Photo: Diane Flores, captured by photographer Carlo Gomez
I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while. And I actually originally started this blog in 2013 (lol), but with one of my good friends and peer in the industry, Diane Flores, launching her long-awaited Sensual Movement (yes, ladies, it’s for feeling more sexxxxxy) program this week, I thought it a great time to finish it up and get it out.
Feeling “sexy” is such a complex thing. The term gets thrown around a lot, like, “Become your sexiest self!” or “Feel sexy in your skin!” and I’m over here like, okay but what does that actually mean??
Well, as is typical, I want to explore the concept of “feeling sexy” from a dieting point of view and share with you my story, something I’ve never shared before.
The Complicated Relationship Between Being Lean and Feeling Sexy
Going a little rouge today. I wanna talk about something we often skim over in the physique world and that is feeling sexy and beyond that, female libido. Seems a little strange that we don’t talk much about it considering one of the #1 reasons many people exercise and want eat well is to change their body thinking they’ll feel more confident and sexy as a result.
I was talking to a friend a couple weeks ago, and reminiscing on my competition days and granted, I didn’t use the healthiest or most sustainable practices during contest prep, but I mentioned that I’d never felt less sexy, despite being the leanest I’d ever been.
But also, makes sense. Think about not only the physical exhaustion from training, but more importantly, the mental fatigue from thinking about food constantly.
And the often restrictive practices, cutting out whole food groups, adrenal implications, biochemical implications (carb intake is directly related to serotonin uptake in the brain, so it’s no wonder you feel like a zombie when you go low carb!), and the insecurity around our bodies (!!!), can all leave us feel less sexy than ever.
It was a weird experience for me, dieting and the implications around libido and feeling “sexy.” I thought I’d feel my sexiest ever, and be my most secure, confident self ever, but it didn’t work that way.
In fact, the more I focused on making my body into some kind of work of art sculpture with hard lines and no soft edges, the more insecure I became: Is my stomach sucked in enough, is there still cellulite on my thighs when I put them in this position, what’s happening to my love handles now, am I flexible enough, is it too light in here, what do I look like now, etc. etc.??
Talk about not feeling sexy or sensual!
I was under the impression that the leaner I got, the more attractive I was supposed to feel. How come that wasn’t happening?
It was disorienting. And the other thing that confused me was … the opposite was happening. In my off-season, I was enjoying a lot more carbs, I was slowing gaining weight and my libido was off the charts. Yes, I was still fighting body insecurity but it didn’t impact my ability to feel sensual and engaged when it came to sex with my partner.
The common denominator—leaner or not—was me. My mindset around my body. My insecurity around it. My thinking about my body.
We know this intuitively but it bears repeating here: your ability to show up confidently in your skin is a state of mind.
There’s not an inverse relationship between body fat % and confidence. It’s not like the leaner you get, the more confidence and sexy you feel.
Some people do. Sometimes. But it’s not a given. It takes mental work to overcome feelings of body insecurity. It takes focusing on something other than your body fat % or dress size. It takes feeling as though you matter, you contribute, you are worth regardless.
Confidence and feeling as though you are just as worthy of feeling sexy as anyone else, is a choice that you can literally make any time.
But I also have some tools for you—and 2 of the 3 I have handled, but I will still working on the 3rd!
3 Ways to Increase Confidence and Feeling Powerful and Sexy in Your Body
We know this. Physical strength in the gym begets mental strength. I’ll never forget when I started lifting at 16 with my best friend, Sally. The two of us walked around feeling like Superwoman. We even joked that we couldn’t wait to get in fights at house parties (no, mom, we never did!), to “try out our new muscles.” If you’ve had the experience of lifting heavier weights in the gym for a period of time, you know this to be true. There’s nothing more powerful than a woman whose mental game matches her physical stature.
2) Value yourself outside your body.
This was a hard one for me, as it takes letting go of needing to look a certain way (be less “perfect”) and focus instead on ways you can contribute outside of your body. For me, this took the form of starting the blog at JillFit, writing daily, creating systems and frameworks to help others feel successful, and ultimately start doing distance coaching. I found that I could feel valuable from the insight and service I was providing to others, and it was a lot more rewarding than focusing on my own abs and thighs and arms all day long. And also starting to show up more authentically and let the chips fall, instead of feeling like people would only like me if I looked a certain way.
If you are still working on this, I’d take out a piece of paper and write down the ways in which you contribute and kick ass outside of your body. And then feel free to leverage those as much as possible.
Because a woman is at her most powerful when she’s unafraid to show up unapologetically as herself and let the chips fall.
3) Explore and enjoy your body right now, without needing to lose weight or look different.
This is something I am exploring now, with the help of my friend Diane. She’s a hardworking mom of 3, who’s owned a pole fitness studio for the last 10 years and has helped thousands of women of all shapes and sizes learn to appreciate their bodies, as is, and feel their sexiest and more sensual ever.
Diane and I actually did a 1:1 session over Skype recently, where she taught me some of the most basic sensual movements she teaches her women. Nothing too crazy considering she works with mostly regular gals and other moms who want to feel more confident but aren’t about to compete in pole fitness (you’ve seen the YouTube vids, I’m like, yeahhhh, that’s not going to be me, ha!).
And what I learned is that moving in a new way, both for fitness and for fun, was so liberating!! I didn’t think at all about, how many calories am I burning, what muscles am I working, this is silly, who am I do this, etc.—all I thought about was moving my body and not being scared to get a little sensual with it.
Yes, we recorded the video so stay tuned, I’m gonna share it soon, ha! But it was a blast, and I’ve been doing Diane’s videos for the last couple weeks in the comfort of my own living room. They’re as short as 5 minutes and as long as 30. It’s been an adventure into my own body and a complete 180 from the hard-hitting cardio and weight-training I normally do.
Sensual Movement made me soften a little. Which is new! Ha!
Anyway, I wanted to share this with you because I think a lot of you are like me, not sure how to address the yang to our usual hardcore yin, and Diane’s program is one great way to start feeling a leeeeetle sexier and sensual without having to join a studio or commit to doing just this.
I have been sprinkling in the flows, normally 1-2x/week. And it’s made a huge difference.
You can check out all the details for Sensual Movement here.
Diane has agreed to leave her new course open until tomorrow (Friday) for you, if you want to take advantage. The course closes at midnight on Friday Sept 1st.
I’d recommend using the flows not as a full-time training program—besides, a girl’s gotta lift—but how I am using them, which is in addition to. And lawd, even a little bit of sensual movement has felt so freeing! ;)
Some tweetables for you: