Body positive|Fitness

Body positivity does not justify obesity

I was recently attacked and confronted about the supposed claims that I make, which has sparked this blog post.  The gist of the conversation was  ….

“How can you say you are body positive and love your curves if you are trying to lose weight?”

Being body positive is about confidence and even at my heaviest of 108kg I was sexy AF. I believe in dressing for my body shape and I’ve always been a confident person. Don’t get me wrong, of course I had my insecurities. I just found ways to work around them.

At my heaviest, I was also at my unhealthiest. My personal experience has taught me that even though I was confidant and felt amazing about my appearance, being obese had dangerous connotations when it came to my health and well-being. I was hypertensive, pre-diabetic and my cholesterol and insulin resistance counts had spiked. How did this happen overnight? Well it didn’t! Excessive weight gain happens over a period of time. I was too busy living in denial and hiding behind my confidence, that I let my weight skyrocket and my health deteriorate.  As stated by the Times LIVE “Body positive movement is NOT about glorifying obesity.”

Just over a year ago I ate fairly healthily, so I assumed I was doing the right things. I was however overeating, my calorie intake far exceeded my physical activity. I wasn’t getting enough rest and I definitely should have swapped my alcohol intake with my water intake. All in all I wasn’t living a balanced and healthy life.

My weight loss journey isn’t about being skinny, but instead about being healthy and strong. My weight loss journey has taught me to accept my flabby arms, stretch marks and cellulite ridden thighs.

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Now my focus is on improving those areas by eating right and firming up. A year ago I wore a size 44 to 46 and now I wear a size 38. The goal I had set for myself a year ago was to drop to a size 36 but I think a size 34 (which still makes means I am a plus size) would be a reasonable goal when I take into account the visceral fat I still need to lose. Visceral fat is a “deep” fat that’s stored further underneath the skin than belly fat. It’s a form of gel-like fat that’s actually wrapped around major organs, including the liver, pancreas and kidneys.

Body positivity means different things to different people, irrespective of whether you are fat or thin.  “The Body Positive Movement is a movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being”.

Now let me take a moment to chat about fitness. Firstly, here is a little rant. The misconception that thin equals fit drives me completely insane.  To put it very bluntly, it FUCKS me off.  Your size doesn’t determine your damn fitness level. Let me also point out that my big ass just happens to be fitter than many people who aren’t overweight. Fitness does more for me than just help me drop dress sizes. Fitness keeps me sane, helps me process things, makes me feel good and strong and it even helps me sleep better. Fitness is contagious but I’m not like the super athletes out there who train religiously several times a day. I’m all about getting my body moving and having fun while I do it. Fitness is a lifestyle and a journey of self-love and self-acceptance.

Guys I absolutely love my curves, I love my saggy boobs and my big booty. Let’s be honest, I’ve got thighs for days and they are not going anywhere, anytime soon. I’m not looking to lose that look but merely looking to enhance it while maintaining a great level of health and fitness. I don’t care too much about the size I wear as much as I care about having to live with chronic diseases or being sick all the time. I absolutely refuse to compromise my health just to prove that I am body positive.  I have also never been in the business of proving myself to anyone, and I don’t intend succumbing to the pressures of social media anytime soon. I live my life with conviction and I AM UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME!!!

 

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The Yogi Paige

I’m absolutely loving the “My Daily Insposeries and today I’m introducing you to the woman who got me to do the impossible. I have always said that I hated yoga and that it wasn’t for me, that was until I did a class with Paige Cassidy. There was an instant connection which I didn’t understand at the time, but after getting to know Paige we actually have so much in common.

Her words to me after my first lesson, “I see you!!”

How and what was the motivation that made you start yoga?

My honest motivation for yoga is that I got out of Rehab and needed a form of discipline that would not only keep me moving physically but moving me mentally. A space, a movement that allowed me to be vulnerable and strong at the same time. A self-discipline.

What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?

Yoga has helped me get rid of this crazy perception I had about my body. This want to be perfect. I used to stand in front of the mirror criticizing myself about the way I looked. Yoga has helped me to fall in love with my body. Yoga has taught me to respond and not react to situations and people.

How important is meditation to your yoga practise?

I think people’s perceptions of meditation is slightly confused! Meditation for me is not sitting for hours in silence trying to calm the chaos in my head. Meditation for me is waking up making plunger coffee and sitting outside listening to the birds. It is washing dishes, visualizing washing the dirt away in my life. Meditation for me is playing music whilst creating beautiful food not only to look at but food that tastes amazing. To me it means climbing into bed and being able to lie there and not think of 50 million different things all at once. Yoga is my meditation.

When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga instructor?

