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fff Savannah Hensley

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Savannah Hensley

fff Savannah HensleyNeeding to call an ambulance because you have intense chest pains and can’t breathe is a pretty scary experience.

…even more so when you’ve just sat down to read your 5 year old daughter her bedtime story.

But that was the situation that Frank Hensley found himself in.

By the time the dispatcher got on the phone, Frank was no longer able to speak, so he did the only thing he could…he passed the phone to his daughter.

A lot of children might have panicked, or frozen, but not Savannah Hensley.

In fact the calm way she deal with the situation is not only adorable, but probably saved her father’s life.

I highly encourage you to watch the video below where you hear excerpts of the 911 call…including Savannah’s concern about being in her ‘jammies’ when the paramedics are on their way:

So I’d like you to join me today in celebrating Savannah’s ability to keep cool in a crisis and helping the paramedics to save her father’s life (and yes, even her jammies too!).

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well.

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is the little girl called Faith

SorryOne of the biggest challenges in relationships these days is the fact the people don’t tend to be very good at taking personal responsibility.

We’re too quick to point the finger at other people, and look for where it ISN’t our fault…rather than how we can own our part in it.

So when I heard the story I’m sharing today, it warmed my heart.

Because this is the story of a 5 year old girl who made a mistake, and accidentally broke something at a department store in the Christmas rush.

Nobody at the store knew that it had even happened, so it would have been easy for her to have ‘gotten away with it’.  But this little girl wanted to make the situation right.

So she wrote a note to the John Lewis store, apologising for the accident in which a Christmas bauble was broken, and including in it £2 to cover the cost of the breakage.

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The store was so touched by the note, that they’ve spent all week trying to find the little girl to thank her and offer her a gift from the store to recognise her honesty.

They’ve since found the little girl in question, but because she is so shy she’s reluctant to come forward. But whether her identity becomes known or not, I’d like for you to join me today in acknowledging her for her honesty and desire to do the right thing.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well.

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

FFF Jeremy Loveday

Today’s Fabulous Friday Fellow is Jeremy Loveday

FFF Jeremy LovedayToday’s article is a real edge for me.

I’m not someone who tends to shy away from controversy, or is afraid to share things that might make people a little uncomfortable.

But there is one word, one subject that I find really challenging.

Rape.

As a woman, just typing that word brings up a physical reaction in my body.  It makes me want to recoil, hide, protect myself.

Any time I hear it…even used colloquially for another purpose, it has the same reaction…and it’s not something I’ve ever spoken about here on Feminine 1st.

Part of me wants to pretend that this awful part of the human experience doesn’t exist.

But I know that it does.  In fact, I know several women, friends of mine, who have been victims of rape.

So when I saw this video by Jeremy Loveday, I realised that it’s not only men that have to take of their masks…it’s not only men who need to talk about it, it’s us women too.  Because it is a reality of our world.  …and until such time as this horror is no longer a part of our culture, we need to keep talking about it, keep shining a light on it, and keep saying in words of one syllable: Rape is wrong.

I toyed with the idea of sharing this in the New Year…not wanting to put it out there during the Christmas season.  But let’s be honest, rape doesn’t stop for festivities.  It’s as relevant now (if not more so with the plethora of alcohol-fuelled celebrations) as any time of the year…and wanting to delay sharing it is just another way of avoiding the reality.

It’s not pleasant.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s difficult to face.  But it’s also a real problem that needs to be faced head on, by people who have the courage to step forward and remove the masks that are hiding us all from the truth.

..and I encourage you, no matter how uncomfortable it is, and how much you want to pretend that it’s not a part of your world, to watch and share this powerful video.

So today I would like you to join me in acknowledging Jeremy for his courage to speak out, and his brave words that echo in the minds and hearts of every person who has ever shied away from this topic.  We need to make a stand together…thank you Jeremy for encouraging me to use my voice to speak out about this as well.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well.

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

FFF Ben Macnaughton

Today’s Fabulous Friday Fellow is Ben Macnaughton

FFF Ben MacnaughtonI’ve often wondered how military families do it.

How do they live with the constant distance between them and the fear that any day they may receive bad news?

I don’t know if I would be strong enough to do it…it was bad enough having friends serving in war zones, let alone a member of your family.

So when I heard today’s story it touched my heart in a way I can’t possibly describe.

10 year old Ben Macnaughton’s dad, a Squadron Leader in the RAF has visited a war zone every year of Ben’s life and is currently serving as the Brigade Air Liaison Officer, with 12 Mechanised Brigade, Bulford, Wiltshire.

