I look back on my Facebook memories and see a young woman who took pride in hustle, working late, fueling herself with coffee and operating out of pure burnout. There was no balance. She sacrificed a lot of time in her relationships to push herself to the max to do all the things – work a 9-5, build a business outside of that, push her body to do hard core weight lifting and cardio exercises, and have a really restrictive unhealthy mindset around food.
Her body was tired, her endocrine system tripped right the f out, and she continued to try to force her body to fit into a “fitspo” ideal weight. She would restrict more, push more, and tear herself apart in the mirror if she didn’t have abs and for the cellulite on the backs of her thighs. She had been conditioned that she had to look a certain way and she put all of her worth in that. Anything less than that was not enough. She felt like how she was in her naturally curvy body was not enough. She was completely disconnected from herself, her intuition and her feminine essence.
As she distanced herself from being a fitness coach to move onto the next step of life, she began the process to reclaim the body that she had put through the ringer. The body that she had once routinely pinched the fat in between her thighs after putting herself through an hour leg day when she was exhausted from her period. The body that she used to restrict calories and then would self sabotage with binge eating at night. The body that she would parade around online in order to get validation from others to make her feel good about herself.
It was a deep process to unravel the conditioning that taught me that there was something wrong with the way that I looked. Healing the diet mentality to building a relationship with food again, to eat for nourishment and self love rather than abs and an ass that didn’t have cellulite. Healing the relationship I had with pushing myself through exercises I hated no matter how exhausted I was in order to look a certain way, but rather, moving my body in a way that feels good everyday, whether it be a long hike in the woods, yoga in the sunshine, dancing, or hopping on my bike and exploring the trails in my new city.
I approached health and wellness from a true place of self love, rather than trying to change something about the way I look. Naturally, it became easier to be healthier. As my vibration and self worth increased, I naturally reached for clean foods. & I eat chocolate and I don’t feel bad about it!
Moving my body in a way that feels good is part of my day without much of an effort at all. My body has stabilized. I may be softer than I was a year ago, but I’m not holding extra weight anymore because I’m not trying to force it away. I look my best with very minimal effort, and it came down to self acceptance and no longer trying to achieve a state of “perfection”.
In honoring self love, I had to make some serious changes around the way that I was showing up as an entrepreneur. The hustling and working late hours are a thing of the past. Through a lot of healing, shifting and of course, self sabotage, I have found my balance between work, play and rest. Burn out is no longer a badass badge of honor, and pendulum swinging from pushing and hustle to being a playful wild free spirited entrepreneur without any proper schedule or boundaries around my time is also an identity of the past. I found my harmony between leadership & boundaries, and self care & connecting with nature.
My story is not unusual, in fact, I think every single woman reading this can resonate with at least one piece of this. The messages around us of “hustle and grind”, “boss babes have no excuses”, “no to skip your workout no matter how tired you are” (I used to preach this when I was fitness coaching…), and “abs abs abs abs” are LOUD.
We are surrounded by it even if we aren’t fully aware of it, permeating into our subconscious to remind us that we need to do more & be more, giving us the false notion that there’s something wrong with us. Popping onto your social media for a quick scroll easily triggers us into comparison mode, whether it be conscious or not. All of these things are dis-empowering us from our true essence and distancing the connection with our own intuition – our inner guidance system.
I give the old versions of myself so much love, compassion and grace, because she was doing the best she could with the awareness and perception that she had at the time, and it was all a neccessary part of my growth and evolution. If I could tell her anything now, would be to tell her to work on the inside first, meditation, self awareness, self love & self acceptance. The rest will come together after that, naturally, without much effort.
Your paradigm will begin to shift when you stop working on all of the things outside of yourself that you think is going to bring you that acceptance, and put that energy into healing the inner parts of yourself, I promise.
I love you & you are enough.
Photo credit: Stephany Stefan