I am so lucky this morning to have Erin from Fit Mama Training do an interview for Zen Barbell. I love this woman. I don’t know her personally. I am just one of many of her Facebook followers. Her message of ‘love who you are’ is so powerful. Every time she posts some thing on Facebook about her journey or her outlook I always clap and say “oh my god! yes!!”. Erin has a huge following on Facebook (if you are not following her… you should!) and is part of a movement that is growing larger every day – of loving who you are right now regardless of what the scale says or your pants size is. Erin is great at providing clear steps on building this loving where you are practice. I am happy to be a part of that community and happy to promote the women trainers who are leading the way!! Thank you Erin!!
What was the beginning of the shift for you that you realized there was a different way to be rather than obsessed by jean size/scale weight/deficit eating?
Having my daughter was the shift for me for so many reasons. Primarily, I knew that the way I treated/talked about/dealt with my body she would internalize. I didn’t want to teach my daughter to hate herself or obsess about her body. Regardless of what we SAY our children learn from what we do to ourselves. And however a mother feels about her own body, her children will learn to feel about theirs. I also learned to trust my instincts about my body while pregnant and began to treat it with love and respect. I wanted to have a healthy baby so I learned about healthy eating for the first time. After having my baby I started exercising to be a positive example. I wanted healthy habits to be something my child learned as a normal part of our routine. All of this was inspired by the idea that treating myself well would help my daughter learn to treat her body well.
What has been your inspiration and guidance, teachers in this area?
It’s not very exciting, but most of my guidance has come from the library. I checked out a ton of books about running, lifting etc. I poured over nutrition books to find the information that made the most sense to me and would work best long term. I didn’t follow a guru or a dogma. I just went about heading one step at a time toward better health. My workouts started with walks around the block and slowly evolved. When I was comfortable with a workout I pushed myself further and learned about something new. 80lbs came off that way. For the last 20 I sought out a personal trainer and joined a gym. That lasted one whole interaction where he told me I needed to lose the “baby pooch” and repeatedly insulted my progress and body. Since becoming a personal trainer and getting involved in social media I have found a few like minded individuals, but this “transformation” in thinking and behaving was something I had to do on my own.
Do you run up against people who don’t believe it can be different? People that feel “if I don’t hate myself I won’t go to the gym”? I see this all the time. Most of my clients/people I work with are already familiar with my philosophy and that is why they sought me out. I turn away folks who have a goal weight or event they want to slim down for. I don’t do meal planning or anything else I feel is unsustainable. So professionally I don’t “run up against” this. But it’s a common thought process. I just try to gently nudge them in the direction of accepting where they are at. I believe in anything in life, if you can’t accept where you are at, you cannot move forward. Sure, you can hate yourself to a goal weight… but when you arrive you will still find things to hate. As long as your goal isn’t to love and accept where you are at– you won’t be happy. This way of thinking is self-defeating. And more than I am concerned about obesity statistics or generally helping people get smaller thighs I am primarily invested in helping folks learn to love themselves again. From that place you can live a healthier life and be a better example to your children. Hating yourself enough to do another round of sprints does not make you healthier.
Look in the mirror. Spend time getting comfortable with what is there. We have become so accustomed to hating ourselves that so many of us have disassociated from our reflections. It is SO MUCH harder to listen to your body when you cannot even look at it. If your goal is to exercise more effectively or eat healthier, that is going to be a lot harder to do when you can’t listen to your body’s cues. So odd as it may sound, look at yourself. Say positive things to yourself about your body. For a lot of people this will be the hardest part of the whole journey, but it’s the most important. Lovingly accept where you are today so you can move forward.
Any other parting thoughts? Things I can share with my readers?
I know sometimes my philosophy can come across as a sort of Jack Handy-ish “just love yourself” drivel. I get that. But I get hundreds of emails from women who identify so much with my story. Women everywhere feel huge and invisible. Don’t believe they could ever just love and accept their bodies the way they are. It’s so sad to me. I want my baby to grow up surrounded by bad ass women who are proud of who they are, who don’t feel like their body deserves an apology. In a world where “quick fixes,” diet pills, special teas and “30 day transformation” plans are widely sold, the idea that your “problem area” is really your attitude toward yourself and not your belly is pretty foreign. But nothing could be truer: healthy is not a place you can get to with self hate, healthy is obtained with love.
If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.