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Featured Blogger: Larissa Dalton Stephanoff of Piloting Paper Airplanes

Featured Blogger: Larissa Dalton Stephanoff of Piloting Paper Airplanes

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 7:12am
 Larissa Dalton Stephanoff

Larissa blogs about maintaining both physical and emotional health.

About Community Posts

In order to promote community participation, open debate, and facilitate the sharing of fitness-related news, Active Life DC allows members of the local fitness community to contribute posts. We do not vet these posts, and the opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Active Life DC. More information can be found in our Terms of Service. For information on how you can submit a post, visit this page.

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1. What does your blog cover? Who is your target audience?

Piloting Paper Airplanes is a healthy-living blog. Its birth was as a running blog, but PPA has since grown to include yoga (my other fitness love!) and conversations about the definition of beauty, self worth, body appreciatio,n and body acceptance.

I attempt to put as much emphasis on emotional health as I do on physical health. How often do we cause ourselves undo anxiety over a scale or fitness goal? For me, one of the most empowering things in yoga is the understanding that no practice is perfect and perfection is not the goal.

I apply the same concept to other areas. If a habit isn't adding something positive to my life, I let it go. My "self talk" has evolved dramatically as I try to live what I preach in terms of body acceptance and appreciate what I can do, not what I look like. Finding a balance of activity, diet and life that works for you leads not only to physical health but, even more importantly, it leads to emotional health.

Because I write about these things as a woman, I would say my primary audience is other women. Certainly not to the exclusion of the guys; I just use language that applies more directly to ladies. But we can all use some support and empowerment! I am a professional twenty-something, married with no kids, so I don't write a lot about family things. I certainly don't have to balance work, kiddos, and finding time to workout like some amazing bloggers I follow! Daily I am inspired by marvelous people accomplishing extraordinary things in the online health community.


2. What are your favorite fitness activities?

Running and yoga. I try to be active 5–6 days a week and alternate those two activities. Some days I'll do a HIIT or rep workout instead to switch things up. Now that I have access to a fitness room at our apartment complex – I can run on a treadmill for the first winter in years! – I've also been doing more weights. I try to keep a good variety, even in my running workouts, so I don't get bored. If I don't enjoy something I won't stick with it!


3. Do you have a fitness New Year's resolution you are working to achieve? How is it going so far?

Headstand! I've working on it for months, but I still need the support of a near wall. I'm determined that 2014 will be the year of the unsupported headstand, and maybe even some serious handstand progress. I used to be so scared of going upside down and get bad headaches when I did. But consistent practice and strengthening my upper body have gotten me a long way.

Some days I'm able to hold off the wall for a full 20 seconds; other days even 2 seconds is a challenge. It can be discouraging when I look at just day-to-day progress. When I look at progress over weeks or months I understand how much I really have improved and gain confidence that I will achieve a solid inversion.


4. You only recently moved to the Washington, D.C. area; do you have any local fitness favorites yet?

I quickly fell in love with Willow Street Yoga during their winter preview week. I haven't joined regular classes yet – a cross-country move is expensive and takes a bit to recover from – but I am excited to become a part of that community soon.

As far as runs, I'll need suggestions as the weather improves! My husband and I ventured out once for some hiking on a spring-teaser day, but we didn't get very far. We were a bit premature, I think. Once the ground is dried to less than a swamp I am excited to get out for some trail runs.


5. Provide a summary and link to your favorite blog post.

Read more: What is your "pinspiration" really saying?"

"I've been so blessed to "meet" some amazing women who work their bodies and minds every single day. Women who are motivated to make themselves the best version of themselves. Women who challenge the status quo of what's beautiful or what they "should" look like. Women who are proud!

So please. Tell me why our Pinterest motivation boards are full of images that flirt dangerously close to objectification at best or are dehumanizing at worst? Pinning and distributing images that objectify women for their bodies only adds to the problem. I do not want to perpetuate body hatred, negative self–image or the idea that you have to be a certain kind of sexy to be proud/desirable/satisfied. 

I want my "pinspiration" to appreciate what a body can do, not what it looks like."


Read more from Larissa on her blog, Piloting Paper Airplanes.