7.12.18 | Photo Credit: Rebecca Langford Photography
Kami Blease is an Austin, Texas based body image and wellness coach, and her message for you is this: loving your body regardless of your weight is possible.
As a recovering diet and fitness addict, Kami knows the struggle that women today face…the struggle of constantly comparing ourselves to each other, feeling that we aren’t enough and getting wrapped up in the cycle of constant diets on a quest to finally be thin. And she’s had enough.
Kami teaches online workshops and provides free content via her website and social media pages. Read on for more on Kami’s own journey towards a more positive body image and freedom from living by diets, the biggest roadblocks she sees with women around greater self love and self acceptance and what she believes the unrealistic idea of perfection is really doing to our health and well being…
YOU ARE A BODY IMAGE AND WELLNESS COACH. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR OWN PERSONAL JOURNEY WITH BODY IMAGE AND HOW YOU MADE YOUR WAY INTO THIS SPACE?
My personal journey is what drove my professional shift. As I was training clients and focusing on helping them lose weight, I too was focusing on that for myself. I had a lot of expectations about how I should look physically, not only to be a successful trainer but also to be considered a successful and attractive woman. I believed the narrative that to be happy is to be thin. This is a story we are gold time and time again and it took me stepping back and really looking back on my life to see that the goal and hope of weight loss had never made me happier. Constantly focusing on weight loss had made me miss out on experiences, doubt my gifts, accept being judged from the outside rather than the inside and ultimately made me lose sight of what was truly important.
I went on my own personal journey with my body image long before I started coaching women on theirs. I had to walk through the fire a little bit first, but it was absolutely worth it. It can be hard to question and challenge the narrative that we have grown up with. But if that narrative is no longer serving us and is holding us back then I think it’s time to bring it into the light and to take a good look at why we’ve held on to it for so long.
HOW DID YOU TRANSITION FROM WHAT YOU WERE LEARNING ABOUT YOUR OWN BODY IMAGE JOURNEY, INTO COACHING OTHERS IN THIS SPACE?
When I realized that loving your body started with first loving yourself and not the act of losing weight, then I wanted to shift that focus for my clients as well. Weight loss is an easy sell because everyone thinks they need it, but actually deciding to like yourself better? That requires more work and deep digging than a simple weight loss program. I love sharing this truth with women. I feel passionate about asking women WHY they feel the need to be thin and how that has affected their lives, relationships and goals. When we start to question our motives we can start to uncover what we really want from life, and that usually goes far beyond weight loss.
I love helping my clients create active lifestyles that they enjoy but work to also center their mindsets around doing it for the right reasons. A lot of this starts with shifting our mindset and mental dialogue. From there, the habits and lifestyles form themselves and typically are much easier and actually more fun!
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE BIGGEST ROAD BLOCK FOR WOMEN FOR GREATER SELF LOVE AND SELF ACCEPTANCE?
The first road block I see is women worrying about how other people perceive them. Women often worry that even if they accept themselves, that others won’t. And that’s why it’s so important to not have your worthiness dictated by how others feel about you, and to surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and not how you look physically. I think everyone wants to love themselves more, but we live in a judgmental world. It can be hard to be vulnerable, to accept yourself and stop trying to live up to societal standards while everyone else is doing so. But often, we’re drawn to people because of the light and love inside of them, not their size. So I encourage you to shine the light to those around you and maybe you will inspire a change in them, too.
The other road block I see is women feeling like they’re failing themselves. They fear that they’re giving up on what their life could be if they accept their bodies and stop trying to lose weight. That’s how imbedded this idea of weight loss equates to happiness in our lives. We fear that if we stop trying to be skinny, we stop trying to be happy. But the world will never refocus what’s important if we don’t make it. We have to start that change. We have to start realizing that we are worth so much more than our weight, and that life can be enjoyed at many sizes and is more fun when you get to eat what you want and actually enjoy your workouts! You aren’t failing yourself if you stop trying to lose weight. You’re actually loving yourself much more deeply when you accept your body and how it’s made. We weren’t all made the same, so why are we all trying so hard to look the same?
IT SEEMS THAT SO MANY WOMEN ARE OVERWHELMED AND STRESSED AT THE UNREALISTIC IDEA OF “PERFECTION” THAT WE HAVE CREATED. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT CONSTANTLY COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHERS, WITH THE RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND THIS PERFECTIONIST MINDSET, IS REALLY DOING TO OUR WELL BEING?
I think people were always trying to “keep up with the Jones”, but now that there are thousands of Jones’ in your newsfeed and in the media, if feels impossible not to compare yourself. And this idea of perfection is sold so easily because companies make it sound so simple. “Just lose this amount of weight, just get rid of these wrinkles or dimples, just nip and tuck here, just slap this cream on there and voila…and you can be perfect.” But there will always be something else. These industries are not created to actually make us feel better about ourselves, they are created to make money. That is why the diet trends never stop, and there are always new discoveries product wise and new advances in technology. Because if any of it actually worked, then we wouldn’t need the new stuff and these companies would stop making money. We need to start understanding the truth behind a lot of what we are told and sold.
