Hi darlings, the other week we were lucky enough to have a chat with @stephhendel founder of BodyBuiltByLove. See what we talked about below and make sure you read to the end as you will have a little discount code from Steph as a thank you for having a read!
Selfish Darling: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, we’re so excited! We came across your Instagram and you seem to be such a huge inspiration to a lot of women and we want to talk to as many inspirational women as possible.
So what is your background? How did you start out?
Steph : So I started out, shortly after college in a job that was, it was fine but it was really not what I wanted to do with my life. I was 40 pounds overweight. I was in a relationship and my relationship was pretty bleh and I was just sticking with it because I didn’t know, at the time honestly I didn’t know I deserved better. So I just kind of stayed in that shitty relationship and really nothing about my life I really liked and I had this moment where I was just like sitting at the office. I had woken up that morning got dressed and I kept gaining more and more weight which was like really frustrating for me but it was sort of just like my whole life was all over the place like “what’s going on, where am I, what’s happening”. And then I woke up that morning tried on my pants and none of my pants fit and I was like “Oh my God I’ll have to wear my fat pants” like the pants I kept in the back of my closet where I was just like I hope I never have to wear those pants but I’m keeping them for some reason.
And I had to put on those pants, those pants were tight and I remember getting to the office and just sitting down in my chair and feeling this roll of fat hanging over my tight pants, my tight fat pants. And I was just “what was going on, what is happening right now? Like what are you doing?”. And then I also had this next thought that was like Oh my God am I going to do this for the rest of my life? So I was just sitting there being like nine to five in an office Monday through Friday and I fully believe that that is some people’s desire and destiny but it was not mine. And I was forcing myself to do it and I was like “Oh my God I’m not going to get sixty years down the line and still be doing this and like hating my life”, I would be drinking on the weekends and I don’t have a problem with people drinking but I know the intention behind my drinking was just to like try and make myself feel maybe baseline not even you know up here but just like enough to like keep on going.
And I was very depressed at that time. I went on like a really downward spiral and that day was really the point for me where I was just like no more. Something has to change, something has to be different. So I went on this journey and it’s been amazing and wild and crazy and beautiful and every emotion of everything all in one. But I learned so much about my body so I changed my body. I lost 40 pounds because I’m the kind of person that if I do something I do it full on! Like if you tell me do the workout, if you tell me eat the food I’m going to do those things.
But I was doing those things and nothing was changing my body. I’d lose the weight then gain it back or wouldn’t lose weight at all. And I was just like “What the heck’s going on here?. So that’s when I stumbled upon that kind of coaching that I do now for my clients because it was the only thing that actually got me to lose weight, the amount of weight I wanted to lose in order to have the body I wanted and then keep it. And. So yeah that’s kind of what led me in this direction and through weight loss I teach women how to have better lives and more worth and value for themselves.
Selfish Darling: That is so amazing and very brave of you to take this step from 9-5 life, I think can I can really relate to it, like I started Selfish Darling because I used to work at an investment fund very long hours and it felt really depressed start to get the all these like hormone issues and thyroid issues gaining a lot of weight and just felt really low in energy and in my mood. So I yeah I moved to Bali to get some time to reflect and decided to set up Selfish Darling so it’s amazing to hear that like your story and that it really aligns with what we’re trying to do too like empowering women and talk about like different women’s journeys because I feel like in social media and in the news you always read about all the good stories but not so much about struggles so I think we need to talk about more about struggles so it’s good to hear you manage to push for your struggles and that you’ve come out the other end much stronger.
Steph: Yeah that’s so true, I fully agree that we can’t help empower women to be their best selves if they don’t see the part, the journey in its entirety. I wish somebody had showed me that beforehand because I think the road would have been a lot smoother.
Selfish Darling: Yeah, we totally agree. So what was that like one moment that just changed everything for you would you say?
Steph: I mean the deciding moment was that day when I was sitting in my office chair and that fat was hanging over the pants. But then after that it was like I did what I did and what I’ve realized now is that it was a manifestation but I didn’t know really what I was doing back then. Basically I decided I was going to make that change and I didn’t focus on the how but I just let the resources come to me so shortly after I was like I can’t live like this anymore. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. But something has to change.
