In this special 2-part episode I’m speaking to 4 incredible untamed women who will set you on fire…
These are 4 of my clients who worked with me during the You, On Fire program and they are here to show you that it is possible to go from obsessing over food and hating your body, to no longer fretting about your reflection and having so much more confidence in who you are outside of how you look.
You, On Fire is the 12-week online group coaching program that gives you a step-by-step way of building up self-worth beyond your jean size with personalized coaching from me and lifetime access to the program—so you can break out of the diet culture cage, get free from body shame and live your fiery, free, untamed life.
Or get the episode here:
In this episode, you’ll meet:
Ivy, Brooklyn, NY
Ivy suffered a bad head injury years ago that resulted in her “waking up in a different body” because it had changed so much. Her interactions with the world changed in her different body and consequently, the thoughts about her body took up so much time in her life and her “world became smaller.”
She finally realized that her attempts at weight loss were actually making her feel worse, both physically and mentally and from a social justice perspective, she knew that this wasn’t the way we were supposed to live in our bodies.
At first, she hesitated to accept her body because she thought that “all hell would break loose” and that there was this wild thing inside of her that would lose all control. She was afraid of people commenting on her body.
But, she knew that she wanted to be healthy and treat her body well and that dieting was not the answer. That’s when she made the decision to break free of dieting and work on acceptance.
Since doing the program, Ivy says, “I’m doing the thing I want to be doing and not thinking about how I look. I’m just enjoying it. I’m feeling a love for my body that’s beyond my appearance. Appreciating my body from this perspective has been life-changing.”
“When I look in the mirror I can finally see myself. I feel so much more grounded and able to get on with my life.”
Cristina, New Jersey
Cristina is a mom of 2 girls who had struggled with body image issues ever since she can remember and always felt like a bit of an outcast because of her body. She was a chronic dieter and later got into fitness and nutrition, but continued to push her body beyond its limits.
She says, “The more I fixated on my body, the more obsessed I became. It was taking up so much space in my brain and I knew it wasn’t healthy.”
She tried to brainwash herself with anti-diet/body positive podcasts, books and her IG feed, but she still struggled with exercise and felt lost, which is why she wanted the support of the program.
Since doing the program she says, “I’m able to exercise again without any attachment to my body size - I couldn’t be more happy about it.”
She lets her body decide how she wants to move her body and she’s able to do what she needs, which is so important as she has chronic illness.
She also experienced body changes, but says it didn’t matter. She says, “Somehow I got to this place where my body changed and I’ll try on something that doesn’t fit and it isn't a big deal.”
She started the Instagram account @smashthestandard to help people live more authentically.
Krystyna, Vancouver B.C., Canada
Krystyna had struggled with dieting for years and while she finally realized diets didn’t work and had experienced joy from healing her relationship with food, she still really struggled with her body image and knew a piece of the puzzle was missing.
Everything she had done before had been about being as thin as possible, so she was worried about losing control if she accepted her body, but she knew that she didn’t want her appearance to determine her worth so she dove into the work to heal.
Since doing the program she says, “I don’t really care what my pant size is anymore.”
More importantly, Krystyna shares about her depression and anxiety and says, “There was a week where something just shifted and I wasn’t feeling depressed anymore. Even now when I sense a lower mood coming on, I can take the time to assess and take care of myself.”
She also says, “It is such a process and even though I’m at a stage where I feel so much better than I did before, it’s always ongoing. Now I have the tools to help me go through life and deal with my diet culture brain.”
“It’s the most transformative thing I’ve done.”
She’s able to focus more on her stand-up career and new podcast, “Are You Awake? The Slumber Party Podcast.”
Nicole, Minneapolis MN
Nicole spent most of her life never feeling like she was thin enough and was always so self-conscious. She hated seeing herself in photos and was always comparing herself to others.
She had healed her binge eating but still struggling with the way she felt about her body. She says, “I was so frustrated with how much it was impacting me.” At the same time, she says “I didn’t think it was possible to accept my body.”
Despite these hesitations, Nicole knew she needed the support and took the program in April 2017 - 4 months before her wedding. This is a time when most people set out to lose weight, but Nicole knew this wasn’t the answer (I’m so proud of her for this!).
Since doing the program she says, “I’m a lot more content and have so much less anxiety. My husband says I’m much more laid back. I just don’t think about my body anymore. I feel indifferent about my body. I really thought it was impossible (for me to accept my body) and for me to feel indifferent about my body now is amazing.”
She orders whatever food she wants when she goes out to eat and is having so much fun playing with her wardrobe and buying things she loves vs what’s “flattering.”
She says, “I sincerely think this program has changed my life. I’m a different person. My life feels so much more fulfilled now.”
Episode 176, Part 1
INTRO: This is Fearless Rebelle Radio, a podcast about body positivity, self-worth, anti-dieting, and Feminism. I am your host, Summer Innanen, a professionally trained coach specialising in body image, self-worth, and confidence, and the best-selling author of Body Image Remix. If you're ready to break free of societal standards and stop living behind the number on your scale, then you have come to the right place! Welcome to the show.
This is part one of Episode 176, and it is a special episode that's near and dear to my heart, because I am speaking with three incredible women whose stories I am really excited to share with you today. These are three of my clients who worked with me during the You on Fire program. You can find the links and resources mentioned in this podcast at summerinnanen.com/176.
First, I want to give a shoutout to @HAESRDN, which is acronyms for Health at Every Size Registered Dietician, who left this really kind review: "Summer is amazing at doing deep, deep and effective body image work. I am also a registered dietician and therapist who works from the same Health at Every Size lens as Summer. I'm keenly aware of how common it is to now find practitioners working on body image. While this is great, Summer is the REAL DEAL. This podcast has helped me so much as I work with clients and continue my own body image journey. Love everything about her style and secretly or not so secretly view her as a bit of a celebrity in my work. Would be ecstatic to meet and talk with her live"
Well, tell me your name, DM me, and let me know who you are! And I will talk to you! I'm really approachable, except if you see me in a grocery store, I usually look like I'm angry at the world, but... that's just because I'm trying to get in and out of there as fast as I can.
But if you came up to me, I would be like, "Oh, hi!" and I would just completely do a 180 in terms of the resting bitch face that I'm carrying around in public. That last bit wasn't part of the review. That was my response to the person who left a review. Would like to know who you are! So, reach out. Send me a DM. That would be really awesome. I will totally connect with you.
But very, very kind. Thank you so much for acknowledging that, and always feel truly honored and grateful when I hear from other practitioners that say that they follow my work, and that they respect my work. That means the world to me.
So you can leave a review by going to iTunes, click Ratings & Reviews, click to leave a review or give it a rating. I'd prefer a review, if you can, and you can also help this podcast by hitting that subscribe button via whatever podcast app you use. That takes two seconds, and it helps other people to find the show and the information that you're learning here. And if you are new to this podcast, make sure that you get my free Ten Day Body Confidence Makeover. You can get that at summerinnanen.com/freebies, and if you can't spell my name, which hopefully you can, because it's probably on the podcast app that you're looking at, you can always go to thebodyimagecoach.com. Tell your friends. I'm easier to find that way.
Okay. This is a special episode. I do these episodes every six months when I've closed out another cycle of the You on Fire program. You on Fire is the twelve-week online group coaching program with me that gives you a step-by-step way of building up your self-worth beyond your jean size, with personalized coaching from me, and lifetime access to the program in an incredible community setting, so that you can get free from body shame and live life on your own terms. I love to share these stories because I like to highlight stories of just everyday people that are very much like yourselves.
So obviously on this podcast, I'm often interviewing experts in the field and they are sharing their stories, and they're everyday people too, trust me, but I think there's something really powerful about just hearing about someone else that's very similar to you and talking about their struggles, and talking about some of the hesitations and fears that they had about going into this work and then what their life is like since doing this work.
And I love to show them because they represent various ages, various sizes, various backgrounds, and show you that it is possible for you to feel a lot more neutral in your body, and just not really spend energy thinking so much about your reflection anymore.. And to have that mental space back, and what that really means and feels like when you reclaim that mental space.
Like I said, there's a lot of hesitations and there can be a lot of fear when we stop dieting and the idea of accepting your body can feel terrifying or it can feel like giving up, or it can feel impossible. Perhaps you can relate to thinking things like, It's just impossible for me to accept my body. Or, If I accept my body, all hell is going to break loose. Or, I'm not ready to take this leap. I'll never be able to trust myself.
And some of those are actual quotes from this particular episode, because these are things that the people said when they were starting to do this work. And I think that's really important, because I'm sure that some of you can relate to feeling that way too. And I share these stories to show you that everyone feels that way to some degree before we start working together. But then, afterwards, there's no regret there. There's no regrets from being kinder to yourself and learning how to be more compassionate and learning how to detach your worth from your appearance, and being more comfortable in your own skin.
And this is just after a few short months of working together, that they notice these pretty incredible differences. They learn to be kinder to themselves, and to quiet that negative chatty judgmental voice in their head that always was showing up when they were seeing a picture of themselves, or looking in the mirror, or trying on an outfit. They learned to stop caring so much about what others think, so that they can speak up, enjoy social occasions more, and just live the life that they want to live, on their terms. They find out who they really are, what they really value, and what their qualities are outside of their appearance. And they start to experience life differently because they have more agency over themselves and their opinions and their choices.
And they're more present in their everyday interactions, because their mind isn't going at a thousand miles a minute, thinking about, What am I going to eat later? Or, What is this person thinking about me? Or, How is this shirt sitting on my stomach?
And all these other thoughts that take up so much time and energy. And they are all at a point where they can look in the mirror and maybe like what they see or not, but be able to go on with their day and live their lives without fretting about it, and have that mental space back to just be and fully experience the life that's in front of them. And it's an honor for me to partner with them on this journey, and to have them trust me in this process, and to see what happens when they dedicate the time and put the intention and practice into doing the work.
And they really do become free and liberated, and what's so amazing is that it's not just the individual impact, it's not just about them wearing a bikini or being able to buy clothes that really express their personality. It's about them really having a different view of how to leave a mark on this world. And really understanding the social justice piece of this, and how they want to show up in this world, in this culture, to change it for the next generation.
So it's just so much bigger than the individual impact. And they're able to speak up more, and advocate for themselves, and there's that ripple effect and that impact that helps to reshape the culture that we live in. When we open our eyes to the ways in which we've been influenced by society's standards and diet culture and say, "You know what, I'm not going to take this anymore," it results in incredible things, and I honestly believe that this work helps to change the world.
