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Influencer Corner: An Interview with Island Randi

Curvicality Influencers to Watch - Spotlighting up-and-coming plus-size influencers through inspirational photos and personal interviews.
Powerlifter Island Randi redefines what personal power means.
Island Randi is one of the strongest women we know. We mean that quite literally — she holds numerous world powerlifting records. She’s also a renowned business coach and public speaker. But most importantly, she’s changing the world by helping women everywhere to go after greatness by looking at their bodies, lives and businesses in an entirely different light.
 

Really, you can’t walk away from your time with Island Randi without feeling inspired, and we want to bring this inspiration and excitement to you! Read on, and be prepared to look at your body — and your life — in a completely new way. You’ll ask yourself, “What could I accomplish in life if I stopped putting all my efforts into changing my body?” (P.S. You can find Randi on IG @island_randi)

Island Randi - Curvicality Magazine

I truly believe we cannot step into our greatness
if we are not accepting all parts of ourselves.

Curvicality: What does self-acceptance mean to you?

Island Randi: A lot of people have a misconception about what self-acceptance means. They think that it means to give up on your goals or trying to better yourself. However, I believe when we accept ourselves, every part of our lives, it unleashes a well of energy that we once used toward not accepting ourselves. Now we can use that energy toward actually making a difference and creating a life of meaning.

For me, it was always that I hated my stomach. This was the part I could not accept. I tried all the diets, but no matter how much weight I lost, it didn’t change the way I felt about my body. Once I finally accepted my body, all this energy was unleashed that I had been using toward not accepting it. I could then use that energy toward actually discovering my life’s purpose and making an impact in the world.

Curvicality: How inspiring! You also talk about “radical self-acceptance” on your Instagram. What exactly is that?

Island Randi: Radical self-acceptance means accepting yourself at every stage of your life, no matter where you are. By doing this, you are creating the space in your life to go after your greatness. I truly believe that we cannot step fully into our purpose if we are not accepting a part of ourselves. You have to accept EVERYTHING. For so many women, what they’re not accepting is their bodies. As a result, they’re being constrained mentally, spiritually and physically because of this lack of acceptance.

Curvicality: You also say that that your soul needs a bigger body. Could you elaborate on that, and the journey that you have taken toward a greater state of health and wellness?

Island Randi: I believe that I was never meant to be in a thin body. I had to go to extreme and unhealthy lengths to try and achieve a thin body. Unfortunately, our bodies are usually the first thing someone will  judge our health by. When I was thinner, to the outside world, many people thought I was healthier. Now that I am much heavier, some people may label me unhealthy, just because of the size of my body. But health and body size are not always related.

When I was thinner, I had an eating disorder. I was depressed. I was in horrible, toxic relationships. Today, I have healed my relationship with food. I am healthier not just in the food I consume, but in how I treat my body. I’m active. I have deep and meaningful relationships. I’m healthy holistically … mind, body, spirit. I’m accepting that my body doesn’t have to be thin to be healthy.

Island Randi - Curvicality Magazine

Radical acceptance is accepting yourself at every stage of your life, regardless of anything external. It’s loving who you are internally so you can create a beautiful life externally.

Curvicality: You have talked a lot about limiting beliefs. What’s your take on this?

Island Randi: We all have limiting beliefs. I’m not good enough. I’ll never make money doing that. I’m too big for that. Those types of beliefs hold us back from living our lives fully. We all have unique gifts. We are here to share these (gifts) with the world. Limiting beliefs keep us from sharing our gifts with the world and stepping into our power. 

Curvicality: How can we challenge our limiting beliefs?

Island Randi: The first step is identifying that limiting belief. Anytime you say something like, “I can’t, I’m not,” identify that belief and choose a more empowering belief, like, “I can wear that.”  It’s important to frame it in an empowering way. The language we use is so powerful. 

We also have to be aware. A lot of people aren’t aware of their limiting beliefs. They take whatever limiting beliefs they have to be true. However, these beliefs are only true if you accept that they are true. You have the power to change any thought/belief in your life. 

You also have to start breaking those patterns. For example, if you want to start wearing a new type of clothing, maybe start wearing it around the house and monitor the language you use. Then wear it to the grocery store. Then wear it to a small function. You finally realize, “Wow, I can do this. The only thing that was really holding me back was my own thoughts.”

Curvicality: On your Instagram, you once referred to the famous Laurel Thatcher Ulrich quote, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Tell us about this.

Island Randi: I believe that our society has been structurally set up to minimize women’s voices, to not value women’s voices. Part of changing the world means women speaking up. We have to rebel, use our voice and share our ideas. That’s what’s going to change the world: amplifying women’s thoughts, voices and ideas. 

But as girls we are taught that people are supposed to “like you.” You’re supposed to be easy to get along with. You aren’t supposed to have strong opinions. We were taught as young girls to be quiet, that it’s important to be liked. And the truth is that when you speak your mind, some people aren’t going to like you. And I think we as women are afraid of that. 

