Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine Issue 04 | August 2016 - Page 19

perspective that her body regenerates itself constantly gave her a sense of hope about her ability to create change with even the smallest choices she was making.

~ It’s slow and it’s ok.

Shelley’s progress was slow. She did not lose weight in the first few months and then she started to lose weight very slowly. All of the above changes took months and years. She would sometimes get frustrated but as time went by Shelley learned to appreciate the process and change her perspective that living healthy will be a long and slow journey for her and that it was ok. She learned to accept where she was and focus on the progress she has made. She learned to stop comparing herself to others and focus on her next steps.

~ Standing up for herself.

Shelley was full of shame when she started coming

to the group. There were many people in her life that had treated her with disrespect and even abuse. With the encouragement of the group she learned to come up with a few phrases that helped her feel more empowered. She told her doctor that she was not a child and to please stop yelling at her. She would thank well intended people who dished out diet advice and ask them to not give her advice unless she asked for it. She would not cower with shame when people threw abusive remarks at her and would instead, answer back. But the most important lesson she learned was that the very worst shame was the one she was inflicting on herself. Realizing that her own self-

talk was abusive

was a big

aha moment.

She did not need

strangers

to call her

derogatory

names, she

was doing

it herself.

Changing her

inner dialogue

to be

supportive

and encouraging made a world of difference in how she felt about herself. One technique that helped her was to ask herself, 'Would I say that to a friend?'

Shelley has made tremendous progress in the six years that I’ve known her. Her mobility has improved and she takes walks and does light stretching daily. She ditched her doctor and found a more respectful female doctor that actually reduced some of the medications she was taking because of her improvement. She smiles more often, she talks more openly, her skin is more radiant and her eyes are brighter. Shelley has lost a lot of weight and by our cultural standards, remains a large woman, but she is a much healthier woman. She is currently working on liking her body, learning to listen to it and treating it like a beloved friend. She has been a source of pride and inspiration to all of the women in our group.

August 2016 | ElementsForAHealthierLife.com | 19