And I do this because I know that you're good enough as you are. You are truly good enough just as you are. You are all inherently worthy, and it's possible for you to believe that for yourself and fully experience life without letting your body hold you back. And I just want you to know that if you have any hesitations or fears, that's totally valid, but I want you to really imagine what life could be like for you in three months, or six months, if you took this leap now and really decided to work on accepting your body and believing you're good enough.
And so I share these stories with you to inspire you, whether that's your working with me, or you're doing something else on your own. Obviously I'd love it if you worked with me. But these are all just examples of how it is possible to let go from letting your body rule your every emotion, to just not really thinking about it anymore, and living your life unapologetically, and how much can change in that short period of time.
So the next cycle of You on Fire is going to be starting in September, and you can get all the details on that and get on the waitlist on my website, summerinnanen.com/youonfire. If you're listening to this at a different time, always just go to summerinnanen.com/youonfire to get details about how to get into the next cycle and get on the waitlist for that.
And just to tell you a little bit about the program in terms of specifically what I teach in there, it's really my framework for helping you to believe you're good enough regardless of your appearance. So you specifically learn how to have confidence and really be your untamed self, is what I call it.
And I know Glennon Doyle wrote a book called Untamed. I was using this word in my marketing before I knew that existed, before she came out and announced that book, but that's what it's all about. It's aligned with the stuff she talks about in the book. It's really about becoming untamed. So having untamed confidence and liberating yourself from the culturally imposed temptations to be thinner, you learn how to know and believe that you're good enough, and how to turn down the criticizing, all-or-nothing perfectionist voice in your head that's constantly making you feel less-than.
You learn how to accept and feel comfortable in your body, how to be okay in photos, how to do the things you want to do, whether that's wearing your bathing suit to the beach, or speaking up to a family member, or being more intimate with your partner. And to see your reflection without doing a full body scan. I teach you how to give way less fucks about what other people think of you, and to rid yourself of comparisons to others. And to figure out what really sets your soul on fire, now that you have more mental space and that diet and weight loss aren't cramping your mental space. And how to change your relationship with things like health and movement, that's another piece of the puzzle here, that one of the participants really resonated with. So that is one of the modules in the program that I teach as well.
And just overall, how to become untameable, so you can wear and say and do whatever you want. You can find all the links mentioned in this show, including details on You on Fire, in the show notes for this particular episode, which is at summerinnanen.com/176. or you can go to the information in your podcast app about this, and there's a direct link there that you can click to go through and get all the details.
I have recorded countless, maybe not countless, I'm sure I could probably count if I really wanted to, but I've recorded so many of these spotlight episode series, and you can find stories from some of the past cycles at summerinnanen.com/164 and summerinnanen.com/134. So that's episodes 134 and 164 of the podcast. There's a ton of others, if you go to my YouTube channel, there's a whole channel with video interviews of people who are sharing their stories.
I've been running You on Fire for over 4 years, and every year, I'm blown away by the transformations that take place, and as you'll hear throughout these stories, it's really not about liking the way you look. It's about transforming the way you see yourself and your outlook on life. And so, I'm really excited to share these stories with you today.
Let's get started! The first interview that I'm going to share is with Ivy. Ivy has an incredible story to share about how she suffered a bad head injury years ago, and how that changed her relationship with her body, and her perception of what is really healthy, and how that inspired her to go on this journey and where she is now as a result. Really excited for you to hear this.
SUMMER: Hello, Ivy! Welcome to the show!
IVY: Thank you for having me! I'm so happy to be here!
SUMMER: I'm so happy to have you here. Can you start off by telling everyone just a little bit about yourself, what you do, where you live.
IVY: Yeah, absolutely. So, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I'm a writer and a film journalist and also do coaching for dating and relationships. So those are my passions in life.
SUMMER: Yeah. Oh, so cool! I didn't realize you were a film writer too. That's really awesome. That's great. So, can you tell everyone just a little bit about your story and what your struggles were with your body before we started working together?
IVY: Yeah, absolutely. So I came to New York as a dancer, and then I had quite a complex head injury. And so, I just spent many many years... I felt like I was underwater. My basic focus in life became, What's wrong with me? Why do I feel so bad all the time? And how do I get better? And that was really the main focus and then I thankfully found the right doctor. She fixed everything. I'm totally cured. And then I felt like I woke up in a different body, because I wasn't dancing anymore, and so my body really just went back to where it normally was. It was definitely the natural body that I had, but I hadn't seen it for a long time.
And I realized that I felt like I just woke up in a different world. The way that people started interacting with me around my body was really new, and I started to feel like, Oh my gosh, I'm better, and in order for me to achieve all of my dreams that I have now, it's in that body, it's in the dancer's body, it's in a different body than the one that I have now.
And it started to take over my life, really, to the point where I felt like I wasn't able to just do the things that I wanted to do, now that I felt really good. And that my body was actually working really well. And so my world, instead of expanding, felt like it was becoming smaller. And I really started to experience... it felt like, wow, what is this new world? Like, I would have people physically take food out of my hands. And they'd comment about my body.
And so, I felt this real confusion, from really just wanting to get on with my life, and live this full and joyful enriched life, and I started to feel really upset with my appearance being really grounded in my ability to do that.
SUMMER: Yeah, and so, what happened that made you decide to make a change? Was there any particular thing, or had you just sort of gotten to a point where you realized, "I don't need to be this way," or "I want to work on accepting the body that I'm in now." How did that happen for you?
IVY: Yeah, totally. It was such an interesting experience, because it made me very grateful for the experience that I went through with my head injury, because I was having people around me who had no medical training at all, really pushing towards saying that the body that I was in now was wrong. But then I had people that I really really trusted, had this incredibly great personal trainer, who was like, "Your body is perfect as it is. This is your natural body type. Your body, you're the strongest woman I've ever worked with."
And then I had different medical professionals that I really respected and really trusted being very serious with me about, like, "Your body was so depleted from that head injury. If you keep restricting food, if you keep restricting your intake of food, you're going to create actually some pretty serious health problems, because your body just needs to replenish itself, and you're good. You're, just, please don't do this."
And so I started to really see the difference, see the difference between people I really trusted giving me some really serious counsel, mixed with... that's the experience that I was having, where finally I was better, without this head injury, but I was getting sick all the time, I'd started having all of these health problems that I didn't have before.
And I started to really wonder about also the social justice aspects of, gosh, that this seems more than just health that people feel like they can come up to me and make comments about my body. There's something really fishy in this, and I don't think it's about health, because the people who are about my health are actually telling me something really different.
So it got me really really passionate about claiming my wellness and claiming my health, and kind of claiming my right to, during my head injury, I would just spend so much time in bed, unable to do anything. And now I was finally better, and I was able to live my life, and do all the things that I wanted to do. And just really feeling like this was actually going in the opposite direction. And so I really started to get really passionate and interested in investigating, because a lot of things just aren't adding up.
SUMMER: And I feel like you're so lucky that you had those health professionals that were able to see that and communicate to you without the influence of weight stigma, because I feel like that's really hard to come by. A lot of health professionals are still so steeped in diet culture that had you gone to the wrong professional, you might have been in a totally different situation, where they were actually enabling your diet brain, and disordered eating, under the belief of "thinner is better and thinner is healthier."
So I feel like you're so lucky that you had these health professionals that knew better and knew differently, and were able to really look at your health without it being correlated to the size of your body.
IVY: Yeah. I completely agree. I completely agree. I just felt so lucky that I got this personal trainer who I was very fixated on certain goals of getting to a certain body size, and he's like, "Sweetheart, I'm recovering from an eating disorder. I never train for anything other than gain of strength and ???"
And so, he was also really instrumental in starting to plant those seeds. And what was really interesting about it is that it took awhile. Like, those people were such angels, or, you know, on the path, but it still took awhile for those to really sink in. And I think a lot of it was because I didn't want to be that weight stigma that I was experiencing, kind of being called out and singled out... I was just like, "Oh my gosh. This feels like... I don't want to be experiencing this." And just fear that this was just going to be my life if I really listened to them.
SUMMER: Yeah. Yeah. And so, I imagine that those were some of the fears and hesitations you had around accepting your body. Is there anything else that kind of held you back from really diving in and investing your time in doing this work?
IVY: Yeah. Definitely. And I really felt like there was this underlying sense, like, if I just gave up restriction, almost like there was this other self that was just completely wild, and that needed to be contained. Needed to be controlled. And that if I released the restriction, all hell was going to break loose. And it was going to be.. something terrible was going to happen if I just let go. And I just started investigating a different way of being in relationship with my body. that there's this wild thing inside that's bad, and that I have to control it, and I have to keep it kind of under wraps, and really feeling that anxiety about that conditioning.
And I didn't realize that I really… and it was so related to everything, like, "Oh, don't talk too loud! Don't be too much!" Like I was a very vocal kid, and my parents were like, "Ughhh, you're too much. Just please, tone it down a little bit." So I felt like there was that fear of, "Gosh, if I don't tone it down, if I'm just too much, if I'm just all of what I am, it's not going to... something bad is going to happen. I'm not going to have the life that I want, I'm going to be rejected and kind of ghosted, you know?, by the life that I really wanted."
And so I definitely felt like that conform pressure. Like the doors were going to be closed and I was just going to have to live with people just making assumptions, comments, and stuff, or have to fight it. I couldn't just get on with things. I was always going to have to... I was missing this sense of my body kind of not being a topic of conversation. And feeling like, Oh, the only choice is to conform. And I just want to conform so people will just stop commenting on it. And I can just get on with my life. So I was really afraid of that just becoming a big fixture in my life, forever.
SUMMER: Right, yeah. Was there anything that helped you to just say, "Okay, screw these fears, I'm just going to do this anyways," or was it just sort of like, you just felt more pulled... ???? afraid to stay where you were, versus take the chance and do the work?
IVY: eah, I think it was really most like the blessing of having the head injury, because it started to feel like I knew what it was like to be so restricted, and so limited, and just not feeling well. And all of the restrictions, I was just feeling so awful so much of the time, and it was just feeling like, Well, this isn't working either. I'd rather... I really want to be healthy, and it's really important to me as a value, that my body is healthy. And then I found The Fuck It Diet, and then from The Fuck It Diet, I found you on her podcast, and reading that book and really starting to get into that world, it was like, Oh my goodness. These women are speaking my language.
And I also thought, Oh, these ladies are my ladies. Like, uhhhh! Like, real talk, you know? Wow, we're really talking about this stuff that I've been feeling. This is exhausting. And this isn't working. And just hearing other women start to voice that was like, Oh my gosh, I'm not alone in this experience that I'm having. And starting to feel like, Oof, that feels better. This feels more like what I'm going for. And the level of conversation just felt so much better. Yeah.
