It’s crazy how much my purpose, perspective, and methods have changed since I started my coaching business three and a half years ago.
When I started my business, I was in a total competition prep mindset. I wasn’t coaching competitors but that’s still where my brain was. I was all about the numbers: helping people stick to their macros and see the numbers on their scale and their measuring tape change. I hate to admit it but I wasn’t very flexible in my methods and, as much as I hate to say it, I wasn’t nearly as health conscious as I believed I was at the time. I know my inflexibility is what caused me to lose clients in the beginning – I wanted them to adapt to my methods, rather than finding the best methods for their life. I’m so glad I can say I’ve really learned from those mistakes.
Since then, I’ve decided not to compete again, I’ve become a mother, and I’ve finally broken the chains that bound me for years. I have finally healed from years of disordered eating and warped ideas about my body and what it means to be “healthy”. I finally learned that being lean isn’t the same as being healthy. These are things I thought I’d be plagued with my entire life. After all, I thought I had already healed and I thought I was already on a better path.
In reality, I had just replaced one ailment with another. One obsession with another. Instead of starving myself to be thin, I was starving myself to be a bodybuilder. I thought that my mindset shift to that of a competitor made my obsession okay because I was being “healthy” this time. I was completely delusional about what it meant to be healthy, to be fit. I was trapped by this pressure that I needed to look a certain way in order to fit into the fitness community. I wasn’t actually enjoying life but I figured if I faked it long enough, I’d learn to love eating out of tupperwares 24/7, weighing and tracking everything that entered my mouth, skipping events and get togethers. If I couldn’t learn to love that, then I was lazy or weak…right?
I’ve always given much more grace to clients, and others in general, than I ever gave myself but I fear that, while I was stuck in that mindset, I may have been subconsciously projecting those things onto my clients and that makes me cringe. I know that we all make mistakes and the only thing we can do is learn from them but I genuinely feel heartbroken for any client I may have ever made feel like they weren’t doing well enough (however unintentionally). I know that another part of it was that, while I was in my bodybuilding mindset and I had that lean figure, I was becoming less relatable to the general population. People looked at me and thought I was the epitome of health (WRONG!) but couldn’t actually relate to the way I living because my life was EXTREME and NOT the picture of everyday health and wellness.
I am in such a different place now. I am absolutely heavier but I am also absolutely the healthiest I’ve ever been. Do I still have my bad days? Absolutely. However, now they are no longer the norm. I have ACTUALLY found balance. I have ACTUALLY finally taken the morality out of food and have allowed myself to eat things that aren’t always nutritious and I don’t beat myself up for it. What I eat on one day or one occasion is not what determines my overall health. One burger or one cupcake isn’t going to make me fat and unhealthy.
We have to look at the big picture. We should strive to eat more nutritious foods, overall, because those are what properly fuel our body and help us operate at optimum levels but allowing ourselves to eat ice cream or cookies or pizza or whatever it may be is not something we should ever be afraid of. The more we demonize any kind of food, the more power it holds over us. When we take that morality away from food, it just becomes food, and no longer something we feel the need to binge on or beat ourselves up over. The more we criticize our bodies, the more we will believe those things. When we can replace that negative talk with all of the wonderful things our bodies have done and are capable of, our thoughts and our attitudes towards ourselves change.
For the first time in my life, I’m not constantly striving to lose weight. Before, it didn’t matter how much I lost – it was never enough. Why? Because I never appreciated my body. Now, I’ve truly learned what it looks like to appreciate my body for all it’s done for me and what it’s capable of. I have stretch marks and cellulite and I can pinch plenty of fat on my belly but does that mean I’m not beautiful? I’m not worthy? Hell no! I am strong, I am capable, I have given birth to and nursed a beautiful little girl, I can do things that I was never able to do before. How, you ask? Because I’ve learned to treat my body with kindness and treat it as if I love it, rather than spending my life fighting my body, punishing it, forcing it to be something it’s not.
I don’t look like a fitness model and, every once in a while, I let that bother me. Then I just have to remind myself that it is SO overrated to kill yourself to look a certain way. I am so much happier, I am still very healthy, and I enjoy life to the fullest now. That is worth so much more than a certain look or number on the scale EVER will be and that is what I want to help every woman find for themselves.