I had a revelation of sorts the other day. I am finally starting to realise what my vision is, and why I started this blog.
It may have come out in bits through my previous posts on all social media platforms, but I think it has been slightly skewed, with Fitness being my primary focus up until now.
My purpose is more than fitness. My purpose is Body positivity.
Sure, girls are becoming increasingly more aware of health and fitness and that’s great! But more girls are also experiencing disordered eating and self image issues. These issues are developing from such a young age and are continuing throughout their lives in messages sent by society and the media.
The above Photo on the right is me in 2002 (grade 5). My smile is not big and bright, it is controlled. I did not like my smile. I also do not have many photos of myself without baggy clothes, so face shots are the best I can do. The photo on the left is me about a month ago, 2015.
Are those two photos even the same person?
Technically yes, but I know for sure they are completely different people.
Read on for details of my story and my vision.
That’s it. I want women everywhere to learn that they are enough. I want girls to grow up enjoying their life and not worrying about what they look like. I want girls to know that they deserve the best and that they can eat well and exercise because they respect their bodies, not because they hate themselves. Exercise and food is not punishment, it can be a form of self-love when done in the right ways.
Let’s spread body positivity as thick as we spread peanut butter! Now that’s generous… (Please substitute peanut butter for Nutella if you cannot eat peanuts, we cater for everyone here)
This has been my life so far. If I said otherwise I would be lying. I want to be transparent with you – I want you to know that I am just like you. I have been able to change my life in so many ways but I have not perfectly fought off my demons yet, they are still here and I believe that is incredibly valuable in some ways. We are in this together.
I have never written the following down before and I am surprised at how scared I am at the prospect of sharing this. Regardless, I’m doing this because I need to send you the message that you are not alone. Every girl goes through this to varying degrees in their life, and mine is not the worst you will hear by any means. My transformation is overwhelmingly mental; I have transformed physically as well, but my greatest achievement is my mental attitude and strength.
We need to support each other, as women, instead of tearing each other down due to our underlying insecurities.
When I was younger, I can’t remember looking in the mirror and liking what I saw. Not once. I can’t remember a situation where I went to school, played sport, went to a party or went for a walk, when I didn’t feel like people were staring. Of course they weren’t, but as a child what you feel is your reality. Low self-esteem was my reality. I was quiet, chubbier than my friends, less confident than my friends and I did not eat well. Those characteristics are the things I most remember from being younger, I remember looking at the girls around me in primary school and wishing I would disappear. I remember always being picked last to dance, being told by a friend that I was the biggest friend she had, and crying at my grade 6 graduation because a boy called me fat. I wasn’t overweight, but I was chubby and I was awkward. I had little to no self-esteem. These things are not what a girl should remember from those ‘care-free’ childhood days and I can’t even imagine what some others must have gone through considering I was labelled average sized.
Yes, I had a lot of fun when I was younger and I had great friends, who I am still friends with to this day. I should have been focusing on the fact that I am funny, intelligent, friendly, open minded and honest. But as much as I agree with those things, it is the other things that always appear in my mind first. I do believe that the things we go through shape the way we are now, and though it makes me sad to reflect on my past self-image, I feel empowered that I can share it and hopefully impact at least one person.
The above photo on the right is me in 2004 at age 13, next to a photo of me about a week ago. I wore that jumper everywhere and guess who it belonged to? My mother. I wore my mother’s jumper everywhere when I was a young teenager because it was the only jumper I felt comfortable in. I still do not look comfortable in that photo, I always sat with poor posture and my lack of confidence can be seen.
You need to know you aren’t alone, and that we are stronger than our negative experiences. We are stronger than our thoughts and we will all find our way.
Yes, before you comment, I am currently working with a body composition coach, but I am doing so in a way where my strength is a measure of my progress. I do not believe I will be happier or a better person at a different size, this is important because it’s where so many go wrong. I train for strength and the by-product of my training is that I will start to look strong too. I enjoy training. I see focusing on my health and fitness as a form of me caring for myself, improving myself. My goal is to be strong, with a side serving of fat loss.
I do still feel insecure about myself, maybe I wear too much makeup and care too much about what others think, but I don’t believe it would be any different if I had a different body. In fact I know this to be true, because I have been quite skinny before, and I am now what many people would classify as small. I guess what I am trying to convey is that my personal fitness goals are not directly related to my body image, I feel like that needs to be said before I go all ‘love yourself no matter what’ on all of you. I won’t lie, that is how I started many years ago, but that is not how I am now, my goals are much deeper. I have finally discovered that you can love yourself, truly, while still wanting to challenge or improve yourself.
What I’ve realised in starting this blog, is that other girls don’t always see things the way I do. I’m realising that where I started out with a goal to help you, as a woman, see your fitness positively, what I really need to do is to help you see yourself positively. The rest is secondary, although as a trainer I can help with that too… I am promoting both strength and self-love.
Too often I see people preaching health; girls left, right and centre are giving out meal plans and exercise guides, their main qualification being that they look good. One thing they all have in common is that their program end goal is a certain body type, with a side of what they call health. I don’t doubt that the creator’s intentions are good; I just can’t help but see these perpetuated body ideals and perfectionist views seeping into the vulnerable minds of young girls everywhere.
Girls, we need to realise that we are enough. Let’s fix our mindset regarding health and fitness, we have fitness goals because we love and respect ourselves.
We do not need to force ourselves into a tiny mould.
We are enough.
You are good enough, just as you are.
My goal is for young girls to grow up with nourished self-esteem, knowing they do not need to feel insecure about their body. I want to provide a trustworthy source that opposes not only the unrealistic images portrayed in the media, but also the images portrayed by the fitness industry, and the newly defined health industry, which continually promotes food selectivity and small bodies under the guise of health. It may be hard to notice the subtle messages when someone is promoting health, but my oh my is it rife.
The above photo on the right is me in 2004 (year 8) next to a photo of me about a few weeks ago. I was not large by any means but I was ‘chubby’ and low on confidence, and had been my whole life. It wasn’t until the end of year 9 that I started with a personal trainer and my life started to change. My personal trainer helped me with posture and confidence, before fitness, and I am so grateful for that.
We need to change the world girls live in. It won’t be easy, but I am certain it is achievable.
I recently discovered a website called Healthy Is The New Skinny. Their mission is the same as mine.
Seeing Katie’s videos and vision brought me to tears. I realised that this is what I’m meant to do, this is what all of my past negativity has lead me to. I’m not in the fitness industry just to get people fit – I’m there to help them change their whole mindset. I’m there to stop girls from growing up with low self-esteem.
I want to help girls realise they are beautiful, because I couldn’t.
Watch this space as I work towards creating a body positivity experience for you.
Sometimes, the first and best step to take is to realise that you do have negative thoughts about yourself. It is not something you should be ashamed of, I encourage you to confront it straight away because I spent way too long trying to ignore it, and we all go through it at some stage. Share your thoughts with someone, do not bottle these feelings up because they can spiral out of control. It will be scary but it’s the best way forward.
Please feel free to share your story with me, send me an email [email protected] or go to the contact page.
Sending love and positivity,