As a part of our Love Your Body Week celebration, we are sharing the stories of body-positive leaders on the Moxie platform.
Today we have the opportunity to celebrate Serena Scanzillo and Yolanda Brunson. Read below to hear their stories around body image, self-care, and celebrating our bodies in all forms.
Serena is a health coach and trainer. She leads 30-minute sessions on Moxie focusing on strength, functional movements, and cardiovascular challenges. Read more about Serena below and visit her Moxie studio to join her for her a class.
Q&A with Serena:
What does body positivity mean to you?
The relationship you're able to build with yourself is the most important one. I feel like this stems from our mental health. If you feel stuck, stressed, anxious, or lost when it comes to training, eating well, or even getting out of bed, you have to dive deep into what's going on in your mind. You shouldn't ever feel alone in this scenario. Every person has said out loud one time or another that they don't like how they look. That's an invitation to explore those feelings knowing you're not alone and work through them the best way you know-how. Body positivity really indicates our ability to look at ourselves in the mirror and feel feelings of happiness.
- In what ways do you aim to empower yourself or others to love their bodies?
I personally focus on my best features. I love my shoulders, my eyes and I'm learning to love my thighs. If I know that I'm eating well and I'm working out in a healthy, reasonable, sustainable, fun way, then that's all I can do. The rest is time, patience, and a process. I'm always there for my clients outside of check-in calls and our 1-1 sessions. I hope they know I'm their biggest cheerleader. I push clients to get a little uncomfortable to understand themselves better and be open to trying new things. I've watched people surprise themselves, gain confidence, and experience excitement in the kitchen when they make a healthy meal they otherwise wouldn't have tried.
- While there's obviously a ton of work to be done still, can you speak to the progress around the body positive movement? Have the stereotypes improved even a little bit?
It's super refreshing to see women and men of different shapes and sizes broadcast their messaging on social media. I'm sure it's helping more people than we may realize. When you see somebody else doing or saying something that's been locked up inside of you for years, it can be the hand that breaks you free. I think we're all past the basic fitness industry messaging of "eat less and move more," right? Moving more is 100% spot on, but to tell somebody who doesn't have a good relationship with food to eat less, that could be detrimental.
To see people EDUCATE their audiences brings me massive amounts of joy because that's how we grow. Arm yourself with data-based information and then sprinkle in a few positive influencers to fuel you on the day-to-day, and I think you'll rise above any of the junk that's being passed around (ie...waist trainers, slim life teas, skinny living, no carb, fat free, cardio all day, weights make me bulky and so on). The industry is changing, but the best thing you can do is keep pushing it in this direction. People want to hear your story and how you have overcome certain struggles, especially when it comes to body image because we ALL experience those emotions.
- What about advice for someone struggling with body positivity?
I would honestly say to share your story. You WILL help somebody else by being vulnerable. While it's scary, I guarantee you will get more positive feedback than you'd ever imagine. I'm actually in the middle of organizing my messaging for April and this is part of it. If getting in front of the masses is just too big of a step, my next suggestion would be to tell a friend or to consider a support group. Anything that makes you feel loved, supported, included, seen and heard is a good place to be. Remind yourself everyday that you can do anything. That you're beautiful and that you're 100% capable of taking control of your own life. You're in the driver's seat.
Yolanda is former fashion manager that has made a new life in fitness. She teaches HIIT, Strength, and Flexibility classes. Read more about Yolanda below and visit her Moxie studio to join her for her #LoveYourBody Menopause Tummy Bond class.
Q&A with Yolanda:
• What are some insecurities you have about your body? How do you work through them? How do you overcome it?
For sure I have insecurities on certain areas of my body. I make note of them and make subtle changes where I can. I've learned just recently to stop allowing those negative thoughts of defeat sway me from reaching my goal; I also make note that it's okay to come back to the goal in a day or so, sometimes it takes a few stops, but doesn't mean the ride is incomplete.
• Do you have a self-care routine? Share in detail.
Yes, I start my mornings with 30 minutes sitting in silence, followed by full-body stretching. I then have a tsp of ACV and a cup of green tea, and then I'm off to start my day.
• While there's obviously a ton of work to be done still, can you speak to the progress around the body positive movement? Have the stereotypes improved even a little bit?
I believe with the boom of social media, there are many day-to-day influencers who have shared their journeys from the initial stages to the present. I think these stories have become great motivators when people can see others (and their situation) make a go of body-positive progress.
• What about advice for someone struggling with body positivity?
My advice is to expect to be discouraged, fall, or struggle; However, when you get past that and own up to looking at what makes you different and owning your uniqueness, can you then move past being perfect, and just do you.