After much research (reading of one article from Google Scholar) we have a well rounded, simple, one sentence, extremely clear definition of Positive Body Image (PBI). Truthfully, I love that there is research in this field and I am no PhD student (yet) so I’d like to summarise what I’ve learnt from the big guns and then give you my “lived-experience-no-quantitive-data” based opinion at the end.
My top tips for ensuring those you follow are mentally well. All you need is social media!
It’s been 2.5 years since I purchased the name, 2 years since I secured the website domain and 18 months since I launched "Core Confidence" in to the world.
I had two driving forces. Two reasons. My big why’s.
- Prevention: To teach and educate our youth about the life skills and evidence based strategies I wish I had known about BEFORE struggling with my mental illnesses.
- Community: To speak openly, sharing my experiences to create a sense of belonging and normalcy for those in recovery. I don’t want anyone else to feel the loneliness and isolation that I did whilst I was struggling with my eating disorder and working to overcome it.
It’s cliché but true - it has been an incredible journey both personally and professionally. In 18 months I: launched a website, ran multiple workshops alone, ran a few workshops collaboratively, ran workshops at school’s, spoke at school’s, spoke at a huge youth mental health forum, attended expo’s, received a partnership offer, declined a partnership offer, met and worked alongside amazing women and organisations, ran regular Teen Pilates classes, worked from home, worked from cafes, worked in bed, pitched in a 'shark tank like’ environment (highly recommend Bloom for any fellow start-ups), worked from Bloom, exceeded my goal for the amount of young people I wanted to impact in the first year, experienced incredible support, had many coffee aka chai “meetings”, overcame several mountainous doses of self doubt, had endless ideas, acted on very few, learnt a shit load yet still not nearly enough, cried more times than I can count, felt completely aligned with my purpose at every single workshop/event/speaking opportunity, never gave up.
There has been a few fleeting thoughts of “this is too hard”. But only one, more lengthy and recent, moment where I truly felt like I couldn’t continue. Where I considered moving on, disposing of my why’s, leaving them on the curb and waving goodbye.
You see - I’m not a business woman. But neither was *insert your inspirational-ultimate #goals-had a dream-kicked some butt-GirlBoss here*.
My downfall, like many before me, came in trying to do it all. Little secret - not possible. The breakthrough came after the breakdown (of course) as I realised I had been restricted by placing myself in the “Core Confidence” box. The messages were conflicting, therefore my marketing was all over the place; I was trying to speak to many different audiences in the same breath. No wonder we were all so confused and my brain was in tatters.
However, when your why - or your why’s in my case - are so deeply engrained in your values, your thoughts, your behaviours and your gut; you circle back around to that curb, pick them up, whisper your apologies and walk away cuddling them as close to your chest as you can.
Core Confidence is continuing as is. Although some tweaks are needed, it fulfils my first why. Our prevention programs in the form of Teen Pilates, School Holiday Workshops, and Youth Mentoring services are business as usual. The fork in the road aka new addition (which is slightly more terrifying because hello vulnerability) is that’ll I’ll be fulfilling my second why under "Sabine McKenzie". Telling my story, raising awareness, breaking down common misconceptions about eating disorders, advocating for early intervention, and telling those who are struggling that recovery is possible. I have very strong beliefs when it comes to the messages we are being sold in relation to body size, beauty ideals and their contribution to the prevalence of eating disorders and disordered eating in our community. With a health professional qualification in the form of my physiotherapy degree, I bring together my research, science based logic with my intuitive, lived experience realness to cut through the bull*. A new voice in “wellbeing". If you’d like to come along for the ride, you can follow this new journey (not business) on instagram - @sabine.mckenzie (previously @core_confidence_).
If you are a parent of a tween or teen: This is the right place for you! Visit this page for a detailed overview of our service offerings and resources. Stay social - we’re on Facebook (Facebook.com/coreconfidence.net) or feel free to email on email@example.com for any queries or questions.
If you are a business, organisation, NFP or school running workshops for 10-18 year olds: Pilates and mindfulness would be the perfect addition to your event! Encouraging the mind body connection and teaching self care is our speciality and we’d love to work with you. Please get in contact via email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a business, organisation, NFP or school looking for a speaker: I would love to hear from you. My speciality is sharing my lived experience of mental illness with a focus on recovery and the importance of connection. I abide by researched guidelines to ensure content is helpful, not harmful, and aimed specifically for your audience.
If you’ve read this far - thanks! I’m not even sure if people still read Blog’s…Podcast? YouTube? Anyone?? I digress. Every teen participant, booking, collaboration, event sponsorship, coffee meeting, message, comment, like, share, tag, email, conversation, hug, shoulder (for the tears) over the last 18 months have been greatly appreciated. More than you will probably ever know!
Let’s see what happens next….
It's a Perth first. A health and wellbeing expo. Created by a teen, for teens.
A slightly different advocate. Jess Williamson is the founder of successful Australian label, EteSwimwear. She Founded Ete Swimwear at just 22 and left her corporate job shortly after turning 24 to dive (pun intended) head first into accomplishing her goal of being CEO. What has a swimwear label got to do with self love and body positivity you ask? One word... #etelove. And, she's a Pilates fan! Win win ;)
A match perhaps, not made in heaven.
It's that time of the year here in Perth! School ball season can be a catalyst for anxiousness, poor body esteem and feelings of 'not being good enough' in many young people. Now, in 2018, we're not just comparing ourselves to others in our class or photo shopped models in a monthly magazine. We’re able to instantly compare ourselves to people's filtered, posed and edited highlight reels in different schools, states and countries! Bringing about a whole lotta extra pressure and insecurities.