Since 2003 Ben has lived in the shadow of war and has spent approximately 50% of his life separated from his father due to his father’s military commitment. Sqn Ldr Macnaughton throughout Ben’s life has deployed continuously to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other war zones

So how has Ben dealt with this?

Unbeknownst to his parents, he wrote a song in his music lessons with 80s music producer, Anthony Clark called Messed Up World asking the world to give peace a chance.

Believe me when I say it’s a song that pulls on the old heartstrings…

When asked why he wrote the lyrics to the song, he said. “I want the fighting to stop so that children don’t need to be away from their parents anymore. I don’t think children should be away from their parents.”

“Did you write it because daddy goes away so much?”

“Yes.” He said.

Ben has never been to stage school so it’s very homemade and he is keeping it real. However, he has lived his whole life in the shadow of war so he wanted to raise money for other children in the same position as him.  So the song has been released in aid of SSAFA

SSAFA provides lifelong support for our forces and their families. It is a charity that does whatever it takes to get things done. They provide practical support and assistance to servicemen and women, veterans, and the families of both, every single day of the year.

You just need to read the lyrics to understand why this 10 year old wants peace:
“It’s a messed up world
But I won’t let it get me down
As long as I can hold my ground
I will be safe and sound

Fighting everywhere
There is no more peace in the air
Bodies lying everywhere
I am really scared
Everything is grey and black
Smoke is coming out of my hat
A glimpse of light comes from the sky
And everything is once again fine
People are alive and singing

The world can be so lovely yes it can
We should all be happy and never sad
If we could stop the fighting and end the war
We could all be happy for ever more
Forever more”

So if you would like to support Ben on his mission to spread the word of peace and support the SSAFA in the process then you can purchase the song here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/messed-up-world-single/id766580199

I hope his message spreads far and wide this Christmas…

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well.

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Sarah Nelson

Today's Fabulous Friday Female is Sarah NelsonIf you’ve been with us at Feminine 1st for a while now, you’ll know that I have a couple of weaknesses…

One of these weaknesses is cupcakes and another of them is random acts of kindness…

So when I saw a video that combined both of these, it made my day.

Sarah Nelson is an incredible little girl. She’s only 10 years old and has already started her own business to build up her college fund.

This in it’s own right is pretty impressive…But that’s only half the story.

Because Sarah has decided to share her profits with a good cause…and it helping to transform the lives of people less fortunate as a result…

So please take a few minutes to watch this story that will touch your heart (you may need a tissue or two)…

Sarah Nelson is an incredible girl who I have no doubt will hit her next target with ease and transform many peoples’ lives in the process.

I hope her story inspires you and many others to share their own random acts of kindness…

…and if you’d like to support Sarah in her mission to help others, you can connect with her via her website here or on Facebook here.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well.

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

Fabulous Friday Female Mama Hill

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Mama Hill

Fabulous Friday Female Mama HillAs soon as I saw the title of this video, I knew I would enjoy it.

“The Healing Power of Hugs”

…I didn’t realise how deeply it would touch me.

Mama Hill is a remarkable woman, who has given over her home and her life to helping young people who have nowhere else to go.

Teaching self respect, random acts of kindness and the power of love…she is transforming lives.

Rather than telling you her story in my own words…I’ll instead invite you to hear it directly from the kids that she is helping.

So grab a mug of something lovely to drink, and take a few minutes to watch this story that will touch your heart…

Mama Hill is a beautiful soul, and today I would like you to join me in acknowledging and celebrating this incredible woman who has dedicated her life to others.  I hope she inspires you to share some random acts of kindness of your own…

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

FFF Seth Adam Smith

Today’s Fabulous Friday Fellow is Seth Adam Smith

FFF Seth Adam SmithIf I told you that today’s Fabulous Friday Fellow, having recently got married, has decided that marriage isn’t for him, you might be surprised.

In fact, you might think the guy is actually a bit of a jerk.

But you’d be wrong.

Because this week Seth Adam Smith posted an article on his blog that blew me away.

…and rather than try and explain it, it’s much easier to just share it here…and allow you to draw your own conclusions:

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you.Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make herhappy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and aguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

Marriage is about family.

I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, myside of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

There are so many pieces of this that I love.  The understanding that sometimes love and compassion in the face of selfishness can open a heart wider than you can imagine. The clear explanation that relationships don’t work if you go there just to get…and they can be incredible when you go there to give.

I would also like to point out that this article is not only for men.  These principles apply universally. You get out what you put in, whether you’re a man or a woman.

