SHE LOVES HERSELF – MERET BOXLER

 

Welcome to the first of my new series ‘She Loves Herself’! I’m so excited to start this series of regular guest posts sticking two fingers up to the world of body shaming and sharing some love when it comes to our fabulous bodies – squidgy bits and all!!

Kicking off the series is the wonderful Meret Boxler who describes herself as Former national radio DJ, freelance journalist, writer, speaker, podcaster, recovering lifetime yoyo-dieter/exercise addict/compulsive eater, self-love establisher, body image improver, body positivity promoter, Health At Every Size (HAES) advocate, size-diversity acceptance promoter, weight-stigma and fat-phobia fighter, women uniter, big hearted human,cat lover, book worm and friend.” 

I mean could she be any more perfect for a debut guest post? She also writes in TWO languages, German being her first (yep, and I struggle to blog once a week in English!) Meret lives in Zurich, Switzerland and is a relatively new ‘discovery’ for me. Having listened to her podcasts and read her blog I found her backstory and determination inspiring- in fact I have to thank her for the support which gave me the courage to stop being such a big baby and just get on with starting this series – thanks Meret!! So let’s hear what she had to say…

MeretBoxler 2_1

Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?

Fabulous is a big word – I have only been on my self-discovery and self-acceptance journey for two years, so bear with me:
1. My feet. Sweet, strong, smooth.
2. My hair. Soft, shiny, sweet smelling (usually)
3. My skin. Delicate, sensitive, soft.
Note to self: She really didn’t (!) want to know about the parts I dislike and am learning hard to applaud for.

Share a memory of when you felt particularly good about yourself.
Every time I podcast interviewee reaches out to me to tell me that I am a great interviewer and that they really enjoyed their time with me and felt completely safe and really heard. Those are the moments when my body image woes don’t matter. Because I know I’m appreciated for who I am and not for how my body is or isn’t shaped. And that’s true for all of us.

Has your relationship with your body changed over time?
It is now in the process of changing for the positive! But chronologically speaking, it has changed numerous times: Assuming I was quite a happy camper when I was born, I quickly learned that  “my body is wrong and needs to be fixed.“ (First diet: 5 years old. Yes. Insanity) I was put on restrictive diets as a kid and subsequently learned to obsess about food, eat in secret, binge and be put on diets again. When I grew up that turned into a quite a large body. After I was 20, my own body hating began and I started my own diet-quest: What started out harmless enough, over the years turned into more and more of a thin-obsession; I just HAD to look like „those women in the magazines“ – maybe THEN I’d feel good about myself. I yo-yoed my way through my 20s and 30s, and my weight-suppressing turned more and more extreme (because, maintaining a lower weight gets harder the longer you do it), so I became extremely obsessed with what to eat/what not to eat and turned into a complete exercise addict. All the time hating my body more and more, running into the ground with constant overexercising and binging, feeling increasingly weak and sick, but still not ever finding happiness no matter how low my weight was. My period went missing, my hair thinned out, my nails became brittle, my sleep turned into crazy insomnia. Not good.

So after finally crashing and burning at the age of 40, I started to see what toxic diet-culture messages I had internalized and was ruled by. I started educating myself, intensified therapy, and really kneeled into body positivity, Health At Every Size, media literacy and the truth about weight-regulation science. Now, 1 year in, I have my own recovery podcast, a blog, a huge Facebook group (all called „Life Unrestricted“) and am stunned and saddened to see just how MANY women are wasting their precious mental and physical energy on trying to become smaller, instead of living their life unsuppressed. I live and breathe to change that, and in order to do that, I am also learning to love (first: accept) my own body.

If you are a parent (or have little people in your life), has this changed how you perceive or discuss healthy body image?
I do not have children of my own. But I can not stress enough how important it is that any child’s mother and father is a good role model in terms of size-acceptance, body peace and non-restrictive eating. children learn even from non-verbal interactions. So sadly, when a woman dislikes her body and is constantly trying to diet and talking about „how she needs to lose those pounds“, her child will inevitably inherit those messages.

