BONUS 022 – Let’s Talk: Body Shame, Body Dysmorphia and Selflovespo

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Today, I want to talk about something that I’ve been exploring myself. Can we talk about our bodies?

If we haven’t met in person yet, here’s the best way I can describe myself.

I’m 5’10” inches.

I am strong, healthy and well… a bit squishy around the midsection.

Tummy rolls, extra skin from birthing two awesome kids. Stretch marks.

Yup, I’ve got all of that.

At the time of this recording, I weigh ~195 lbs. That’s 88 kg or 13.9 stones, if you live in Europe.

My Body Mass Index (aka. my BMI) is hovering around 28 and the scales say I’m “overweight”, teetering towards “obese.”

I eat fairly healthy… fruits, veggies, proteins, legumes, nuts and all of that stuff. I don’t really drink at all. I work out 3-4 times a week, consistently. And I’m learning to slow down, take the time to prep my lunches beforehand, not eat in front of my computer screen, and really slow down to chew and taste my food.

The reason I share all of this is because my body and I haven’t been friends for a very, very long time now.

I think my earliest memory of being aware of my weight was right around age 6, when I was in a ballet recital and everyone else’s tutu on the costume rack was tiny and mine was much, much bigger. Or at least, so I thought.

I’ve always known I was different.

Only recently have I realized that there’s a term for this disorder:

Body Dysmorphia

Body Dysmorphia is basically a mental health condition where you think a part of your body is much bigger or flawed when compared to others.

See, the thing is… I’ve not overcome this yet. I’m a bit of a work-in-progress.

When I hear that this is a “mental health condition” – my brain instantly thinks, “um, this isn’t a mental thing… this is a FACT. Facts are facts, America! Look at my tummy rolls in the mirror. BLEH.”

Body shame is not something you overcome overnight.

This healing work takes time but it also requires me to slow down and make the time to listen to my body, connect with it once again and ask the all-important questions:

Is this serving me still?

And if not, is there a better way?

Realizing this is a limiting belief I’ve been carrying around with me for the last 34 years, I know this is holding me back from living my best life right now.

I heard a guided visualization recently by Soul Care Coach, Lacy Young. She walks through the process of shedding these old limiting beliefs one by one, like taking off a big heavy winter jacket, and then an itchy wool turtleneck and another layer and another layer. Lacy guided these images to be done while you imagine yourself walking down the beach.

Slowly and surely, take off the things that no longer serve you.

Let it go.

I think a lot of the beliefs we have about ourselves, our identities, what we believe is absolute TRUTH… are simply stories we’ve picked up along the way. To shield us. To protect us. To help us get from point A to point B. To get us to where we want to go.

It’s important to honor that (old) truth and acknowledge it. See it eye to eye and say thank you for trying to protect me. But now it’s time for me to let you go. Turn the page. Flip to the next chapter.

Move up and onwards.

So, for the last 6 weeks, I’ve dramatically changed my lifestyle to slow down, really focus on nourishing my mind, my body, my spirit, my everything and just simply listen.

Ask yourself:

What would nourish me, right here, right now?

Asking that question has helped me tremendously.

Most times, I find my intuition saying, “I need to get outside in the sunshine. I need more water. Can we sleep in this weekend? What would life look like if I spent more time making art or sitting on a park bench or journalling?”

It diffuses the power that binge eating has had over my psyche. I’m realizing that food isn’t evil.

It’s just food.

I’m finding that when I take the fear away and I obsess less over the cookies and cake that are around me, I crave them less because they aren’t “forbidden” any longer. Moderation is what all the licensed dietitians are preaching nowadays and I’m listening to this – finally.

What’s helping me?

While I haven’t figured it all out yet, I wanted to share a few ideas of what’s helping me these days, if you’re struggling with this issue:

  • I stumbled upon the hashtag #selflovespo on Instagram recently and that’s lead me to a few people that are really helping put words to what I’m feeling these days. It’s helping me to re-write the script in my head, and how I feel about my body. Go check them out: @dietculturesucks, @harri_rose, @antidietriotclub
  • If you have a trusted photographer like I do in @karinalyburnphoto, why not book a personal branding photoshoot and get out there and start taking photos of yourself? I know, I know… super scary. But it might be the nudge you need to get you out of your comfort zone. Plus, it might actually be FUN.
  • Last but not least… therapy, therapy, therapy! There’s this thing called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and if you can find a therapist in your area that specializes in this type of talk therapy, he/she could really help you gain clarity on what triggers you, what’s underneath your negative thoughts and how to shift your mindset and habits. My therapist Natalie is an absolute God-send.

And just one final whisper, just from me to you, dear friend… come in closer.

I know this stuff is scary.

I nearly hit delete on this episode a million times myself. It’s scary to say it out loud, to acknowledge this fear has a name, and that it’s been holding me back for so, so long.

If anything I’ve talked about has triggered you or twinged some deep, deep trauma sitting inside you right now, I want you to know, you are not alone.

There are so many of us out there. Don’t be afraid to reach out. To me. To your best friend. To a professional and find the help you really need. And it doesn’t just happen to women… this is a human issue, regardless of gender.

There is a better way to live life. There is a different choice, if you’re ready and willing to take a tiny step towards healing. It doesn’t have to be some massive, sweeping change, all at once. Just baby steps, that’s all you need right now.

You can do this, I believe in you.

It’s time to SIMPLIFY.


If this thought of the day inspired you…

Snap a photo of you doing the thing and send it to me via Instagram, privately or publicly… Just tag @thesimplifiers – I’ll be your virtual accountability buddy in your quest to simplify your life.

You’ll see in my Instastories whenever I head to gym where I say “I do it… because _____” and this is my little way of reminding myself why I workout and why I move my body. I do it because of self-care and self-love. And to document the journey, all along the way as I heal.

Heads up to my Texas listeners

I’ll be in Austin on Tuesday, August 21st, speaking live at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. I’ll be talking about how to simplify your social media, both personally and professionally. Sponsored by ILEA Austin, this evening event will cover simple, practical tips that I learned when I did my own digital detox away from social media. And how to truly use social as a vehicle towards real-life connections, collaborations and ultimately, grow your business.

Less wasting time, less anxiety and stress. Friends, there is a better way of doing social and I want to show you how. Get your early bird tickets before August 15th and I hope to meet you there.

As always friends, keep things simple.

Join us and become a Simplifier!

Well hello there, thanks for stopping by and having a listen to The Simplifiers Podcast! Our mission is to take topics in business and in life… and SIMPLIFY them!

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