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Ep #181: Learning to Love Your Body

Be at home in your own life.

Get the ultimate blueprint to successfully balancing health, wealth, and the spaces you live in each day.

The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley | Learning to Love Your BodyTrigger warning: In this episode, I am covering topics such as food, exercise, weight loss, and body image. If you are triggered by body and weight talk, this episode may not be right for you.

I have to tell you, I am super content right now. I feel so joyful and satisfied and I am freer and happier than I have ever felt in my entire life. Sounds amazing right? I bet y’all are thinking “I’ll have what she’s having!” Well – you absolutely can have it, it’s all in the power of your thoughts.

For almost 40 years, my desire to change my body was a constant in my life. Those years were filled with so much negative self-talk and I was always focusing on the next diet. But in the past year or so, I have done a lot of work on my body image and self-love, and I have gained the most incredible amount of freedom as a result.

In this episode, I’m breaking down my journey with weight loss and learning to love my body, and the mindset changes I have implemented to get to where I am today. All bodies should be celebrated all of the time, so I’m showing you why we need to stop thinking it’s OK to judge our own and other people’s bodies and teaching you how to learn to love your body whatever that looks like for you right now.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why you are so much more than your body.
  • How to stop judging people’s worthiness based on their size.
  • Why we have no right to pass judgment on anybody else’s body.
  • The importance of loving your body as it is right now.
  • How liberating it is to love your body.
  • What this new body and food appreciation look like for me in my day-to-day life.
  • How to stop making your body size mean something about you as a person.

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Full Episode Transcript:

 

You are listening to the Design You podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 181.

Welcome to the Design You podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy, here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hello beautiful friends, how are you? I’m so good. I am so good. This is episode number 181. That kind of blows my freaking mind, it really does. For almost four years I have been bringing you a podcast episode every single week. We’ve never missed a week. We’ve never re-run, not that there’s anything wrong with it but we’ve never re-run shows. We might in the future, but not to date. I have been here every week for almost four years. And that’s really fun and exciting, and I thank you so much for showing up here too.

Okay, so I have to tell you, I’m super content right now, so content, so satisfied, so joyful, so free. It sounds amazing. Sort of like that, I’ll have what she’s having. Do you want to have what I’m having? Do you want to feel that way too? You probably do. You probably want to feel those things. And guess what? You absolutely can. It’s all within the power of your thoughts.

Now, let me say before we get into this episode, and I tell you part of why I’m so all of those things. This episode is about bodies, and in particular my body. And so, if you are triggered by body and weight talk, if you have struggled with eating disorders or other mental health challenges associated with your body, this episode may not be right for you. So, I just want you to know. And I want you to be sure to take care of yourself and your mental health. And if this one isn’t right for you, then I’ll see you on a future episode.

Okay, so in this episode I’m going to tell you the root of my feelings of joy and freedom and break it all down for you. And in fact, we’re going to cover freedom in a couple of episodes. So, in a couple of weeks or so I’m going to come back and talk to you about a whole new found sense of freedom that I have in general. But for today, I want to talk to you specifically about freedom with regards to our bodies, or more specifically, my freedom with my body.

So, a lot of you that have followed me for years, you’ve heard me talk about my body, and my weight, and my desire to change it. I mean I’ve literally been all over the map with this so many times. And let’s just be honest, my desire to change it was kind of happening all the time, not just occasionally. So, no matter if I was fitting into my skinny jeans or not fitting into anything at all in my entire closet, either way, I was never really happy with my body and always feeling pressure to change it and the suffering that came with that desire.

I spent so much time and energy thinking about dieting, not dieting, what foods I could have and should have or wanted to have. And that has been going on since I was about 10 years old. I remember being in the fourth grade and thinking I needed to lose weight. Of course, I didn’t need to, but I thought I needed to. So that has been almost 40 years of confusion, and anger, and negative self-talk, and getting hyped up for the next latest diet, or plan, or diet disguised as a lifestyle change. Because it was for sure always going to be the thing that finally fixed my weight problem.

And I say problem because I believed it was a problem. All of these mental gymnastics robbed me of freedom for literally 40 years. That’s right. I’ll be 50 in about five months or so and I have been wrangling with this for as long as I can remember. So last October during the pandemic lockdown, you know the part where we couldn’t go anywhere? I decided to give up this whole narrative about changing my body, and weight loss, and healthy lifestyle, and anything else that is actually diet culture and diet thinking that we disguise in some way and make it sound all pretty and commonsensical by calling it health or a lifestyle.

