So see what had happened was…

 
 
That’s how every good, juicy story starts out, right?
 
 
And this… this is a good, juicy story I guess, but with an extremely critical lesson.
 
 
This lesson is something that I hope all people, but especially parents, take a moment to really think deeply about.
 
 
It all started just yesterday when I was scrolling through the comments section of a thread on my Facebook page.
 
 
On Tuesday I posted a raw, real, and vulnerable guest blog post from my good friend, Neghar Fonooni.  The blog post was accompanied by a split-screen image of her from 2009 looking incredibly lean and ripped, and then 2014 still looking very fit, but noticeably less lean and ripped.
 
 

Neghar-Fonooni-inpost
 
 
As you can see, while there is quite a contrast between the two pictures, Neghar is still incredibly fit and quite lean in the picture on the right.  So what was the purpose of Neghar’s post?

 
 
She was writing a guest blog post for my site about self-love; a message she and I feel incredibly passionate about (as you’ll see!).
 
 
In this blog post, Neghar opens up about how she has battled body image issues for years, and how even when she was her leanest, that “motivation” to be lean was coming from a very dark place.  A place of self-hatred and self-abuse.  A place of deprivation and “I’m-not-enough.”  A place of hardcore restriction followed by hardcore binges.  A place of, “maybe if I’m leaner my boyfriend won’t cheat on me.”
 
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(Note from Molly:  I am so excited to have another amazing guest blog on my website this week, this time from my girl Neghar Fonooni, Co-Founder of Girls Gone Strong.  Neghar and I met in 2011 and became fast friends.  I mean, let’s be honest.  We both love lifting, food, and empowering women to love their bodies.  Not necessarily in that order of course, but you get my point. 

I even got to hang out with Neghar and her awesome hubby John this past weekend in Vegas for my 30th birthday!

 

Vegas for my birthday.  'Nuff said.

Vegas for my birthday. ‘Nuff said.


Point being… I absolutely adore this girl, and I am SO excited that she is sharing her story of self-love and body embracement on my website today.  Check it out!)

 

This is a story about a journey of strength and love, one with a happy ending, although I truly believe it’s not over. Every day I grow and am always expanding with grace and self-acceptance. My journey is not identical to yours, as that is yours alone. But we are all on a journey, aren’t we? A journey to learn to love and accept our bodies, all while enduring the pursuit of improvement.

 

Whether that improvement is physical, spiritual, emotional, or professional, it’s ultimately a desire to get better. Today I can comfortably say that I am enough. What I do every day is what I’m capable of doing, and my body is beautiful at every stage of its flow. I know now that I can get better, I can grow and cultivate a higher expression of myself, without hating the state I’m currently in. Today I know this, but that wasn’t always the case. My initial desire to improve came from a very dark and lonely place.

 

A critical realization we all need to have.

A critical realization we all need to have.

It 2009, and it was a powerful turning point.

 

I was a single mom running my own business, feeling overworked and under recovered. Allowing myself to stay in a verbally and physically abusive relationship, I had yet to truly dig deep and face my demons. Through the words of others and the nasty voice in my head, I allowed myself to believe I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t skinny enough. I wasn’t successful enough. I wasn’t strong or accomplished enough. I just wasn’t enough.

 

Because I believed I wasn’t enough, my intentions for my body came from a place of abject fear and self-loathing. My entire sense of self-worth as a woman and as a trainer revolved around my physique!

At the time, I weighed in at roughly 120 pounds and 12% body fat. I was ripped out of my mind, and also ACTUALLY out of my mind. I counted every last calorie and worked out for about 2 hours a day. Because I lacked confidence I only felt good about myself when I was lean. I weighed myself every single day and allowed that number to dictate how I felt about myself.

Yes, I'm ripped in this photo, but the motivation comes from a dark place.

Yes, I’m ripped in this photo, but the motivation comes from a dark place.

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[Note from Molly:  If you follow my blog or my Facebook page regularly, you know that I'm a huge fan of having a positive body image, mindset, and perspective, and changing your body from a place of love, not hate.  In fact, a favorite motto of mine is: "Train because you love your body, not because you hate your body."

 
 
Today, my good friend Jill Coleman, who's basically the Queen of mindset, is sharing with you 6 Reasons Your Body Doesn't Look Any Different Despite "Doing Everything Right."
 
 
I am absolutely thrilled that she's sharing these with you all today.  I'm confident you'll love it (and her!) as much as I do!  Enjoy!]
 
 

Jill knows a thing or two about maintaining a lean and healthy physique.

