The difference between self love and body positivity is the idea we are more than our bodies.
I sat down to interview the founder of Intensati and spiritual fitness, Patricia Moreno, and I’m humbled by her strength, wisdom, and passion for women’s health.
Patricia is the founder of spiritual fitness. With over 20 years of teaching and public speaking experience, she has been a trailblazer in the wellness world for many years.
In an effort to end her own struggle with her weight, eating disorders and body image issues, she created her signature workout, the intenSati Method: a revolutionary concept that combines the power of positivity, high-energy cardio, mindfulness and meditation to help people unleash their inner warrior and become greater than they ever thought possible.
Patricia is an international speaker, inspiring worldwide at Google, Equinox, Nike, Reebok, and The Limited among other notable organizations. She has been featured in publications such as Oprah Magazine, Vogue, Shape, Glamour, Well + Good, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America and Dr Oz.
Patricia: When I found exercise I felt alive, I felt empowered. I’m one of 11 kids and we grew up with a lot of focus on appearance. My mom really felt like how we look really determines the quality of life we have.
I was put on a diet when I was 8 years old because I weighed 130lbs and that spell of unworthiness was cast on me. In that moment my parents made this judgement that my weight was wrong, therefore, I felt that I was wrong.
In my early adulthood I was 212lbs and I accumulated this feeling of shame and guilt. Food to me was terrorizing and I didn’t know how to be around food.
My home wasn’t a healthy lifestyle home. We went from extreme dieting, restricting, and counting to the complete opposite. I didn’t ever feel like I had control or know what that looked like.
So when I discovered exercise, I got thin and fit and people started complimenting my appearance. I got more and more obsessed with my body. My career exploded, I was my thinnest and my fittest, but I was more depressed and self objectifying to the point where I was isolating myself.
I started gaining weight and the producer of my workout show at the time pulled me into his office and asked me what was going on. It was a low point for myself, and I turned to drugs to help me keep the weight off. I knew something was terribly wrong with my idea of health and I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.
There are millions of people trying to lose weight and keep it off who can’t because this is not the answer. We’re all investing into this ideal that is literally unattainable and unsustainable for most people.
Over the years I’ve come to expand the idea of health beyond keeping weight off to seeing ourselves not as an object to be viewed. Seeing ourselves as human beings and creating a life of purpose and love.
Patricia: It’s not fixing the problem we think it will fix. One thing I think is super important is that pride is not the opposite of shame, it’s the source.
We get stuck in this pride shame loop which is why we see all these before and after pictures. So you see the before picture which is shame and the after picture is pride. But then what happens is you do it, you get on that diet, get yourself “perfect” for the wedding or event.
Then, whatever means you used is probably unsustainable so you gain the weight back. It just compounds the shame because you had it and you lost it and people saw you get there and then gain weight again. It’s one of those cycles that’s absolutely devastating and demoralizing. This is the conversation I think is so important because we have to break the cycle.
To break this cycle, we have to move to courage.
Patricia: Stop thinking of ourselves as a body and stop weighing our worth. We need to expand how we view ourselves and what we have to offer to the world. We all have to realize that we all have a body and we all have to deal with it. When we’re comparing it all keeps coming back to how we’ve been trained to be body obsessed.
When we’re focused on physical fitness ($28 billion industry) there’s a lot going in front of our eyes when it comes to our bodies. It’s difficult these days to not be relating to ourselves as a body itself. We’re taught to identify as a body instead of a human being which is what’s causing all this pain.
Our true source is our spirit and our heart. Body positivity says “love your body” but it’s not about that, it’s about remembering we’re more than a body. The key is to see ourselves as more than beautiful, more than a body.
Patricia: For as long as I could remember I wanted to be a dancer, but there was no way my mom was taking me to dance class. So I didn’t get to do that until I was older and when I went into an exercise class, I could finally be seen. I had an opportunity to share my voice and take control over my body.
What I say now to people who hate exercise is, look at why you exercise. If it’s a punishment of working off eating too much or you’re trying to make it look better, why would you like exercise? You’re just reenforcing those negative feelings about yourself. Don’t think of it as exercise or a weight loss tool, it’s just movement.
I think of exercise as a way to activate my creativity, a way to clear my mind and get some energy. I’m a mother of 3 young girls so I want my body to be functioning so I can walk the whole time while we’re at Disney land. I’m working on reshaping my association with that word.
I see exercise as medicine because there really is a physiological shift when you move. That’s a real chemical change that happens. Exercise is the best drug in the world that isn’t harmful, but can be addictive. When we start to see it that way we see how much power we have to shift how we see ourselves before we lose the weight.
Patricia: When I created IntenSati, I created it to help people reenforce the power we have to shift from body identification to spirit identification. Spirit identification is more about how we feel than how we look and understanding that how we feel is not based on a number on a scale. It’s based on what we focus on, what we say to ourselves, and how we move.
When we feel better, we do better. We can never cause ourselves be better by making ourselves feel worse. That is so terribly important. When we see ourselves as unworthy in any way we make less money, we put ourselves in challenging situations, and we create poor boundaries.
IntenSati is about embodying affirmations and intentions. I like to call it a loving kindness workout. We speak affirmations while we’re moving which embodies a state of being, not a state of doing. So that in that state of being we can activate courage, confidence, and audacious self acceptance.
We create the feelings we think losing weight will give us.
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