Leading By Example – Krystal Gordon, Creator of Love Nourish Be (Part 1)
Welcome to Leading By Example, where we chat with inspiring and innovative female entrepreneurs who are empowering women and positively impacting their local communities. This week, we chatted with Krystal Gordon, creator of Love Nourish Be.
Krystal Gordon has had a very busy year.
In September, Krystal bought her first bikini at 31 years old and excitedly posted a selfie on Facebook alongside an empowering message. Almost overnight, her selfie went viral.
Media outlets like Yahoo News, The Daily Mail, and NewsMail shared her body positive message with the world. She quickly became a widely-recognized ambassador for the body positivity movement and a role model for women around the world.
Today, Krystal Gordon is the creator of Love Nourish Be, a self-care program and journey to wellness designed to empower women. She’s also a busy mom to a 3-year-old, Cross Fit fanatic, and Body Image Movement Global Ambassador. She frequently posts about her journey on her Facebook page and continues to serve as an inspiration to women everywhere.
Recently we welcomed Krystal to the Parfait family as an author on our blog and the positive response has been overwhelming. We, too, are inspired by Krystal’s strength, self-awareness, and wisdom. Though a lot has changed since Krystal’s bikini selfie went viral, she is still the same humble and incredible person.
We recently sat down with Krystal and she shared with us her thoughts on body positivity, self-love, and the best advice she has ever been given.
On Being An Ambassador of Body Positivity
Parfait Team: Your recent first ever bikini selfie was featured on Yahoo! News, the Greatist, and the Daily Mail websites, among many others. Did you ever anticipate that your swimsuit selfie would go viral?
Krystal Gordon: Oh absolutely not! I shared it on my Facebook page, which had a very small following at the time, thinking that maybe 50 or so people would see it. I never in a million years imagined it would be featured anywhere else!
PT: With all of the positive comments and praise for your body positive message, there have been some negative comments too. How do you handle negativity while being in the public eye?
KG: I don’t think it makes any difference if you receive hurtful comments online in a public forum, or one in one in private – you need to remind yourself that only YOU define who you are. Only YOU determine your worth. When people speak about others in a negative or nasty way, it really is just a reflection on themselves. These people who sit behind a keyboard and try to hurt and drag others down with ugly words, probably need more love than anyone!
I definitely had a moment after the bikini photo where I thought ‘wow, what have I done’, because when a stranger tells you that you should kill yourself for being so disgusting, or they make comments bringing your husband and child into the equation, it is really hard to comprehend how they could be so horrible! But, I very quickly made the choice to use that energy to fuel my passion to empower women and facilitate acceptance, rather than buy into the negativity.
Image via Krystal Gordon
PT: You have become a source of inspiration and courage for many women. What has the experience been like for you?
KG: It has been heartwarming, life-changing, AMAZING! It has also been quite surreal. I have learnt a lot more about myself, and about vulnerability in general – it’s a beautiful thing! I am so humbled and grateful that I can inspire others, and that my message resonates with so many women all over the world.
PT: Are you still planning on wearing a bikini in public this summer?
KG: YES! Our summer is here and it is already happening! Had someone told me 6 months ago that I would be wearing bathers in public with no shorts over the top this summer, I would have told them they were crazy. Last weekend was a hot and humid 38°C (about 100°F) so thank goodness the beach is only 15 min from our house.
On Her Personal Wellness Journey
PT: How did your journey to wellness begin?
KG: My journey to ‘weightloss’ started almost 15 years ago – a soul crushing merry-go-round of diets, deprivation, binge-eating and guilt resulting in weight loss followed by weight gain, time and time again. It wasn’t until about 2.5 years ago that I realized there was more to wellness than your weight and what you ate. I remember sitting with my son who was a baby at the time, he was just starting to eat solids, and I was feeding him something healthy and nutritious I had made while I was chowing down on fast food. I noticed him staring at me intently as I ate, and in that moment I realised I needed to lead by example. It was now about more than me.
I threw myself into researching nutrition (not just following the next fad diet that was being marketed), joined Crossfit and started focusing more on sleep and hydration. In time, I started incorporating meditation, listening to my body and learning more about gut health and hormones. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered the power of self-love and the mind, two very powerful components to wellness!
PT: Your writing is always so well structured and insightful. In Baby Steps to Wellness, you wrote that a “journey to wellness should come from a place of love, not fear.” What advice would you have for a woman who is struggling on her journey to wellness?
KG: Oh thank you! My advice would differ depending on the woman and the challenges she is facing, but I would probably tell her to be patient, be kind to herself, and to buy a journal! I would tell her that she is enough, she is not alone and she can do this! I would encourage her to reconnect with her body and look within to determine why she really wants to do this. When we work out our ‘why’, commit to showing up for ourselves daily and allow ourselves to be vulnerable the rest just flows.
PT: When would you recommend joining a program or seeking out help from a professional (ie. life coach, fitness instructor, nutritionist, etc.)?
KG: Always! Just do your research to find someone/something aligned to your values and goals. There are so many people out there wanting to help others from a genuine place, but I also believe there are a whole lot of companies out there almost taking advantage of people’s desperation of what they don’t yet have or know. Take your time in getting to know someone and what they are truly about. If you connect and it feels good to you then go for it! Knowledge is power and heart-centered support is invaluable.
PT: What are your tips for setting manageable goals?
-Work out your why! And then work out why your why is important!
-Write it down – numerous times and often.
-Imagine how it will feel or how it will be when you achieve your goal – write that down too!
-Break it into baby steps. Great things take time so be patient. You can’t build a house overnight right? As long as you are taking at least one action today towards your goal, you are doing great!
-Give yourself permission to have not so great days, backwards days, or even what feels like completely failed days! Failure is simply a learning tool after all. Be kind and forgiving to yourself and remember that your journey will look different to someone else’s.
