Trusting Your Body Again

Letting-GoWhen I work with women we discover often that we have lost trust in ourselves, in our bodies, in being OK as we are. This loss of trust leaves us in a vacuum of wondering that usually gets filled with symbolic substitutes like turning to food for love, hiding our insecurities in constant busyness, burying our needs and desires under the masks of professional achievement, or even emptying all we have and are into the lives of others so that we become shells of our true selves.

All this from lack of trust in ourselves.

Being open and vulnerable when you are in the middle of weakness is tremendously difficult to do–and close to impossible without deep trust. Believe me, I get it. I hate crying in front of people and that seems to be my “go to” response!Bbrown vulnerability qte

How do you find that trust? In relationships, it’s from other’s behavior being proven true over time. It’s through experience that doesn’t violate our safety, that trust can be forged.

Sometimes, trust is a volitional act of faith. We simply choose to trust that the other is worthy and deserving of it. We have no proof of experience yet. We have nothing but the decision to step into that space.

I participate in and lead small groups of women. I’ve done this all my life because I believe that we become our best selves when we walk through life together creating safe spaces to be vulnerable, build trust, heal, grow and expand.

Sometimes it is REALLY hard. Sometimes, all I can do is show up and be in that moment. Sometimes, I even fail to show up for myself and others.Brene Brown show up

But, I always keep trying, joining, leading, committing because that is the best way I know how to live: In a specific place, with specific people creating community. It’s easier to learn to trust ourselves again, to trust our body’s innate wisdom, within the context of community.

So many women have told me over the years how comforting it is just to talk to someone who knows and understands what is going on with them. We take a big risk when we do this. When we put ourselves out there, bare and raw. It is hard. And so very rewarding.

If we can’t be real and vulnerable and lay it “out there” with safe people, then the change we desire in loving ourselves and bodies won’t ever happen. I know it was really scary for me when I worked with my coach to trust my body again, to let go of false control and listen for real. This really hits us when it comes to food, because we think if we stop controlling and restricting we will start eating and never stop.

But we do stop. I promise.

When I tell you that it’s possible to learn how to trust yourself again, what runs through your mind? Do you believe me? What’s been your experience with trust, vulnerability and your body? If you are too shy to reply on the blog (I get it!), email me instead (mh AT BraveGirl DOT me)

In Love and Trust,

 

Michelle

PS. If you are ready to explore rebuilding trust in yourself and your body, so you can live in body freedom and peace, schedule a complimentary Body Freedom Breakthrough Strategy session with me (25 min).

 

 

My Anger Confession or Post Baby Bods Are Perfect

angry, frustrated girl with hands in her hair screaming - isolated on white
angry, frustrated girl with hands in her hair screaming – isolated on white

Something happened the other day that I want to share with you.

I’ve always had a problem with anger. I thought anger was bad and wouldn’t allow myself to feel it most of my life. I grew up repressing my anger. I don’t do that anymore, yet I’ve got to tell you that when I get REALLY angry—you know like at life’s big injustices, not just because my daughter’s room is a disaster (always), but real things that matter—well then, sometimes I don’t know what to do with the intensity of it. Usually I end up crying at some point.

I know. We all have our issues.

So, the other day I was looking at some posts online and I kept getting angrier and angrier. I used a few of the techniques that I teach to put on my observer hat and see if I was being personally triggered. There was a little bit of that and I’ll explain that in a minute, but most of it was the anger I feel when women are allowing themselves to be robbed of their worth and dignity.

You might think this is stupid. Or you might think I’m nuts. Or you just might not even get it at all. That’s ok.

You’ve probably heard me rant against diet culture numerous times and for good reason. It’s EVERYWHERE and so much of it we don’t even recognize as such because we are so inside of it ALL the time. But a particular one “before and after” just got me.

The first shot was a beautiful mother (by any standard) in her bikini a few months after giving birth. She had a tummy, because well, SHE HAD JUST RECENTLY GIVEN BIRTH TO ANOTHER WHOLE HUMAN BEING, but otherwise she was pretty slim.

The next shot is of her in her bikini looking pretty ripped. You can tell she is the kind who likes to grind at the gym—that’s all good.

But the “copy” about how much her body and energy had changed by using this product since she had a baby made me guffaw at first. No duh, she’s tired she has a newborn at home to take care of! You think she’s low on energy? And you think that “months later” with more sleep and everything else she needs she might be feeling a little better?frustrated-woman-using-her-laptop-250-thumb-250x250

But that isn’t what really got me mad. It was the idea behind it that there was SOMETHING WRONG with her post-pregnancy body. That she “needed” to get it “back into shape” because, God forbid she have a stomach where a HUMAN BEING WAS GROWING FOR 9 MONTHS!

To me this completely devalues a woman’s fertility and the amazing miracle that motherhood is. Instead of celebrating that, the focus was on getting her abs ripped again. Because you know, you don’t really have any value as a woman unless you look like a fitness model.

Now, I’ve never had the honor of giving birth and I’m not suggesting that motherhood makes you a “true” woman or anything like that.