All of a sudden things started coming in, for example my dad gave me a Tony Robbins CD to listen to when I was in the car and then in that Tony said “you can do anything you want with enough practice”. And then I was talking to somebody in a conversation at a work thing and they were like “I just did a triathlon” and I said I could never do that and as soon as I said it I was like Wait! Tony said I can do anything I want with enough practice. So then I was like I’m just going to do something crazy and I signed up for a triathlon and see if I could do it. So there were just all these things along the path that guided me.
Selfish Darling: So all of a sudden you know you opened yourself up to these things to approach you and to these signs?
Steph: Yeah and it’s really important to note too like you know because we want to educate women on the entire process and a lot of times we just talked about that. Where it’s like I was somehow manifesting without realizing I was manifesting. I also had a point where I stopped manifesting because I put up so many blocks and barriers and limiting beliefs in that process. So I had this like “I’m manifesting and everything’s beautiful and it’s all happening for me”. And then I also had like a moment after that where it was just like nothing it’s working. I saw success and it felt amazing. Why are things not working now? so there’s you know, there’s so much to that I think understanding the process of how it works is essential and that’s why I teach it in my courses and everything because we have to know what we’re doing. When I was doing it blind it was luck. But once I started knowing what I was doing and how to do it then I was just applying what’s possible for all of us to create all the things I have, my body and everything. We can then consciously create you know.
Selfish Darling: Yeah that makes sense. And what does a typical program looked like that you offer to your clients?
Steph: Well my signature course is called #BodyBuiltByLove and that’s a 12 week online course, I have women all over the world doing my courses which is really fun. So it’s women of every age, women of every culture, all kinds of women all around the world jumping in. It’s twelve weeks. It’s very much in depth about the beliefs that we hold because traditional weight loss focuses on eat these foods do these workouts but nobody’s really talking about if you don’t have a foundational belief that you deserve to lose weight or that it would be safe to have the body you want then you’re going to block it and you won’t allow yourself to have that body no matter how many good meals you eat and no matter how many workouts you do which is why someone like me could do all the workouts in the world all the time and “do all the right things” and still not lose weight.
So I teach that foundation of beliefs because if a woman doesn’t have the body she wants it’s simply because she has a belief that having that body is wrong, unsafe, bad and I know a lot of times women will be like “I don’t think it’s bad to have that body, I want that body” but it’s a subconscious belief. So on the surface we’re like “I want that body, it would be amazing to have that body, it’ll look so great in clothes and I could do this and I could like show up on the beach” but subconsciously if they had this quote unquote in their mind sexy bodies and then they had an experience where they got sexually abused and they might have linked the two together they’re gonna be like it’s super unsafe to have a sexy body. So even though I want a sexy body again I’m not going to let myself go there because that means I get abuse.
Selfish Darling: Yeah. That’s a very interesting, I guess it’s easy to just say what you want but not understanding how that’s all linked together and why you might react the way you do. So it’s like online seminars during those 12 weeks or what’s the structure of the course and how do you all “come together”? Is it one to one?
Steph: So it’s actually a group setting and it’s every Monday there are these training modules that gets released. So the training modules teach the concepts behind like the foundational stuff of like beliefs and every woman will find out what beliefs she holds. Especially the ones that she probably doesn’t even realize are there and that are really in the way.
So those are in the training modules and then every week we do a live Q and A so I’ll answer questions for everybody because there’s just naturally so many things that come up and every person has a unique journey. Across the board there’s probably like seven or eight things that somebody can identify with as the reason why they’re limiting themselves but the way it shows up in their life can be very unique. So the coaching part comes in to address the uniqueness of each year and then probably my favorite part is that we have a voice memo support group and that’s a game changer because I have found that probably 99.9% of women who come to me wanting to lose weight aren’t losing weight because of an unhealthy relationship with women specifically like they’ve generally been told by their mom when they were younger that their mom didn’t like something about her body, like her daughter’s body, she didn’t like something about her own body or maybe they heard her talk about other women’s bodies.
So there’s this female relationship that needs healing and it needs to be in a space where every woman feels no shame no judgment and no criticism from other women about her body journey. So that’s very heavily imprinted on almost any woman who has a body that she’s not in love with. There there’s some kind of belief from mom for the most part that when you get in this group around women who are there in the context of where we’re just going to stand for each other that’s say I’m going to stand for you and your goals.
You can tell me the biggest goal in the world and I’ll be like “good job sister, like I got you, I want to see you reach that goal so I support you” you know verses being like “that’s kind of a big goal, are you sure you want to do that?”. You know we tend to have people in our lives who are supportive and loving but they’re not necessarily like standing for us. So you know we can have a family member who’s like “Good job, love what you’re doing. Keep going you know but are you sure it’s going to work out for you financially?”. You know that’s not what we need in our lives, we need someone who’s saying “hey I don’t even understand what you do. But I’m like cheering for you”. And like “Keep going girl and just go after your dreams like that. Good on you like go for it”.
