Transparent Tuesdays

Overwhelm, racism, and where to begin. – Fitness Article

Overwhelm, racism, and where to begin. Hi friend! I hope you had a great Independence Day weekend… now let’s talk about racism. 😉 I recently began a Foundations for Social Justice course with Dr. Tee Williams, and while it’s not specifically about racism, the liberation framework he teaches is applicable to fighting all systems of oppression, and it’s really helping me find both better language, and a stronger community, around my anti-racism work. (Yay!) Due to this class, I’ve been…

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On Feeling Needy – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

On Feeling Needy – Jessi Kneeland Last week, in my relationship, I felt needy. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly, but I felt sensitive, raw, emotional, and easily hurt/rejected by my partner. I cried a lot, and spent the week trying to figure out what it actually was I was feeling and needing, both so that I could explain it to my partner (who really wanted to help), and so that I could sort of “put it away”…

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“I need to look good to find a partner.” – Fitness Article

“I need to look good to find a partner.” Many of my clients come to me harboring the belief that in order to find a partner (or keep a partner interested), you absolutely must be conventionally attractive. The interesting paradox here is that they can all pretty much also admit that being valued only for how they look would make them feel objectified, and that in order to feel truly confident, their partner would have to see, value, and love…

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Social hierarchies & Body Image – Fitness Article

Social hierarchies & Body Image The way we feel about our bodies is personal. We form a relationship with our bodies and ourselves throughout our lives, and like every relationship, that relationship is unique, reflecting our long history together. But the way we feel about our bodies is also reflective of a larger cultural dynamic in which some bodies are treated as superior or inferior to other bodies; a cultural dynamic in which some bodies are celebrated, and some are…

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Allyship & Race – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

Allyship & Race – Jessi Kneeland After the horrific death of George Floyd led to world-wide Black Lives Matter protests, I spent last week muted on social media, pausing “business as usual” and focusing instead on listening, learning, reading, watching, and amplifying the voices of Black people. As part of the muting challenge, I also muted all the white people whose social justice and body liberation work I normally follow, so that the vast majority of my content came from…

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On Feeling Attractive – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

On Feeling Attractive – Jessi Kneeland I was struck recently by the idea that so many people define “body confidence” as the state of being attracted to their own bodies. It came from a conversation with a client, in which she told me she’d feel confident and love her body if only she “felt more attractive.” Her husband seems to find her very sexy, and her friends and sisters all seem to think she’s beautiful, so we dug into what…

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Following The COVID guidelines? – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

Following The COVID guidelines? – Jessi Kneeland So here’s a sticky thing… This pandemic began in the US as a public health crisis, but has become a controversial political issue/morally-loaded choose-your-own-adventure shit show. Everyone has a different perception of reality right now, based a bit on where they live, and a lot on where they get their news, at a time when a lot is riding on what we believe and what decisions we make. How bad is this coronavirus,…

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Grief Work & Body Image – Fitness Article

Grief Work & Body Image   Today I want to talk about the hugely important role of grief on the body neutrality journey. Grief is central to the body image healing work most of my clients do, and one of the most important tools I believe exists when it comes to body acceptance. So let’s talk for a moment about what grief is, and what it isn’t. Grief is not depression, wallowing, moping, complaining, or self-pity. It can accompany those…

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Reaching Deeper for Love – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

Reaching Deeper for Love – Jessi Kneeland There is a needy, unkind thing inside me. It’s a terrified and self-protective thing; a bit like a wounded animal, quick to attack when threatened. While it’s always there however, this vicious little thing never comes out with friends or family. It saves it’s appearances exclusively for my sexual/romantic partner. As such, I haven’t seen it in several years, and was rather hoping I might never see it again. After all, I’ve done…

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Body image is your brain’s way of protecting you – Fitness Article