So today I would like you to join me in honouring and celebrating Seth and his words…I hope they inspire you to look at relationships in a whole new way.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU. …and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Alexandra Watson!

AlexandraWatson001-150x150Whenever I speak in public, I always begin my telling my story…why?  Because it helps me to connect with the people who are in the audience, and it helps them to connect with me.  Every time I tell my story at an event, someone comes up and shares with me how much they appreciated me doing so…because they heard something in my story that resonated with their own.

Stories are powerful. When you hear a story that you resonate with, it creates a connection with the other person…a mutual understanding.  Which is why I’m sharing today’s Fabulous Friday Female with you today…because when I heard Alexandra Watson’s story for the first time, I heard a lot of my own story in it.

Alexandra Watson is an incredibly inspiring woman…who went from feeling uninspired and unfulfilled in her work to creating her own business that led her to coaching Leona Lewis on the X-factor.  If you’ve ever felt “there must be more than this” when heading into work on a Monday morning, I highly encourage you to take a few moments and listen to Alexandra’s story and pearls of wisdom.

…and today is a very exciting day! Because today is the first time ever that I have had a Fabulous Friday Female join me for an EXCLUSIVE interview to share with the Feminine 1st community, and I’m delighted that Alexandra made time in her busy schedule so that I could help her share her story with you:

What’s even more exciting is that Alexandra has invited me to come and share my own story…as well as some fantastic new content “Relationships are the key to shining in life” at her “Time to Shine Conference” on November 8th and 9th, here in London, visit the events page here to see all of the details.

…even better, I have 5 FREE Gold tickets (retail value £147+VAT) and 6 FREE Silver tickets (retail value £97+ VAT) to give to the Feminine 1st community so that you can come along to the event, see my new content live and meet me in person!

To claim your free ticket simply email me by clicking here now with your name, email address and telephone number and you could be joining me on the day!  The tickets will be given out on a first come, first served basis so the quicker you email, the better!

…and finally I would like you to join me in acknowledging and celebrating Alexandra for sharing her inspiring story…and helping other women to create inspiring stories of their own by living the life they’ve always wanted. 

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

This Week’s Fabulous Friday Female is Iris Higgins

Fabulous Friday Female Iris HigginsAs someone who has had issues with her own body image in the past, I’ve been on more than my fair share of diets.

In the past I tried all sorts to have the body I wanted…or rather the body I had convinced myself that I should have based on a lifetime assault of ‘thin-obssessed’ media.

I did slim fast, I did atkins, I did slimming world, you name it I tried it.

…and I’ve become increasingly concerned by the conveyor belt of new ‘diet fads’ that have been hitting the market in the last few years, from pills that stop you absorbing fat (and cause all kinds of nasty side effects) to the newest brand of meal-replacement shakes and the latest diet-in-a-can ready meals that have so few fresh ingredients that they can be stored for weeks without so much as looking at a fridge.

So with the past I have with food and body image, when I read this open apology from Iris Higgins (featured on YourFairyAngel.com and HuffingtonPost.com), an ex-weight-loss consultant for a large weight-loss company, it spoke to me.

I won’t say any more about it…I’ll let Iris’s words speak for themselves…but if you’ve ever had any questions about your body or your eating, trust me, this is one to read.

I worked at a popular weight loss company for 3 years. I loved my job there. I LOVED my clients. I loved making a connection and sharing my knowledge. And I learned a lot about nutrition, about dieting and weight loss and what works and what doesn’t. My job was to be a weight loss consultant, and I learned that job very well. I can design a 1200 calorie meal plan, tell you which activities are most likely to make the number on the scale go down, and how many carbs are in a cup of rice. I can talk the diet game like it’s my business…because it was. Volumize with vegetables. Don’t go too long in between meals. Start with a bowl of broth-based soup. Are you drinking enough water? Did you exercise enough? Did you exercise too much? Let’s look at your food journal…

This is not an anti-weight loss company post (although I could write that too). It’s a letter to each and every woman that I unknowingly wronged. My heart is beating a little bit faster as I write this, and so I know this needs to be said. The words have been playing in my head for months. Sometimes it just takes time for me to get up the courage to say the right thing.

So here goes:

Dear Former Weight Loss Clients (you know who you are): 

I’m sorry. 

