What if

The thought occurred to me the other day as I was attempting to quell my self- doubt just before kicking off another weekend long training, ‘What if this is exactly where I am supposed to be and this is what I am supposed to look like right now?’

It might not sound earth shattering but for a girl who has, up until this point, assured herself that I am the exact opposite of what the fitness industry wants me to be right now it was definitely a curious thought.  I pulled on the thread just to see where it would lead and what I came out with is perhaps where my body is right now is acceptable.  Maybe it’s even perfect for me and where my life is headed.

From my view I can’t see the forest, only the trees.  When I look through the trees it looks dark, like I’ll be completely ejected from my various roles (especially those in which I teach others to exercise or directly influence the people who teach others to exercise) any day now.  It looks like I’ve given up or am completely insane for not just jumping on another diet, losing the weight and being acceptable again.

But the more I let my mind rest on the thought that I might be exactly where I am meant to be right now, I can’t help but feel like this is the truth.  For as much resistance as I’ve had with every pound I’ve gained, I’ve only added physical weight while my confidence has slowly started to wear away.

‘What if they don’t hear my message in this body?’ ‘What if I ruin their experience in this body?’  These are the thoughts of my looking at the trees only self.

The girl that is starting to step back, accept my body where it is while continuing to take a front and center role in a perfection oriented industry has a different set of questions in mind.  ‘What if I can help others accept themselves in daring to hold onto my positions in this body?’ ‘What if I can actually teach others to live in the present moment as I am attempting to do?’ And my favorite ‘What if I can actually help to change the way this industry makes people feel about themselves??’

With a question like that I can’t help but feel excited that where I am now is exactly where I need to be to pull others up from the depths and shine a light on loving their perfect bodies now.

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Looking Back

Seventeen years.  That’s how long it had been since I had seen my good friend.  She moved nearby about a month ago and just like that, we were connected again.  While I’m so excited to pick right back up where we left off freshman year of college, I can’t help but look around at other areas of my past that still hold a negative place in my life (and on my body).

If I’m really honest with myself, I try to avoid the past whenever possible.  Whether that means praying that I don’t run into anyone from high school when I’m in my home town or not making a real effort to reconnect with family members that I haven’t seen in a while, I have let myself off the hook by thinking that I’m moving forward by leaving certain people behind.  Deep down I fear that staying connected to people that ‘knew me when’ means that I become that person again.  So really I’m avoiding my earlier self.

This part of my journey toward full self- acceptance and love is all about embracing my past, both people and circumstances.  I’ve heard it time and time again ‘but you wouldn’t be who you are today without all of those situations in the past’ and yet it’s only really starting to sink in.  My younger counterpart is still well and alive inside of me and is desperate for my acceptance.

To that end, I’m starting up a 21 day forgiveness trek (I just bought ‘Forgiveness 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything’ by Iyanla Vanzant).  I can’t wait to let go of the fear and judgment that I currently have toward myself and others to see my past through grateful eyes.

For now, I’ve taken a very powerful step forward in meeting up with my dear friend.  What I’ve learned so far is that my fear of the past is unfounded.  In fact, going back there is really freeing.  We talked and laughed for over three hours and now I have my friend back.  I didn’t magically go back to being the 19 year old version of myself when I sat down with her.  And dare I say our rekindled friendship will be even richer because she knows a part of me that most of my current friends have never seen.

I can’t wait to see what other treasures await me when I am brave enough to simply let go of my expectations and turn over the rock.

Rising Again

A very wise woman recently said, ‘your mess becomes your message.’   I’m determined to create a message out of my mess.  My hope is that I can use my mess(age) to transform my life and ultimately help light the way for you too.

For the past year I’ve taken up the journey (again) to discover and finally overcome the root cause of my lifelong weight struggles.  I’ve been back and forth with this issue starting with puberty when I officially went on my first diet (Nutri System) in 6th grade.  I can’t remember a year of my life since then that my weight hasn’t been the major focus of my life.

This latest leg of my journey, which you could also call my breaking point, started while on a trip very far from home.  I had travelled to the other side of the world to be part of a team of people teaching on an educational fitness DVD.  My field, ironically, is the fitness industry.  I stumbled into this career after reluctantly agreeing to become a group fitness instructor while going to school for a completely different career (more on this in a bit).

Do you know the fear that you have buried in the back of your mind; your worst case scenario should it ever be realized?  This is exactly what happened on my trip.  After I arrived, I was excluded from taking part in the DVD because I didn’t look like I worked out.  My weight had robbed me of my greatest achievement in my career (or so I thought).

It’s not that this was the first time that I felt my body was in the way of me being the person I really wanted to be.  But this was it for me.  The moment I could no longer pretend that I accepted my body.  The truth was that I didn’t really blame them for their view of my body because I felt the same way.

When I think about it, this feeling first arose when the instructors at my gym talked me into becoming a group fitness instructor in the first place.   I remember protesting for at least 6 months (I used lack of time since I was in school as an excuse).  Deep down I didn’t think I had what it took.  How could someone with such an imperfect body stand up and teach others to exercise?  But they eventually wore me down with a great argument.  I had lost a substantial amount of weight by the time they approached me and they said that I would be the ultimate motivator since I knew what it felt like to lose weight and feel better about myself.  The only problem (I’m realizing now) is that I didn’t really feel better about myself.

Once I accepted the fact that my own lack of body confidence and self- love was really at the root of my overseas adventure last year, I made a promise to myself.  I would do whatever it took (including putting losing weight on the back burner) to come to a place of loving my body unconditionally.

So far my quest has led me to discover that my industry (and the weight loss industry) has it all wrong.  Trying to be perfect by eating all of the ‘right’ foods and exercising in a certain way only further exacerbates the frustration that most of us have with having such an imperfect body.

I don’t have ‘the answer’ yet and in fact for the first time in my life I can say in all honesty that I don’t even see this as a mission to ‘find the answer.’  I’ve learned that I’m not a problem to be solved.

I’ve also realized that it’s ok not to get it ‘right’ the first, second or even the third time.  What I have gained in my ‘missteps’ is getting me closer and closer to who I actually am.

Since the one year anniversary of that life changing event has just passed, I’ve been thinking a lot about how different my perspective on my body is now.  I can feel a major shift happening under the surface and it’s only a matter of time before my body follows suit.  I’m so excited to see where life is taking me because I can feel that it’s a place where body confidence and self- love are a given. I’m ready to let go and love on and I hope you are too!