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    SPARK Blog — #beyoutiful

    BE YOUtiful on National Love Your Body Day

    It's here. It's finally here! Today is National Love Your Body Day and we couldn't be more excited to partner with Handful Activewear on a campaign that truly highlights what it means to love your body: Join us as we launch BE YOUtiful!

    It's time to reclaim the beauty and power within you. To push back against a world that compares you, judges you and measures you against an "ideal" standard. It's time for us all to work together to create a supportive community that encourages everyone to recognize their value and their own unique beauty. 

    We need to educate each other on what healthy is and how it can look different from person to person. We need to support, empower and embrace each other. We need to lift each other up in a world that wants to push people down. 

    These past few weeks, we've been featuring inspiring women who discovered what it means to BE YOUtiful. If you missed their stories, we encourage you to revisit them. In their own words:

    "There is no secret to loving yourself and your flaws. There is no magic formula. There's just kindness. Wherever you are right now, your body is good enough. Your body can do amazing things. Use positive energy to build yourself up, rather than tear yourself down." — Carleeh, @healthysocialite

    "Remember, your inner dialogue controls what you believe. Don't let it pick a negative path. Instead, let it provide the grace of body acceptance. Be you, and be happy." — Jennifer, @jumpin_jen

    "Stop tearing yourself down. Constantly remind yourself how amazing you are! You are a powerful human being, and you need to envelope yourself with as much EPIC self love as you can. Because then, you will BE YOUtiful." — Genevieve, @fittyfoodlicious

    "I have learned to be kinder to my body. I have also learned patience because the fitness journey is a long one. Results take time—but they don't mean anything if the process doesn't make you happy." Oneisha, @shapingmybliss

    "Many call me brave for letting my 'disability' show, but I don't think of it that way. I am allowing my true beauty to show because it's all BE YOUtiful. Embrace what makes you different, don't hide it. You never know who you are giving strength to." — Gelcys, @runner_unleashed

    "You are the first and loudest voice you hear. Make that voice a positive one." — Staci

    Now, friends. You must go...go out into the world and BE YOUtiful. Get on Instagram with your free BE YOUtiful poster and show us how much you love your body. Use #beyoutiful, #handfulactivewear and #momentumjewelry.

    We can't wait to see your pictures!

    Guest Post: You are the loudest voice you hear. #beyoutiful.

    On Wednesday, October 18th, Momentum will join forces with Handful Activewear to celebrate National Love Your Body Day in a unique and visually powerful way. Our BE YOUtiful campaign will encourage everyone everywhere to reclaim the beauty and power within. We continue our series of inspirational blog posts with a BE YOUtiful message from Staci Becker, a Spinning instructor with a positive outlook.

    What is the first thing you see when you look in the mirror in the morning? Is it how beautiful your eyes are, or the bags underneath them? Is it how soft your hair is, or how the grey is starting to show through? Do you see all the happy moments that have earned you those laugh lines, or do you just see wrinkles? Your first 60 seconds out of bed can set the tone for your whole day. Will you be beautiful, soft, and happy—or saggy, grey, and full of wrinkles? 

    You are the first and loudest voice you hear. Make that voice a positive one.

    When I was 12, I was friends with the popular girls. One day after lunch, we were outside at recess and one of the girls found me on the playground. She told me the girls could no longer be friends with me because I was fat. 35 years later, I can still remember exactly where I was standing, what I was wearing, and what those words felt like. I have forgiven that girl, but still carry that moment with me as a reminder of how powerful words can be. But it’s not just the words of others. It's also the words we tell ourselves.

    The sad truth is that, even now, I will sometimes tell myself that I am fat, ugly, or not good enough. I would never say those words to anyone else, but for some reason, I think it's acceptable to say them to myself. I'm pretty sure I’m not the only woman who has this horrible inner dialog, and it makes me sad.

    Why do we feel the need to put ourselves down? And why do we think it’s OK? 