“But Michelle,” my sister told me later. “I get that. I felt that pressure after I had given birth. You totally buy into it and you don’t realize how wrong it is. That mother doesn’t realize, she doesn’t even think the way you do about it.”

Hmmm. That doesn’t make me feel any better.

I’m telling you this story because I am fiercely dedicated to our freedom as women. And I’m determined to take as many of you with me that I can on that liberation journey.

I think we need to do something to change this devaluing of women and our bodies. At the very least, stop using women who had just given birth as the “BAD” BEFORE picture! I don’t get how other women aren’t seeing that as completely offensive. Instead, they complement the gal on losing weight and how “good” she looks now that you can’t tell her body had a baby.

We don’t even see how warped that is. We need freedom to be in our bodies however they are and to celebrate them for however they are!

But it seems most of us are trapped.

If you want more body freedom, I invite you to come along side some other brave women in my brand new group program. What would it be like for you to unravel the stories our culture tells us, so you can be confident in who you are in your body as a woman? When you start to put attention on this, I can show you how to dismantle those bad body thoughts and start to live from an empowered state of mind, in tune with your body’s intelligence. Freedom, in this case, is a state of mind.

I’ve written all about the Body Freedom Formula on this page and it just might be the perfect thing for you right now. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out by replying to this email. I’d love to have you join us.

Love,

Michelle

PS. We have moved our first BLE Monthly Community Call to next Monday, mainly because it’s more convenient for one of my partner’s in crime. You see, Friday seems to interfere with her date night! Our topic will be Surviving the Holidays with Grace & Sanity, plus Q&A. Hope you can join in the conversation.

 

Summer Sizzle Secrets with my guest Ragen Chastain

Summer Sizzle FB

WE had a great teleseminar last week with the wonderful Joy Bufalini talking about body shame, diet culture, not dieting, loving our bodies and other things!

This week (Wednesday) we are having the Q&A with the amazing speaker, writer and athlete of the blog “Dances With Fat“.

Submit your questions to be answered LIVE on the call. You can also ask questions during the Q&A, since that is the format. You will hear all about embodying the HAES perspective in practical ways, and we’ll be dealing with some touchy issues like body shaming “loved ones”….YEP.

Join us! This is a free series.

All calls are recorded if you can’t make it live.

Again you sign up here.

To Your Happy Body!

Michelle

Bikini Ready Bods…Is Yours?

bikini model

Summer is in full swing and I’m wondering if you have ventured out in your bathing suit yet?

Are you bikini ready?

Of course you are! You have a body, you have a suit—put it one and there you have it!

Or not.

So many women feel self-conscious in their bodies and for good reason. But it’s not what you think. Feeling insecure isn’t due to any flaw in your beautiful self, no matter your size. It’s not your fault. Nothing is wrong with you.

You are bombarded constantly with computer enhanced images of “the perfect body” –WHICH DOES NOT EXIST. Even models will tell you they don’t look like their pictures.

I grew up thinking real women didn’t have any pores on their faces because all I saw was “airbrushed” faces of women. I figured when I grew up my skin would somehow transform into that poreless look if I used enough “pore shrinking” cream.

I grew up thinking my body was flawed because I had a “cute” little tummy even in my best shape. Little did I know that a flat stomach is not the norm on real women. I thought something was wrong with my body.

I grew up thinking my powerful soccer thighs were too big, because I didn’t have a thigh gap like 1 or 2 of my teammates. My thighs are designed to gap and theirs were.

Aside from the images we are assaulted with on tv, movies, social media, and print ads we live in a youth, beauty and thin OBSESSED culture. If you interact with the world this isn’t news to you.

These impossible ideals ae what our society indoctrinates us all with. Men included. The myths run deep into our consciousness. And to top it all off, the narcissism levels in our culture are going off the charts. That means people are becoming more and more self-involved, self-obsessed and self-focused. You can google it.

Now, let’s get back to your bikini bod. To get ready for the water you have to wade through layers and layers of this crap. It’s piled so high it invades your subconscious and guides your decisions and feelings without your awareness.

What can you do to clear your path and frolic freely this summer? How can you feel more comfortable in your skin, especially when you are showing more of it?

I’ve got some ideas and have found some things that work. I would love to hear what you’ve discovered that helps on your body love journey. Join our discussion in the free Summer Sizzle Series. Let’s get out those questions and begin to find some answers to end this madness that has taken over our society and our lives.

Ready for Your Summer Sizzle?

new-plus-sized-swimsuit-calendar-proves-women-are-sexy-at-every-curve-lead

First of all, I was all set to hold our annual Body Love Summer Camp this August. It was on the calender and on the web site…But, I just wasn’t feeling it this year. So I decided to post-pone that event to next year and do something NEW instead!

ANNOUNCING the first SUMMER SIZZLE SERIES!

Your burning questions answered on all topics related to your body confidence and acceptance.

This will be a series of live Q&A calls with me and YOU.

We will get down to the nitty gritty and even have some time for a little “hot-seat” laser coaching for a few special participants.

The first call is July 28th, so sign up and submit your questions!

Join the conversation here.

Submit your questions in the comments, via email, FB, IG, Twitter, etc.

See you soon!