At Core Confidence we love promoting and sharing the notion of "Self Love" (I mean, it's in our logo!) however we feel it's important to acknowledge and recognise the benefits of sometimes needing to shift the focus towards "Self Acceptance". For some young people, this may be one of those times. Instead of feeling bad, guilty or wrong about the fact that we don't love ourselves at this particular moment, let's give ourselves permission to instead embrace our insecurity. Because we all have them. We all have those moments of not feeling as amazing as we could in our own skin. And it's totally ok.
By focusing on the acceptance we are helping break the cycle of negative feelings. We free ourselves of feeling guilty, bad or wrong for not "loving" ourselves whole heartedly at that time. Because at the end of the day - as cheesy as it sounds - it's your kindness, your authenticity, your generosity that will truly be remembered and celebrated.
This moment of acceptance can also provide the pause required for a moment of gratitude. To remind ourselves of how fortunate we are to be able to treat ourselves, have this fun night with our friends and make these amazing memories of our final school year. We are the lucky ones.
So what can we do to support our young people on their journey of acceptance?? Let's be the example. Let's not pretend. Let's make it ok to have insecurities and doubts. Let's accept them and if we can, let's embrace them!
To make this fun we want to see a picture of you at your school ball (or formal dinner or graduation or your equivalent). Scroll through the old Facebook photos (or trawl through photo albums!) and share with us a picture of this milestone school event and caption it with an insecurity that you had at that time in your life as well as a quality you are proud of. Because it’s time to #embraceselfacceptance and know that #youaremorethanyourimage
1) Share a photo of you from your school ball or equivalent (bring on all the cringe!)
2) Caption it with an insecurity you had at the time (and if you like, how you learnt to accept or embrace it) AND an inner quality you are proud of
3) Hashtag #youaremorethanyourimage or #embraceselfacceptance whichever resonates with you (or both!)
4) Tag 3 friends whose school ball photos you want to see or tag a young person who needs to know he/she is not alone
Let’s be the change and make it okay.
One of the things I was most insecure about was my broad "swimmer" shoulders. I always turned to the side so that the photo wouldn't be a complete front on.
I am proud of my determination throughout this final school year. It was a toughie! And it's a quality I still carry with me. Thankful for every tough moment!!
See! Easy :) now it's your turn!
For anyone struggling with disordered eating or requiring formal guidance we support The Butterfly Foundation Hotline: 1800 33 4673.
New Years Resolution's that is.
In the past the only resolutions I ever remember making were along the lines of:
Do x amount of exercise
Stop eating x type of food
Eat more of x type of food
Be x dress size
Loose x amount of weight
The resolution was always about striving for some kind of perfection or ideal disguised as being “healthy”. They were all about routine, strictness, and inflexibility.
I mean, as a health professional I, of all people, should know:
Exercise prevents chronic disease, illness and is essential for mental wellness
Veggies are better for you than chocolate
It is recommended we get 7 - 8 hours sleep
We should be drinking 1.5-2L of fluid a day mainly consisting of water
My exercise routine fluctuates
I eat chocolate often (read: daily)
My sleep patterns can get a bit crazy
I often forget my water bottle at home and (don’t shoot me) sometimes drink the “bad” kind of fizzy drinks
The thing that gets me with resolutions is in my mind they promote a boom-bust approach (hello physio degree). I would start out with great intentions #boom. Then come the 13th of Jan (or the 3rd, you know that happened one year), I’ve snoozed my alarm, missed my gym class, have Nutella on toast for breakfast and have my first sip of water at 8pm. #bust
“Oh well - there goes the resolution.” Guess there’s always next year.
There are so many books and videos about readiness for change, the best way to set goals, the psychology behind forming habits and how best to stay accountable. I’m certainly not advocating for you to stop attempting to change unhealthy behaviours. But are most of your behaviours really that unhealthy? What is the pattern over time? What is the driving force behind wanting to change? And the biggie - is a strict, firm, hard New Year’s Resolution the best way for you to make that change?
I’ve decided no.
Don’t worry, I’m not a Grinch. I’m still totally buying into the excitement and possibilities the start of a New Year brings. So I’ve jumped on board the “choose a word” bandwagon.
In case you haven’t heard of this phenomenon - you can read more here and here - it promotes a similar notion of change or focus, but with flexibility, softness and forgiveness. I like to think of it as a whimsical intention rather than a destined-for-failure firmness of purpose.
As written in this CNN article trainer Shay Kostabi describes a similar concept as:
"Choosing just one word that describes how you want to feel instead of what you think you should do or accomplish in the New Year is really powerful," Kostabi said. "Once you've chosen your theme or your one word, say it out loud, write it down and make sure you really connect to it on a personal level."
I don't see there as being a right or wrong way of doing this. Have a play. Have a think. See what comes to mind, if anything. And hey if Resolutions work for you - go for it!
Oh, what's that you ask? What's my New Year's word? So kind of you to wonder.
We're going with: Presence.
I'll save the meaning and story behind that one for another time.
Happy New Year Peeps xx
"Don’t ever let somebody make you feel like you aren’t good enough or pretty enough. You don’t need to please anyone else but yourself"
When you write a letter to your younger self & provide a cheat sheet for the years ahead. Not that you'd change anything...just for a little bit of prep.
"BODY CONFIDENCE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR BODY"
Today I'm bringing you the second instalment of our interview-type blog series for Core Confidence: Insights from Advocates. I've asked body image and mental health advocates a few questions about their personal journeys.