Don’t Let Your Mind Bully Your Body: A Journey of Overcoming
Like Hunger games, except It’s YOU vs YOU
Adolescence can be a bear. Everything is new. You are learning how to be a young woman in a society that puts pressure on unrealistic expectations and quite frankly it’s exhausting, and for some even damaging. Insert those awkward developmental years. I struggled with self-image, lack of confidence, and misguided self-worth most of my life. I hated my body, I had zero self-confidence, and looking back now, I am realizing just how poor my mental health was. I was unhappy, unsure, unmotivated, and felt inadequate despite the people in my life that tried to show me otherwise. I was picked on most of my childhood. I was made fun of for being overweight, for looking like a boy, and for having hairy arms; I was even called Chewbacca on more than one occasion, not exactly what you want to be recognized as in high school when you are trying to impress anyone who will notice.
I had amazing friends, a family who loved the mess out of me, got good grades, and was an athlete, but none of that mattered to ME because I wasn’t happy with myself. If you don’t believe in yourself or love yourself, how can anyone else? That is the reality I lived for much of my life. A dark space, with no real sign of recovery or relief. It was a mental struggle and I was losing.
I hid my insecurities very well. Even in college, when I thought I would get a fresh start by meeting new people in a new environment, with new experiences, the game continued in my head. I continued to lose. It wasn’t long before all the fun and rejuvenation that I felt turned into more dark thoughts of self-doubt, comparison, and jealousy. Fear, anxiety, and insecurity RAN my life, and no one knew. How could I let this affect my new life? My new friends? They didn’t know THIS me, and I for damn sure wasn’t going to let them see the weakness that was my inner mean girl. This is when I learned to channel my insecurities to stress. I am a high-stress woman to begin with, so this was a way for me to have my “freak out” moments and still hide the truth of what was really wrong. I found an outlet in drinking, promiscuity, and becoming someone I thought everyone would love. Except I STILL didn’t love her.
I still struggle sometimes; I think it’s normal. The world we live in is so broken, and it’s hard to live above the brokenness 100% of the time. It can be quite exhausting. I mean we are still human and in the flesh we are imperfect. Don’t forget to give yourself grace. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I have been working on healing for over 6 years and I have only scratched the surface. Though I do not miss that girl from my past, I am so very blessed to have known her. There comes a time when you say to yourself, “enough is enough.” It might be with a career, a relationship, your health and fitness, or in my case with this insanely degrading voice in my head. The summer after I graduated college, I moved to North Carolina for my first teaching job. Something about the change of pace, scenery, and independence did a number on my perspective of life and what I wanted for myself. Maybe it was I didn’t have a choice? I had to be successful in a new place all on my own. Maybe it was the warm weather and the need to feel hot in a bikini (a total joke as my confidence was admittedly NOT on that level)? Or maybe it was because there was nothing better to do in my middle of nowhere podunk little town? All I know is that by the grace of God, something clicked. I found a new outlet. I found fitness. I found wellness. I found a way to channel my stress that was healthy and positive. It felt good and gave me satisfaction and a high that I had never felt before. I had always been an athlete, but this was different. Something hits differently when you do it for YOU rather than for someone else. I started working out and eating well because I wanted to lose weight. Once you start seeing positive change, it becomes addicting. The outward changes unexpectedly led to shifts in my mental and emotional health and people started to notice! I started with a physical journey, but I’m still here, in this space, living my transformation story because of a self-love journey.
Today, 6 years later, I can confidently say that I have yes, done the physical work to heal some of my internal body image issues, but I have also transformed my emotional and mental health in ways that I never would have imagined. I am sure that some of you have heard of Beachbody. Some may have a love-hate relationship, some may have a bad taste from MLM’s, I get it and I respect that. But what Beachbody has done for me, my life, and my relationship with God still blows me away.
Beachbody is marketed as fitness and nutrition, but it is so much more than that. I’ve completed 19 fitness programs, have lost over 50lbs, several times between my two pregnancy journeys, and living a life I never thought I would have. But what I am most grateful for is how Beachbody has blessed me. It has been helping to heal my heart, my mind, and my inner mean girl. It has become the vehicle that has driven holistic transformation in my life. The growth through personal development that I used to laugh and poke fun at; the mindset shift that I thought was only a front that people put on to make themselves look better; the genuine community of support and empowerment that some may snicker at and ridicule are things that continue to support my healing. Those are the things that encourage me to keep going. Those are the things that gave me the strength and courage to pick up my life twice and move to two different states on my own to chase my dreams.
Beachbody for me is more than just workouts and shakes, it’s a road to healing, recovery, and self-love. Beachbody empowers me and aids in my growth. God used Beachbody to bring my husband and me together, to plant me near the ocean where I’ve dreamt of being, and to connect me with mentors and guidance that has shaped the woman I am and quite frankly saved my life.
