My Life Shift: “From Body Loather to Body Warrior”

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Friends,

I am super excited to be a Contributing Author in the third book of the 365 book series! This #1 bestselling book is entitled “365 Life Shifts:Pivotal Moments That Changed Everything” and in it, over 250 authors share their personal story of how one moment or situation changed, or “shifted” their life. My submission is called “From Body Loather to Body Warrior” and I talk about my story of almost getting a tummy tuck and learning to love my body, after two c-sections. What I love about the book is that each story is so different, yet we can all feel inspired reading each one.

Jodi Chapman and Dan Teck (their Bios are below), are the creators and editors of the amaing book series and I am so grateful for their vision and the opportunity this provides! Below I have shared a Q and A interview that you can read to learn all about this book as well as how to purchase it.  Enjoy!

For those who are meeting you two for the first time, please tell us more about yourselves and your journey.

First of all, we’d like to say just how grateful we are to have connected with you! We love connecting with people who are also looking for a deeper, more soulful experience of life. It’s a pleasure to be sharing this journey with so many others who are listening to – and following – their souls’ whispers in such loving ways. Welcome! 🙂 We’re a happily married couple who live on the Oregon coast with our three cats. We work together from home – writing spiritual books and blogs, creating personal-growth ecourses, connecting with soulful communities, and enjoying our lives together. We also love walking on the beach, singing, watching Abraham-Hicks DVDs, and playing backgammon. Life hasn’t always been so soulful, loving, or fun for us, though. We’ve both had our share of dead-end jobs (many of which involved cubicles), unsatisfying relationships, and periods of spiritual skepticism and dissatisfaction. But we always felt that there was something more – something deeper, more meaningful, and more loving. A big part of our life-puzzle was completed when we met, but in some ways our journey was just beginning. Shortly after we got married in 2004, we decided to quit our jobs and start a handmade gift company. To be honest, our initial motivation was to be together as much as possible! But over the years, we found that our business also enabled us to inspire, to connect deeply with others, and to share our own souls in creative ways. This began in small ways, such as adding original affirmations and writing prompts to our handmade journals, which led to the Soulful Journals series. The positive response to these books inspired us to do even more soulful writing – which we’ve continued through our blogs, ecourses, communities, and now our collaborative book series

Can you tell us about this book?

We’d love to! This is the third book in the 365 Book Series. This book is called 365 Life Shifts: Pivotal Moments That Changed Everything, and that’s exactly what it contains: one true-life story for each day of the year (from over 250 contributing authors) of such life-changing moments – experiences that inspired, uplifted, shook us to our core, got us back on track (or onto a new track altogether), and led us toward our true selves. These stories cover a wide range of topics – including finding the strength to go down a new path, to say yes or no to a relationship, to bravely live authentically, to receive from beyond, and everyday moments that were infused with extraordinary soulfulness that shifted the author’s life. All of the stories are intended to uplift, inspire, and remind you of just how magical and far reaching a life shift can truly be.

What exactly do you mean by “life shift”?

Every so often, we have an experience that alters the course of our lives and changes who we are forever. Sometimes these moments fill us with rapture and flood us with insight. Other times they are blessings in disguise that don’t reveal their treasure until years later. However they show up, these moments can inspire us to live richer, deeper, and more authentically soulful lives. One of the things we love about this book is that it shows hundreds of ways that shifts can occur in our lives – from the big moments to the small. Here are just a few examples of the life shifts that you’ll find inside this powerful and inspiring book:

 discovering why we’re here and sharing it with others

 leaving a relationship/job/location that no longer felt right and opening up to new possibilities

 healing from illness

 a-ha moments  receiving signs from the universe and messages from beyond

 reconnecting with our inner strength and speaking our truth

While the experiences themselves vary greatly, each of these moments transformed the authors and helped them shift in a positive way. These true-life stories (one page each – for quick inspiration!) were written with love and infused with the intention that you’ll be able to discover the beauty in your own life shifts, too.

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who loves reading inspiring, true-life stories that help awaken their own inner fire and help them see their own life through each author’s words. It’s for anyone who: yearns for a deeper experience of life.  wants to be uplifted and amazed.  loves hearing inspiring true stories that renew your faith in the goodness of the world.  wants to laugh, cry, get goosebumps, and feel a sense of reverence, awe, and wonder.  is ready to love and be loved, to give and to receive, and to stay open to the magic that’s all around and within each one of us.

Where can people go to learn more about this book?

To learn more about 365 Life Shifts – and to purchase copies – please visit www.365lifeshifts.com. For a limited time, everyone who orders the book will receive our bonus gift package, which includes over 70  soulful gifts (meditations, ebooks, ecourses, and more) – all contributed by the authors!

(My personal bonus is a recorded Yoga Nidra session on body acceptance! Head to the website to learn how to download your free bonus sessions, after ordering the book! Limited time only.) Please SHARE THIS with your friends! 


