#loveyourdamnself | The January Movement

Dear body,
I want to start off by saying I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for the times I’ve spoken ill of you and degraded you. For the names I’ve called you and the bad jokes I’ve made at your expense.
I have said some not-so-nice things about you, and had someone else been speaking like that about me, I’d be broken-hearted.
You help me to experience life. I go places and I do things because of you. I love, I laugh, I fed, I clothe, I run after my children, I go after my purpose and I get to do life because of you.
So today, I looked at you lovingly in the mirror and I said thank you. I hugged on my stretch marks and thanked my body for the evidence that showed I had carried three beautiful miracles.
I thanked my body for being able to heal and give me strength to go about life continually. With this newfound thankfulness, I also vowed to do better by you. To speak better of you and look after you more.
For you see, there can only be one you. So from now on, I will be more intentional as I learn to grow more in love and in tune with this temple that is you.
You are truly one of a kind, beautiful and miraculous, and I want you to know I love you dearly.
Always yours…

Chantelle Digby

Body image – ties in so closely with self love and worth for me.

I am 36 year old mother to two teenage boys, who has endured physical, sexual and emotional abuse, battled anorexia and struggles with severe depression, anxiety and ptsd. It was always – too thin, too fat, too flat chested, not curvy, too curvy, hair too short, hair too long, I couldn’t keep up.
For so many years body image was connected so closely with my self worth that I became really unwell physically and mentally. I didn’t deserve to be loved and I didn’t love myself therefore my body didn’t deserve to be taken care of. It has only been in the last 12 months that I have allowed myself some love and care that I have come to realize what ‘body image’ means to me. ⠀⠀⠀

It is still closely connected with self love but it is more about the love than critiscim, its about the journeys my body has been through and learning to accept them and how they have shaped me, its about the stretch marks that are written like love letters to my children over my butt and thighs and loving them for being there, its about loving me the way I am, whatever sharp weight or size I am at the time. Its about allowing myself some grace when I judge myself to harshly, its acknowledging the scars and appreciating the strength that comes from them..
Its about defining my own body image and not striving to achieve someone else’s. Being healthy and happy and telling everyone else to keep their opinions to themselves. My best body image is when I am at MY BEST mentally and emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Mahlia Mac

Body Image once you’ve transitioned into motherhood, is a raw, and confronting world of its own. It’s waking up, to your newborn feeding on engorged breasts, with your toddler laying across your soft, rippling stomach. It’s searching for the beauty in every line, every wrinkle, and every spot on your body that is a badge of honour for creating and carrying life.

Body image in motherhood is celebrating the glory of your body becoming ‘yours’ again once you give birth, and then the mourning, and the grief to shortly follows in the realisation that your body may never be just yours again. Body Image in motherhood is as complex and chaotic as the little humans we are raising.

So we must be kind to ourselves, tell our reflections they are beautiful, whisper to our hearts that we deserve unconditional love. We have to fight hard to learn to love our bodies just the way they are, in all their perfectly imperfect glory. 

Dr Katherine

For most of my life, I felt I didn’t “fit” anywhere. As a young teen, I began a cycle of extreme dieting. At the time, being anorexic was ‘cool’, so much so, in fact, that the goal was to eat so little that you fainted.
My restrictive eating then spun into drinking, then drugs (hard and soft), and minor brushes with the law—all in the hopes of being popular and liked.
To cut a very long story short, my extreme behaviours, as well as my hyper-focus on changing my appearance have not only caused decades of unhappiness, but have also now lead to permanent health problems including severe digestive disorders. I’ve battled severe depression to the point of attempting suicide.
It was only through years of working on myself, along with professional help that I was able to pull both my mental and physical health back on track.

It is therefore my personal knowledge of how dark, dangerous and insidious this problem can be that has driven me to develop and teach effective, evidence-based solutions to change people’s lives.