SUMMER: Nice. I love it. Love it. Yeah, I love that that's how you find me, because I feel like Caroline and I go way back, and we have a lot in common! What were some of the main things that really helped you move forward when we started to work together?
IVY: Gosh, it was so many things. Definitely the Doppelganger was a huge piece of it. Being able to separate that inner voice as being kind of the diet culture voice being different from my own voice, and them being two separate conversations, was really instrumental and really embracing my values. That was such a huge one.
Really understanding what my real values were. And I loved really seeing that the things that I would give too many fucks to were not in my value system. The way that I wanted to live my life, and really seeing, I was very very hooked on what other people thought of me, and if they approved of me or not. And so, really understanding my values and really understanding, "Oh, we share different values! Wow! I have a value of respect, so I would never comment on someone else's body, so if that's where they're at, we're just not sharing the same values."
And I can just kind of get on with the things that I'm passionate about, and I think really embracing what my interests, passions, and the qualities of life beyond appearance, and really getting clear about that. And really understanding what those were, so that I could start to invest a lot more time into those things, and into those relationships.
That was a huge thing too of the program, to start to really get involved with friends and communities where the qualities of my self, beyond my appearance, were the most important, and where what we were talking about that we were passionate about, was what was most important. And that... the untamed and on fire was such a huge part of it, because that's how I wanted to feel in my life, and really learning how to be that person. It was huge.
SUMMER: Yeah. Awesome. I'm over here just nodding my head at everything that you're saying, because I think that, ??? me, I love the values work, too, and I love that always resonates so much with people, because it's such a good framework to use when you're talking about letting go of other people's validation and ???? and letting go of that fear of judgment. And I'm just so glad that all of those things really resonated with you. So, what are some of the specific things you've noticed about how you feel in your body now?
IVY: Yeah, I really feel like... the other thing I really loved of the program was, you don't have to loooooove your body all the time, because I went on that whole trip, and that also was taking me farther, was making me more obsessive about my appearance. And I would feel really bad about myself, if I didn't look in the mirror and be like, "oh, you're the most gorgeous thing in the entire ???"
IVY: And my way of navigating through the world, it just felt so heavy. It was just like, I felt like I was taking on this new thing of empowerment, that actually felt more restrictive, and heavier.
SUMMER: Yes! Totally.
IVY: So, that's been wonderful, to just put that down, and just really feel like I'm in my body, having the experiences that I want to be having, like a lot of times now, it's just like, I'm doing the thing that I want to be doing, and I'm not thinking about what I look like, or if this is the wrong size to be doing this in. I just am enjoying it. And really feeling a love for my body that's beyond its appearance.
That's just like, wow, this body is so miraculous, and it just knows what it needs to eat, and it just knows what it needs, and the kinds of nutrition it needs, and the kind of sleep it needs, and wow. How glorious to be living in something that's so intelligent! And just appreciating my body from that aspect has been really life-changing.
SUMMER: Mmm. Amazing. Amazing. And were there any highlight moments for you. I mean, I feel like I can think of a couple of things that you mentioned during our time together, but I'm curious to know what you recall.
IVY: Yeah, for sure. We were staying at our in-laws and they had this giant trampoline in the back. And I really wanted to jump on it. And in the past, it would be like, Oh, no, you can't go out and jump on the trampoline, because you're not in a body that's allowed to jump on the trampoline. And so, it was really fun to just go out and do it, and I had the best time. I had my airpods in, and was dancing on the trampoline. It was really fun. And definitely going shopping in a store that had my body type as the default body type was so wonderful. Getting clothes that actually fit, that I was planning to hold onto for a long time. These are the clothes that I want. They're not transitional clothes. That was a big highlight. And then I think also a big highlight too is just starting to be really comfortable having conversations that maybe I'd shy away from in the past.
Like, I was in a very intensive wellness culture thing, and there was a lot of talk about diet and all of that, and I just felt very comfortable saying, hey, there's another way to look at this. There's a whole kind of revolution happening around this whole topic, that I invite you to take a look at also.
So I felt like those highlights were starting to just get really comfortable with either... having that choice, of either, I want to engage in this conversation, or I want to say, Hey, I actually do not want to have this conversation. So that felt really good.
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SUMMER: Yeah, I think if I can recall, when you talk about the shopping and the outfits, I remember when you posted some of those, and they were really cute. They were good patterns and designs, and stuff that really reflected your personality. I felt like that was really really great for you, and then, I know you talked about just, because you're kind of, with your relationshipcoaching, in the whole empowerment and coaching and online business coaching world, and I think that a lot of that can be quite toxic, and disempowering, and I love how you were able to notice those things and speak up about thsoe things, and decide not to do a particular program if it was really upholding those things that didn't align with your values, and to be able to discern those things and then really connect with the whole feminist perspective and social justice perspective of this work, and see it for what it is, and then be able to see how that relates to the work that you do, too, which I think is really, really great.
IVY: Oh, thanks! Yeah, that felt like a huge part of it. I think a highlight too of your program was really understanding, if the social justice aspects are not in it, then there's something missing, because just a conversation like we're unaffected by the culture that we're living in, I felt like that was really missing in so many of the things that I was doing, and so it was a wonderful experience to be in your program and be like, "Oh, this is what self help feels like! Not like, Oh, I have to change myself to fit into this ideal," but actually, the self that I am is actually getting help.
And it definitely, that highlight of just feeling refueled by the social justice aspect of it, and saying, You know, it's actually... I really want to live in a world where people are not bullied, and really standing up for that, and not shying away from that, and I think also, choosing when I want to have a conversation or not, because I really love something that you said, like, we're going to win this one, when you're a well-fed grown-ass woman, the world looks very different. Like, you're not going to ... I'm very well fed. I'm well rested. I'm not easy to push off of how I feel about this and what I want to say about it.
SUMMER: Amazing. Amazing. And so what does it feel like now, to be in this place where you've really come so far. What's it like--
IVY: I definitely feel like a grown up, really. It feels really good to feel like, just like that grown woman who trusts her experience, and trusts in that experience of wanting a healthy body , and wanting a big life, and really wanting to be in a world where I'm able to manifest my values of respect and love and kindness.
And so, I feel like a grown-ass woman. LIke, oh, no, we're not having this conversation. I've invested so much time and that confidence, I feel like, goes beyond, Oh, I'm just this appearance I'm supposed to be, so I'm allowed to have this conversation, like, really letting go of that and feeling like... it's really wonderful, when I look in the mirror now, I feel like I see myself, because I see the body that I had when I was a little kid, I was never a skinny kid. And really seeing, when I look in the mirror, I almost feel like, this might sound really hokey, but I almost feel like that inner kid recognizes herself now. Like, Oh, yeah, this is the body that I was going to grow up and have, and that recognition of that feels really good. I feel so much more grounded, and so much more able to get on with my life in a way that is a big adventure.
SUMMER: Yeah. Amazing. Amazing. And what's one piece of advice you have to people listening today?
IVY: Gosh, I would say.. the main piece of advice I would give is that you're not crazy, you're not overreacting, you're not misinterpreting your experience. Just because, if somebody else can't relate to it, doesn't mean it's not a valid experience. Really embrace ... use this as an opportunity to really validate your own interpretations of your experience. And really, you don't have to do it alone. I really loved your program for that in so many ways, but it's really, really wonderful to be in a community where I've been having these thoughts, and everyone else in that community is like, Yeah!
Even if you have people around you who are saying, infantilizing you, and saying you don't know the experience that you're having, doesn't mean that it's not the experience that you're having. And just really owning that, and really going on that journey, because I would say, keep swimming towards the people who are having the most fun in the bodies that they're in, and who are the kindest, joyful, playful community who are just living their life to the fullest and are just really kind individuals who respect you and respect your mind, and how you view the world, and just keep swimming towards that community, because it's really worth it.
SUMMER: Oh, that's such good advice. I love the metaphor of swimming towards it, too. I can really visualize that. Well, thank you so much for being here, thank you so much for sharing your story. Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap up?
IVY: THank you so much. I would say that, what I'd like to add, I saw a picture of myself, this is another part of your program that was so wonderful, of when I was a kid. And I have like smurf slippers on, and these crazy pants, and a crazy shirt, and my hair was a mess, and I had attached all of my ribbons together to make a long leash for my dog.
At the time, I was probably about five, and I have the biggest smile on my face. And going through your program, I felt like that kid again. I grew up into having that kind of freedom in my body. It wasn't fashioned to make myself look skinnier. It was like, that was the most fun thing to wear.
And I just have really loved the opportunity to have a safe space to unpack a lot of this and unpack the social justice pieces of it, and see that it is a feminist issue, of women getting the opoprtunity to just be their full selves, just to grow in to that woman, that untamed woman, that may have seen yourself as, as a kid. That was just really happy to be alive, and just felt like she could be anything. I would say that that is a space to continually embrace, and don't let anyone talk you out of it.
SUMMER: Aww, that's so good! I love that. That gave me goosebumps, hearing you talk about that picture and connecting with it, the energy there. Aww. Well, it's just been such a pleasure. You've just been such a light in my life over these last few months, getting to know you, and you just were always so supportive and positive and open, and I love love love working with you, and so I really appreciate you taking the time to do this today. Thank you, Ivy.
IVY: Aw, thank you. It's been a ton of pleasure. Thank you so much, Summer.
SUMMER: Thanks, rock on.
SUMMER: I just love the last part of Ivy's story, when she's talking about herself as a kid, and just seeing that picture of her. Carefree, completely unapologetic self, and how she's able to really connect with that energy again. I feel like that's such a good and powerful metaphor for this work.
It's just about untaming ourselves from all of the expectations and all of the pressures that we've internalized, and getting back to the core of who we really are, the core and the essence of who we really are, and being able to express that unapologetically, and knowing that our value and our worth is in that, and not our appearance.
So, such a great way to wrap up that interview there, by sharing that story. So powerful.
Next up, we are chatting with Cristina, and Cristina is a mom of two girls, and she had struggled with body image issues for her whole life, and in particular, had a very tumultuous relationship with exercise, and it's amazing to see where she is now, and how that relationship with movement has changed for her. This is Cristina's story:
SUMMER: Hi, Cristina! Welcome to the show!
CRISTINA: Hi Summer! How are you?
SUMMER: I'm good! I'm so excited to be here with you today.
CRISTINA: Me too!
SUMMER: And have you share your story with everyone. So why don't you tell everyone just a little bit about who you are, where you live...
CRISTINA: So, born and raised in New Jersey. I've lived all over New Jersey, went to college in New Jersey, and now I live in, probably about central New Jersey you would call it, with my husband, and we have two kids. We have two girls, one of the reasons that I really thought it was important for me to do this work. Two daughters. Six and nine years old. And I'm a high school teacher.
