The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women. Empowering Change.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Denise

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s  Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s Phoenix is Denise:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

Loving yourself is always remembering to be true – true to your mind, body and spirit. In learning to love myself I’ve learned how to love all of me, all the time.

I am learning to listen to myself. I am such a giver that sometimes I give until I have no energy left. However, not the new and improved me; I’ve learned to stop and think about how it will affect me. As I’ve gotten older, I realize how we’re quick to question others, but won’t question ourselves. In learning to love yourself first, you have to be willing to question yourself and come up with solutions.

Putting yourself first isn’t always the easiest feat but it’s a must.

I love to listen to music; it’s my biggest stress reliever. I can go for hours listening to Jill Scott, The Foreign Exchange, Dwele and a host of other Neo Soul-type artists.

I also love being by water. (SN: I cannot swim, and I don’t know if I want to learn!) Since we have no “real” beaches in Cleveland, I settle for going to the lake and sitting for hours just listening to the water. I actually do some of my best self-reflecting there.

I love to read and travel as well.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

In October 2014 I began my fitness journey. The experience of going out of my comfort zone really opened my eyes to “how to be a better me”. I never had a true purpose for why I wanted to change; I just knew I had to. I looked at my fitness journey just as that, a journey. I was totally clueless when I began losing weight so I started following an Instagram account: fbffitness. After weeks and weeks of debating, I joined her 8-week weight loss challenge. The challenge consisted of being on a virtual team where you were to complete certain daily tasks and receive points. In the end, you had the opportunity to win money! Well, I didn’t win but I made it to the top five out of 100+ contestants.

I never really celebrated that accomplishment until recently. In my mind, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Wrong! It was huge. After I finished the challenge, I began personal training at a local gym for a few months. With personal training and a new diet I was on a roll…so I thought. I was still unhappy. I had to learn that this lifestyle change is all mental. I realized I can make all the physical changes in the world, but until I changed my mental outlook I would still be exactly the same.

I am happy to say that I am 40+lbs down forever!

Women Weight Loss Journey[The Phoenix Rising Collective]

LYFF Feature, Denise, sharing her 40+ lbs weight loss

Is there an obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome that has led to a deeper love for who you are?

Embracing change is a huge challenge for me. I’m now allowing myself to try new activities, new foods and new adventures. Being patient with myself is also an obstacle. My friends would say I am one of the most patient people you would ever meet, and I am…with others. In my own life I want things to be quick, fast and in a hurry. Learning to be more patient with myself has allowed me to relax and understand that things will happen when God says so.

What have you learned from self-love?

I have learned from self-love that no one will love you like YOU! Self-love allows you to be your own advocate. Self-love allows you to be a better woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. Self-love has taught me to be happy with all my flaws.

 

Thank you, Denise, for sharing your self-love story! You are truly a Phoenix rising. Congratulations on such a major lifestyle change. It most certainly is a big deal!

Were you inspired by Denise’s story? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Want to share your self-love story?

Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring features.

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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Erin

Erin

Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of our Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s inspiring Phoenix is Erin:

Erin’s journey to better physical health and wellness is definitely inspirational, and we know her transformation will motivate and empower many women!

Two years ago Erin weighed almost 280 pounds and was a type-2 diabetic taking two types of insulin. After losing her job (and facing the possibility of losing her health insurance), she spiraled into depression. “I didn’t like or even begin to understand what it meant to love myself. I felt like I had no control over my life and at the age of 25 that did not give me much hope for my future.”

With a very strong determination to take control of her life and actively work toward more health conscious decisions, Erin prayed to God for purpose, strength, and guidance. “I decided I was tired of paying $200 a month for medicine I did not need to be dependent on. I decided I was tired of fearing being judged on my appearance before going into job interviews or my own self-consciousness holding me back. I decided that if I was unhappy with something, I DID have the control to change it.”

She stopped breaking promises to herself, started counting calories, and began using her gym membership (that previously collected dust). The pounds gradually dropped! Erin found the clarity she yearned for (and more self-confidence too). She recognized that her commitment to positive change led to more experiences she wanted to have, and with each determined step to get healthy, Erin lost more and more weight. In the process she steered her life in a new direction, found a love that she (for the first time) believed she deserved, and pursued a career that landed her the dream job she wanted. That’s not all. Because of her dedication to health and wellness, she was also taken off her diabetic medicine.

Erin passionately continues her health journey with strengthened faith, and today she is 155 lbs (so you do the math). “I was a woman on my knees praying to God for clarity, for reassurance that I was going to get through the storm though in my heart I was doubtful. I am now a woman who still prays for strength to weather my storms but never doubts that I will get through them because my past has shown me that once I do, the future is so much brighter.”

 

How inspirational is this Phoenix? Kudos, Erin! We applaud your courage and we’re so happy you shared your self-love story with us.

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If you’d like to share your self-love story with The Collective contact us here.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Diverse women tell stories of triumph, share personal affirmations, and declare love for their lives! The series is meant to inspire and empower women to fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self-esteem.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.