The CliffsNotes On My Body

IMG_9293.jpg The other day I had to step on the scale, and if you know me or read my blogs, you're probably surprised that I still even have a scale in my house. I let go of "the number" on the scale a very long time ago, and I stopped letting the scale dictate my mood, meaning that I very RARELY weigh myself. I used the phrase "had to step on the scale" because I was actually inputting my baseline information into a spreadsheet to submit for the Strongest You Coaching Program that I'm participating in through Girls Gone Strong. Along with our weight, we also submitted body measurements and rated our levels of stress, sleep, energy, etc...

Surprisingly, I was pretty happy with the number. Happy in the fact that I endured the holidays eating chocolate and drinking wine and eating movie popcorn and STILL kept my body at the same weight that it was a few months prior. To be 100% honest, my pants fit better today than they did a few months ago. I actually stopped paying attention to the details in the food that I was eating. I stopped letting food control me. The only thing I really allowed myself to focus on was eating to 80% full, while prioritizing proteins and veggies first and still allowing myself indulgences along the way. That's it, folks. Moderation for the win! It seems to be working for ME.

So, back to the Strongest You (SY) Coaching Program that I'm involved in.

Yes, I am a certified personal trainer.

Yes, I've already been through a 60# weight loss transformation.

Yes, I write about fitness and nutrition.

So, why do I need to be coached? Well, coaches need coaches, too! I continuously strive to put myself in places where I am encouraged to grow and learn in the field of fitness and nutrition. I opted to join in on this group to get the very best mindset, nutrition, and fitness coaching tips from the lovely Jen Comas. There's a very diverse group of ladies within this SY Coaching group. We're all very different in our backgrounds and careers and life stories, but we all have one common underlying theme -  we're trying to find the best version of ourselves through mindset, body acceptance, nutritional habits, and fitness plans.

So just when I thought I was doing pretty good with self acceptance and body image and all of that jazz, Jen assigned a mindset challenge for us. The challenge was to watch a video featuring Kathryn Budig - well renowned yogi guru - as she hands out some honest talk about body image and her own experience in social media body shaming. It was, no doubt, life changing for me. Do you have 27 minutes? If so, click HERE to watch the video. It may resonate with you, and it may not. But for the love of all things regarding body image and self acceptance, find some quiet time, plug in some ear buds, and GO WATCH IT! Please. xo

Without giving the whole video away, here were a few of my favorite takeaways -

"I'm a girl that eats healthy, but I'm not afraid of cookies."

"We need to put weight into the words that we share."

"Jealousy will never serve you."

"The way we use our words is like casting a spell - they have power."

"When we step down from a challenge because we let our insecurities get the best of us, we give others permission to do the same." - WOW.

"I love this vessel, this vessel holds my soul."

"I call my body a meat suit."   ---> that might actually be my favorite line. EVER.

I don't want to give the entire video away because I think you owe it to yourself to watch it, but here's what happened at the very, very end. Kathryn challenged individuals to grab a sticky note to write something positive or something showing gratitude to a part of the body that needs some self love, then post the sticky note on that body part and share it with the world. We were encouraged (if we felt comfortable enough) to share this within our SY Coaching group.

At first I had a VERY difficult time trying to decide where to even put the sticky note. Topping out at 240# in high school left me with some battle scars. I am very uncomfortable with my softer belly. I dislike the stretch marks on my NON-giving-birth hips, I've always hated my breasts - they're never the same after a huge weight loss transformation. My feet have their own issues - I'm forced to get a pedicure every three weeks so that my lovely nail lady can take care of an ingrown toe nail problem on my right foot. I have a single hair that grows out of my chin! I am freckly and moley. I have dense muscles and it makes me feel uber "thick."

BUT WAIT.

The stretch marks on my body tell a story about my skin. They are a reminder of where I was, and where I've come in this weight loss transformation.

My feet? I may not have the best looking feet, but those feet allowed me to run for miles and miles in several half marathons and full marathons, and they were a catalyst to my weight loss journey. They've allowed me to see the world and all of its beauty. I should love these feet.

My freckles? They tell the story of my childhood and the years I spent in the sun playing on an old ball field that would eventually allow me to earn a college softball scholarship, another huge catalyst to my weight loss.

The chin hair? WHO EFFING CARES. Pluck it, be gone.

So, the assignment. {sigh}

I posted THIS photo in our group to complete our assignment. I chose to put the sticky note on my hips, and my self love phrase said "I love my hips. They don't lie."

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Posting that to our private group was a scary thing, and it's even MORE scary posting this for all of you guys to see in my online community. It feels less safe, and it feels vulnerable. Some responses that I've articulated in my head include:

"She's too big to be posting a picture like that."

"Needs some abs before posting this."

"That stomach? Gross"

"What stomach?"

"If she were truly overweight, then I would understand the hesitancy."

"She can't even relate to being big anymore."

"She's not lean enough."

"Put your clothes on."

HERE IS WHAT I FINALLY DECIDED. What anyone says about my body is NOT MY BUSINESS. 

MY body, the way it looks, the way it feels, the way it operates, and the things it accomplishes, AND HOW I FEEL ABOUT MY BODY - THAT's my business. 

I opted for my hips and the side profile in the picture for my SY Coaching group because I was terrified to show my belly. That wasn't very authentic, and that wasn't the takeaway from the video. So, here you go.

