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Episode 96 – Courtney | Waste and Recycling – How is it done | My Body. My Story PODCAST

In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Courtney, who was born and raised in Texas, US, and her passion for the environmental industry. We get into details of the waste and recycling business and discuss how it works. We also talk about the aging and the main causes of body image issues, how they come up and how she overcomes them.

You can READ the interview transcript HERE


10 Facts About Courtney

(at the time of the project)

1. 42 years old.

2. Courtney was born in the US and raised in Houston, Texas.

3. She left Texas when she was 18 years old and went to university on the East Coast in Virginia for four years and got her degree in anthropology.

4. Then she moved to Washington DC and got her dream job with the Discovery Channel.

5. Courtney played field hockey in the NCAA Division 1 and loved the sport.

6. In her 20s, Courtney had a plan to travel the World and had this awesome itinerary booked. She was supposed to go to India, Bali, Thailand, and Vietnam, but every single place on her itinerary ended up having a natural disaster that year.

7. She moved to Australia when she was 24 and started her career in the environmental industry. Courtney loved it, specifically the waste and recycling segment. She was there for nine years. When Courtney was overseas, she would always take pictures of bins.

8. Courtney also worked as a sustainability consultant for Harris farm markets. Also, she set up recycling programs for all the major stadiums in Victoria and New South Wales, for Qantas Airlines, hospitals, and KFC.

9. Courtney is married and has two kids. Two boys. One is 12 and the other is 10.

10. Courtney and her family live out in a rural area outside of Sydney with a little horse farm and feels more Texan there than she should.




Hi, you're listening to the My Body, My Story podcast.

And I always struggled that, you know, I just I could never access that deep bass and me and if you, you know, look into like just the body and even like chakras, that's the base chakra. And I realised I was avoiding that. And that's your childhood. That's your insecurity, you know, and that, that groundwork, that foundation wasn't set for me. And so I haven't wanted to access that part of me. So that's been really interesting to see what comes up when I do take those deep breaths, and I usually cry, which is sad.

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 listened to the stories about participants. If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the My Body My Story project and today with us Courtney in the studio. And while she's sitting in the makeup chair, and Laura is doing makeup for her. I'll be asking a few questions. Hi, Courtney, welcome to the studio and welcome to the project. And let's start and tell us 10 facts about yourself.

Thank you. I gotta keep it to 10. No, you can. I wish I was that interesting. I think you were I wish I was that interesting. Yes. Hi, I'm Courtney. I'm 42. I am from Texas. And I was reflecting on my drive here this morning that I moved here when I was 24. So I thought that was really special that I was 24. Now I'm 42. So it sort of mirrors each other. And so here I am, in this chair. I am married I have two kids. Two boys. One is 12 and one is 10. And we just got a new puppy, which is our first pet ever. So it's very special for our family.

What's the breed?

We bought a miniature Labradoodle and he's chocolate brown. And he's super cute. And we've named him Nacho. Little throw to my Texas roots.

And yeah. And I was the US born and raised in Houston, Texas, but then went to university on the East Coast in Virginia. I played field hockey on a division one team for an NCAA in the NCAA, division and loved sport. That's how I identified myself as it was as an athlete. And so it's been interesting as I've gotten older how, especially having kids and getting married, I have lost a lot of the thing that act you know, they're active, sporty - Corty that I used to identify so strongly with.

Why would you … you didn't have enough time?