    Can you remember the last time you put yourself down? Imagine how run down you'd feel if  you had someone following you around all day putting you down? I challenge you to pay attention to your inner dialog for one entire day. Be honest with yourself and notice how many times you are positive and how often you are negative. If you are like most women, it’s not going to be pretty. 

    Here’s the good news: It can change. You can change. You get to choose how you talk to yourself. Be an encourager. Be a positive force for yourself and for others, too. When you are operating from a place of positivity, your cup is full and you are better able to pour into others. This can happen, but it takes intention and diligence.  

    Pay attention to things you love about yourself and focus on them. Write down five things you are good at, five traits you have that you love, five characteristics you were born with that make you special. Celebrate and embrace those things, and let them shine through.

    Remember, you are in control of how you see yourself, how you treat yourself, and how you talk to yourself. You deserve to hear how wonderful you are every single day—even if it’s just from yourself.

    One last reminder: You are the loudest voice you hear, so make it positive. Download your free BE YOUtiful poster and help us celebration National Love Your Body Day on Wednesday, October 18th. 

    Guest Post: Bent, not broken...and totally #beyoutiful.

    On Wednesday, October 18th, Momentum will join forces with Handful Activewear to celebrate National Love Your Body Day in a unique and visually powerful way. Our BE YOUtiful campaign will encourage everyone everywhere to reclaim the beauty and power within. We continue our series of inspirational blog posts with a BE YOUtiful message from Gelcys at Runner Unleashed.

    One of the hardest things you can do is love yourself, but it's also one of the easiest. I haven't had it easy. Ever since I was small, I've had problems with my spine. It hurt a lot and caused a lot of issues, but I never knew why because it wasn't visible. When I was 13, right at the peak of being a teenager, the problems started to show and that's when my insecurities began. When I was 15, I had my first operation. I was diagnosed with Scoliosis.

    My spine was so crooked, it looked like a snake had crawled in there and petrified itself in an "S" shape. I was embarrassed and was already shy, and my spine just made me feel worse. Spending 14 hours in the operating room, and the resulting stitches that started at the base of my neck and went all the way down to my bottom didn't help. Add to it the pain of recovery and the whole walking (and moving) like a robot thing.

    During my recovery, I was rear-ended and one of the metal pieces that was put into my spine to stabilize it from further curving had come out of place. So back to the operating room I went to remove that one piece. But, it was left on top of a nerve that went to my leg so it caused a hair-raising amount of pain. I made another trip to the operating room to repair that, but it didn't help.

    I said, "take all the hardware out of my spine! I've had it." It wasn't doing me any good.

    All through high school and college, I hid my scar because they cut into it so many times that it got bigger and darker. I felt like it just showed what I was going through. I was born in Venezuela and lived in Florida, minutes from Miami, surrounded by bathing suits and beaches.  It fueled my insecurities.

    But as I grew older, and to this day, I realized that it's not about how you look on the outside. Society is at it's worst right now when it comes to being a negative influence. It's time to look in the mirror and put all of that aside and look at yourself.

    My spine is still curving and I have a hump that sticks out. My scar is crooked and hasn't gone away. You know what? I show all of it. I no longer hide it. Yes, people stare and people point—but I don't care. I will gladly educate them on Scoliosis, why I look the way I do, and how they can prevent their child from developing it. And if that child is afraid of it, I can help them not be. 

    No one should be afraid to beYOUtiful.

    It is something all woman of all shapes, colors, sizes, and disabilities should be. Smile because it looks good on you. Be that brave woman inside you. Don't be afraid to show the world the true beauty within you. Don't hide it inside like I did for so long. Many call me brave for letting my "disability" show, but I don't think of it that way. I am allowing my true beauty to show because it's all beYOUtiful.

    Embrace what makes you different, don't hide it. You never know who you are giving strength to by being beYOUtiful and open. Never be ashamed of who you are and who you've become. You shouldn't be comparing yourself to others anyway. Everyone is on a different journey. So shine bright, and whenever you need a hero—look in the mirror because that hero is you. 

