A local therapy clinic is hosting a new body positivity workshop in Kemptville this week. The workshop is being run by intimacy coach Tracy Wilson, who delivers her workshop “Love the Skin You’re In” regularly in Ottawa and the surrounding area. She created the workshop after many years of coaching women through issues in their sex lives and finding that body image issues were present in nine out of ten cases. She also felt a deep connection with the women she was working with, as she found that she shared in some of the body image concerns her clients were going through. “I thought ‘me too’,” she says.
Through her experience working with clients, and her own research, she came up with the blueprint for the workshop, which is meant to help women achieve body acceptance. The goal of the workshop is not for everyone to leave loving their bodies, but to give them the tools to accept their bodies and live their lives regardless of its shape and size. “All bodies are good bodies and are worthy of respect,” she says.
Tracy has another goal for the workshop: to make women feel less alone in their struggle. Anyone can have body image issues. Many women who live in bodies that are deemed “socially acceptable” still feel intense hatred for their bodies, but don’t feel like they can say anything and so suffer in silence. “I have met models who say they hate themselves, but they can’t tell anybody,” Tracy says.
There is also a lot of fat shaming and false body positivity out there, as Tracy notes. Many diets claim to promote body positivity while still selling products to change a person’s body shape and size. They say you can be worthy, but only if you follow this diet and loose weight.
The body positivity movement is about finding acceptance for whatever body you have. For many, loving their body is a massive leap, especially if they have been hating it and trying to change it for most of their lives. Many people who experience body image issues put their lives on hold until they can lose that last bit of weight, or fix their “problem areas.” Tracy wants to get the message across that you can live a happy and fulfilling life, regardless of what your body looks like. “If you think you can only be worthy when you’ve reached X, you won’t have a great life,” she says. “You can be who you want to be NOW.”
The workshop is meant to be interactive and to promote conversation. That being said, no one will be forced to share anything they aren’t comfortable with. Tracy understands that body image is a very personal thing and not everyone will be willing to share their life story. “People are welcome to just sit and listen,” she says. “You can participate at any level you choose.”
Tracy will be holding the workshop at holistic stress and trauma clinic, Compassionate Support for Stressful Times, in Kemptville. Owner, Shulamit Ber Levtov, is very excited to play host to this workshop in North Grenville, because it truly aligns with the values of the centre. “Part of our mandate is to make sure people in North Grenville have access to a wide range of holistic supports for stress and trauma right here at home,” she says. “We also have a social mandate to address the root causes of harms that lead people to ask for our support. Two of these harms are weight stigma and body hatred.”
Although this is a workshop that Tracy normally charges for, she is offering it for a $5 donation to Kemptville Pride. “I am donating my time and materials to support the cause and organization in the community,” she says.
The workshop will be held on Thursday, May 16, from 7:00pm-9:00pm at the Compassionate Support for Stressful Times clinic (2505 County Road 43). To register, email [email protected].
Tracy hopes that participants leave the session feeling empowered and less alone. “I want people to see that they are normal and ok,” she says. “You are deserving of living your best life now.”