Suzi is never afraid to speak her truth. She’s won against disordered eating and body image, mental health and sexual and verbal abuse. 60kg weight-loss and now loving her body for what it is – marks, scars and saggy bits. She’s a goddess and she’s proud of it! Suzi also helps other men and women find their best self through helping them speak up, own who they are and fully love themself.
How would you define body positivity?
For me, body positivity is all about embracing your body for what it is – every last inch of it.
Do you consider yourself a body positivity influencer?
Not really, I guess I consider myself to be someone who is just open about their feelings towards themselves. I want to educate women and men on appreciating themselves for who they are and no matter what they look like.
Are there any peers or body positivity influencers that you are fond of?
I guess I don’t really follow many of them as I find that some of them are really over exaggerating the topic. There are a few based here in the UAE that found success over the topic but don’t really live what they preach and for me that really set a foul taste in my mouth. So I stopped following and started just showing my side.
If I was to suggest anyone, it would be amazing women such as @arfashahid, @dana_does_ @DaniSheriff who don’t just love their body, they speak their mind and show the real them – not the instagram version.
Are there any brands / organizations that have helped move the body positivity movement forward in your opinion?
There are not enough of them! Its smaller brands that have been paving the change. I’d love to see bigger brands show more inclusivity. I’d also love to see more in mainstream media. Teach our young men and women that you don’t need to look like a super model, a sports star or have millions of dollars to be loved, admired or to even feel beautiful. You’re amazing just the way you are.
Toxicity and body positivity: What is the relationship?
Similar to my statement above – there are so many “influencers” creating content around this that don’t truly live by it and its frustrating. They do it for the likes, the comments and the money. It’s teaching people that even your flaws need to be successful. It becomes toxic when you force the content and are not being genuine. And sadly that toxicity grows in the community. It becomes expectation, not a clear message or point of view.
Media and body positivity: do you see a relationship there?
YES! Even though there are some changes being made, there isn’t enough. We need to see more body inclusivity in our media, on our TV, in movies, magazines and every source possible. We need to show that not everyone is a stick figure, beauty queen or sports star. We need to teach people that YOU just the way you are is good enough, that you can also have these successes if your want them. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not main stream media.
I remember growing up hating my body because I never thought I was good enough – because of what I saw in teen magazines and on TV. I lived a life of disordered eating because media taught me that I needed to be flawless, skinny, and beautiful. And because I’m from a mixed race background, I was never able to look like the people I saw in media.
I would hate for the younger generation of today to grow up like this. They need to be taught that its ok to be who you are no matter what your circumstances.
What are some of your favorite body positivity quotes?
“Dare to be YOU!” This is one I live by and branded a number of years ago.
“My body my rules”
“Your shape does not define you”
“Stretch marks or marks of a warrior.” This one makes my heart sing. Those stretch marks show how far you’ve come, how resilient your body is.
How is body positivity impacting the fitness industry?
I’m currently apart of this industry now and it’s tough. When people think of the fitness industry and getting a trainer, they want a buff, strong, lean trainer because in their minds they think this is what they’ll become when they train with them.
I want people to view it differently. I want people to look at their bodies as a whole. Not just their outer looks, but their mental health, their diet and then their shape.
It’s great to have muscle or to drop the kilograms, but if you don’t fix what’s going on in your mental space and your diet, then chances are you’ll end up at square one again.
I want people to know that you can still be healthy and a size 16. There are people I know and have had the privilege or working with who are exactly this and have run 10km, who train and eat healthy, but their body shape makes people think otherwise. LET’S STOP BEING SO SUPERFICIAL!!! Our bodies, our fitness level, is always going to be different from the next person.
Are there any body positivity exercises that you can recommend?
So many! But the biggest one for people starting out is to just focus on one thing a day that you like about yourself, your body and who you are. And I say like, because this is often really hard for people to begin with. Once you learn to like, that like will turn into love.
I would also recommend keeping a journal of how you feel about yourself and really be honest with yourself. Ask yourself why do I feel like this, and how do I change it if it needs to be changed?
How would you recommend promoting body positivity?
By showcasing more genuine people. Not the instagram famous, or the TV worthy. Show genuine real people and start changing the narrative and the way we view things as a whole. Show that its ok to be different. Remind people that we are all unique and that nobody, not even your twin, will look like you completely.
Does body positivity apply for men too?
Of course! Majority of my following are actually men who generally keep quiet on instagram, but have opened up in conversation/ messages on how much they have struggles with appreciating their body, who they are and how they feel. I would love to see more body positive accounts for men, or just more male female crossover. Men struggle just as women do.
How can someone be body positive?
By learning to love the person they are, by appreciating others for who they are, and by not comparing to the stereotype.