I was so tired of the narrative. And I was tired of our patriarchal culture telling women we should be small, and for sure smaller than we are, and that we should constantly shrink our bodies. And that thin bodies are good bodies, and anything else is not. And that we have an obesity epidemic, and that weight and health are the same thing. I was tired of the messaging, both overt and subconscious that I’ve been receiving my entire life from the world, and from family, that we should control our bodies, and we should be disciplined, and we should deny our hunger and our desires.

That we should not trust our bodies or our appetites. That we shouldn’t have cravings. That only people, and experts, and doctors, and books, and fitness, and health gurus, and other external sources, things outside of me, only those know what’s right for my body, but I certainly don’t. And we and our bodies, the brilliant and miraculous beings that they are, we absolutely cannot be trusted. I was so tired of looking outside myself for who knows the answers.

What I should eat, and how much I should eat, and when I should be hungry, and when I should not be hungry, and what foods are good, and which foods are bad. And how much I should exercise, and what type of exercise that should be, and for how long, and how often. And I was really done believing that any diversion from all the confusing and contradictory one size fits all plans that were out there. Any diversion from those, definitely means that I’m doing wrong and that I’m failing. So done with that.

And I will say that I did believe all the gurus, and all those sources, and all those books, and all the contradictory stuff for years. Truly, I believed it, just about all of it. And I believed for years the lie that I was able to be successful in every single area of my life except my weight. That was the one place that I believed I was a failure, which seemed so true. And I can find so much evidence in the world to back that up. Of course, I could. But it was bullshit. It was all bullshit.

And in October of last year, I decided to stop. Just stop. Stop all of it. I stopped the hours of thinking, and worrying, and trying, and feeling like a failure, and judging myself. I decided to open the door to the invisible jail cell where I had been living for so many years with the unrealistic expectations and patriarchal messaging that had imprisoned my thoughts, and ultimately me for so long. And I just opened that imaginary door and I walked right out. And somehow it was a whole lot easier than I had imagined it would be.

I started the process of unlearning diet culture by picking up the book, Intuitive Eating, fourth edition. I’d heard about it for years but never read it. And I decided to read it and read every word. Now, some of you may have heard Evelyn Tribole, the author of this book on my podcast here last March. And if not, for sure go listen to that episode. I was just about six months or so into the journey at that time.

But I started with her book that was super heady, and intellectual, and scientific, and not an easy read at all. But I read every word, and I studied it, and I underlined it, and I worked it like the textbook that it is. And things started to change. I started to change. And next I read the amazing book called The F*ck It Diet, by Caroline Dooner, you all, I highly recommend. And follow her on Instagram, by the way too. But this book is not a diet at all but rather a resistance to all that is diet culture. I cannot say enough about this book. It is funny as hell, but it’s so, so true.

And then I read Sabrina Strings’ brilliant book, also not an easy read, but brilliant book, Fearing the Black Body. And I learned that the entire diet culture and patriarchal expectations for our bodies really started for white women to differentiate from women of color. You all, the entire diet culture and fat phobia is a racist concept rooted in the supremacy of white bodies, in particular white women’s bodies.

And in her book Sabrina talks and gives so much research and data about how fat phobia was created by religious and cultural institutions to degrade Black woman and discipline white women. Or as me, my soul said, diet culture and fat phobia is designed to keep Black women oppressed and white women in line. Let that sink in for a moment.

Next after reading, Fearing the Black Body, then I worked through The Intuitive Eating Workbook. It’s a companion to Evelyn’s book, Intuitive Eating. And it took me probably six to eight weeks to really do the work in the workbook, which I highly recommend. Because after having read her book, I think it was this workbook that really helped me understand and solidify these concepts and my understanding. And that’s when I began to do deeper and deeper work on dismantling diet culture and fat phobia in my mind and in my life.

Through this work, my eyes were opened to the ridiculous ‘science’ that has been used to prop up fat phobia in the world, including the BMI and the medical profession in general. You all, it is out of control. I started noticing the lack of boundaries that we all have as a society around bodies. And how we feel entitled to comment and talk about other people’s bodies. And objectify other people’s bodies and our own. I learned that we need to stop. We need to stop freaking commenting on other people’s bodies, period, not larger bodies, not smaller bodies, none of them.

