You may already know me as your body positivity Guide here in AthletaWell. Today I wanted to take this opportunity to share more with you from the backstory of my journey to self-acceptance. My journey to body positivity is a long one. Here are some of the major outtakes from my weight management struggles since childhood—
At 10, my mom dragged me to Weight Watchers. From early childhood I felt shame around my body as it was a constant topic of conversation.
At 18, I decided to lose weight on my own when I went off to college. I skipped classes to work out at the gym for hours while starving myself and purging anything I ate. I lost 60 pounds, looked “great,” and felt horrible.
At 30, I joined Weight Watchers. I lost 100 pounds. I learned nothing about healthy eating but learned everything about how to count points. My ongoing mission was figuring out how to fit a bag of chips and slice of pizza into a 36-point day. The weight came back on as soon as I stopped counting the points.
At age 38, I hired a trainer and joined Weight Watchers again. I used working out at the gym as a form of punishment for anything I had eaten. I lost 60 pounds but then got injured shortly thereafter, so I left the gym and gave up exercise for a while.
At age 46, the doctor told me I was pre-diabetic. This was the first time my weight had been brought to my attention as a health concern.
So here I was heading down the weight loss road yet another time, except this time I was concerned about my health. This was not my first time at the weight loss rodeo, and all I could think was this has to be the last time! I said to myself, Margeaux you have GOT to figure this out. You must do something different to make a lasting change from the inside out, rather than from the outside in.I would need to examine myself honestly to get to the root of the problem, however difficult that would be. Why was it that I kept repeating this cycle? Yes, genetics were involved— I’m not built like a small person, but there were also clearly accompanying emotional issues that I was ignoring, and I had to get physically moving again in some capacity.
As your body positivity Guide I’m honored to be here with you in this community today to share the strategies and mindsets that helped me free myself from the ongoing cycle of my battle with my weight and body image. Keep reading below for my top tips for showing up wholeheartedly on your own journey to body positivity—
1. Seek a form of movement that speaks to you... and if you don’t find it right away... keep looking
I always thought the only way I was ever going to lose weight was if I was punishing myself in the gym. I hated going, so it never became part of my lifestyle. I tried yoga numerous times over the years and never thought it was for me either. It wasn’t until I decided to take a gentler approach with myself that I gave yoga one more try and unlocked the real benefits of the practice. I began to realize the physical practice was just a small part and that it was really more about the “modification of the mind stuff,” which is exactly what I needed to explore in order to make a lasting change. When you begin to look at movement as something you enjoy, you are more likely to make it a part of your lifestyle.
2. Find a like-minded supportive community
I walked into my first yoga class well over 300lbs and hid in the back of the room in a black oversized t-shirt and black leggings as if no one would see my size in this uniform. Francine who was teaching the class was a Black woman which is something I had not seen in the yoga community, and she was so full of light. I will never forget how she started the class with “Take a look at yourself in the mirror and thank yourself for showing up for yourself today. Let go of any judgment. Don’t fix your hair or your clothes. Just give yourself a smile and thank yourself for showing yourself self-love today.” I realized nobody here was judging me. This was a supportive space. They were here to support each other and me on our individual and collective journeys.
3.Practice affirmations and positive self-talk
Now that I had a regular yoga practice I decided to check out some of the other offerings at the studio. When I took my first IntenSati class, I thought I was just taking a cardio class, but it was so much more. The class had us shouting positive affirmations at ourselves out loud like “I am strong,” “Yes I can,” and “I am enough now” in a room full of other people doing the same thing. I immediately thought,
This is crazy! Who does this?
Well…I did, two times a week for two years, and I loved it! It helped me to keep the negative talk at bay and have kind and positive conversations with myself both in and out of the studio, creating a new habit.
4. Address and confront your trauma
Through this journey of self -discovery I realized that I had been avoiding feelings I had from childhood about being adopted and being mixed race. I had always struggled with the feeling of not identifying, and, because I was adopted, I felt unwanted and unworthy. I also carried with me a strong fear of abandonment that was so consuming at times that I stayed in bad relationships way longer than I should have—relationships with friends, food, or that crappy boyfriend I should have kicked to the curb the first time he cheated. As I finally started focusing on my inner self, I thought about my three-year-old self and started showing her the self -care and self-love that she never got from me before. In confronting my traumas, I started transferring the mindfulness I cultivated on my yoga mat into my daily life. As I did the work on my inner self, it started to show on my outer self, which is something I had never done all those times in the past when I was dieting, exercising, or just plain starving myself to be thin.
5. Let Go
At the beginning of my journey, I mentioned to a stranger that I was practicing yoga and had "lost" 25lbs . She congratulated me and said, “Try rephrasing that to say you have "RELEASED" 25lbs…because when you lose something you can pick it up again, but when you “RELEASE” something, you really let it go." Today I can say that I have released most of the emotional baggage that I had been dragging around with me for all those years making space for a new lifestyle and lasting change.
Through the practice of yoga and mindfulness I have released 120lbs of physical and emotional weight, regained my health, and discovered my best self. I feel lighter for the first time in my life and have more love, compassion, respect, and appreciation for my body. I no longer feel the need to try and fit into the unrealistic idea of what society says my body should look like. This shift in mindset prompted me to launch my lifestyle blog This Curvy World in 2017 and complete my yoga teacher training in 2019. I teach that you can be well and fit at any size. Now I’m the person in the room who holds space for others the way Francine did for me.
You can be curvy, fit, healthy, and fabulous all at once at a size that feels good for your body. You can live life from a more mindful place, from a place of gratitude and self-acceptance. You are worthy of letting go of negative thoughts surrounding yourself and your body. You are empowered to change the habits that have kept you feeling trapped. You have permission to love and appreciate yourself in a way that you never have before. And most importantly, repeat after me—
I AM ENOUGH NOW.
Share your experience in the comments below. What part of Margeaux’s body positivity journey resonates with you? What’s your favorite affirmation or mantra for reminding yourself of your worthiness every day of the week at any size? We love to hear from you.
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