I Love My Body
by Linda Potgieter
It’s that time of the year again when folks are pulling out their beach chairs and umbrellas, sunscreen is to hand and plans are underway for summertime frolicking.
And you know what that means…yip, it’s the bikini and bathing suit debate. And by that I don’t mean which one I will wear. If you’re anything like me, I have spent most of my life debating whether or not I will dare to wear one at all! And the decision was always the same.
How many years have you spent dreading summer because of this very issue? How many times have your kids begged you to swim with them but you decline because of how you will look in your bathing suit? How many women have you seen strutting confidently in their bikinis on the beach thinking “That will never be me”?
Friend, you’re not alone. I spent 45 of my 46 years hiding and missing out on life because of what I saw in the mirror. But here’s the thing: people don’t watch and think about us as much as we think they do! That really was good news to me. The self-conscious self cannot see beyond what she sees – and I know this to be true: what she sees is not what others see. If you don’t love your body (and hello, how many women can you count right now who absolutely do..?) then you will see a distorted version of yourself in the mirror. You will see a bigger, wider, flabbier version of yourself.
So when I launched into a self-healing campaign in 2017 called ‘I ❤️MY BODY’ I had reached the end of my self-loathing road. I was done missing out on life, done not swimming with my kids in public (even in private), done disqualifying myself from that hot pink bikini I always wanted to wear.
So there I was, facing the (wo)man in the mirror, saying over and over again: “I love my body. I love my body. I love my body.” Tears flowing down my face, I continued: “I love my body. I love my body.” Tears turned quickly to anger and then to an awful, mocking face that thought “Yeah, right Linda.” But I refused to let the words out this time. I had reached my limit. And I told my God that I believed His Words brought life, brought love and brought light. So I continued. Did I believe what I was saying? Heck, no. Did I feel good doing it? I felt like a total fraud at first. But did it change anything? Oh, my.
I wouldn’t blame you if reading this you thought “This is total baloney!” Because when you have dedicated a life to self-hate and hiding from the beach, how on earth can 4 little words change a thing? Well, they did. And I am sharing this with you today because I know the pain of self-loathing. I know the silent shame of cellulite, fat, flab and rolls. I know the deep desire to ‘look like her…even just a little’. And I also know the truth behind the fact that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I eventually decided to believe it, receive it and activate it. So I took 4 words that I absolutely did not believe, and started speaking them over myself – sometimes 100 times a day in desperate pursuit of change.
It was a little over a week when I felt a shift in my posture every time I declared my campaign statement. It was under 2 weeks that I noticed I was reaching less for my comfort foods. And it was genuinely less than 3 weeks before I started believing there might be some truth to this!
My words changed my thoughts, my thoughts initiated new ideas in my brain, and my body followed! Nobody could have been more shocked than me.
I have studied ‘Natural Health & Hygiene’ with Mary-Ann Shearer for 18 years (the best-selling author on the topic of health and nutrition in the Southern hemisphere). I dove head first into researching the crazy touchy subject of food well before I became a Mom so that I was not at the mercy of ‘experts’ who contradicted everything they all said. And I devoured Dr Colin T Campbell’s ‘The China Study’ – the global bible on nutrition for anyone serious about vital, long-term health. Your research is incomplete until you read, try and apply this book.
Yet, we know full well, friend, that we do not do the things we know we should do, we make decisions rather on our preferences. (Another (fascinating) conversation, another time.) We know we should brush and floss our teeth twice a day. We know we should be eating 3-5 fruit and veg daily. We know we should be exercising at least 20-30 minutes 4 times a week. We know we should not smoke, drink excessively or indulge in sugar which has been proven to be more addictive than cocaine. Yet, we do it anyway. So knowledge, in my view, is not power. The application of that knowledge is where the power comes in.
However, I discovered something far more powerful than all the knowledge I had gained on what is good for me. I discovered my Abba Father’s words of life that has been the only thing in 46 years to transform what I see in the mirror! I lost 21 pounds and finally found a simple at-home exercise plan that I truly enjoy and can take with me all over the world – no tools, no gadgets, no fussy, complicated routines – just a simple, powerful plan.
How can 4 simple words take me out of hiding and into a hot pink bikini for the first time in my life (December 2017 and February 2018) and have me truly, sincerely believing I have a good body? Words are seed, friend, and our Father God’s words created life in my dead bones, my tired eyes and my aching heart. I started thanking my body for the 2 beautiful children she birthed. I started thanking her for ‘my best bits’ that I get to dress up. I thanked her for the charity races I had run to raise money and awareness. I thanked her for all the trials and struggles she had helped me overcome. And I literally watched her rise up in strength under my words.
So if you are ready to try something new, to ditch that yo-yo way of life and to dare to put these words to the test, then I invite you to join this movement that has the scales falling from women’s eyes all over the world! Join our courageous community at www.lindapaige.com or meet us in our private Facebook group called ‘123 Style Me: The 10 Steps To Style Success’ where we are posting our declaration and our results daily!
Every day is Chooseday, and we get to choose whether we want to suffer the heartbreaks of summer until we can cover up again when the season changes. Or whether we really believe God when He says that His word brings life.
My cellulite is still there. My tummy and its scars still jiggle. My skin is looking strangely like someone else’s lately! But BOY have I found freedom in loving my body and seeing it come to life under the power of my words!
Come on, friend. Step out with me, out of fear and into faith. We cannot give or receive love to our full calling until we learn to love ourselves. And our kids are watching. So let’s ditch the dread of the swimsuit season, start speaking these words over your body right now, and let’s have some fun in the sun! I promise you this: you will never regret taking this step. It will give you uncommon confidence. I give you His Word.
Linda is a wife and mother, and Partner & Director of JPA Ltd, a global negotiation training firm headquartered in London. She is also Founder of LindaPaige, a fashion brand that empowers women to be a bold light on a hill in this world. Born and raised in South Africa, she currently lives in the UK with her husband and 2 children.
Linda started working at age 17 and spent most of her career in the corporate arena, often the youngest on the team enjoying powerful on the job training, learning from ambitious, accomplished executives what the marketplace wants.
Linda had the immense privilege of serving on former President Nelson Mandela’s PR team in 1998. As the final member of a team of 5, Linda and her colleagues organized the Vulindlela Water Supply Scheme in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, on Human Rights Day in March 1998. Awarded along with her team members for her performance in this role, she cites this experience as one of her distinct career highlights, referencing Nelson Mandela as her leadership standard in life, and continues her involvement today in fighting oppression and injustice.
After relocating to the UK in 2002, Linda won a national sales award in January 2006 from the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (UK) (ISMM) for ‘Best New Sales Professional in Britain’. She is passionate about sales and loves working with people, a combination that opened up fantastic career opportunities for her across geographical and cultural boundaries, working on negotiation training projects with some of the worlds largest brands such as Adidas, Network Rail, EON, Mercer, Nestle, Pfizer, Nokia, and Vodafone. Her clients cite her training style as “…highly motivational, passionate and performance impacting”.
Linda is extremely dedicated to her own personal growth and attends regular leadership training in the USA which she cites as life-changing. On a personal note, she is an adrenaline junkie continuing her pursuit of the next thrill in adventure sports, she loves travelling the world exploring good food, good wine and when there are gaps, she is home socializing with her family and friends.