Selfish Darling: Yeah. And don’t you think in general though women are quite bad at supporting each other? Like it’s easy to say we’re gonna support you but then when it comes down to it do we actually?
Steph: Yeah, yeah that’s so true and that’s why creating a massive context for what happens. I’m teaching people how to lose weight but I’m also teaching them how to have healthy relationships with women because what you’re touching on right there is that like we’re afraid women will betray us, talk behind our , maybe not support our goals, maybe steal our unique thing. There’s just so many like little dynamics of female relationships that we need to like learn to stand for each other because as we do like what you all are doing and as we stand for each other.
All the women rise. And rise fast. So the more of that the better.
Selfish Darling: Love that! That’s so good. Really amazing.
We have quite many readers I think that wants to set up their own company in the future and that need some role models like yourself. So how did you manage to leave your 9 to 5 job and go over and do this full time. How was the transition?
Steph : Oh my gosh. So it was not smooth. It was not like now I’m working here and now I’m not and we’re good! No it was not. It was again, it was like I had this thing, another thing manifestation kind of come true. When I decided I wanted to do something different there was this situation where I had a woman come into our office I worked for a magazine at the time. So she came in and she said “hey I want to write for your magazine I’ll trade you for free health coaching” and at the time you know I was overweight I wanted to fix it so I was like “yes let’s do that”.
So she started health coaching me and as soon as I had my first session with her I was like this, this is the direction for me. So I called the health coaching school she went to and was like OK what’s it all about. Was ready to sign up that day and then the person I was talking to mentioned that as a health coach you’re probably going to need to do some public speaking you’re going to need to lead workshops things just to get your business out there. And I was like nope, not doing that. I cut myself off completely.
I knew I wanted to go in the direction of health coaching. Like my whole body was like yes do this stuff. This is part of your destiny. And I completely stopped myself. And it was for like months I think because I was terrified of public speaking at the time. But I’d also never spoken about something I was passionate about.
Selfish Darling: So you are remembering and thinking about the things you had to do in school when you had to memorize something really boring and stand in front of the whole class and talk about it. I think we all hated that!
Steph: Yeah exactly. And then once I thought about it I was like I had just been so miserable for those four months or so. And I was just like I can’t stay here like whatever, “Tony tells me that I can do anything I want with enough practice” that sentence went a long way for me at the beginning of my journey so I was like Tony says that I can do it I’ll figure it out. So I enrolled and then I realized what you’re talking about “oh this isn’t like the grade school speech” I actually care about this. So I realized, Oh I’m actually good at public speaking and it’s fun.
So to answer your question it was rocky. You know I held myself back for a long time and as I mentioned before too I had like when I first started my health coaching business, I had massive success and I had a completely full practice. People were seeing my transformation. I lived at home so people watching my mom lose weight my dad lose weight. I don’t know how but my cat lost some weight haha. So people though “holy shit I want to be a part of this”. So I had a full practice and it was amazing.
But then shortly after the limiting beliefs and different things started coming in and I had a very like, it would probably take a long time to describe it all but I went downhill pretty bad pretty fast and from there I created a lot of limiting beliefs about my business and created a very unstable foundation that it took me years to un-program and I highly suggest for anybody who’s starting a business hire a good coach hire a good coach because they can help you not create the limiting beliefs along the way they can help you catch yourself before you build something and don’t realize it’s there and let it limit you.
So I created all kinds of weird beliefs at that time about money and sales and business and all that so I just stacked a bunch of limiting beliefs on top of myself and got into a real struggle situation where I was living out of my car, you know no money like it got really real really fast. So my biggest advice is hire a really good coach who can help you build that solid foundation of what is the truth, aka there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not broken you can do it your own way. But you have to have the self-love and self-belief in your own brilliance to move forward.
Selfish Darling: Yeah. Whoa. Really an amazing story. So you’ve not just managed to stop your nine to five and quit your job you’ve also managed to turn your own business around when you when you hit like a bit of a down spot in that as well. That’s amazing.
Steph: Yep, it was Big turnaround, huge turnaround like Quantum Leap turnaround.
