Feel Strong in Your Being

​​​​​​​I’m likely only going to talk about this subject once. At least in this way.

It’s been on my mind for a long time now.

And while this post is a little longer than usual, it’s really important.

​​I also wanted to let you know that we have officially opened the doors to our annual LIVE FREE Say it, Sweat it, Get it Challenge!

During the course of the week, I will be giving you short easy-to-follow, uplifting movement videos that you can do from the comfort of your home.

I only run this challenge LIVE once a year and I’ll be giving away a ton of free prizes, doing live chats and more. So you don’t want to miss it!

Plus, I made a really cute video for you with a surprise appearance at the end. CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Ok, back to my subject today.

Funneling Anxiety Into My Body

It’s about my body. And well, frankly yours.
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You may remember that pregnancy was difficult for me. I tried really hard to embrace the changing of my body, but admittedly, I was worried about what would happen on the other side

I sort of obsessed by looking at images of women’s postpartum bodies on Instagram. 
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You know the ones.
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They were the ones people share 6 weeks after having a baby, showing practically no signs that a baby was ever there. 

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This was not comforting to me.
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It felt like a lot of pressure to get there.
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But, on the other side there were women who showed their “real” postpartum bodies.
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(I put “real” in quotes, because at this point, I think we can all agree, that even if your body looked like it never had a baby 6 weeks after birth, it’s still very much real.)
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These more “real” bodies were the ones that showed the stretch marks, the soft belly, the “reality” of what it’s like to be postpartum.
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I need to be honest with you. Those images didn’t provide any comfort either.
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What if I was unable to embrace my body they way they did?

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It was like I couldn’t win either way. 

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All the images of women’s bodies were exacerbating my anxiety about my own body. 

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And then, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

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I knew what all this mental madness was about.
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I realized I was funneling all of my anxiety about becoming a mother and having a baby into my body.
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Rather than sitting with all of the worries, fear, doubts and the unknowns about my life basically changing FOREVER, I spent countless and mindless hours worrying about how my body might look when all was said and done.
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It’s sort of like a bride, who is naturally nervous about her pending nuptials, but funnels all her anxiety into every small detail, becoming a bridezilla.
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(I kid you not, one of my best friends spent over $1000 on different lipsticks for her wedding. She was obsessed with finding the perfect shade of neutral pink. Don’t worry, she returned most of them. AND, despite the fact that she was 100% certain she was marrying her soul mate, she she was very aware that she was funneling her anxiety about marriage, her new identity and her unknown future into nothing other than lipstick. So we let her have lipstick as her diversion:)
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Anxiety about dramatic changes in your life is completely normal.
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And like I said, we often funnel that anxiety into strange places.
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But as far as my body went, something crazy happened. 

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On November 27th, 2017, I had my baby girl via c-section. (Full story here)
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And over the following 5-6 weeks, everything in my world changed.
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In regards to my body, I don’t know how, but when I looked in the mirror, I felt something I never felt before.

I Felt Strong in My Being

I didn’t feel strong in my body, I felt strong in my being.
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Read that again.

​​​​​​​I didn’t feel strong in my body, I felt strong in my being.
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And that felt stronger and more powerful than anything I have ever felt in MY BODY before.
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In that moment, I decided that I ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT talk about or share images of my postpartum body in order to show you my progress.
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Or lack thereof.
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Why?
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Because the moment I share images about my body with the world, I begin to tell the world what I value in myself. Even unintentionally. 

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And because we teach people how we want to be treated, if I teach you that my body is what I value most in myself, it means that this is what you may come to value in me as well.

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And damn it, I have soooo much more to offer than that.

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On Instagram alone, there are thousands of images of women’s bodies.

And believe me when I say, I am all for celebrating the miraculous female body in all it’s forms, shapes and sizes!

But really?

So you lost all the baby weight.

Ok, and, so what?

So you didn’t lose all the baby weight.

Ok, and, so what?

I wasn’t interested in being part of any conversation on social media that would contribute in ANY WAY to another woman’s anxiety about her body.