Well, it's interesting because my husband, he plays in my professionally, a sport now. And so it seems like all of our time nurtures that hobby, or that, that sport for him. He's a polo player. And so our whole life is horses. So it's sort of funny, I'm from Texas. I'm not even from a farm. But like, I'm from a big city. But now we live out in a rural area. So my rural area outside of Sydney with a little horse farm, and I feel more Texan here than I should. But I never fit in at home. So that's sort of I guess something I've always reflected on is what are you in leave Texas. So I left Texas when I was 18 years old, and I haven't been back. And I miss it. So I went to university for four years. Then I moved to Washington DC. And I got my dream job or dream company. I wanted to work for the Discovery Channel. Oh, wow. And I just harassed them until they hired me. And I just kept showing up. Because it was only it was a two hour train ride from my university. And I would just go up there. And anyway, finally I was able to get a position after graduation. And I loved living in in Washington. My sister lives one of my sisters lived there as well. And it was just a great time I would look back on that time in my 20s it was just awesome. Just fancy foot and free. Washington DC is a very walking friendly city and I just would just I just feel like I walked everywhere. And it was lovely. And I loved him the company I worked for but then I started getting a bit antsy because I thought I'm working with the Discovery Channel but I'm not discovering anything I'm not you know it amongst the content that they're filming and that's where I want to be I want to be on upset. And I just kept saying, I was like, please send me anywhere, any of the global offices, I'll go, you know, and they, they were like, Look, you have to be, you know, like a senior vice president or higher to get transferred, transferred to get a visa and you know, all the things now that I've realised just make me voice a person's Hi, how's it going made me a vice president. And I was like, by the time I'm not old, I'm not going to want to be thrown around, I wouldn't I'm not gonna go any I don't want to be uplifted anywhere and dropped somewhere. And, you know, Africa or somewhere in Congo. So I know, I remember. I think I remember telling my boss I was like, I just really because my degree was in anthropology. So I got my degree in anthropology. So I thought, I just want to live with a tribe, I just put me in this tribal setting. And I'm just totally wild. And it's and that says, always set within me in my base and my core, like, I still crave that. I just finished watching alone, Australia. I don't know if you guys have seen that. And there's this amazing badass Gina, who's on the show. And she just is one with nature. And she knows how to live and survive in the wild environment of Tasmania. And she kicks ass and I'm like, I want to be Gina. And so but here I am, you know, wearing normal clothes, eating food from the grocery store. And I'm like, This is not no, this isn't all right. So today, I have a landscaper at my house completely ripping up my garden and putting in a full fledge veggie patch with all raised beds. And I'm so excited because this is this is me being more coordinated. This is like a Courtney garden would be growing my own veggies, like come on, like for real this is that shouldn't even be hard. Like that's a no brainer for me. And since that's nurturing, so that's genuinely nurturing that hobby. But going back to DC, when I was antsy, and kind of wanting to get out and explore the world, I found a friend who wanted who was willing to go on around the world ticket with me. And I was like, let's just let's just quit our jobs and travel. Let's take a year off and, and America. We're not really accustomed to doing that we don't have a gap here. Well, that concept doesn't exist. So we got a lot of just you push back. My family was like, Are you kidding? You're gonna have a gap in your resume. You're working for this great Corporation. And you're gonna leave that and I was like, Yeah. And what was funny is in the meantime, I actually had met an Australian, because Aussies were doing what they do best and travelling the world. And you know, and so I met this guy, and I was only 19 Actually when I met him, but then he ended up moving to America. And then he moved back to Australia. And so I was in my head, my little 20 year old 20 something year old head, I was like, Okay, I'll do this round the world ticket and then go to Australia on Route, and see him and see what that's like. So, along the way, I lived in London for about, I think five months, I was in London. And, and again, it was that magical time of being in my 20s and London's just like DC in terms of it's so walking friendly. And I just remember walking everywhere and just through the park. I loved it.

I love London.

I loved it. I lived in Holland Park, and it was just really special time. Again, super fun. Had a great group of friends there. But then I felt started filling this pool from Australia. My boyfriend, we need to get down here. Come on, what are you doing over there, you know, and hurry, hurry. And interestingly, I had this awesome itinerary booked. I was supposed to go to India like to go. And I was supposed to go to Bali and Vietnam and every single place on my itinerary ended up having a natural disaster that year. So it was like this incredible earthquake in India. There was the tsunami in Thailand. I supposed to go to Thailand. There was the shootings in Bali. So it's not a natural disaster. Disaster because I cancelled the itinerary. Even when I moved to London, it was during the bombings in the tube. And like it was just like, I was like, I don't think this is the year to travel.