We have no idea why bodies are the way they are. We make all sorts of assumptions about larger bodies, that they’re unhealthy, that they’re lazy, that they eat too much, that they are undisciplined, that they just need to eat less and exercise more. And we have no idea if any of that’s true or what the circumstances are around that body. And even the fact that we think somebody else’s body should change at all is so problematic.

But the same is true with smaller, thinner bodies. We have zero idea why they are the way they are. We don’t know if it’s genetics, or an eating disorder, or mental health issues. Are they grieving? Do they have a chronic disease? Do they have cancer or something else catastrophic going on? Do they have orthorexia? Which is a condition of being obsessed around food, health and exercise. We have no idea if the people that we’re judging, if they’re large or small are even happy in the bodies that they’re in.

We assume the smaller bodies are probably happier than the larger bodies.  And many times, that’s not the case at all. So, can we please stop commenting on anyone’s body, anyone at all and make that habit completely off limits? It’s just not okay. And what message does it send to people in larger bodies when we are constantly praising smaller bodies? I’ll tell you, it sends the message that the larger ones aren’t as good or as worthy.

What I also noticed was just how much we glorify weight loss. We post about it when we lose weight. I have done that so many times with my own body. Heck, I was in a magazine locally probably 10 years ago on the cover about my weight loss. I was truly perpetuating this very problem in so many ways. And I thought I was doing the right thing. But the sad part is that weight loss in particular, the one that got me on that cover, it was from doing the HCG diet where I gave myself shots in my stomach of the HCG hormone and I ate 500 calories a day for 40 days.

What in the actual hell was I thinking? And I think I did more than one round of it. Of course, I freaking lost weight when I starved myself and gave myself shots in the stomach of some weird hormone. And my daughter was watching. The thought of that now absolutely horrifies me. We praise people for shrinking their bodies, not mentioning that they also may be starving themselves like I was to do so. And we act like the biggest accomplishment that we can possibly imagine for human beings, it’s the most impressive thing that a human can do is lose weight.

And don’t get me wrong, I did it for years. I glorified this for years. If I lost weight, you were for sure going to know about it. And if I was struggling with losing weight, you were going to hear about that too. But I talked so much more about the losing weight so I could get that external validation, that patriarchal stroking, that cultural approval for the good girl I had been in controlling myself so I could hit a societal expectation.

It literally makes me sick to think about that now because even in those moments, the thin moments when I had lost the weight, I wasn’t fully accepting of myself internally. But I was proving to the world, or my family, or my followers that I was winning, you all, I was ‘winning’. But I was simultaneously doing harm to others by sending the message that thin is worthy, thin is valuable, and everything else is not. And why did then in those moments so often not feel like winning but like I was losing? When I was ‘thin’, I certainly didn’t ever feel free, not in any of those moments.

In fact, when I was my thinnest in recent years I was less free than ever because then I had to try and maintain that size. Lest I feel like a failure with the embarrassment of having the world watch my body get bigger again, watch it change yet again.

Doing this work in the past year or so on my body image and self-love has really helped me see how obsessed we are as a society, a nation, in the US especially with diet culture and the diet industry. Not to mention that it’s also all about capitalism because the diet industry is a multibillion dollar a year industry. It always comes back to money, doesn’t it? It always does. It’s really not funny. I don’t know why I’m laughing. I think it’s just like, I don’t know, ridiculous. But it’s always about money.

And when I stopped restricting and controlling myself but just listened to the world around me. I wasn’t thinking these thoughts internally anymore so I had space to hear what everybody else was saying, my friends, my family, Instagram. Literally everywhere I looked I was suddenly so aware of all the diet and weight loss talk. So much about calories, and getting in shape, and getting back on the wagon, and needing to lose the COVID-19, and how we had let ourselves go.

And all the different diets everywhere were talking about all the diets, especially keto, and Whole30, and intermittent fasting. My God, it’s everywhere all the time, you can hardly get away from it. Yet we even tried to say that so many of those things like intermittent fasting is not even a diet. It’s not a diet, you all, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a diet. And there’s so much talk about gosh, how I don’t need to eat supper because I was bad today or last night, because I had wine, or ice-cream or carbs that ‘#aren’tonmydiet.’

It was constantly everywhere I looked. It is constantly, it didn’t go away/ I just started noticing it though because I wasn’t thinking this myself anymore. So, I looked around, and literally you can fill in the blank with whatever bullshit diet rule we were all believing. That made a certain food bad or a whole food group bad for that matter. And how we needed to repent and be punished for our behavior.