Jill knows a thing or two about maintaining a lean and healthy physique.


 
 
Thank you, Molly, for letting me take up space on your blog today!
 
 
Molly asked me to provide some insight on how mindset and perspective affect the fat loss process, and why it’s not just about “the perfect meal plan” or “the best” workout program.
 
 
Let’s get this out of the way first: body change isn’t about gathering more information.
 
 
Information is everywhere. You can find a million “weight loss meal plans” for free on Google right now. And it’s not about getting the perfect meal plan from the best coach. Or finding the right expert to provide your miracle plan.

 

But, as people seeking body change, this is often what we do: jump from program to program, expert to expert, diet book to diet book, all with the hope of stumbling across THE ONE that will work this time! We think if we juuuuuust find that one additional piece of the puzzle, then we can finally get the results we want.

 

[Quick side note: if any coach or expert claims to have some special magical meal plan that is better than all others, run away, you’re dealing with an egomaniac!  Truthfully, fat loss meal plans are not rocket science, they are only so many ways to eat vegetables and lean protein.]

 

But no, fat loss is not about having the most perfect meal plan on earth. Fat loss and body change is about you. Specifically, they are about you and your ability to actually IMPLEMENT consistent behaviors over time, all the while finding some peace, relaxing into the process and managing your mental environment.

 

In other words, results aren’t about information, they’re about implementation.

 

We know this intuitively, don’t we? If I asked you to write out what a healthy diet looks like right now, 90% of you could do it. So it’s not that we don’t know WHAT to do, but specifically, we don’t know HOW to do it consistently.

 

The how-to comes down to your process and your perspective. How you choose to SEE the process? Because the people who get and stay lean have made the transition out of the quick-fix mentality and have settled in for the long haul, weathering the ups and downs of the process and choosing to show themselves kindness and simply do their best. This is a mindset shift.

 

The most successful people are also the most consistent. And not consistently perfect!

 

If you feel like your nutrition is on point and your workouts are good-to-go, and you are still not seeing results, you might have some mental hang-ups. Your mindset needs to be the foundation of your process because though diet and workouts alone might earn you a short-term rapid weight loss, how you navigate the process over time begins with your thoughts.

 

A physical transformation without a mental one leaves something to be desired.

 

Here are 6 mindset obstacles that may be hindering success:

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salad and cupcakes

 

Food epiphanies.

Ever had one?

I had one in third grade when I decided that I was so in love with broccoli that I wanted to marry it, but that’s neither here nor there (Update: I’ve since ditched broccoli for brussel sprouts for the most part, and am much more satisfied!)

But seriously, I have had some major food epiphanies lately, and I want to share them with you.  But first, a little background information:

You see, I’ve always had an obsession with food, for as long as I can remember.

 

 

I guess you could say that I can pack away some food.

I guess you could say that I can pack away some food.

 

I always thought about food, dreamed about food, and got excited about what I was going to eat next.  And I had a huge appetite!  In fact, when I was a small child, my Mom found me hiding behind the couch halfway through my 4th stick of butter!  I also used to get in trouble when she would realize that all of our teaspoons were missing and she would find them in the box of Bisquick powder that I had been eating.

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It’s been a looooong 10 years.

It was just over 10 years ago that I found myself at 19 years old, overweight and unhappy with how I looked and felt.  It was at that moment in February of 2004 that I decided I wanted to make a change.

I hired a trainer, starting eat “better” (OK so I started eating more yogurt and drinking Gatorade instead of soda, but it was a start!)

185 lbs. and not feeling so hot about myself.

185 lbs. and not feeling so hot about myself.

Fast forward 10 years and I’ve competed in Figure, dabbled in Powerlifting, co-founded a gym, trained hundreds of clients online and in-person, started a blog, started multiple online fitness businesses, written for some of the biggest fitness websites on the planet, spoken, presented, and coached alongside some of the brightest minds in the industry at seminars and huge conferences, put together a fitness information resource for group training with two brilliant minds that has sold hundreds of copies worldwide…

And I feel like I’m just getting started.

I’m not saying these things to brag.  I’m saying these things to let you know that I’ve been exposed to many different training environments, coaches, philosophies, styles, and programs.

I’ve followed dozens of programs from bright coaches.  I’ve trained for fat loss, pure strength, hypertrophy/muscle gain, overall performance, and physique enhancements, and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.

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(Psssst! If you’re “late” to the challenge and just getting started, that’s OK too! Just go at your own pace!  Start with this blog post and scroll to the bottom, and make sure you have what you need to complete the challenge and fill out the 10 questions you need to fill out before you get started.  Then you can take it day by day at your own pace!)

