Archives for posts with tag: body image

Below is a testimonial from our client, Jennifer Blair, of Red Deer.  Watching her go through the process that we have so lovingly created has been such a pleasure for us.  We don’t have before and after pictures just yet for Jen as she is currently in her second round of protocol.  However, I prefer using words to define someone’s “after” success….  We don’t focus on scales or body appearance.  We focus on how a client FEELS.  What they have gained from listening to their bodies and focusing on the things that are REALLY important to them -rather than their thighs!

Here is what Jen had to say after her first round of protocol:

I’ve done a lot of crazy things to lose weight over the years. There was that week in college when I did the cabbage soup diet, or that time a personal trainer told me that three hours every day in the gym was my life now, or that brief foray into caffeine pills and ephedrine (on the advice of another personal trainer.) Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Zone, gluten-free, sugar-free, low-carb, paleo, juice fasts — I’ve tried every diet out there, and every diet failed me.

Good thing for me, then, that Goodbye My Muffintop’s Release Protocol isn’t a diet.
Sure, the Release Protocol looks like a diet on the outside. That’s certainly what I thought I was getting myself into last month when I decided, at long last, to try it. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all, and after years and years of struggling – and failing – to lose weight, I was the very definition of desperate. One more crazy diet couldn’t hurt, right?
But when I met with Kelly, her journey and her passion sparked something in me that I had lost a long time ago: hope. Hope that I could live the kind of life I’ve always envisioned for myself — regardless of the number on the scale.
And now, at the end of my first round of protocol, I’ve seen first-hand the power of the Release Protocol – not just in the pounds or the inches I’ve lost, but in the things I’ve gained along the way: a better understanding of my eating habits; an ability to listen to my body and its hunger cues; a vital support system of like-minded men and women; a new toolbox of ways to manage my feelings; and a new-found realization that I am enough just as I am.
Yes, I’ve lost 25 lbs so far with help from Goodbye My Muffintop – but I’ve regained my purpose, my drive, and my faith in myself, and to me, that’s more valuable than any number on the scale.
Crazy, right?
When I asked Jen to give me more words to express where she’s at right now – this is what she suggested….  gawd I love my job!!
time to blossom

Below is a quote from one of our “Muffins” as we lovingly call our clients, lol.  I am so damn proud of this work that we do in liberating women from the diet culture.  When you alter the way you measure success in a weight release protocol, you alter the way people view their bodies, hearts and minds.

Jodi has become such an integral part of our happy little muffin family and I cried tears of joy as I read her review of her experience with our products and her results.

Here’s a little about who I am. I have been on a life-altering journey of self-love for just over 2 years now. I do not have an “eating disorder”. I do not eat emotionally. My weight, however, has always been so much at the fore-front of who I perceived myself to be. We all want to look a certain way, and we all think that our lives will change as a result of achieving that look. I was no different. I was introduced to GBMM by a dear friend and it prompted me to research it religiously for months before I even agreed to give it a try. You see, my game is self-sabotage. I can talk myself into – and out of – damn near anything. Add to that my amazing ability to procrastinate, you come out with someone who makes lazy, “convenience” choices that result in an unhealthy body. What protocol did for me was it made me prepare – literally – for everything. I kept telling myself “It’s only 28 days. I can do anything for 28 days.” So, I prepared – my food, my drops, my SELF – every week, every day, every meal. Something that I just had never done for myself before. What do you know? It paid off. By me actually believing in myself enough to do this for ME, I saw a pay-off. I felt a pay-off. I saw a side of Jodi that I hadn’t seen before – like, ever. My goal is not weightloss entirely, but it is to be off of my blood pressure medication. I am very proud and happy to say that I am almost there. My meds have been reduced by half. Protocol taught me to trust myself. It taught me to invest the time into myself that I deserve, dammit! My journey will be one that I plan and hope to continue for the rest of my days….it will branch off, pause, restart, and gallop ahead. Now that I know that I can do this for myself, and that I know myself better, I will be sexy-walking in a healthy body down that road. I love all of my fellow Muffins and am beyond grateful that they are walking their own paths alongside me.”

jodi

A gazillion years ago, like, when I was in the first grade,  I met and fell in love with this sweet little blonde with the sweetest blue eyes – and I have never stopped.  We have shared love and loss and love and loss.  We have cried together, bitched together and lord knows we have laughed ALOT.  Through it all our love for each other has remained without conditions.  She is my sista from another mista for sure!  I have said many times over the last 10 years that I could feel it in my bones that she and I were destined to do something amazing together and the Release Retreat is only the beginning!