CRISTINA: Yeah, I love it. I miss it, because we're in this situation of quarantine still. So I miss my people. It's rough. But my husband also teaches in the same school as I do. I teach English and mindfulness, and he teaches History. So it's a pretty cool life.
SUMMER: Yeah, that's great! Nice. So why don't you tell everyone a little bit about your story, what your frustrations were with your body before we started working together?
CRISTINA: Absolutely. So, I've had body image issues ever since I can remember. I feel like they started developing probably mostly around the age of 8, because that's when I started noticing that I was a different size and shape than most of my friends, who were all very small. And just being different from them, and not being able to swap clothes and things like that, kind of made me feel a little bit like an outcast.
Additionally my mom, who's from Colombia, also grew up with a lot of diet culture stuff, believe it or not. It's really big in Colombia for some reason, for women to be kind of these beauty icons, and these sex symbols, so it was important for her mom to look thin, to be beautiful,a nd she put that same pressure on my mother, and then my mother in turn put that same pressure on me, uinknowingly perhaps, but yeah. So it started definitely at a young age. I probably started dieting around maybe 16, I think, back in the Slimfast days. Yeah. So I've been on a million different diets since then, and I was definitely like the first and the only one of my friends dieting for a long time, so that was a weird thing. Yeah, I've definitely always had issues with my body, and accepting it, and feeling comfortable with it.
And that was always my goal, and so, when I was about 17, I had lost weight in a really unhealthy, unsafe way, and I was trying to get out of that pattern, so I started to look more into nutrition and diet and exercise, and when i went to college, there was an amazing fitness center at my college, so I jumped in, and I did all that stuff, and I ended up getting my yoga teacher training when I was a sophomore in college, and diving into the whole world of fitness and nutrition, and getting certification after certification in different fitness things, and basically, pushing my body to the limit, and continuing this kind of crazy diet cycle, in an attempt to feel like I was at peace with my body, or I could be at peace with my body.
The biggest problem I found was, and this is after years and years of work, that the more I fixated on my body, the more that I obsessed about it, the more obsessed I became. When I got to a place where it was just too much obsessing and it was taking over too much space in my brain, and I know it wasn't healthy.
SUMMER: Yeah. And so, did you have a particular moment that made you want to change, ro was it that gradual build, where you were like, this is taking up so much time? I know you mentioned you though??? the two kids, so did that play a factor?
IVY: You know, I think I've always known. Like I said, I did my yoga training in college, and yoga is such a beautiful practice, because it gets into the depth of who you are and your soul and what it is you truly believe and value, and so, from that time of that experience where I got to have that opportunity to explore those deep inner parts of myself, I knew. I knew that exercising and dieting to change my shape wasn't in line with my belief system.
And as I got older, I also noticed that I don't judge other people the way that I judge myself. So it's definitely something, it was like a big internal struggle, because I knew for like fifteen years, that I was at odds with myself, but I kept pushing myself to achieve this particular standard. And then I tried... the whole anti-diet movement started coming around a few years ago, at least via social media, and so I kind of latched onto that, and I started reading about that, and I tried to brainwash myself with podcasts and books and cleaning out my feed and doing all those things.
And it helped a little bit. I let go of the dieting, but I still had a really complicated relationship with exercise. And I think even though I was glad to let go of the dieting, I was still really confused about what to put in place of the relationship that I did have with fitness and dieting. I still felt really lost, and I felt just angry. And so, even though I had followed all of those different influencers who spoke that really important message that I needed to hear, it wasn't until we were in quarantine that I decided to go with a coaching program, and ??? with that.
SUMMER: Yeah, nice. And did you have any fears or hesitations about accepting your body? Was there anything that stood in the way of you saying, Okay, I'm going to really do this and work on this?
CRISTINA: Oh definitely. Because the first time that I went through the whole anti-diet thing and decided, I'm going to quit dieting, my body changed. And so that's the fear, is that my body would change. If I'm going to stop controlling it, it's going to change. And so that was my biggest fear, is that I would lose control, obviously, if I wasn't controlling, and who knows what would happen after that, right?
And then, it's so funny, because my body did change when the program that we were doing, but we were so into the work by the time that it started to change, that it changed and it really didn't matter. I got to a place, somehow, with all of the steps that you provided, somehow I got to his place where once my body changed and I noticed, I was like, "Okay!" And nothing bad happened. life went on, my husband still loved me, no one said anything, it wasn't a big deal.
SUMMER: Yeah, yeah. Amazing. That's awesome. And good for you for kind of working through that fear, and deciding that this was more important than staying stuck where you were, and continuing to be in that cycle. Yeah, were there any things like stepping stones that helped you along the way, that you want to share with others?
CRISTINA: Yeah. Your playsheets I think of as almost a guided journal almost. Those were phenomenal for me. Every monday, I'd be like, print out a new one! And I would work on them and then when I was done, I would cut them out and paste them into a journal. I was very nerdy about it.
SUMMER: Love it!
CRISTINA: Yeah, but seriously, I went back through them the other day before our meeting, so that I could see which ones I wanted to mention, and it was so hard picking the ones that I thought were the most powerful for me, because I had a revelation in each one. But I did write down a couple that were particularly poignant for me.
So, some of the ones, I want to look at what I wrote down. Some of the ones I do think that were really, really helpful were separating my doppelganger's voice, you call it the doppelganger, some people call it the inner critic. Separating that voice from my own voice was a really great exercise for me. And then, also, mourning the loss of my ideal body. That was huge. That was huge. I really needed to do that. The treat yourself mission was great because even though mindfulness teaches a lot about self care and things like that, so I have a really great self care practice, one of the things I've been wanting to do for years is develop a daily yoga practice.
So for that, it was like, I will do yoga for seven days in a row. And for me, what that means is, I'm not going to get on my mat and do vinyasa and exercise for seven days in a row. I'm just going to get on my mat and see what happens, and have some kind of meditative practice and experience, and it was so wonderful because it got me back to a place where yoga had nothing to do with muscles or any kind of goal. And it shouldn't. So that was a really beautiful thing for me to be able to reconnect to, and since that, I've been able to keep that in my practice, where almost every day I'm on my mat in some capacity. So that's been really special??? for me.
SUMMER: Nice, that's awesome.
CRISTINA: Oh, redefining health. I just have to mention that one, because I have chronic illness, so redefining health was huge.
SUMMER: Yeah, and your relationship to it. I mean, to me, it sounds like just the reflective work and helping you to kind of peel back some of the layers of what was there, the prompts that helped you peel back the layers to get some stuff that really made you either reframe it or have a new belief system that you wanted to follow as it relates to how you treat yourself and how you show up and how you speak to yourself.
CRISTINA: Mm-hmm, absolutely.l
SUMMER: Nice! What are some of the specific things you've noticed about how you feel about your body in the last few months since working together?
CRISTINA: One of the things that I'm so, so grateful for is being able to exercise again without any kind of attachment to outcome. I love movement, and for a little while, I was afraid, and this wasn't just when I was doing the program with you, but like I said, I had a confused relationship with exercise once I started to get off the diet train. I thought maybe exercise didn't have a place in my life.
And it's hard for me, because I also struggle with depression and anxiety, and so, especially during quarantine, to move my body is so therapeutic, and to not have that was a difficult thing, but I had to kind of take a break for awhile, in order to get to a place where I could move just for the sake of enjoying movement and having all of the other benefits, like the mental benefit.
So that was a big change. And now, I do some form of movement every day, I let my body decide, I never decide beforehand, which I used to be like, on Monday, I will do weights, and Tuesday, I will do cardio, so on and so forth. And now, I'm just like, how am I feeling? What do I need? So that's been really big.
SUMMER: That's huge. That's huge. I know, yes.
CRISTINA: It does it feels so good, because it's like, now when I move and I do some kind of exercise, I'm excited to go do it, first of all, and then I feel good. And I used to sometimes dread going to do it, and then I used to burn myself out, because I was pushing too hard, and I wasn't listening to my body. And then I would get obsessed with different things, and the mirror, and how things looked, and now it's not about that.
SUMMER: Yeah, yeah, that's awesome. That's such a hard transition to make. It really is. I think it can sometimes be one of the hardest transitions for people who haven't had a healthy relationship with exercise, and to hear you approach it in a way that's so fluid, and no longer black and white and rigid, and lucky that you're really honoring your body, that's amazing. You should be really proud of that--
CRISTINA: I'm super hyped???. Yeah. Like I said, because it doesn't not???? have a place in my life anymore, so it's like I've found that healthy place with it, and I couldn't be happier about that.
SUMMER: Mm-hmm, and I know you mentioned having some chronic health issues. I think that's even more important in your situation, to be listening to your body, and honoring what it really needs to take care of it in the best way that you can.
CRISTINA: Yeah. I would get so frustrated. I would push myself too hard, and then I would flare up, and then I'd be like, well maybe I shouldn't do anything, or I shouldn't do this. It wasn't good.
SUMMER: That's okay, yeah. And so, were there any highlight moments for you that you want to mention?
CRISTINA: Mm-hmm, yeah, definitely. One of them, this is so silly, but one of them, I looked down at my stomach, and saw my roll, and I was just like, Hey, buddy! Not out loud, but in my head, and that has never been the experience that I had before when I've looked down. Usually I would look down in the past, and have all these really demeaning things pop up, and there was like, compassion, not even compassion, there was like a friendship. I was just like, Hey, how you doing? I don't know, it was part of me, and I was totally cool with it. So that was pretty cool.
SUMMER: That's awesome, that's awesome.
CRISTINA: And then also, there were two incidents with shorts. So, my legs have changed a lot because of my fibromyalgia, so I don't really like wearing short shorts that much, but the other day, I was like, I'm just going to put them on and go exercise, because it's hot, and I'm going to put them on. And I wore them, and I don't know what it was. I was just like, I am so comfortable. And then I wore them the rest of the day, and I was like, these are great! I feel so free and comfortable, I can move around... So that was cool. And then also recently, I tried on a pair of shorts that was way too tight, and it didn't trigger me. Nothing happened. I was just like, oh, find the other shorts, and moved on.
SUMMER: Amazing. Yeah, how did those make you feel?
CRISTINA: Totally free. And that's really, when we came up with the list of words in the beginning, like what your untamed self looks like, and that was one of my words was free. And that's what it is. I feel like when you're in this whole diet brain, it's like you're in a prison almost.
