When it comes to tumultuous body relationships, I’ve experienced it all.
And if you were to see my smile and my confidence in myself today, you’d probably never guess that I once hated every inch of myself so desperately that I would stop at nothing to shrink away.
From obesity to life-threatening Anorexia Nervosa, diet cycles, self-loathing relapses and more… I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt (it said, “I spent all my life hating my body and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”).
This is me at Age 12. My hobbies included building websites, learning about horses and inhaling 3x the amount of food that my body required as a coping mechanism for the strange desire I had to punish myself. I knew that I was unhealthy but the more I thought about it (and the more the other kids bullied me), the further and further I descended into a vortex of shame, guilt and fear. I hated myself and was convinced that life would be different if only my body wasn’t so disgusting.
This is me at Age 17. After a valiant attempt at dieting to divorce myself from my childhood obesity, I found myself smack-bang in the middle of a 5-year long battle with Anorexia Nervosa that saw me shed down from one extreme end of the spectrum to the other. I survived on laxatives and Red Bull, compulsively weighed myself thousands of times a day (not even exaggerating), hadn’t had a period in years and was growing thick lanugo all over my back, stomach and thighs. I’d cough up blood throughout the day – in my heart of hearts, I knew that was a bad sign but the little voice in my head told me that I’d lose at least a few grams with every bit of blood that I coughed out.
For nearly 6 years, I barely slept. People told me they could see through my skin, and I was cold every waking moment of my life. Starvation and laxative abuse was no way to live a life, but that was my daily existence. I hated myself and I so desperately would rather have had my disorder take my life than to ever part myself from it (and it very nearly did end my life).
It started to become clearer and clearer to me that I was dying.
I wanted to stop existing… but I didn’t. I made the decision to recover. And although those first steps were hard (really, really fucking hard) and it took me more than a few attempts at drowning out those voices before I started to notice any progress (and even longer before I was able to get to a place of actual healing), I tried. That’s all it took. The decision to try, and to know that I was worth the investment in myself.
These days, life is different. Self-acceptance is my superpower.
I’ve faced my demons (and although they still live within me, they cannot hurt me). For I’m alive. I’m soaring. My voice echoes like a thunder clap and you can grab onto the love that I’ve learned to give my body. My heart is full. My stomach is full. My smile is wide. My mind is no longer an abyss. This is what it feels like to know myself.
And fuck, I feel beautiful.
Anastasia Amour is a Self-Love Coach and the bestselling author of Inside Out: Your 14-Day Guide To Transform Your Mind-Body Relationship. In her signature straight-talking style, Anastasia teaches women how to master embrace their bodies, find self-acceptance, and make peace with food and exercise so that they can start truly living. Renowned by respected media outlets globally, her mission is to inspire women across the globe to shun toxic media standards and look within for their own sense of worth. Anastasia is a proud member of the Association For Size Diversity And Health and National Eating Disorders Collaboration, as well as a Registered Associate Member with the International Association of Counselors and Therapists.
BA. Communications (Murdoch University), Adv. Dip. in Counselling (Monash University), Adv. Dip. in Eating Disorder Treatment (UCL), Dip. in Food Psychology (Deakin University), Dip. in Psychology and Mental Health (RMIT) & Cert. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Flinders University) & further studies ongoing.
After everything that I’ve learned, I want to tell you something:
We all deserve self-love. Period.
That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to helping women all around the world to move past eating disorders, yo-yo dieting, body insecurity and low self-esteem.
We all deserve to feel confident and accepting in our own skin. We all deserve to be given the tools to feel sane around food and exercise; to drown out toxic messages that do not serve us and to make peace with our flaws.
And although every person’s journey to self-acceptance is different… every journey matters.
– My philosophy –
Because YES, there’s a science to it! It’s not all fluffy, hippy woo-woo “Have a candlelit bath and look fondly at your stretch marks!” – it’s real psychology broken down in ways that you can apply right now. It’s not always easy. It’s a non-linear journey that lasts a lifetime. And it’s freakin’ LIFE-CHANGING.
I teach women that self-love is:
~ Embracing the body that you’ve got right now (even if you want to change bits of it).
~ Making peace with every line, scar, bump and curve on your body, along with the stories that go with them.
~ Building resilience for your bad days.
~ Being okay with the fact that you’re not going to feel like a bombshell every day, and learning how to be compassionate with yourself.
~ Knowing that your body is beautiful, but your body is not all that you have to offer the world.
~ Understanding that only you get to define what makes you, you.
~ Learning to tap into what you need from yourself in order to thrive.
~ Making positive, healthy decisions for yourself based on understanding your own unique physical and mental needs.
~ Being your own biggest cheerleader.
~ Celebrating all the amazing things that your body does for you!
~ Open, kind and honest.
~ A lifelong journey, not a destination.
It all starts with a conscious choice.
I know that self-love sounds daunting and you might not know where to start, what to say or even how to get started at all… but rest assured, I’m right here with you every step of the way… through the good times, the not-so-good times and the times where you just need to know it’s ok to feel like you. Because we are all imperfect, all flawed and all need help sometimes. Self-love is a journey, and it all starts right here, right now. You just need to make the decision to try.
Are you ready to embrace self-love right now?
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