No thank you.

As it pertains to postpartum in particular, there are a million other things I would want to be valued for.

Where I Want to Place My Value​​​​​​​

I want to place my value on the fact that I carried and birthed a human being.
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That I am nurturing this child.
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That I was being patient and not losing my shit when I didn’t know what I was doing.
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That I hired a chef to cook me food, a supreme act of self-care that made a huge difference.
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That I was moving slow and not putting pressure on myself to be or do anything.

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These, and much more, are the things I am most proud of. 

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Not that I fit back into my skinny jeans in a certain amount of time. 

(And for the record, I feel like I look great! But what I think is far more important than what anyone else thinks, thank you very much!)
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​​​​​​​Listen, I get that this is an odd thing to share with you, being that I am a fitness professional.
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But the truth is, I am more interested in how you are being, how you are feeling, what your thoughts are, and how you are acting in the world than I am about the shape of your body.
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By now you know that I believe movement in your body creates movement in your life. 

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Exercise, fitness and movement can be a way of shifting all the things that I’ve mentioned here so that you simply FEEL better, more connected and less fearful.
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Along those lines, let me be clear. If losing weight is your goal, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that!
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(There seems to be a movement in the wellness world right now that one should not want to lose weight. I disagree with that, because I have worked with clients who have dropped anywhere between 30 – 100 lbs and as a result lowered their blood pressure, got rid of diabetes, and are living happier, healthier lives. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.)
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But I thought it was important to share this.
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I want you to understand what I stand for here.
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I stand for you.
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I stand for your personal fulfillment. 

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I stand for you feeling strong in your BEING. 

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And maybe that means getting stronger in your body.
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Or it could mean slowing down and doing physical things in a less extreme way.
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If this is something that appeals to you, then I invite you to join me in the LIVE, annual Say it, Sweat it, Get it Challenge.
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During this week-long challenge, I’ll be giving you easy-to-follow, uplifting movement videos that you can do from the comfort of your home.
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I would REALLY love to hear from you on this topic. Does it resonate with you? Does it spark any thoughts that you want to share? Will you join me in the Challenge? Tell me about it in the comments.
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I am so excited to move with you in the coming weeks and months!
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Here’s to your health, your love, your life and all the goodness that comes with it!

Love,
Erin
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P.S. I have a HUGE announcement next week that you don’t want to miss. So keep an eye out!

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15 Responses to Feel Strong in Your Being

  1. Jo Levitt says:

    Yes, yes, YES!
    Erin, once again, you have got it exactly right. I used to be one of those people who everyone hated, because I was so skinny and could eat anything. I was always bored by the weight conversations, so when my body changed and I needed some help, you were the one who inspired me, because you always focus on the person and not the body. Thank you!

  2. Monique says:

    I soooo love this post and I hope that it will make women AND men think. It’s not necessary to have the perfect body but it IS necessary to take care of your body, And mind And soul for that matter 😉 in the best possible way. It’s time to get rid off these perfect images and women trying to get the same body. Everybody is special and perfect in it’s own way. Do you want to make changes, perfect, go for it but don’t go for perfection because then you can only fail. Embrace your body as it is and try to get a little bit better and fitter each time. Carrying a child and giving birth is the most beautiful experience there is in life and we should focus on BEING as you wonderfully said. I’m 52 and a grandmother but I still strive each day to be the best and healthiest version of myself without comparing myself to these young and beautiful models and I accept my body at it is. Obviously I have subscribed to your challenge and hope to do a lot more of these with you in the future! Keep up the good work Erin, people like you are very much needed in this world!

  3. Aniela McGuinness says:

    Erin,

    This was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your soul with us.

  4. Sarah says:

    Erin, I am continually amazed at the wisdom you have to share, and I 100% support your decision to not make the postpartum stage about how your body looks. Thank you for the inspiration to be kind to ourselves and place our worth in what truly matters! XOXO

  5. Sarah says:

    Yes! Thanks for sharing, Erin! As a mama to 5 I have been through this 5 times. As a doula I support women through the transition to motherhood , and it is and we are about so much more than those perfect images of what we should be. Motherhood is messy and imperfect and still amazing., like most of life! So thanks! Standing up for each of us to feel strong in our being, this is how we all become strong, and help each other when we don’t feel that strength. Love to you and your sweet family!