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My goodness.  I almost can’t believe that Day 28 of the Love Your Body Challenge is here.  This month has absolutely flown by for me, and it feels like just yesterday we were kicking off Day 1.

Thank you to everyone who has followed along on this journey.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed hearing your from all of you — crying with you, laughing with you, having epiphanies with you… it’s been incredible.  You all have changed my life, and I hope I have impacted yours as well.

Before we move on to recapping yesterday, I have a small favor to ask you.  If this challenge has at all impacted your life, touched your heart, or made you think… would you please let me know?  I’d like to add a “testimonials” page that other women who are considering doing the challenge can read to convince them that it’s worth their time.

It would be so helpful to me, and you’d be helping to convince other women to do the challenge and change their lives as well.

You can put it in the comments section below.  If you’re not comfortable with that, you can send it to me at: 28DayLoveYourBodyChallenge@gmail.com.

Finally, do NOT forget to fill out the questionnaire again at the bottom and compare your scores from before Day 1!  That would be an amazing thing to put in your testimonial (how much your score went up).

Let’s get started!

Recap

Yesterday was Day 27 and the reason to love your body was:

“Because it allows you to love and be loved.”

I discussed all of the different ways that we give and receive love to others, whether it’s our spouse, our children, our friends, our parents, or even a stranger.

We give and receive love through all kinds of physical touch, a warm smile, kind words, and much more.

When you think about it, there is love all around you, and your body allows you to participate in it in so many ways.  That’s something to be grateful for!

So here we are.  Day 28.

No pressure, right?

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I am so thankful for him and the time we had together.

 

(Psssst! If you’re “late” to the challenge and just getting started, that’s OK too! Just go at your own pace!  Start with this blog post and scroll to the bottom, and make sure you have what you need to complete the challenge and fill out the 10 questions you need to fill out before you get started.  Then you can take it day by day at your own pace!)

Recap

Hi everyone!  Holy moly, it’s Day 27 of the Love Your Body Challenge, and we only have one day left after today!  That makes me sad! (OK, and only slightly elated because I’ll get to hear about all of your all’s progress, annnnnd I’ll get my life back a little bit! Writing every day is hard!)

The best part about today and tomorrow is that they are two of my absolute favorite reasons, which is why I wanted to save them for last.  So exciting!

OK, so yesterday was Day 26 and the reason to love your body was:

“Because it’s healthy.”

This one was actually a little hard for me because off-and-on for the last several years I’ve thought of myself as a “sick” person or a “delicate” person.  In 2009 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism), PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and Adrenal Dysfunction.  Basically a trifecta of issues that make you feel like garbage.

Luckily, I’ve been able to change my mindset and start giving my body more love and feeling more thankful for the wonderful parts of my body and things in my life, and whaddya know?  My most recent tests and bloodwork have come back better than ever.  I can’t think that this is a coincidence.

I love what Giselle had to share about yesterday’s reason:

“I can really identify with this reason. Sometimes I’m under the weather & suddenly it hits me: I AM HEALTHY!

My body allows me so much, no matter what I’m going through, I’ve got a reason to feel like I can go on & do it indeed.

Haven’t gotten sick in more than a year! & I can’t stop saying it to every person that may ask, because I feel so proud of my body, because I feel great knowing that this has taken me a lot of hard work, letdowns & struggles, yet has taken me a lot of learning & experiences that have been worthwhile.

I’m not just healthy & my body is strong on the inside, but it is also on the outside. I’ve become stronger & my endurance is way better than many years ago.

I’m more tolerant, strong, recover faster, learn things faster, more independent, more brave & more bold, take much more risks that keep me in the path I want; I’m better at talking with people & socializing (which is very hard for me); I’ve even gotten better at letting go & being resilient.

It does not mean that I’m a super person, but I know I’m way more closer to the things I want & the people I want, it is not easy, but it is worth it.”

So many fantastic interpretations of being healthy!

Now here’s to Day 27!

Reason #27 To Love Your Body

27. Because it allows you to love and be loved.

This is seriously one of my absolute favorite reasons.  My boyfriend and I were discussing it last night and we kept thinking of all of the ways our bodies allow us to express and received love.

A kiss on the forehead from our Grandpa.

Rocking a child to sleep in our arms.

Holding our Dad’s big, strong hand.

Sitting in our Mom’s lap crying while she strokes our hair.