You all, this is what we’re thinking 24/7. It literally feels like all everyone is talking about all the time. Which made me realize that I used to talk about it that much too. For 35 or 40 years I had literally spent hours and hours a day thinking about food, and my weight, and my body, and often talking about it to others. There was so much thinking and talking about what can I have, what can I not have, what shouldn’t I have. What I had but shouldn’t have had. What I’m going to eat for breakfast, and lunch, and dinners, and snacks.

What I’m going to do to try not to eat stuff that I want to eat, even when I’m hungry because I shouldn’t be hungry yet. Or at least I shouldn’t be hungry this late at night, or this early in the morning, or for that particular food. There was all the other talk too about what I was going to try to do to avoid a craving and not give into something, unless I did let myself eat something, but definitely not the thing I was actually craving, but something else that was ‘better for me’.

Instead of just listening to my body and trusting in honoring that what my body wants is what it needs. But I wouldn’t do that, I wouldn’t trust that. I wouldn’t believe that because I believed I shouldn’t want that food, that thing that will make me fat because fat is not acceptable. And you all, it went on, and on, and on. And when I thought this stuff, it consumed me. And when I stopped thinking it, it blew my mind how it was all the world was talking about. It was freaking exhausting to me. And if you know what I’m talking about, it’s freaking exhausting to you too.

But,10 months ago I gave it all up, completely. It’s been 10 months since I stopped dieting, maybe longer since I stopped dieting, but 10 months since I stopped believing I should be dieting. And yeah, my body is bigger than it used to be. And it’s probably bigger than a lot of the world would like it to be. Yet I am freer and happier than I have been in a long time, maybe my entire life and it shows.

The world doesn’t want me to be this size, yet people can’t stop telling me when they see me or my photos or videos how I’m glowing and radiant, and how happy I look, and how free and joyful I look. It shows. But ‘the world’ culture tells me I should hate my body and myself right now. The world tells me that the way I look at this moment is not attractive. And that my body, the way it is makes other people uncomfortable because it’s not small enough. And the world tells me I should change my body but I’m saying screw that. Screw that.

I won’t pretend those old narratives don’t still come up for me sometimes. And some weeks they come up a lot. Hell, I have practiced them for almost 40 years so the thoughts don’t completely stop in 10 months. But here’s the thing when they do come up now and I think those thoughts I don’t believe them anymore. I know that weight and health are two entirely different things now. I know what foods feel good in my body, the sugar and carbs that I now regularly eat but used to fear. I was so afraid of them.

I know exactly how much moving my body and what kind of movement is right for me now and I know how to rest. I also know that the BMI was created by an astrologer 200 years ago. And that it was never intended to be used to assess individuals but it has been used, not only to assess individuals. It has been weaponized against us and has been used to support eugenics to discriminate against Black and brown bodies more than other bodies because it doesn’t consider a whole lot of important factors including cultural and gender differences.

And if you don’t know what eugenic is, it’s a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of the human population, you. And it’s been historically done by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior and by promoting those who are judged to be superior. So yes, the BMI has been used to support eugenics which is horrifying and racist. Yet we’ve believed it as a solid and important measure of our health, and ultimately our worthiness.

Here’s what else I know now. I know that the average woman is a size 14 to 16 but that most clothing lines stop at a size 12. What in the actual hell? Most bodies are a 14 to 16 but we’re going to make almost all the clothes so you can’t fit in them because you absolutely should not be that size. I know that the messages we get over and over and that our children receive, especially our female children is the exact same, shrink your body, be smaller, control yourself, don’t be hungry, don’t have desires. And for sure, don’t give in to those desires.

Thankfully my 16 year old daughter is way wiser than me. She’s way wiser than me. I think she has been since birth. And she got this way sooner than me. She was really already calling BS on all this diet culture a long time ago. And she has been 100% herself and loving her body the way that it is for way longer than me. You all, she is my greatest teacher, I think she truly is.

So, what does this new body appreciation and food freedom look like for me now in my everyday life? Well, I eat and drink what I want when I want it, I do. And it doesn’t look like what you think. We think when we can eat anything we want when we want it that we would just go crazy. And that’s not been my experience. I often now don’t eat things that hurt my body physically because I have so much awareness around food now. And this is not for weight loss at all, but because I don’t feel good when I eat certain foods, my stomach hurts or my joints hurt when I eat certain foods.

