"EXPOSED" - Stripping Down for Body Love

I am not a blogger that churns out blog after blog on a daily basis. Aside from my workouts I post weekly, when I write a piece, for the most part it has to be something that I feel strongly about, know a great deal about, or am moved to write about. A couple months ago I came across a blogger who did just this for me. She inspired me to write THIS post. Her name is Mish. The movement she started is called 'EXPOSED'. The message and meaning Mish states is as follows:
'The point is to ‘expose’ the side of yourself that reflects on YOU. The awesome parts, the accomplished parts, the parts that you don’t tap into. Let yourself be honest, raw, reflective, celebratory and exposed.'
Mish talks about it here: As I approach 40 years young this May 2015, I look back at the past 10 years of my life and think how much I have changed. The past 10 years feels like 20 years have come and gone. In these past 10 years, I met the man of my dreams, married him, traveled to many exotic and far away places, have given birth 3 times in 5 years and now have 3 incredible children (5, 3 and 1 year old), have moved 5 times and now am a part time working mother who LOVES helping others as a personal trainer. As mothers, we give to our children and family. It's our job. It's what we know and do. As a woman, and a mother who works in the fitness industry, I know how hard it can be to 'love' your body after baby. I mean you're only one click away from the incredibly 'fit' bodies in magazines and online of women who 'lost all their baby weight and then some a week after giving birth,'. One click away from that girl on the internet taking selfies of herself in her drawers to show the world her toned and fit body, saying "YOU CAN BE FIT LIKE ME TOO!" Don't get me wrong, those images can be very motivating, but sometimes it can be a constant reminder of how we just don't measure up. It's not so much as others MAKING us feel that way,  but more so the tiny (or loud) voice in our head that says, "I workout hard and eat right, and my body still does not look good enough," or "I'll never be able to wear a 2 piece again because of how my belly looks after having kids". We focus on all the things we need to have 'fixed', so we CAN look like 'that' girl online or in the magazines. So we CAN have that six pack, believing that 'having a six pack is the ONLY way to show that you are fit and deciplined', which is ABSOLUTELY NOT the truth, but it can be a truth that we end up believing in. Yes, a six pack shows you've worked really hard, eat very clean, and have a very low body fat percentage. But some of us will work as hard as we can, eat the right foods, feel like we've done everything right, but may never see our 'six pack'. And I'm here to tell you,THAT IS OK. I have worked with clients for years who are still 'working' on their post baby body. Not so much because there is still a lot of work to do, but because there is always something else they find they dislike. I too, can find myself among these group of women. Sure, I work hard to keep my body strong, and try and eat clean as much as possible, but let's face it, after 3 kids, my body has been through the ringer! After birthing my first in 2009, I had a tough go at motherhood. It wasn't the physical, so much as the mental. I felt I had to GIVE UP SO MUCH of what I wanted and who I was, and didn't understand why? I felt I was alone and everyone else was going about their lives and enjoying themselves, but for some reason I couldn't. I would hold my baby and cry for no reason because I felt I was "LOST" and would never get back who I was. I didn't recognize my body anymore. I felt my life didn't belong to me anymore. [caption id="attachment_63012" align="alignleft" width="495"]Me working out with my kids! Me working out with my kids![/caption] I have since birthed 2 more children and have found my place in the world. I have a better hold on who I am now than I ever have, and am a lot stronger now physically and mentally than I ever was. Kids will do that to you. Life will do that to you. But now, approaching 40, I think about how my perception of my body has changed. I think back at my body before kids. Before the stretch marks. Before the loose skin around my belly. Before the varicosities in my legs. Did I think I was perfect? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But I did have a pretty decent body, when I think back now. But was I ever really happy with it? Was I ever satisfied with the hard work I put in to create it? Why is that? Why is it so hard for us to believe in the positive when it relates to our bodies? We can get compliment, but it's SO HARD to truly accept that compliment. "WOW, YOU LOOK AMAZING!" Our response, "No, not really." Sound familiar? My husband can tell me he thinks I'm beautiful and sexy, but my reaction is, "You're crazy", because it's not how 'I' see myself. But why? It's so easy to focus on and BELIEVE the negative things we 'dislike' about ourselves, rather than focusing on the positive, and BELIEVING we are ALL unique, amazing, strong and powerful individuals. Your six pack doesn't make you a 'better' person. It's who you are that matters. What you've done with your life that counts. Who you help along the way. Even if that person is yourself. That's where the idea of "EXPOSING" myself, came into play. I LOVE making others feel good about themselves. It gives me the utmost joy in life. I love the idea of helping others, or even knowing that something I said or did, inspired them to feel good about themselves. So I decided to turn it on it's head, and be that person I help as well. Today, I am exposing myself. I am ditching my trusty tank top (that I will always don in my videos), and stripping down exposing the amazing things my body does for me. I am focusing on the positive. I am focusing on what makes me REAL. I am focusing on what makes my STRONG. I am focusing on what makes me ME. exposed #2   Can you see my six pack? Not really. Do I have a have perky full breasts after nursing 3 kids? NO (and sorry to my hubby for me admitting that to everyone)! When I do a push up, does the excess skin around my belly look as good as when I stand straight or lie down? NO. I want people to know, especially those who follow me on youtube and Facebook, that I am HUMAN.  