I wasn’t always convinced of that. In fact, for most of my life, I believed it was a flat out lie.
Let me share with you a tale of two women:
This is me, on the left, in 2003. I’d just finished my first fitness competition in which I proudly placed 3rd. (I should’ve placed first just for learning how to walk in those silly heels!) Prior to that, I spent my years competing in other events — like dance, ballet, track & field, and powerlifting — and secretly soaking up praise for my performances. At first glance, what you see is a young woman who looks incredibly fit, confident and, must love her body – but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. I obsessed about my body and belittled my every move with demeaning thoughts that never seemed to grow quiet.
Even though this was the leanest I had ever been, at about 9% body fat, and managed a successful clientele, it wasn’t good enough. I was never enough.
I believed this competition would help me “arrive” at the perfection I knew would prove my worth. I was convinced that with this figure, all my problems and worries would vanish. How very wrong I was.
Happiness eluded me. Fear had its grip and drove me to medicate myself with punishing my body in every way possible. It was exhausting.
What that photo can’t show you is how weak I was, how much heartache I experienced, the terrible thoughts I tortured myself with, the serious illness I was creating, and how I constantly felt like I was letting everyone down.
Funny how we tend to think that just because someone looks a certain way their life must be so great.
It took hitting my own version of rock bottom and then years of climbing out, rather ungracefully at times, but gradually I learned how to heal my body, restore my spirit, renew my mind, and change my life.
I started to care about myself. I began to understand what it meant to eat for nourishment. Little by little, I started respecting my body, mind, and spirit. Until eventually I fell absolutely in love with myself in a way that was not even close to narcissistic, but rather breathed life into the loving, joyful, capable, generous person I am meant to be — someone free from obsession.
I began focusing on what my body could DO rather than how it looked, what size pants I wore, or how much I weighed. I got a coach who was my loving mirror — reflecting back to me exactly what I needed to see more clearly about myself in order to keep healing and keep growing.
And you know what? I eventually found peace. I started loving me for me and it gave me the ability to accelerate my gifts and passions in this world.
On the right is a picture of me with my cousin just a couple weeks ago at a family wedding. Once again, you see a woman whose body is fit and exudes confidence. But this time, she’s also fit, healthy, and confident on the inside.
While I definitely weigh more now, I have no idea what my body fat percentage is — nor do I care. This is a picture of a woman who loves life, who works to gracefully walk the talk, and cares about how she shows up in her work with others.
I routinely opt for a walk outdoors even when the plan was an intense weightroom workout — and the opposite is also true — because I listen to my body, respecting my energy and intuition so that I operate in harmony with myself and my health.
I love my work. I love my life. I love the journey that I am on. I’m not laser-focused on what I look like, but rather on how I treat myself and how I treat others. My value is immeasurable.
Best of all: I know I am enough.
One of the reasons I created the Transformation Challenge Series is to help men and women with whom my story resonates; who desperately want to break free from the white-knuckle grip of fear and shame that diet and exercise has brought them.
If you’re interested in transforming your life and your body from the inside out — for good — then I encourage you to join the team. You will never be the same.
Editor’s note: You can get on Missi’s priority wait list for the next upcoming challenge here.
In Love & Gratitude,