Social media sells the lie that our lives really are summed up in a snapshot. The highlight reel is a real thing and very often we do not share the things that go wrong. And while I think no one is obligated to do that, I also think we are lacking authenticity and vulnerability that leads to people feeling less alone. We are more connected now than ever and yet it seems we also feel more isolated. We are so consumed by what others are doing and what they are trying to sell us that we never stop to ask ourselves what it’s all about. This lack of self-worth comes from a constant and consistent message that we are not worthy, not beautiful, not attractive, not loveable…but we could be. They give us just enough hope to keep us buying but also keep us from finding contentment and peace.
I recently had a major social media purge and unfollowed hundreds of people. It was nothing personal, but if I saw their posts and felt my inner critical comparison start to pop up then I unfollowed them. It’s hard enough to love yourself in a society that doesn’t want you to without making it harder on yourself. I strongly urge you to make these platforms a place where you can go to feel inspired, encouraged and strengthened. If they don’t do that for you, consider limiting not only the people you follow but also the time you spend on them.
We have to start being more protective of our minds. The thoughts we have are powerful and they can be what keeps us going or takes us down. No one else is going to do it for you so you need to decide for yourself what you can handle and what’s right for you. We are not alone in these struggles, but we need to find others to journey with so that we don’t end up feeling that way.
WHAT IS THE ONE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE SHARED WITH WOMEN AROUND SELF LOVE, SELF TALK AND BODY IMAGE?
That you are enough.
Right now, in this moment, you are worthy of love, kindness and acceptance. You don’t have to change to be any of those things. You don’t have to lose weight to deserve ay of those things. You are uniquely and wonderfully made and that means that in all of your wonderful quirks you are still loved and worthy.
Also it starts within. If your worthiness or value is contingent on others, then it can be just as easily given as it can be taken away. Your self-worth needs to start with you and then others will follow. We set the tone for how others treat us, we accept the love we think we deserve. So start believing you are worth more and then others will, too. And if they don’t…let ’em go.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST INSPIRATION IN THE WORK YOU DO, TEACHING WOMEN TO LOVE AND ACCEPT THEMSELVES?
That this is truly life changing work. That might sound dramatic but honestly, I feel called to do this. Working for yourself can be hard but knowing that what I’m doing is helping women on a deep and soul level keeps me motivated and inspired to keep going. If you can really start to love your body and accept who you are, that can change how you live your life from the inside out. I’m thankful to be a part of that process for some women.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND TALK TO YOUR 16 YEAR OLD SELF, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?
That high school is not all there is. Who you are now does not define the rest of your life and you can become whoever you want to be! Stop trying so hard to be cool and focus more on being kind. Also, your value and your worthiness are not defined by your relationship status. Enjoy being single, invest in your girlfriends and realize that there will be a man who sees you for who you truly are some day.
I would also tell myself that it really does get better! So many things that seems like the end of the world now won’t matter in 10 years or even 5 years. You will get to choose who you surround yourself with and how you spend your time. The drama does not have to follow you…nobody’s got time for that!
I’d tell myself that people will be mean and that’s just life. And the majority of the time it will have nothing to do with you and more to do with something they are struggling with themselves. Choose to brush it off, smile and don’t let it sink in.
Finally, I’d tell myself that you are amazing. You are beautiful. You are loved. Don’t sell yourself short or give yourself away to people who don’t appreciate you. The world is waiting for you to step out and change it so don’t be afraid. There is room for your passions, goals, dreams and there is a seat for you at the table.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT COACHING CLIENTS, WHAT CAN WE FIND YOU DOING?
Honestly, if I’m not coaching, I’m still probably working on content for my programs, reading a book or listening to a podcast to continue learning more! I care deeply about what I do, so a lot of the things I read or listen to for fun are also helpful for my business.
Non work related, I’m a Netflix binger…I love all the shows! I love doing happy hours and dinners with my friends, cooking, morning quiet time on my patio, snuggling with my kitties, walking out by the water with my husband and day dreaming about our next traveling adventure.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO MOVE YOUR BODY?
When I shifted away from movement for weight loss, it changed how I approached working out. I honestly only do things that I really want to do, and if I can’t come up with something then I typically just go for a walk. But I love pilates, yoga, walking, jogging and spin.
WHAT’S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
- Live abroad or travel abroad for at least a few months
- Get another tattoo (this would be my fifth)
- Host a wellness and self-love retreat in a magical location
- Have my own Ted Talk
WHAT’S THE MANTRA YOU’RE LIVING BY RIGHT NOW?
I am uniquely and wonderfully made for a time such as this, I am worthy of my purpose and worth so much more than my weight. Change and hope can start with anyone, so why not me?