Life and my Little Loves

I often end up in conversations with friends, family or even strangers. They reflect on their birth stories, how they have aged, an experience they may have had or simply who they used to be. You can feel their sorrow as they justify the way they look. I listen and reflect on what they are saying. I look at these women, their radiant smiles or curvy hips, their bad ass attitude and can’t find a link between their story and what I see. At first I feel their sorrow, I empathise with the pain. But then I listen and hear their courage, their underestimated super power and I’m amazed and wish they could see what I see.
I think we can all be guilty of this. Not giving ourself enough self love. But I can tell you first hand, when you take a small step to remove those barriers that’s when miracles happen. In the past 5 years I’ve gone from being on a 3 year journey to conceive a baby which involved 3 rounds of IVF, had a csection, against ALL odds fell pregnant naturally, gave birth via VBAC and breastfeeding both babies. This journey has had its highs and lows. Those close to me would say at time my lights went out. When you go for tests and appointments everything is given a number or score. You are constantly on edge waiting for your body to fail. You attach these scores to your body and begin to see them as a reflection of who you. To overcome this when doing IVF I started working with a counselor.

I learnt the importance of not viewing my body as a rusty old machine & not housing negative labels to my body, especially parts that gave life to my children. It takes practise, but your body is listening to every word your mind says. Be kind to yourself. That story we all tell to justify ourselves, close your eyes and think about it. Think about how your body gave life, showed strength, your mind over came challenges, the confidence you showed. See the positives. Smile at its beauty just as your friends, family, mother, daughter and strangers do. Stop justifying yourself. Because your body knows exactly what to do and can achieve anything, you can too. Just believe in it.

Lauren Calvin

When I posted my first stretch marked, jiggly belly photo a few years ago, I had no idea how much people actually wanted to see it, and how much I also craved to see bodies like mine, just to feel less alone. Seeing perfectly posed images of women bouncing back months or even weeks after birth is hard. You feel like you did something wrong or you just aren’t lucky or good enough, not disciplined enough, not rich enough. But I’ve learnt that we are actually the norm, we are the majority, but we have just been shamed into hiding… that’s starting to change.

Pregnancy changes you in the most wonderful and terrifying ways, your body is no longer yours, you’ve sacrificed it to create your family. It gets stretched and broken, the mind changes dramatically too, but your love for those babies overrides any pain of losing yourself in the process. …….
I love that women are rebelling against societies expectations and revelling in each other’s joy and empowerment. We are no longer shackled by body image and that relief is euphoric. We are sharing our new found freedom with the world because even if just one other woman out there can be freed from the shame and mental torture of not fitting the mould, it is all worth it.

For me, it’s about taking a stand against the pressure to bounce back and shining a light on all post-partum bodies. It’s about supporting women when they are at their most vulnerable and applauding others when they share their vulnerabilities as well.

Are to ready to join the next movement?

The March Movement

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#loveyourdamnself | Post Partum Edition

“‘This isn’t the body you fell in love with.’ I said to him.
The body he fell in love with was toned, it had muscles, there were no stretch marks on my belly, none on my boobs, no gut from muscle separation.
The body he fell in love with fit into tight jeans, could walk into a shop and grab any size and walk out, knowing it fit.
This body now couldn’t shop at those stores, and mostly wears leggings.
His body stayed the same, but mine changed in every way. It isn’t fair….
I stood in front of him, exhausted and broken, the tears welled in my eyes, ‘This isn’t the body you fell in love with.’
Then he said, ‘you’re right. It isn’t the body I fell in love with.’ Instead it’s a body that grew our children, it fed our children, it comforted our children, it made life.
Your body is the one I fall in love with every day.
I didn’t know what love was until I saw this body and found out all it could do, so thank you.”
Do not be ashamed of what you have, or what your mum body looks like, there’s plenty of time to give up cake in the future, for now, enjoy the moments you have, and enjoy the fact that you have made something that is worth every stretch mark and every dimple.
If you needed a reminder, this is it, this body you have now, it’s worth every bit of love and more.”
~Laura Mazza, author

Alyce from Baby Mumma Perth

There’s an assumption that a naturally slim person needs to be told they’re skinny (like they didn’t know), that they need to eat more or fatten up, that they are SO lucky. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I want my kids to understand that yes, they may be tall and slim but this doesn’t change the person that they actually are inside. I want them to know that they can talk to us if they are struggling with their body image (amongst many other things of course!) without fear of suppression because society deems them “so lucky” to be skinny but then taunts them in the same breath. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I’ve always been the skinny one. Nicknamed skinny mini, chicken legs and even weasel (kids are cruel!). I’ve been subjected to a lifetime of what I can only describe as socially acceptable body shaming. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This is me. Despite 3 pregnancies, ongoing abdominal muscle separation and 12kg weight gain in all of my pregnancies, so far I’m consistently 5ft5 and 54kg. My phone autocorrected consistently to confidently, and you know what? For the first time in my life it is true. The skin on my tummy is loose, I have stretch marks around my belly button in the shape of a sun and the only reason I’ve currently got boobs is because I’m nursing a boob-monster round the clock. And I’m still skinny AF! So what?!
This is me, and I love my damn self! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Brooke and Kim – Grandmother to eight and Mother to two.

