“If you’re a nutritionist, how come you’re so fat?” Those words came as a terrific shock to me the day I first heard them from a strength coach. Picture this: I was at a nutrition conference wearing nothing but a sports bra and bike shorts, having my body fat measured with calipers by complete strangers. The anticipation alone of having to do this made me anxious for months beforehand; and after hearing those words, the foundation of security I had built up beforehand completely crumbled.
I had been thin most of my life and although I put on weight during the college years, I took the pounds off in my twenties by lifting weights and doing high-intensity interval training. I definitely drank too much coffee and booze, but I was totally in touch with my appetite and hungers and listened very carefully to what my body needed food-wise.
In my late twenties, I had a 3-year stint of undiagnosed mercury toxicity that killed my thyroid and helped me pack on twenty pounds. I learned to cope with it, bought bigger sizes, cut the labels out of the clothes so I would not stress about it, and moved on with my life. It was not easy, but I held my head high and was proud of myself for keeping a perspective on it all. I was kind to myself. I let go. Once I was diagnosed and treated, I was able to drop my weight back down and get lean once again. Life moved on, I got married, got pregnant, and put on twenty-five pounds during the process. I breastfed my son for the first year and lost most of my weight and body fat, but some of it still lingered. I eventually was able to get it off through regular workouts and eating clean until I stopped nursing, developed insomnia, and gained ten pounds back.
See where I’m going with this? If you’re a woman who is anything like me, your body is going to change throughout your lifetime. So as women, we have to figure out the mental tools we need to cope and roll with it. And I thought I did exactly that. So why was I letting some complete stranger get in my head and mess with me? Who gave a crap about his opinions when he had no idea about the thousands of steps I had taken in my journey? Why did I let those words get stuck in my craw and haunt me for years afterwards? Isn’t that exactly what I would ask of my clients?
In my process of letting go, I wanted to know what the takeaway was in holding on to someone else’s judgment. I chewed and chewed on it, until I realized that there was no takeaway. Those words only mattered because I gave them power and let them matter.
Which brings me to the power (and necessity) of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance creates an open space for you to ignore the negative voices in your head (and from other people), roll up your sleeves, and hunker down to get the job done. Whether that means quieting your inner critique, creating a sense of inner stillness, committing to your healthy goals, or being happy where you are—just know that that’s enough. For today, in this very moment, you are perfect. By accepting yourself completely and shutting down the negative voices in your mind, you make room for productive and positive thinking, and ultimately the betterment of yourself.
Recently, I went to another conference with a group of strength coaches. My body is in the same place as it was a few years ago—perfectly imperfect. I still battle with insomnia and take life one day at a time. And, gasp—in spite of being imperfect—people told me how great I looked. And the best part was that in spite of my imperfections, I believed it.
It has taken me years to tell my story, and having made it to the other side created an open and peaceful space where I felt strong enough to let it all hang out and talk about it, and then set it free to the universe.
The take-home message is this: if I remain the same size for the rest of my life, I’m perfectly okay with it. There are so many things in life we just can't control; all we can control is our reaction to those things. So I choose to not feel upset if my body is not in the place I want it to be. Instead, I choose to acknowledge that I wrote another book this year, am launching a new website, and am growing my brand.
For today, at this moment, and in every moment to come—that’s enough for me.
***To get a closer look into the art of a gorgeous mind, check out my video about beginning a new journey with the proper mindset.***