 

About Jodi and Dan:

Jodi Chapman and Dan Teck are a husband-and-wife team who loves living soulfully and joyfully. Since 2005, they’ve been living their dream of writing books and creating products that inspire others to connect with their soul and live fully and passionately. Jodi has a BA in English/Technical Editing and Sociology, and Dan has a BA in Religious Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing. Together, they have over 30 years of experience with editing and publishing and have sold over 35,000 books. They have written 20 books, 10 ecourses, and over 1,000 blog posts/articles. Jodi is an award-winning blogger at http://www.jodichapman.com and the creator of Soul Clarity Cards. Dan is the author of the personal-growth blog http://www.halfwayupthemountain.com. They are the co-creators of the Soulful Journals Series (www.soulfuljournals.com), the 365 Book Series (www.365bookseries.com), and a number of soulful online communities and ecourses. They live on the Oregon coast with their sweet cats. They enjoy hanging out at the beach and working, creating, and playing together.

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p.s.- My new website is www.kelliemcgarry.com  (this blog is linked to it). Check it out! I am now offering private and group yoga Nidra sessions (also, virtual!), and Reiki sessions. Namaste. 🙂

EMBRACE: join me for this life-changing documentary!

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

As some of you know, I have been a BIMGA (Body Image Movement Global Ambassador) for a fabulous lady named Taryn Brumfitt.  I first came across her Facebook page back in 2014, and after reading the story behind her unconventional Before and After photo, I was intrigued.

Taryn Before and After photo
Credit:http://www.transmissionfilms.com.au/films/embrace

I immediately felt a sense of camaraderie between us as so many parts of her story, I can relate to. Like me, she has gone from “body loather to body lover”.  I had already changed my coaching focus from health/nutrition to supporting women to love and accept their bodies. I realized this was my true passion and what really lights my fire.  I admit that I was a bit jealous of Taryn’s popularity but I quickly changed my perspective and thought, “How awesome is this that I know someone who has the platform to inspire people all over the world, to love their bodies!”  When the opportunity came up to support her mission, along with hundreds of other women around the world with the same goal, the decision to join was a no-brainer.

Over the past couple of years, I have had the privilege of getting a first-hand sneak peek into what has been going on in her world, and the biggest news is that through donations through Kickstarter,she  was able to create and direct a body positive, inspirational and  transforming documentary called Embrace. You can watch the trailer HERE.  This will be showing all over the world, starting in Australia where she is from, and next coming to the U.S! Eventually it will make it’s way to many other countries.

Which brings me to an invitation……for those who live in Arizona, I invite you to attend your own private screening of Embrace, in Phoenix, AZ, at Desert Ridge AMC 18, on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.  If you cannot attend this one, there are plenty others in the Phoenix area, and all over the country. If you live outside of this location, then please check the website to find out where it is playing in your area! http://bodyimagemovement.com.au/see-embrace-in-the-usa/

WARNING: This will ONLY happen if we reach our tipping point of over 58 reservations! Tickets are only $11 each and you will not be charged until the event is secured!  What are you waiting for? Get your tickets now and I will see you there!

Click here to reserve your spot!! And share with your friends! You may also check out my FB Event page HERE. 

Kellie McGarry

http://www.facebook.com/nourishedandnew

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I am loving her book!  Can’t wait to see the film!

 

 

 

Let me introduce you to my 4-letter-word-enemy…..

**A lot has happened since my last post back in December of 2015.  There is a reason I had been taking a break from my blog. To get an update on me, please keep reading….

So…. I lost weight.Not just a couple of pounds but at least 10 pounds have been shed  from my body in the past 1 to 2  months. As a result, I am freaking out….and not in a good way. Why in the heck am I feeling negative about weight loss, of all things?  Because it was unintentional and completely unexpected. I was already small and now I weigh under 100 pounds. Not good. Not good at all.

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My son and I at an immigration re-enactment at his school.

I first noticed the weight loss when I went to visit a Rheumatologist as a new patient. You see, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia back in 2010 but when I went gluten free in March of 2011, my pain miraculously disappeared (I did have occasional aches from stress or if I unknowingly ingested a small amount of gluten).

However, back in March of this year (2016), my pain came back and with a vengeance.( In fact, I am in a major flare today, as I type this.)  I was still  faithful to my 100% gluten-free diet so I felt like my body had betrayed me. I was utterly confused and frustrated. When I realized the pain and fatigue was not going away I decided it was time to see a doctor again. That is when they weighed me and I realized I had lost 7 pounds, but I did not think to mention anything at the time about the weight loss. The truth is, I was happy about it at first.

Then, I noticed how baggy my pants were getting on me. I mean, they were practically falling off and I did not want people to give me strange looks.On top of that, I couldn’t really afford to buy all new clothes!  A flashback came to me of when I had anorexia in college and I got a twisted pleasure out of knowing my clothes were so loose. This was in part because I thought I was fat even though when I started college I weighed only 110 pounds.  I had body dismorphic disorder and felt compelled to starve myself.

