In the middle of teaching a fitness class the other day, I did something in front of 20 women that I never thought I was capable of.
I said, “Ladies, I’m going to show you something right now, okay? Are you ready for this?”
And suddenly, I began to dance, gyrating and wildly jiggling my entire body.
What I wanted them to observe was my unapologetic way of taking up space, and to see my raw vulnerability and imperfections. As I gazed around the room, most of the women smiled from ear-to-ear, delighting in my performance. I even heard some genuine giggling as I danced. I then went on to say, “You see? This is normal. This is not something to feel ashamed of. You’re beautiful and worthy as you are, here in this room, right at this moment.”
The energy shifted as soon as I said these words. I immediately saw light coming out of each woman’s face—and it was so humbling to watch.
Why did I dance around the room like a fool?
First, a little background information about me.
When I was in my 20s, I had my fair share of body image issues. At my heaviest weight, I was 145 pounds, and at 5’2″, it was considered a little on the “chunkier” side. My issues at the time stemmed from my parents divorcing, coupled with constantly overeating from my intense stress. I instinctively remember how my body felt during that awful time. My knees always hurt from the extra weight I was carrying, I would sweat every night in my sleep, and my moods were all over the map. I was absolutely miserable and cried all the time.
The thing is, I was always active. Even when I was working out for two hours a day, my weight didn’t budge for a while. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle.
I don’t remember the exact moment when I had my “lightbulb moment” during that painful period of my life, but I do remember how my mood immediately went from sour to hopeful. The heavy load was finally lifted, and then my body started to relax. Over the next year, I was back to my ideal weight, and you could see the brightness of my eyes again. I was happy.
No one helped me get through the rubble. I did all the work by myself.
From that moment on, I made a commitment to always speak kindly to myself and praise my God-given features. I taped mantras and words of inspiration to my bathroom mirror that gave me hope on a daily basis. I made healthy food choices as often as possible and allowed myself indulgences without any guilt or feelings of deprivation. I focused on my self-care and I attended to my true needs.
I let go of all judgments and I genuinely started to embrace my temple.
Instead of berating myself on a daily basis, I gave myself positive pep talks and encouraging feedback. I would delight in the smallest successes, and not curse myself out if things weren’t going as smoothly as I’d planned. I looked at my body differently than ever before and started to marvel at the things I could do well.
Game changers, all.
And now, I want to promote what I’ve learned and influence other women to do the same—to look at their bodies with kinder eyes, to relish in their strengths and accomplishments, to accept their beautiful, functioning bodies no matter the size, and to always feel calmer.
I truly believe I made an impact when I jiggled around the fitness studio for my participants to see. I’m convinced they all fed off of my energy, and it was evident that the vibe in that studio was instantly transformed for the better. I was happy to be vulnerable and raw in front of them, I was able to make a dent in their lives, and my intention was to improve their outlooks with my comical whimsy.
Every body is beautiful. Regardless of size, stature, background, race, or ethnicity—we are all stunning human beings with beating hearts, magical minds, and superior souls.
Try to let go of judgment once and for all—it takes a lot of work to make lasting changes, but if you’re consistent and honest with yourself every step of the way, you’ll learn to fully embrace your temple.
Every temple is sacred, it’s marvelous, it’s a miracle. And it’s the only one we’ll ever have.
How do you nurture your body? What things do you put into your daily practice to ensure a positive outlook on life?
Feel free to share your insights with me!