Health and Wellness Coach, Laurie Powell shares with REglam her personal story about her modelling, weight gain, weight loss journey, and body love. Her experience has grown to help many people achieve their goals and love the body they have!
REglam: So you said most of your life you were slim up until you were finished with modeling and got married. How did this body change and weight gain affect your confidence?
Laurie: My whole life I was string bean slim. This was embarrassing growing up because I was already 5’8″ in 5th grade. But, by the time I reached my late teens, I had what would be considered a typical model’s body. 5’10″+ tall and very slim. I did do some runway modeling in my early 20s but didn’t really like it. I was a professional musician at the time and wanted to be known for my brains and my talent. To me, modeling was for people who were walking clothes hangers. I have since come to know models who are well educated and well-rounded over all. My issues with weight and body love came after my marriage. We were trying to get pregnant and I ended up doing a course of IVF. This causes you to gain weight because you are shooting yourself up with hormones.
After this, I thought I would lose weight easily. I did not. I hid my weight well. I know how to dress and because I’m tall and fine boned, it looked like I was only 20 lbs. overweight. My confidence was very low. I wore clothes to cover my weight.
REglam: So no one could tell you were struggling?
Laurie: No. They thought I looked great. I tried to lose weight but the weight didn’t fall off like it did when I was in my 20s. I had no idea how to lose weight. I would curb my diet or workout more and stayed the same. This went on for 3 years. I finally figured out that I needed to ignore the lose weight quick schemes out there: 5 day detox, etc.
There is no magic bullet Slow and steady wins the race. I gave myself a year to lose 30 lbs. Even though my goal was 50 I broke it down into 3 lbs. one month, 2 lbs. the next. Alternating it like that. That total comes to 30 lbs. in one year. With short term small goals like that, I was able to figure out where I was gaining and what I needed to do to lose weight. And, I had wiggle room. If I only lost 2 lbs. in a 3 lb. month, I could make up the extra pound in the next month. I did this without any doctor’s guidance. In 12 months, I successfully lost 30 lbs. YEA!
REglam: That sounds like such a healthy way to go about it!
Laurie: Yes, it was an excellent plan. People were so amazed by my transformation that they asked how I did it. I told them I had another 20 lbs. to go & that I was repeating the program again over a year’s time. I recruited 27 people to join me on their own weight loss journey. BTW, I still felt fat, even though I was probably at an ideal weight for my body and age. I wanted to look like I did when I got married.
REglam: Is this when you decided to be a coach for others who needed help in their weight loss journey? Even though you were still having trouble with your own body image?
Laurie: I was only doing it to help my friends & family who were also struggling with weight loss. We had a very successful first year. I lost my 20 lbs. and the group collectively lost 300 lbs. I repeated the program again the next year and I was coaching everyone. For free. It took me several years of doing this before I realized I should be doing this for a living. I then attended Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in Manhattan to become a certified health coach. I now do it professionally and work with people one on one or in groups — however they prefer.
REglam: What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
Laurie: Helping people discover that their body is unique to them.They need to find body love! Not everyone is 5’10”. I teach clients to listen to their body. If you eat healthily, your body performs better. If you eat badly, drink too much, overeat, etc. your body will tell you. Because you will feel bad physically. Emotionally, is a whole other story. Body image wounds run deep. I still think I’m too fat and unworthy of admiration. But, I teach others self-care and to love the skin they are in. It’s a process. Undoing the self-shaming is difficult. The media present body images unrealistically. Especially when they airbrush magazine covers. No one feels pretty enough.
REglam: It truly is hard to bounce back from years of self-deprecation. You’re also an advocate for clean eating–no hormones, abused farm animals, artificial ingredients, etc. What do you think needs to be done for clean eating to spread?
Laurie: Education! And, it needs to start at a young age. I garden, so I control how my veggies are raised. I teach people how to garden and how to cook and how to share the joy of health with their children. I don’t have or watch TV. I don’t read or look at beauty or fashion magazines any longer. I decide what is my ideal weight and body type. I encourage others to do the same. The media is full of body shaming. Whether it’s fat shaming or skinny shaming. And, now it’s about fit shaming. Not everyone can spend 4 hrs. a day at the gym.
REglam: It seems the media doesn’t want anyone to be happy with themselves because they profit off of people being insecure.
Laurie: Exactly. Especially women. To me, healthy is the new skinny. Not fit is the new skinny. Not “fit is the new skinny.” Having a well-toned body is not in reach of many. Healthy blood sugar levels, healthy cholesterol levels, being able to play with your kids without getting winded is the new sexy in my book.
REglam: Exactly. Not every body is the same, and being “fit” doesn’t always mean healthy.
Laurie: EXACTLY! I know a lot of very unhealthy vegans. And, athletes who eat fast food. Education about where our food comes from, how it relates to our planet is my platform. You can’t have healthy food if you don’t take care of the air, the water, the soil. You can’t eat animal flesh if it’s pumped full of drugs like hormone and antibiotics or the animals were abused. It’s bad for your body and your soul. And for our planet. It’s a spiritual message really. We’re all connected. Not just to each other. But, to animals, great and small, like insects and earthworms. We’re connected through the air we breathe and exhale. We’re connected through our water and soil. If someone is hungry on the other side of the planet, it is because we are eating too much or disrupting the natural rhythm of the Universe.
REglam: You also endorse clean, sweatshop free style, correct? The same way with food, it weighs heavy on the mind when you know you’re wearing clothes that were made by people getting paid pennies per hour, if that. What do people absolutely need to know? And what advice/tips do you have for people who may not be able to afford the lifestyle–at least not all of it.
Laurie: I’m all about questioning everything we buy, wear, eat, drink, use. Did someone suffer to bring you that $4.99 tee shirt? Education. I’m all about ethically sourced everything. Whether it’s the coffee I drink, what I wear, what I eat, where it came from, how the animals were treated. I started my organic skin care line in 2009. Totally Nude Girl. While researching ingredients, I found that most beauty products on the market are full of chemicals and our government allows it. I draw a hard line on animal testing, animal abuse of any kind, and on exploiting labor.
REglam: Thanks for answering everything so thoroughly, it’s been a pleasure!
Laurie: I believe when we work for the greater good, we elevate our own souls as well as everything else in the Universe. After all, we’re all stardust.
Interviewee: Laurie Powell Twitter: @totallynudefood
Photo By: Andrea Parish- Geyer
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