One thing that is DEFINITELY not a secret is that a lot of girls struggle with body image. A crippling inability to stop comparing themselves to others, and the way they think they SHOULD look.
The other day a friend of mine asked;
“Do you have any TIPS Sarah, you look amazing… I want to know your SECRET”.
Jaysus, that was lovely to hear!
It was so nice, that I really did want to share my secret; the only problem was I didn’t know if I had one!
I have good days, bad days and days that are just days!
So I had to think about it…
It hit me like a tonne of bricks.
I DEFINITELY DIDN’T HAVE A SECRET!
I just have three little things that I like doing, and that work for me.
They work for me because of my story. But I think my story is fairly generic so maybe they will work for you too!
Here are my little secrets;
1. Lift weights 2. Eat REAL food 3. Have fun with 1 and 2!!!
Like all stories, there is a beginning, a middle and an end.
So here’s MY story (well not the end because I don’t know what that is yet).
THE BEGINNING It all started when I was born with big bones!!
I was about 11 when I started to feel uncomfortable in my skin. Everyone around me was super skinny and babe-a-licous and I felt like I looked like I ate all the pies.
I couldn’t understand why I looked this way and the people around me looked another way!
When I was 11, I was too young or immature to truly understand the massive role of acceptance and mothers. My mum used to sit me in front of the mirror and encourage me to say “I love you Sarah” (ok, I know… bear with me… I’ll explain now…)
The cheesiness and embarrassment of it made me want to gag but my mum was trying hard to cultivate a sense of CONFIDENCE and ACCEPTANCE. I needed this so, I could accept myself as I am– no comparisons, no judgement’s. Just me, myself and I.
On top of this I also had a rather tricky relationship with food.
I took out all my anger, rage, and frustration on food!
I also celebrated, loved and shared so many memories with and around food.
But food was not the problem. The problem was my relationship with food.
In summary (not that this story is very long and needs to be summarised, but I like summaries), the beginning was made up of;
• Big bones • Babe-a-licous babes and lack of self-esteem • A tumultuous love affair with food
The beginning was basically where it all went wrong and the middle was where things started to go right, and that only happened recently.
THE MIDDLE I learned all MY secrets in the middle of MY story!
At my heaviest I was 85kg, and at my lightest I was 75kg.
I gave up on the scales a long time ago (and I recommend you do the same, they have an evil partner in crime “diet monsters”, and they do nothing to help build your self esteem).
It is fair to say that in the last 2 and a half years my body shape changed and I lost some weight.
I spent the beginning of my story trying to lose weight and when it finally happened…
***I DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE***
… Upon reflection it comes as no surprise that I didn’t notice the weight loss – because I was enjoying myself and focusing my energies elsewhere.
The reason why I squat (or just plain exercise) is because it’s fun. I found a gym that I love and something that I loved doing, something that gets me out of bed at 5.30am on a cold miserable winter’s day.
That’s how I learned about tip number 1; lift weights. And tip number 3; have fun!
I also began to eat differently – eliminating a lot of processed food and eating more real food.
I developed a real passion for cooking. I enjoy preparing my own food, cooking from scratch and seeing what happens. I love exploring new tastes and trying new things.
It’s true what they say – abs are not made in the gym, they are made in the kitchen, but your head holds the key to unlocking this ability to succeed.
It took me a while to get used to my new body shape and I slowly became quite nervous that the weight would come back! This is where the villain entered my story!
I stopped having fun!
The evil diet monsters sucked me into their world! I did them all – Paleo, Atkins, Zoning, detoxes, Cabbage soup diet, Grapefruit diet, Intermittent fasting, calorie deficit, Whole 30, eat too little, and exercise too much!
Do you want to know the strange thing though! I didn’t lose any weight with these diet monsters so why did I feel pressure to ascribe to them? For me, these diets were too restrictive! There were too many rules and I created a moral framework where food was either “ good” or “evil”. For me there was no balance and there was no fun.
I lost weight because I stopped eating crap that was processed within an inch of its life and I continued to exercise.
I learned the importance of respecting what you put in your body, but not obsessing over it.
Some of the best meals I have ever tasted are the ones I have prepared for myself. The time I spend in the kitchen is sometimes my most enjoyable.
I started having fun again.
I eat “real food”, but yes I occasionally eat chips, and scones with jam and butter. I do not punish myself for eating this way. I do not ascribe to any one diet but I am inspired by them all!
The middle part of my story was the most challenging in so many ways.
And it afforded me the most opportunity to learn about myself and grow into the person that I want to be. Not who society, the latest craze, fad or ideal has deemed “sexy”.
So in summary (God Bless summaries): • The easy part was losing weight. • The hard part was trying to manage the emotional aftermath. • I did every diet under the sun and the only diet that ever worked for me was eating “real food” (ie not a diet at all). • If you want a scone, eat the scone. Be ok with the decision. Make a better decision next time.
THE END Ummm… Well the end of MY story is still being written isn’t it!?
But this IS the end part of my “secret tips” story… I’m still eating real food, lifting weights and having heaps of fun.
You need to find what is right for you, to listen to and respect your body.
The most important thing I learned is to HAVE FUN!!
If you stop having fun, what the hell is it all worth?
Because I believe so passionately that every woman deserves to be happy with who she is, and what she looks like, I'd like to invite you to some free online training so that you can start to work through all the bullshit stories you tell yourself about why you're not good enough.
If you're finally ready to be a happier version of you, comfortable in your own skin, click on this link here to reserve your spot on our "Are You Good Enough?" webinar.