The fact that I have come to now realize that I don’t want to lose weight is a testimony to how far I have come in the past 20 years. (wow, has it been that long?)  However, good old ED (the name for eating disorder) is very sneaky and has found his way out of his cage. With an evil laugh, he tries to tell me, “look at that thigh gap you have now, you should keep that and not eat so much.” Or, “you should be happy that you have lost inches in your big belly”.  Ugh.  “Go away, Ed!!”  I yell in my mind.


Sigh…I wish that ED wasn’t the only villain trying to rent a room in my brain.  My main intent is to talk about another enemy; one who has a greater hold on me. 

This is the only time I wish I could build a wall to keep someone out. That “someone” has been torturing me a whole lot more than ED lately.  This “person”, who does not deserve to be my “tenant” is my four-letter- word- enemy. Her name is Eris. Why Eris? Well,  according to Mythology, Eris is the Greek goddess of chaos and discord.  

So the battle is  between Myself, the “goddess” Kellie,  and the evil goddess “Eris”….. or in other words…. OCD. Yes, I was diagnosed with the contamination form of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) back in January. It has helped to give my OCD a name. I am not my illness.  My thoughts are not me…..they are sneaky, conniving Eris, trying to ruin my life. 

It is probably fitting that the spelling of  Kellie, means “warrior woman”. I have been in a battle with Eris and will not surrender. At times I wish to wave my white flag and just give up on life. Thankfully, I have fellow warriors in my life who have my back and who love me despite of my setbacks, but who at the same time, encourage me to fight for a better life.

It is hard coming out of the mental health closet. Many people know that I have battled eating disorders. However, hardly anyone knows about my secret struggle. I have an intense fear of germs which has been gradually getting worse over the years. My compulsion is constant hand washing and sanitizing. Imagine the whole world has Ebola and you are in a bubble and cannot touch anything unless you want to get sick too. That is how I feel.  I don’t worry about Ebola necessarily, but I feel like I cannot touch anything; especially not in public, for fear of contamination. I know this sounds crazy, but at least I am not alone.  Many people struggle with it, including Howie Mandel who is famous for his “fist bump” and who openly talks about how OCD affects his life.

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My hand was really red, dry, and cracked for awhile. A result of constant hand washing and using hand sanitizer.

I think the reason it has seemed taboo to talk about OCD is because it is not very well understood. Many of us sufferers feel irritated when we see posts about people making light of the illness, calling it a quirk or laughing saying, “I’m so ocd” when they are really just perfectionists and like to have a clean house or an organized closet. That is nowhere near close to the mental anguish we feel. (and don’t get me started on those Facebook quizzes)

Okay so, now that I got that news out-of-the-way, on to solving the mystery of both my Fibromyalgia coming out of remission, and my very strange, unexplained weight loss.

One theory is that my medication, Sertraline (generic for Zoloft) could be causing it. I read that extreme weight loss is very rare with Zoloft but I guess I could be that one rare case. Lucky me. (Don’t worry, I have told my doctors about all of this and they are monitoring me so we can figure this out.)

 I am not sure about the pain and fatigue. Perhaps the meds triggered the Fibromyalgia to come back??  I personally believe that it’s a result of a culmination of stress; especially the stress of the OCD as it has been pretty severe in the last few months.

 I am seeing a counselor but Exposure Response PreventionTherapy (where for me, I have to touch things and delay hand washing) has been literal hell. It’s worse than stepping on a ton of Legos barefoot in the dark.  Maybe even worse than going without my coffee for a whole day!! It DOES help though….. if I put the work in. In fact, I have made quite a bit of progress! (as much as I hate it, if you yourself have OCD, I highly encourage you to do research on ERP. It is known as the gold standard for OCD treatment.)

The Zoloft seems to help my anxiety however. I have only had one panic attack since I started it.  I used to have them on a regular basis, especially when I worked as a health assistant to the school nurse.  What was I thinking???  I must have been taken over by aliens when I decided to work with sick kids, knowing full well I have a fear of germs. There were days that I was panicking in the car and thought I was going to die. (otherwise, it was a good job)

Here comes the part that is the hardest to share: I quit my job at the end of Feb. after battling suicidal thoughts and depression. One very late night, I was very close to choosing to harm myself.  It was shortly after that, when I knew how badly I needed help and I started on the medication. I used to hate the thought of taking medication but now I feel no shame in it. (and I am so thankful I told my husband and chose not to end my life that night!)


So, what is the point of me telling you all this? Because first of all, I greatly value authenticity.  It’s a huge goal of mine. I want to be honest and transparent. A good coach (or anyone!) is someone who talks about his/her struggles so people know they are not alone. Also,  I want to break the stigma of mental illness.(In fact, May is Mental Health Awareness Month!)  I want people to know there is no shame in talking about it.  It’s just like talking about cancer or diabetes.  It should be natural to discuss openly but society makes it awkward and shameful.  I encourage you to at least talk about it with a friend or family member. We don’t all have to blog about it, but it’s essential to our well-being to let  people know how we are doing (those whom we trust and who love us) so they can support us  the best that they know how, and also, in talking about it,  others know that they, too, can be brave and ask for help.

