Yep, I’m human too!
As a Personal Trainer I am supposed to be a shining beacon of health and wellness. There are many times when I definitely do not feel that way, either mentally, physically or both. Our bodies are just like yours. They have a mind of their own! Life in general can be cruel – people don’t always understand that.
I’ve never been bothered on my body image as a whole. No big deal. But…
I remember when I was about 7 or 8 years old, telling my Grandmother at the dinner table that I
think I needed to go on a diet. She (correctly) scolded me and told me that it was nonsense. And
even I knew it was daft – even if I did need to go on a diet (which I didn’t), I wouldn’t be able to stick
The next time I remember being aware of my body was when I was about 14 years old. I was going to an end of year function for a large music group I was involved with. At the hot pools. With boys. With a boy I liked. I decided that because my bum wasn’t perfectly smooth, I was going to walk to school every day (looking back I really didn’t have anything to worry about).
After that I can’t remember much about my body image until I was in my early twenties. I had always been slim, so I didn’t think that I needed to “work on” anything. I saw my reflection in a shop window and then a little while later saw some photos and didn’t like what I saw. I wasn’t fat as such, but I just didn’t like it.
Fast forward to 2014…
After working hard, being dedicated with my food, I got down to 21% body fat. That is on the lower end of the normal range, and is beginning to go into the athletic range for females. It was so nice to be feeling fit and strong and healthy all at the same time. And right in time for my best friend’s wedding too! Hi ho hi ho it’s off to London I go (and while I’m there try out all the yummy new foods)! Not long after I got back from my friend’s wedding in London, I received some heavy news that knocked me for six. I’d experienced grief before but nothing like this. I had an idea of what to expect through grieving but this was intense. This is what I was talking about when life can be cruel. I maintained my workouts (I knew it was important to keep going), but man did they suck. For a long time I felt like I was stuck in a vacuum. I felt unhappy, with no motivation or general willingness to fully take part in life.
Unfortunately I’m one of those people who either want to eat their feelings, or not eat at all. But
then I get hungry and I know I need to eat, but I don’t know what to eat. It’s a horrible cycle. My
body was slowly expanding, a big change from the 21% lean machine I was only a few months prior. And while I didn’t get fat as such, I didn’t enjoy the wideness of my hips, or the layer of fat on my stomach.
Months passed and life was improving. I hit a point where I just couldn’t take the extra weight any more so I did a cycle of my 6 week nutrition plan. I’m so glad I have a system that works. It took 7cm off my bum (and then some), boy was I happy about that! I was beginning to look a little more like my normal self.
Just before Christmas last year we were hit with another big one. Just when I feel like I’m coming out of the black hole, into another one I go. Yaaayyy…. See what I mean how life can be cruel? Back to square one. Time to eat my feelings again #nomnom
I have always believed that if I can’t accept myself where I am, how can I expect my team to? We should always be striving to better ourselves, but we need to be careful not to become obsessive. We need to give ourselves a break and understand that even though we need to soldier on, we need to be okay with having bad days. Because bad days are just that – bad days. Once we wake up in the morning we know that a new day is full of possibility. We need to be honest and real with ourselves (and our trainers!). We need to understand that sometimes we don’t like something about ourselves. We can’t change genetics.
Personally, there are things I want to change about myself. But, I know my body type. It’s unrealistic for me to think that I could ever look like Cameron Diaz or Miranda Kerr. I’m ok with having lumps, bumps and invisible abs, because they’re the scars of life and I wear them well. I’ve come through the hard times and I continue to. Of course I will strive to keep improving – but it’s no big deal if I carry a little fat. And better than what my body looks like, I know what my body can do. Aside from athletic feats, I know that my body is wonderfully made. What it is able to do is so much more important than how it looks, providing it is healthy.
One of the first things you are told as a PT, is that your body is your business card. Everything about you is a reflection on you, and sometimes, people see your body condition as a reflection of your skills as a PT too. There is a lot of pressure to be the ‘ideal’ – whatever that is. After a period of personal growth and honest reality, I no longer subscribe to that school of thought. Health, wellness, fitness and strength has no single perfect standard.