Yeah, it was just pushing you to Australia.

Yeah. And so it was just interesting to see even what's happened in the world since then. It's gotten better. And there's just been an earthquake in Morocco. And so just I think goodness, I did get a little bit of time to be overseas. But it still feels like I didn't get to complete my itinerary. And so anyway, got to Australia. I remember being here for a few months and being feeling that sense of being antsy again. I was like, Oh, I just really want to go somewhere again, like this is too normal now. And my sisters were like Courtney, you live in Australia. Are you kidding? That's so exotic. Like no it's not. It looks like America, you know like except for it has beautiful beaches and You know, they're like, you live in a holiday location, what are you thinking? And so I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend, but I had a great job. So I guess another sort of, if I had to be concise with my 10 facts about me, like, just another moment was, I started my career in the environmental industry. Here in Australia. I gotten a glimmer of it in London, and I loved it, specifically the waste and recycling industry. I just thought that was my calling. That was very interesting how different countries manage their waste and materials. And I'm from a country or a state, that's very wasteful. I grew up in a really, in that sort of society. And it just never felt right. My roommates in college on the east coast of the US introduced, introduced me to recycling. And I was like, I just felt so Texan. I was just like, how, why would you do that? And like, and they remember, they would reuse their sponges, you know, after wash during the wash up at the dishes and was like, Why are you keeping that? Why do you just throw it away after every time? And they're like, Are you kidding me? And that's, that was just so ingrained in me. That's yucky this journey. And so that's from that point of view. So then for me to completely go, Oh, my God, that is so wrong.

Like I just need to ask - in Texas, they don't use sponges few times and through them (after each use - editor)?

Well, I think Okay, so in my house, I can only talk about my house. Yeah, we were very much. You'd never there was never dish towels, you always use paper, paper towels, to always paper towel, just anything you'd wipe. So that was that our bath towels were washed every day. So that's different. I do think my mom had a sponge, but I mean, it always looked pristine. So who knows, I never managed that part of the house, it would have not been a single use item, it would have been reused. But if it got yucky, it was out. And so in the amount of rubbish, like you should see the trash cans that are put out on the street, the wheelie bins, they are massive, I should take pictures of them. Because once I got into the waste and recycling industry here, I just got I was fascinated to see how we were managing it here. Yeah. And even just when I did go overseas, I always, always taking pictures of bins. I just thought that was so interesting. I'd be in the Singapore Airport. And I'd see all these been categories. I'm like, wow, I didn't even know you could have three or four streams, you know, and so that was now going back 20 years ago. So it's fun to see it now. 20 years later, America has caught up. Once America gets on to something, they really go for gold and they do it. They do it the best. So like it's the mindset is the mindset is not quite there yet naturally where you would sort of separate like in Texas, I don't actually think there's as much recycling

I have a question which always bothers me here. Is this coffee... paper cups are they recycling? On the train station, they say it's not recycling and somewhere