Island Randi - Curvicality Magazine

We all have things to be thankful for in our lives. When you compare yourself to someone else, it takes away all the joy. It doesn’t allow you to create happiness.  

Curvicality: Why is comparison the thief of joy?

Island Randi: When you compare yourself, especially to others on social media, you neglect everything that you have in your own life instead of creating your own happiness. We all have so many things in our lives to be grateful for. We all have unique gifts. Comparing yourself takes away the joy, the space where you step into your power. What we see on social media and online isn’t the full story. We’re comparing ourselves to a snapshot in somebody’s life when we don’t see what went on to get that snapshot. 

Curvicality: Tell us about your fitness journey, and how you found your way to powerlifting.

Island Randi: My fitness journey started a number of years ago. I was a swimmer growing up. In college, I was partying and not focused on sports at all. I got in a bad relationship, was far from healthy, not exercising, and mentally and physically so far removed from the ideal.

I thought,  “I’ve got to get a grip on things….” I thought that getting myself under control meant dieting and restricting myself. But what was wrong was what was going on in my head. I wasn’t dealing with past trauma and issues I had within me … my own darkness.

I believed losing weight would solve all my problems. I lost 100 pounds, but I was very unhealthy. I had a really horrible relationship with food. I was obsessed with everything I ate. I would punish myself if I went off my diet with hours of cardio. No matter how much weight I lost, I still didn’t feel like I was thin enough.  

I found powerlifting in 2014. I walked into a competition for the first time and saw a 100-pound woman who squatted 200 pounds; a larger woman squatted close to 400. For the first time, I started to believe that my body had a different purpose than being thin. It could be strong. 

That’s when I got into powerlifting, but unfortunately a part of powerlifting is weight classes. That was a stumbling block for me. The heaviest weight class, which is for women over 198 pounds, is called the “Super Heavyweight Class.” I told myself, “I will never be a super heavyweight,” so I decided I would do whatever it took to stay out of that weight class. So even though I got into this sport to get away from the idea that I had to be thin, I still couldn’t accept getting bigger.

The first two years of powerlifting, I didn’t have any big accomplishments because I was constantly dieting. In 2016, as I was preparing for a competition, I had to cut about 15 pounds to make weight. I started dieting months before, but the scale stopped moving. Twenty hours before, I was still 10 pounds over. In that moment, I had two choices: accept that now I am a super heavyweight, or figure out how to lose 10 pounds in 24 hours. 

Island Randi - Curvicality Magazine

I found powerlifting in 2014. For the first time, I started to believe my body had a different purpose than being thin. It could be strong.

So I Googled “how to lose 10 pounds in 24 hours.”

I didn’t eat or drink anything for 24 hours. I sat in the sauna to the point where my body stopped producing sweat. The next day I had to be driven to weigh-in because my blood pressure was so low. That competition was my worst showing.

That night before the competition, lying in bed unable to sleep, I started to ask myself, “What the hell are you doing? Your lifetime pursuit of trying to be thin has gotten you to this point. Is this the life you really want to live?” That was the last time I cut weight for a competition. 

The next year, which was 2017, I was in the super heavyweight category. I became the first woman in Hawaii to squat over 500 and then over 600 pounds and broke eight world records. In 2018, I broke seven more world records and now rank as the fourth strongest super heavyweight of all time. I currently hold 10 records, and I hold world records in every category. But what I am most proud of is now I am helping other women to accept themselves so they too can step into their greatness. 

Island Randi - Curvicality Magazine
Curvicality: What’s your take on the diet industry?
 

Island Randi: There’s a whole industry making money from this. The diet industry is built around this myth that we all have to be thin. There are people profiting from our insecurities. There are people profiting from you not accepting yourself. 

This is where transforming your limiting beliefs comes in. We have the power to believe whatever we want. That’s what’s so incredible about the power of our thoughts. We can change them, and in doing so, transform our lives. You just have to choose to stop believing the limiting thoughts that have been holding you back. You can decide to start challenging what society has told you your whole life is impossible for you and be the biggest, boldest version of you. 

Curvicality: Do you have any advice for plus-size women who want to get back into the gym?

Island Randi: Do things that bring you joy, and make you feel good and empowered in your body. That’s why I still powerlift. It brings me joy. Movement is so important in our lives. Maybe that doesn’t look like going to the gym for you. Maybe for you, it’s going for a walk or hike, or doing yoga. It could just be having a dance party in your living room! You’ve gotta have fun with it. Focus on what brings you joy. If it starts to turn into an obligation, that’s when that disordered thinking comes back into play. 

Curvicality: Thank you so much, Randi. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today. This has been incredibly inspiring. 

How to Connect with Randi: To connect with Randi, you can follow her on IG @island_randi or you can visit her website at: randilee.net

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