I’m sorry because I put you on a 1200 calorie diet and told you that was healthy. I’m sorry because when you were running 5x a week, I encouraged you to switch from a 1200 calorie diet to a 1500 calorie diet, instead of telling you that you should be eating a hell of a lot more than that. I’m sorry because you were breastfeeding and there’s no way eating those 1700 calories a day could have been enough for both you and your baby. I’m sorry because you were gluten intolerant and so desperate to lose weight that you didn’t put that on your intake form. But you mentioned it to me later, and I had no idea the damage you were doing to your body. I’m sorry because I think I should have known. I think I should have been educated better before I began to tell all of you what was right or wrong for your body. 

I’m sorry because I made you feel like a failure and so you deliberately left a message after the center had closed, telling me you were quitting. I thought you were awesome and gorgeous, and I’m sorry because I never told you that. I’m sorry because you came in telling me you liked to eat organic and weren’t sure about all the chemicals in the food, and I made up some BS about how it was a “stepping stone.” I’m sorry because many of you had thyroid issues and the LAST thing you should have been doing was eating a gluten-filled, chemically-laden starvation diet. I’m sorry because by the time I stopped working there, I wouldn’t touch that food, yet I still sold it to you. 

I’m sorry because it’s only years later that I realize just how unhealthy a 1200 calorie diet was. I stayed on a 1200-1500 calorie diet for years, so I have the proof in myself. Thyroid issues, mood swings, depression, headaches…oh and gluten intolerance that seemed to “kick in” after about a month of eating the pre-packaged food. Was it a coincidence? Maybe. 

I’m sorry because you had body dysmorphic disorder, and it was so painful to hear the things you said about yourself. You looked like a model, and all of my other clients were intimidated by you, asked me why you were there because clearly you didn’t need to lose weight. And yet you would sit in my office and cry, appalled that a man might see you naked and be disturbed by the fat that didn’t actually exist. I’m sorry because you should have been seeing a therapist, not a weight loss consultant. 

I’m sorry because you were young and so beautiful and only there because your mother thought you needed to lose weight. And because there were too many of you like that. Girls who knew you were fine, but whose mothers pushed that belief out of you until you thought like she did. Until you thought there was something wrong with you. And the one time I confronted your mother, you simply got switched to a different consultant. I think I should have made more of a stink, but I didn’t. I’m sorry because you were in high school and an athlete, and I pray that you weren’t screwed up by that 1500 calorie diet. Seriously, world? Seriously? A teenage girl walks in with no visible body fat and lots of muscle tone, tells you she’s a runner and is happy with her weight…but her mother says she’s fat and has to lose weight and so we help her do just that. As an individual, as women, as a company, hell, as a nation, we don’t stand up for that girl? What is wrong with us? There ain’t nothing right about that. Nothing. 

I’m sorry because every time you ate something you “shouldn’t” or ate more than you “should,” I talked about “getting back on the bandwagon.” I cringe now every time someone uses that phrase. When did the way we eat become a bandwagon? When did everyone stop eating and become professional dieters? I’m sorry because I get it now. If you’re trying to starve your body by eating fewer calories than it needs, of course it’s going to fight back. I used to tell you that then, when you wanted to eat less than 1200 calories a day. The problem was, I thought 1200 was enough. I thought that was plenty to support a healthy body. Why did I believe that for so long? I’m sorry because I wasn’t trying to trick you or play games to get your money. I believed the lies we were fed as much as you did. 

And it wasn’t just the company feeding them to me. It was the doctors and registered dietitians on the medical advisory board. It was the media and magazines confirming what I was telling my clients. A palm-sized portion of lean chicken with half a sweet potato and a salad was PLENTY. No matter that you had “cravings” afterward. Cravings are a sign of underlying emotional issues. Yeah, sure they are. I’m a hypnotherapist with a past history of binge eating disorder. I KNOW cravings are a sign of underlying emotional issues. Except when they’re not. Except when they’re a sign that your body needs more food and you’re ignoring it. Then they’re a sign that your 1200 calorie diet is horseshit. Then they’re a sign that you’ve been played. 

And that’s mostly why I’m sorry. Because I’ve been played for years, and so have you, and inadvertently, I fed into the lies you’ve been told your whole life. The lies that say that being healthy means nothing unless you are also thin. The lies that say that you are never enough, that your body is not a beautiful work of art, but rather a piece of clay to be molded by society’s norms until it becomes a certain type of sculpture. And even then, it is still a work in progress. 

I owe you an apology, my former client and now friend, who I helped to lose too much weight. Who I watched gain the weight back, plus some. Because that’s what happens when you put someone on a 1200 calorie diet. But I didn’t know. If you’re reading this, then I want you to know that you have always been beautiful. And that all these fad diets are crap meant to screw with your metabolism so that you have to keep buying into them. I think now that I was a really good weight loss consultant. Because I did exactly what the company wanted (but would never dare say). I helped you lose weight and then gain it back, so that you thought we were the solution and you were the failure. You became a repeat client and we kept you in the game. I guess I did my job really well.  