Body image is your brain’s way of protecting you When I was 18 I signed up for a yearlong full time dance program. I wanted to do musical theater, but I hadn’t gotten into the schools I wanted due to a lack of dance training, so I decided to spend a year fixing that. The studio I trained at required a “uniform” of sorts, with everyone dancing in plain black leotards and tights. The first few weeks of classes, I…

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Fear of being a burden – Fitness Article

Fear of being a burden A client of mine recently told me that she felt liberated to talk about her problems with me, because she was paying for my time. She said the simple act of having paid for it erased the constant fear she had of over-burdening, taking up too much space, demanding too much attention, or being too needy. She made a joke about how she felt like she could do anything during our sessions, including just sit…

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We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know – Fitness Article

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know **TW/CW** Before sitting down to write this, I did that thing where you look through photos from the end of 2009, to see what’s changed in the last decade. What I came across was dozens of blurry, badly posed and lit photos of myself in skintight outfits, with my hair straightened and my tummy sucked in tightly, dewy-skinned and obnoxious, making crazy faces and making out with all my friends. (This was a…

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Laziness – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

Laziness – Jessi Kneeland Hi Friends, Today I want to talk about an important concept that comes up with a lot of my clients around body image: Laziness. When I work with someone on body neutrality and confidence, part of my job is to help them figure out why it feels so important to lose weight, avoiding gaining weight, or change the way they look. The answer is typically complex, layered, and deeply unconscious, but seeking the answer points us…

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OMG I CAN’T DO THIS OMG – Fitness Article

OMG I CAN’T DO THIS OMG When I launched my online fitness business Remodel Fitness over six years ago, I had no idea how I was going to actually make money.  I didn’t know how online coaching worked, so I just planned to kind of copy whatever my peers were doing. I didn’t know how to create programs, or write ebooks, or record webinars, or use powerpoint. I knew absolutely zero about technology, marketing, branding, or business. What I did…

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I’m not the right kind of person to run a business. – Fitness Article

I’m not the right kind of person to run a business. Last week was the 6 year anniversary of the launch of my online business (which started as a fitness brand) and I started reminiscing about the beginning of it all. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the giant leap of faith I made when I moved out of NYC, giving up my lucrative personal training career and trusting in myself and the universe that Remodel Fitness (my original brand) would… work.…

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I’m reading Twilight – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

I’m reading Twilight – Jessi Kneeland I have something embarrassing to admit… I started reading the Twilight series (yes, the one about teenage vampires) and I can’t put it down. Admittedly, the books aren’t so far outside my normal fiction-reading wheelhouse. While I mostly consume non-fiction book these days, I’m a passionate lover of stories, and I’ve always bent toward YA (young adult) speculative fiction featuring a female lead. This means that magic, fantasy, some sci-fi and a fuck-ton of…

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For White People – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

For White People – Jessi Kneeland Note: If you are not a white person, some of this email may not apply to you or be appropriate for you, as it’s geared toward white people still struggling with the validity of anti-racism work. Recently I had a bunch of political discussions with my conservative family members, about privilege, activism, racism, and oppression. (Oof.) I engaged in these conversations as openly, patiently, and compassionately as possible, because I’m passionately committed to anti-oppression…

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Scale Obsessed – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

Scale Obsessed – Jessi Kneeland “How often do you weigh yourself?” “Too often.” While I’ve had this exact same conversation with clients hundreds of times over the years, a client (let’s call her Zuri) said these words to me again a few months ago. She was blushing, embarrassed to admit to something “so stupid and crazy.” “How often?” “Three times a day on a good day. Up to six or ten on a bad day. Sometimes more.” The interesting thing…

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On Socialization – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

On Socialization – Jessi Kneeland I occasionally find myself in conversation, talking about what I do for work, with a person who disagrees that “society teaches girls and women that their worth is based on their appearance.” Recently a dear male friend said “what kind of asshole is teaching that??” thinking I meant parents were telling little girls directly “honey you are only worthy of love and happiness if you’re thin and pretty,” which (thankfully) is not usually how it…