    And you are #beyoutiful. Show it to the world by downloading your free beYOUtiful poster. Snap a selfie with it, then post it to Instagram on Wednesday, October 18th—National Love Your Body Day. 

    Guest Post: No one is you, and that's your power. #beyoutiful

    On Wednesday, October 18th, Momentum will join forces with Handful Activewear to celebrate National Love Your Body Day in a unique and visually powerful way. Our BE YOUtiful campaign will encourage everyone everywhere to reclaim the beauty and power within. We continue our series of inspirational blog posts with a BE YOUtiful message from Carleeh Mulholland of Healthy Socialite.

    I often think back on my pre-teen years, reflecting on what made an impact on me. I do this to focus on what will help write my daughters' stories and to shape their image of their imperfect bodies.

    I bought my first issue of Cosmopolitan magazine when I was eleven. I used to spend my money on magazines that were full of bright colors, fun clothes, and teen-friendly tips. As I made the transition from a teen to an adult, something in me shifted: body image.

    I started to see myself in a different way, but I felt pressure to look a certain way whenever I was around other people my age. As I read and became invested in the monthly "how-to" guides in these magazines, things started getting uncomfortable. I started to feel like I wasn't good enough the way I was. For the first time, I was being told what beauty was, and I either fit the mold or didn't possess it. From then on, I would strive to be the ideal image of a girl on the pages of these magazines. Eventually, I started to hate myself for being born without the genes to fit in.

    Isn't it funny how comparison sneaks up on us? How we go from perfectly happy with who we are in the world to feeling above or below another person in an instant because of visual cues?

    We all have been there: You're in a store and you bump into the one person that you wouldn't want to see you without makeup and in frumpy clothes. You stumble for excuses to dismiss your horribly unkept self and try to save face

    The truth is, from that moment on, you will pick yourself apart for not being pretty in public...or in life, generally speaking.

    I remember when I couldn't leave the house without makeup, a perfectly picked outfit, or a good hair day. It was a production, hours of work just to step out into the world and fit in. It was like I wasn't good enough to be myself. I required fixing to exist inside my own body and outside for everyone else to critique. I got so sick of it, so I decided to completely take the focus off of others and find what made me beautiful.

    Why do we allow others to put beauty on this almost unobtainable pedestal? I say ENOUGH. You don't need to please anyone. Don't let the unrealistic, media-planted expectations of beauty tell you how you measure up.

    As women, we are constantly bombarded with the ideal image of what are bodies are supposed to look like. We always fall for it. It makes us cry in dressing rooms, body shame in our minds, and go on punishing diets to fit in.

    We need to hold our thoughts accountable and ask our bodies for forgiveness.

    Throughout my fitness journey, the parts of my body that I'd focus negatively on suddenly became stronger—and I was actually proud of them. I could do things I had never done before, like mud runs, half marathons, and pushups! One day, I just quit shaming myself because I was too busy loving all of my growth.

    There is no secret to loving yourself and your flaws. There is no magic formula. There's just kindness. Whereever you are right now, your body is good enough. Your body can do amazing things. Use positive energy to building yourself up, rather than tearing yourself down.

    You don't need to fit into a box or compete with a girl in your magazine. You have to teach others how to love you and your body by setting the example and doing it yourself. The media does not get to choose how you define beauty or the power you feel when you find it  inside yourself.

    Once we all come to terms with that—and our flaws—we will all be unstoppable. 

    Go ahead, be unstoppable. Because when you are, you're also #beyoutiful. Join the movement. Download your free poster and show us your body positivity on National Love Your Body Day.

    Guest Post: Overcome Negative Body Issues and Just #BEYOUtiful

    On Wednesday, October 18th, Momentum with be joining forces with Handful Activewear to celebrate National Love Your Body Day in a unique and visually powerful way. Our BE YOUtiful campaign will encourage everyone everywhere to reclaim the beauty and power within. We continue our series of inspirational blog posts with a BE YOUtiful story from Jennifer Langhans, a group fitness instructor full of body positivity.

