Real Bodies: Bold and Beautiful Bianca-Leigh
It is hard to imagine that only a few short years ago Bianca-Leigh was obese, unfit and unhappy. Looking at her now, all you see is a bold woman who lives life to the full, take care of herself and invest as much time as she possibly can into her newly discovered passion, running! I caught up with her in Cape Town.
Please tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a creative soul and a long distance runner, a dog lover, a daughter, a sister and a friend with a good ear and a foul mouth! I've loved and lost (through death), which has influenced the way I live and think ~ you only have one life and one body so treat them both well. It took me a while to realise this and I still struggle to live it completely but I give it my best shot. I'm a very proud owner of my first Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultramarathon medal. It was a dream of mine since I was a kid and the training and running of that race showed me that anything is possible. I'm a total Gemini who loves exploring and being out and about as much as a good afternoon nap.
What does body positivity mean to you
Learning (very hard) that comparison really is the thief of joy. And that my self-worth and happiness is not linked to a number... whether it's the scale, my age or bank account.
If you could tell your younger self (or your daughter) one thing in terms of self love and acceptance, what would it be?
You cannot pour from an empty cup. Stop trying to please others and stop explaining yourself to other people ~ "no" is a complete sentence. It's not selfish to take care of yourself and to put yourself first if need be.
What was the best body positive message ever given to you?
Not so much a message but a quote that I saw:
"People get so caught up in the one thing that they don't like about themselves. Their thighs, nose, tummy, something! But things like flour and baking powder go into a cake, and alone, those things taste yuck. But put together, the cake is pretty damn delicious."
Also, I love cake.
Do you ever try to speak positively about the way you look?
Not consciously about my looks but more about my strength especially when it comes to mantras and visualisation. I LOVE fashion and dressing up but I hope to leave behind a mark of love, kindness and strength.
Do you have any words of encouragement for women or young girls who may deal with shaming of their body type? Or even something you, yourself may still need to be told?
Mostly for myself: stop overthinking, just do it. Live, love, laugh, cry, try, fail, try again.
To conclude, complete the following: I will love my body more positively by...
...seeing what it is capable of. Pushing boundaries and turning I can't into I can. I missed out on a lot of experiences due to being self-conscious ~ no more!