And then once you break free of that, once you do all of the work, it's just so much lighter. So I don't know how best to describe that, but it's just like, everything's released, and you don't have to worry anymore. And I feel like when I used to go out to events and things like that, or I used to go even for a walk around my neighborhood, I would get this well of anxiety from my chest to my stomach, about what I look like in something. Or if I walked past a person while I was walking in the neighborhood, I would be like, oh, they must be looking at me, and thinking, if she ran, she would be doing a better job for herself than walking, right?
CRISTINA: The kind of thoughts I would have. And now I see someone, and I'm like, Hey! And they're like, Hey! ANd life moves on. And this is what it should be.
SUMMER: Amazing. That's so good. And so, is there anything else you want to add to that as it relates to what it's like for you now to no longer being in that place and in that cycle where you're constantly thinking about your body?
CRISTINA: Well, I'm definitely super super grateful, because I don't have to obsess about numbers or meals, like if I'm hungry, I'm like, what am I hungry for? There's so much that was tied up into it, like, just all of my decisions would always be consumed in some aspect of it, whether it's the clothing or the food or the exercise, and how they're all going to fit into your day. And now, they're not. And so, it's like I just am living, which is what I've wanted. And I've always said to myself, when I was involved in the whole diet life, I've always said to myself, people shouldn't have to track what they eat. That's not normal.
CRISTINA: It's just not. And I shouldn't have to measure and weigh my food, you know? It's not like a natural thing to do. It just feels like I'm living more authentically, more naturally.
SUMMER: Nice, good. I'm curious to know, has this influenced your relationship with your daughters, or how you show up for them? Is there anything that's changed there?
CRISTINA: Because I've been so aware of the fact that I don't really agree with diet culture for so long, and I've always been aware of the way it's affected me. I wrote my high school thesis on women and body image. Like, that's how aware I've been of this issue.
SUMMER: Okay! Yeah!
CRISTINA: Like, I've always tried to encourage them to do things naturally, and to listen to their bodies, but now, I've gotten just a little bit more clear on things like, "We don't talk about other people's bodies, we don't make judgments about other people's bodies," and "Okay, you can eat that, but just listen to your belly. If you get full, just listen."
Or if one my kids is full at the dinner table, and my husband's like, "You have to finish that before you leave," I'm like, "well, how about just, if you're hungry again, that's the next thing that you eat. You have to finish your meal. Or whatever, when you're hungry again, it's there." So, trying to be a little more lenient and organic with the way that they have a relationship with food and movement.
SUMMER: Nice. That's awesome. Yeah, and you have an Instagram account too, that you started.
CRISTINA: Oh yeah, yeah! I did that as part of one of your missions. As one of your missions, I did a "smash the standards" Instagram account, which is all about inspiring women and young girls to live more intuitively, and anything else, just to follow your own intuition, to understand that you don't have to meet any particular standard in any form, whether it be like fitting in, not just aesthetically, but your views, your political views, or in the case of mental health, or anything like that. You do you.
SUMMER: Yeah, awesome. Amazing. And do you have a piece of advice for people listening, that are in a similar situation that you were in before?
CRISTINA: Can I read my advice?
SUMMER: Of course you can!
CRISTINA: I thought about it ahead of time, and I like to give good advice. So, this is the advice that I came up with: Our culture and the media has sent us messages that we know are sexist and misogynist and demoralizing and ableist and racist and materialist, all in an attempt to profit from our insecurities. But knowing that, I think, is not enough, because I knew that for a long, long time. I knew all of these things. For many of us, this belief of not-enough-ness has become our first language, and so we need to do the work not only to uncover the lies we've been told, but to find the truth that resides within us. In order to heal to move forward and to find freedom, we need to dig deep and identify our innate worthiness, and then honor it by continually bringing it to the surface. And that's what some of the work you offered really showed me, not just to find it, but to keep bringing it back, and that's why I'm so grateful for you and the program that you've put together.
SUMMER: That's an amazing piece of advice! You definitely need to share that on your Instagram. That's great.
CRISTINA: Good piece of advice.
SUMMER: Yeah, it's deep. That's awesome.
CRISTINA: You have to go beneath the knowing. And so many of us say this, like, "I know that I shouldn't do this, but..." so, we've got to get past the knowing, and into the why. Why is this going on? What do I really need?
SUMMER: Yes. It's all about getting past that superficial layer, and going beyond just intellectually understanding things, to knowing, what does that really mean to you, and why do the fears and beliefs that you have exist, and how can you change those to help you to really understand that you are valuable and worthy, and understand who you are outside of your appearance.
CRISTINA: Right, right. That's why I had picked your program. When COVID hit, I was struggling, like probably everybody, but big struggling, and so I decided, alright, now's the time to go back to therapy and one of my big issues is this sense of not-enough-ness. And I know that it was also somehow connected to my body image stuff, and so I was like, I knew that I had to work on self-worth, and it wasn't just the body stuff. And when I looked into your program, and I saw that that's exactly what it was, I was like, alright, I'm stuck at home, I'm here, dealing with all this stuff, I’m going to take the jump. And I'm so glad I did.
SUMMER: Amazing! Well, you've just done incredible throughout this whole thing, and I'm just so glad that so much of it helped you to shift and to be in a place now where you're just feeling so much lighter as you said, and just a greater sense of freedom, because that's ultimately what this all about, because with that freedom, we can just do bigger, more important things with our lives. Yeah. Thank you so much for being here. Is there anything else that you want to add before we wrap this up?
CRISTINA: No, just be your badass self!
SUMMER: Right on. I love it. Well, you are your badass self, and I'm so so proud of you. It's been really awesome to just watch your journey and see everything that you've done along the way, and you've just been super encouraging to everyone else in the group, and been really... I know you had some ups and downs throughout, with just sickness.
CRISTINA: I found out I'm lactose intolerant!
SUMER: Ohhh, okay. Wow. That should be helpful.
CRISTINA: I never knew I had an intolerance. ??? through the whole process, and apparently I'm lactose intolerant.
SUMMER: I just think you're such a trooper, because you had some roadblocks.
CRISTINA: I was sick for like two months!
SUMMER: You could've easily been like, "forget this," but you kept plugging away, you kept showing up, and I'm really proud of you, because that's a commitment to yourself, and that is really a good way you were showing yourself that you matter.
CRISTINA: I will say this, when we started, I promised myself that I would finish the whole program, because I have gotten arrogant with myself before, and been like, "I'm good, I'm done." Sometimes I do things and I'll get like a halfway point, and I'll be like, "I'm totally healed, I can be done now!" And so I promised myself to not do that.
SUMMER: Good for you. Well, you did it. You did it.
CRISTINA: Yes. Thank you.
SUMMER: Awesome, well, thank you so much for being here today. It was such a pleasure.
CRISTINA: Thank you! Thank you for having me.
SUMMER: Rock on.
SUMMER: I love that piece of advice that Cristina gave at the end there, and that quote. That's just so powerful, and I know she shared it on her Instagram, and I shared it in my Stories a couple weeks ago, and I could read it over and over again. I wrote it down when I was listening back to the interview, and just the way she worded things, about how this work was able to not only help her find her worthiness, but keep bringing it to the surface. It really is all about that, and it is so much more than just knowing, it's really about the being, and believing in it deep in your bones.
And I say that all the time. And so if you feel like you're the type of person that intellectually gets this stuff, but is still struggling to believe it, come and see me. I can help you really believe this stuff, and that's where this program is so powerful.
And Cristina's daughters are lucky to have her as a mom, because I just feel like we, as parents, if you are a parent, I'm a parent now, we have to be the ones healing ourselves in order to fully heal our children. I think we can definitely show up and when we know better, we do better for them. But until we've fully healed ourselves, they still know when things are off, and they can still sense stuff, and I think that if we really want to be the best role models, doing this work for ourselves is such a powerful way to do that.
That is a wrap on Part 1 of this episode. You can watch some of the videos of the participants and their interviews by going to summerinnanen.com/176. And if you'd like to learn more about You on Fire, the amazing three-month group coaching program that I run, go to summerinnanen.com/youonfire, to enroll or get on the waitlist.
And next week, I will have two more stories, a couple more stories to share of incredible people that I have had the absolute pleasure of working with over the last few months, and again, people like you, to inspire you, that it is possible to break free of the diet mentality, and really stop caring so much about the size of your body, and how you look. Thank you so much for listening to this one. I will talk to you next time. Rock on.
OUTRO: I'm Summer Innanen and I want to thank you for listening today. You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, @SummerInnanen. If you haven't yet, go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe, rate, and review this show. I would be so grateful. Until next time, rock on!
Episode 174 - Part 2
Episode 176, Part 2
INTRO: This is Fearless Rebelle Radio, a podcast about body positivity, self-worth, anti-dieting, and Feminism. I am your host, Summer Innanen, a professionally trained coach specialising in body image, self-worth, and confidence, and the best-selling author of Body Image Remix. If you're ready to break free of societal standards and stop living behind the number on your scale, then you have come to the right place! Welcome to the show.
This is part 2 of Episode 176 and I'm back, talking to two incredible women whose stories I'm so excited to share with you. These are two of my clients that worked with me during the You on Fire program, and you can find all the links mentioned in this episode at summerinnanen.com/176.
First, I want to give a shout-out to @NurseMcKek who wrote this awesome review: "The messages of this podcast are so important and needed. Thank you for the work that you do. You change lives and make the world a better place."
Thank you so much. I really really appreciate that. You can leave a review by going to iTunes, click Ratings & Reviews, and click to leave a review. You can also support this podcast by subscribing to it via whatever podcast app you use. That takes two seconds to do, and it's really appreciated.
Okay, we are going to dive right into this episode. This is the second part of Episode 176, so if you haven't listened to the first part, definitely check out the first part. It'll be the Episode prior to this one, that came out a week ago, and if you are really really tuned into this podcast, you would notice that at the beginning of last episode, I said I was talking to three people, and then only shared two interviews, and that's because I had to rearrange things kin of abruptly and on the fly, and I'd already recorded that intro. And just in the name of imperfection, I just left it as is, because I figured, if people, they'll just notice, "Oh, there are only 2! And that's okay. She said three. Not a big deal."
So anyways, just so you know, podcasting can be a lot of work, and sometimes I just give my best B+ work instead of an A++, and that's a reference to something that Shirin Eskandandi said that really stuck with me, when we were talking about letting go of perfectionism and things like that, in the episode that she was on, a couple of episodes ago, I think it was episode...173? I'm going to say? Anyways, that's an awesome one you'll want to check out. It's about finding your purpose outside of dieting.
So, without further ado, we'll get into this episode, and I am talking to two more people. I'm talking to Krystyna and Nicole, both who did the You on Fire program. Nicole did it back in 2017, but she really wanted to come and share her story this time around, which I love doing, because I love seeing where people are years down the road, because this isn't something that's just like, Okay, we worked together for three months and then that's it! I love to know where people are. I love to know the long-lasting impact that it's had.
