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In one of these pictures I am the healthiest and happiest I have ever been…and also the heaviest

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So last week I shared a post on Instagram that took a heap of courage to upload. It was something I had been meaning to do for a while, but a little bit of fear held me back each time I went to post: “What will people say?” “Is this even a powerful image?”

I finally bit the bullet and uploaded the before/after image knowing deep down that to be true to myself, my business and the message I am committed to sharing, then I needed to bare all – and as uncomfortable as it may be, if it means I can help at least one person, it is totally worth it.

I did not expect the wave of support, love and exposure this one post gave me. It gives me goosebumps.

It’s time to flip the #fitspo trend on its head once and for all. Social media is such an incredibly powerful tool in so many ways, but it is also incredibly damaging – especially for those dealing with a mental illness or some level of body image challenges. I am ALL for fitness and health and promoting a happy and healthy life, however what I have noticed is that the #fitspo trend, much of the time, is promoting unrealistic body image ideals for every day people who yes, are committed to working out and eating well, but may not have the physique of the Insta-celeb fitspo account with the abs and tanned skin and thigh gap. While this is completely okay and wonderful if you are mentally stable, and incorporating other elements of health and wellness (like adequate sleep, rest, self love, passions, gratitude and the list goes on), I see that much of these profiles focus SOLELY on what you eat and how you train.

We aren’t stupid. We know that to lose weight we need to eat healthy, and possibly less, and exercise more. But THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO IT THAN THAT.

If it was really that simple, there would be no multi-billion dollar diet industry (yes it is an industry, it is a business, and people make money off you being unable to lose weight) and we would all be flaunting our ‘summer ready beach bodies’ like nobody’s business.

What I am trying to say is – what you weigh, your body shape in general and how you look, is ONE SMALL ELEMENT of your overall health and wellbeing.

I see it ALL the time with my clients – coming to me wanting to lose weight when, in reality, there are MUCH deeper issues below the surface that need addressing first. Not feeling good enough, or beautiful, or worthy. Comparison-itis, not just to strangers on social media, but to family and friends. Poor sleep, panic attacks, coffee addictions, other addictions.

Here’s the thing; if these deeper emotional issues aren’t challenged and worked on first, you will NEVER feel healthy, happy and well. No matter what the scales say, no matter how skinny you look, no matter how many compliments your ripped stomach muscles get.

I know because I have been there.

Look at that first image. Look at the bags under my eyes, the forced smile on my face. I was tired, I was anxious – I remember the day before this picture was taken I stood in front of the mirror in tears because my body wasn’t at the point I wanted it to be. Yep, I hadn’t lost enough fat from my hips, my arms weren’t toned enough, my butt could have been bigger. Looking at the picture now saddens me, because I was just so lost. I thought that if I looked my best, I would FEEL my best. How wrong I was.

Now look at the picture on the right. I am genuinely glowing with happiness and health. My thighs are touching. There ain’t abs here! BUT I am getting a solid 8-9 hours a night of uninterrupted sleep, I can’t tell you the last time I had a serious panic attack, my skin is glowing, my body is thriving, I am eating healthily and without guilt (and just quietly I am having WAY more sex in the second picture…my libido was non-existent in the first).

If you are training and eating well and incorporating rest and a balanced approach to health and wellness on all levels, then I absolutely applaud you. Upload those before and after pictures, and selfies because honestly, you have earned it! I LOVE seeing people share selfies of genuinely happy bodies and results – it is the epitome of self love and I am all for it.

However if you are struggling with your weight or body image, and you think that once these two things are in order then your life will fall into place, think again. Look within. What are you REALLY trying to find? Happiness? Love? Chances are it is there already – you just need to recognise it in yourself.

You are beautiful. No matter what the scales say.

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Europe, appendicitis and going with the flow

 

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I’m baaaaaack!

Did you miss me?

I almost feel like I am speaking to a long lost friend for the first time in ages. I feel nervous and excited and a tad overwhelmed. SO MUCH has happened between now and when we last spoke, and I don’t even know where to begin.

Here is a little confession for you –

I am kinda scared!

Crazy, right? Having published fortnightly newsletters for 6 months, pouring my heart and soul into blog posts and promotions and feature pieces in my favourite publications – this should be a walk in the park yes?

To be honest, it hasn’t been.

I have almost been back from my trip for a whole month. I arrived back full to the brim with inspiration, to do lists and bursting to get back into it. I had planned on my first newsletter going out the week we returned home.

So, what happened?

Life did. As it always does.

6 hours after landing in Sydney from our 2 month dream trip around Europe, I got appendicitis. Within 12 hours of landing I was in Emergency, and 24 hours later being prepped for surgery. 48 hours after that I was leaving the hospital with strict instructions – no driving for 2 weeks, bed rest for 3 weeks and no yoga for 6 weeks.

Talk about an anti climax.

The last month has been an absolute struggle. From physical pain and frustrating restriction on mobility, to emotional stresses and old anxieties rearing their unwelcome heads, I have been feeling helpless, hopeless and lost. Yep, even coaches feel these things from time to time.

The difference is, now I know exactly what to do to fully support myself and most importantly, pull myself out of this funk, which is exactly what I am doing right now.

Want to know how I did it?

Of course you do.

First, I let myself feel the crappy emotions when they came up. I am so used to being the ‘always happy’ girl, and old me would run and hide at the first sign of any anger or sadness. I used to think I shouldn’t ever feel those things as they were ‘bad’ emotions. Not anymore. We are human and ALLOWED to feel emotions just as they are, without judging ourselves for them. In fact, I knew my sadness and anger and frustration were completely justified – so I felt them. FULLY. I cried, I furiously journaled, I complained to anyone who would listen. And it felt GOOD to get these feelings off of my chest, to make room for all of the positive ones.

Speaking of, I upped my gratitude practice, to really focus on the good in my world and help adjust my mind to focus on the positives rather than wallow in the negatives. Like, how freaking grateful I am that my appendix played up after we landed and not overseas or on the plane. Or how many amazing friends I have in my life – my bedroom is STILL a florist 3 weeks later. So grateful.

I also looked for the lesson my body was trying to teach me. Nothing happens just because it does when it comes to your body – it is ALWAYS sending messages, and it is your job to listen to them. I pulled out my trusty You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay (my clients know ALL about this one!) and read about appendicitis until I understood the message inside out. I also allowed myself to recover fully by surrendering to relaxation – this was a really tough one – as it meant not seeing clients, opening my books, even writing for a freaking long time. It tested my patience and challenged my ego and need to constantly be ‘doing’ something – but that was a lesson for me in itself. To relax with the flow of life and just let it ‘be’ without need for control.

How am I doing now? Physically, so much better. I can finally leave the house, walk without hunching and sleep on my side again (we seriously take this for granted!)

Mentally? I still have a little while to go – and I am okay with that! If September has taught me anything it is that I am far too hard on myself and there is nothing wrong with taking it easy from time to time. In fact, we NEED moments of complete disconnection and relaxation for our own sanity. My body just decided to force me into it!

I am SO excited to be back – there is so much in store that I am bursting at the seams (and appendix!) to get started.

But I am not going to come out all guns blazing. I am going to take it one day at a time. And I am finally feeling okay with that.

I would love to hear what you have been up to or your biggest lesson over the last 3 months – send me an email or leave me a comment, they really make my day.

Yours in health and immense gratitude,

Hollie xxx

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