When you hate the gym – this one change can change everything

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I hate the gym.

I’d never even stepped into a gym until after I’d had my first baby as thought that was my only choice.

I grew up dancing.

And as a dancer, I learned to hide my pain. No matter how much my lungs burned, my legs shook, my toes bled – my face reflected pure joy. And that was perfectly okay!

Because I loved to dance more that I hated the pain to dance.

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But for some reason I got older and stopped dancing. I started fashion school, began a business, got married, had four babies, paid for gym memberships.

Sometimes I went. {Wink}

But for all those years – the very thought of going to the gym gave me miserable pictures of people with horribly sweaty, grimacing faces. People looking like they were literally going to die. Feeling like I was literally going to die! Eeew! And that was before I’d even got there!

The thing is: I hated the gym! Hated every painful, miserable moment of it! But more than anything…

I hated the way it made me feel!

Because I felt like I was never going to be enough.

Never going to be good enough, strong enough, skinny enough…

The gym was never fun or enjoyable. It didn't make me feel strong or feminine or alive – it made me feel bad. Ashamed. Guilty. It made me feel like I was a little girl being punished for the the piece of white bread she’d had that day. Or the slice of margherita pizza. Or the sneaky scoop {or two} of Nutella.

I went to the gym because I felt like I had to go to the gym, not because I wanted to.

Then I watched a documentary called Embrace, by body image activist Taryn Brumfitt. She’s the Australian mother of three who posted the upside-down before and after image of herself on social media in 2013. The film follows her journey from body loather to body lover.

I found one of her quotes particularly striking. She said, “I chose to do something radical – I chose to embrace my body… I chose to move my body for pleasure, not punishment… I chose… radical self-love.”

It inspired me to make the same choice.

Because her words made me realise that the only reason I went to the gym was because that’s what the media told me I was supposed to do. That the gym was the way to change my body to look the way they told me I was supposed to look.

I hated my body because of it.

The gym was my punishment.

But the best bit of all was realising that there was something I wanted even more than the perfect body –

I wanted to be happy far more that I wanted to be skinny!

So that's what I chose.

I chose happy.

Because health isn’t only physical.

It’s mental.

It’s emotional.

It’s spiritual.

I decided to move my body for pleasure rather than punishment? But how?

The questions reminded me of an old photograph my mama had sitting on top of a dresser in her bedroom. I'm a red-lipped teenager, beaming wild with happiness. I was in-between two of my best friends, and we were about to step on stage for our first real showgirl performance. We were all neon light. With feathers bursting from our heads and our behinds, glittery brassieres, and five inch heels in fishnet stockings.

When I danced – it was only ever about joy!

So, that’s what I decided.

I quit the gym.

I also signed up for adult showgirl classes at my local adult dance studio.

When I look into the mirrors of that studio – my body doesn't look the way it did when I was covered from head-to-toe in sequins and feathers. It doesn’t move or bend in the same way either. My belly still wobbles, my thighs still jiggle, my spins are horrible, and my fan kicks are embarrassing.

But honestly? I don’t care!

When I dance I feel beautiful, I feel valuable, I feel powerful. And I feel free.

We are told every day in a million-and-one ways, that who we are and how we look as a women is never going to be enough.

It’s a soul crushing lie!

Don't you believe the same too?

What could radical self-love look like for you?

What would it look like for you to turn your back on the media, the magazines, the men, that tell you who you should be, and how you should look?

What would it look like for you to move your body in a way that makes you feel happy, joyful and alive?

Are you getting some ideas flowin’? Well let me give you some more…

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The thing is – there is something magical about making the choice to love your body the way it is right now. About embracing your body and the gift it is to you. About giving it the care, kindness, respect and love it is so deserving of!

What’s the one thing you can do today to move your body for pleasure rather than punishment?

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Author: Clarissa Grace

As image stylist and founder of Waking Up In Paris, Clarissa Grace teaches mum entrepreneurs to embrace their bodies, believe in their beauty and transform themselves through the power of personal style. She is professionally trained in fashion design, costume design, and haute couture through The Paris American Academy, and has created hundreds of couture wedding gowns for brides under her self named label. Clarissa has been splashed on the pages of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Woman's Day, chatted on Channel 7 and Nine, and dressed some of Australia's most dazzling stars such as Isabel Lucas, Kate Ritchie, Jodi Gordon and Ricki-Lee Coulter.

 
Waking Up In Paris | Clarissa Grace | Personal Style Online | Online Fashion Stylist | Confidence Coach | Mom Boss | Fashion For Working Moms & Mompreneurs

Hello, M'dear!

I'm Clarissa Grace & I adore you already! I teach mum entrepreneurs to embrace their body, believe in their beauty & transform themselves through the power of personal style. 

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