And sharing that is part of this process. Because it's not just a short-term thing. This is really an investment in a lot of tools and stuff that are going to help you through a lot of stuff, through a lot of things that will pop up in your life. Anytime you have self-doubt, anytime you have fear, you can rely on the tools that I teach in this program, and the support that you get from the group, because you are always a member of it.
So, You on Fire is a twelve-week group online coaching program that gives you a step-by-step way of building up your self-worth beyond your jean size, with personalized coaching from me and lifetime access to the program, so you can get free from body shame and live life on your own terms. I talked more about it in the previous episode, so you can listen to that.
I won't reiterate any of those things there. If you're interested, go to summerinnanen.com/youonfire, and get in the next class that's going to be starting soon, or get on the wait-list for the next cycle. And you can always go to the link that's in the show notes for this particular episode, or not in the show notes, rather, I mean to say, the podcast information. So if you're listening to this on the Apple Podcast App, if you click on the episode, you'll see there's a description of what the episode and there's a link in there that will take you to the show notes. which will then have links to everything else.
Okay, let's get started! So, first, I am talking to Krystyna. And Krystyna had struggled with dieting for years, and she was really new to the anti-dieting journey, she had just stopped dieting in January, and she was really enjoying the process of healing her relationship with food, but still really struggled with the body image piece and her changing body. And I'm so glad that she ended up doing this program, because it's just been such an honor working with her, and I was really astounded to hear the impact that it's had on her life, and how she was able to overcome a lot of the struggles that she's been having. So I can't wait for you to hear her story. This is Krystyna's story:
SUMMER: Hey, Krystyna! Welcome to the show!
KRYSTYNA: Hey, Summer, thanks so much for having me!
SUMMER: Yeah, thanks so much for being here! Why don't you tell everyone just a little bit about who you are.
KRYSTYNA: Okay, well, I'm a baby comic. I started stand-up comedy in like October 2019. I'm also a new podcast co-host, of the podcast "Are you Awake?" And I also work, my job where I make money, I work for a nonprofit organization as a medical office assistant, and a mental health worker on Vancouver's downtown East Side, where we really promote harm reduction and supportive housing.
SUMMER: Yeah, cool, amazing. So much awesome stuff that you do. That's really really meaningful.
SUMMER: So tell everyone just a little bit about the frustrations that you had, or the struggles that you had with your body before we started working together.
KRYSTYNA: Oh my gosh, so, I started working with you after I had recently stopped dieting, and I think I was realizing really quickly that even though I was experiencing all this joy from just eating whatever the heck I wanted, I just realized that there was a lot of body image stuff getting in the way for me, really having a hard time coping with wearing larger clothes than I had before, and I just could tell there was a huge piece of the puzzle missing, and I was like, okay, I need someone to support me and help me work through this.
SUMMER: Yeah, that's awesome. Well, not awesome that you were having those struggles, but awesome that you realized you wanted support! That's awesome. So, was there anything in particular that happened that made you decide, okay, this is something I want to work on. This is something that needs to come into play in my life?
KRYSTYNA: Man, I think... so it was funny, I remember, there's a Facebook group I'm a part of, and I reached out and I was like, does anybody have a recommendation on a book, to help with binge-eating? Because I thought I was addicted to food, and all of this. And someone said, "Oh, I think you should read The Fuck-It Diet by Caroline Dooner.” And I was like, "Okay."
And I read her book, and I thought, "Oh my gosh, I've been living a lie. All my life, what I thought was up is down." And then after reading Caroline's book, I started listening to her podcast, and then I heard you on her podcast, and something that you said that just really spoke to me was that you were like, "It's not about loving everything about your body. It's just like finding this acceptance and then being able to do more with your life, by feeling worthy."
SUMMER: Yeah, cool! That's awesome. I'm so glad you found me there. We are aligned in that way.
KRYSTYNA: Yeah, yeah.
SUMMER: And so, before you dove into this work, did you have any fears or hesitations about accepting your body?
KRYSTYNA: Hugely, yeah. I think I would say, a year before I started doing this, I knew I was going to have to change something with my very restrictive eating habits, and extreme dieting. Just because everything I was doing, I felt like was built on this bent foundation of trying to be as thin as possible. Yeah.
SUMMER: Yeah. What were you hesitant about, or what were you fearful of?
KRYSTYNA: It was fear about how large my body could become, and what that would mean socially. That was a really big fear of mine. Fear of losing control. Not having value or respect amongst others, because I came to this realization too that, I'm only 27, but at the same time, I was like, I feel like I'm getting older, and I feel like so much that has been communicated to me is, as long as I can be thin and pretty, then I'll be a success. But I'm like, if I'm aging, then society's construct of what is pretty will fade rapidly. And then I was like, well, what am I going to do?
SUMMER: Yeah, totally, totally. And I'm glad that that awareness outweighed the fears that you had about going through this process. I think that that's a huge piece of what needs to happen to really move through the fear and all that fear is just the narrative of diet culture, what we've learned. We've learned that we can't trust ourselves, that we'd be out of control if we're not actively trying to be thinner and all this other bullshit.
And so, yeah, really great that you were able to have the foresight of like, okay, I'm going to age out of this anyways. And so great that you did it so young! I mean, the majority of people that come to me are generally a little bit older and coming to the realization, not late in life, but a few years after you. So that's really brave and really great.
So what were some of the things that really helped you to move forward?
KRYSTYNA: I would say specifically from You on Fire, I think we did the doppelganger exercise, and so realizing that all the "shoulding" to in my brain, and all these negative thoughts constantly swirling in my brain, just realizing that it's a tool that I've been using to protect myself, and that, okay, it's not really working anymore, and to just be able to recognize that, that was huge.
Values, just actually putting a name to what my values are, was... man, that was really transformative, and now when there are certain things that come up, I can refer to it and go, "Oh, oh, this is why I suddenly feel very threatened or angry or excited about whatever's going on." And then also, too, at the end of the program, the visualization exercise was just so fun. It was such a treat. It was really cool, because you are seeing yourself, what was it--
SUMMER: In the future.
KRYSTYNA: Something like 20, 30 years?
SUMMER: Yeah, in the future.
KRYSTYNA: In the future. And yeah, just to see myself in the future, especially going back to aging and stuff, seeing myself older, and like thinking, "Oh, she's pretty cool." I really like older me, the older me I envision.
SUMMER: Which is really the essence of you now.
KRYSTYNA. Thank you.
SUMMER: That was the point of it! That's really cool, a lot of you loved that one this time around, which was really good.
KRYSTYNA: Yeah, yeah. That was fun.
SUMMER: Yeah, all the things they mentioned I think are so fundamental towards changing your beliefs and having a better, a solid knowing and understanding of who you really are and what's important to you in your life, and that's not about the size of your body.
KRYSTYNA: Yeah. Oh also, I was going to say, what I really liked about the program is the private Facebook group where we get to share what we're going through with each module, because for me, it's so important to feel seen, heard, validated. And I was just like, "Okay, here are these people that I've never met before, but look at us. I can relate to so many things somebody else was expressing." Yeah. That was really huge.
SUMMER: Yeah, the community aspect is really big. I think, via the calls and the Facebook group, that you get to really know each other and know that you're not alone, and it adds a really big supportive element, I think, that makes it so much easier to do the work, than operating on your own and still having a lot of the influence of diet culture around you, can feel kind of isolating, I think,.
KRYSTYNA: Totally. And even listening in on the calls, that's hugely impactful too. And also, sorry, one more thing, the mirror work that you did with me, I felt like that was some of the hardest stuff I had to work through, but I think it probably was the most transformative, because it was just like, I didn't want to look at myself and how I had changed.
SUMMER: Yeah. You were really brave in letting yourself to feel the feelings and things that came up around that, to come to a more compassionate place, and see yourself, and normalize the way that you see yourself, so that you're not looking in the mirror and being like, "Who is that?"
KRYSTYNA: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks
SUMMER: And so, what are some of the things that you've noticed about how you feel in your body or about your body, since doing the program?
KRYSTYNA: Something I think is huge is that I don't really care what my pants size is. I'm frustrated if my size changes, because as I had expressed to you in the program, I was like, "I just want to stay the same size for a couple months! I don't want to be shopping all the time!" But to me, it's just a number, and I'm like, Okay, whatever, I'll just find a pair of pants that fit, and, oh, surprise, they'll actually look really good on me.
What else? This is more my mind, but I would say, there was a week where something just shifted and I've been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I just all of the sudden wasn't feeling depressed. I'm anxious still, but I just now feel like, even when I sense a lower mood coming on, I'm like, "Okay, what's the reason behind this? I'm going to explore how I'm feeling and wonder why, and then I'm going to take the time to take care of myself." That's been huge, because I get overwhelmed really easily, and now I have this foresight to be like, "Okay, I see the storm that's brewing. I'm just going to take a second and reassess, and then I'll come back."
SUMMER: Wow, that's really massive. that's a pretty profound impact on your mental health, to know that you felt that kind of profound shift, and then to not be so overwhelmed by those feelings anymore.
KRYSTYNA: Yeah, it's been huge. And even something I noticed the other day was that I was having this really bad body image day and I was like, "Ohhhhkay, what's going on?" I was like, "Oh, I feel out of control right now. Why do I feel out of control?" And then I listed the reasons for it, and I was like, "Okay, so that's why I feel like diet culture wanting to crawl back right now." But then I just get angry, and I'm like, "F off," and I'll bake a cake or something.
SUMMER: That's always a good solution! I like it. And so, were there any other highlight moments for you?
KRYSTYNA: Oh my gosh. I just can't express the joy I feel to feel like I'm no longer super depressed all the time. And I think a highlight too is really the outcome of just feeling very very capable. I've always had so much self doubt. But now, even looking back at when I was dieting and stuff, I even had a doctor technically diagnose me with anorexia at one point, gave me a referral, and I completely ignored it.
But to come from a point where I was like that, so in denial, and then look at what I did accomplish in that time. I'm like, "Oh, I'm actually a really strong, really resilient person." I went through all these things, and I was malnourished the entire time, so now, I just feel like, "Oh, I'm actually feeding myself." I don't really feel like there's that much that's going to stop me. I'm going to find a way to do what I want to do.
SUMMER: That's amazing. That's awesome. And you can tell me if you want to share this or not, but I know more recently, one of the things that stands out to me as an experience that you had, is when you went away with your friends and you just didn't give a shit. You thought you were going to give a shit, and then you came back and you were like, "I just didn't give a shit." And I thought that was really cool.
