Monday mornings can often be accompanied by the blues, but not this Monday. This Monday was all about bravery among women.
Blogging about running (knee still not right) or following the 90 Day - Shift, Shape and Sustain plan the future goal has always been to feel healthier, feel stronger, have more energy and ultimately to look better, to be more attractive. Or what society/the media lead me to believe is attractive. Or so I thought.
As a society we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, be it someone else's wealth, their looks, their husband, career, personality, hair - OMG the list is endless and this constant measuring ourselves against others is exhausting.
Sometimes we can be delaying when we'll allow ourselves to be happy....I'll be happy when I've lost a stone, bought that car, got that job, earn that much money. And all the time that we are chasing this ideal we are delaying real joy in our lives. Those moments that we look back on and they still make us giggle, or give us a warm glow in our hearts, memories to be treasured.
Doing the 90 Day SSS Plan Cycle One
I pretty much stuck to it, loads of food, short bursts of exercise and I felt great, and got great results, 6.5 inches lost all in all. I was all set for Cycle Two, my newly acquired bench press all set up in my study. Lean woman here I come and then life threw me a curve ball and knocked me on my ass. The sudden death of a very loved friend literally knocked me off my feet. And all the old coping mechanisms returned, crap comfort food and wine.
Starting Cycle Two
Eventually I started to get back into the swing of things, eating better and exercising more. Although the last month or so has been full of social events with friends, family and work and it isn't always easy or appropriate to eat following a healthy eating plan to the letter.
And still there is the nagging, that you're not doing the plan properly, that you should just give up. Or the whiny teenager voice, 'it's too hard'. That's the one I despise the most btw.
Getting My Kit Off
And today I got my kit off, not completely but with a fantastic group of women who also wanted to get it off, all for very different reasons I'm sure. A photo shoot of women of all ages shapes and sizes, in swimwear and underwear. Yes on a Monday morning. And yes we must all be crazy.
First shoot was in swimwear. We all emerged from our dressing gowns somewhat nervous, shy or excited and slowly but surely 'got into the groove'. Catherine Skinner (our photographer) was bloody awesome at putting us all at ease and forcing our inner goddesses out regardless of how we felt we looked. More hips, more attitude, more S shape.....and more fun and laughter ensued. We did dark underwear and light underwear (more bubblegum grey for some of us), with camisoles and without and at the end we got dressed back into our 'civilian' clothes and had another photo. The morning was awesome with some thoroughly beautiful women and I mean from the inside out. There was only one fly in the ointment for me.
My Inner Critic
I had a quick look at some of the photos that morning, in between changing my undies, and my heart sank. That self critical voice that pops up occasionally was loud and clear, 'you look disgusting'.
And it kinda breaks my heart a little as I know for sure that I'm not the only woman that thinks this way about themselves. I've had many a client sat in front of me that provide the most hideous descriptions of self loathing.
It's time to change the way we talk to ourselves, to love and nurture ourselves and above all be kind to ourselves because we are all beautiful. Helen and Louise from Discovering Diamonds arranged the shoot today to do just that, to show how wonderfully beautiful we all are whatever our bloody shape or size.
The little f**ker who critiques me, well, he'll be getting his imaginary gob, covered with imaginary duct tape and his ass will be well and truly kicked into touch.
And those days that I'm meeting friends and collecting memories I'll enjoy myself and have fun and not obsess over what I'm eating. I'll enjoy that my body is healthy and has the capacity for love, laughter, hugs, empathy, all those wonderful emotions that being human gives us. And I'll look after it and fuel it right and build my muscles and get strong as there is so much more still to do in life I choose to make sure my body can get me there, but I'm not going to obsess about the way it looks on the journey, just take as much care of it as possible. Thinking about fueling my body for all the new and exciting experiences I still want to have is a far greater incentive that just looking thin, or as I believe society thinks I should look. Bring on a healthy body, heart and mind and quit with the comparisons.
To all those women with a harsh critical voice, duct tape the motherf**ker, and tell it to shut the F up! You are ALL BEAUTIFUL. xxx