In my near 9 years professionally working with clients, it’s become clear that women frequently struggle with body image, weight loss and self-esteem that not only impacts their family, social and professional lives, but also their physical bodies. Women store these negative emotions like stress, anxiety, fear and insecurity in their bodies that lead to issues like chronic back and neck pain, sciatica, scoliosis, arthritis and other ailments that decrease their quality of life. These emotions and physical ailments prevent women from living the life they deserve!
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Granted, I most often work with my clients (both male and female) in minimal clothing, which often means modest underwear: not something that is easy for new clients to do-stand in their skivvies in front of someone they met only minutes ago!
I ALWAYS begin a session with a new client, whether male or female, by first pointing out the positive things happening in their body, and will focus on my female clients for the sake of the greater topic at hand in this post (sorry guys: know that I appreciate you, too!). This part of my assessment I feel is the most important for multiple reasons.
First, because my client tends to focus on the things that hurt (that brought the client to my office in the first place), or the things she doesn’t like about her body (ie the cellulite, the extra weight, not having the “perfect” body, or having not shaved her legs today), and I like to point out that there are already so many things that are working WELL in her body! If I had a dollar for every time I heard a woman blurt out, before I even get a chance to speak, a phrase like, “Oh I’m just trying to lose some weight and am going to start going back to the gym soon,” or “Oh, you’ll see all my cellulite!”
Second, the positive attributes I point out have nothing to do with her aesthetics, or how she looks (hair, body shape, etc). The comments I make have only to do with her alignment- her body’s balance front-to-back, right-to-left, the amount of support and stability her body has.
Years of hearing women say negative things about themselves and their bodies has pushed me to the breaking point: this mentality HAS to change!
This is my mission with my Be Beautiful in Your Body: Feel GREAT No Matter Your Size or Shape Coaching Program– to help women improve and heal their relationship with their bodies, themselves, grow their self-esteem and confidence, and to be able to take these qualities into all aspects of their lives so they may ultimately fulfill their purpose and dreams.
Sure, I have the professional experience of working with women and their bodies, but I have a lot more experience than you might know. I rarely talk about myself or my own personal history with clients, as my sessions are always client centered and not about me. But I will be open and honest in offering my personal credentials.
See, I have been through two eating disorders in my life, beginning when I was about 16 or 17 years old. I have been there. I know what it’s like to live it, how negative feelings, thoughts and actions toward yourself can impact your personal, social and professional life. Struggling with body image affects relationships, consumes your life, often leads to depression, and for some, even death. It can feel like the world and your body are against you. At least, that’s how it felt for me.
In the early stages (in my teens) it was a way to fit in, as I was in a sport (vaulting: gymnastics on horseback) where weight and body image mattered, and it was a common theme amongst my teammates to watch our weight. Talk about social influence! As my first eating disorder progressed I also sought attention and control, as my life was very stressful and I had a big shift in my family, including moving back to Washington. I used food, or lack thereof, to feel like I could control something in my life. I got help, and survived (literally). Then, in my 20s, even though I thought I had a good handle on my “issues,” I had only come so far, with much more to learn ahead. Even though I have been an athlete all my life, and a near professional one in high school, I still saw my body as flawed. Though I no longer tried to starve myself, I tried to be a good role model, since I was a health professional, after all, by eating “clean” and what I thought was “healthy.”
My obsession with being a perfect model of health took over my life in a very unhealthy way (talk about irony!). I still called myself “fat” and often said negative things about myself and my own body. I continued to over-exercise, because I thought I “should” go to the gym, even when I didn’t feel like going or my body was screaming for a break. My obsession with food and being “perfect” made me miss out on many aspects of my life (which I really regret now), and really challenged my personal relationships.
Today, I am in a much healthier place all around. I’ve gained weight, intentionally- both muscle (a lot of it, too!) and essential fat. I exercise when I want to, not because I feel I am supposed to. I listen to my body. I eat what I want when I want. Though I hold a lot of strong values about what I put into my body, I eat with much more flexibility. With the support of many, and a lot of work on myself, I am who I am today, right now: healthy, happy, and wanting to help other women feel the same.
Many times women, whether they have a diagnosed eating disorder or not, are consumed with how they look, what they “should” or “shouldn’t” eat based on the latest diet fad seen on the cover of check-out aisle magazines, and how to lose the belly fat overnight by doing the newest miracle exercise. Translation: You (women) are not good enough the way you are. You have to change to be accepted, to be beautiful, to be desirable and to be worth anything to society.
I have a huge problem with this, and maybe you do too.
Yes, I admit this bodyworker is on a bit of a “women power” trip right now, and I do want to make it clear that men are not immune to these messages either. Plenty of men deal with body image issues, too, but it’s honestly not my forte to counsel them on these issues because, being a woman, I can relate more to women.
The mission of my coaching program’s is this: to help you discover, or perhaps, rediscover, how incredible you and your body are, that you have so much to offer the world just as you are, that you CAN do anything you want to do without changing or compromising who you are.
My personal and professional experience has taught me so many valuable lessons that I cannot keep to myself: they must be shared to help better the lives of women near and far, including you. No woman on this planet, including you, deserves to live a life in which she does not feel confident and beautiful in her own skin every single day! Anything different robs you of being your true Self.
So what’s stopping you from being the woman you really are? This is “the moment you realize that no one is your enemy, except yourself (Shannon Alder).”
Only you are standing in your own way. Not your significant other, not your job, not your kids, not the unspoken “rules” of society or anything else. You.
When you decide that you want a better life, an empowered life, the life you DESERVE, then take the leap and sign up for the Be Beautiful in a Bikini: Feel GREAT No Matter Your Size or Shape Coaching Program.
The application, and the life you want, is just one click away:
There you have it. A little more about me, and the link and opportunity to begin rewriting your own story.
Let’s start with Chapter One, titled, “Today.”
If you’d like more information on the details of the program, or are interested in one-on-one coaching, please contact me:
Ph: 425.463.5763 or use the Contact form on this website.
Jennifer Soames, LMP, KMI/BCSI, Body Confidence Coach
In Stride Bodywork