Marriann and I are super excited to have Allison McKee facilitate a brief Desire Map workshop at the Retreat on May 2nd  ….  This is what Alli had to say about her journey and about our Retreat:

Alli's pic

“I am Allison McKee. Wife and mother of three.  A previous non-athlete who rejoiced when Grade 10 Physical-Education was over, could graduate with all requirements and never had to wear a gym strip or smell a locker room again.

Today, I am Allison McKee. Wife and mother of three. AND Owner/Operator of six year old Body Integral Fitness, Health and Wellness in Claresholm, AB. A gym and studio where I also work as Personal Trainer, Nutrition Consultant, Group Exercise Instructor, Lifestyle and Wellness Coach, Speaker, Presenter and Desire Map Facilitator. I wear a gym strip as my daily wardrobe and the smell of locker room means the smell of challenge and success. I ran the Boston Marathon and many other marathons, half marathons and shorter distance races. I have competed in triathlon and duathlon. I have led teams of Spartan athletes to finishes in multiple Spartan Obstacle Races.

I don’t subscribe to methods that will have my clients’ bikini ready in 30 days. Or to get rock hard abs in 15 days. Or even to lose weight by removing these 5 foods. My goal is to empower and inspire and motivate my clients to lead healthy lifestyles that will inevitably spill over into all other areas of their lives. I believe that when you FEEL fantastic about your physical vehicle, there is positively no stopping what you can do in other life areas.

Getting really clear on how you want to FEEL in ALL areas of your life is one of the most effective strategies for goal setting that you can employ. When you have clarity on how you want to FEEL, it will affect all the decisions and choices that you make. From the groceries you buy to the art on your walls. From the relationships you entertain to the business decisions you make. Knowing how you want to FEEL will enable you to set goals with soul. It is a fact that you are never truly chasing the goal that you have set but in are in fact chasing the feeling that comes as a result of having accomplished that goal. Getting crystal clear on how you want to FEEL is the most potent form of clarity you can have.

I am so excited to come and speak and work with you at the Release Retreat. There is nothing more empowering and moving than a group of woman in a metamorphosis. I will bring to you The Desire Map. The theory behind the Desire Map is to discover how you want to FEEL in all areas of your life. We often tell ourselves that we will FEEL happy, excited, successful, beautiful and all kinds of other feelings when we achieve our goals. However, the key is to discover how you want to FEEL first and then to set your goals from that space. Knowing how you want to FEEL is the most potent form of clarity you can have in your life. Knowing how you want to FEEL will help you release all of the things you thought you needed to be, do and have that don’t line up with YOUR Core Desired Feelings. Let’s Release old feelings, patterns and beliefs and learn how to set some goals with soul!”

If you’re ready to work with Allison at the “Release Retreat” you can find out more juicy details and register here….

All of the seeds you have been planting, all of the hard work you have been doing for your personal growth… it’s working, it’s helping, keep pushing…  and come let us help with the final push on May 2nd.  Namaste.

There is this book called “The Four Agreements”.  I read it years ago and whenever I kind of lose my center I always re-visit these guidelines.

I have been thinking a lot about one of the Agreements, which is, “Always Do Your Best”…. I suck at this.  I don’t suck when my best is my best… I suck when I feel like my best isn’t good enough.  To be frank, I still grapple with the idea that I can’t be the best version of myself until I think my body is “doing it’s best” and by “doing it’s best”, I mean looking the way I think it needs to look.

