As I have gotten older, one simple change in mindset has helped me become a more secure person. I think in the fitness industry it is helpful to be able to lay it all out. I find my clients respond better when they realize that I was not born lifting weights and eating grilled chicken with asparagus. Being able to say “I’ve been in your shoes” or “I am flawed” helps clients feel their goals are more attainable and that just because they have stumbled along the way, that does not mean all hope is lost. Health and fitness are a lifestyle, and as with any lifestyle, there will be bumps in the road. That is okay!
I used to be uncomfortable with full body/bikini pictures, as well as being seen in a bathing suit. Now, I am comfortable with it and enjoy sharing my flaws. This is because I used to view my body as something that was supposed to be aesthetically pleasing to others, and I never felt quite comfortable with how it looked. Now I see my body for all of its capabilities. I used to wonder, “Do I look good?” Now I ask myself, “Do I feel good?”
This change in mindset has made sharing my journey, flaws and all, much easier.
Just as I changed my views on the purpose of my body, changing my views on food was equally as important. Like much of society, I fell into the diet food craze and thought the quantity of my calories was more important than the quality. Further, I followed the “move more, eat less” movement. What I found was a lot of stress, exhaustion, and a soft body. Once I began to see food as fuel, everything became much simpler. My mind was no longer cluttered with “how many calories is that?” or “is that good or bad for me?” Instead, I began to ask “what is this doing for me?” or “what value is this food adding to my day?” I eat vegetables for their vitamins. I eat meats for the protein, fats, and minerals, so that I can rebuild my muscles and have energy. When I was pregnant I would ask myself, “What value is this bringing to my baby?” It is amazing how simplified eating healthy becomes when food is viewed as fuel instead of “good” vs “bad”. Sometimes the answer to “what value is this bringing to me?” is “enjoyment”. As long as that is only the answer about 20% of the time, I think it is possible to reach goals while feeling balanced and energized.
This change in mindset has significantly simplified my life, and I wish I could grant all my clients, and everyone seeking a healthier lifestyle, this gift. Dedicating time to food prep no longer feels like a chore because it makes the rest of my life easier. I always have fuel on hand to keep my energy levels up, even on the little sleep I am getting right now. This change in mindset helps it not feel like the end of the world if certain clothes don’t fit. Maybe my legs are bigger from squatting so much weight. Maybe my hips are bigger from carrying my son for nine months. Either way, my clothes, and the scale, do not reflect all that my body is capable of accomplishing!
Do I have moments of vanity and insecurity? Absolutely – I’m still human! Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, “My stomach could look better.” Now though, I remember that I carried a baby in that belly, so it will take time to change. I may look in the mirror and think, “I want to get rid of that cellulite on my legs.” Then I remember the races my legs have carried me through and I am more patient with myself. I remember that I have the ability to make healthy choices, and am not a victim of my body. This change in mentality has greatly simplified my life and infinitely boosted my confidence. If I could bestow one thing on my clients and followers, it would be this shift in mindset. Your body is capable of more than looks and the scale; food is fuel. Live accordingly!