PT: Do you reward yourself for accomplishing your goals? What are your favorite ways to reward yourself?
KG: I used to all the time and it’s only now that you have asked me this question that I’ve realized I don’t as much anymore! I think that is because I most often used food as a reward, and I used to deprive myself of things I enjoyed because I didn’t think I was worthy of them unless I did something ‘good’. Now, rather than rewarding myself for accomplishing goals, I probably reward myself along the way more often – things like making time to go to the beach, or to do yoga, or to make a totally scrumptious and nutritious meal. I’m sure I still do on occasion, but probably more out of habit than anything else, and never in regards to weight which is what I used to base a lot of my worth on!
On The Importance of Self-Love
PT: We talk a lot about self love on our blog and how important it is to love yourself first. What advice would you have for a woman who is learning to love herself?
KG: Keep trying. Keep doing. It will come! Find someone who can teach you ways to learn to love yourself, rather than just tell you to say that you do! Much of our self-image and self-worth stories are deeply imbedded within so you are going to need to get real, to dig deep. It comes down to appreciation and perceptions! Oh and be mindful of who you are giving your energy to, and in return who’s energy you are receiving – choose wisely!
PT: In The Truth About Perfection, you speak about the stress of perfection, fear of failure, and importance of realizing that you are “already perfect, exactly as you, right in this moment.” What does “imperfect is perfect” mean to you?
KG: I’s a huge contradiction! I believe perfection, as most perceive it, does not exist. However, I also believe we are all already perfect, just the way we are. Whether it’s our lumps and bumps, big feet and small boobs, or off key singing and 80’s dance moves – all things that many would say are far from perfect, imperfect if you will, are all part of us being us! Sure, there are things we may want to change or improve, but unless we can accept ourselves for who we are now, exactly as we are today, then how will we appreciate who we want to be?
PT: One of the most powerful lines in The Truth About Perfection was about forgiveness. You wrote: “When we give ourselves permission to be perfectly imperfect amazing things happen.” As women, we can be so hard on ourselves. How do you practice forgiveness in your daily life?
KG: I tell myself that ‘it’ is okay, a LOT! We are hard on ourselves, in fact we are often our toughest critics. There are a few things I do if I find that I am beating myself up. Firstly, I get it out – I write down the worst thing that could happen due to the situation or what I am thinking, and the best. I ask myself it will matter in 12 months. I give myself permission to feel what I need to without judgement. It’s just a feeling after all. I remind myself that not every thought I have is truth! They are all just stories and I get to choose the ones I respond to. I acknowledge the not so great choices I have made and I say sorry to myself for those, but I also thank the situation for arising as it is always an opportunity to learn. Above all else, I love me. I forgive my family and loved ones with ease, so I afford myself the same privilege.
PT: You love to read. What books would you recommend?
KG: Right now I am reading The Universe Has Your Back (by Gabrielle Bernstein) and am loving it! Definitely a must for those wanting to overcome fear or are feeling overwhelmed by the world. I also really love Heart Thoughts (by Louise Hay). I have read this book over and over and over. It is great for quick inspiration or reality checks! Oh and I have the book You are Enough (by Cassie Mendoza-Jones) sitting waiting to be read next – it sounds great!
PT: What are your tips for balancing motherhood and a busy career?
KG: First and foremost, take time out for yourself. Yes, for YOU! You can’t pour from an empty cup, so in order to show up as the Mama you want to be or the best careerwoman you want to be, you need to look after your physical and emotional needs first. Self-care is key. Secondly, do things mindfully! Really enjoy the hugs with your children – feel their touch, smell their skin. Be present and really listen when they are talking to you, don’t do 5 other things at the same time. And thirdly, remember that things can wait, prioritise things! Sometimes going to the park is more important than doing your ironing, or snuggling on the couch watching a family movie is more important than doing the dishes.
PT: You’re a huge fan of Crossfit. What are your tips for making time to workout?
KG: Exactly that – MAKE time! We will always make time for what is a priority. Instead of telling yourself that you are too busy right now, tell yourself the truth, and that is that it’s simply not a priority for you in this moment. Some tips I have are:
-Move in a way that feels good to you! If you enjoy it, you will want to do it.
-Find something that works for your family and your schedule. There is no point adding extra stress to your day by trying to get to a class that you know logistically will be hard to make due to the time you finish work or if it is around dinner time with your family.
-Be prepared. Pack your bag with clothes and gear you need the night before. Schedule your workout time in your diary like any other appointment.
-Train smarter not harder! Instead of slogging out an hour on the treadmill (who really enjoys that!?) try a 10 minute HIIT workout.
On The Best Advice She Has Ever Been Given
PT: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
KG: Gosh I have been given so much great advice over the years, but something that really sticks with me especially during challenging times is to keep things in perspective. My Daddy (who sadly passed away in 2012) used to say ‘This too shall pass’ all the time to remind us that nothing is permanent, and to not give too much or too little recognition to a situation or circumstance. So many people take a not so desirable situation (for example, scratching their car, a busy day at work or having a cold) and turn it into a ‘worst day ever’ scenario. We forget to sit back and see things for what they really are, and be truly grateful for all the amazing things around us. Usually the not so great thing that happened won’t matter tomorrow, or next week/month. And sometimes they are beyond our control anyway! I also love the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. We don’t get to choose if it rains on the day we had an outdoor event planned for example. Use your energy positively, for the things you can control, rather than wasted on the things you can’t.
Krystal Gordon is the creator of Love Nourish Be, a self-care program designed to empower women worldwide to live a life full of love, health, happiness.
Connect with Krystal
Ready for part two of Krystal’s interview? Part 2 can be found here.
Feature image via Krystal Gordon