And so, a lot of times I don’t eat those anymore but sometimes I still do. Sometimes I choose to. I choose to eat them when it’s easier, if we’re in a hurry, or we’re on vacation, or someone else is cooking something yummy, or sometimes just because I want to, because my body says that’s what it wants. But I do know making that choice may make me hurt. And so, I have awareness around that now in a different way. But it is not at all associated with what makes me thin.

I do have a much more keen awareness of all the foods, and beverages, and things that I put in my body now and how they feel. And I’m really trusting my body and I believe that it knows what’s right. And guess what? Our bodies are miraculous machines. They know what we need. They know how to detox on their own.

The diet industry would tell us that we need a juice cleanse to detox or some supplements but guess what? Our bodies already have that under control, but we were taught not to believe that so then we could buy all the stuff to cleanse a body that already knows how to cleanse itself. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love some green juice. I drink it a lot but not as a cleanse or on some ridiculous low cal diet for a week. But because I just think freshly made green juice tastes amazing. And I feel so good when I drink it.

I also move my body now in a way that feels best to me. I stopped listening to what the world told me I needed to do to move my body, and how often, and what kind of movement. I stopped listening to that. And I even stopped going to the gym for a while, six or eight months. But I didn’t like the way I felt when I didn’t go to the gym because I found that I sat around a lot. And it’s not just that the world’s telling me that sitting is the new smoking because I don’t listen to that stuff anymore. It was me listening to myself.

And when I sit too much I don’t have the energy level that I want. And so, when I’m not going to the gym I don’t feel as vibrant and alive as I would like to. So, I decided to go back recently to the gym. But I went back in a whole different way. I told my trainer, “I want to come back.” And she agreed. But I told her that I’m coming back on these terms. I’m not getting on a meal plan or a diet. I’m not weighing in or measuring. And I’m not there to lose weight. If that happens, if I lose weight then it happens, bodies change. Sometimes they lose weight, sometimes they gain weight.

But I told her I’m here to move, and to sweat, and to get stronger but I will not buy into diet culture, and weighing, and weight stigma and all the things that go along with that. So, I go to the gym now three times a week, love it, feels good. I also love walking a lot. I walk in my neighborhood, especially I love being outside when it’s not 10,000 degrees in Arkansas. So, when I can I’m walking outside.

But you know, there are days when I literally just don’t do anything but lay around because my body says it wants to lay around, that’s what it needs. It needs rest. And so, I lay around. And I also sleep in way later than I used to think was acceptable because the world told me I had to get up early, rise and shine, 5:30am and have a morning routine. And I’m going to talk more about that in the upcoming episode where I talk more about kind of the general approach I have to be more free in my life. But I sleep in way later. And I had to do a lot of mindset work around that too.

What else do I do? Well, Sundays I do restorative, or yen yoga, which is my favorite kind of yoga. It’s super relaxing and it doesn’t work up a sweat at all. And I’m totally good with that, it is unbelievable. It’s the type of yoga that basically feels like you’re in savasana the whole time. And it’s 100% luxurious and nurturing. And a lot of days that’s exactly what I need.

And you know what? I sold my Peloton. You may have heard me talk about this back around Christmas but I sold my Peloton because I had a whole narrative around it. And how I should be on it. And I was seeing all these other people on theirs and loving theirs and making me feel like I was a loser and a failure for not getting on mine. But I hated it. But I kept believing I needed to be riding it so I just got rid of it. I sold it, it’s out of here. And that felt so good.

I also got rid of all the scales in my house. I no longer weigh. I have weighed for years. I’ve done all the different types of weighing, every day, once a week, once a month. I stopped all of it, got rid of all the scales. I don’t weigh at all. I don’t even weigh at the doctor anymore. And that feels crazy and reckless but it also feels free. It feels truly so free. And it’s a choice that I get to make you all.

It’s so weird to go into the doctor’s office and when they tell you to get on the scale you say, “No thanks.” I’m not willing to do that. I didn’t even know that was a thing, you all, I didn’t know it was an option but it is. It’s my freaking body and I’m the one who made the appointment. And I do not have to step on the scale if I don’t want to.

Here’s the thing, so many people don’t go to the doctor when they need to and they ignore major warnings and symptoms because of the stigma that comes from weighing at the doctor’s office. And the shame that they feel and the way they’re shamed by the medical profession. So, I just don’t weigh. And I have been so surprised about how liberating not getting on a scale has been. It’s actually made me more focused on my health than less focused because I’m not focused on a weight.

