on campus I'll make my first post (or tomorrow in dr's office). Can't WAIT!
    Wish somebody had started this when I was about 40 years younger....starting with my mother, that's all I heard was 'fat talk' & my sister & I weren't even FAT! Sis had nice figure & I was skinny, so absolutely ADORE this movement... - 3/28/2010   2:44:25 PM
  • 131
    i like this.enough of the fat talk. - 3/28/2010   12:10:25 PM
  • 130
    What a great idea! I'm going to start carrying a pen and notepad with me. - 3/28/2010   11:10:41 AM
  • 129
    I LOVE this blog post!! - 3/27/2010   11:17:02 PM
  • 128
    Great Idea! I'm going to look through my supply of Post-Its today so I can leave some notes at church tomorrow. - 3/27/2010   4:14:54 PM
  • 127
    What a fun idea, even a shy person can participate! I agree, we women need to turn things around for ourselves and especially the younger women. With all the plastic surgery in Hollywood, the standards are even more unrealistic, and the pressure to never look "old" is a cruel slap in the face to us more mature souls. I particularly liked, "your beauty is in your smile", I'm gonna post that one for myself! - 3/5/2010   10:04:20 AM
  • 126
    Great idea! We need more love and less hate talk, even about ourselves. We're way too critical of one another. Can't wait to try this out. - 2/20/2010   9:09:18 PM
  • 125
    LOVE IT!! I have 2 young Daughters and I DO NOT want them to self loath over weight the way I do! You can count on me to be a Post-It Leaver!! - 2/18/2010   10:59:49 AM
  • 124
    Love it !!! Love it!!! Love it!!! I'll have to get some cute, colorful post-its and go for it!!! I love doing random acts of kindness, but I love that this encourages us to remember that beauty is not what's on the outside! Too many young girls(and adults) get the wrong message about their self-worth and their body image! Thanks for starting a revolution!!! - 2/6/2010   11:07:07 AM
  • 123
    I already do random acts of kindness and have instilled the practice in my children. It does a mother's heart good to see them carry it through once in a while. But I love the note idea! Also, I will try to curb my "Fat Talk" too. You are right. I would never say that to my friends. I am the one who always does the encouraging. Maybe now I can encourage myself! Thanks for the lightbulb! - 2/5/2010   9:28:44 AM
  • 122
    What a great idea! I can't wait to try it. - 2/5/2010   6:36:27 AM
  • 121
    It is great to tell yourself you are beautiful, BUT actions speak louder than words.
    The fact is MEN judge women by their looks. - 1/11/2010   1:41:43 PM
  • 120
    I think I just might participate. It is a great idea and might make someone's day.
    I know it would for me.
    I am definitely guilty of fat talk. That is something I need to stop for the new year. - 12/31/2009   4:28:55 PM
  • MSAGGIE73
    119
    Wow, I so enjoyed this. Thank you Caitlin for sharing this with us. I need post its now:-) - 12/5/2009   4:50:51 PM
  • 118
    Inspiring! Thank you Caitlin! - 11/28/2009   7:40:01 PM
  • 117
    Reading this just totally made my morning! I am leaving to go to a convention in a couple of days and I am going to buy Post-It notes today to take with me. I can hardly wait! - 11/3/2009   8:49:56 AM
  • GRANDMO1
    116
    What an amazing woman who an awesome idea into practice! Thank you for the motivation and inspiration. I am going to try it today and for ever. - 11/2/2009   11:01:25 AM

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