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Free at last – learning to love and appreciate your body!

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Until last week I had been held captive…by a size 8 pair of jeans!

‘What…that’s a bit weird’, I hear you say.

Let me explain.

A couple of years back I decided to throw myself the challenge by undertaking a 12 week ‘before and after’ body transformation program. I wanted a challenge and thought that it would be fun to see how radically I could change my body.

I know I am a bit weird – LOL ! But in all seriousness, I wanted to challenge myself not only physically but also mentally. And boy did I do that.

The 12 (ok, it was actually 16) weeks consisted of lots of egg whites, broccoli and chicken breast…and not much else. Coupled of course with copious amounts of exercise, both lifting weights and lots of cardio.

And at the end of the challenge I had whittled myself down to a tiny size 8, was pretty lean and for the first time in my life, could put a pair of skinny jeans on…FYI – I am a muscular, sporty kind of gal so getting my thighs in skinny jeans is usually next to impossible! Oh yes, and those size 8 jeans I mentioned fit quite nicely.

So what…lots of women lose weight.

Well, that’s true, but what I failed to realise at the end of the time was that this body shape was not normal for me (did I mention I was no longer having a period, was exhausted all of the time and such a cranky pants).

What I had not prepared myself for post challenge was the onslaught of negative chatter inside my head as I got back to a more normal, healthy and sustainable size and shape.

And with this came quite a few moments of, “Oh god I don’t fit into that outfit anymore…I’ve let myself slide…I need to go back on a super strict diet so I can fit back into those clothes”.

As women we can be so cruel and unkind to ourselves sometimes.

So for the past 2 years I have opened my wardrobe every day and seen two distinct set of clothes. Those I bought post challenge – because of course I wanted to make the most of this super lean body and wear whatever the heck I wanted. And then there are the clothes I had before the challenge…a range of sizes and styles that suit my natural shape.

And those size 8 jeans…well they were post challenge skinny leg jeans…and until recently I had been choosing to let them hold me hostage. I kept telling myself that I needed to hang onto them, just in case I got back down to that magical size.

What these jeans were doing in fact was stopping me from celebrating the life I live now – one of balance, joy, yummy healthy foods and some fun foods too, and exercise that made my body feel energetic and healthy.

The reason I want to share this with you is because I see women every day doing the same thing…holding on to clothes from the past – clothes that hold them hostage.

Whether it’s from a time before children when life was theirs and time was abundant; a period where they were less busy and had more time for self; an event that they had worked hard for – maybe a wedding, special holiday or reunion. A time when they were younger and hormones were kinder to them. Or maybe, like me, they chose to give themselves a challenge or undertake a 12 week program.

The thing is that these are simply moments in time…and often the methods you use to get there are unsustainable or don’t fit with your every day life.

For me, I had to weigh up whether I just wanted the physical body, or a life much fuller than that. And the thing I had to do in order to free myself was to take all those clothes from the past and give them away (not hide them in the back of the wardrobe). I cannot tell you how empowering that was.

My life today is richer. It is not defined by the number on the scales, or the size of my jeans. I define my life by what I can do and how I feel.

I am strong, fit, energetic and happy. I feel comfortable in my own skin and most of the time I know what looks good on me – although it did help enlisting the services of a stylist to help me understand what suited me (best investment ever – check out Vibrant Concepts – Sam and Jordi Woods rock!

So if you have clothes in your wardrobe that hold you back or were from a time in the past that does not match your life today…that make you feel less than you really are…then I say, give them to someone else.

Swap with a friend. Give them to charity. Sell them on ebay if they are flashy and expensive ! And then go out, shop up a storm and buy yourself clothes that make you feel great now.

Even if you are working towards a healthier life and know that the way you are doing this is balanced and sustainable, you deserve to feel beautiful now…not just when you reach your goal.

I know as a mum with a young daughter, accepting my unique body and celebrating what I can do today, is far more important in terms of role modelling than being able to get into a bikini and always being seen by my little girl to be ‘dieting’ and being negative about my body.

I hope sharing my personal journey supports you in celebrating your own unique beauty and enjoying your life today.

If you are keen to learn more about positive body image, I highly recommend Taryn Brumfitts book called ‘Embrace’…a honest, funny and very relatable story I think a lot of women will relate to (I picked mine up from Big W).

Love,

Lisa xx

www.simplywomenwellness.com.au

Lisa Mills

Lisa is on a mission to connect people with their body, their thoughts and what lights them up so they can fully live an extraordinary life. She guides people to discover their truth and purpose so that they can live in a confident. authentic and meaningful way. Lisa is especially passionate about inspiring Fitness Professionals to be authentic, unique and connected with their purpose so they can have a long and fulfilling career or build the business of their dreams.

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