Piles of Good Things: Body Love

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This idea is actually super powerful. With a little bit of intention and focus you can change your brain to support a positive healthy outlook about life. With my clients, I use simple techniques based on this concept and supported by neuroscience for lasting change in how we view our bodies and ourselves. Some people use these techniques naturally, and thus, “stumbled” upon healthier, happier lives. Obviously, there are other factors involved, but you really can teach your subconscious “new tricks”.

When I decided to work with body image in women, I had to figure out how I got to this place of loving and accepting my very imperfect body (by various standards). How come I was fat and still loved myself and others had “perfect” bodies and were filled with self-loathing? The answer wasn’t simple, but I was determined to figure out ways to work with women to open the door to this type of transformation. I found that my background in learning and the brain, spiritual mentoring, counseling and interests in health and fitness really gave me great tools to use.

No matter where you are in this body acceptance & positivity revolution, you have something important to share. What have you learned so far that has helped you the most? Have you been able to increase the “pile of good things” in your life? How so?

Please share with us!

The Land of the Beautiful and Body Image Triggers

SUP_paddleHI_hawaii_yoga-5446What are your triggers?

That is my question for this week to you all. I’m back in my home town, where I grew up and lived for 35 years. The beach is in my blood! I love it here. AND, I have lived away from all this for almost 6 years. I lived in the hippie pot growing boonies on the Mendocino coast for 5 of them.

People were very relaxed, natural and accepting. You didn’t see a lot of cosmetic surgery, and the place was definitely not focused on how one looked for their social acceptance and self esteem. The natural beauty of the redwoods meeting the sea seemed to imbue the culture there with respect for a more natural state of things. Most women didn’t wear make-up much. Of course, there was a fashion aesthetic and it was fun and funky! Anyhow, my point is that even at the beach, the pool or wherever you could just BE without worrying about being judged on your cellulite content!

Six years is enough time to really be able to see my hometown with even fresher eyes; to see what level of the frog-in-the-soon-to-be-boiling kettle is going on here in relation to what is considered beautiful and how people are valued. I can see how easy it would be to feel insecure if you didn’t fit in the land of the beautiful people which strives for physical perfection. Obviously, this is a generalization. Plenty of people of depth and significance live here that don’t focus on the superficial. But you CAN feel the vibe especially strong in certain places.

I’m noticing all this in the context of having gained some weight recently beyond my comfort zone (yes, fat people have comfort zones too!) due to hypothyroidism and peri-menopausal hormone craziness. I laugh at it actually because I am in a phase of working out regularly at the gym and I think it is so funny!

So, I’m not really triggered per se. But I am watching all this and thinking about it. I’m talking with my body a lot. Happily, I can report that I’m not reverting back to teenage insecurities even when I’m around them! Yay for growth. smile emoticon

What are your triggers in our society? Share below please!

BBL Speakers Courtney Chalfant & Coco O’Donnell

Courtney Chalfant  –  An Interview with Yogi, Author and Founder of Yahweh Yoga.

Coco O’Donnell – America’s Clean Living Coach on Loving your Body through the process of aging. The power of healthy food and simple habits on feeling good. Plus a few tips for keeping your skin young and supple.

“God reminds me every day that I am...Courtney Chalfant www.BraveBodyLove.com Coco O'Donnell (1)

“Bringing Women from All Over the Globe Together

in an Epic Online Event to End Body Image Issues and

Awaken Our Collective Female Power.”

With Michelle Hess + 35 Experts

February 14-28, 2015

BBL Speakers Susan Berry, Jen McLellan & Megan Gahan

Susan Berry –  “BadAss Eating.” How do we stay mindful, present, connected with and responding to not only what the mind and mouth desire, but learning to eat through the whole body?

Jen McLellan – “Plus Sized Birth Coach on finding the best Care Provider.”

Megan Gahan – “How a Love Letter to My Body Changed My Life.”

Susan Berry. www.BraveBodyLove.com Jen McLellan. www.BraveBodyLove.com -Sharing my story and being completely.Megan Gahan www.BraveBodyLove.com

 

“Bringing Women from All Over the Globe Together

in an Epic Online Event to End Body Image Issues and

Awaken Our Collective Female Power.”

With Michelle Hess + 35 Experts

February 14-28, 2015

BBL Speakers Amber Karnes, Dr. Carla Hannaford & Kristina Hess, JD

Amber Karnes – Building Body Positivity with Yoga. The impact of permission, consent and owning your body space on body acceptance.

Dr. Carla Hannaford – The importance of Heart-Connection and Movement in Embodied Love. The power of the heart over the brain, female biology and the importance of playful movement.

Kristina Hess – Sharing her journey in Body Love from a Spiritual Perspective. Overcoming disordered eating, compulsive exercise and finding the path to real love and acceptance.

Amber Karnes. www.BraveBodyLove.com Kristina Hess Quote Each of us is unique with special gifts Carla Hannaford #BraveBodyLove

 

“Bringing Women from All Over the Globe Together

in an Epic Online Event to End Body Image Issues and

Awaken Our Collective Female Power.”

With Michelle Hess + 35 Experts

February 14-28, 2015

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