“As a mother of 3 and a grandmother of 8 I want all the beautiful girls/women in my life to love who they are, just the way they are. We live in a harsh world, and as women we need to support each other, inspire each other and surround ourselves with the people who love and support us. Thank you Mel for this wonderful opportunity – I met some beautiful strong women at this photo shoot. They should all be extremely proud of themselves.”

~ Kim: Mother to Three, Grandmother to Eight

“I was just thinking last night.. how as a mother it’s so important to set a good example for my girls. To embrace life, to live themselves, to appreciate the strength, skill, power and beauty that lies within us. That everyone is unique, special and gorgeous in their own way.
Sometimes I wonder why it has taken me so long to feel whole, happy, healthy and in love with who I am.
The last few years have been incredibly difficult and challenging but I feel I’ve finally grown into my skin
I’m loving my damn self every minute. Doing what is right for my girls and I.
Hula hooping has played a huge part in that. Who would of thought that at almost 39 I would be doing photo shoots and performances.
Embracing my awesomeness, my inner goddess and the talent and beauty within.
I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m me. Unique, talented, creative, loving, caring and amazing.
I’m so thankful for the incredible opportunities that continue to present themselves to me.
Moral of the story is – Love your damn self and the rest will follow”

~ Brooke: Mother to Two

Emma and her two children.

I have never loved my body. I’ve always had a distorted view of it. I never knew what it was capable of. I never appreciated me. I’ve never know who I am. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I spent so much of my life seeking approval from those close to me and comparing my body to others and to the covers of magazines. As a teenager I had an unhealthy relationship with food. As an adult I used food as a way to cover up my unhappiness. I hated being pregnant, I didn’t have that glow I just felt fat. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

It wasn’t until my life completely changed and I changed. I didn’t like the woman I was becoming let alone the mum I never wanted to be. It was time to treat myself better and to look after me. Because the best version of me and a happier me is what my two beautiful little humans deserved.

I realised the only approval I needed was my own. I realised how I could be so kind and supportive to other woman but never myself. I realised I had to teach myself to love me before I could teach those two little loves about self love. I realised that it was my decision. And I was the only one that could make that change.

And so I did. My body is incredible and I’m so grateful that it was able to grow my babies. I’m thankful for those shimmer stripes and proud of that csection scar because it reminds me of my little loves and I would do anything for them. I will nourish this body and I will look after it. Because it is amazing and I’m fabulous. And it’s okay to say that.

I’m so much stronger than I ever knew and I have finally found me.
I love me and every little perfect imperfection. Embrace those imperfections it’s what’s makes us unique and that is something to really love.

~ Emma: Mother to Two

“I remember a few years back being at the beach with friends and having a mate make comment to us all about a sunbaker’s stretch marked stomach. While I can’t remember exactly what he said I can remember being furious at him & telling him exactly what I thought of his comment! I remember thinking “good on her!” And “why shouldn’t she be enjoying her day at the beach like everyone else!” I vowed to myself I would do the same & I wouldn’t let my larger, softer, scarred mumbod keep me from enjoying it either!

It’s taken up right up until being involved in this #loveyourdamnself photo shoot & speaking to the incredible women I shared the experience with for me to remember the vow I made myself. And this time I’m sticking to it! I’m not wasting any more time stressing about my body or worrying about what people might think of it. I’m not risking missing out on making incredible memories with my family this summer. I mean how can I be so passionate about sticking up for someone else that I don’t even know and yet not think I’m worth the same amount of pride and confidence?
I want to lead and teach by example. I want my children to grow up knowing that every body is beautiful and it’s what’s on the inside that counts! That we don’t have to hate our bodies while working on changing them. And that they can and should be proud of their bodies during all the different stages of their lives as it is the vessel which houses their beautiful & individual souls.