I pull my black leggings up just like the rest of you gals. I try and workout first thing in the morning before the house gets up, but there are times when I have three kids who want to hop on top of me when I work out in my basement. I had a diastasis recti over 4 fingers at my naval after giving birth to my 3rd, which I was told by many that I would need surgery to correct. Instead, I did rehab on it and managed to close 2 of the 3 gaps, and bring that 4+ gap down to 1.5 finger width at my naval. I had the most incredible swelling and varicosities in my legs while pregnant with my second and third, and most likely will need treatment on them in the near future. No, I am FAR from perfect. But instead of focusing on these superficial features, I wanted explore the amazing things my body has done and still does for me on a deeper level. Find the beauty in all of it. Find what I am immensely proud of.  Find the best that I can be, not focusing on the best that someone else is. I mean, when was the last time you took an honest look at yourself and really reflected on what makes you YOU? It doesn't happen too often. But it should. When I took this on, I proposed the question on my Facebook page . I wanted to hear what others had to say. What they were proud of. What motivates them.  I wanted them to focus on the positive and share it. Here are some of the responses.... [caption id="attachment_63025" align="alignleft" width="334"]10492504_10153541158724968_4547317519322023134_n SARAH[/caption] Sarah: "There are so few things we can control in life. So few things that we can manipulate and force results. Challenging yourself, pushing past your limits and meeting goals is empowering. That empowerment that you have complete and utter control over is addicting and validating. I use that to anchor me in areas of my life that I struggle. Areas that no matter how desperately I want to fix, I can't. I channel that chaos and crisis into exercise. I'm proud that in a life like mine, I am able to overcome what could easily overtake me and use it to drive me." Brittany: [caption id="attachment_63027" align="alignright" width="160"]10350551_10152959112253216_1265214334092812182_n Brittany[/caption] "I workout in my kitchen or bedroom or living room daily! Sometimes I do reps in between showering my kids but my kids watching me accomplish my goals daily is a big thing for me to show my 2 girls. At night I tuck them in and we pray and it feels good that no matter what happens in between those two important things to start and end my day, everything else we can handle." Trina: "I started to get up earlier in the morning to have time to myself to work out before the day gets started. I am a 41 year old mother of 3 busy boys, I work full time and own a business as well. Although it's not always easy, and sometimes not even possible, starting my day an hour earlier for a morning workout helps me look after myself. I'm healthier and fit at 40+, and find that I have a lot more of myself to give to my family and at work by feeling good about myself.  We all need to remember that looking after ourselves helps those around us, and that we matter too!" [caption id="attachment_63030" align="alignleft" width="173"]1484550_875248159173048_2272634928305580242_n DANIELA[/caption] Daniela: "I work very hard to look like that and to do a perfect job for my clients 24 hours a day/356 days a year! I am a mother and you already wrote how demanding it is sometimes! ....I am very proud to look like that with 41 years....it is like you ....I'm stronger and fitter now that I was prior! Kathy: "My philosophy is to concentrate on what you CAN do, not what you Can't and only worry about yourself and to be proud of EVERYTHING your body does for you. I also believe in Quality over Quantity, not only in our workouts, but in our everyday lives with our food choices down to our relationships. We don't need a million friends, just those who make us better people. " [caption id="attachment_63033" align="alignright" width="261"]10354898_10154858416115391_2093750216286911134_n LOUISE[/caption] Louise: "It's a total cliche, but it's the simple things in life that make me happy - my first sip of coffee in the morning, kisses and cuddles from my 3 boys, nature (I tell my boys it's like food for the soul) and of course a hard core workout....Life's about balance and the challenge is that the balance that was yesterday may not be the balance for tomorrow. And happiness is found in choosing to see the positives and experience gratitude in every precious day that we have." I absolutely LOVE hearing positive, motivating and empowering comments like this. Instead of tearing ourself apart on a daily basis, try lifting ourself up. Understand that how you talk about yourself does make an impact on your view of yourself. Speak and believe in the positive and know that through this, you can achieve anything!

"Keep your THOUGHTS POSITIVE because your thoughts become your words. Keep your WORDS POSITIVE because your words become your behavior. Keep your BEHAVIOR POSITIVE because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your HABITS POSITIVE because your habits become your values. Keep you VALUES POSITIVE because your values become your destiny."


Now it's your turn. What makes you happy in life? What have you accomplished that you are proud of? What does your strong, beautiful body do of you? How would you 'EXPOSE' yourself?

For more workouts, information on health and fitness and daily motivation, check out my Facebook and my youtube page!

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