I used to think I had to have my act together at all times. I worried about what people thought of me. Now I say, “f**k that.” None of us are perfect and we all have a desire to feel accepted and understood. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Support and accountability is important.  Feel free to keep me accountable. (eek!!) And… feel free to reach out to me as well.  I am happy to provide a listening ear if you want to talk about any issues you may have that you feel are keeping you from fully enjoying your life.

 I sometimes think about all I have been through and realize just how much I have survived.  I am a warrior and I will continue to fight for survival.  Will you commit to being more transparent and join forces with other warrior “gods and goddesses” in this battle toward letting go of the stigma and discovering greater Self-Compassion, Love, and Acceptance?  See you on the battlefield. 🙂 

~Kellie M., Body Acceptance Life Coach, Author, and HAES advocate

What is YOUR mental health story?  I’d love to hear from you!  If you feel guided, please comment below.

By the way, here are some important links to check out:

OCD Infohttps://iocdf.org/about-ocd/

Treatment for Eating Disordershttp://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/treatment

Crisis Hotline/suicide prevention: http://www.crisiscallcenter.org/crisisservices.html

Awesome website about mental health (also talks about chronic illness):  http://themighty.com/category/mental-illness/

The BIGGEST problem with Pageants and why I avoid them

It is no surprise that Steve Harvey’s big blunder is trending right now. He announced the wrong winner at the recent Miss Universe Pageant.  I felt bad for Miss Columbia who had to take back the crown.

Then I thought, “Is that really the worst that could happen?”  I made this post on my Facebook page:

I saw that the wrong winner was announced on Miss Universe. That’s terrible. However what is MORE terrible is the fact that this competition is even still around. 😟
‪#‎objectifyingwomen‬ ‪#‎missuniverse‬
‪#‎eatingdisordertrigger‬
‪#‎bodypositive‬

and I tweeted this:

 

The truth is, I am disappointed that Pageants such as Miss Universe and Miss America are still going strong. Why is that?  Sponsorship money? I am sure the ratings are great. The fact is  we still like to drool over pretty women and wish we were them.  As a society, we still glorify the woman’s body as a sexual object and that’s not okay with me.

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These pageants are anti-women and here is why.

 

  1. There is no body diversity.  I know there is more to the pageant than the swimsuit competition.  They do have the talent portion and the “Presence and Poise” (wearing a glamorus evening gown).  But to me, it’s not about WHAT they wear, it’s that each woman  looks the same. They are all a size zero, stereotypical model body type.  Who knows what they put themselves through to look like that.  I want to know the statistics for eating disorders amongst the contestants.    Upon looking at this website, I was floored that they had the audacity to say this:

The Miss Universe Organization empowers women to develop the confidence they need to achieve their personal best. A confident woman has the power to make real change, starting in her local community with the potential to reach a global audience. We encourage every woman to get out of her comfort zone, be herself, and continue to define what it means to be Confidently Beautiful.

So, Miss Universe organization, in other words, it’s great to be confident BUT…. we must have a flat stomach, tiny waist, big boobs and a thigh gap in order to be beautiful.  Thanks for the hypocrisy.

Why don’t we  see bigger women showing off their bodies at these competitions? They don’t allow it.  It’s not their definition of beauty.  I’m sure it’s because they think fat women are lazy and not taking care of themselves. The mindset is,  “How dare this person who surely must binge every night, represent what it means to be a true American!”  (or insert whatever country you are from).

2.  The second biggest reason I abhor these pagents is a result of the objectification—being exposed to the industry (not just pageants, but models in general)  can be a huge trigger for eating disorders.  I know that eating disorders are complex and don’t result from simply looking at skinny women; however, sometimes we don’t realize how these little things can add up in a young, impressionable girl’s (or boy’s) mind.  Imagine what is going though her head when we watch and comment on how beautiful they are.  An obsevant girl will notice that their bodies are all the same.  She might compare her body and feel ashamed or less than.  Even if it’s not an eating disorder trigger, it may lead someone to want to go on a self destructive diet, or never want to wear a swimsuit.  It’s not fair that we are letting society dictate what is okay and it’s certainly NOT okay for young girls (and boys!) to think that they need to look like that to feel beautiful and confident.  It’s important to remove anything in our life that is a trigger for body hatred. For me, letting go of certain objectifying magazines has been a big help in redirecting my focus toward body acceptance.

3. Lastly, it encouarges unhealthy competition. Why are women competing against each other anyway?  I want the focus to be on love, peace and acceptance.  Besides, if someone wants to be in a real competition, they can go on shows such as The Voice or America’s Got Talent (assuming they really do have talent).   I know I have done enough judging and comparing in my life.  I finally feel free to love myself and not worry about how I stack up to other women.  We are all in this struggle of life together and should be lifting one another up, not  tearing each other down based on something superficial.