Yeah, you've got the right girl sitting in the zoo. And you're gonna be disappointed because it's unfortunately, it's not black and white. And so I'll give you kind of the explanation of what to do with that cut. So my I will solve the paper gap. So a coffee cup in Australia, and I'm sure it's elsewhere as well has paper fiber, and then a polyethylene coated plastic liner inside, you can't see it, it's in between the paper fiber the paper board. If you take that cup and put it in a paper mill, which is going to break down the fibers and then make new paper out of it, it's going to just sort of clump on itself because that plastic liner is just going to become a ball. And you're not going to get it's called the probability rate. It's not very palpable. The point is you're not going to get a lot of paper out of a cup. So they don't really want a big batch of coffee cups coming into their mill. Okay, they want newspaper, think about newspaper, it just when you put that in a big vat of hot water with just you know, detergent, it's going to break down, become very palpable. But before we even get to the paper mill, you have to be at the recycling facility, and this is where the problem is. So, the mill can handle coffee cup. They just don't want a truckload of them at once. Don't mix it in with Office white paper or what have you. Same thing like when we used to have phone books, phone books, had telephone books had really thick bit of glue on the binding if you remember those days, yeah, and they never wanted just a big truckload to arrive of that because that glue would become a problem in their process. But even going back from that, if you're at the recycling facility, which is where all our stuff goes first, it's called a Murph Material Recovery Facility. All of our stuff that we, we diligently separate into our bins at home, go to these facilities. And they just dump it on a conveyor belt and the conveyor belt with some people. And then also just some devices and technology throughout the facility separates the paper, the glass, the aluminium, when it gets the paper cup, it doesn't know what it is. It's like is it a bottle because of the shape. It's a container. It looks like a container to the facility. And this is rudimentary. This is basic technology. This is not fancy. They've tried to add fancy like lasers and stuff. But we're infrared sensors, not lasers to detect the polymer types into data. So the cup is paper and plastic. And it's a shape that is not like a flat piece of paper, flat pieces of paper and cardboard go through beautifully. They make their way to the paper stream. But anything shaped like a water bottle ends up in the plastic stream. So what I do is I take the coffee cup, I flatten it, like paper, and I put in the recycling bin knowing that they don't really want it, but they can handle it. That's my story. That's That's my accent. Was that nice and sharp?

Yeah, you closed my Gestalt. Like you resolved.. a problem was solved.

There's no easy way to explain it though.

What about like, so take away containers and stuff like plastic takeaway content? Yeah.

My mom, like I've been I grew up with recycling, like, drilled into me. Yeah. And she's taught she washed still to this day washes. Like, every single thing that comes through here. You don't have to do that. Yeah. You know, this jacket is being right. Yeah. Like if you've had butter chicken, don't do that. This episode. This episode is gonna be very helpful. But like, it's confusing, though. Because they actually, they're recycling facilities feed back this information. And you know what's so funny. Yeah, the Leora, the other lady that I know, this was her job for vise. Just so it was to communicate to householders what to put in the right vent. She was the Marketing Manager for Visio for many years, and I'm smiling, just thinking of her because that was her job, because it was really hard to explain to householders what to put in each bin right. And we used to have to separate paper glass, aluminium. Now we can all put it in one bin, which is called a commingled collection, which is a lot easier when you go to England, you still have to separate brown glass, green glass, clear glass, like you households have many bins overseas, which is why I always took pictures, because I was like, wow, we have it so easy here. But the recycling facilities will feed back to you. Please give us clean containers because if you do send something imagine like a gross pizza box with cheese on it or a takeaway container with butter chicken or gravy. You know, whatever is like the point is when that gets the facility, they do have rat problems like they you know, it's a it's a warehouse. And then they have to squash all the materials into these one tonne bricks. Like they're called bales to then be collected and then sent to a manufacturing facility. So if it does have food residue, it's not ideal, right? Yeah. But when it gets to that next place, they put it through so much hot water and processing. It kills. It's okay. Yeah. So I just think don't be a dick. Like don't like you know, like, have it be full of stuff just like if I have a salsa that maybe it's gone bad or you know, I'll empty it out. I might even just use some like dishwasher. dishwater that's already there. Yeah. And just kind of give it that I do not put it in the dishwasher. I do not hand wash it. Absolutely not. Yeah.

Nice. So you work now with this in that industry.

