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Love Your Body Now

An Interview with Steph Hendel, Creator of the #BodyBuiltByLove Movement

As we round out another year, many of us reflect on which goals we set for our lives and our careers last year, and which ones we actually worked towards. So many women and men I know -too many- set lifestyle and fitness goals at the start of each new year and promptly forget about them come February, when the daily grind or the BIG DREAM takes over all of their time and attention. No one is saying you should give up your dream of rising in rank at your company or to put that dream vacation on hold for another year in favor of running a marathon this year or losing thirty pounds. What I am wondering is why we so often put aside the goals and dreams we have for ourselves and for our bodies so quickly? Why do we give up on those dreams when things get hard? And not just for a day or even a week, but for the rest of the year?

I've been mulling over these questions as I ponder my own goals for 2020. I have a business strategy in place, and a plan to read 24 books in the new year. How can I incorporate loving the skin I'm in into these tangible plans? And how can I make little tweaks to my diet and to my current exercise regimen to feel my absolute best to support those other goals?

I decided to have a chat with my old friend, Steph Hendel, about these musings. Steph and I met about ten years ago, when she was just starting out on her wellness journey, and I've been following her transformation over the last decade. In addition to amassing a following of over 80,000 fans on Instagram (check her out at Steph Hendel), she's also had the opportunity to help over 1,000 women remember who they are and how powerful they are in their journey to love their bodies. Figuring she must be on to something, I asked her to tell me more about her journey and to share her advice with my readers.

What she does

In a nutshell, Steph guides women through deep emotional work to understand the limiting beliefs that are holding them back from their goals. Most women come to Steph to change how their body looks, but the work goes so much deeper than just losing weight. Instead, it is a journey to shift their mindset and beliefs to attract the energy they are seeking in their lives.

Many of her clients are already eating well and working out, but are struggling to reach the potential they know they are capable of. They feel frustrated and confused as to why they cannot release excess weight or they are ready to give up and blame their genetics for why they feel or look the way that they do. Steph helps them redefine their beliefs, which she says is the "foundation of any weight loss or transformation in our lives, from upgrading our finances to our love life."

If we hold on to beliefs that say that we can't have the things we want because it isn't safe, or it's wrong, or bad somehow, we'll never let ourselves have it.

She believes that our bodies are capable of incredible things, that they can do anything we ask them to, but if there is a limiting belief in between what we want and what we ask of them, they cannot do it. Steph cites examples of how deeply ingrained these beliefs can be and it was eye-opening for me to consider them. For example, if there was a time in your life that you felt sexy in your body and during that time period you were sexually assaulted, you may hold onto the idea that having that body is unsafe. Mind blown. It makes perfect sense now, and it is an issue I can relate to. In fact, I began to gain weight rapidly after a traumatic experience in my life and it never occurred to me that all of the work I did to get through that trauma emotionally may not have addressed this particular belief. Who else can relate?

Her Story

Steph's own journey began when she was overweight and uncomfortable in her own body. She was asking herself the hard questions, such as "How did I get here?" She had an a-ha moment after trying multiple diets and exercise regimens. She said there had to be something deeper causing her to feel this way and so she explored that and started sharing her findings with other women.

She lost 40 pounds and kept it off for the past seven years. Even after getting pregnant and giving birth to her son Jonathan, she refused to give in to the belief that your body goes "down hill" after having children. She applied the principles of her program to her own body and decided that she was going to nourish herself properly during pregnancy, but that also her legs were going to be strong and sexy. And so they were.

Body Built By Love

Steph has compiled all of her experience transforming her own life and her clients' bodies and mindsets into a signature course called Body Built by Love. She runs this 12-week program twice each year. (This round begins at the publication of this blog. Keep reading to learn how to jump in or get on the wait list.) She personally guides 25 women through the process that changed her life and the lives of hundreds of other women. Her clients typically lose about 30 pounds during the course of the program, and continue to lose after it's over.

More importantly than losing the weight, however, they fall in love with their bodies and with themselves. They are able to access a greater level of purpose, confidence, joy, and radiance.

Women are able to access a greater level of purpose, confidence, joy and radiance.

She's excited to watch women realize their value and to know that they are not flawed, but rather they have immense radiance. Her passion when she talks about this dream is contagious.

Her Advice for YOU

I asked Steph what her advice was for women trying to transform their lives in the new year. She knew exactly what she wanted to say.

  1. Throw away your scale!!! Don't measure your success by a number, but only how you feel. If you feel good, it's working.

  2. Remove shame, judgment, and criticism. You are not broken. That's bullshit. We don't have to feel bad about ourselves to change. (Amen!)

How You Can Work With Steph

If you are interested in joining the current round of the Body Built by Love course, please contact Steph on Instagram @StephHendel or visit her website at You can also try out a number of other courses she offers throughout the year.

Thank you so much, Steph, for chatting with me about body belief transformation. In a time when terms like "intuitive eating" and "body positive" are all the rage, it can be scary to admit that you want to lose weight or that you don't feel comfortable in your body. Programs like Steph's give women a safe space to express their fears and change their beliefs, and here at Whole Image Wellness, we love that! To check out my own weight loss and body transformation story, visit my website at No matter how you do it, loving your body can (and probably should) be at the top of your priority list for 2020.



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