My own mother was spending her living years getting thin, constantly on diets and trying everything from shakes to vegan to low-carb eating rules, and all it did was make her obsessed with food, frustrated and self-loathing. It pains me to know that she never knew freedom before she died.

What advice would you give to your teenage self on the subject of body image?
Oh man. That’s a tough one. Probably: Read Naomi Wolf’s „The Beauty Myth“, and somehow get your hands on the truth about the 60-billion-dollar diet-industry, the fact that diets don’t work, and please don’t go down the rabbit hole of dieting, and more dieting and more dieting and ever more desolation. In short: Take the short-cut to self-love and live free! You are loved and worthy as you are, no matter what our diet-culture wants to make you believe.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done for your body? Starting this journey. Resting more. Starting my podcast (makes me happy, makes my body happy). And: Not drinking.

Share one confidence boosting trick for days when you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’.
I discovered body-positive body image podcasts 1 1/2 years ago and they are a game changer to this day. (Yes, so I did the inevitable and started my own. Haha!)
Anyways, it really helps having supportive headphone friends to help you get back up when the inner Gremlin brings you to your knees. (And it will! Those messages have been learned for ever, they can’t be un-learned in a day.)

Who in the public eye do you admire for celebrating natural body shape?
Virgie Tovar, Jes Baker, Sonya Renee Taylor, Rob the Diva, Ragen Chastain, Taryn Brumfitt and many, many others!

Give us your best body positive quote or mantra.
You are not worth more when there’s less of you!

I pledge to love myself a little more today by…
Smiling at myself while brushing my teeth (quite funny) and going to bed before midnight.

Big love,
Meret
Find my podcast „Life. Unrestricted.“ here (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/life.-unrestricted.-podcast/id1130713233?mt=2#episodeGuid=2e33a4a55eb5704d667446414c8a20da
or here (Stitcher, for android phones): http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/meret/life-unrestricted-podcast?refid=stpr
And my blog here: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/
And my FB community here: http://www.lifeunrestricted.org/join/
Tweet @box73

I really hope you enjoyed the debut post, thanks so much to Meret for being a guest, make sure you look her up! If you would like to take part in this series I’d love to hear from you,  just email messandmerlot@outlook.com or leave a comment below.

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56 Comments

  1. Oh my word what an inspirational woman! I was glued to this interview – didn’t want to miss a word. She speaks such logic and has such an incredible approach to life and positivity. I’m coming back to this post later to look into her podcast and follow her links. Just thank you so much for sharing this – what an excellent post and an excellent series – well done you! #BloggerClubUK

  2. I love this!!! My sister has always struggled with body image issues… I have always maintained a healthy weight and don’t calorie watch etc… I love food and just balance that with exercise; my job is very labour intensive and I love my exercise bike! Love this series… I’ll be watching out for the next one! <3

  3. This is a brilliant idea for a series, Charlie. So positive…I like positive. I look forward to following it. What an inspirational and sensible lady Meret is!

    Love that quote…You are not worth more when there’s less of you! I’m pinching it!

  4. Wow! What an amazing start to the series. Lots of material that I’m now going to listen to/look at, too. It’s so refreshing to read about a woman celebrating her body and talking about positive body image. Well done Charlie for this fab series idea. #BloggerClubUK xx

  5. An incredibly motivating read…what a woman! I think all of us have struggled with wanting to look a certain way at some point. I know I still day dream about being a skinny as I was on my wedding day (never gonna happen) so maybe it’s time to let that go! I also felt a bit inspired a bit by the bit about giving up alcohol…something I’d love to do, but social drinking is so ingrained in our lives I can’t ever really see it happening.
    Wonderful post – Thanks so much for sharing with #coolmumclub xx

    1. Isn’t she great? I’d change lots of things about myself if I could but I’m just at the point where the size of my ar$e seems way less important than it used to! 🙂 Plus I’d rather just have the wine and the cake and stop worrying so much. So glad you liked the post (I don’t think I could give up alcohol either – I’d last about 2 days!)