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Elevator pitches – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

Elevator pitches – Jessi Kneeland Over the years I have changed my “elevator pitch” about what I do for work about a million times. (TBH, that’s partly just the nature of being a solopreneur, the result of catching up my marketing-and-business skills to my passion for coaching. But it’s also because I changed my brand 180 degrees from fitness to body image and self-worth coaching.) Originally, even back when I was training people at the gym, I would say “I help…

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Fuck Gender. – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

The more I learn about the ways in which we socialize children to perform gender, the more I find the whole concept of binary gender identification disturbing and useless. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found it disturbing since I was a child. I felt like it was unfair and stupid that there was a set of expectations for boys, and completely different one for girls. I experienced these separate expectations as oppressive and infuriating, because the expectation for “girl” didn’t…

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Body Image Basics – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

I’d like to go back to basics today. Sometimes I get questions like this: “I have a friend who is struggling with body image or body dysmorphia, and I’d like to point them in the direction of helpful resources, where should I start?” Unfortunately, the book I’d like to recommend (mine) hasn’t been published yet, and there is no “one right book” on body image out there yet. Why? Because body image issues don’t discriminate, and the obstacles facing people…

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The Most Beautiful Girl In the World – Fitness Article

The Most Beautiful Girl In the World Hi friends!  I’ve never done this before, but today I have a guest post, a beautiful essay written by a wonderful human and client Courtney Paré. Like many women I know, Courtney has been on a journey of self-acceptance around her body and appearance for a long time, and she brings extraordinary levels of introspection, courage, humor, and authenticity to the process. As such, I once asked her what she thought she might…

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Are There drawbacks to the #MeToo Movement? – Fitness Article

Are There drawbacks to the #MeToo Movement? Recently I’ve started to wonder if there’s a downside to the #metoo movement. When I was growing up, people used to talk about rape and sexual assault in hushed tones, whispering to each other that something unfathomably monstrous had happened. There was an understanding that this horrific thing sometimes happened, at the hands of evil, vile people, and that it was absolutely devastating. We couldn’t imagine anything worse. I remember distinctly feeling like…

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Sex Myths – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

Sex Myths – Jessi Kneeland I’ve been thinking a lot lately about sexual attraction and arousal. As I come to the end of my two year clinical sexology program, I’ve been reflecting on how much I learned, and how different my understanding of sex (both personally and as a coach) are now versus when I began. One of the biggest changes to my view of sex is how differently I see the process of sexual attraction and arousal. A few…

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Who brings out the best in you? – Fitness Article

Who brings out the best in you? When I’m getting to know a new person, I often find myself reflecting their vibe back to them. It’s human nature in some ways; we’re wired to mirror each other as a way of bonding. Reflecting someone’s body language (and breathing pattern) can help us feel what they’re feeling, understand them better, and make them feel comfortable. Mirroring helps us feel empathy and connect, and it’s one of the reasons why being around…

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{#TransparentTuesday} Sex and socialism. – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

I recently read the book Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism And Other Arguments for Economic Independence by Kristen Ghodsee, and tbh it was pretty mind-blowing. First and foremost, it’s wild to me how capitalism is portrayed in US public education as the only viable way to structure an economy, and how challenging capitalism is considered blasphemy. (Like, it literally used to get people thrown in jail.) Second, this booked helped me understand that what we take for granted…

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{#TransparentTuesday} Perfectionism = Armor – Jessi Kneeland – Fitness Article

CW:Contains distressing but fictional stories. Lisa is 5 years old. Her mom is abusive, screaming obscenities, name-calling and hitting her at home, while being sickeningly sweet to her in public. Her father is absent, but her mother’s boyfriends are equally problematic. Her home is a merry go round of drunks, physical and verbal abuse, and inappropriate behavior. Lisa starts to create a fantasy, a place she can go in her mind to escape the pain and fear of her daily…

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