But I’m focused on how I’m showing up, how I’m sleeping, how I’m resting, if I’m moving my body, if I’m feeding my body what it wants. And it is crazy how it’s actually been really helpful, not weighing or having any story around my weight in the day-to-day life frees up all the negative stories that looking at that number would bring up for me. And it gives me more time to really focus on feeling my best. And I also don’t have a list anymore of what I can and cannot eat.

Seriously, for years, depending on what diet I was on at any given moment before we could even decide what was for any meal, in particular, supper when my family was typically all eating together, especially if we were eating out. My family, my daughter and my husband would say, “Mommy, what can you have this week?” Seriously, we would be having a conversation you all, and they’re thinking about what they want and they would look at me and say, “Mommy, what can you have this week? What can you have?”

But for so long I taught them that there was a whole bunch of stuff I couldn’t have. It was always something like no Mexican, no, we can’t have that. And pizza sounds good, but no, I can’t have that, definitely no Chinese food, I can’t have that. Good Lord, I missed out on so much fun and just being relaxed and joyful. And I sent so many crazy messages to my daughter about diet thinking and diet culture all based on some rules I had and was inflicting on myself, and ultimately inflicting on my family because they had to choose what they were going to eat based on what I could have.

That’s just gross and I did it for so long. And you all, “Mommy, what can you have”, is not a freaking question that is uttered in my life anymore because mommy can have whatever the hell mommy wants because mommy isn’t on some stupid fad diet all in an effort to fit the ideal of what the world tells me I should be. I feel so absolutely unbelievably free.

And part of that freedom is because I’ve also done a ton of thought work and coaching, self-coaching and getting coached about what other people think of me. And what other people think of my body, or my dad, or my brother, or my mom, or my husband think I’m fat, or my friends, or clients, or social media followers think I’m fat. You know what? Maybe they will, maybe they do. And I’m okay, 100% okay with that now. I didn’t used to be okay with that. But I am so okay with that now because I worked on it.

And I know without a doubt that I am so much more than my body and so are you. But my body is also amazing exactly the way it is. And I’m so grateful for it because it keeps me alive every freaking day. So, you may think I’m fat but that’s on you. I want us to really think about how we can stop judging bodies worthiness based on their size. And start seeing all of the human being, 100% of them, 360 degrees of them in all their glory because humans are amazing.

You all, I diversified my social media feed 10 months ago when I started this work. And I regularly now, and I mean regularly as in multiple times a day watch stories and reels of all sizes of bodies, including very large bodies, and disabled bodies, bodies with different abilities than me, things that I didn’t want to look at before. Things that I’m embarrassed to say would make me cringe, or make me uncomfortable, or make me feel sorry for someone else. I look at those bodies all the time now every day.

And it is amazing how this has literally rewired my brain around what I judge to be beautiful, and acceptable, and worthy. It’s mindboggling how I look at all bodies now with so much awe and so much appreciation.

You all, I just had an incredible photoshoot a couple of weeks ago or so. And you may have seen some of my posts about it, if not I’m trying to be a good girl and get those highlights saved for you on Instagram so you can go back and see them. So, as you’re listening to this maybe I got them up and maybe they’re under a highlight called something like behind the scenes or a photoshoot or something, if not, DM me and remind me to put those up.

But it was so fun, for the very first time in my adult life and business career I planned a photoshoot that I was spending tens of thousands of dollars on literally, a lot of money. And I’m not saying that to brag. I’m saying that to show you what I’m about to tell you, how miraculous this is. But I was spending tens of thousand dollars on this shoot and I did not do a single thing prior to the shoot to try to lose weight. I didn’t plan to lose weight. I didn’t plan to do some major photoshopping of all the images to shrink my body by 20 pounds, I did not.

But instead, I showed up completely differently. I absolutely indulged completely in loving and taking care of my body in the exact size that it is right now. I hired a wardrobe stylist, which I’ve never done before. I indulged in a ton of beautiful clothes, all in a bigger size than I would have typically thought was acceptable.

And now I’m just totally neutral about that clothing size or any clothing size. When I see it or think about a clothing size I just think that it’s a number. And I don’t make it mean anything except that I have a body and that’s the number that fits on this body comfortably so that’s the size I buy. I also hired a hair and makeup person for the shoot which I’ve never done before, I don’t know why not. But I used to do those myself. So that was a total luxury.