 

always do your best

When it came to 2014 I struggled to do my best in every arena of my life.  And, by my standards, constantly came up short.  It was, to say the least, a year of tests… hard ones.  As far as body image goes I feel like I literally spent 365 days worried about my weight, my appearance, my body and if I wasn’t worried about it I was worried about not worrying about it!  There were days when I was literally consumed by food/exercise and how it all affected my body.

July brought me to me knees – I felt out of control so I went back to the safety of protocol.  Just a little FYI – our protocol doesn’t work when it’s about CONTROL and RESULTS and thus is was a half-hearted attempt.  But it wasn’t a waste.  Finally in a strangely exquisite way.

THIS.

WAS.

ROCK.

BOTTOM.

I came into August with a level of Apathy that actually left me concerned.  I have suffered situational depression in my life.. .but this was different… this was not sadness – I just didn’t care. About anything.  Everyday was a struggle to muster up the energy to do anything.  It was the strangest feeling – this not caring.

I see now that I needed to get there to learn that not caring anymore was not going to kill me. That spending precious energy on making my body perfect was not going to absolve me from feeling imperfect.

I’m learning to love all of the lessons that 30 years of dieting has taught me…. in my heart it feels so liberating!  However, my brain is taking awhile to catch up… all this hard wiring of immersing myself in that culture is difficult to un-do.  Every day it’s gets a little closer to my heart and my soul. And my heart and my soul is where the real work needs to be done.

I am currently doing our Protocol. Along with several of our clients.  I feel very zen about it and whenever I am having a rough day I am finding ways to PERMANENTLY overcome all of these issues.

2014 was not the best example of myself and who I want to be and who I am capable of being… but I was “doing my best”. And that is enough.  ❤

When it comes to the volunteer work that I do – as well as the GBMM  work – it leaves me open to a great deal of criticism.  Some of it is real – some of it is imagined.   Criticism is a vulnerability soft spot for me – I wonder if it’s because I worry that once one of my shortcomings are identified by someone that the floodgates will open and all the shitty things I think about myself suddenly will be nothing but the truth??  Gawd, as I type this I know how silly it seems to think this.

I’m involved with a book study of “The Gifts Of Imperfection” by Brene Brown and today this quote just rocked my world:

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection…”

The last 2 and half years of my life have been an experiment of living authentically and vulnerably and I have had the very highest of highs and the lowest of lows but today that quote made me realize I will always stay low if I get too scared to stay vulnerable. The end of 2013 was very difficult and the first half of 2014 hasn’t been much easier and I see so clearly now that my survival mode was to stop being vulnerable and I really shut-down quite a bit.

It got me thinking about the criticism that I’m so afraid of …. it’s never the constructive stuff.  The people that offer constructive criticism have just as much skin in the game as I do… they are living a life as authentically as they can and they reach out to me and offer me guidance when it’s needed.

But that destructive criticism?  That’s the shit that gets me.  That’s the stuff that gets me in my tender little heart.  How do these trolls know where to get you?

The quote “It’s not the critics who count….” is my mantra.

That’s my new barometer for taking outside criticism and considering if it’s constructive or destructive…. if it’s coming from a person who has been in the arena…   I hear it … if it’s coming from an asshole who has nothing better to do than attack a person from behind the comfort of a computer screen I am getting so much better at dismissing it!

Also… putting myself in this role did magnify my shortcomings…. how can it not? None of us are perfect! I’m pretty proud of the courage it took to plow ahead anyway and proud of the courage it takes right now to not give you a laundry list of all the reasons why the work I do is hindered by my inadequacies. 

Today, when I read the words about staying vulnerable I realized that I had “vulnerability burnout”…  I forgot to nurture my vulnerable parts and had to withdraw… guess what? That didn’t work and I have simply felt stuck for the last 4 months.

This is so clear to me now…. if you make a promise to yourself to be your most authentic you… you MUST make a commitment of EXTREME self-care and compassion.  This is the only way to protect your vulnerable heart if you want to wear it on your sleeve ❤not the critic

This video featuring Brene Brown and her speech on vulnerability has been floating around for awhile and I have never taken the time to watch it… until yesterday.

