I wanted to get a little vulnerable today and tell you about a struggle I have as a body-positive fitness professional.
I have now been a pregnancy and postpartum coach for three years, and have coached hundreds of clients. My website has now reached over 3.5 million women in the past 5 years.
And I still struggle with my message.
I do not want to be another voice in the diet and fitness industry that conveys the message that you aren’t good enough or worthy enough the way you are right now. That there is something wrong with you if you gained more than the recommended amount during pregnancy or if you haven’t bounced back by 2 months postpartum.
This is one of the reasons I have chosen not to post “before and after” photos of my clients, why I struggle showing before and after photos of myself, and why I cringe every time I type the words “weight loss” or “baby weight” (as I did just in this subject line).
I am passionate about creating a space for women where they do not feel societal pressure to change and understand that they are so much more than the shape of their bodies.
But then I was finding was that the women who hired me and trusted me were starting to become afraid to tell me that they actually were interested in losing weight. They wanted to be body-positive, but felt that body-positivity and body transformation might not co-exist.
So I think I need to re-iterate and make it totally clear that you, my friend, have complete and total body autonomy and if you want to transform your body, I am here for it. I know how to do it. I will help you with it. But I want that to be YOUR decision, and I want you to understand that if you never lost another pound, you would still be worthy and beautiful and amazing.
So how can we, as women, rectify loving our bodies, but also wanting to change them? Is there a body-positive way to create physical transformation?
The answer is yes, and that is exactly how I did it and now coach my clients through it.
Here is how:
1-Question your motivation. Are your thoughts about your body being dictated by society’s expectations, or are you truly not feeling comfortable in your current body? Do you want to get lean to become worthy in other’s eyes, or do you want to empower yourself by reaching a goal? Do you want to look like someone else, or do you want to see how strong you can get? Are you motivated from a place of loving yourself and wanting the best for yourself, or are you motivated from a place of hatred and disgust?
If you are motivated from a place of hatred, you’re not alone! Most women come to me in this place. But it IS possible and it is LIFE-CHANGING WORK to change that mindset and begin practicing compassionate self-care that results in body transformation.
2-Recognize empowering behaviors over punishing ones. When I worked out in my 20’s, it was mostly for negative reasons: to undo poor eating, to change a body I hated, to punish myself. Because it came from this place, it never lasted long anyways.
Now I exercise for FUN, for enjoyment, and to see what my body is capable of. When I set a PR, I am so intrinsically proud of myself and empowered in the knowledge that I can do anything I set my mind to.
3-Practice TRUE self-care. The word self-care gets thrown around a lot, and I think might be misinterpreted sometimes as just having fun or being completely self-indulgent. But true CARE means identifying your needs and tending to them. For example, a recent act of self-care for me was finally getting a year-long overdue mammogram. It was no fun, but it needed to happen and I felt relieved when I had taken care of it.
Self-care is going to change all the time. It’s answering the question “What do I need to be well and feel my best, mentally physically and spiritually?”
Most of the time it will be rest, nutrition, activity, hydration, connection, production. But as someone practicing self-care, you’ll identify exactly what is needed in the moment and you have to trust yourself to do it. That’s where the self-love part comes in.
4-Recognize that your body is not your worth. Changing your look can be fun, it can be exciting, but it can’t be EVERYTHING. You are mind, body and spirit and all three of these aspects are equally important in your experience of this life and your happiness.
This process is how I naturally ended up at my healthiest weight. It took some patience, both with myself and my body, it took some healing, but it was one of the most worthwhile journeys of my life. And I know now that if I ever ended up in a place again where I wanted to change my body, I could do it without losing my self-worth. If my clothes get tight, I ask myself “Do I need new pants, or is my self-care suffering?” It’s not a big deal anymore.
PS – If you haven’t already, please join me and tons of other INCREDIBLE women just like you who have signed up for my FREE 7 day #FastFitMoms workout challenge! We start on Monday, and you can experience what it’s like to workout in a body-positive, empowering way right along next to me. 5 short but intense workouts in 7 days, can you do it? I know you can. All you have to do is sign up at the link below to be added!