So I can so I guess going back to that moment in time, I love recycling. And I loved my job. I finally found this job that just really just made my heart sing. And I gave it my all. I was there for nine years. This first job that I had when I moved here and this is when I met my now husband. And so it was really exciting time because it's why I stayed here. And now I've been here for almost 20 years. And my career has taken some really fun adventures and turns and twists. My last job was being the sustainability consultant to Harris farm markets, which is a food retailer here in Sydney. And I got to get this inside view, insider view of where our food comes from. And, and how it's packaged. And what do customers do when they take it out? Like it was just it's kind of like was the missing piece of just you know, now I'm in the decision seat to go, what do we actually put our strawberries in? Or the Fresh Cut salad or the whatever what container and it became really murky waters because you want to preserve the food. And that has a different packaging requirement than having something that's recyclable or not plastic. Because in the meantime, there's been the war on waste that's been broadcast through the think it's ABC promoted that which was so impactful, because everyone well, I've never heard people talk about coffee cups as much as I just couldn't believe it. I was like, wow, everyone cares. Now, you know, like, no one used to care. And I set up recycling programmes for all the major stadiums in Victorian. In New South Wales, I set up recycling programmes for Qantas airlines, hospitals, KFC, every single KFC in the country has a recycling programme. And that was a project that I got to be a part of. And it was exciting, but no one cared at the time. And then all of a sudden, everyone started being like, Wait, we should really recycle and I'm like, Oh, God, it's so refreshing to hear everyone now being on board because I martyr My job was trying to convince, you know, teenagers at a KFC outlet to choose the right Ben and I'm like, Oh my god. So I really welcomed this new enthusiasm from society became part of pop culture. And now it's, it's, it's, it's gone beyond that. It's now a climate change issue. And it's now our survival. And it's, it's unfortunate become a political issue. But it's very much a, an ecological one. And, and so that's where there's a lot in between that first job Senate recycling programmes, when I first moved here, to then being able to advise a major food retailer, but it has filled my soul. But it's also completely bled me dry, because I gave myself to it. Because I deeply believed in it. And I felt like I needed to do something to help. In the meantime, I've become a mom, a wife, you know, and, and I just, I kept experiencing burnout. And so that's definitely part of my journey. I've had to acute situations where I've had a nervous breakdown. And it's like, wow, and it's that question of when's enough? And now like, what am I going to finally realise, like, I'm giving too much like, I am not filling my bucket back with what I need to keep going. Because that's actually not sustainable. Like, I'm trying to be system, I'm trying to promote sustainability. And yet, I can't keep going, that's not like going to get anywhere, I'm not going to have any impact. And so that's where I'm at now is having to take time off. For health reasons. I mean, like,

I think it's a normal cycle for anyone to be full of energy, and then a bit low energy. And I don't know if it's to do something to do with ageing, as well. And moving to this part of our interview, I want to ask you - What does ageing means to you, at your 42 is still young?

Well, it's interesting because I wrestle with it. I had someone recently tell me that as we get older, especially as women, we move more into a year end stage. So if you think of yin and yang, and Yang is very active, and Yan is a little bit more calm and reserved and receiving rather than giving. And in my little head, I'm like, but I'm not I'm not ready to just receive but then I think it is I can hear that calling. And me I'm like it's more out of need to be more yen. So I would say for me ageing is that balance of Yang and yen even I guess, when I was 20. I wish I could have had a bit more yen a bit more calm. Because I think that would have balanced me out and I could have kept going more in a more sustainable balanced work life fashion. I think that's how I feel about ageing.

But if you could go back to any age, what it would be why and what advice would you give yourself?

I forgot that was one of the questions. I loved that time in Washington DC as a young 29 year old Courtney genuinely filling my cup with what brought me joy, going for walks in the park, catching up with friends. I think I missed that as a as an older adult actually makes me a bit teary thinking about it. And I'd like to tell the cornea of the 20 of her 20 year old self to still honour that those interest because they are important. Work is important. Yes. But life's not all about work. Even though I got a lot of joy from what I did, I needed to balance it with the more the fun side.

Yeah, it's very this question usually calls out some emotions. So talking about body image and changes, we spoke about that before the interview. And you told me that you notice some changes. But first question I want to ask if your body could talk. What do you think it would ask you to tell you now? At your stage now.

