We used to believe to lose weight we had to work out harder and eat less. It was all about calories in versus out. And weight loss was always the goal, nothing about health, hormones, nutrients or energy levels.
Over the last 10 years we’ve had some huge mindset shifts and we confidently know by our own experience that if you’re looking to lose weight (we now prefer the goal… to feel healthier) you don’t need to work out harder… you need to slow down.
Our old beliefs were that if we wanted to lose weight the answer was to work out more and eat less. And in 2012 we went on a 12-week mission (borrowed a diet and workout program from a fitness show competitor) and it worked. We lost weight. But at the same time, we also welcomed hormonal havoc, lost our periods, had no energy and increased stress and anxiety levels.
To get our periods back and create more balance within our bodies we put all the weight back on, plus some.
We slowed down, we ate more. It took 1 year (for Carla) and 2 years (for Emma) to get regular periods again.
We didn’t like that we’d put extra weight on, it was a big lesson to learn… but now we clearly understood that over-exercising and under-eating is a terrible idea (to say the least).
This was when we really delved deep into our self-acceptance practice, accepted that we needed to put weight on to heal and then once we felt more balance, find a better and more healthy way to lose weight and feel healthy.
It was at this same time we rediscovered our love for Yoga and Pilates. A movement that is low impact, it felt kind to our bodies and we actually enjoyed it.
We’d practised both methods of movement as teenagers with Mum, but we always looked at them as ‘non-exercise exercise’.
Really, we looked at these classes as a fun thing to do with Mum. Carla even used to use the class as a chance to run through her to-do lists (haha, Virgo). Ohhh how this has changed!
Our new love of Yoga and Pilates was the perfect way to welcome safe and healthy weight loss.
Yoga and Pilates connect movement to breath.
What we love about Yoga and Pilates is that they both connect movement to breath, so when you practise you welcome presence, they help you slow down your breath and (especially for Yoga), breathe deeper.
This focus on breath slows down your nervous system which allows your body to rest, restore and heal. It reduces stress and anxiety. It helps you let go but also creates self-awareness.
Yoga and Pilates is low impact and you’ll actually enjoy it!
We were used to slogging it away on the treadmill, we’d run 20 minutes HIIT (high-intensity interval training), we did cross-fit, we lifted heavyweights, we were obsessed with aerobics. It didn’t feel like a workout unless we were huffing and puffing and felt absolutely exhausted by the end of it.
And of course, we’d force ourselves to do this every day, sometimes twice a day.
This type of exercise led to all of our health issues we told you about before. It also wasn’t that enjoyable… even though we were disciplined we still dreaded the workout, we still counted that treadmill clock down by the second.
As soon as we rediscovered Yoga and Pilates we fast realised that we were excited to actually get on the mat. It was the first time we actually looked forward to a workout.
We didn’t do it for the results, we practised for the enjoyment and feelings created from the practice! This shift allowed our exercise to never ever feel forced again. This is like FREEDOM!
Yoga and Pilates help you feel more gratitude for your body (and everything else).
With the combination of ancient philosophy shared in Yoga classes and simply being more mindful and aware of your body, the practice of Yoga and Pilates fast becomes a gratitude practice.
Every time you stand in your warrior 2 pose, when you hold your plank, when you finish those last 5 booty lifts you are there with yourself, in your body, you are connected to your body.
You begin to look at your body as the thing that takes you on this amazing journey (aka life).
Instead of looking at your thighs and wanting them to shrink away you look at them with a sense of achievement, you feel strong and proud!
Instead of working your core muscles to lose weight you focus on working to create better posture and promote confidence.
You slowly but surely begin to shift your mindset from I need to change to… I am pretty good (or AMAZING or damn fine or whatever works for you) just as I am.
Because you’re more grateful, you’re more mindful of what you eat.
Before we embarked on that 12-week fitness and weight loss mission (aka 12 weeks to hormonal havoc) back in 2012 we also had spent years dieting, Carla’s first diet was at age 11, Emma was also bulimic from age 17-24… food, weight, exercise consumed our minds in toxic ways. And this behaviour was completely common… not normal… we didn’t have to look far to find other people on diets or with eating disorders.
That last crazy diet was the diet that really showed us we had to make a big change for our physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health.
Fast forward to today, as we enter a new year, a new decade (hello 2020) we reflect and know that Yoga and Pilates helped us create a healthy relationship to food.
Now we feel more gratitude for our bodies, now we feel more present, now we are more conscious and aware of our thoughts and don’t allow the negative self-talk to take over.
Now… we simply eat when we are hungry, we eat healthy real food, less processed food, less sugar (most of the time, because we also like corn chips and margaritas and wine and pizza… just not often!).
We move every day in a respectful, loving and nurturing way with Yoga and Pilates.
We look after our mental health. We focus on welcoming in presence, self-acceptance and love and gratitude to our every day.
And now we maintain healthy body weights.
We’re strong and fit not skinny, we look and feel like us and don’t look like Instagram models. When we do Yoga and Pilates our skin and a bit of fat does roll over and poke out between our leggings and crop tops (and the best part… this doesn’t make us feel anything! It just is what it is!).
These mindset and lifestyle changes created freedom.
Freedom from the obsession with food and dieting, they welcomed space to experience more life.
They welcomed space for more love.
This is what we bring to our MerryBody Online Yoga, Pilates and Meditation classes. Self-acceptance is the intention behind everything we create for MerryBody.
When you’re a member you’ll experience exercise in a different way. You won’t hear us talking about calories or getting rid of muffin tops.
We will remind you that you’re amazing, right here and right now. Just the way you are.
You’ll do the MerryBody classes and be reminded that the JOY is in the movement itself. You’ll create a loving relationship with exercise… you’ll feel grateful to be able to move and you’ll actually look forward to it!
The movement we focus on in our MerryBody classes is controlled and precise. In some classes, we slow it right down and hold strong and deep in the poses, in others we welcome the fire through faster movement.
There’s no equipment required, we use bodyweight resistance and this creates strength, flexibility and tones the body. When practised along with a healthy diet it will help you get to a naturally healthy and balanced weight.
We’re so excited to share this message of acceptance louder than ever. We’re excited to help you move from dieting and (maybe if you’re like us) food and exercise obsession to a place of self-acceptance.
If any of this resonates the doors to MerryBody are open for another 21 hours… you can join HERE!
Emma + Carla