~ Kirsty: Mother to Two

Lou, Mother to One.

“I am strong
I am loving
I am vulnerable
I am functional
I am beautiful
#loveyourdamnself my body is functional and strong. I am able to push it to incredible heights and lengths. Not because I am punishing it, but because I am celebrating all that it can do. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#loveyourdamnself my body is loving and vulnerable. It gives love, it celebrates, it dances, it mourns. It is an expression of all that is held on the inside of me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#loveyourdamnself my body is beautiful. Its battle-scars, its lines, its idiosyncrasies. They tell the story of me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It is so easy to hang on to the negatives, to the small parts which we spotlight and no one else notices. Imagine if we spoke to others the way we can speak to ourselves, how would we make it through the day?”

~ Lou: Mother to one

Renae, Mother to three.

“For me body image is about trying to see my own body the way I view others. When I see a confident lady, of any age in a bikini down at the beach with a body that shows off her life’s journey; I’m always in awe and admiration and think she defines beauty. I don’t see the flaws I’m so quick to judge on my own body. I see a beautiful, happy person enjoying life. I want to be kinder to my body – it’s given me so much joy, pleasure and life’s richest blessings.
With three young children watching my every move; I need to ensure the messages I’m trying to instill in them about body image are reflected in my own actions. That beauty comes in all different shapes, sizes and ages and that the person we are inside, shines through on the outside.”

~ Renae: Mother to Three

If you would like to join the next #loveyourdamnself movement. Email Melanie on admin@lionfoxandco.net.au to be waitlisted for the next event.

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The Power of Positivity When Recovering from Addiction | Guest Speaker Bethany Hatton

Emotions such as shame and guilt can be paralyzing. We’ve all made decisions in our past that have led to these powerful emotions, and we can still feel their residual effects in our lives today. For those recovering from addiction, these emotions are common, but can also be detrimental when trying to move forward with your life. If you have suffered from addiction and are struggling with past emotions, here is some advice to stay positive and keep your recovery going strong.

Start a conversation

Your first step toward building positivity will be opening up and building a dialogue about your addiction. Seeking a therapist or counselor is a good way to begin this conversation. Therapy will not only help you discover how and why you fell into destructive habits in the first place, and help you better communicate with others about your addiction.

You might even consider therapy in a group setting with family and loved ones, so they are part of the conversation from the beginning. Getting to the root of your addiction will be a confusing and emotional experience, but understanding your substance abuse is an important step in conquering it. Additionally, marriage and/or family counseling can help facilitate healthy conversations with your loved ones and pave the way for stronger relationships.

Cultivating Positivity

After opening yourself up, you need to immediately begin the process of introducing positivity back into your life. Though many times we wish it were true, positivity is not just a switch we can turn on and off. Positivity is shaped by our behavior and perception. Therefore, it takes action and the right mindset to begin to let positivity back in your life.

When wallpapering, both the wall and the paper need to be primed to allow one to stick to the other. Similarly, your mind needs to be ready to receive positivity. To do this, you need to forgive yourself for your past actions. Forgiveness is how we come to terms with who we were, and is essential to becoming who we want to be. If you aren’t able to forgive yourself, you won’t be able to accept the possibility of becoming a better person. Taking the steps to forgive yourself through meditation and introspection will help shape your mindset to accept the positivity you let into your life.

Shape new behaviors

Your addiction was the product of negative habits, which brought you down and resulted in a version of yourself that left you guilty and ashamed. Now that you have opened up about your addiction and have adopted the right mindset, you can start shaping new behaviors that reflect the person you want to be. These behaviors should be actions that promote self-care such as eating healthy, exercise, and getting plenty of rest. Living healthy will make you feel better and give you the energy to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

These behaviors should also help you build and maintain the valuable relationships in your life. Surrounding yourself with friends and family will be essential to your recovery. These people will be the ones who pick you up when you are down, and help keep your priorities in order. The effort you put into maintaining your friendships will steer you away from negative behaviors and keep you honest, compassionate, and appreciative—making you a better person overall.

The power of positivity

As you begin to adopt these behaviors, little by little you’ll notice that life is pretty good. This is the power of positivity. It doesn’t enter your life all at once, but is built by having the right attitude and making good decisions. Through positive living, you will begin to move further and further away from old addictions and the negative emotions that came with it.

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