I think my body would say, to be more accepting. Just accept me more. That makes me really, and I'm giggling. But I'm actually about to cry. Because yesterday I was having this chat. I've got this lovely counsellor that I speak to, because I have had a lot of body positivity struggles in the last few years. And I'm just getting situated in my chair. Thank you lovely Libra. Yeah, and so I just, I think I need to be easier on myself that internal critic thing. Because what's interesting is, even when I was super fit and young, I still didn't feel at home in my body. And so I think if my body could tell me something, it's just be at home, this is this is your home. And it doesn't matter what size it is, but shape, I am actually really grateful that I don't feel burned out anymore. And, and even though I'm not the same size or shape that I used to be in that I struggle with that, I feel better, like in terms of like, you know, that mind gut connection that is often referred to I've done a lot of reading and research about that. Personally, I find that fascinating. And that's, that is more peace than it has ever been in my life. And I find that really fascinating that I don't like the way my body looks. But I do like the way I feel more and more inside.

Do you understand your body more?

Like what does it want to wear? You know, like sometimes for me it was it was always a problem that people say, you have to listen to your body. And I was like how I hated that question. I hate it when people are that suggestion. I would say listen to your body. And I remember when I had my first breakdown at work, I was like a sitting in this doctor's office. And I'm like, I don't I don't know what it says. Like they actually told me to guess I remember I was at Balmoral Beach, which is this beautiful beach. I lived near and never went because I was always so busy with my kids and work. And here I was in a in the prescription was coordinate, go sit on a bench and look out at beautiful Balmoral beach, I couldn't have been more restless, restless in that on that park bench. It would have been funny to look back on me. And just to see someone looking at this woman so fidgety on this bench, not being present, not being mindful, you know, just hating the experience of sitting still couldn't stand it. And so I think my body was actually screaming at me. I had a, I went to a healer in Bondi this lovely man from Uzbekistan, his name was Abra which I loved because it's like abracadabra, so couldn't be more like you know, alternative by try. And he goes coordinate he has your body is a living being. It has feelings. And he goes imagine when a little kid is not listened to. They get upset and they start to throw a tantrum. Because your body you're not listening to your body. So now your body's starting to have a tantrum. And it's trying to get your attention. So that's why your hip hurts. That's why this hurts. That's why that like, it's just gonna go oh, you still don't hear me? Oh, how about I double down and get even tighter. And so like for me like that is my like, my stomach, my gut health go like my digestion goes. And my legs get super tight. So I've really poor digestion. And I think that's how my body handles stress is it starts to slow down there. And then yeah, my legs are like chronically tight. So I'm like this,

so you cannot digest what is going on and you don't want to walk forward

oh, that's so meaningful. That's so powerful. Because when I've actually I still seek specialist. Either they'd be alternative or conventional. And more and more, both camps come to me in the light, Courtney, this is an emotional issue. And I'm like, what? Like it's a, you're not processing your emotions, you're not moving them through your body, they're getting stuck. And you need to move them through, like, oh, and you know, it's just and so that's been a whole journey in itself. And I thought, what an interesting advice, like I literally went and got a colonoscopy to see if there was something wrong with my colon. And they're like, nope, healthy as and I'm like, really? Nothing. It was just funny. Like, I'm, like, determined to find something physically wrong. And it's not physical. It's 100%. Emotional, like, yeah. Anyway, that's where that's at.

What do you think are the main causes of body image issues?

Unfortunately, fortunately, for me, it comes from the family I grew up in, and the society I grew up in. I think there's a there's too much focus on what you look like in the South and the US. I don't know if you can imagine that sort of Southern Belle, you know, in Texas doesn't really quite fit that bill. That's more like Georgia, Mississippi, you know, but we are still southern. And we are, you know, we it's a pretty well put together society, everyone looks great. Which could be seemingly wonderful. Like when I go to Madrid, everyone looks fabulous in Madrid. Like, what are they doing here? Like everyone, men and women look great. But the emphasis I think too much on me as a little girl was how I looked, not who I was. And I think that's sad, because I can even hear it in my voice with my kids. I own like, Oh, you look so cute. Or Oh, you look so handsome. And then I'm realising I need to actually, yes, have that salt and peppered around them. But the basis should be like the comments from me as their mom should be more about. Gosh, you are. I just love how curious you are. I love how playful you are, like more, you know, just letting them know more of who they are, I think is important. Because no one ever I don't feel like anyone ever taught me who helped guide me and who I was. So I'm still figuring it out as a grown woman like my, you know, what does Courtney like or what am I good at?

