I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life, and that’s OK.
This is probably the most personal post I’ve ever written. I’ve just stepped off the scales. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life.
I’ve never stepped on the scales before and been happy with the numbers that take a painstakingly long few seconds to show up. Even when I’d lost a few stone for my wedding back in 2010 and was the slimmest I’ve been in a decade.
But this week, I noticed a few things that have really changed for me. And they’re huge. In fact, to me personally, they are the biggest changes I’ve made from within myself.
Let me explain. I know I’m overweight. As with every person in the world, there are a few things I could do about that.
- I can blame the medication I take, the depression & anxiety I have lived with for over 20 years, the daily stresses of being a Mum, Wife, Daughter, Business Owner & Entrepreneur.
- I can be miserable about it. I can hide behind my camera, rather than in front of it. I can not go out to parties, dinners, or go shopping. I can wear joggers and jumpers to hide my body instead of shopping for nice things to wear to highlight my best features. If you’re anything like me, the thought of having to go shopping for something nice to wear for a birthday, work event or Christmas ends up with me reaching for the nearest bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and a glass of wine.
- I can make a conscious effort to diet. Or eat less and exercise more for those people who the word ‘diet’ sends them running screaming to the hills – oh god, not another one!
- I can be ok with it.
If you read number 1, 2 & 3 and they really resonated with you, then number 4 seems downright IMPOSSIBLE. Am I right?
But this week, I realised I did just that. I am ok with it. At this moment in time, this point in my life, my weight is not the most important thing.
I have reached stage number 4.
So, you may ask, how exactly have you managed to feel ok with your weight?
I turned 35 this year. I don’t hate that fact, I love it. I was one of the few people in my group of friends that enjoyed and welcomed turning the BIG 30. I have a wonderful business which allows me to follow my passions, a caring and loving family, a beautiful home, loyal friends and a gorgeous Beagle who’s wagging tail makes me smile every time I see her!
I’ve also had 35 years of being conditioned that being overweight is gross and ugly.
That you can never be truly loved, that people won’t take me seriously as a professional in my industry and worrying what people will think of me.
Let me tell you what has changed in my life lately.
1. I educate myself every day. Not on weight, on living a healthy lifestyle, or what food I shouldn’t eat. But I educate myself on things that matter to me and things I enjoy learning about: business, marketing self-value, mindset, photography…
I LOVE learning new things! Even at 35 years old, my brain is like a sponge. I soak up all the information I can, and I love every second of it.
I spend at least 2-3 hours per day on expanding my education and knowledge. I didn’t think I had 2 hours a day of spare time to do this, but it is possible!
Each morning when I wake up, I give myself 30-minutes to 1 hour to sit in bed with my iPad or iPhone and kickstart my day. I read blog posts, eBooks, articles, audio books and webinars. Everything & anything I can get my hands on. After the children have gone to bed in the evening, I do the same. I used to spend this evening time working, editing photos or creating new content for the Academy (more on that soon!) but I made a conscious decision to allow myself a little ‘winding down’ time in the evening.
2. I work on my mindset. Some people think the idea of ‘mindset’ is a bit ‘left-field’ or ‘woo woo’, I believe it’s the most natural, organic and original thing in the world.
I’m re-training my brain to think in a new way. Think of it like a rewire. Your brain is like a giant computer. All your life your brain has been programmed to believe certain principles are correct, certain activities are right or wrong, that there are particular ways to do or say things and beliefs that you must have. I won’t go more in to it now, but check out my free eBook ‘Rewire Your Brain for a Happier Life’ if you want to understand more.
By doing just a little bit of mindset work every day, it’s amazing how quickly you’ll notice subtle changes.
3. I meditate every day. It’s hard to find the time to sit for 30 minutes, cross-legged on the floor in peace and quiet, but it is possible to always have the time after you lay down in bed each night, before you actually fall asleep. You don’t have to go to bed early for this, in fact bed time for me is anywhere between 11pm and 2am! BUT those few minutes are the perfect time to meditate!
So I lay down, warm in my bed, (nudge the husband to make him roll over and stop snoring!) and listen to sleep meditations and positive affirmations.
I often joke that there are three of us in the bed – my husband, myself and Jason Stephenson!
Here are a few of my favourites:
How do I know all this is working?
Yesterday, I was on location at Henley Hall in Ludlow photographing a styled wedding shoot.
As is usual, some members of the team asked if they could take ‘behind the scenes’ photos on their phone and share them on Instagram, Facebook etc – and include me in the photos.
My initial reaction EEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!! “Only if you make me skinny or cut half of me out of the photo before you post it!”
Those are exactly the words that came out of my mouth.
On the day we happened to be a team of women, so we all laughed it off and nodded our heads in agreement. Because we all could relate to it.
But then, something astonishing happened.
Without even consciously think about it.
I said “Of course you can! I don’t mind at all! Yes please tag me in them so I can share the photos too!” And I got on with photographing this beautiful Bride in front of me.
And so they did.
As I talk about in this post, fear only lasts for 60 seconds..
Later that day when I was at home, I checked my phone. I had a ton of notifications and emails from Facebook, Instagram and Google to tell me that both my Photography Page, Notton House Photography and myself personally, had been tagged in social media photos.
I clicked on them all, straight away, to have a look. A little of the old fear and self-doubt was already starting to creep in.
Right there, filling up the screen of my iPad was a photo of me, at work in the beautiful grounds of Henley Hall photographing my beautiful Bride in this photoshoot I had organised.
Helena, our model for the day is beautiful. She’s slim, has professional makeup on, her hair is curled and flowing down, set off by a sparkling crystal headband and glittering earrings. She’s wearing one of the most fabulous structured designer wedding dresses by the award-winning Ritva Westenius.
And there is me. Side on, dressed all in navy blue (it was a black washing day!) with my Spider Holster wrapped around my middle with my hair pulled back in to a ponytail to keep it away from the lens.
I looked at myself.
I barely even cringed! I noticed a few things, of course, but I didn’t scream internally “Oh God, please take that down! Where is the ‘un-tag’ button?!!”
That’s me. Doing what I love doing most in the world. And dammit, I’m good at it!
Instead of feeling fear, I had PRIDE.
In myself, my accomplishments, my job. In the amazing team of people I get to work with every day.
I wanted to write this post to inspire YOU. To help you and all the other men and women in the world to be happy with exactly who you are. I hope this post, helps you to do that.
You are YOU.
You are LOVED, APPRECIATED and PERFECT
just the way you are.