When’s the last time you sat around with a group of empowering women and talked about vulnerable topics like body image and feeling good in your skin?

In big cities like Los Angeles, there’s this enormous pressure to look a certain way. It’s a wellness haven, which is on both the pros and cons list for me. There are healthy cafes in abundance, more gyms and workout methods than you can imagine, and endless self-care options. All of those things are good; health and self-care are so important. But with all the options for self-love in aesthetics, we’re lacking the internal self-love. We forget the most important truth: We are great the way we are.

Lucky for us, there are movements popping up like the Wellness Love Co. workshops from Carla Romo and Tessie Tracy, who are intentionally gathering women together to talk about tough (but important) topics like body image and self-love. It’s equal parts personal development and community–which you know are two things I love.

The idea started when Carla and Tessie sat down at Toast LA. “When Carla and I first met up at Toast LA, the conversation bubbled around wellness, relationship, dating and going through life as women,” Tessie says. “It’s like we were in sync from the very beginning, and both knew we wanted to create an environment for women to learn, grow, connect, transform, and of course, have fun! And so was born Wellness Love Co. and our food, body and relationship workshops and events for women.”

I got a chance to attend the first Wellness Love Co. event on the theme: Sexy Summer Body & Love. It was about both nurturing your relationship with your body and your relationship with yourself. Tessie Tracy is a Eating Psychology & Mind Body Nutrition Coach, while Carla Romo is a dating and relationship coach. They both compliment each other nicely, showing how we can breakthrough our struggles and patterns of hating ourselves and shift into a new, more loving version of ourselves.

The event came to life with mingling, eating snacks, stretching and meditating. It was hosted at Fish Eggs TV; NARS Boutique on Melrose gave a tutorial on a simple, no-makeup look; Simply Stretch LA had equipment out for stretching. It felt very wellness-y and the sponsors all seemed to be there to support the mission of the workshop.

Here are some of the things I learned and thought about through the workshop.

I got more clear on what happiness looks like for me

What lies are you telling yourself? You know the biggest one we tell ourselves constantly: “Once I do x, then I’ll be y.”

We were asked to get out our pens and notebook to fill this in for ourselves.

Once I do x, then I’ll be y. Once I lose 10 lbs, I’ll feel comfortable taking pictures. Once I quit my job, then I’ll be happy. Once I get my own place, then I’ll start dating seriously.

We shared our answers with each other. I loved that we talked about this, because it’s something I constantly struggle with. I can be quite the dreamer and I get caught up in what life could be in a fantasy world, but I forget that it’s all available right now. I can be happy right now. It’s a choice. There’s no waiting required.

I realized how much everyone is struggling, regardless of how they look and carry themselves

As you can imagine, when they first asked us to open up and share our answers to these thought provoking questions in front of each other, we were a little hesitant and gave the answers that were the least embarrassing. As time went on, the vulnerability increased. We realized that every beautiful woman in the room struggled in some way.

Do you ever have the feeling that certain women couldn’t possibly struggle with body image? You’re like, “But she has the perfect body… How could she think otherwise?” It’s important to be reminded that all women have flaws that they struggle to embrace. No matter how lucky you think someone is, they have insecurities too.

I noticed that these things happen when we open up and share

  1. We feel less shame, because we’re no longer hiding it
  2. We realize we’re not in this alone. We all have pain; we’re all struggling with our self-worth. We can all use the support of each other.

“We’re told so often to have it all together but truthfully all of us are figuring out life with insecurities that hold us back from feeling sexy in our bodies, relationships & dating. It’s really inspirational to see women acknowledge their weaknesses while finding ways to grow through them.” –Carla Romo

I noticed how much the way we speak about something makes a difference

I’m a sucker for paying attention to our vocabulary and the way we can make subtle shifts to the way we talk to others, to ourselves or to others about ourselves. A little practice we did, that I loved, was to list out some of the language that we throw around when it comes to food and how we can shift it into something less negative.

Here are a few examples:

  • Cheat meals becomes a treat
  • Fell off the wagon becomes I’m continuing to nourish myself
  • Diet starts tomorrow becomes I’m going to do my best

I created my definition of sexy

We were asked questions about how we define sexy, and what it means to own our sexy. A lot of us said confidence, speaking up, and being authentic. It’s interesting to think about how we believe our sexiness comes from confidence and yet, we’re often lacking confidence because we don’t feel comfortable in our bodies or abilities. What a messed up cycle! If only we could always be confident, then we might always feel sexy. It’s all a work-in-progress, but I love thinking about all of this and it helps to shift your mindset.

I left the workshop feeling amazing, connected and excited about the future of Wellness Love workshops. “I can’t wait to see our workshops become a larger sisterhood of growth! Tessie Tracy and I are continuing to create a space for women to grow friendships and have a blast all while working on self-growth with their bodies, relationships, and dating life.” Carla says.

Even if you’re not in LA, Wellness Love Co. workshops may be coming to a city near you! Keep up-to-date on events here, and join the Facebook group to connect and get advice from likeminded women.