You can just remove this word - you LOOK so cute. You can say - You ARE so cute. You know, just removing one word can make a difference.

Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah. Yeah. But even just like I think just even just taking it back from appearances. I want my kids to feel good in their body. And here, because I never felt at home in mine. And I can already hear my 12 year old, make comments about his body, and it just breaks my heart. And so I'm just, I'm probably too much aware of what I say, because I want to, I really want to pat it out with how wonderful and smart they are and active and healthy. And when he said he wanted to go on a diet, and I'm like, Are you kidding? Like, I don't ever say the D word in this house again. And we eat really healthy. And I'm all about fresh food and no artificial ingredients. And so I realised maybe I've talked too much about luck, because we haven't had a lot of junk food. And now when I tried to give him a treat, he's like, No, No, Mom, I shouldn't. And I'm like, oh, no, I've created a monster. But yeah, I'm, like I said, my family and I hate to you know, point the finger at them. But they, they

they are a super, we are a super health conscious, body conscious family. I mean, I had my grandmother told me that the skinfold on the back of your hand is how much fat you should have all over your body. And if you pinch the back of your hand, there's no fat. And that's what I was told as a teenager. So that's not healthy. And my grandfather knew his percentage of body fat and used to tell us it was 11%. And he was trying to get to single digits like these people were not bodybuilders.

Where did they get this from? your grandparent?

I don't know. Because that would have been from a you know, a different time that I don't even know what their parents were like, you know, I think my grandmother was an only child. She's a little girl. And maybe her mom just made it all about. And she's beautiful. I mean, my family is stunning. Everyone's so beautiful. But they couldn't feel more insecure. It's like this toxic trait that needs to be healed. Because I've seen it in my aunts and my cousins. We all talk about it now openly, which I think is going to help heal it. Because I actually said after COVID I hadn't been home in a few years. And and I was I'm super fit. And yet my first thought when I finally booked my plane, I hadn't seen my family in three and a half years. My first thought was, I need to lose weight before I go home. That's really bad. And so when I was sharing that with my cousins, they go, Oh, my God, Courtney. That's what we think, too. Whenever we go to a family gathering, we need to lose weight. Yeah, that is so and that is, I'd love to unpack that with a psychologist one day and be like, that's not right. Right. Like, that's really bad. So I don't know where that stems from, you know, originally, originally, but it's toxic

You've really touched on that. But just, if we go deep into the subject, how do you think it can affect relationships? This body image?

Yeah, well, that's an interesting question. Because that came up yesterday, with my counsellor, I was telling her with, you know, an anticipation of today I go, you know, here, I've gained so much weight in the last year and a half. And I, you know, I'm really challenging myself having a photo taken, because I want to feel good in my body, I want to feel like I'm embracing in my body and of this new mentality that I'm trying to nurture. And she goes coordinate, she goes, I have a lady that came in, and she was with her husband in a session, and she was talking about how Oh, I'm gained weight. And she goes, her husband goes, well, I guess a bigger playground to play with. And I thought, that is so lovely. Who is that man, because that is a really special thing to say. Ne Ne Ne said it in a just a fun loving way. Where I think in terms of relationship, it is it is on us how we feel about our bodies. And I don't feel comfortable in my body. And I'm trying to, and I can see that I hide myself from my husband. But I do think also, it would be really great. I'd love to raise sons that say that to their wives one day, if for some reason, you know, they get you know, like if something, you know, just to be accepting of their partner,

imagine your husband would tell you this, would you feel better, or you would still,

I think it would have to be not a one off, it would have to be something that I felt so comfortable in my skin personally. And that he always you know, was feeding me little, you know, niceties and compliments that I actually felt like I believed him. Because if he were to say to me, like, you're just read that in a book, someone told you to say that, you know, you'd have to be a genuine feeling. Yeah, if that groundwork had already been established.