When I got pregnant with my first child, I felt the body image demons rear their ugly heads. I had worked so hard to finally be happy with where I was physically, and then here we were, going back in that toxic direction. THIS is where all the mindset work, heart work, and empowerment from years of cultivating myself paid off. God gave me the GRACE to work through these thoughts, the strength to overcome, and the peace to know what an enormous blessing bearing a child is. I prayed a lot, talked to Jesus a lot, and continued to heal my mental health through writing, reading, and sharing my journey.
4 years of healing my relationship with myself. 4 years of hard work, physical transformation, and mental health improvements, all seemingly a waste of time when the reality of pregnancy overwhelmed me with my changing body and then again when post-partum rocked me. It's debilitating when you do so much work to heal your wounds and something like postpartum depression comes in and rips it all back open with no remorse. Postpartum rocked me hard y’all, it took root in my life and the hardest part for me was that I never even saw it coming. I was aware that it was a thing, but I guess never really understood it until it beat me to the ground.
Postpartum depression took root in my life twice. After the first time, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t let it sneak up on me again, but the truth is, sometimes you just can’t avoid it. The devil is out to steal, kill and destroy any and all things that bring us joy and bring us closer to walking in our God-given purpose. Postpartum depression, in my opinion, is one of his most dangerous weapons. I struggled hard and it was a hell that I lived for months. My marriage, my self-worth, my ability to mother and walk in the calling of motherhood, and love for myself were threatened. It was defeating, knowing that I had worked through so much of this familiar feeling before, and now had to endure it again. Healing is a journey in and of itself. My experience with postpartum depression was just another chapter. I prayed, I worshiped, and I talked to Jesus A LOT. A few songs that helped bring me back into focus were “Overcomer” by Mandisa, and “Symphony” by Switch. I remember putting those on repeat, trying to drown out the devil’s voice and bring myself back to peace every single time I worked out.
Having gone through such trauma before was my weapon. I had overcome this once, and I was confident (after a while) that I could do it again. I had to shift my mindset again, re-learn to love my growing and changing body, remind myself that no matter what unrealistic expectations that I have placed on myself in any capacity as a woman and as a mother, I could do this!
And as before, the vehicle that propelled all of this into motion, that helped lift me from the ashes of self-defeat once again, was my continuous journey with health and wellness. I dove back into working out, eating healthy, and reading encouraging text that lifted me up and validated my need for self-re-discovery. I plugged into my community of empowering women that supported me, encouraged me, and gave me life. I focused on ME.
Living My Transformation
I am far from being completely healed, but I am in a headspace and a heart space that is 10000% better than I was growing up. It turns out that my body image struggle had a deeper root than that of just wanting to look a certain way. Unearthing years of self-inflicted trauma and criticism is a bear. It's hard work and it's not for the faint of heart. I have learned to shift my way of thinking and be proud of my body, instead of ashamed of it. Strength is my goal. Strength may look different in different seasons, but what stays the same is the confidence I have in knowing that I give myself grace, never give up, and keep fighting for ME. I continue to work out, read personal development and share my story in hopes that I can inspire and encourage at least one woman to keep fighting; to keep fighting for what she wants, for WHO she wants to be, and for WHERE she knows she is destined to go. I want to give hope to the mother who is tired, exhausted, and doubting her purpose. I want to give hope to the mother who has lost herself and is fearful that she may never find her way back again. I long to give hope to the woman who has struggled or is struggling with self-worth, love, and fear of inadequacy. God downloads passions, visions, and dreams in our hearts for a reason. Don’t discount that for yourself. Plugging into my wellness community has been one of the most life-changing actions that I have taken towards my healing. There is nothing like surrounding yourself with like-minded, empowering, encouraging women who are on a mission to fight for their own wellness and dreams.
Though this has only been a snapshot of my story, health and fitness have been the catalyst for change in my journey. I would love nothing more than for you to join me if you are looking for or in need of a shift in your life, healing, or a badass group of women that are just trying to survive this crazy world and are working on themselves one day at a time. Change can be scary. Healing is scary. You don’t have to do it alone. Remember that the devil is a liar and YOU are destined for extraordinary things. Take back your identity. Take back your worth. Take back what trauma, pain, devastation, and unkindness have taken from you. You are strong, you are capable, and you are beautiful. Speak kindly to yourself friend, the beginning is always rough, but the journey is spectacular!
I would love to share my wellness community, my team, and the tools that have brought me this far with you. If you would like more information on joining us and stepping into a world of holistic wellness, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. My email is Kenzie.email@example.com. I would love to connect on social media as well. You can find me at Kenzy Ann on Facebook and fit.teacher_kenz on Instagram.