Oh my fallopian tubes I’m excited for you to meet Jessica Smith today. I had tears in my eyes as I read her answers because THIS message of hers, is one that needs to be heard. So many of my readers and patients have battled eating disorders and it so takes its toll on long term hormone wellness. Like many girls before Jess, she lived a life of terrorising herself by way of anorexia, lack of awareness and wondering if she’d even make her 25th birthday. Her message needs to be heard and shared because young girls need to learn more bout themselves, to connect with their bodies and most of all not to live from fear. Jess has a beautiful story and I’m so delighted to be able to call her a friend!
What does fertility mean to you?
My understanding is that fertility is the ability to reproduce, but I have to admit that up until recently my knowledge of fertility was quite limited, if anything I think I had a better understanding of infertility. It is certainly an area that I wish I understood better and in hindsight I wish I had learnt about years ago.
What is one ritual or practice that you do that connects you back to yourself as a woman?
Mindfulness –My mind seems to always be going a hundred miles an hour, the thought of meditating for long periods of time is slightly daunting for me – but I know it’s important to reconnect with myself, and to prevent myself from getting stressed and overwhelmed I have to just take a few moments to relax and slow down. I’ve only started doing this recently …
If you could tell your teen self one piece of advice about health/fertility/hormones, what would it be?
Nourish your body with the food it deserves – don’t deprive yourself of anything that has the potential to enhance and enrich your body.
Would you change something you did in previous years with regard to fertility and health? If so what might that be?
At 23, I had been in recovery from my eating disorder for just over 2 years, and during a regular check up I remember my GP telling me she thought I had gone through early menopause. Up until that moment I thought I was invincible, I had acknowledged I needed help for my Eating Disorder and had taken the positive steps to work through my recovery – but I never thought my actions and behavior as a teenager in desperate search of the ‘perfect body’ would have devastating effects for the rest of my life. After endless tests and an anxious waiting period, I was ecstatic to learn that I hadn’t gone through early menopause … but because my body was so fragile after years of abuse it was still a possibility of occurring if I didn’t take the appropriate steps to nurture and nourish my body.
With retrospect of my teenage years there is a lot I wish I could back and change. I mistreated my body on so many different levels as a teenager in search of the ‘perfect body’ – on the outside. I starved myself in search of ‘perfection’ not realizing how much damage I was actually doing internally. I wish I knew then what I know now about fertility and women’s health. I wish I had been given the opportunity to learn more about the long term effects of my actions and behaviours.
What ignites you?
I honestly didn’t think I’d live to see my 25th birthday. Nutritionally, emotionally and physically I had neglected my body and my spirit for years as a form of punishment, because of the self hatred I felt due to my appearance. Today I wake up every day grateful – because I am alive. I am free of the negative voices that once controlled my head, and I have the opportunity to simply enjoy each day as it comes. That is what ignites me. Sometimes I catch myself just smiling for no apparent reason – I never ever experienced that feeling until my late twenties …
I now have a responsibility to be a voice for others who are currently struggling with negative body image and give back to my community, by simply paying it forward. I love sharing my story with others, knowing that my journey and my experiences might help just one other person from making the same mistakes as I did – makes it so worth it.
What’s your one essential health item?
Food & Water! After all these years I now appreciate and understand the importance of feeding my body with the nutrients it needs. I prefer not to take supplement as I rather like the thought of obtaining essential nutrients and vitamins from the foods I eat. And water – water is essential!
Greek & good coffee
Favorite movie or book?
It changes all the time but I love a good comedy – anything with Vince Vaughn & I love Modern Family!
I actually love John Farnham (is that really sad??)
Morning or Evening routine?
After 10 years an elite swimmer, my exercise routine still exists! I go to the gym about 4 times a week after work, but I’m flexible with this … the routine I rarely break is my morning ritual. Every morning I wake up early and go for a jog or walk, nothing to strenuous but the fresh air helps me wake me up! Then without fail it’s a coffee from my local café… necessity!
Recently awarded “Emerging Leader” for 2013, at the Australian Government Positive Body Image Awards, former Paralympian Jessica Smith has emerged as one of Australia’s most avid advocates for positive body image, and as one of Australia’s most sought after motivational speakers & presenters. She has been internationally recognised as one of the most influential role models of this generation and is on a mission to create much needed awareness within society about the importance of Positive Body Image.
Born missing her left forearm, and then as a toddler, suffering horrific third degree burns to 14% of her body, Jessica didn’t have such an easy start to life. In a world where so much emphasis is placed on appearance, Jessica felt as though she simply wasn’t good enough and didn’t fit in. Low self esteem and an inability to accept herself unfortunately lead to a decade long struggle with bulimia, anorexia & depression. Jessica desperately searched for perfection in a world where she felt so isolated & alone.
Jessica now works tirelessly & proactively to promote positive body image and raise awareness about the seriousness of eating disorders & mental illness.
“I now have a responsibility to be a voice for others who are currently struggling with negative body image. I also have a responsibility to give back to my community by promoting a message of POSITIVE Body Image. We ALL have a role in this life – we can ALL be part of a REVOLUTION of positive change “
JOIN THE REVOLUTION
In an effort to combat the intense negativity associated with body image , Jessica created a social media campaign titled ‘Join The Revolution’ which aims to encourage the use of social media as a positive platform for communicating. People of all ages and from varying backgrounds and cultures are encourage to simply take a photo holding the ‘Join The Revolution’ sign and upload to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #jointherevolution. These images aim to initiate conversation and give people the opportunity to start a POSITIVE dialogue about Body Image.
In less than 12 months the campaign has seen success both nationally and internationally with support from thousands of women and men, including celebrities such as The Veronicas (Musicians), Layne Beachley (World Surfing Champion), Kirk Pengilly (INXS Band member), Chris Bath (Channel 7 reporter), Kurt Fearnley (Paralympian), Kelly Cartwright (Paralympian), Kayne Tremills (ABC3 Television Presenter), Guy Leech (Ironman) – just to name a few.
Jessica wants people to work together to promote positive body image – by simply TALKING & generating AWARENESS. The more we embrace and take part in open and honest conversation about Body Image the sooner the negative stigma can be alleviated. Together we can create a Revolution of positive change, together we can reverse the insidious negative cycle that has become the way we approach body image.
It’s my dream to see thousands more Join the Revolution.
Together we can make a difference … Together we can create a positive change
Please join me & Join The Revolution – Stop Hating Your Body