So how do you overcome your body related insecurities when they come up? Or like Now you said, you, you have that so you, what's your method.

So I've learned the beautiful art of deep breathing. I am somebody who didn't realise this. But ever since I was a little kid, I've actually held my breath. I've learned to suck in my stomach and hold it. And so it's been really a journey to just relax into my stomach and take one of those deep belly breaths that, you know, we learned in yoga, or wherever. And I always struggled that, you know, I just I could never access that deep base. And me and if you, you know, look into like just the body and even like chakras, that's the base chakra. And I realised I was avoiding that. And that's your childhood. That's your insecurity in you know, and that that groundwork, that foundation wasn't set for me. And so I haven't wanted to access that part of me. So that's been really interesting to see what comes up when I do take those deep breaths, and I usually cry, which is sad. But it does. I don't mind crying anymore, because I cry so much now.

And it's your emotions.

And it's that processing of emotions that we spoke about before that I am trying to get better at. So I put my hand on my chest and my hand on my belly and I take a deep breath. And that helps me to it's like a little hug from my body and myself. And I've noticed it makes me feel better.

So what did you do when you were younger? What was what's the difference in your methods?

When I was younger, yeah, feeling good about myself or sucking in my stomach.

So now you learn to, to breathe. And before when you felt insecure in your body. What did you do?

Oh my goodness. What did I not do? I was so rebellious as a teen, a young teen like even 12 years old. I think I just was always trying to get attention, whether it be good or bad. And so I think I would over compensate for my insecurity if that makes sense. Like literally the black lipstick, the big, you know, I had the admiring Lior shoes but like I had the big black Uh, Doc Martens in the 90s, you know, I thought it was so cool. And but the way I was going about it, I was trying to embarrass my mom and my family, you know, I was trying to be ridiculous. It's my little cheeky way of handling my insecurity, I think, unfortunately, to balance that, because it was also a good kid, I played sport. And I think that was so important. Not just in terms of being active, but also being on a team and having other young women around me that were all high fiving. You know, we are in America, like goatee, you know, like, we really, I missed that. camaraderie and in a team. I think we can all you know, quickly access that feeling of, Oh, I feel so good to be around other girls. And you hear somebody else go, Oh, I'm so fat. You're like, No, you're not like, you know, and people help you dismiss that.

Oh, so you have this sisterhood there?

Yeah, absolutely. And that's the internal voice that I need to bring to myself, I need to have that. What would my teammate or my sister say they need to be like, corny, don't be ridiculous. You know, love yourself. You're squishing out. It's great. It's fun, or whatever. Like, who cares? You know?

Okay, so you my last question. If you have any favourite saying or quote about being a woman?

I do. I'm smiling because it's my favourite new phrase this year. And it's very simple. And I wish I could remember where it came from, because I feel like I read so much. But it's trying to be more of a human being than a human doing. Because if you can be a human being, you can be that person that sits on the park bench and can stare at the ocean and be fine. You can be eating a beautiful croissant with a coffee and just be like an ecstasy, like this is just so lovely. You can be present. But in our busy lives and my busy life, I think this would resonate with most women. It just that those mindful moments aren't there. And I think the human doing, Courtney is trying to distract herself. I don't think it's comfortable just sitting in being and I'm trying to become at peace with that. And I think that's been my advice to myself all year.

Excellent. Thank you, Courtney. Thank you very much for sharing your story and I hope you will enjoy the rest of the day and the photoshoot.

Thank you so much. This is so fun. I can't wait to see what magic one Leora has been working with.

If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website






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