Many women hide their true brilliance under layers of frumpy clothes, excess body weight and bad health. Tragically many of us feel guilty taking care of ourselves. If you’ve read about my “Mouldy Banana Moment“, then you’ll understand just how badly I used to treat myself. I know I’m not alone.
Of course there are many elements that affect our self esteem. Overly photoshopped images in the media, unrealistic body images and the incredible pressure women of all ages feel to maintain effortless beauty no matter what.
This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Britain’s top stylist and fashion guru Gok Wan visit my local shopping centre for some live makeovers. In a short 45 minute show, Gok and his team of stylists made over 9 women from the audience, but made every single one of the ladies in the audience feel great about ourselves.
Gok’s message is all about positivity and loving the body you’re in. He never advocates plastic surgery or even losing weight – just loving yourself and using your best assets to your advantage.
During the hour, he kept calling out to us:
I love you
Look at your amazing bangers! (British for boobs!)
Everyone was laughing and clapping and every woman in that centre felt like a million bucks. Funnily enough one of my coaching ladies was in the audience and not only scored a makeover but got to keep the amazingly gorgeous dress as a present from Gok. I told her some magic would happen if she gave herself permission to dream!
The show left me buzzing, and it got me thinking about my own body journey over the last couple of years.
A couple of years ago, I lost two dress sizes for my wedding using a really natural diet, a daily practice of self-care and gentle exercise like yoga. For the first time in my life, it was effortless to look and feel healthy. I felt great about myself and my confidence soared.
In 2010, I went on a wild trip around the world testing honeymoon destinations. After six months of drinking champagne, reviewing 5-star restaurants and eating on the run at airports, I put on 10kgs. Most of that came on the first two months. Suddenly, it was hard to feel good because none of my clothes fit!
It was particularly embarrassing because we were interviewed on TV, had countless photos taken and were visiting mainly hot countries, so my body was on constant display. I even asked Mark to hide my back-fat with his hand during any photo or video shoots! My mind was always racing – “Which angle is the most unflattering?… I can’t believe how big my arms look on that monitor… I should go to the gym tomorrow”
We were even scheduled to do a bikini photo shoot on Whitehaven beach in Queensland, one of the most beautiful and exclusive beaches in the world. We were to arrive by private plane and then enjoy a beautiful picnic on the beach. I was just dreading the day and had begged the photographer to only take photos from certain angles. I had brought a white sarong to drape around me, hoping it would hide the excess.
On the day of the shoot, a rainstorm meant that the trip was cancelled and I was so relieved! All I could think about was relief that my fat body wouldn’t be shown. Too bad, I missed out on a potentially amazing experience, one that people rave about and even Oprah enjoyed on her trip to Australia. Did I manifest the rain storm and miss out on this incredible day out? How dumb is that, seriously?
Are you hiding away?
Here are some big clues to see if you’re not feeling so loved up about yourself:
- You find it hard to look directly into a camera lens so you have photos of yourself looking away wearing a vague smile
- You make excuses about going out because you have “nothing to wear”
- You avoid activities where you have to show your body, ironically the very activities that will help you lose weight or feel good about yourself.
I realised I’ve been completely beating myself up for the weight and sending a lot of self-hatred to my body, which is completely counter-productive. I’ve mentioned to countless people exactly how much weight I had put on (I even mentioned it in television interviews!), so I’ve just been perpetuating the story.
I didn’t even want to write about this until I had “lost the weight”. I thought I’d wait until I had a brilliant success story, but I love being honest and authentic because I know there are some of you who are waiting “…until” too.
The four steps to creating your ideal life.
In this video, I talked about the four stages to creating your life exactly the way you want it:
- Declutter physically and emotionally
- Define what you want
- Surround yourself with positivity
- Take inspired action
Whenever you feel stuck, always go back to basics, so you can push yourself to a new level. Let’s start with decluttering!
My first step was to go through my wardrobe of travel clothes and throw out anything that makes me feel worse – either by being too tight or too worn. After living out of a suitcase for most of 2010, a lot had to go.
You might decide to declutter your cupboards and fridge of any junk food. It’s a great way to start afresh with a new healthier lifestyle.
To declutter emotionally, I always go to the concept of forgiveness, so I decided to apply this to my body. Could I forgive it for being overweight?
I went through each body part, starting at my toes and sent forgiveness and love to myself. What really shocked me is that I had a negative thought for every single body part. Subconsciously I had been saying to my body:
- You are ugly
- You are wrong
- You are too hairy
- You are disgusting
- You are lopsided
- You are too fat
Is it any wonder that this time, losing weight felt like a losing battle, instead of when it felt effortless and fun?
In the last week since I did this exercise I’ve felt a massive shift. I even felt like I’ve lost weight! Every time I catch myself in the mirror, I blow myself a kiss. Without even trying, my diet has cleaned up. I even did a park workout with my husband Mark on the weekend.
Could sending love and acceptance to your body really make such a difference?
Give it a try. Take some quiet space and visualise each part of your body in turn. Mentally affirm these words to that body part:
I forgive you,
I love you,
I accept you.
You may be surprised at the negative thoughts you may have for each body part. Imagine the impact that has on you?
Try it yourself. Send love and acceptance to each part:
This is a beautiful exercise to do when you’re lying in bed at night, it’s also an excellent relaxation tool because it calms you from toe to head. I also sell a guided meditation audio of this in my shop.
Try it and then come back and tell me in the comments:
What negative thoughts did you have? Did it shock you?
What has opened up for you with new acceptance and love for your body?
You’re beautiful, I love you and I accept you.