Updated: Nov 13, 2019
The theme for this year’s Metal Health Awareness Week in May was ‘Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies’. A subject very close to my heart.
With the increase of social media influencers bombarding us with images of ‘perfect’ bodies and ‘perfect’ lifestyles, and the appalling rise in the public body shaming of individuals, it’s easy to see why people are constantly striving to become something they’re not and have zero or little body confidence.
It’s only human to compare yourself to others and I was no different. When I was younger, I wanted hair like Sarah from Bananarama and a waist and hips like Lynda Carter (1970s Wonder Woman for those of you who don’t know!). And unfortunately, there’s even more pressure these days. So, imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when I was confronted by this in the fitness industry.
When people find out that you are a fitness professional, one of two things happen…
1. They look you up and down, mentally saying, ‘well she doesn’t LOOK like a Personal Trainer’
2. People seem to think it’s ok to comment on what you’re eating - ‘I didn’t think you could eat THAT?’. People must assume that we all just eat lettuce and air.
Like any female, I have always been quite negative about how I look. I used to see my ‘bad bits’ when looking at my reflection and always pushed back when paid a compliment. Working in the fitness industry, I feel even more pressure to look a certain way. Not something I feel comfortable with and it has taken me YEARS to accept who I am and how I look (but I do still have my moments!).
I know don’t prescribe to the ‘epitome’ of a female personal trainer (whatever that is!) and you know what – I really don’t care! I’m fit, I’m strong, I’m healthy and I have curves (which I'm very proud of). My body has gone through many changes, particularly over the past few years with introduction of weight training. I have also learnt to accept the aging process and all the wonderful things that come with it (hello menopause!), and I work with all these changes to try and ensure I keep fit and healthy.
I strive to be the best version of me every day, and endeavour to do the same for my clients, who are also feeling and experiencing the same as I did when I first started out on my fitness journey. They are slowly learning to love themselves a little bit more each day, and are making fantastic progress not only physically but mentally in building up their body confidence.
So next time you see a photo of a celeb in a bikini, or someone in the gym who doesn’t confirm to society’s ‘ideal’ body shape, or look at yourself in the mirror please focus on the positives as there’s enough negativity in the world today!
We all need to learn to love ourselves and each other a little bit more.