KRYSTYNA: Yeah, that was huge. So I went on a camping trip with some people I didn't know, also primarily people in very thin bodies. And I was feeling intimidated, and I just really took the weekend as a way of, "Okay, I'm going to do exactly what I want." So what I did was, everyone was hanging out together, but I had a floatie, and we were at a lake, and so I just went out on the floatie for five hours by myself. And people were like, "Krystyna, are you okay?"
And I was like, "I'm fantastic right now!" And it was a really great experience, because I felt like people were respecting where I was at, and I was thankful they were actually checking in, but I also just felt really great to be like, "Yeah, this is what I want to do, and it's not hurting anybody, so I'm just going to enjoy myself on a floatie."
SUMMER: Yeah, exactly. You were really advocating for your needs, without compromising them to sort of fit in, or to have people like you more, or whatever. Even though I'm sure they didn't care that you were on your floatie anyways.
KRYSTYNA: The funniest part was, everybody got sunburned, and I'm pale as can be, and they're like, "You're not burnt," even though I'd been on the water for so long.
SUMMER: That is quite shocking.
SUMMER: Whatever sunscreen you used, you should be a spokesperson for it.
KRYSTYNA: Banana Boat
SUMMER: That's awesome. So how does all that feel? How does it feel to be in this place now?
KRYSTYNA: It feels really really good. I feel so much more in control in the sense of, to have understood through this program that there are a lot of things outside of our control, but it's like, how do we take care of ourselves in the meantime, to deal with that?
I feel like that's been huge, because also, when I was dieting, I was reading so many self-help books, like, "There's something fundamentally wrong with me, because I can't stick to this diet, or that diet. And if I can't stick to a diet, then how do I think I can get ahead anywhere in my life?" Or whatever. And now to be at a place where it's like, "Wow, that's all bullshit." I never thought I would feel this way. Even when I had my fantasy of being thin and perfect, I would say, I didn't imagine it to feel as good as I do now.
SUMMER: Wow. That's pretty incredible.
SUMMER: Are there any words to describe those feelings?
KRYSTYNA: Excited, emboldened, and silly, because I find I care less and less about what people think.
SUMMER: Amazing. And that's got to be helpful for your stand-up career.
KRYSTYNA: Yeah! Definitely.
SUMMER: Those three things actually would probably be very essential for being a good comic.
KRYSTYNA: Yeah. It definitely helps.
SUMMER: That's awesome. I'm so, so happy to hear that. What's one piece of advice you have for people listening?
KRYSTYNA: Oh man. If you choose to do this work, it's really really hard, and I know what I've been saying is "I'm so happy, things have changed!" but it is such a process, and even though I'm at the stage where I do feel so much better than I did before, it's always ongoing.
It's not like, "Oh, great! Did this program and everything's solved." It's like, "Oh! Did this program, and now I have the tools to help me go through life and deal with my diet culture brain."
And also, if you're listening, I would just say, you're so capable of doing anything you want to do, and I encourage you to do this work, just because, I'll say, it's the most transformative thing I've done for myself. Thank you so much, Summer. I'm going to tear up. Oh god.
SUMMER: Me too!
KRYSTYNA: But yeah, seriously, I go to therapy too, and I just found your coaching so, so intrinsic and supplemental, because it's just like a beautiful guide of kind of going, "Okay, here are these roadblocks in my way, and there's a way around them, or you can smash through them."
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SUMMER: You've been awesome through this whole thing. I know it was hard. There were some really hard moments, and you've overcome a lot, because you're newer to this. You were dieting at the beginning of the year, it wasn't like you'd been working on this for a long time. And so, I just really admire your persistence, and the fact that you trusted this process through all those moments when it just felt really really hard, and that you were so open to receiving the guidance that might have been kind of weird or woo-woo or whatever.
KRYSTYNA: I loved that.
SUMMER: Just roll with me, just roll with me! Yeah, it's just amazing to see where you've come, and I'm so excited to see where this will continue to take you, as you have these tools and have these new endeavors that you're focusing on in your life. It's so great.
KRYSTYNA: Thank you so much. I'm really excited to see what's to come.
SUMMER: Yeah! What's your podcast about? What's it called and what it's about again?
KRYSTYNA: Okay, it's called "Are You Awake? The Slumber Party Podcast" because my friend Becky and I, we were like, "Oh, if we're going to do extra work, we may as well be in our PJs." And so, my friend Becky, she lives in Australia, and basically we're just having conversations revolving around self-care, social justice, and just the concept is that these are all discussions that you'd have really late at night at a slumber party, so we're really excited about it, we're releasing our trailer the day this episode comes out, so if anybody wants, you can subscribe anywhere that you listen to podcasts. And then our official release date for the first episode is going to be October 5th.
SUMMER; Amazing! I can't wait to see it. I can't wait to see what you've put together. That's awesome. I know how much work goes into a podcast, so...
KRYSTYNA: A lot! Yeah.
SUMMER: Yeah, it's a lot. It's a lot. Well, thank you so much for being here today. ?Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap up?
KRYSTYNA: No, just, thanks so much for having me on, and thanks for having me in the course! It was awesome.
SUMMER: Thank you so much. Thank you. It's been awesome. Rock on. `
SUMMER: That was so amazing. I really, really enjoyed catching up with Krystyna there, and I didn't realize how big of an impact this had had on her, and so, I'm just really really proud of how far she's come, and it just means the world to me to hear that, and to see what a huge difference this can make in somebody's life, when we do this work to accept ourselves, our whole selves, and know that we don't need to let our body size dictate our emotions.
Okay, next up, we have Nicole, and as I mentioned at the beginning, Nicole did this program back in April 2017, and she did it right before her wedding, so four months before her wedding, which is usually when people go on a diet and set out to lose weight. But Nicole knew that wasn't the answer, and I'm so proud of her for doing this at that time, because I feel like that's a really tough time to say, "You know what, I'm not going to diet going into this." Major props to her.
So cool to see where she's at with everything now, and how much of an impact this has had in her life, even three years later, and the impact that is still happening as a result of the work that we did together years ago. This is Nicole's story:
SUMMER: Hello, Nicole! Welcome to the show!
NICOLE: Hi! Thank you!
SUMMER: Thanks for being here! Why don't you start out by telling everyone just a little bit about yourself, what you do, where you live.
NICOLE: I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with my husband and our two dogs. I'm a graphic designer for a fitness club company.
SUMMER: That's great. Why don't you share just a little bit about what your struggles were with your body before we started working together.
NICOLE: Well, I was never thin enough, and I always hated my butt. I was always so self-conscious of it, and I remember talking with you about it, because I did the program right before my wedding, and I was nervous about standing up in front of everybody with my white dress on, so that was a big deal for me.
SUMMER: And how did that impact your life, in terms of having those negative thoughts?
NICOLE: Well, I think it was just always there. I was constantly thinking that I wasn't thin enough, and I didn't look good enough, compared myself in my head to my friends. "She's cuter, she has a cuter outfit, and she's thinner..." It just was a constant thing in my head.
SUMMER: Mm-hmm, yeah. And so,what made you decide that you wanted to work on that and to change that?
NICOLE: Well, I come from an eating disorder history. I dealt with binge eating for as long as I can remember, but I also, now, looking back, I also dealt with dieting as long as I can remember. I tried so many different diets. Every diet. And was like, starting every Sunday kind of a thing.
In 2002, I started studying nutrition, and then in 2007, I was diagnosed with MS, and so I was obsessed with nutrition and health, and I was trying to stay healthy because of my MS, but I secretly was wanting to lose weight. I mean, I wanted both, but I was like, never telling anybody about the weight loss part. It was always like, if I did lose weight, it was kind of a "Oh, it's just a nice side effect of all the healthy nutritious stuff I"m doing." You know.
And then, fast-forward years and years and years, and I discovered podcasts, and I started listening to a bunch of different podcasts. I was obsessed with talking about it, and listening about it, learning about it. It was always in the forefront of my mind, always, always. And I heard you on another podcast. I was thinking the other day, I was trying to figure out what it was, and I can't remember, but I remember hearing you and I liked what you said, and I remember hearing you on another podcast, a little while later, and I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's that same woman!"
So I wrote your name down, and looked you up, and I was so happy to see that you had your own podcast, so I started listening to that, and everything you said, I was like, " I want that." I think I took the??? that I always wanted a healthy relationship with food, and I dealt with bingeing, but the body image part of it was such a huge part of it for me, and I wanted to get past all of that. It was so frustrating for it to be such a priority in me, but then I was always feeling crummy about myself.
So then a program came up, and it was going to start four months before my wedding, and I was scared to start something like that because I was nervous to not be actively trying to lose weight before my wedding, because that's what you do.
SUMMER: Yeah! I was going to say, most people sign up for a diet program, but you did it the other way, which is amazing.
NICOLE: Yeah. And I remember you saying, "Oh, what a wonderful gift for yourself." And at the time, I remember, I said, "Yeah," but I was still like, "Am I doing the right thing?" And even though what you were saying I wanted so desperately, I just didn't know if the timing was right. With dieting, you want it now. Everything you want now. So of course then I was like, I want this now. And I started, I took a leap of faith and started the program in April of 2017. And here I am, three and a half years later.
SUMMER: Yeah, that's awesome. And we'll get to three and a half years later and what that means for you now. But I'm curious to know, taking a step back, especially knowing this was before your wedding. What fears and hesitations did you have about accepting your body?
NICOLE: Yeah. I was trying to think about that. And I don't think that I necessarily had fears, it was just that I didn't think it was possible. You're in the mindset of, you need to be thin, you need to lose weight, always, always, and then it's so hard to change, to shift that thinking.
And so for me, I was like, I don't think that's even possible. I thought I had tried doing stuff before, but it was always under the guise of wanting to lose weight, so then I was like, "Well, I'm trying to be healthy, and I should be able to be changing my view of food or whatever it is with my body," and it just didn't seem possible.
SUMMER: Yeah. Yeah. And so, tell me about some of the things that really helped you move forward in this process.
NICOLE: I remember cleaning out my closet was a big thing. And the doppelganger exercise was good. Just separating the thoughts from me. I remember thinking, actually, I had taken a different class years ago, and it was kind of about your heart vs. your ego, how you're leading your life. And so, this doppelganger exercise kind of reminded me of that, kind of separating the two. It's my ego that's wanting this or that. Or, my inner critic. And just learning to separate the two, that was really helpful, and I had a little creature I found online and I cut him out and had him hanging on my desk, and on my wall, just as a reminder.
SUMMER: I love it.
