Updated: Oct 6
In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Michelle, and how she changed her 35-years corporate career and became a holistic grief and loss counselor. We also talk about the main causes of body image issues, how they come up, and how she overcomes them. She also talks about how your inner world is just as important as your body. And we discuss what aging means to her and to her body.
You can READ the interview transcript HERE
10 Facts About Michelle
(at the time of the project)
1. 55 years old.
2. Michelle has two kids and a one-year-old granddaughter. Michelle’s daughter is 28 and a half, and her son will be 26 in November.
3. Michelle has a Maltese heritage. Her dad's from Malta and she went there for the first time last year.
4. Michelle spent 35 years in the corporate world until the beginning of last year when she completed her studies for counseling.
5. Michelle is now a holistic grief and loss counselor, and she has her own business called Inner You Life. So she works with grief that comes with any loss or any major life transition.
6. Michelle is very passionate about mental health and helping people get through their hardships.
7. Michelle is also a crisis support volunteer for Lifeline.
8. Michele loves the beach. For the last 5 years, she’s been living on the Northern Beaches and the beach is her place of happiness and peace. Before that, she lived in the Blue Mountains all her life.
9. Michelle loves connecting with people. She is a big believer in holistic health. And a huge believer in your inner world is just as important as your body.
10. To bring herself back in physical and spiritual shape Michelle uses 3 questions rule. Is there something I can do with this? How do I feel about it? And what do I need to do to feel better?
You can find Michelle here:
Hi, you're listening to the My Body, My Story podcast.
It's not just your physical body, it's your physical, your emotional, your spiritual, your energetic health and all intertwined. So, you know, we put a big, big focus on our physical body and exercise and diet, which of course is important. But if we don't actually look after our inner world, if we don't look after our stress levels and our you know, our emotional health, our body will see that, you know, it will show on our physical health and how we look and how we feel about ourselves.
This is the 45 over 45 chapter where we celebrate Rule Breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their sensuality beauty, soul, and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and we listen to the stories about participants. If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com
Hello, everyone, and welcome to The My Body My Story project. And today with us in the studio, Michelle. And while she's sitting in the makeup chair and Nicole creating her magic. I'll be asking her a few questions. Morning Michelle, welcome to the studio. Welcome to the project.
Thank you glad to be here.
Let's start and tell us 10 facts about yourself.
I'm 55 just turned 55. Actually, I've got two kids and a one year old granddaughter who are the light of my life. I have Maltese heritage. So my dad's from Malta and I went there for the first time last year. And that was amazing. I spent 35 years in the corporate world until beginning of last year when I'd completed my studies for counselling. So I'm now a holistic grief and last counsellor and I have my own business called Inner You Life. Very passionate about mental health and helping people get through their hardships.
What is it again if you can tell us what's the name?
Inner You Life
and where people can find you if they want to
My website is http://inneryou.life and they can reach me at email@example.com. I'm also a volunteer for lifeline. So I crisis support there and have been for the last couple of years. So a bit of a trend with mental health for me. I love the beach. I live near the beach and the beach is my happy place, I guess my place of happiness and peace. What else
Where do you live, which area?
I live on the Northern Beaches and
Yeah, I thought so. Because when you said the love it
I've lived there for the last nearly five years prior to that I'd lived out Blue Mountains all my life.
Oh, so it's a bit of a bit of a change.
But it's, it's good. And since I moved over there, I actually realised I had some primary and high school friends over there. So we've reconnected with those. So that's been really good. What else I love my friends, I love connecting with people. I'm big believer in holistic health. So doing the best I can for myself, my body, my well being. And just a huge believer in your inner world is just as important as your body.
So what made you what made you move into this field, giving up your corporate career?
Well, when I was the last couple of years in my corporate life, I did do a lot of work with staff around wellbeing and mental health. And I just found that whilst it it's a good place to work in the corporate field, it's it didn't fulfil me. I just didn't feel like I was adding any value to anybody. So I spent the last couple of years sort of studying and then when the opportunity arose at the beginning of last year, I just took it and it's been a journey, but I've started to build the business and it's been it's been amazing. I like I feel like I'm really adding some value to people's lives and that means a lot to me.
You mentioned that you're helping people to deal with grief and losses, and I assume it's not only death, it's also divorce or separation
it's yeah, it's everything. It's, I mean, grief comes with any loss or any major life transition. So even retirement or kids leaving home, I found a lot of women, us sort of going through grief because they've gotten to a certain age and they feel like they've lost themselves. So yeah, I'm just sort of putting together some grief and loss circles on different things now. So I've also just finished my studies for end of life doula, which kind of, I guess, goes into the whole grief and loss space. So yeah, so it's all still happening on my end.
