Mentor masterclass: Lisa Beasley of My Body Positive
Lisa is founder of My Body Positive, which offers one to one coaching and group workshops that promote mindful eating and help people to feel more confident and comfortable in their own skin. Ahead of her Bristol screening of the body positive film Embrace, we chatted to Lisa about how to banish those body blues…
You’re an ambassador for mindful eating and body positivity. Can you tell us a bit about what you do and how you got into it?
I help women to stop dieting and learn to find freedom around food whilst finding a place of self-compassion and love their body as it is NOW. We live in a society where we are told that there is only one way to have a body, yet most of us don’t fit into that box. I had my own struggles with weight, food and self-esteem for many years and it was driven by a misconception that life would be perfect if only I could lose weight. I felt like I didn’t belong and I dieted, but even when I was thinner I still wasn’t happy. I eventually realised that being at peace with yourself is all about what goes on in our heads (and hearts) and not about what we look like.
After discovering the idea of mindful eating on social media, I found a course that resonated with me. It helped me to focus on why I was eating the way I was. It turns out, it wasn’t about the food at all – I was eating to manage other emotions. The course changed my life and gave me such freedom. I realised it wasn’t my fault I couldn’t stick to a diet and I wasn’t a failure for not looking like the people I saw in magazines. Then I trained to facilitate the course myself because it is what I desperately needed 30 years ago when I was stuck in my eating behaviours.
I am also a Global Ambassador for The Body Image Movement, an organisation based in Australia and led by Taryn Brumfitt. Her mission, like mine is to help women learn to love their bodies. This is such important work because I know from experience, how we can waste our lives focusing on what we look like as opposed to what our bodies CAN DO and what we can give to the world.
You are promoting a film called Embrace, which is all about body positivity. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
Taryn Brumfitt and the Body Image Movement created this phenomenal film and we’ll be hosting a screening of it in Henleaze in Bristol on 11 November. It’s about Taryn’s journey from hating her body to loving the skin she is in and takes you on a rollercoaster of a journey across the world where she interviews celebrities, magazine editors and inspirational women who have been through very tough times and have learned to love their bodies. It’s a must-see. I’m also working with many others to take this film into secondary schools to help educate young people about this body positive message.
What has given you the confidence to feel good about yourself?
For me it’s taken a long time and sometimes I admit, I can feel quite angry about this. I feel strongly that we shouldn’t be accepting the current ‘wisdom’ around our bodies and what is desirable and ‘healthy’. I no longer compare myself to others, as it’s pointless. I’ve discovered that even the women whom I think look fantastic have their own issues, and this was a revelation to me. When I stopped dieting and realised that I could manage my own eating, it was tremendously empowering for me.
What’s been the best style advice you’ve received?
Style advice is a tricky one for me because I’ve only recently embraced the idea that I can have an interest in fashion/style. Stylist Becky Barnes once said to me that dressing is a tool, and to think about the image I want to show the world, and that had a big impact on me. I had my own misconceptions about fashion and styling and I thought it wasn’t for me. I’ve now realised it’s about self-acceptance and self-worth. It’s not about numbers on a scale – we are so much more than that and we should stand tall.
What advice would you give to women who are struggling with body confidence or might feel like they’ve ‘lost their mojo’ a bit?
I would say to reflect and remember that actually, only 3% of us look the way you probably think you ‘should’ look. Those images of perfection we see all the time aren’t even ‘real’ because they’ve been digitally altered. Remember too that most of us have issues with our bodies, whatever shape we are. There is this misconception amongst larger women that women who are slim have it all and don’t have body issues, but they do. Weight loss does not cure a negative body image.
Also, remember you are so much more than what you look like. Our bodies do not define us. What about our personalities, our strength, our kindness and our warmth? What we look like is actually such a small part of who we are as people, yet we get fixated on this and start to believe we’d be better people if we were slimmer/taller/had longer legs for example.
What does the future hold for you and your business? What are your aspirations?
I have big, bold aspirations, not just for my business but body positivity as a whole. I want women to realise that dieting is futile and a waste of the amazing lives they could be living. I would like to see the diet industry decline and I think it will when women realise they don’t need to change their bodies, just their perceptions of their bodies. I want to have a thriving business where women feel supported and safe to come and talk about their inner thoughts about themselves, so we can change their mindsets and set them free.
My Body Positive will be hosting a screening of Embrace at Bradbury Hall in Henleaze on Saturday 11 November at 6.30pm. Tickets cost £6.70 and are available online at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/embrace-screening-henleaze-bristol-tickets-38666855606?aff=es2
Watch the film trailer here: