Post by Farah M. Green, Body Activist + Certified Exercise Nutritionist
As a little girl, I watched the women in my family fight for their lives. Whether they were fighting heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, breast cancer, or recovering from a stroke, they were fighting for physical and mental well-being. As a result of witnessing their health challenges, I soon began to realize that health is not directly related to outer appearances but is deeply impacted by more internal factors. Every woman has the strength and power to overcome various health risks, but it all begins with evaluating two things: your body image and the state of your internal health. Whether you’re looking to gain more confidence and build more self-love, fit into your dream swimsuit, reverse diabetes or reduce consumption of medication, it all requires embracing self-love and mastering your internal wellness. You would be surprised how much of your happiness correlates with the status of your health.
When I was 22 years old, I noticed that my state of happiness and health was contingent upon the woman that I observed when looking in the mirror. I slowly began to understand that weight loss didn’t solve my insecurities nor did it determine my self-worth. While fighting a major depression associated with my body image, I had major breakdowns at work, cried myself to sleep and battled with suicidal thoughts. Despite fighting mental turmoil, I woke up every morning at 6 AM and hit the gym, hoping that I would lose weight – but I did not lose one single pound. You might ask yourself why this happened and I realized it was because I was stressed and unhappy. That’s when I decided to make a choice.
In order for me to embrace my body and master my health, I had to do the internal work. I could no longer allow my mind and body to continue to be engaged in battle. They both had to exist on one accord. But before they could be in full accord, I had to learn to love MYSELF throughout the process. I had to establish a self-love for my body and learn to implement a health and wellness plan that worked best for my lifestyle. I decided to remove the fad diets from my lifestyle and develop a champion mindset versus a weight loss mindset.
What’s the difference between the two?
Individuals with a weight loss mindset allow their weight to stifle them from living life. You might hear them say I’m not going to wear that dress until I lose weight, I’m not going to take my dream vacation until I lose weight, I’m not going to eat another piece of cake until I’m down 30 pounds and 6 inches around my waist.Individuals with this particular mindset never achieve their health goals because they are more focused on restriction rather than living.
On the other hand, individuals with a champion mindset know that they can accomplish or do anything they desire, despite the number that appears on the scale. You might hear them say - I’m going to compete in my first 5K race next month, so I have to start training and consume a balanced meal plan. I know I could lose a little weight but with this beautiful weather and cute swimsuit, my weight isn’t going to stop me from flaunting my curves today, even though I’m insecure about my stomach, I’m still going to wear my sports bra and high-waisted leggings to the gym.Their approach to practicing self-love and body positivity, while adopting a healthy lifestyle is different compared to a person that’s solely focused on weight loss. They refuse to allow their weight or size stop them from living life and feeling great about themselves. As previously mentioned, weight loss doesn’t solve insecurities nor does it determine your overall health status.
I knew that I wanted to become the best version of myself, so I began developing a champion mindset. Every morning, I woke up with a purpose. I was determined to pull myself out of depression and build more self-love by training for 5Ks and 10Ks in sunny California. To prepare for my monthly races, I started running 3 miles and boxing at least 3 times a week. On the days that I wasn’t running, I was boxing and if I wasn’t boxing, I was running. I began building endurance and because I felt good, I wanted to eat better. As a result, the weight started to melt and my body began to sculpt. My ultimate goal wasn’t to lose weight, my ultimate goal was to become a woman that I enjoyed looking at in the mirror.
As of today, I’ve competed in more than ten races and completed a half marathon. I’m now scheduled to compete in my first Spartan race this year that consists of running three miles and completing 20 obstacles. In order for me to embrace self-love and master my health, I had to focus on finding my why outside of weight loss. My whywas to compete in races to live a healthy lifestyle and build self-love. But today - my why is to compete in races to become the best mom, wife and leader of breaking generational curses of diseases among young girls and women around the globe. On the days that I’m discouraged and don’t feel like practicing healthy habits, I think about my why and change my mentality to a champion mindset. Find your whyoutside of weight loss and I promise you will live a more happy, healthy and fulfilled life.
I wrote a book called 12 Steps to Your Body of Gold. In the book, I share the 12-step process I used to embrace self-love and master my health. The process of embracing self-love and mastering your health to prevent various health challenges isn’t going to be easy, but it is well worth the risk to live a fulfilled life. With guidance from this book and using a separate journal to document your journey, thoughts, and feelings, you will begin to embrace every aspect of your body, take control of your health, and truly love the woman you see in the mirror. By the end of this book, my goal is for you to worry less about the number on the scale and simply learn how to live your life green. Welcome to the best part of your life!