And now I wonder, did I do more harm than good? When I left, you all wrote me cards and sent me flowers. I still have those cards, the ones that tell me how much I helped you, how much I cared. But I’m friends with some of you on Facebook now, and I look at your photos and you look happy. And beautiful. And not because you lost weight since I saw you last. But because I see YOU now. You. Not a client sitting in my chair, asking for my assistance in becoming what society wants. But you, a smart and lovely woman, who really doesn’t need some random company telling her there’s something wrong with her. 
  
So I’m sorry because when you walked in to get your meal plan, I should have told you that you were beautiful. I should have asked you how you FELT. Were you happy? Did you feel physically fit? Were you able to play with your kids? There were so many of you who never needed to lose a pound, and some of you who could have gained some. And maybe sometimes I told you that. But not enough. Not emphatically. Because it was my job to let you believe that making the scale go down was your top priority. And I did my job well.  

I am sorry because many of you walked in healthy and walked out with disordered eating, disordered body image, and the feeling that you were a “failure.” None of you ever failed. Ever. I failed you. The weight loss company failed you. Our society is failing you. 

Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense. 

And I can’t stop it. But I can stop my part in it. I won’t play the weight loss game anymore. I won’t do it to my body, and I won’t help you do it to yours. That’s it. End game.  

Luckily in the last few years I have come to love my body, and have learned that as with all things in life, balance is key, and listening to what my body says it wants and needs is the best path for me personally.  But not every woman has got to this place yet, so I hope that Iris’s open apology speaks to you in the way it spoke to me.

…and today I would like you to join me in acknowledging and celebrating Iris and her courageous and powerful message to women everywhere.

You are beautiful.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

fff-Angie-Sahe-Lacheante-150x150

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Angie Sahe-Lacheante

fff Angie Sahe-LacheanteToday’s Fabulous Friday Female is Angie Sahe-Lacheante.

As you know, the Fabulous Friday Female project is a group effort and I wanted to acknowledge and celebrate not just the women who inspire me, but also those who inspire YOU.

So a huge thanks goes out to Gita Curniffe who brought my attention to Angie’s story last week, and nominated her as a Fabulous Friday Female.  As you know I normally share my own thoughts on my Fabulous Friday Females, but this week I really want you to hear Angie’s story in her own words:

My name is Angie! I was born in Solo (Indonesia) to a Chinese mother and Indonesian father. I was the second baby of twins, orphaned, separated at birth, placed in an orphanage for six weeks, adopted by amazing British parents, and raised in the UK. I live in London with my (gorgeous) South African husband of five years, Mario :)) I’m a postgrad student at University College London, studying for a second master’s degree in MSc in Language Sciences specializing in Language Development.

Last month I entered a video submission to the HSBC Student Bursary competition 2013, which is an annual competition giving 10 winners a £10,000 bursary. The public vote for their top 10 favourites and then HSBC choose another 5. From those top 20, 10 winners are chosen. I’m currently flitting between fourth and sixth place! The only brief was that you had to show how a bursary would help enhance your potential. Here’s the link: http://bursarycompetition.students.hsbc.co.uk/_competition/video/show/return-to-solo

My video is inspired by my own story, but developed with a huge desire is to help make a difference to the lives of the children who are in the very orphanage where I came from. I visited the orphanage in 2012 but I (we) have a dream to go back and film a documentary about the amazing founder, Anne, and her extended family of children. Anne is British, has an MBE, and founded the orphanage 41 years ago. Some of the children have heartbreaking stories; stories of being abandoned, unnamed, unwanted … but they are overwhelming courageous, grateful, and full of big dreams. It’s my dream and desire to give back .. to give these beautiful children a voice and let their amazing stories of hope and courage be told. Even if I don’t win a bursary, I hope that I can make enough noise so that someone out there will perhaps pick up this story and help me on this journey to return to Solo.

These children are heroes, and they deserve to have their stories told.

So please join me today in acknowledging and celebrating Angie for her desire to help support the orphans who are beginning their lives in the same way she did…and wanting to share their stories with the world.  …and if you’d like to, please vote for Angie here to help her achieve her goal to share the stories of these amazing children.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female or Fellow, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female or Fellow? (Their name and location in the world)
  • Why are they a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know them? What do they do? In what way are they inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of them online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x