So it wasn't something which you can relate to that. That's why it was interesting for you.
And yeah, I spent, I started out with studying and wanted to be a counsellor, I was kind of looking broadly that I was going to be, you know, a counsellor, just doing whatever. And then, middle of last year, my mum passed away. And it sort of, I guess it was the catalyst to go, I want to be in this space, this is where I need to be. And so I've been able to, I guess, use my own experience. I mean, I've had loss before, and, you know, death and all that sort of stuff. But I think losing my mum was probably the biggest. So that's kind of why I've landed in the, in the grief and loss space. But I think to so many clients come in, they start off, they're coming to see me because of grief. And when we sit down and talk there's so much underneath that. So many different things throughout their lives that they haven't quite addressed. So yeah, so that's, I really do like it. It's hard, but I love it.
It's interesting that you mentioned also kids leaving home and I thought, Oh, that's true. Like I've experienced it myself a couple of years ago, and it was real, the thing was real. Absolutely easy, isn't it? And that's actually led to this loss of identification, like thinking, Okay, who am I now, if not a mother, though I never looked at myself as a mother, you know, I thought I was doing my own thing. And on the way I was bringing up my son, but then when he left, I just realised that everything was focused on me being a provider for him as a mother. So your kids, you mentioned that you have two kids how old they are?
my daughter is 28 and a half, and my son will be 26 in November.
They both live separately.
Yes. And my daughter is with her partner and their baby. And my son is still at home at the moment with his dad still out round the lower Mountains area, because that's where his work is. But yeah, so they're there, even though they're adults, I don't know, you still don't ever lose that mother instinct, do you? It's not like they turn 18 And that fear,
but it's a bit of work on yourself to stop performing this role.
It is and then you know, then it starts again. Because now I've got this one-year-old granddaughter. So I go out every Monday. I don't see clients and I go and spend the day looking after her and spending it with her. So it's been amazing watching her grow the last year.
isn't different to be a mom or grandmother.
it's everything comes back. You know, all those memories of your own children come back. But I think the difference is
Yeah. And you're so much more experienced. And I feel like I'm so much more relaxed now. Like when my kids were young, I was always worried and not that you don't worry, but you you're just more relaxed than you were when you were a new mum yourself. But she's just started to walk. So that's been full on.
Yeah. So let's move to the ageing and body image questions. So what does ageing means to you? At this moment,
it used to mean fear. I used to be scared of ageing. Although I've always been open as open and honest about ageing. I've never sort of been one to kind of hide my age or you know, be embarrassed about it. There was still that fear around but now I see ageing as as wisdom and learning and growth and change, like being able to change and find who you are and what you really want to do. So I actually am enjoying the process because from where I was, you know, 10-15-20 years ago. I just feel so much more comfortable in my skin
so what but I'll get to this question later about how you keep yourself in such a great shape. Because for someone who's listening, they cannot see you like, when you said I'm 55 I was like what? I know it's like after 45 project, but I didn't expect that. Ah. So, but before we move to the question how you keep yourself in such a great shape? I'll ask you What do you think are the main causes of body image issues or insecurities?
I think, in particular, for women, there's still a lot of conditioning and standards around how we're meant to look, or how we're meant to dress how we're meant to behave. So I think, you know, for women, it's young girls, in particular, they're growing up thinking they need to be a certain way. And I think that conditioning has just been magnified, you know, 1000 fold by social media. So I think, you know, living or growing up in the social media phase, and looking at that stuff all the time, is not, it's not particularly healthy, because a good portion of the time what they're seeing is not actually real. So I think that's a big issue around around body image for young people in particular, and even for us, I guess, if if we're that way inclined to be to be worried about that stuff.
Yeah, but those, don't you think that social media is just a trigger for existing problem? And so the roots are much deeper?
Yeah, it is. I think it's been it magnifies, what's already there. And I think a lot of that is around belief systems. And what we're raised to, you know, depending on how how we're raised, and what we're sort of learning and what beliefs we develop, is going to impact how we look at ourselves. And then, you know, you've got the whole the whole range of disordered eating and body dysmorphia, I guess. So it's all it's all interlinked. But I think social media has definitely been a big trigger and doesn't help the situation.
So you said that, it's also to do with the way we're raised with a family, it starts in the family and the relationship of our parents may be with their body image, or how they translate it through their behaviour. I don't know, like, yeah, if your mom kept standing in front of the mirror all the time and saying, Oh, my God, I'm fat. So that's what we learn, from hearing that all the time and thinking, oh, probably, that's bad. And it's, it's the focus of your attention all the time. So how do you think that this negative body image affects relationships, I mean, that all sorts of relationship, not only men and woman, but your everyday relationship.