And after all is said and done…. we could have 20 contestants who are all bigger sized and into Fat Acceptance Activism and it would STILL  be sexually objectifying.  Why?  Because they are being judged for WHAT they are instead of WHO they are. (and who we are cannot be judged)  They are being put on display like tophies to be gawked at.  We are not prizes to be adorned, we are beautiful souls who should be cherished.

So enough with the fake smiles, starvation diets, spray tans, and skimpy bikinis.  My deam is that these competitions will be banned someday.  But for now, we can simply decide not to watch and instead focus on how incredibly amazing we are.

Kellie McGarry

Body Acceptance Life Coach

http://www.mcgarrywellness.org

I’m a warrior and a survivor. (Ruth’s story)- Story #5

You are in for a treat today as my very good friend from England has shared her story and created this beautiful YouTube video just for us!  She is an artist, a writer, a musician, and all around beautiful person. Her story represents all of us women.  We are warriors and we are survivors.  Do you believe that?  Do you live as if you are?  Perhaps you are struggling with an eating disorder.  There is hope!  Perhaps you are struggling with accepting your body just as it is today.  Do not let society get you down. We can fight society’s messages that  tell us we have to be stick thin to be happy.  YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Her story is shared below but I really hope you will also watch her lovely video.  Enjoy!!!  Thank you so much, Ruth Calder Murphy! And don’t forget to check out her Facebook page, Paradoxologies!

(Miss the other stories?  Here is Story #1, #2, #3 and #4).

Ruth's Collage

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 Ruth Marathon

I’m a warrior and a survivor. I’ve wrestled with and fought against the voices – the ones that come out of a crazy culture that’s determined to convince us all that we need more than nourishment, warmth and love to be alive happy. The voices that tell us that, in fact, we need first to feel utterly dissatisfied with ourselves and our lives,  then we need to plaster over that dissatisfaction by striving to align ourselves with their ideas of “perfection”, thus locking the dissatisfaction, anxiety and – ultimately – despair underneath the layers… I’ve fought those voices – the ones that are made to sound increasingly like my own; the imposter voices in my head – and, nowadays, I can finally – after many years – look them full in the face and see that I’ve beaten them. They still shout the same things, but I can see through their words to their hollow, empty heart.

During my adolescence – from the age of 9 – I developed eating disorders. These grew out of a sense of deep-seated unhappiness and a desire, essentially, to disappear. By the time I left secondary (high) school at sixteen, and went on to sixth form college, these had become full-blown anorexia. My weight dropped to five stone (70lbs) and I began to self-harm in order to pinpoint a feeling in the swirling confusion of starvation.

Throughout my twenties, I battled the demons. Writing poetry helped to bring focus and shape into the chaos, and later on, so did painting. I also found enormous freedom and release in running. Running was never a part of my disorder; it was an escape from it. Whilst I was running, I didn’t have to think about food (or lack of it) or my size or shape. I didn’t have to think about self-harm, because I was fully present in my body, able to focus on all the exertions of it, whilst simultaneously being able to free my mind to be, in a sense, “out of body”. Running and the creative arts saved my life and not only that, they helped to make my life something I wanted to keep.

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On the threshold of 30, I got married and over the following five years, gave birth to three children. Life got more complicated – and more precious. During this time, Gradually, I began to become aware that the voice I’d heard in my poetry and art and through my “out of body” running was – and is – my true voice. That it’s the articulation of my true self and that it’s vibrant and real and authentic. That, in fact, it is – and I am – beautiful. I realised that it’s a manifestation of the real me, and that all the other voices – the ones that sound like me but aren’t really, the ones that come from the crazy culture – are lying. Alongside this was, and is, the deep desire to unmask and emasculate those lies to my children so that they can tune in to their own true voices and know their own minds and strength, however often society tells them that they are not enough.

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Now I’m a year into my forties and I’ll finish where I began:  I’m a warrior and a survivor. As such, whatever our crazy culture tries to sell me (literally or metaphorically) and however much it tries to make its voice sound like my own, I’m not buying. I am who I am, whether running or painting or writing or sleeping. I am who I am and I am enough.

~Ruth

www.arciemme.com

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“From Self-Hate to Self-Acceptance” (Debbie Fisher) Story #4

Welcome to Story #4! This story is about truly accepting ourselves and being who we really are without shame. Society tells us women to shrink, to hide our quirks, and to hate our flaws.  If we grow up feeling like we are not enough or worthy, this will cause great distress and may result in eating disorders, constant dieting and perfectionism.  This is not the abundant life we were meant to live!  We are “perfectly imperfect” and that is okay.  We will never measure up to society’s ideals, because it’s totally unrealistic.  Once we can find freedom to be ourselves and to accept who we are, we will find peace within.

Thank you, Debbie for sharing your story!!  I’m sure it will inspire others as it had for me.  Miss the other stories?  Read Story #1, Story #2 and Story #3.  And please leave a comment below for these beautiful ladies to express how their story resonated with you!

Debbie Fisher collage

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Our stories connect us. I’ve been traveling about sharing my story with others. What I have learned from this is just how connected we all are. My story is another’s story. My story is also the WHY of my business. It’s why I became a health and life coach.