    "If only she could lose 10 pounds, she would be so pretty."

    That one statement pretty much sums up my life. I've always been the chunky Italian girl. I was raised in a loving family, but overheard that comment repeatedly. I was never brave enough to try team sports, preferring the comfort and safety of books. Reading was my escape, and I embraced my role as an introverted intellectual. As such, it was acceptable to not be fit. I went on to get my Master's in English, and I lived the life of an academic. Fast forward ten years—plus three boys, multiple moves, career and physical changes—I felt like a different person. 

    We recently moved to a very active, physically fit community and I decided to join our local YMCA. I stepped into my very first group fitness class, and I was scared. I felt out of place among the blonde "supermodels" with perfectly sculpted muscles, but this curly haired hot mess was drawn to it. I loved it, and I kept coming back. 

    I was completely uncomfortable, but this class became the highlight of my week. While I was rocking out in the back row, I saw them—the others. The self-conscious, shy, frustrated, and overweight others. Some of them would sneak out and never return. I tried to be helpful and encouraging, but it wasn't enough. This is when I decided to really step outside of my comfort zone. 

    I decided to get certified. I wanted to teach group fitness classes.

    After I recovered from the initial high of my decision, the reality of this leap set in. It was still me, I'm the book smart one. Who would take a class taught by a chunky fitness instructor? "No one," I said to myself.

    The most important words are those that we speak to ourselves, so the self-doubt set in. I sat on my first certification for almost a year, held back by a cloud of negative thoughts. And then I remembered why I got it. My goal was to help others like me. People who weren't looking for perfection, but understand the importance of physical fitness.

    "If only I could lose weight, I'd make a great fitness instructor." 

    That pesky statement made its way back into my life, but I made the decision to be me...to be happy, and hope that my positive energy would be contagious.

    Our inner stream of consciousness drives us to make all of our decisions. As a society, we are becoming more aware of and embracing all body types. The media is flooded with body positive campaigns, but we need to find a way to get through our own hard heads and believe them. We tend to fall into a "great for her, but it would never work for me" mentality—but we need to quite our inner doubts so we an embrace our true passions.

    Truth be told, there's no easy way to overcome our own negative body issues. I'm a work in progress every day, but I move forward. We all need to move forward. Here are three super helpful ways:

    Three Ways to Overcome Negative Body Issues

    1) Realize that haters are just going to hate. This is out of your control, so just let it go. You will never appeal to everybody, so don't even try. Focus your time and talents on being you—the real you. Not who you think others want you to be.

    2) Read personal development books. Yes, they can be fluffy. And life isn't always that perfect, but they can help you grow. Let them feed you ways to help you overcome your weaknesses.

    3) Surround yourself with positive energy. Momentum motivate wraps, mugs, Instagram posts, shirts...find places to project positive messages so when you fall into self-doubt, there will be a simple reminder ready to lift you back up again.

    I'm still new to the fitness industry. I'm still a thick-but-fit instructor in a skinny fit world, but I've found my happy place. My classes are packed with front row divas and new-to-fitness moms with one thing in common—they are there to better themselves in a positive, encouraging environment that I have worked hard to create. I want all of my students to leave feeling strong, empowered, and ready to chase their dreams regardless of their pants size.

    Sometimes I tell my class to look in the mirror. I want them to see themselves lifting the weight, rocking the plank or doing pushups on their toes. I want them to see their strength and take it with them outside the gym. I want you to look in the mirror, too. 

    Remember, your inner dialogue controls what you believe. Don't let it pick a negative  path. Instead, let it provide the grace of body acceptance. Be you, and be happy.

    Join Jennifer and women everywhere on Wednesday, October 18th for National Love Your Body Day. Download your free BE YOUtiful poster and help us show the world what it means to overcome negative body issues.