And I brought in a new photography and video team from Atlanta because my photographer that I’ve loved and worked with for so many years, recently retired. So, I flew in this new team, it was amazing by the way. And I flew in my own team, what we call team Tobi, the five amazing women who work for me full-time. I flew them in, they live all over the country. And I flew in, I think six or so of our Design You clients, our Design You members.

And my team and those clients were all here and we all have bodies that are all different shapes and all different sizes, and all different colors and all different genders. And we celebrated the heck out of all of us. And we took the most fun pictures ever. And we danced the whole time, even during the shoot. And we sang, and we clapped, and we high fived, and we laughed our hearts out. And I think that this honestly may have been the most fun that I have ever had in my entire adult life. Talk about freedom.

I cannot wait for you to see all the pictures. I just got the link to see the proofs. And I can’t wait for you to see the pictures and the videos as they roll out over the next several months and when my new website comes out later this year, or probably realistically at the first of next year. I cannot wait for you to see them and to see my body exactly the way it is, but beautiful and styled with hair and makeup. And how we’re laughing and enjoying the hell out of ourselves because I decided to believe that all bodies are good bodies and all bodies are worthy.

And bodies change, and grow, and shrink, and age, and do all sorts of things that bodies do but they are all amazing. And they house us and our unique souls, and spirits, and personalities. And they should all be freaking celebrated all of the time. They should all, hear me on this, they should all be freaking celebrated all of the time. And they should all be free, truly free. And we should be grateful for the exact bodies that we have right now, you all. It’s the only one we’ve got right now.

And we can practice doing that, especially in the moments that those old thought patterns and diet mentality creep in, it just takes practice, that’s all. Letting go of diet mentality has been good for so many things, including my business in many, many ways.

When I had my friend Susan Hyatt on the podcast a few months back, and again if you haven’t listened to that episode, when you head back to listen to the one with Evelyn Tribole, please also listen to the one with Susan Hyatt. Because one of the things she said on that episode absolutely blew my mind. She said, “If you are trying to shrink your body then you’re leaving money on the table in business.” Wait, what? Let me say it again. If you are trying to shrink your body you’re leaving money on the table.

Meaning if you were spending all that time worrying about your body and what you’re eating, and how you look, and all the mental gymnastics that we go through, that you could be spending on your business instead. Then you are absolutely holding yourself back from what’s possible. And you’re leaving money on the table. And now that I just had our biggest launch ever of The Design You program, I think she’s right. Giving up the mental gymnastics about food, and weight, and body has given me back hours, and I mean hours in my days, every single day I get back hours.

And I’m making the most of that time. We always say we never have enough time and we need more. And one sure fire way to get more time is stop wasting it in diet mentality, it’s magic, instant hours back in your life, friends, right now today.

The moral of this entire story, this entire podcast is that I have been searching for freedom for a long time, literally 40 years. And I thought that freedom was in finally wrangling my body to get small enough and stay there. I thought that finally achieving thin for good would be the freedom I was looking for and it would feel like freedom every single day when I put on fabulous clothes on that small, and beautiful, and perfect little body, that fit the world’s idea of health and beauty. But I had it all wrong. That was not freedom for me.

And who knew I could put beautiful clothes on any version of my body and think it’s exactly perfect as it is and feel true freedom right now. This is not bashing smaller bodies, you all, don’t get me wrong about that. It was never about the size of my body, big or small. It was how I was thinking about all of it.

And my body may get smaller again in the future, or it may get bigger, or maybe some of both, because bodies change. But I no longer make that mean anything about me or how worthy I am as a person. And I no longer diet or try to make my body smaller on purpose. And that feels like the ultimate freedom for me.

So, I’ll leave you with this. This is my journey. It’s what’s true and right for me. You have to figure out what’s true and right for you. But I do think that if you’re trying to manipulate and control yourself in a way that feels restrictive and the opposite of free then you may want to rethink things. There is a whole world of other possibilities available to you right now. That’s what I have for you today, friends, that’s it.

But I’ll see you back here next week, I think I have a guest next week. And then soon after that, maybe the week after we’re going to talk more about freedom again. And the other ways I’m feeling freedom in my life and how you can create that kind of freedom in your life too. Okay, that’s it, I’ll see you next week, friends. Bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to the Design You podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So, join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at TobiFairley.com.

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