For most of my life I lived in a turtle shell of low self-esteem, terrible body image, and truly hated who I was. Ironically, I had no idea who I was because I had lived my life by every one else’s definition of me. I grew up with a mommy dearest. I was deathly afraid of my mother and lived my whole life in fear. Every single thing about me was picked apart, every physical feature, every emotional aspect, everything. I grew up feeling completely and totally flawed. At 17 I left home and went to college. It was the most exciting time in my life because I felt that once I was away from her I could live my own life. It was great, however, all of those messages I had heard throughout my entire life came along for the ride. The tapes played continuously in my head, “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.” I took over the role my mother played in my life and began to not only believe the messages but to speak them to myself. I picked myself apart. Criticized every thing about me just as she had done. At 19 I married my high school sweetheart who basically was another version of my mother (funny how we do this). I was never enough.

By all outward appearances we looked like the perfect couple and family. We had a beautiful home, three amazing and wonderful children, nice cars, the whole package. But the truth is, I was slowly dying a very painful emotional death. After 20 years of marriage, I left and started my life over. Once again, I thought I could live my own life outside of this emotional abuse and once again the messages followed. I soon realized that I had no clue who I was. Everyone else in my life had defined me and I had let them. I started a journal, something I have each of my clients do.  The journal was only about me. I wrote down my favorite everything, day of the week, ice cream, song, poem, food, etc. Anything that I could think of that was only about me, I put it in my journal. I cut out pictures and words that resonated with me. I wrote down song lyrics and poems that spoke to me. Little by little my true authentic self started to emerge but in truth, I didn’t know how to love myself. I still critiqued myself. I still compared myself to others. I still felt like I was not enough.

I am a true believer in the power of the Universe and how we are put in front of the lesson we need at just the right time. The turning point lesson for me happened early one morning as I sat browsing the internet. I stumbled across a Louise Hay video. She was sitting on the floor with a group of people talking to them about the importance of self-love and self-acceptance. I was so touched by her words. She asked them to do an exercise. She asked them to stand in front of a mirror and to truly look at themselves. She asked them to look in their eyes, to look at their bodies, all of the parts, and to really see them. Then she asked them to repeat this affirmation daily, “I love and accept myself just as I am.” She asked them to do this exercise daily until they truly believed it and felt it in their deepest being.

After the video ended, I knew it was what I had to do for myself. I paced my house, crying in a near panic because I actually did not think I could look in the mirror. I didn’t think I could truly see myself. I had stood in front of the mirror for years and never seen myself. I had looked passed myself to do what needed to be done. I thought that if I ever truly looked at myself, all of those messages and definitions I had heard and spoke to myself might actually be true. I was afraid the true view would only validate that worst fear. After many tearful minutes, I made my way to the bathroom. I stripped off all of my clothes and with my eyes shut I stood in front of the mirror. With tears streaming down my face, I slowly opened my eyes and stood looking at myself. I stood looking until I truly came in to focus, until I truly saw myself. What happened was not at all what I had expected would. I saw myself for the very first time. It was like welcoming a long lost friend who had been missing for years. I looked deep into my eyes and saw the pain that resided behind the smiles that I had always used to cover it. I looked at my face, and through the tears saw a young girl who desperately just wanted to be loved. I looked at my arms and small hands and thought of all the ways that I had used them. I thought of how I had been able to hold and nurture my children, to hug my family, my friends, even strangers. I looked at my short legs and realized that I never have to ask them to take me where I need to go. I looked at my belly, round and fleshy and praised it for carrying, nourishing and nurturing my three babies. For the first time, I saw all of me. I began to find great comfort in seeing myself. Then I said, 

“I love and accept myself just as I am.”

I repeated this exercise daily. Ever time a negative thought popped into my head, I repeated this mantra. It was a daily journey to fight my way out of the self- loathing and destructive mess I had created but I continued because for the first time in my life I felt worthy. I felt that I was enough. Recently I discovered this quote by Brene Brown, “You either walk inside your own story and you own it, or you stand outside of it and hustle for your worthiness.” This quote hit me so deep in my soul. After years of standing outside of myself and hustling for my worthiness, I walked inside my story and I owned it. I share my story in an effort to help others own theirs.

I do this work because I never want another person to spend another day disowning, dishonoring and disallowing any part of who they are. I do this work because self-love and self-acceptance are the foundation to a world of peace. As we learn to love and accept ourselves totally and completely, we also learn to love and accept others just as they are. This is the world I want to live in and the one I want to leave behind. 

Debbie Fisher cowboy hat

~Debbie Fisher

Holistic Health & Life Coach

Encompassing Life, LLC.

LOVE WHO YOU ARE NOW!

