About a month ago I shared this picture on Facebook.
Here’s the original post:
“Yesterday I opportunity to share my story with a crowd of over 100 women for International Women’s Day. One of the images I shared was this one. You might wonder – why would you share this?
I first shared this image in one of my private fitness & nutrition accountability groups. After losing 70lbs and having two beautiful boys this is what my stomach looks like in a plank. And it is the area of my body I’m still quite uncomfortable with. But I shouldn’t be! My stomach is a beautiful thing – it’s a badge of honour. It grew & made room for two beautiful boys.
I shared it with my group to start a conversation. Because this “flaw” I see – represents deep social programming about what my body “should” look like. It represents a tendency of our society – especially women – to focus on what we DON’T like. It represents everything about the image of the fitness & diet industry that I believe holds us back from truly having a healthy relationship with food & fitness.
Yesterday I was asked if I would share it publicly on Facebook. I said maybe. It’s scary being vulnerable. It’s raw & unedited. It’s real. But I share this because I want to start a dialogue. I want to help women put their foot down. To say NO to the social programming of diet mentality that tells us we’re not good enough. To stop negative self-talk. To speak to themselves the way they would speak to their best friend – or their child. I want women to create a healthy relationship with food & fitness. To say NO to extreme diets & fads. To be a realistic & healthy example for their children – for their community. To create a ripple effect.
I post this today because I want to start a ripple. One woman at a time. One conversation at a time.
Sharing my journey was a deeply personal act – it was vulnerability victory for me. Vulnerability is my STRENGTH. Because vulnerability connects us all. It helps us all relate & feel empathy & compassion for one another and ourselves. And when we have that – we are truly unstoppable.”
The response was literally OVERWHELMING. Here’s what people said:
“The most refreshing photo. A true woman’s body. Thank you.”
“Thank you from “mommy tummy’s” everywhere”
“Your post means more than you know- thank you”
“Hey, that looks like me!”
There was also lots of encouragement, acknowledgement & appreciation for “keeping it real” and being an inspiring role model. The response blew me away. And it also astounded me.
The original post had over 300 likes and 57 comments. If there are so many women out there for whom this resonates – why are we all so HUNG up on this? Feeling insecure & self-conscious?
I shared this picture because I’m tired of the social programming we receive from the media and the resulting negative body images it is creating for women. I want our society to EMBRACE bodies – ALL bodies. I want women to CELEBRATE their stomach, thighs, wiggly bits and more – stretch marks and all. Because we are SO MUCH MORE than a physical body.
I want us to LOVE our bodies – so we in turn treat our bodies WITH love. And as I’ve continued the conversation that started from sharing this picture I have realized I have much more to share. In fact – I have embarked on a mission. Call me BOLD & BRAZEN, but I’ve started on an EPIC mission. A mission to CHANGE how women FEEL about their bodies. This is what I want ALL women to know:
- Loving your body does not mean complacently accepting it. Just because I encourage loving your body – just the way it is, I’m not for one second suggesting that we should “give up” and eat bonbons and never move . In fact I want the OPPOSITE! I want us to take the focus off the aesthetic of eating well and getting fit and focus on the gifts being fit & healthy. Focus on what living a healthy lifestyle we LOVE truly does for us. What it enables us to do! And then using those “why’s” as a source of inspiration to continue on the path.
- Wanting to look awesome is not a crime – so stop the guilt! We all have ego – and that’s a good thing! But I think we need to redefine what “looking awesome” means to us as individuals. Which means we need to DITCH what society generally defines it as. Because right now – the scope of what society generally defines fit & attractive as – it’s pretty narrow. Which means as consumers of media we need to be more critical when we look at images we see – and we need to teach our children to do the same. We need to put our foot down and say NO when those images are unrealistic and not representative of 90+% of the population. We need to use our wallets to tell companies what we do and do not appreciate. When they promote unhealthy body image & the pursuit of “thinness” as the optimal goal through extreme diet promotion & gimmicks we need to stand up and say “that is not ok.” And that starts with US.
- What you look like on the outside does not reflect your health inside. This is REALLY big for me. So take a minute and really let this S-I-N-K in. How your body appears on the outside – what size clothing you wear – the number on the damn scale – does NOT reflect your fitness level, your health or your well-being. Ditch your scale, and all your preconceived notions of what healthy LOOKS like – and embrace what it FEELS like. Create a vision for your health & fitness that is about how you want to FEEL – and the rest (if it matters…which it likely does…again, ego) will work itself out. I promise.
- There is nothing wrong with you. Creating a healthy lifestyle isn’t about correcting something about you – it’s about enhancing your awesome-self. Celebrating your beautiful body – and the amazing gift of health & vitality.
- Be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself with kindness & compassion. Because making lifestyle changes is HARD. Really hard sometimes. But so is hating your body. Feeling uncomfortable. Feeling disappointed. So choose your hard wisely, and then be patient with yourself. Lasting changes – the kind you want – they take time, consistency & perseverance. But you’ve got this. Because you’re also stronger than you think.
Embrace your body. Love it. It’s yours for life. Treat it well. Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Be Super You.