When and who decided that we should be judged solely by size and appearance? Why do so many of us set our mood for the day according to what number we hit when we stand on the bathroom scales? Why do so many equate weight loss and being thin to being successful and beautiful?
Jo dedicates Underneath my Clothes to every person who is challenged by their personal insecurities. Whether it is weight issues or low self-esteem, if you consistently struggle to acknowledge your own beauty, she wrote this book for you.
When we cease the fight and quit the negative internal dialogue; when we embrace our body and accept our uniqueness, no matter what form it takes; when we acknowledge our own self-worth; when we take full responsibility for our health; when we treat our body with the respect that it deserves; when we nurture, nourish, move and whole heartedly accept ourselves, it is only then that we can release our spirit from struggle, find peace and start to feel light.
Underneath My Clothes
Author: Jo Ettles
Question: What inspired the book, Underneath My Clothes?
Jo Ettles: For many years, I worked as a weight loss and wellness consultant. I would consult mainly with women on a daily basis and I would often see up to 10 clients per day. My role was to advise and coach women on how to lose weight and eat a well-balanced diet, but it didn't take me long to realise that, good health is about so much more than eating salad and drinking green smoothies.
All of these women shared their struggles with their body, their weight, how they felt honestly and openly with me. There was a common thread that ran through almost every single conversation I ever had. That thread consisted of the fact that - as women, we have this tremendous ability to be really unkind to ourselves. We can spend way too much time focussing on what we think is wrong with us and absolutely not enough time on what is right with us. It saddened me to hear the way women spoke about themselves. For the most part, women arrived at my office at their lowest ebb. Physically and verbally they would express their frustrations about everything that was weighing them down. There was absolutely no shortage of self-criticism. It was just as distressing to witness women set their mood for the day according to the number that was displayed on the scales. If that number wasn't exactly what they had hoped for, the rest of the day was ruined. It was every single one of those women that inspired me to write 'Underneath My Clothes".
Question: Who did you write Underneath My Clothes, for?
Jo Ettles: I wrote Underneath My Clothes for women who struggle to see their own beauty. It is for the many women that weigh themselves and then set their mood for the day according to what number appears on the scales. It is for the many women who yo-yo diet and spend way too much time crash dieting. It is for women who are searching for balance and freedom…freedom from struggling with their bodies.
Question: What do you hope readers take from Underneath My Clothes?
Jo Ettles: I hope that readers are inspired to be the best version of themselves, the healthiest version of themselves. We have one life to live. It is a shame to waste it feeling inferior based on what we weigh, what size we are and each and every one of us deserves to shine. Wellness encompasses so much more than diet and exercise. We need to invest time into nourishing our minds, our spirits and yes…our bodies. As women, we often put our own needs on the backburner to care for everyone else. It is vital to practice self- care in all areas. Being well and taking care of ourselves is one of the greatest ways that we can show love to our families. Finding balance and self-acceptance brings real inner peace.
Question: Why was it important for you to share your own story in Underneath My Clothes?
Jo Ettles: I have always struggled with my body. I have always been really curvy and for years I fought with my body endlessly. I pushed it, fought with it, forever trying to take it to a place that it wasn't comfortable with. I have achieved the perfect size 10 but I had to work really hard to achieve it. When I was a size ten, if I stopped to breathe, I felt like I would burst out of my own skin! I have over eaten, under eaten, over exercised, under exercised, I have been challenged by food allergies and intolerances, hormonal imbalances and now menopause. I spent way too much time struggling to find balance. I have consulted with women in their 70's still struggling with their bodies. Still criticising their shapes, finding fault with themselves. Life is way too short to continuously wage war with yourself. I wanted to remind all women who are struggling – it is never ever too late to make a new start, create new healthy habits, create a new positive mindset. At any stage, we can make the decision to change the future course of our health and wellness. So many people now spend a lot of time showcasing their perfect lives , their perfect bodies, their perfect food choices and display them on social media for all to see. It was important for me to share my story because, no body and no life is perfect.
Question: How can we take steps everyday to become more body positive?
Jo Ettles: 1. Mindset is everything. Fill your mind with all that you love about your body, not what you don't like about it.
2. Quit negative self-talk. It is soul destroying.
3.Quit dieting. If you are a yo-yo dieter, embrace healthy eating as a lifestyle.
4. Make time for wellness. Incorporate activities into your day that make you feel rejuvenated.
5. One size does not fit everybody. Find what suits you and own it.
Perfection is simply unattainable for any of us, so quite simply, let it go. Be you, be real and be well. Celebrate your uniqueness!
Interview by Brooke Hunter