sarah-hodges Self Love Beauty

I literally had the best interview with an amazing woman and I am SO glad to be able to share more about her with you! Meet Sarah the founder of Innerform Fitness. She has an amazing story, is so down to earth and so fun to talk to! (Yes after our interview we have continued to catch up and talk about life success and obstacles with lots of laughs).

As many people hate social media for many reasons, there are some reasons I love it, in particular because I met Sarah on twitter and I knew I had to chat more with her! From a twitter relationship to a phone call to finding out we are both from Michigan to relating on many things, it was so fun to get to know her! Sarah has this spark about her and is so easy to want to be like.

Check out my interview with her below:

Sarah, it was great speaking to you on the phone more about innerform fitness and learning you are from the same state as me! You are on a roll with changing peoples lives, can you tell us a little more about InnerForm Fitness? 

It was great speaking to you on the phone as well, Lisa, and what a surprise to discover that we’re both from the same home state!  Go Blue!  Haha!

I’m really passionate about helping people change their lives by recognizing their personal value.  I believe that when we learn to value and love ourselves, we will naturally take better care of ourselves.

When I created Innerform Fitness, I wanted to provide a health and wellness program that emphasized “Fitness for Life – Not just for Looks.”  I noticed that the health and fitness industry relies heavily on “shame” tactics to entice people to purchase products and programs.  I believe that this shame-driven approach actually contributes to a state of stress and un-health.  That’s why Innerform Fitness is so unique.  We’re working toward providing a guide to true health and wellness that’s about connecting with our bodies and positively interacting with the world around us.

What does having self-love mean to you?

When it comes to any type of love, including self-love, I believe that actions speak louder than words.  Self-love is how we treat ourselves, and not just how we see ourselves.  How do we treat beloved friends, families, children, and pets? Do we cherish ourselves just as much?  Do we give ourselves healthy food, free movement, and speak kindly to ourselves?  Self-love is treating ourselves with value and respect every day.  It’s allowing ourselves to be expressive and unique without being ashamed of it.

What made you decide to start the #beautifulshame campaign? 

After an almost decade-long struggle with obesity, I had given up on trying to lose weight and accepted myself for who I was.  I decided to love myself, imperfections and all, and to take the best care of myself I possibly could.  Based on the healthy habits I adopted as a result, I lost 90 pounds.

Fast forward to just a few months after achieving my goal weight, when my husband of nearly eight years told me he was gay.  After our quick divorce, I began the process of rebuilding my life and coming to terms with his homosexuality and infidelity.  In my effort to cope with the overwhelming shame I felt for not knowing sooner, I discovered the healing power of creativity in alleviating shame.  I painted a huge canvas of images that represented the many layers and elements of shame I felt.  Immediately, I experienced an immense sense of freedom.

Later I learned more about the connections between shame, stress, and our health.  It became apparent to me that the first and most important step to a healthier lifestyle was relieving stress through processing our shame.  That made sense to me, based on my 90 pound weight loss that came from a place of self love.  So, I decided to take these principles to the world and started the Beautiful Shame Campaign.

The steps of the Beautiful Shame Campaign are easy:

  1. Acknowledge your shame
  2. Express it using a creative outlet (and it doesn’t have to be “good”)
  3. Share it by emailing or using #beautifulshame on social media


What is the one quote you live by?

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindle  This quote reminds me to be resilient and push forward when faced with adversity.  It reminds me that when the going gets tough, as it often does, that we can give ourselves a moment of compassion and then carry onward.

If you could give advice to your 13 year old self what would it be?

I would have told her to live boldly despite the pressures to conform.  I would have told her that she never had to stop playing.  I would have told her that she was going to experience a tremendous amount of adversity in her life, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t worthy of love. …And if she didn’t feel love from other people, she could always show love to herself.

What do you think is one thing women can do to help our society in general learn to have more self love?

I think women can affirm each other more — not just the shoes or the hair or the clothes — but the energy, the creativity, and the soul!!  I think we can encourage each other to move in a way that feels good and to focus more on the way we live than the way we look.  If women can learn to affirm the unseen beauty within each other, we will collectively grow in strength and self-love.

What are some things we can look for from Innerform Fitness in the future?

My colleagues and I have a very exciting new fitness platform that we’re releasing this fall!  It’s going to provide several different exercise programs and guidelines to help people really take steps to become healthier from the inside out.  It is purposefully designed to be as inclusive and detail-oriented as possible so no one has to feel fear or shame as they navigate it.  The goal is that everyone who signs up for a membership will have found a place where they can learn new health and fitness principles that will enhance their overall lives – not JUST their looks.

Sarah is one woman to make sure to follow and she is always a writer for The Odyssey Online self love beauty community.

Check out other amazing women empowerment stories here: The Strong Movement,  Self Love Formula and Woman Working in the Film Industry.