Follow Debbie on Facebook HERE and on Twitter @coachdebfisher

“My Self Love Journey” (Seryna’s story) –Story #3

Today I am going to share a story about falling in love.  No, not that kind of love.  I am talking about Self-Love.  When it comes to the subject of loving ourselves, some people ask, “Isn’t it selfish to focus on loving ourselves?”   Let me remind you.  As women, we are WAY too focused on pleasing other people.  If you are a busy Mom, you probably put yourself last.   We worry too much about how others view us.  We are so busy and stressed out that we have no time for self-care.  We may try to find our identity in our appearances or if we have a partner, or if our parents accept our lifestyle. This is no way to live.  It leaves us stressed out, overwhelmed and even depressed.  Self-love is the essential foundation to living a happy, vibrant life!

Kellie McGarry

Self-Love and Health At Every Size® Advocate

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Please either watch the video or read Seryna’s story below.  Did you miss the other posts in the Blog Series?  Here is Story #1 and Story #2.  

Thank you, Seryna, for sharing your story!!!

 

 

Seryna Myers pic

I was a kid of divorce, and never really felt my dad’s love. This caused me to seek out validation from basically every male who crossed my path – dates, friends, teachers… I didn’t even know I was doing it. I had zero boundaries, little self respect, and I would get so hurt and so angry when I felt mistreated, but I also never asked for better. I didn’t gain weight until my early 20s, but I think I was just insulating myself from the hurt and may have even been using it as a way to keep people away, or to test them and see if they could love me inspite of it.

In 2007 I started noticing how negative and critical I was… every thought was judging myself or others. I spent a year observing… and every time I’d catch myself doing it, I’d force myself to think of a kinder alternative. At that point I was raising my teenage sister and really wanted to set a better example for her than our parents did. Being alone with my thoughts lead to a lot of soul searching, and the better I felt about myself, the more I seemed to attract external things that would challenge those good feels. My dad told me three times in a matter of weeks that I was constantly chasing men out of my league and that if I didn’t lower my expectations I’d never find a husband. My “friend” actually said “You’re actually really happy with yourself, eh? Even looking like that?” A cab driver asked me if there was a medical reason for my weight. My employer tried to incentivize me with a gym pass… None of that made me waver from how good I felt about myself. I could see myself, warts and all, and instead of fixating on the things I deemed imperfect, I could love myself anyways. There were times after failed relationship upon failed relationship that I’d begin wondering what was wrong with me, was my dad right and I had set the bar impossibly high, but then I’d cry and sleep it off and the next day just reassure myself that I’d find someone when he was ready for ME and that in the mean time I’d just fill up on so much awesome experiences and people that I wouldn’t wait around until he showed up. (He did in 2012) I wrote a bit about my experiences in this blog post: http://www.pamperedgoddess.com/blog/the-audacity-to-love-oneself.

That brings me to now… I’m 35 and am on the other side of some big struggles. I talk openly about them to help break down weight stigma and even mental health stigma as I’ve struggled in the past with both depression and anxiety. I do my best to walk the walk and at the very least look upon myself with kind eyes.

manifesto - biz card size

(Thank you for sharing this graphic, Seryna!)

Seryna Myers

Pampered Goddess

http://www.pamperedgoddess.com

Join Seryna’s Facebook group: The Self -Care Revolution

Read her other blog posts:

http://www.pamperedgoddess.com/blog/body-war-peace

http://www.pamperedgoddess.com/blog/the-b-word

“Why I said bye bye to the scales” (Melissa’s story)

 

What is your relationship like with your bathroom scale?  I stopped weighing myself years ago and it was one of the best decisions I have made.  Today I am sharing a story about someone who also said “bye bye” to scales and how she learned to accept her body.  This is Story #2 in my Blog Series where I share inspirational stories of women around the world who have discovered self-love and body acceptance.  Did you miss Story #1 with Lee-Ann?  Read that Here .

Thank you Melissa for sharing your story!! 🙂  (Watch the video or read the story below and be sure to check out her page!)

 

 

 

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Body Acceptance Story #2

Guess what? It’s my anniversary. Not your typical anniversary though. It’s been ONE year since I got on my scales and felt my stomach hit the floor. A feeling I was ready to wave bye-bye to, for good. For me it does not create a positive body image.  It highlighted things I didn’t accept about myself. We all have our body types, our DNA, our genetics –  the things that make us unique. We are what we are.   I am blessed with this body, the three children it’s carried, the breath is gives me to go on about life and build cherished memories. And I’ll never weigh 130 pounds, unless I ate air for my three meals a day!
The final straw for me was when I had gone on a trip to Australia for 5 weeks last summer. I simply adore Australian food, and any overseas expat will tell you that they totally gorge on all the scrumptious things they miss being overseas –  the bakeries, the cheeses, the Cadbury’s chocolate made in Australia. Not to mention the consumption of wine at the constant catch up’s with loved ones.  I also didn’t have access to my usual exercise routine, so working off that gorgeous food went to the wayside. I got home, and right back on my lifestyle program, as I have done for 7 years now and have embedded into my life. I even joined a boot camp on Groupon. Moving along, I worked my butt off for about 2 weeks and got on those scales. It took me days to sike myself up.  I had put on 4 pounds. My heart sunk, tears streamed out of my eyes and I sounded so utterly pathetic to myself. I called my husband in tears. He thought something severely catastrophic must of happened to call him in such a panic. “I put on 4 pounds”. It sounded like such a first world problem. And that’s when I realized it was out of control.
There are times in life where we have an unhealthy relationship with something or someone, and you need to detach yourself from that thing or person. That was the scales for me. It’s not healthy for me, it brings me down, it detracts from the awesomeness in my life.
A year later, and it’s been the best darn year in respect to my body image. It’s a part of how YummoMummo got started. I really wanted to celebrate myself, have fun with myself, highlight what I loved about my body. Celebrate my delicious pear shape.  I started to accept the things I could not change. I’m not a lover of my legs but instead of shaming that, I celebrate ways I can elongate them,  wear what’s right for my body type.

