Have you ever looked in the mirror and disliked what you saw? Have you ever been disappointed in your body?

Abby had always treated her body like a temple and was proud of the way she looked. That is until she gave birth. After that, she gained lots of weight and developed many stretch marks. Her body had changed, and she now hated looking at herself in the mirror. She couldn’t stand the way she looked or felt. She was once the fittest people at the gym, and now she can hardly keep up with the newbies. She was embarrassed and ashamed of the way she looked and didn’t know how to move on.  

First, I would help Abby understand that gaining weight and developing stretch marks are normal after giving birth. Then, I would help Abby determine what it means to be beautiful for her. I would suggest that abs aren’t the only thing that makes someone beautiful and certainly not the only thing that makes a person valuable.

Have you ever felt like this? Do you have an interesting case you’d like to share? Reach out! If you want to share your thoughts on this episode or the show, or if you’d like to share your experiences with us, email us!



Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I'm the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast. And today is Fridays with Ferne, where my daughter Ferne comes onto the podcast and shares a case with us that we get to discuss, analyze, and deconstruct.  

Ferne, welcome. 

[00:00:26] Ferne Kotlyar:
Hello. Thank you for having me! How are you today?  

[00:00:30] Kim Ades:
I'm great! I'm excited to talk. What do you have in store for me today?  

[00:00:35] Ferne Kotlyar:
So today we have a case about a woman named Abby. Now, Abby was always super active. She ran marathons, she taught yoga, a bit of Zumba. She was always super healthy, very conscious about the things she ate, you know, she looked great and she was very proud of her body. Then she had a kid. And as we know, when you have a baby, your stomach grows.  

The issue is that when the child was born, you know, everything was fine, but her stomach didn't really shrink to the size she wanted it to be. She saw her body had stretch marks and she just wasn't happy when she looked in the mirror. You know, she was a lot heavier than she was before, she wasn't fit, and she was dissatisfied.  

And so, she would go to the gym and she would feel uncomfortable because she used to be the one, you know, teaching the classes and helping the people, and she used to be the Zumba instructor. And now she's self-conscious, and she doesn't want to run on the treadmill in front of all these people who used to look up to her. 

And quite frankly, she's embarrassed and she goes in this bad cycle of looking in the mirror, feeling bad about herself, not feeling comfortable about going to the gym and staying in this bad shape and not really doing anything about it, because she's so uncomfortable with the way she looks. And she feels stuck and unhappy and she doesn't know what to do. So what advice would you have for Abby?  

[00:02:00] Kim Ades:
So I'm going to ask you a question and you're going to be surprised, but what advice would you have for Abby?  

[00:02:08] Ferne Kotlyar:
Interesting question. Well, I think that, you know, I would tell her that when you get pregnant, that's what happens. And it happens to everybody and there's nothing to be ashamed about. I mean, I'm sure she's heard this advice before and I'm not sure if it would help her per se, but, you know, it happens to everyone, and if anything, it's something to be proud about. I mean, look at what you produced. You produce this incredible child and I feel like that's worth the world.  

[00:02:40] Kim Ades:
Right. And she understands that intellectually, but in her heart, she still looks at herself in the mirror and it still doesn't add up. She still feels bad, she still feels ugly, just still feels chubby, she still feels stretch mark-y.  

[00:02:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
And not as beautiful as she used to be.  

[00:02:58] Kim Ades:
Right. So, anything to do on that front?  

[00:03:04] Ferne Kotlyar:
I mean, definitely! Look at her thoughts and see what that says about her. Like, okay, so she has stretch marks. And what does that mean? What do you think that says about you as a person? Why do you think that you can't lose this weight? I mean, you've been training for years, your whole entire life.  

You're a sporty person. Why can't you-- What's stopping you from going back and, like, go running in the streets and enjoying all that you used to enjoy? And of course, it'll take you time, but that's normal.  

[00:03:36] Kim Ades:
Right. So it's very interesting and I'm glad I asked you your approach was very, very much on the mark. But I would go even a little bit further. Right? And so, you know, here's the thing. Very often when people, moms have kids, they have what's called postpartum depression without even being aware of it.  