I think it's got a huge, a huge impact. Because I think, you know, if you're struggling with your body image, your self esteem is pretty low. Your belief in yourself, your confidence, the self love that you have, which is probably very, very lacking. If you you know, you've got those sorts of thoughts and issues about yourself. So I think when, when your self esteem is low, and you're feeling that way about yourself, number one, you tend to if we're looking at romantic relationships, you tend to attract people to yourself. That may not treat you the way you deserve to be treated, because you're so your self esteem so low. So you, you've got nothing to guide yourself by you just think you, you know, you accept the love you think you deserve. So I also think for, you know, relationships with family and friends and all of that sort of thing. It does impact because quite often you you're just so much in your head and you you tend to have that negative thought process about how you look. So going out and things like that become an issue, what you're wearing how you dress. And then on the flip side, I've seen it where you know, younger, younger women or girls become quite promiscuous because they're looking for that validation for themselves that they can't give themselves. So I think there's a lot of there's a lot of impacts and I think it goes really quite deep in how people are going to react to it.
So If your body could talk, who do you think it would ask you?
I think it would, it would say that it's not just your physical body, it's your physical, your emotional, your spiritual, your energetic health and all intertwine. So, you know, we put a big, big focus on our physical body and exercise and diet, which of course, is important. But if we don't actually look after our inner world, if we don't look after our stress levels, and our, you know, our emotional health, our body, our body will see that, you know, it will, it will show on our physical health, and how we look and how we feel about ourselves. So I think it's, you know, my body would say, make sure it's, you know, you're not just going for your walk and doing your exercise and eating, well make sure you're doing your other stuff, taking care of yourself your self care.
So while you touch this subject of taking care of yourself, what is your go to method to bring yourself back to shape when body related insecurities happens from time to time? So what do you do? And the other half of the question, how does it change with age?
it's definitely changed with age, my body doesn't quite react the same way as it as it used to. But I think bringing my my body back, I've noticed getting sort of over 50, you'd start to have some of those little hormone or type issues, I guess you would call them. So last month, I just did a hormonal cleanse and detox. So that was 28 days. So that was run by happy hormones. Happy, Healthy. Yeah, I think it is. So it's all very scientifically based with you know, nutritionalist and stuff. So it was it was done really well. And it made me feel really good. So it was, you know, it was a big impact on not just physically but also mentally. And I just, I try and keep my exercise up, I guess. So I try and walk daily. I've started to do some weights just at home just hand weights, and I'm yeah, do yoga. But I also on the flip side, do all the I guess well being stuff so I meditate every day. I do practice gratitude, because I think it puts you in a good space. So yeah, so they're the sorts of things I try not to beat myself up. You know, if I if I noticed a bit of stomach, stomach fat and things like that, because our bodies are changing. I just look at and practically and go okay, is there something I can do with this? How do I feel about it? And what do I need to do to feel better?
Like three questions you ask yourself? Yeah. So what do you eat? Because like, you look like very healthy, young person. So how will you manage to stay young, you know, and energetic.
I look, I'm not overly strict on on what I ate. I'm probably a little stricter these days. And I was but I don't kind of except when I was on my cleanse and detox I, I sort of try and stick to an 8020 rule. I love chocolate. So I do indulge. But throughout the week, I do just try and eat you know salads and vegetables and protein and that sort of stuff. I have sort of started to stay clear a bit of your, your white breads and things like that. So I do, do try and stay away from that. But I drink a tonne of water and herbal tea. I don't drink any coffee, I don't smoke and I do enjoy a glass of wine and a drink every now and then. But it's not. It's not regular. So but yeah, I think I think just through my studies and working with people, I think that you can improve how you how you sort of look and whether that's how you really look or how that's how you see yourself by looking after you by looking after your stress and your mental health.
Okay, so my last question. If you have any favourite quote, or saying about being a woman?
I certainly do.
“I can't think of any better representation than someone who is unafraid to be herself”.
It is a great one.
Thank you. I like it.
Thank you, Michelle, thank you very much for sharing your story and hope you will have a great rest of the day. and nice, relaxed, very relaxed, comfortable feeling and thank you again.
Thank you so much it was that was fun!
If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com
This is the 45 over 45 chapter of MY BODY MY STORY podcast, where we celebrate rule breakers and role models - the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their SENSUALITY, BEAUTY, SOUL, and TRUE ESSENCE.
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