  6. You ridonkulously clever girl. What an amazing idea for a series! She sounds a bit cool that Meret (and how loud did I snort at your line about barely managing to blog once a week in English PML…yeah me too even though I don’t run a fab cake business alongside it!) #bloggerclubuk

    1. Eek thank you!! The response has been so great *breaths sigh of relief* I’m not sure if I blog around baking or bake around blogging anymore, usually juggling both until I absolutely have to leave for the school run 🙂 x

  7. Inspired. (I could just write that, but I don’t want to appear to be a lazy commentator!) Body image is such a HUGE issue for so many women and some men, that it is such a good idea to give it a platform. This interview with Meret was the perfect kick off. She is so honest in her answers which, of course, is what this series needs. She has set the tone for a something really positive. Congratulations. Alison x #brilliantblogposts

    1. Yay! That’s lovely to hear, yes I agree becoming more and more common in men too unfortunately. Meret’s great isn’t she? I was delighted when she agreed to take part. Thanks for your comment, really appreciate it 🙂 x

  8. I’m feeling so inspired right now! What a fantastic woman and how refreshing to hear someone be positive about themselves. I love this series Charlie and you’ve definitely launched it with a bang! #coolmumclub x

  9. What a fabulous series, with an amazing opener. I am eager to read on and sprea dthe wisdom to women everywhere with you! I am an eating disorder survivor, as is my Mrs. As a mom of two girls, we worl hard to never let them experience the things we did that caused our inner voices to pump up the volume. Carry on with this torch and set us all free! #ablogginggoodtime
    BTW, may I reblog this? <3 <3 <3

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment. Really pleased you enjoyed this, it means a lot as I wasn’t 100% sure people would be interested in the concept of the series. Absolutely I’d love you to reblog it thank you! x

  10. What a great idea for a series. It is about time we push back on the ideas of what body perfection is. I also dabbled in dieting and it took me years to figure out it didn’t work and there are some things you just have to accept. Ultimately, it lead to a career in wellness. Loved the post. #bigpinklink

  11. I am so glad I read this. This is what Linkys are all about, discovering fab blog posts. A very inspirational interview. I particularly love the line “You are not worth more when there’s less of you!” So true, and something every young women should be told!
    Great idea for a series 🙂
    #bigpinklink

  12. What a brilliant series, thanks for starting this with such an inspirational women. Like many women I’ve had a bad relationship with food, and as a result body image. I’ve realised this has been carried down my family from generations back – the expectation to look good and be thin. I’ve had to stand up to certain family members to say that they had better accept me the way I am, I don’t want to buy into this body obsessive culture. But it’s still a struggle! Thanks again – can’t wait to read more!

  13. Reblogged this on lisapomerantzster: Are we there yet? and commented:
    After reading this post, I knew it had to be reblogged, here. Self love, body shaming, and how the world treats women today scares the crap out of these two moms with two sweet girls. They should never know from the things I personally struggled with in eating disorders and the need to become invisible. Please read this important piece, the first in a series from Charlie over at messandmerlot.com. No little girl, young lady or woman of any age, anywhere should be self loathing about their beautiful bodies. Thank you too to Meret Boxler for her inspiring words. Please read on, and love and embrace who you are every day. <3

  14. I knew I was going to love her, and I do!!!!! This is an awesome, uplifting, inspiring idea for a series!! This is something I’ve really struggled with, and I still have a massive mountain to climb before reaching the kind of self acceptance I need. I have made a few small progressions, and will definitely be checking out all of Meret’s links, to help me along. It will take a long time to change the habits of a lifetime! Thanks for bringing Meret to our attention, and for addressing such a devastating issue, so positively. X
    #bigpinklink

    1. Yayy! I’m glad you like the series and it’s so lovely to hear that you’ve found it inspiring. I really hope you enjoy Meret’s links and find them helpful! Thanks for hosting x

  15. I love this new series and what a fabulous interview to start with. I really loved reading every question from you, and every answer from Meret. Such a positive and insipirational series. Cant wait to read the next one! Thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

  16. Wow what an inspiration, and what a brilliant idea for a series too! I love the quote, it’s great to remember to appreciate our bodies how they are and not get hung up on dieting and what we eat all the time. This is something I have struggled with for so long and it’s lovely to read something so positive. xx #marvmondays

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