I’m super excited to present my interview with Mara Glatzel, an incredible coach and writer. Mara helps women create the lives they want and deserve. She also authors one of my favorite blogs: Medicinal Marzipan.

Today, she officially launches her self-study Body Loving Homework E-Course. It’s a beautiful guide filled with practical and inspiring prompts, lessons and insights for cultivating a more body positive and fulfilling life. At its core, this course helps us build a compassionate and nurturing relationship with ourselves.

In part one of our interview, Mara explains why she created the course. She also shares her wisdom on self-love, the power of writing and her personal journey of learning to love herself.

One of my favorite lines: “I work with myself, instead of against myself.”

Learn more about Mara’s e-course here. (I highly recommend it.) Mara is generously offering a special discount code for Weightless readers. Just type in “SELFLOVE” to receive 10 percent off.

Q: Body Loving Homework began as a beautiful e-book. What inspired you to expand it to an entire e-course around cultivating self-love?

A: For many of us, there is a gap between the life we have and the life that we know that we want. This e-course is a bridge for that gap, delivered in a format that is loving, supportive, and self-paced.

It is my hope that through learning the tools that I have bundled up here, women feel profoundly encouraged to tap into their own inner wisdom and begin on the journey of cultivating a life that lights them up from the inside out – a life filled to the brim with adventure, love, fulfillment, and excitement.

The immediate feedback that I received from the Body Loving Homework e-book was “I absolutely love this, but…. I need more.” Thus, I sought to fulfill that desire by supplementing the original writing prompts in each section with a multi-media lesson, worksheet, supplemental reading, and invitation to put the principles into practice.

In curating the material in this way, participants are able to fully immerse themselves in the topic of the chapter and approach the learning from different entry points.

Q: Why is it so important to love ourselves?

A: In my heart I believe that when we love ourselves – and when we trust ourselves – we are able to make profound and long lasting changes in our lives. It is amazing how, when we are able to ground ourselves deeply in wanting to take care of ourselves, we are motivated to pursue our desires.

For so many of us, this is the exact opposite of how we grew up relating to ourselves and to our bodies. Instead, we have been operating under the premise that the only way to get to where we want to go is by taming or transforming ourselves – instead of gently inviting ourselves to become more of who we already are.

I always like to cement this idea in with really tangible results, but it is difficult because the process is so uniquely individual and dependent on what you want to accomplish. So, I will speak for myself.

When I was able to learn how to love, trust, and take responsibility for myself my health improved, I experienced peace in my relationship with food for the first time in my life, my relationships strengthened as I was able to set gorgeous boundaries, and I felt emboldened to create a life and job on my own terms, believing deeply in myself even when those around me told me it wouldn’t work.

It did work. It does work. I believe that it works, because we learn to approach ourselves and our lives from a place of deeply-felt compassion and love.

Q: How were you able to cultivate a healthy, compassionate relationship with yourself? 

A: The day-to-day process of learning to love yourself wasn’t particularly sexy or exciting. Instead, it was the process of waking up in the morning and rededicating myself to staying present within my body.

Before, I would whip myself along, telling myself what to do, what to eat, where to be, or how much to exercise. It was a fear-based regime, and I was both the enforcer and the dedicated follower.

I had an understanding about myself that if I were left to my own devices, I would wake up three months later, on the couch, watching daytime TV, covered in food wrappers.

My mistrust in myself was so pervasive that I was unable to move forward with anything – relationships, a career path, or even decide on major when I was an undergraduate.

Now, I practice staying grounded within my daily experience by staying present in my body whenever possible. This practice is imperfect. It often surprises me, as it rarely looks the way that I expect it too. I’ve released my grip on the reins, and taught myself to trust my instincts.

Doing so has naturally strengthened those instincts and the voice of my inner wisdom. I ask myself, “What does my body need right now?” or “How can I approach this particularly difficult feeling/situation/hardship with kindness and support for myself?”

Ultimately, I give myself the permission to change my mind, redirect my course, or start again whenever it becomes apparent that I’ve strayed from having my best intention at heart.

I work with myself, instead of against myself.

Q: In the e-course you mention that The written word has the power to transform us and to transform our experience on this planet.” How so? 

A: When I was making the transition from my negative experience of my life and my body, to cultivating a relationship with myself filled with ease and love, it became quickly apparent to me that I didn’t know myself at all.

I didn’t know how to treat myself kindly. I didn’t know what I most liked to eat. I didn’t know what sort of daily schedule or habits made me feel really good. Instead, I knew everyone else’s rules. I knew what the magazines told me self-care was. I knew a million ways to “take care of myself,” but I couldn’t manage to follow through with any of it.

The written word is transformative, because it supplies us with an additional tool to find our own voice. When we engage ourselves through free writing and allow our thoughts to hit the page without editing, we are able to notice things about ourselves that we may have never stopped to realize. Our stories materialize. Our thoughts become clear. Our fears pour out in a way that we might not have the bravery to admit verbally.

Writing is a language that you can utilize to better understand yourself, making it the perfect compliment to material that is inherently about re-authoring your beliefs about what is possible in your life.

Q: In the first chapter on the physical body, you write, “loving the skin that I was in had absolutely nothing to do with “throwing all the rules out the window,” or saying screw you to society and their idealized beauty norms.” What do you mean by this, and what is loving the skin you’re in about for you? 

A: When I was at odds with my body, I viewed my body as an object with a negative connotation attached to it. I believed that I was ugly, unlovable, or undeserving, because I didn’t see my body as beautiful, lovable, or deserving. Loving the skin that I was in was about flipping the switch in my head when I thought about my body and longer thinking about it as an object with a judgment attached.

Instead, I think about the mechanics of my body – my organs, skin, blood – and the ways in which my behaviors impact my body’s ability to feel strong, healthy, and energetic.

I have learned that loving my body is not about how I look, but how I nourish myself, how I create habits that support me, and ultimately, what my self-care looks like.

Instead of operating from a perspective of trying to look good or fit some sort of beauty standard, I strive to ground my daily habits in feeling good and supporting myself by making caring for my body a priority in my daily life.

Thanks so much to Mara for sharing her eye-opening insights! Stay tuned Monday for part two. Mara shares more on self-love and building a beautiful life.

More About Mara Glatzel 

Mara Glatzel is a self-love coach + creator of the Body Loving Homework E-Course. She works with women who are ready to create the lives they want — and deserve. Her blog — Medicinal Marzipan — has inspired thousands of women to heal their relationships with their bodies, and treat themselves with relentless compassion. Catch up with her on Facebook, twitter, or join her body-loving mailing list for secret swapping and insider news.