I probably spent 1/2 of it bawling my eyes out because it rang so true for me as itapplied to my body image and self-love.  It was the very first time that I was 1000% certain that I was going to find myself on the other side of this battle very soon and breathe the sweet fresh air of finally living authentically and in the moment…  I do have some work to do but I see now that it can be done and that I have the strength and the knowledge and the ability to do it!  I am WORTHY of this personal freedom.

But first, I have one last war with my demons…. all of them…  Brene Brown talks about how we Numb ourselves out to deal with uncomfortable feelings and I have been doing that for decades… I numb… but not anymore.  The fact is, if anyone is struggling with contentment – they are likely numbing themselves…. the balance of this post will talk about numbing as it pertains to weight issues and attitudes.

WE NUMB

Some of us turn to pills, to alcohol, to exercise, to cigarettes…. to FOOD.

We are all NUMB!

We go through these motions too afraid to finally admit that we aren’t afraid of fat – NOW we’re afraid of what life will look like if we stop fearing fat!!  Who would we be? Who would we be with? What would we think? What would we look like?

So we NUMB.

Your problem isn’t your weight.  Read that again.  Your problem isn’t your weight.  It’s the numbness, it’s the fear, it’s the guilt, it’s the shame!

We will all argue (very effectively and justifiably) that we all have been conditioned to BELIEVE these things.  We have been brainwashed to BELIEVE that true happiness and contentment will be found at the end of a diet in a string bikini.  That’s the hard sell… that’s what people who are selling shit do to get you to buy their shit!

So we try the hard sell and succeed for a minute, only to fail again (’cause remember success is measured by your ability to manipulate your body into giving you a certain number on the scale)… and then we feel sorry for ourselves… we tell the same sad sad stories of when we started to diet.. we regurgitate the stories of the times we were told we were fat or were made to feel fat.  We remember with longing the times we got “there” only to remind ourselves that we didn’t enjoy it as much as we imagined… ’cause we were still scared – we were still numbing.  We talk about the times when we tracked ever calorie, every rep, every heart beat and bead of sweat… We talk about times that we felt
SO.
IN.
CONTROL.

NEWSFLASH:  Life is not meant to be controlled!  It is not meant to be measured or compared or tracked or monitored.  Life is meant to be LIVED!  And as long as you numb yourself you will never be content in the moments, you will never love the skin you are in, you will never be happy with the simplicity that life has to offer.

Get REAL, stare your shame and your guilt square in the eye and tell it you are NOT fanning it’s flames any longer!  Reach out to us!   Listen, we give you the drops, you follow the book… you go on your way… But if you are really, really, struggling still that’s the part that we love about our Company – the chance to change lives forever and help set people FREE!

worthy

There is a strange contradiction to what I do and how I help people… sometimes I hate that I have to market our products as weight loss products… I cant’ stand the before and after pictures, the announcing of how much weight people have “lost”, I hate feeding the beast of FAT FEAR.

However, you do in fact lose weight when you use our products… a lot… quite quickly… so we work very, very hard to prepare you mentally to un-do all of the reasons that you have lost this weight before and gain it back.  The first thing we identify with people is that if they have yo-yo’d all of their lives then nothing about their “weight problem” has anything to do with weight.  Typically, the real problem are the ones created by the diet and exercise industry; the obsessive tracking, the “no pain, no gain” and the very worst of all… fat shaming and fear of fat.

For us to imply that we don’t know that people have found ways to abuse our products to continue this cycle of self-loathing, and body-shame would be both ignorant and irresponsible of us. We know that people are continuing the binge purge cycle.   However, we try, clients refuse this help.  It hurts me to know that people are still hurting even after an “almost encounter” with what we have to offer.  However, we must move on. We must move on and celebrate the changes we are seeing in ourselves and people that we have come to love and care about very much.

There are always going to be companies and clients that make our products look bad… but it’s another funny juxtaposition… if a person using our products – loses weight – gains it back – it’s the products that don’t work.  If a person loses weight by exercising aggressively and tracking their food and gain it back – it’s THEIR FAULT.  The real culprit here is people not identifying what the real problem is…. WE CAN DO THAT.  We can FINALLY set you FREE.  We can TEACH you ways to take control of YOUR body.