When I was younger I wanted to be a ballet teacher, so I think the passion of being a teacher was always ingrained into my being. I was working full time as a project manager, studying and teaching in the evenings and the one day (I worked for an asshole) I pushed that fear out of my head of “what if I don’t make enough money” and quit my job and started teaching. I’ve never been happier.

Any advice for beginners or people wanting to start yoga?

Yes, come and try MY yoga. My question I always ask my new students “are you mentally strong?” I have clients that respond “HELL YES” and I have clients that respond “I’m not to sure,” and no matter what response you will walk out my class feeling mentally & physically tougher. You will walk out my class and would have surprised yourself.

“A strong mind makes a strong body” – Thomas Jefferson

“A strong mind makes a strong body” – Thomas Jefferson

What is the rewarding part of being a yoga instructor?

The most rewarding part about being a yoga instructor is seeing the growth mentally & physically in my students. Watching them prove to themselves that they are stronger than they know.

Should kids be introduced to yoga?

We should watch kids and they can teach us about yoga. Kids are fearless when it comes to the physical aspects about yoga but if you go deeper the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects children have no boundaries when it comes to their honest feelings. Children are vulnerable without feeling ashamed. Children are loving without limitations. Yoga should be compulsory for little ones.

How is Will Power connected to yoga?

Will Power is completely connected to Yoga “the ability to control your own thoughts and the way in which you behave”. The lesson behind yoga.

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as a yoga teacher?

I am currently struggling with learning how not to do all the classes with my students as this becomes physically and emotionally exhausting. I have been taught patience through my students. I have been taught to put my own issues aside. I am still learning to breathe outside the yoga studio when life gets tough.

Tell us your practise style and how did you choose your method?

My practice style . . . “Paige Yoga”. My yoga is all about Power of the Mind. Pushing past the boundaries we create for ourselves in our mind. My ballet background adds to my discipline in yoga. My love for movement allows me to be creative in my classes. My father has always said to me “mind over matter”. This I proved to myself when I came out of rehab, that I am stronger than I know!

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So much love lives here

As you can see from Paige’s answers, she is fearless, raw, real and a warrior. Simply put, Paige Cassidy is a badass!! She has overcome numerous obstacles in her life and is unapologetic about the life she lives. Paige is an example for us all, that shit happens but we have the ultimate choice when it comes to moulding our lives into something beautifully strong.

Body positive

My Insane Self-love

On the 1st of January 2018 as l skipped through the photos taken on the last day of 2017 I realised how much l had grown as a person. I realised that my growth wasn’t just about fitness or weightloss, but was also an emotional growth. I realised that through my journey I had fallen completely head over heels in love with myself. It took 4 decades for me to reach the point of being in a lifelong romance with myself and boy does it feel amazing.

I’ve spent years being my own worst critic and being hard on myself, and in the process I made life complicated and difficult. I mean I wasn’t prepared to accept myself, yet I wanted acceptance from the world. Why? Why did I need acceptance from the world in the first place? Why did anyone else’s opinion matter? Why couldn’t I just accept myself for who and what I was? We are indeed our own worst critics.

On reflection my biggest issue has always been my legs. I’ve always had huge legs and my thighs were often referred to as “thunder thighs” by my family. The damage of their careless words stayed with me and made me doubt myself and my appearance, but honestly I should have never allowed it. Granted there are other reasons for my lack of self-love, but that’s a story for another day. If I had loved myself enough way back then, I would have been freed from the shackles of life and not have been a prisoner inside my own body merely because of the insignificant opinions of others.

I can’t undo the choices of my past but 2017 has served me well. It has been a revelation that I’m insanely grateful for. I’m doing me and pretty damn pleased about that. My life is far from perfect and the same applies to my body, but I’m content, happy and in love. I love my flabby thick thighs, tiger stripes and tummy, after all its evidence of a life lived.

And to you over there, the one reading this post – stop being so hard on yourself. Smile and know that you are a beautiful and talented individual. You are pretty damn amazing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. That right now, in this very moment YOU ARE ENOUGH. You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people so take the time to love every inch of you. Take the time to fall in love with yourself and flaunt that shit because you are SEXY AF.

If you are not already in a lifetime romance with yourself, why not start the year off by challenging yourself. Here’s a 7 day self-love challenge worth giving a shot. Think about it, it’s just 7 days and you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Yes, it may make you feel a tad uncomfortable or weird if you are normally negative about yourself, but hey that’s the point. We are taking no prisoners this year so let’s get started.

When you are done with the challenge please contact me or tag me on your final social media post. I’d really love to hear about your INSANE SELF-LOVE.

Self-acceptance and self-love is indeed the road to happiness my Lovelies. I sincerely wish you all the best on your journey. Once you learn to love yourself, life will simply fall into place.