They're affected emotionally by having their children. And sometimes their thinking isn't quite as sharp or as aligned with their desires as it used to be because they're being affected by their hormones and things are out of whack for them. They can't think clearly. And they are super emotional and super sensitive. And it sounds to some degree like Abby is in this case.

So now the question is, what happens next? What do we do? You know, we can tell her "yes, it's normal. Yes, you know, having kids, you're going to grow, your body's going to change shape. All of that's going to happen". It still might not leave her with a whole lot of comfort. And so we want to go in two directions. 

The first direction is to really explore the question of "what makes you valuable? What makes you beautiful? What makes you important in the world? Is it your abs or is it more than that?" Right? What makes you important and really, truly worthy in this world?  

And you know, one of the directions I would have a conversation about is that your body is a component of you, but it isn't you. It's not reflective of who you are. And so we would have that conversation to say "you are more than your abs". And so for her to stop attaching her worth to exactly the shape of her body. Okay? So that's thing number one, that I would really start to focus on.  

The second thing, and I think this is very, very important, is to help her understand the thinking that extraordinary leaders, extraordinary performers engage in. And I will say this is that most people who achieve outstanding goals are not people who have never encountered difficulty or adversity. Every single one of those people has encountered something challenging, difficult at some point or another. 

But these are people who have a high, high degree of emotional resilience. And their thinking about the adversity they encounter is very different from the norm. And what they do is they look at their adversity and they say "okay, so this thing happened to me. I had a baby, now I'm out of shape. That's the adversity. How do I leverage it? How do I turn it into an advantage?"  

And right now she's looking at that as a disadvantage, as a flaw, as a chip in her armor. And what I want to do with Abby is say actually, this is an advantage for you. This is actually a secret sauce for you. How do you turn it into something that you can truly leverage if you're in the sports world? 

So you're not the only mother who has lost shape. You're not the only mother who feels this way. How do you use this to truly connect with others? How do you use this to embrace a community who desperately feels the way that you do? And they look in the mirror, they don't like what they see either. How could you be the voice and the champion for these people and help them gain a level of self-acceptance and get back into shape at the same time? 

And so with Abby, it seems like she's a highly driven individual who has certain expectations for herself. And when she looks in the mirror, she says "I'm not meeting those expectations. I'm failing, I'm falling, I'm less than". And what I want to help Abby understand and learn is number one, your body is not a reflection of how much you're worth. But also this experience provides you with an opportunity to really grow as a person and to have a massive impact on the world, around you. 

And so the question is, how do we leverage? How do we make the most out of this experience that you've had in the body you have now? And are you really, truly ready to step into that role of leadership and into the role of having massive influence over others? And so I would challenge her to step up instead of placating her and saying "Hey, it happens to everybody. It's okay. You know, it's part of being a mom, etc". She's not gonna accept that anyways. Right?  

[00:08:25] Ferne Kotlyar:
Very interesting. And so in terms of, you mentioned before her postpartum depression, would you do anything differently? Given that her hormones are out of whack. So given this postpartum depression, would you change your approach? 

[00:08:42] Kim Ades:
I mean, I think that one of the most powerful things that I can do for a client is help them understand what's going on for them, understand how they process things, understand how they're wired, understand how they're reacting and responding to situations and why they are reacting and responding to situations the way they are. 

And when we're aware of what we're doing and why we're doing it, now we have a choice. Now we can choose if we want to continue doing what we've been doing or look for alternatives. And for her, an alternative might be, you know, maybe she has a thyroid condition that's causing her to be really tired and sluggish and weight gain. 

Very often pregnancy triggers a thyroid condition. So maybe one choice is to go get a full physical exam and understand what's happening with her, if it is postpartum depression, I don't know if it is. But I would ask her to investigate and find out. Right? And so for her, I would increase her choices. 

You have many, many choices. What are you going to choose now? And how do you choose from a position of strength as opposed to a position of self-loathing? Which is what she's experiencing. How do you make decisions from a place of loving yourself and loving the child that came from you?  

[00:09:59] Ferne Kotlyar:

[00:09:59] Kim Ades:
That's very important as well. 

[00:10:02] Ferne Kotlyar:
So, what about... how do you feel about affirmations? Like, when she looks in the mirror and just tells herself that she looks beautiful.  