We must focus on the people that we do help and the lives that we are changing…. somedays.. .when I’m having a really bad day I just have to think about how far I have come.  It has been just over a year since I kept a “food diary” – something that I did almost daily for about 13 years.  I also kept an “exercise diary” complimented with a “reasons I suck diary”.  Do you see that if these tools really worked for me I would not have needed to lose weight (or thought I needed to lose – let’s not forget the “imaginary fat” decade!).  For some, I think these tools work, if losing weight or not gaining weight are the only measures of success.  However, I can tell you from personal experience that feeling guilt and shame about food and/or missing a workout and keeping journals about all of the depressing reasons why you just can’t seem to lose weight… does not a happy life make.

Throw away your scale.  Eat when you are hungry.  Stop when you are satisfied.  Move your body joyfully, deliberately, kindly.  Keep a journal about all of the reasons that you and your life are awesome.  This is what our “weight loss program” teaches you… you will find by and large most of what we promote has little to do with weight.   Our products act as a “hormonal re-set” and give you the opportunity to learn EXACTLY what your body needs.   The weight you lose is like a “motivational bonus”!

The thinking and belief system that I subscribed to for decades is deeply bedded in my psyche… some days I still consider food tracking, some days I still consider pushing my body beyond its’ limits, some days I still look in the mirror and hate what I see – it’s not all going to happen over night.  I imagine I kind of feel like the first people who began to realize that the earth was round…  I now KNOW the earth is round… like I KNOW none of the last 30 years of diet torture  served me… but goddammit… somedays I wake up positive the earth is still flat.   Those are the days I feed my soul – not starve my body.

What I know for sure is that I have experienced a shift that is creating a mind/body balance that I have never experienced – what I know for sure is that I have been RELEASED from the cruel, cruel world of diets and fat fear.  What I know for sure is that I have watched people shed and RELEASE far more than weight.  I have watched people blossom into the people they were MEANT to be and that INSPIRES me to keep the faith!

release

The quest for body perfection has become a tricky little bastard with a tricky little way to fool you…  It has wrapped itself up in “health”… as in, if you keep trying to get a perfect body you will be healthy… like counting every calorie and tracking every rep is a healthier way to eat and exercise…. Like having “6 pack” abs is a definition of health.  I have my own ideas now about extreme exercise that I won’t share – I really, really, want to end the cycle of judging others and how they choose to take care of their bodies but I also want other women to know that it’s okay to question this…. That it’s okay to wonder how exercising to the point of injury is “healthy”.

I recently had a very interesting conversation with a woman about this judgment.  We were talking about family vacations and she indicated that when they vacation with their whole family they really have to consider her father-in-law who has had 2 hip replacements since he was 55.  Yep, that’s right first hip replacement at 55.  He had always been an extreme athlete, played football through high school and college.  Often played when he was injured.  Then, he became a runner and often continued running against medical advice.  As she started to express how bad she felt for him I stopped her and I asked her how she would feel if her father-in-law was fat.  If he was obese and because of this obesity he had required 2 hip replacements in less than 20 years.  She agreed that this was a very interesting question – that many would see an obese person requiring these surgeries as a “they did it to themselves…” and cast judgment and possibly say derogatory things about the cost to our healthcare system.  And really, what’s the difference?  Her father-in-law mistreated his body too – just because his mistreatment made his body look good didn’t change the fact that his health was compromised by the way he treated his body.

I remember, before children, when I was “imaginary fat” – I always used to commiserate with my friends that I just wished that my body would reflect how hard I worked at the gym… Ugh, I want to hug that woman, and then slap her…  My body did reflect how hard I worked – I just didn’t “see” it… I will never quite understand how I managed to convince myself that if I just worked out harder and ate so much less that somehow that would make my legs and my torso longer…  it’s true, I was striving for a body that only someone a good 4 or 5 inches taller than myself would ever have!  That certainly speaks to the effective brainwashing of the diet and exercise industry.

