My "Before" & "After"
Updated: Mar 22
“I believe beauty is beyond size. With so much emphasis on the body and external, it is no wonder we all suffer so much internally.” – Ashley Graham
I want to tell you a story. Something that I told myself for many years until it made me weak, unhappy and desperate for help. Something that took years of my life away and made me feel empty, lost and ashamed. That was a time that I tried to be perfect and fit a social stereotype; “BE SKINNIER AND YOU WILL BE HAPPIER!” I convinced myself that if I only lost 10 pounds…maybe 15, I would be much more fulfilled and better-off in my life!
That was the beginning of my life slowly plunging downwards. My life was like a plane wreck crashing in slow motion. I was the pilot and I was the only one who could steer up, but instead I kept descending. I allowed these stories in my head to take the wheel and full control of my entire life.
I wanted to feel good about myself. I spent so much time worrying about what other people thought that I forgot what it was that I really wanted in my own life. I would look in the mirror and the reflection looking back at me said I needed to be skinnier. It told me my thighs and my butt were too big. It encouraged me to obsessively diet and over exercise.
I worked out 7 days a week; running 10- 14 km a day plus going to the gym for a minimum of 2 hours on top of that. I put my obsession above all else. Food became my enemy and I feared it. I counted every calorie and wondered how to lose every calorie that my body took in. I was a slave to diet and exercise. I became fearful, severely depressed, anxious and developed terrible insomnia. I conveyed a much distorted image of myself that I could hardly face head on.
Ten pounds turned into twenty pounds that turned into forty pounds. Forty pounds was a lot on my frame! I was weak and I was tired. My hair began falling out in chunks and my menstrual cycle was completely gone. This wasn’t exactly the happy I was looking for. My friends and family noticed but I avoided them. I couldn’t go out if there was food involved. I began to isolate and withdrawal myself from social situations, which was so not my character! I loved to socialize and interact with people prior to all of this taking over my existence.
Through ups, downs and triggers such as a devastating break up and a highly stressful career that I didn’t enjoy, I had a severe breakdown. What happened and how did I let myself get to this unhealthy point? I remember it like it was yesterday. I held my newborn niece and my thinking quickly began to shift. Slowly I wanted things to change. I wanted to be healthy and happy again. I wanted to be a strong role model to my niece and others in my life.
Shortly after my collapse, I decided to take my first yoga class. The practice of yoga and I found each other at the perfect time. I couldn’t believe that a lot of my self-talk and negative dialogue stopped whenever I was on my mat breathing and moving. My mat brought me comfort, courage, love and acceptance. I surrounded myself as much as I could with positive and uplifting energy. I was not only finding happiness, but I was finding a true sense of me again.
I started to change my thinking; telling myself a new story. A story about self-worth and acceptance. About a girl that didn’t have to fit a societal standard to be beautiful. I found a way to cope with anxieties, fear, and unpleasant thoughts. I showed myself kindness and non-judgment.
Outer beauty won’t captivate your heart nor will it be how you’re remembered. Confidence and kindness will carry you through your journey. You are who you are and once you let go of negative stories and false perceptions, you can start being your truest self.
For many years I stopped living my life. Yoga, Movement and Mindfulness have helped me find my true, internal self. A feeling that I thought would never return. Yoga and Movement have taught me to love my body at every size and fully appreciate what I am physically capable of! Mindfulness has taught me to be present and thankful for each moment here and now.
For this reason, I felt it was my purpose in life to teach Yoga, Movement and Mindfulness helping others find peace within themselves.
Students inspire me every day! My extreme passion for Healthy Body Image, Movement and Mindfulness are constantly growing. I am beyond grateful to be able to teach others to appreciate and accept themselves as they are through all stages of life.
Life is too short not to love the skin that you are in!