A hug from a long-lost friend.

A passionate kiss from our significant other.

Nursing a newborn baby.

High fiving our cousin who just scored their dream job.

Smiling at a stranger who’s having a bad day.

Sometimes you just get wrapped up in the moment and need to express your love.

Sometimes you just get wrapped up in the moment and need to express your love.

 

There are so many ways that our bodies allow us to give and receive love, these are just a few examples.

Mantra: 
 ”I love my body because it allows me to express and receive love freely.”

Repeat this (to yourself or out loud) 10 times right now,  10 times during your action step, and 10 times before bed.

Action step:  Take 4 minutes to right down all of the ways that your body allows you to give love, and all of the ways that your body allows you to receive love, and spend the last minute allowing yourself to be filled with immense gratitude about it.

That’s it for now y’all!  See you tomorrow!

FIND DAY 26 HERE

Smiling because I'm feeling great!

 

(Psssst! If you’re “late” to the challenge and just getting started, that’s OK too! Just go at your own pace!  Start with this blog post and scroll to the bottom, and make sure you have what you need to complete the challenge and fill out the 10 questions you need to fill out before you get started.  Then you can take it day by day at your own pace!)

Recap

Hi everyone!  Welcome to Day 26 of the Love Your Body Challenge.  Can you believe we only have a couple of days left after this?

Crazy, right?

As you know, yesterday was Day 25, and it was awesome.  The reason to love your body was:

“Because it’s a composite of your parents.” (Or it’s part of your children, or siblings, or other amazing family members).

This one seemed to sneak up on people kiss them right on the mouth! :)

In other words, out of nowhere, many women started recognizing how much they liked this reason.  Here’s what a couple of them had to say:

“Good timing on this one. I turn 50 today. My parents are gone and I miss them everyday. I hope they’re proud of who I am, and what I’m currently doing to lose fat, gain health. From them, I’ve learned humor, compassion, stubbornness (a good thing), loyalty, hard work and love.” – Karen

“I love this. I have my fathers sense of responsibility and his hair, my mothers light hearted joy for life and her freckles. My daughter has the perfect combination of my eyes and her fathers, looks like me as a child, and is inheritingy love of learning. My body itself inherited my beloved curves, my wild hair, and my changeable eye color.” – Heather

Hopefully this encouraged everyone to spend a little time thinking about positive memories with their loved ones yesterday.

Now Day 26!

Reason #26 To Love Your Body

26. Because it’s healthy.

This one is a little hard for me to swallow, considering that 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism), PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and Adrenal Dysfunction.

For a while, I thought of myself as someone who wasn’t well.  I realized that the more I thought of myself as someone who wasn’t “well,” the worse I felt.  The more I worried about feeling sick, the more I felt sick.

These days, I try to focus a ton on what I can control, and how good I feel.  Yes, I have some medical issues that I’m dealing with, but overall I feel good, I look good, I have energy, and I feel healthy, and I remind myself of that daily.

 

Smiling because I'm feeling great!

Smiling because I’m feeling great!

Annnnnd at my last Doctor’s visit, my antibody levels were down, and all of my other bloodwork looked pretty good, too! Coincidence?  I think not.

The majority of us, even those of us who do have medical issues that we are dealing with, we are overall healthy people with healthy bodies, and the more we remind ourselves of that, the better we will feel, and the more our bodies will heal.

Mantra:  ”I am healthy, and my body is healthy, and for that, I am grateful.”

Repeat this (to yourself or out loud) 10 times right now,  10 times during your action step, and 10 times before bed.

Action step:  Take 5 minutes to right down all of the signs that your body is super healthy.  This could be anything from your latest deadlift personal record, to your shiny hair and glowy skin, to your strong nails, or your boundless energy.  Focus on these traits that demonstrate good health and feel grateful for them.

That’s it for now y’all!  See you tomorrow!

FIND DAY 25 HERE

FIND DAY 27 HERE

 

(Psssst! If you’re “late” to the challenge and just getting started, that’s OK too! Just go at your own pace!  Start with this blog post and scroll to the bottom, and make sure you have what you need to complete the challenge and fill out the 10 questions you need to fill out before you get started.  Then you can take it day by day at your own pace!)

Recap

Hi everyone!  Thanks so much for joining me on Day 25 of the Love Your Body Challenge.  As you know, yesterday was Day 24, and it was awesome.  The reason to love your body was:

“Because it’s resilient.”

