I think that I don’t look like what most people expect a personal trainer to look like. I am not an “Instatrainer” as we call them in the industry. The people whose pictures you see on Instagram, a lot of them photoshopped & posed, wearing almost nothing except a smile & their six-pack abs. I admit that bothers me at times, lots of times. I tend to compare myself to the fitness gurus I see all over soc media, cooking healthy meals wearing low cut yoga pants & a sports bra & think “Uuugghh, why don’t I look like that?”
I’ve tried hard, & I mean really hard. I’ve trained and completed 2 Sprint triathlons & 2 Half Marathons. Each time I started training I thought –this is going to be it; the weight is just going to melt off. I gained 6 lbs. during my first triathlon training- and no it wasn’t muscle. When I heard they were researching how fecal transplants from thin to obese people can help with weight loss – I wanted to sign up.
I have always had a bad habit of comparing myself to others since I can remember. Even in strange things like – “Oh I wish I didn’t like mayonnaise, like Sally, it would be so much easier to be skinny if I just didn’t like mayonnaise.”
I have had body image issues going back to when I was a pre-teen. That mayonnaise theory I had was when I was 10, and I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting when I was 12, at my own request.
I don’t drink soda, not even diet, I cut out the sugar in my coffee, switched to whole wheat bread, then cut out bread and gluten altogether. Each time – I expected a change in my jean size- it just didn’t happen.
I spent too much time worrying that people were actually going to find out I was fat. I mean people I know and love and see on a daily basis. Logic would dictate that if I was fat, then they probably already knew, but I thought I was hiding it somehow? Part of the reason I became a personal trainer and a nutrition coach was so I could solve my own “weight problems." When that began to overflow into how I treated my clients, I had to step back and reevaluate my own goals and vision.
Now when a new client comes to my gym I always ask if they want to set goals and what I can help them achieve. I no longer assume that everyone who comes to work out wants to lose weight or have 6-pack abs. I respect that most of my clients are showing up so they can feel stronger and function better through life.
Finally, I started to focus on what my body can DO rather than what my body looks like & I started to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I gave myself credit for building and creating four beautiful human beings. Pregnancy and childbirth change a woman’s body, and for some reason we allow society and the media to make us believe those changes are wrong or ugly. I decided that nourishing my body was more important than depriving it, I stopped speaking badly about myself because my daughters were listening, I recognized that strong is the new sexy, I embraced the journey. When all that came together – that’s when the scale stopped mattering.
How about you? Are you ready to put aside all those societal norms and focus on what your body is capable of rather than what size you wear?