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I'm authentically doing this to show you that self image issues among individuals do not discriminate. Damaged self image issues come in small framed bodies, big framed bodies, skinny bodies, strong bodies, obese bodies, female bodies, male bodies, and the list goes on - WE are all capable of experiencing a lack of self love which contributes to a negative self image. AND THAT is a scary reality, folks. But we - you - can change that.

I'm not posting the picture to say "hey, look at me, look at me, look at me."

Just.. NO.

I'm posting the picture to say, "My name is Stephanie, and I am guilty of shaming my own body. I did it when I was obese, and I mentally still do it now -even at the best shape in my life. Come with me. JOIN ME, and let's change the conversation together."

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That video? It changed me just a little. I cried a few times (the whole time) watching it. I needed to see it, and my guess is that if you struggle at all with self image, you might need to see it, too.

It was a POWERFUL thing for me. I honestly practice self love at my gym with my clients, and I TRULY abide by it verbally, but mentally I have given myself absolute anguish. No more, though.

Physically, mentally, and spiritually - this vessel is all that I have. It works EXTREMELY hard for me every single day, and I will now return the favor with self love.

These are all of the CliffsNotes that go on my body. They are the story of my skin, and they are the proof that I have lived, loved, and endured.

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My words have power. I will choose words carefully to empower myself.

This was a game changer. Go give your body some love. You owe it to that meat suit! xo

Video link once again - right HERE. Please, PLEASE, please go watch it.

xo

Engage. Empower. Elevate.

#eeetribe

Coach Fowler

 

That Scale - What a Jerk!

Just a few short months ago I would wake up each morning to empty my bladder, strip completely naked, and hesitantly (and with a light foot) step onto the scale. I’m laughing RIGHT now. The light foot thing is so true. Be vewwy gentle as you step onto the scale – it helps, right? The scale number for the morning would then dictate my mindset for the day. Even if I slept in socks (which is weird for me and rarely happens), I would take them off because I somehow thought it would make a difference. I would even move the scale to the OTHER side of the room to see if it responded differently.

You know what else? I always had a pretty good idea beforehand if I were going to be up or down before I ever stepped on the scale. I had that ritual of standing naked in the mirror and sucking my stomach in – this quickly indicated whether it was going to be a “skinny day” or a “fat day”. If I felt skinny, my weight was usually down. If I felt fat, then my weight was usually up. I got to know my body pretty well.

THIS scenario might happen. “I’m up 3 pounds today.”

This would suggest for me to amplify my workout, or maybe just say EFF it and have a cheat day… I’m already up, right? Mental mindset is negative.

I would sometimes leave to go to my early morning workout only to come back home and step on AGAIN to see if the number might go down.

OR this scenario might happen instead. “BAM! I’m down 3 pounds today!”

Mental mindset is totally positive. It might trigger me to stay strict for the day to continue on with “weight loss” or it might allow me the freedom to cheat that day because I’m already down with weight.

NONSENSE.

Weight can be such a foolish thing. As a society we are completely controlled by weight categories, and for a vast majority of people it can be a toxic hamster wheel.

Here’s the condensed version of what I have learned on my latest FAT loss journey: Weight loss and fat loss are two completely different things. Weight loss can be determined by WATER. I can easily lose 5-7 pounds in one week by sweating excessively during my workouts and eliminating foods that cause bloat. But THAT doesn’t mean that my body is ready to downsize to a smaller pair of jeans. No ma’am.

At my lowest weight I was in the 150s, but a more attainable weight for me was right at 165. At this weight I wear a size 8. I will be completely honest with you when I tell you that I have no idea as to what I weigh right now. I am probably in the 170s, but I really, really don’t know. I stopped stepping onto the scale when I started lifting more heavy weights. BECAUSE muscle.

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I started to struggle when I saw my weight going up. I was still wearing the same size 8, but naturally those jeans were really fitting dem quads. Again, BECAUSE muscle.

I noticed that even though I was still at my best physique EVAH, the scale was not where I wanted it to be. There was a defining moment with me, myself, and I alone in my bedroom where I decided that I would stop weighing myself. I was happy with my body, and I didn’t need a number to define that.

I still wear the same size. I pay attention to how my clothes fit. I’m VERY in tune to how my body reacts to foods. As much as I love some doughy bread, it doesn’t serve my body well. And honestly, neither does ice cream.

My body is changing. My jeans hug my quads. BECAUSE quadzilla, right? But I like it. I have to move up to a large in any swanky shirt that I buy because the mediums are too small for my DELTS. Seriously.

But I’ve gained body acceptance and confidence. And the scale was taking that away from me each and every day. I’m still getting stronger. I’m still working on physique and fat loss. But I don’t need a scale to measure those things.

Now don't get me wrong. The scale CAN be a tool used to measure a fat loss journey. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But I was using it as an obsessive tool to gauge my daily worth, and that wasn’t right for ME. Not anymore.

This took some practice, and it took a shift in my mindset about weight. If you're engaging in some of these toxic activities that dictate your daily worth all due to your WEIGHT, then you may want to consider ditching your scale, too!

So here’s to you, scale. You’re a jerk. I don’t need you. Okay BYE!

Engage. Empower. Elevate #EEEtribe

xo

Coach Fowler