Were so inspired by the work youve done through your non-profit Movemeant. What was the journey to starting this incredible community and initiative?
Jenny: Movement and community were the main pillars that helped me rebuild my confidence and self-worth after multiple eating disorders. Knowing the positive impact movement had on my self-esteem in my formative years, it became my mission to make fitness approachable and accessible, and to use movement to help girls build confidence.
How do you feel that movement and mental wellbeing intersect and influence one another?
Jenny: The mind and the body are meant to be a team. When we exercise and strengthen both, thats when we feel our best.
Charina: Totally agreed with Jennys sentiments on team work. Theres some real physiological changes that happen when we move our bodies, including the brains release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. All that in turn, improves our mood, focus, and attention.
We love your Generation Confident curriculum for middle school girls. How can we encourage body positivity for women and girls in our own lives?
Meredith: My favorite thing about Generation Confident is how it creates a community of courage around body inclusion. Its really, really hard for all of us, but especially our youth, to feel comfortable in our skin when we are bombarded daily by a digital world that seeks to so often fracture our self worth. The more we can be one anothers champions, the stronger we become as individuals and as a community.
Jenny: And part of that body-positive community means not commenting on other peoples bodies, but especially your own.
Katie: Absolutely. In fact, we challenge our community to not comment on how someone looks, which can sometimes be instinctual in our society, and instead compliment an accomplishment.
Sometimes, the seemingly hard work of an active lifestyle can be daunting. What are some small steps we can take to get started?
Meredith: Take 15-minutes to walk around the block or skip the Uber to dinner and stroll instead. Or, do a few active stretches and some core work in between Zoom calls. Or best yet, dance around in your living room, your kitchen, anywhere! Just put on some good music and move.
Take 15-minutes to walk around the block or skip the Uber to dinner and stroll insteadOr best yet, dance around in your living room, your kitchen, anywhere!
How do you feel women are often deterred from exercise, despite the joys and benefits?
Katie: So often, conversation about exercise gets tied to how we look, instead of how we feel. The message that women receive over and over again is that we aren't thin enough, or don't look how we should, and it's so demotivating to try and respond to an impossible standard and that kind of negativity.
Even when many of us have stayed out of our gyms and studios during the pandemic, what are some ways we can keep up a workout routine?
Katie: I've learned that small things can help me feel better during this crazy time, like taking a walk outside in the middle of the day.
Charina: Just like Katie was saying, my pro tip is that Ive actually swapped over all non-essential video calls to OG phone calls I can do while on a walk outside.
How do you feel body image struggles impact women specifically? How can women move past those barriers?
Jenny: I dont believe body image struggles are exclusive to one gender. However, historically, social conditioning exclusively objectified women, portraying one standard of beauty, with image as the most important quality in a woman above anything else.
For me, my body image struggles stopped once I accepted my body for what it is while learning to respect it with ongoing care and attention. Its ok if we dont love every part of ourselves as long as we accept ourselves in our purest form as worthy.
When fitness is so often tied to our looks, what mindshifts can we make to reframe exercise in a healthier way?
Charina First, its critical to recognize that weve been conditioned to think, consciously and subconsciously, that exercise is a pathway to weight loss, lean bodies, curves, and abs.
Therefore breaking that pattern of thinking through both education and self reflection is essential. We need to remember that its primarily genetics that determine our body type. From there, our environment and choices influence the rest. Thats where self-reflection comes in to encourage you to get to the why behind your workouts. Understanding your motivations creates a stronger emotional connection to yourself.
Any upcoming initiatives or plans you'd like to share with us?
Charina: We are thrilled for 2022 to continue our work with representation of the BIPOC community in fitness and wellness leadership, and have grants and scholarships available for those who are building this community.
Jenny: We will also continue to aid in our support of girls nationwide between the ages of 8 - 16, paying particular attention to those in underserved communities who have limited access to sports and fitness programming. Both those grants are available to apply for on our website, www.movemeant.org.
While a self-described social butterfly, I find empowerment in my independence. Taking myself on a spur of the moment solo vacation, dinner dates to new restaurants or parts of the city where my company is solely the characters in the book I bring, visiting the local bar and getting to know the bartenders over a glass of wine… or 3. I find that intimate moments with myself leave me feeling brave, confident, and empowered to take on the world without depending on anything else as a buffer. It also gives me time to reflect, plan, journal and explore new places at my own pace.