In any event, I guess I am ready to change the dialogue – ready to ask the tough questions of people and how they view their own bodies as well as others.  It’s time to shift our attitudes about health and realize that the quest for skinny has never been about that.

body health

I met with a client yesterday and much of her story resonated with me… we both have been on “diets” and the quest for weight loss since before we were 10.  We both had mamas that struggled with their weight.  We both have 2 little girls that we will give anything, ANYTHING to not pass these body-image issue onto!

Through this whole process I have never said I am on a “diet”… I try my best to not moralize food… we don’t say certain foods are “bad” for you or “good” for you… we just talk about healthy choices.  I also try very hard to let my kids follow their hunger cues….  But there are things that are far more important than this….  They are watching and listening.  They see me look at myself in the mirror, they watch me step on the scale…. they listen to me talk to my friends… and as my husband says

“little cabbages have big ears…”

In just a few years time my influence on my daughters when it comes to body image will no longer be as substantial as their friends or the media so I have some work to do and I think it is of the utmost importance that they learn from a woman who feels good about her body and her appearance – but it’s a fine line too right?  I want to send the message loud and clear to them that what they look like is  just about the  smallest  part of being a WHOLE good person.

They are listening mamas… but not to the lip service you pay them when you are making their lunches or choosing a snack…  They watch you get ready for a date with their Dad, they see you turn and turn in front of the mirror and then frown, they hear you say the “F” word to your friends (FAT)….

If I succeed at one thing in my life – giving my girls a healthy attitude about their bodies would make me so proud… Listen to yourself today, watch yourself today… Could you do things differently?

body image scale

Oh my friends… having some weird times lately.  Feeling stuck, feeling overwhelmed and then feeling numb.  I realize that I have spent so much of my life in the pursuit of weight loss that I don’t know what to do with this free space in my head – so I dip my toe in the possibilities and everything comes rushing at once and I want to do it all… RIGHT NOW!  So… back to stuck again… and I run through the cycle.

So in noticing all of this lately – something else has been cropping up… some little part in my noggin’ that I thought was gone has started picking on me again… Those “After” pictures that I was so proud of 2 or 3 months ago are starting to look different to me. I am starting to criticize them and “find the fat” if you will.  It’s like this track in my brain wants to keep playing the same old song and dance and the only way it can get me to do that is to change what I see so it can keep me a prisoner of how I feel about my body.  So, now, instead of feeling proud of my “After” pictures I start to see where I could lose some more weight, where I could “tone” things up, where I need to ask the people that I’m coaching for forgiveness because I know my body isn’t “just right” so who am I to tell them how to change theirs???  Ugh, so gross.

So, now I see the cycle of the last year and everytime that asshole in my head started to pick on me and my body I would do another round of protocol… I would change my “After” picture a little bit more…  but something has changed that’s bigger than just an “After” picture…  I acknowledge that over a year ago when I was contemplating doing my first round of protocol I remember negotiating my little deal with the Universe… I remember saying “if I could JUST get there…” (with my weight) “I’ll be happy… I’ll be satisfied…”  and guess what? I’m there.. and most of the time I am happy and satisfied – but oh that asshole in my head!   I see decades… yep, I said it DECADES of wishing for a body I was NEVER going to have… Even when I was “imaginary fat” I was ALWAYS chasing 5 or 10 pounds…. 5 or 10 pounds kept me away from body satisfaction and made me a prisoner to diet and exercise…  So I see it now, truly – that even another round of protocol is not going to be the cure here…  It’s NOT about my body…

So… my solution?  No protocol.  Just maintenance. Just living. Just learning to treat my body with love and respect. Just yoga. Just sex. Just eating good food when I’m hungry.  Just celebrating life as it is.   Just being in THIS body. Right now.  To let who I want to be realize that I want to be so much more than a pant size or a number on the scale.  That I NEED to teach two amazing little girls that how much physical space they take up in this world is irrelevant to who they are and how much spiritual space they must contribute!

What a waste… what a waste… what a waste…. time to focus on things that I CAN change….

waste