I shared my own story of heartache and loss and talked about how 2012 was a very difficult year in my life.  Fast forward almost 18 months, and I am the happiest I have ever been in my whole life.  I was hit and knocked down time after time, and time after time I stood back up and dusted myself off.  The funny thing was, I had never considered myself to be very resilient until a family member pointed it out to me.

He said I was one of the most resilient people he had ever seen, and he was very impressed.

It was in that moment that I allowed myself to recognize how well I had bounced back from all of the heartache and turmoil of the past year and feel proud.

It seemed like yesterday was that day for a lot of you.  In reading your comments, it seems that many of you had never considered your own resilience until I told you that you were resilient.  The revelations were beautiful.  Here are a couple:

“Thanks for reminding me of my resilience! I often make light of the challenges in my life. Telling myself they are not that big a deal, there are so many worse off than me.

I suddenly and unexplainably lost my husband when I was 33 yrs old. If it wasn’t resilience getting through that I don’t know what is.

I think that this is the first time in the seven years since that I have told myself that.

I am now happily married to the second love of my life, own a business that I love and happier than I have ever been. As I marvel at all the amazing women I have been exposed to in this challenge, I am also taking time today to pat myself on the back for the strength I have shown in my own journey and for the endurance I know I have for the journey yet to come!” – Julie

“Thank you so much for this post. I have never really thought about my body’s resilience before. I guess I have always thought of those that overcome injuries or illness and come back stronger than ever. I had never applied that to my own self & story.

I have been pregnant 8 times. I lost 4 of those babies. I also naturally birthed 4 babies. I remember after the last loss being really angry & upset that my body just didn’t work the way I wanted it to. At that time we decided that another loss we could not risk and that we were “done”.

Fast forward a few years and surprise! My 43 year old beautifully resilient body grew and birthed our 4th baby girl. 

Thank you for teaching me to “forgive” my body for the times it doesn’t perform as I wish & to be thankful and appreciate its resilience!” – Kimberly

Reason #25 To Love Your Body

25. Because it’s a composite of your parents. (Or it’s part of your children, or siblings, or other amazing family members).

I thought of this reason early on in the challenge when I started reading all of your beautiful stories about how close you were to your parents, or how lucky you all considered yourselves to have such amazing children.

I started thinking…we each have so many amazing and beautiful and talented people in our lives, and we can so easily see and appreciate their most wonderful traits, and they share our DNA!  Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, you’re amazing and beautiful and talented, too?

I am the composite of these two amazing people.

I am the composite of these two amazing people.

It’s so easy to see where other excel, and it can be very difficult to acknowledge our own positive qualities.  Today’s mantra and action step will hopefully help you find and appreciate all of the amazing-ness you have to offer.

Mantra:  ”I am surrounded by amazing people, and they enrich my life so much.  I am amazing too, and I enrich their lives as well.”

Repeat this (to yourself or out loud) 10 times right now,  10 times during your action step, and 10 times before bed.

Action step:  Take 3 minutes to write down a few of your favorite traits of your loved ones.  Whether it’s their sense of humor, their intelligence, their kindness, or their easygoing personality, write them down.  Then take the next two minutes to look over these traits, and recognize which ones you have as well, and allow yourself to feel proud of all of your positive qualities.

That’s it for now!  See you tomorrow!

FIND DAY 24 HERE

FIND DAY 26 HERE

 

(Psssst! If you’re “late” to the challenge and just getting started, that’s OK too! Just go at your own pace!  Start with this blog post and scroll to the bottom, and make sure you have what you need to complete the challenge and fill out the 10 questions you need to fill out before you get started.  Then you can take it day by day at your own pace!)

Recap

Welcome! Welcome!  Welcome!

It’s day 24 of the Love Your Body Challenge and I am SO glad you’re here!  Yesterday was Day 23, and the reason to love your body is:

“Because it’s SO smart.”

We discussed how our body is doing so many incredible things all the time that we don’t even recognize.  From pumping blood to carrying nutrients to cells to regulating your body temperature to taking in zillions of bit of information about your surroundings all in an instant to let you know whether you should laugh, smile, or cry. 

Our bodies are so amazing and so smart.

Here is what Melissa had to say about it:

“I think taking time to really think about what my body IS doing really helps me forgive it for what its NOT doing. I often find myself lost in self-pity, wondering, and self-loathing because of the functions my body is not performing; the things other peoples’ are doing that are just “normal.” But our bodies are doing SO many things, that it easier to forgive it for its shortcomings if we just keep that in mind.”

I love her honesty and her perspective here — focus on the positive to drown out the negative. Perfect!

Now, Day 24.

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