[00:10:10] Kim Ades:
So she clearly doesn't feel that, right? So, she looks in the mirror and she can tell herself "I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful". But what happens is in the back of her mind, she says "no, I don't. Who am I kidding?" And so what happens in the back of your mind, always trumps everything else.  

The beliefs you have really rule the show, right? They set the stage. And so I don't want her to engage in affirmations that she's not believing in or buying. What I really want her to do is to explore why she's feeling the way she is and to think about how she wants to feel. 

And, here's a good one, if she has a daughter and her daughter is looking in the mirror and feeling horrible, terrible, and ugly, what would she tell her daughter? And why is what she would tell her daughter different than what she's telling herself?  

[00:11:09] Ferne Kotlyar:
I guess she loves her daughter in a different way.  

[00:11:11] Kim Ades:
Well... You got to set the example for your daughter. So there are lots of opportunities here for her to think differently about herself and to see what's happening as a massive opportunity, as opposed to, you know, a punishment for being a mom.  

[00:11:28] Ferne Kotlyar:
And so tell me something, how would she use this as an opportunity? Like, what's an example of something she could do with this in order to turn it into an opportunity? 

[00:11:36] Kim Ades:
Well, if she's been teaching a whole bunch of people, you know, yoga and Pilates and doing all these things, she has a group of people who are interested in her progress. And with that group of people, she could be brutally honest and say "Hey, here's how I feel about myself. And, you know, I need some support, but also let's get onto the bandwagon of getting strong and healthy again. 

And oh, by the way, if I'm never as perfect as I used to be before having kids, you know, I'm going to need some help in finding a way to accept that and I'm looking for support". And so showing up in that authentic, real way brings people closer to you. It doesn't move people away from you. And she just needs to find the courage of being truly real with people who already know and love her. 

[00:12:26] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah. It's definitely tough, especially when you're, you know, an instructor and people look up to you. It's hard to let your guard down and be vulnerable in front of so many.  

[00:12:35] Kim Ades:
But what's the alternative?

[00:12:38] Ferne Kotlyar:
Keeping your guard up and pretending? Fake it til you make it?  

[00:12:41] Kim Ades:
Well, keeping your guard up, pushing people away and feeling very lonely and very isolated and very bad about yourself. I don't think that's a good alternative. I think that alternative is a very sad alternative.  

[00:12:57] Ferne Kotlyar:
I agree with you.  

[00:12:58] Kim Ades:

[00:12:58] Ferne Kotlyar:
A hundred percent.  

[00:13:00] Kim Ades:
And here's the other thing. We can't reach our goals from a sad, miserable, unhappy place. It's impossible. We need to find a way to get Abby to a better place and a better feeling place about herself. 

[00:13:15] Ferne Kotlyar:
Definitely. So if you were to give Abby one last piece of advice, what would it be?  

[00:13:21] Kim Ades:
One last piece of advice? I'd say, you know what? It would be two things. Number one is, who are you? And where does your worth come from? Does it come from your abs or does it come from something else? And to really have her think about what does it mean to have value to have worth. 

And number two is so, you just had a child, let's call it an experience you had. How do you leverage that experience? How do you turn it into something that's truly an advantage and how to use that to connect with people you love and care about? How do you even leverage it to build up your career all over again? 

[00:14:02] Ferne Kotlyar:
Definitely. Well, thank you so much. I think this was really helpful for figurative Abby, but also applicable in a lot of other cases, when it's not necessarily to do with having a child and having stretch marks, but just not liking the way you look or feeling insecure about your body.  

[00:14:22] Kim Ades:
Exactly. And high five to you for giving it a shot up front. Way to go. You went in a good direction.  

[00:14:29] Ferne Kotlyar:
Thank you! I'll get there one day.  

[00:14:31] Kim Ades:
You'll get there one day. For those of you who are listening, if you have a case that you want to share with us, please reach out. Ferne, how do they reach you?  

[00:14:39] Ferne Kotlyar:
Please email me Fernekotlyar@live.com. It will be in the show notes.  

[00:14:46] Kim Ades:
And you can reach me too. It's Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.  

Please continue listening, please like, please share. We love to hear your feedback! Please find us, please reach out. And if any of you want to be on the podcast, on Tuesdays we feature you as our guests and I coach you live on the spot on the show. So please reach out. Till we see you next time. Have a great week.

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