If you follow me on Instagram, you’d know that I’ve spent the past five days detoxing my mind, body and soul. Which is why I’m sharing this excerpt from Everyday Chic on self-discipline and body image. Anyone can have self-discipline, you just need to be in the right mindset.
Mostly everything that I have and that I have earned I attribute to self- discipline. My ability to save enough money to buy my first house. My ability to persevere in my modeling career early on, when I was told that I was “too fat.” My ability to have a growing family, despite growing in age myself. Self- discipline is crucial when it comes to achieving life goals and meaningful goals. Our ability to put off short- term gratification in order to meet long- term goals is what ultimately leads to achievement. Unfortunately, excuses so often get in the way of hard work. Procrastination can be a big one for me. That’s why I work constantly with deadlines and calendars— I just plug it in and do. I don’t have time to think I don’t want to because it’s on the books. I often place arbitrary deadlines on projects because a floating “whenever” deadline is simply not motivating enough. It will inevitably be postponed if it’s not penciled, or penned, in! And when it comes to self- discipline, I believe that a change in perspective is sometimes all we need. Change your language from “I have to do this” to “I get to do this.” See what a difference that makes? Assigning positivity to the task at hand helps us stay motivated to consistently follow through.
When it comes to body confidence, women of all ages (myself included) have some work to do. We need to take a closer look at how we communicate with our bodies and how we talk about our bodies to ourselves and to one another. Just think for a moment about the things we say to our friends and family members about our bodies: “I’m so fat.” “I need to lose weight.” “I hate my arms, my broad shoulders, my legs.” For a lot of us, it’s a constant body bash. We scrutinize, judge, and dishonor our own bodies. Our bodies are a constant topic of our personal conversations, and in addition, they’re scrutinized on the covers of magazines, in Internet headlines, on TV shows, and so on. Women’s bodies are always being talked about in one way or another— praised, shamed, and everything in between. And this constant body talk is affecting our kids. Because guess what? They are always listening. So always, always be aware of how you talk about your body in front of your children, and to your daughters especially. We’ve got to work to show our daughters that whatever state our bodies are in, they deserve to be loved.
Why? They believe in you and will believe what you say. Do not say anything that breaks them down. They will take it to heart. I had a friend who is smart and beautiful, but her mom always told her she had “her father’s legs.” She’s an incredible dancer, striking, and super-talented. She has a knockout body. But guess what she hates about her body? Her legs.
Recently, the aging male body has come into the spotlight with the “dad bod” making headlines. But whereas the dad bod is kind of accepted, the mom bod is generally lambasted, albeit in backhanded ways. Think of how we celebrate women who snap back! And just days after delivery! After having Brooks, I did not snap back in any way, shape, or form. As a matter of fact, I ballooned forward. I had such a hard time losing weight that I barely left the house for months for fear of being photographed and having my cellulite and mom bod making headlines. As I type this, I know it sounds crazy, but I know that so, so, so many women will relate. There is so much pressure!
To be brutally honest with you, since I’ve been pretty much pregnant or postpartum for the past six years straight, this has been a significant struggle for me. It has taken me years to stop the body bash happening in my own head and ultimately learn to truly thank, honor, and appreciate my body for what it’s done and exactly as it is. For one, having babies connected me to my body in extreme ways. This awareness spread. It has also helped me realize that this body is not my enemy. It is my ally. This body has provided me with a living and a career for years. This body has taken me all over the world and provided me the opportunity for freedom and adventure. And most significantly, this body has grown, birthed, fed, and snuggled my three babies. Because of this body, I have been able to do so many things I am grateful for.
Just sit back and think for a few minutes about some of the things that your body has done for you. Maybe your body has fought illness and won. Maybe your body has raised children. When I was struggling with body confidence, I would think about this quote from Serena Williams, about her own struggles: “There was a time when I didn’t feel incredibly comfortable about my body, because I felt like I was too strong. And then I had to take a second and think well, who says I’m too strong? This body had enabled me to be the greatest player I can be and I’m not going to scrutinize that. This is great. I mean, this is amazing.” Maybe your body has climbed mountains, run races, swam across vast channels. Maybe your body has enabled you to care for elderly parents or work hard on a family farm. It’s time to recognize all that our bodies do for us every day. Ask yourself what your body has given to you, and what you can give back to it.
I’ve worked in Hollywood for years. And everybody knows that there isn’t an industry out there that gives itself more accolades, pats on the back, and awards shows than this one! You know what there should be an awards show for? Women’s bodies! I mean, what do men really have on us? They can whip out their favorite appendage and go anywhere without getting pee all over their leg. I’ll give them that. But women’s bodies literally build complex brains, strong bones, and babies inside the safety our uterus. Just sayin’. Give yourself a pat on the back every once in a while, will ya?
Our bodies yearn for physical fitness and challenges, healthy food and water, ample sleep, rest and recovery, physical touch and warmth. Our bodies don’t yearn for this because they see cellulite or flabby arms, but rather they want it because they need it for optimal health. When we look at our bodies, we have got to start looking with different eyes. Why do we so often see imperfections? Why are we not seeing the other good stuff? The other truly incredible stuff? Our bodies are amazing— and so much of what goes on inside our bodies as women and mothers is still a mystery. Today, I am more connected to my body, my body’s needs, and what my body does for me than I have ever been before. I’ve learned that I need exercise to feel good— not just to simply lose weight. Exercise is the kind of healthy, physical communication our bodies have earned and seek. I need to be kinder to my body and grateful to it. I need to check in with my body— and give back to my body because of how hard it works every single second of every day for me.
Most important, all of us women need to learn to change how we speak about our bodies to ourselves and to others. It’s tempting to click on the article that exposes the supermodel’s cellulite for all to see— because somehow it shows that we aren’t alone. They are human too. And believe me, they are! But we all have to try harder and work harder to be kinder and gentler to ourselves— and to one another.