Many years ago I met Sarah Harry, one of Australia’s leading specialists in Body Image and Disordered Eating. In my years of work in the plus-size Industry I have honestly never met anyone more authentic or effective at walking the walk when it comes to positive body image and how we feel about ourselves. I have valued the opportunities I’ve had to work with, refer to and receive guidance from Sarah over the years. I’ve especially enjoyed my Fat Yoga Classes and was so thrilled to see how Sarah managed to spread the word and influence women around the world to practise yoga.
Sarah believes you can’t heal the relationship with your body without doing some work to feel more comfortable in your body (your one and only home), so she has added the yoga component to help you find an embodied sense of peace in your body. The course is the first of its’ kind to blend psychology with yoga to help you heal and blends a healthy sense of humour and fun from Sarah with the latest research and her 15 years of clinical practice working with people with body image issues.
I don’t pretend to know everything about being body positive or correctly using the “politically correct” terminology to avoid offending or triggering others, I’m human, I don’t always get it right. I know sometimes we go off on a tangent and mean well, but don’t get it right. Perhaps this is one of those times. But I don’t think so.
At almost 46 years old I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body – lots of it things I wished I had learnt much earlier in my life – for example; that listening to fad diet advice is not healthy, that years ago I was convinced by the powers that be to not eat eggs every day because they would higher my cholesterol; or that I should eat low-fat everything – the list could go on for pages. Flash forward a number of years and low- fat suddenly equals too much added sugar and now it’s no sugar I should be touting – but now it’s ok for me to eat eggs everyday. Oh lord give me strength – who do you believe? Let’s face it whatever makes money for those that can benefit drives the media cycles and the marketing of all things.
These days I ignore the fads, eat in moderation, do my best to exercise regularly and know instinctively what is right for me. I don’t get caught up in the hype, I am head down, bum up working on my dream, raising my family and living my life.
Why? Because I listen to me – what makes me happy, what feels right.
Because I don’t need to BECOME, I already am.
Humans are driven by fear.
What would happen if we just stopped listening to the scare mongering when it comes to our bodies and just did what felt right for us?
My personal answer is – acceptance and love. I know, I did it.
Don’t think for a second that I feel perfectly happy with everything 100% of every second of every day, I don’t. Life is a journey, we are an ever changing being. I’m human. Fear lives within me. But these days, and for at least the last 8 years I’ve happily managed to feel happy, content and love myself and what I stand for and how I look with next to no effort.
So when two nights ago I saw the advertisement for Michelle bridges 12wbt challenge I sat bolt right off my seat and glared at the tv. I was appalled. My 13 year old son was watching with me, and he just looked at me and said “Wow”. Enough said.
The ad aired on prime time channel 9, and I’ve since seen it everywhere. It’s a collection of women living their “dream”, stereotyped of course because what’s depicted is not necessarily everyone’s dream.
The ad includes a voiceover spoken by Michelle Bridges. This is exactly what is said by Michelle in the ad:
“Become Inspired, Fulfilled, Motivated, Energised, Strong Body & Mind
Become your Dream
Become a Team
Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Training
WHAT???????????????????? Seriously???????? This dialogue is wrong on so many levels.
Immediately I start thinking to myself, hang on, I AM all those things and so much more!
Michelle, PLEASE stop insinuating that our bodies define who we are and I couldn’t possibly be any of these things without being part of your program. Or that there is something wrong with me.
There’s not enough space to write all the things I feel when faced with irresponsible advertising like this. Simply put, if someone chooses to join a program to lose weight, gain weight, exercise, learn, find a friend, create something new in their life – whatever it is, that’s absolutely fine. BUT NEVER should it be insinuated that there is something wrong if you don’t, that’s it’s not possible to be all of these things without joining.
Is it really so inconceivable to others that someone such as me (obviously the type of body that the ad is appealing to) who is a size 20-22, 46 years old with an apple shape and considered obese could be perfectly happy in their own skin, can be successful, liked, loved, happy, inspiring, inspired, fun and living her dream? I challenge you to give me a call and spend some time with me, I’d be more than happy to share some of my time with you and let you see that it is indeed possible, maybe even inspire you to let go of these unrealistic insinuations and images.
It IS possible for women of all ages and sizes to be all of these things – regardless of their size. Being a perfect size 10 (not my ideal, but the ideal portrayed in such advertising these days) and projected as medically fit and healthy does NOT ensure that you are happy, fun, fulfilled or any of the other things. It simply does not. That is a myth and it’s high time that it was understood as such.
This year I’m turning 46 – wow where did the time go! I was born with a head of beautiful dark, almost black hair (and I’ll tell you a secret, my mum used to have to use Vaseline to stick it down as I had so much hair it used to stick up all the time!! hahaha). In my 20s I sported a fringe, and then in my early 30’s just after my son was born, I decided it was time for a change and I grew out my fringe and haven’t looked back. However, as I neared 20 I suddenly realised that I had developed grey hair – not just a few odd grey strands here and there, but grey roots – lots of them!
By the time I was 25 I was 100% grey! Needless to say I have spent a lot of money and effort dyeing my hair. In fact, I’m a bit of an expert at it. The cost of hairdressing appointments and the fact that my hair grows fast – really fast – necessitating retouching up my roots at least every 3 weeks, adds up fast. My bathroom cupboard is filled with the stained towels and bottles of magic that keep my hair looking slick.
I can’t tell you the amount of hours I’ve spent stressing about my grey roots, and the imaginative ways I’ve managed to hide them over the years. One thing won’t change however, and that is unless I’m prepared to be 100% grey, I will need to continue to colour my hair. I’ve decided I’m just not ready for that yet.
One of the negatives of hair colouring, especially when only retouching the roots, is that no matter how very careful and expert you become, there is always an overlap of colour and over time this builds up and darkens the hair.
I’ve always tried to stay as close to my natural colour as possible (and for the record my eyebrows are still natural! albeit with a few wisps of grey I have to pluck out now and again!) – but recently I’ve been toying with the idea of what to do. I spoke to my hairdresser and she advised a couple of options:
Cut it all off and grow it out grey
Start colouring the roots a shade or two lighter and begin foiling sections of my hair over time until it lightens up; or
Continue as is
None of these ideas felt right to me and I asked her about stripping my hair and recolouring? She was not keen, and advised against it. I’ve pondered and pondered and felt stuck. It was time for a change, but how?
Recently we moved house. I decided that this was a good time to get another opinion and check out a new hairdresser, so I bit the bullet and called my local salon. I explained over the phone the situation and made an appointment for the next day.
This is what my hair looked like just before I walked into the salon 🙁
Upon entering the salon I was greeted warmly and ushered to a seat where I was served a lovely cup of coffee. Minutes later Kayla, my colourist came to greet me and sat down to discuss what I was wanting to achieve. Within minutes she had taken stock of the situation and called her colleague Emily, also a colour expert to join in and together they worked through my thoughts and hopes with me. What struck me immediately was their instant willingness to go for it! They were super excited at the challenge and after a quote was given and I’d been advised that I’d be there for at least 4 hours, the process started!
With two gorgeous ladies with the most capable skills attending to the challenge, I settled in patiently and surrendered to the process.
This was immediately after the colour had been stripped from my hair! Oh boy what a shock, I felt like an orangutan! The looks I got from those who hadn’t seen the beginning or the end of the process was priceless.
BUT it was all worth it, the final result was all I could have hoped for. Immediately my features were softened and I felt so much better.
A huge thanks to the team at Rokk Ebony, you guys rock! I’m so thrilled with my new colour and feeling confident and ready for anything. Sometimes self-confidence needs some help!