NICOLE: And then, adding positive body things to my Instagram feed was a huge thing. It was like, even just recently, some things are coming up that I don't feel like I ever clicked on to follow, but I look at them, and I'm like, "I don't think I would've ever clicked on that, but maybe I did at one point. And it's like some slim woman running through a beach or whatever, and I'm just like, "No," so I unfollow that. Just to change your view of things, it's amazing how much that really helped.
SUMMER: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, and the things you mentioned, cleaning your closet, changing your social media feed, those are so essential in this process, and they're the things that feed the voice of our inner critic, so all of those elements work together to help you rewire your way of thinking.
SUMMER: Was there anything else you wanted to mention there?
NICOLE: No. The calls were helpful too. Just the whole program in general, but those are the few things that really stood out to me.
SUMMER: Yeah, totally. Totally. What are some of the specific things you've noticed about how you feel in your body since doing the program?
NICOLE: I'm a lot more content, and less anxiety. I mean, I've told people that I bet half of my anxiety is gone, since I did this program, because so much of it was focused on what's wrong with me and how can I fix it, and of course that's going to cause anxiety. So there's a lot less anxiety throughout my physical body, and then, I know I put a lot less pressure on myself. My husband says that I'm much more laid back than I used to be.
NICOLE: And in general, I would say, I just feel indifferent. I don't think about it. You know, once in awhile, it's like, "Eeh, I'm not really a big fan of this outfit," or something I'm feeling kind of bloated today or something, but I actually have words to fill that space, versus "fat." I don't feel "fat," I feel bloated. Or, I'm sore from this. Generally, more of that kind of thing.
SUMMER: Yeah, you're able to tune into your actual physical and emotional feelings, instead of using the language that diet culture teaches us to refer to our bodies.
NICOLEL: Exactly, yeah.
SUMMER: Mm-hmm. That's so great, and that's huge, just feeling indifferent, I think is so liberating. I mean, it kind of sounds like, oh, okay, feeling indifferent... But it really is liberating.
NICOLE: Yeah, it doesn't necessary sound like a positive word, but for me to get to this point, like I said at the beginning, I didn't think this was even possible. And for me to feel indifferent about my body after thirty years of dieting or whatever, it's like, crazy to actually think that that's how I am now.
SUMMER: It's amazing! It's really amazing, because I do remember some of our work together. Specifically around photos and some of the events that you had leading up to your wedding being really really tough on you. To hear you say that now, it's just so amazing and I think, that's what it is. It's an absence of the negative, is a feeling of indifference, but that is so powerful.
SUMMER: What were some of the highlight moments for you?
NICOLE: Well, after the program, not having such complicated orders at restaurants.
NICOLE: You know, becuase I was doing stuff that was like "healthy" and "nutritious," and so I was eliminating so many things, so I had so much, and I was kind of self-conscious about it, too, at the time, when I was with friends and stuff, because I wonder, Are they thinking that I'm being dumb? Or whatever.
And then, now, I just go in and order a cheeseburger, fries, whatever, and that's it. I don't worry about anybody thinking anything about it, or... it's just so laid-back. I just order what's on the menu, instead of worrying about eliminating this, that, or the other thing. And then eating eliminated foods in public, so like I said, I was nervous about in front of my family and friends, because they always thought of me as the "healthy" person, so it felt strange for a long time, but now, I don't even think about it.
My favorite thing about this, after I did the program, and I feel like I maybe posted on Facebook about it, but has been playing with my wardrobe. I have been having so much fun with the clothes that I'm buying and wearing, like, I finally feel comfortable in the style that I like, and then I can go buy things that I love, versus, it just fits me, or it looks "flattering" on me. In other words, it makes me look thin. Like, I had so many things in my closet that were stuff that I just kind of liked, and now I've been having a ton of fun with jewelry and clothes and stuff that I actually really like a lot.
SUMMER: Awesome! Yeah, that's amazing. Amazing. And I feel like you shared some pictures of some bikinis that you bought. And I know obviously your trip was cancelled because that was a few months ago, but that was also something I remember you doing, and I was like, "oh yeah, that's awesome!"
NICOLE: Yeah, ????(Sounds like 'nice to meet you"??). And I'm still looking forward to wearing it, and I still have it, so, hopefully, someday I can do it!
SUMMER: YEah, hopefully someday you can do that Hawaii trip, right? And so how do all those feel for you?
NICOLE: Amazing. It's completely different, it's a huge load off, and like I said, I don't think about all that stuff anymore. It's just life.
SUMMER: Yeah. So good. And I'm just curious, was the wedding better as a result? Did you go into it and be like, "I did this work for the wedding", or, I'm just curious. I know that was so long ago so I don't know if you can remember!
NICOLE: Well, I actually had a little scare, because of my wedding dress. It was a tad small when I ordered it, so then there was all this panic about it, but at the time, was like, that was my diet mindset. Like, I had to get to a smaller size, because that was the smaller size. So, aside from that chaos, it was great. I think that doing the work beforehand helped me to feel just more comfortable in front of everybody, and just the day, I felt more relaxed, I think, versus, I'm kind of a nervous person anyway and I feel like I'm less of that now, because I'm not so self-conscious of myself.
SUMMER: That's so good. I'm really, really proud of you. And so, what's one piece of advice you'd like to give to other people going through a similar experience?
NICOLE: I think you should do this program.
SUMMER: Thank you.
NICOLE: I sincerely think that it has changed my life. I'm such a different person, and my life feels almost more fulfilled now, because I'm not thinking about diets all the time, or just nutrition and food and we make our grocery list, and go to the grocery store, and I don't look at calories, I don't look at anything, I just buy what we want, and we buy fruits and vegetables and sweets and all the stuff. It's not like I'm just limited to certain things.
And it overflows into other pieces of your life, I think. It's not just the nutrition stuff. You're more confident, and you feel better in yourself, and I think it comes out in other places, too. Definitely worth every second and every penny. It's a great investment.
SUMMER: Thank you so much. I'm really grateful for you taking the time to do this. Is there anything else that you want to add?
NICOLE: I don't think so, other than, I truly thank you, summer. I honestly think, so often I think, I wish that you only knew how different my life is now. I just am so thankful that I found your program.
SUMMER: Oh, thank you! That means everything to me. Thank you so much. I'm so thankful you did, too, and I'm so grateful that you stuck with it. I know it was tough in the beginning. I know there were a lot of hard moments, especially with having the impending wedding, and sort of thinking about how that day is going to be if you're not actively trying to lose weight.
And so, I really admire your bravery in that, and I admire the courage to stick with it, and to fight, to continue to fight. You've fought a lot, overcoming your eating disorder, but to continue to fight to get to this place here, I'm just really, really proud of you. And so, be proud of all your hard work, and everything that you've put into it, because clearly it's paid off. And I'm just so happy to hear that everything feels more fulfilling for you now.
NICOLE: Oh, thank you.
SUMMER: Thank you so much, Nicole. Rock on.
SUMMER: What I find so amazing about Nicole is that she really didn't believe it was going to be possible for her to accept her body. And for her to get to a point where she says that she just feels indifferent about it now is just phenomenal. And that's really what I want.
I try to make that super clear. I feel like I make that super clear. The goal is not to love your body. The goal is not to be able to look in the mirror and think, "Oh man, I'm so hot!" Because then we're just hinging all our emotions on our appearance, we're still hinging the way we feel about ourselves on some external measure, and that being our appearance.
And I don't want that for us. I want us to know and believe that we're good enough regardless of our appearance. I want us to accept our whole selves, knowing that we're not perfect, knowing that we're made up of parts of ourselves that we don't like, parts of ourselves we're neutral about, and parts of ourselves we feel good about, And hopefully that gives you a bit of a sense of relief, because it takes the pressure off, in that you don't' need to love your body. We don't need another expectation on ourselves.
You don't hear our cultures telling men that they need to love their body. It just doesn't happen, because their worthiness has never been connected to that. And their desirability has never been something that has dictated their status in this world. And so, I don't want that for us either. We want to fight against that, and to really liberate ourselves, we want to get to a point where we believe and know we're good enough, regardless of how we look.
So the fact that Nicole said, "I feel indifferent about my body," I'm like, "Perfect." That's awesome. That's exactly what I want. Just indifference. That's so freeing.
And I hope you enjoyed listening to those stories. I just love sharing them, because they're just people, like you, not that I'm a different person because I'm a coach, but sometimes I feel like when we hear stories from people who are professionals in this world, we feel like they're a little bit different from us for some reason, or because they really invest all their time and energy in speaking about this, it becomes easier to believe these things themselves. Which I think there probably is an element of as well, but I really like to share stories of people like yourselves, that have done this work and have gotten to a place where they're just not thinking about their body so much anymore, and they have that sense of freedom and liberation and can focus on other things in their life, and they have reclaimed that mental and emotional space.
I've been running You on Fire for over four years now, and every year, I'm blown away by the participants and the work that they put in, and the struggles that they overcome, and the fact that they trust the process and trust me as their coach in this process.
And I just love catching up and seeing where people are at. And also hearing people be real about the fact that it is a hard process. It's not just a one-and-done thing, it takes a lot of intention, a lot of practice, and it is something that you will then have the tools for, going forward for the rest of your life.
If you're interested in that, I would love to do this with you. You can find all the information at summerinnanen.com/youonfire. And you can find video interviews from this podcast at summerinnanen.com/176, as well as, I've recorded so many of these episodes now. You can find all of them on my YouTube channel. you can find them also at summerinnanen.com/134, summerinnanen.com/164, episodes 164 and 134. There's a whole bunch of others. I don't want to overwhelm you, but those are the more recent ones.
And hopefully that gives you inspiration that this really is possible for you, too. And if you have any questions, always feel free to reach out, direct message me, chat with me about it. I want to make sure that you're getting supported.
And thank you so much for listening today. Really, really appreciate it. This actually, I probably should've said this upfront, sometimes I'm a little disorganized… this is the end of the season. This is the end of Season... I don't even know what season we're on. Season Five, I think? Oh man. This is the end of Season Five of the podcast.
So, the podcast will be back in October. I've got some awesome interviews lined up that have already been recorded and they're ready to go, but I'm just taking the next few weeks off just to have a bit of a hiatus and break in between the two seasons. So get caught up on the other 174 episodes that you have maybe not listened to, or listened to, except maybe the first, I don't know, 80, because I feel like I've evolved a lot since then. But maybe you'll like those old ones too. I don't know.
But I will be back in a few weeks with the new season. Until then, thank you again so much for listening. Rock on.
OUTRO: I'm Summer Innanen and I want to thank you for listening today. You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, @SummerInnanen. If you haven't yet, go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe, rate, and review this show. I would be so grateful. Until next time, rock on!
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