I have always struggled with the way I look in some way, shape or form. Its why I originally became a health and fitness coach.
I was in my early teens when I really started worrying about what I looked like. Thinking I would only be beautiful if I was skinny and toned. I think this is what either triggered or highly impacted my depression and anxiety through my teenaged years.
It’s a mentality I have struggled with even through my late 20’s.
I was 29 when I finally decided that being skinny didn’t matter to me anymore, ironically on my birthday. I was sitting at my kitchen table (as I am now) writing an email to a client about how beautiful she already was. She may have been a little over weight, but she was BEAUTIFUL. It didn’t change how anyone thought of her, we all thought she was beautiful just the same.
It stopped me in my tracks.
If I could love another person, who I had technically never met, with no limitations; why could I not do that for myself?! Why could I not see every scar, stretchmark and roll as a badge and sign I had LIVED?
I decided right then and there that it was time to start the practice of loving myself whole heartedly.
I started changing the way my inner dialogue went, I changed ‘I hate this’ to “I love this’. I started eating better and exercising not to be ‘skinny’ but to be a healthier version of myself. I stopped fasting or skipping meals in hope of losing faster (news flash, it works the OPPOSITE way!!) I started to eat less and less junk.
It started working.
Not only did it have a HUGE impact on my depression and anxiety, I was feeling healthy for the first time in my life. I felt strong, empowered and full of love. I had been a self love, fitness, nutrition and empowerment coach for over a year and I was only JUST starting to really understand what it was about for MYSELF.
Its been three months of truly practicing what I preach and expanding my capacity to love. The life change is amazing, I wish I could put it into words. Changing my perspective has truly changed how I look at everything in life, from my incredible clients to friends and family, right up to myself.
Today I can sit here and say that, though I have my struggles, I do love my body. It isn’t always easy, and I still slip up (only been 3 months) but this journey is one I won’t ever stop. I invite you to love yourself too, body, mind, spirit, all of you. Because you know what? You are the most beautiful person in your life, you NEED to see that just like the world around you does.
When I started health and fitness coaching with Beachbody I got a lot of ‘you’re just shaming others into hating themselves’ and ‘you just look for ‘fat’ people!’ For me that’s NEVER been what its about, it may have taken me a long time to learn to love myself, but I have always loved every body shape there is out there. Always.
So why do I do this gig then? Body positivity my friends. EVERYONE deserves to feel their best and look the way THEY want to look. I simply provide the tools and kick ass motivation/empowerment to help reach the goal that they would like help with. Skinny isn’t always healthy (I am proof of that) and being more on the curvy side doesn’t always mean unhealthy (also proof of that). It is a FEELING and a way of life to be healthy. Your size does not determine this!! I don’t care if you’re 110lbs or 300lbs YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
End of story and slight soapbox rant 😉
If you ever hear the song start to play “I Can See Clearly Now the rain…” and sing it in my direction, I can guarantee you I will disappear. You see when I was in middle school one individual realized that my name Lorraine rhymes with the lyric “rain” it became “I can see clearly now Lorraine is gone” which was my signal to take the hint and leave. It seems harmless in hindsight and at the age of almost 30 I should not have the reactions I do, but to this day that song is a painful reminder of my youth and struggling to find my place.
I will skip the soap opera like drama that was my preschool to elementary school years as an only child of divorce trying to navigate family and friends. Lets return back to the middle school hallways where the taunting began because there was just something not right about me to everyone else . Was it that my parents divorce emotionally stunted me and that is why I chose to retreat to the basement to play with my dollhouse instead of parties? Did it have the opposite effect and force me to grow up instantly which is why I dressed like I was going to a business meeting with my latest outfit from Le’ Chateau paired with sensible heels when my peers wore jeans and sneakers. My best friend at the time was the tallest girl I have ever seen, she was blonde, curvy and vivacious which means typical story, girls wanted to be her friend and boys wanted to date her.
I stood next to her just over 5”, freckles, braces for over 5 years and attempting to dye my hair from brunette to red which resulted in a carrot top situation. I was in every sense of the word the ugly duckling of our group and it didn’t get easier in High school. I remember sitting at the lunch table looking around and hearing all the gossip from the parties I had missed the previous weekend while I retreated in the basement because I did want not to partake or simply because I was not invited. Sex, drugs, alcohol they were experimenting with everything and I was more interested in the latest release of an animated movie or new Broadway Musical. We were never seen as the “cool kids” but to me they were, and I was not.
I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety around the same time and had a huge setback. I struggled to control my emotions and prescribed medication made it impossible to get out of bed. I eventually failed grade 9 due to lack of attendance and attitude so when I was going to have to repeat a year and my group was going graduate on time I decided to transfer and start fresh. I switched school and fell in with another group and I felt little more accepted but still always the odd one out. I worked really hard to graduate but I fell ill and almost missed the festivities. I was so sick I missed the breakfast and now I have an yearbook without any signatures. No “I’ll Miss you” or “Rock on!” and now that I barely talk to anyone due to distance, life and personal growth I sometimes look at the blank cover and wish by some power that I could have those signatures.
My first year out of high school my mom thought it would be a good idea for me to volunteer, and so I applied to be a camp counsellor for Canterbury Hills. They have both day camp and residential programs and a special needs one on one support team. I volunteered to be the one on one support for my cabin that summer and my life was forever changed. I bonded with children who thought differently, spoke differently and sometimes not at all, but we did our best to understand one another.
My older cousin is on the Autism Spectrum and growing up in our household it was never a conversation, it was expected that she be accepted and treated with respect because she is one of us, she is family. Over the years I have seen her and the children I have worked with struggle similar to my experiences when it comes to finding your place because of our individuality and differences. By writing ‘Friends on the Spectrum’ I set out to create material for children, parents, educators and more to use as a platform for discussions around awareness and the importance of acceptance in regards to the value of our peers on the spectrum. I do not claim to be an expert on the subject matter and have used my personal and professional experiences with my background in children’s education /development to form the content. The illustrations are individually hand drawn by a young woman on the spectrum from Newmarket, ON and she has created an incredibly detailed depiction of daily living and learning in order to tell this story. Together we have created an engaging, fun and educational story in order to foster open and honest conversations to promote uniqueness and individuality for all ages.
To purchase "Friends On The Spectrum" follow this link:
Photography by: Lady Luck Photography Studio
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