  6. Maiya says:

    Thank you, Erin! I think women of all ages and stages of life need to heed this message! I remember that post partum body anxiety very well, as I went through it twice years ago. Now as an empty nester in Menopause I’m going through a whole new round of seeing the natural changes happening in my body, wanting to fight against them, and ultimately surrendering to the deeper wisdom, beauty and power that is who I really am inside this human female body. I am committed to doing my part with self-care practices, eating healthy, plant-based whole foods and moving my body daily in joyous ways, but I no longer want to compare myself to any fitness or beauty magazine image. Thank you for the reminders…🙏🏼

  7. Julia says:

    Love this mind set Erin! I have to say that I feel more body freedom at 53 than I did at 23. I don’t care as much how I look in public. I’ve shed the idea of what’s acceptable and “beautiful” in favor of how I feel I look. Love this about aging!! Just wish the younger me knew this.

  8. Sue Quinn says:

    You did it. You made me cry. I wish I could join live! I work 2 jobs and am never able as my time slots are around 4:30 or 530 am and 1030 pm. But thank you for letting people know that being a good mom and a good person and a good friend are more important than the size of your jeans.

  9. Emily says:

    This definitely resonated! I didn’t think much about how my body would go during my pregnancies but I do remember the feeling of floundering on where to land my thoughts with pregnancy. Not knowing what was coming or how it’s would all change. You were spot on ,though, about how afterward I had this crazy new sense of purpose and feeling of who I was! No more wishy washy about certain things! I definitely still had all the new mom downs and struggles but I also had those Solid in my shoes ups! It was and is so amazing to have something so natural like that set in !

  10. So loving this post, Erin! Even though I have never given birth, I could completely relate to focusing on my being instead of my body. Thanks for the new insight 🙂

  11. Idell says:

    I think feeling strong in my BEING is exactly what I need!! I need more than to just loose the weight(again). I took the anxiety and insecurities I’ve been feeling and tried to cover them with food which helps nothing. The beginning of this year I felt strong and was healthier but my anxieties over family issues has depleted that. I need to be strong on the inside even more than on the outside

  12. Ruth Benzimra says:

    I’m delighted to read this perspective

  13. Carrie Wilson says:

    Dear Erin,
    You are transformational in your thinking and sharing – THANK YOU!!!! Looking forward to joining you in the Say It, Sweat It, Get It Challenge and inviting others!!!!

  14. Laura Christensen says:

    It has been a while since I had my babies but the comparison no matter what your stage of life is real. Thinking that we will be happier with less weight, with a new job, in a new town etc… is not real. What we need to do is to be comfortable in our own skin and know and love ourselves exactly as we are. Does that mean that we don’t strive to improve ourselves? Heck no! But it does mean that we are looking at ourselves through our own lens and not the perceived one that the world places on us. We as women, also need to move to a place of supporting and loving one another, we will run into enough criticism out there, we need to hold each other up and see the magnificence in each and every one of us.

  15. I love this. I may have to make this one of my affirmations: “I feel strong in my being.” I’ve always been lean and never had a weight issue until I hit menopause and suddenly, a few months shy of turning 50, everything changed and I don’t recognize some parts of myself any more. I’ve gained weight (not a ton, but enough to bother me) and can’t seem to get rid of it. I’ve committed to exercising (or just MOVING – a lot of my day is usually spent sitting in front of a computer) and eating better (although truthfully, I was a pretty healthy eater before), but have been stuck on how my body looks and the clothes that don’t fit the way they did before. I was never lucky enough to have children, so I can’t relate to the post-partum body issue, but I suspect the post-menopause issue is similar! Planning to practice feeling strong in my being as I finish up your #sayitsweatitgetit challenge!