I have been on the most amazing journey of my life and the journey still continues.
Starting this journey was really not my choice. I received a loud wakeup call when I developed adult cystic acne.
I now have the awareness to know that the acne was actually just a manifestation of how I felt about myself and how my body was telling me that something had to change.
I had a poor connection with body and food from the age of about 12. My father innocently told me that I would get fat if I ate sweets. The message I heard was you have to be thin otherwise you are no good.
It was a completely innocent comment with no bad intentions at all, but it became such a driving force in my life.
Our interpretations can make such a small innocent comment so huge, and I gave it such significance.
I collapsed these words into my whole being − my body image, my confidence, and the way I lived my life. I wasn’t taught to share and discuss my feelings and emotions so, I just kept everything inside, festering until I was much older and it decided to speak to me in a way it knew I would listen – spots on my face.
I was terrified of getting fat, lived with that fear and stress and devoted my life to not getting fat. That’s when my eating issues began.
I decided I needed to go on a diet and I became anorexic, and then I developed orthorexia and had a stressful obsession with healthy eating foods. I looked at myself in the mirror and all I could see was fat then slim, then fat all in one day.
From the outside, it may not have looked like I had a weight problem at all. But on the inside, my conversation was exactly the same as every other person on this planet who is trying to lose weight and thinks they are fat.
Size did not matter.
The body hate didn’t stop at my physical body but it permeated through my whole being. I connected having a body that was no good to me as a person being no good and I really just wanted to be invisible. I had no power and no strength inside me to just be ME. Nor did I know what being me even was.
When I left school, my eating issues didn’t go away and became more severe because people admired me for my weight and eating. This gave me the illusion that I was special only because of my weight.
When I became a Fitness Trainer, body image came up yet again as all my clients were not happy with their bodies and desperately wanted to lose weight. They felt such shame and guilt about food and their body. And I really wanted to help them.
I discovered a more supportive, holistic approach through my studies of the Psychology of Eating. Not only did I get to heal my own body image issues, now I get to support my clients through my coaching.
My body image issues paralysed me, kept me small, and didn’t allow me to reach my full potential.
I founded my business Strength Within because I realised that it wasn’t only my physical strength but inner strength that leads to true health and wellness.
The greatest gems of wisdom that helped my healing were having compassion for without judging myself. To me, it was a foreign concept that you could be as kind to yourself as you are to your best friend. Expressing your emotions, being vulnerable and letting go is the key to being strong and mentally happy and healthy. This is what allows you to let love in for yourself and for others.
Whenever I feel negative toward my body, it’s really not my body at all but what’s going on inside my head. And that’s where the emotions and love and compassion come to play.
I invite you to stop and shine a light on your life, open up, let go, be vulnerable, and became aware of how you really feel about your body. Be honest with yourself as you are not alone. Body image and weight is not a personal issue, it’s a collective issue, and awareness is the first step to making significant shifts.
LOVE and EMBRACE yourself!