Selfish Darling: Wow. So is that when you then got into Instagram and moved on to creating your online courses or has that always been part of your business.
Steph: Actually my business when I first started was like one on one in-person coaching for about two years and then the whole online coaching thing came to play came into play and I was like “ this is great. So I was like I’m jumping on board, I’m all about it”. And funny thing about that was that I went to live in Pennsylvania at the time, I live in California now but I lived in Pennsylvania and nobody was doing online coaching other than like one or two people that I was aware of but the general public was like what is online courses and online coaching. People did not understand what I was doing. They some were very unsupportive. Some were cruel about it. Some were just like ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about Steph, like Good luck”. And at that time I just wanted to be around people who were gonna be like “yeah Steph you can do it and go for it” . So I didn’t have that kind of support at the time which is why I create that for people now in my courses.
But you know I had to kind of just go through it on my own and oh now I’m trying to remember, what was your exact question?
Selfish Darling: We just asked if that’s when you got into Instagram and launching your business online and how that all kind of came about that journey into that side of it.
Steph: Yeah yeah. So it was kind of like that. It was like everybody was saying no what is that? Like YouTube was starting too, you know like YouTube was just getting big, people were like what’s an influencer? or whatever like these people doing this stuff like it’s not real that’s not a real job. And as we know now it’s a very real job and people are making it big like the influencers are the new celebrities essentially and I decided like I’m going to go online. But with all of the limiting beliefs I had created at that time they really ran myself into the ground when I transitioned from in-person to online and it took like a lot of rebuilding and a lot of uncovering like my worth and my value and my feeling deserving of success to grow that to you know the point that I’m at now.
Selfish Darling: Amazing and how do you stay so positive? Like how do you strengthen your self-confidence? Like it seems like you have a lot of confidence and you’re very positive. Like do you have any mantra you’re following or any favorite books that you can recommend to our readers. How do you stay that happy?
Steph: Wow. I would say that I’m definitely not happy all the time. For the most part I am but I let my real emotions come out when they need to and I’ve set up a super strong support system that’s got to be like the main thing.
I have my coach who’s a very high level coach that I work with consistently and I always will, I’m just always going to keep a coach because it’s that powerful for going forwards, if you want to always go to that next next level of your own happiness and your own worth. To have that level of support to always help you through this stuff that comes up on a day to day basis that’s probably the biggest thing that keeps me happy. I felt like a foundation of realizing I deserve to be happy and I deserve to have great things and the more I have great things and the happier I am the happier my clients, my friends, my friends on Facebook and Instagram are. You know everybody wins when I thrive.
So I definitely had to change because I was really afraid to thrive for a while. But yeah having a coach, my husband is an amazing support, he’s a coach as well so like we go back and forth when stuff comes up and he helps me move through things having my courses, the women in my courses like keep me so excited, inspired, motivated and happy. It’s just my greatest joy to wake up in the morning and coach them and hear what they’re going through and help them through hard times, help them remember their own value and worth and know that they’re deserving of great things like being around them and watching them rise also helps me rise.
And then I have my support group of women as well. So I’ve felt a lot of strong support systems around myself.
Selfish Darling: It’s amazing. Thank you for sharing so much information with us. To wrap up, if you would give us your best 3 tips to feel better about yourself what would those be?
Steph: The first one would be: Know that you are capable of anything you want, like a Tony Robbins -You can do anything you want with enough practice, like that shit is real. If you commit to it you will get it the same way. I have a 16 month old son right now and he is literally learning to walk the way a baby learns to walk and Tony actually talks about this. When a baby falls down learning to walk you’re not like “oh shoot you’re not gonna get it. You know you should really just give up”. We’re like keep going until you get it! That’s the advice I would give to somebody. Treat yourself the way you would treat a baby learning to walk, keep going because if you keep going you will get it. But somehow along the lines you’ve been taught that it’s like “Oh you failed once. You should just give up”. So it’s always for you. Don’t give up. Keep going and know that far greater things than you even imagine are possible for your life, your finances, your love life, your career, your body, everything! You can shift in shape and change the body, anything in a million different ways to suit whatever your desire is just because you want it. Like you’re allowed to have that, that’s everybody’s birth right.
Selfish Darling: Amazing, thank you so much. Like you’re really a huge inspiration. So inspiring.
Steph: Thank you. Thanks for having me!
Steph has been kind enough got give all our followers a discount code so if you’re interested in Steph’s #BodyBuiltByLove course use code selfishdarling20 for 20% off!