This summer I put a photo of myself on Instagram in my swimsuit. Gasp. I never would of done that in a million years before.

Melissa swimsuit photo

Here I am sunning myself in Hawaii, on my 39th birthday. I found myself a great bikini for the summer that let me have some fun with a  season  trend (high-waisted bikinis) and suited my body type. I’m loving life!

So here we are, a year later.

On my anniversary.

And a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, pardon the pun!

I appreciate everyone is unique and the scales won’t bring about panic for others that it did me. And I also appreciate that others have a weight loss journey that totally requires scales. My opinion is unique to me and not a reflection on what I think others should do.

It is important for me to maintain my weight. Diabetes is a big factor in my family so I am still very conscious to take care of myself in the present, to avoid future problems. I live by some general routines that are enough for me. I drink mainly water (the rare diet soda), a large portion of my diet are fruit and vegetables, I make sure I get my 8 hours sleep in at night, I go the gym 4 times a week as well as daily habits of walking and biking with the kids. And I go by my clothes. If my skinny jeans are feeling a little tight, I ramp things up a bit and it all evens out again.  As well, for women, there are so many factors that can play with the scales such as your period, hormones, water retention etc.

scale-with-truth2

So there you have it folks. I hope you can appreciate I have dug a little deeper for you in this post and I hope it inspires you in your own life to change the things you can, and to accept the things you cannot.If you follow me on social media, you would have heard me announce that I am now a Global Ambassador for the Body Image Movement (BIM). I was doing cartwheels in my head when I found out. You will be hearing more about it in a future blog post so stay tuned for that. But the movement is teaching women a lesson we are slowly forgetting – to love ourselves from the inside out, and celebrate our awesomeness. That you are enough!–

Melissa Menzies (YummoMummo)

Fashion Blogger/Wardrobe Stylist
Instagram – @yummomummo
 

“My Journey of Body Acceptance” (Lee-Ann’s story)

 

 

Do you sometimes feel alone in your journey of trying to become friends with your body? I know I used to feel that way!  Over the past couple of years, I have met some amazing women who inspire me and I know I am not alone! YOU are not alone!  As I was thinking of what to post in my blog, I had the idea to share the stories of a few different women.They are stories of struggling to love themselves and of discovering body acceptance.  I will be posting each story here as well as sharing it in video format! This first one is from my friend Lee-Ann, who I met in her Facebook group- Body Positive.  After you read (or watch), please show her some love in the comments below! And check back here for the next story!

 

 

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Lee-Ann's pic collage

 

 

 

 

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I truly believe that if I didn’t begin this journey of finding peace with my body, I might not be here to share this. Just a few short years ago, I was so unhappy with what I saw in the mirror that suicidal thoughts were a daily occurrence.  Leaving the house was beyond difficult as I felt that I would be judged. I felt like I was the ugliest women ever with the grossest body. Many hours a day were spent online, looking at before and after plastic surgery photos and I would be filled with so much hope that one day, I could change how I looked. Off and on throughout my life, I have struggled with eating disorders and the scale ruled my life.

After the birth of my last son 2 years ago, something changed. By 6 weeks postpartum, I was at my pre-pregnancy weight but then the number starting going up. I knew that something had to change and that something had nothing to do with my looks, it was something in my mind and heart. Around this time, I began noticing more and more positive body image things online and I took to heart as many tips as I could. I began my own group where being body positive ruled, where women could share how they too began to love themselves. That scale….I smashed it with a hammer and have not been on a scale since. I had to learn to replace my negative thoughts with a positive one. It was especially helpful to step out of my comfort zone and do things that before I would avoid such as going to a pool in a bathing suit or wearing outfits that made me feel good without worrying about what others thought. I began to question and call BS on all the messages the media gives out. One of the biggest things I learned and remind myself of daily is that my worth and value has nothing to do with what I weigh or how I look.
Today, I actually feel good about myself most of the time and when I do have bad days, I am able to go easy on myself. I can leave the house and enjoy living in the moment with knowing in my heart, that is what matters….living. I can look in the mirror ( I even recently hung a full length one up ) and feel great. I want to encourage those who hate their reflection that if I can go from body hater to body lover, you can too!!
 Lee-Ann photo 2
~Lee-Ann Henderson
Click HERE to join her group— Body Positive– on Facebook!