As a personal trainer when I first started out, I was told by other seasoned trainers that my body was my billboard. Being so fresh I look back now and see how impressionable I was. I was so open to suggestion and figured these trainers knew what they were talking about.
The default for most people is to think “I want THAT person to train me, because I want to look like them”. It’s easy to fall into this way of thinking. And no shade, I definitely thought the same thing. And because of this I believed I needed to look the part. I needed to be the “ideal trainer”.
Looking back I’m honestly not sure how I managed to keep the charade going for so long. I ate perfectly portioned, pre-prepped meals, worked out all the time (overtrained), and basically tried to look like gym-barbie. I competed in two bikini competitions, way over-extended myself with clients, and was perpetually exhausted. I had no energy at the end of the day for my husband and my weekends were spent re-cooping to prepare me for the week ahead. Oh yeah and my social life was non-existent. Not exactly a sustainable way of living.
And because I had chosen to embody this “ideal trainer” facade, I attracted clients who reinforced the behavior. They were drawn to train with me because I personified the things they desired: having a thin body. What they didn’t know is that I was still very much in the grasp of my anorexia, orthorexia, and binge exercising. Playing this alter ego required a ton of extra energy, because I wasn’t just being myself, I had to “be” this other person too. It was like walking around with a giant space suit on, it weighed me down, and prevented me from truly connecting with others, it also kept the real me very well hidden.
Like I said it was easy for people to glance at me, and think “I want to work out with her, because I want to look like her”. I essentially set myself up to be judged based solely on my appearance. And I had accepted that these were the stakes. That this was just the way it was.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized how blind I was. I was sad to realize that I had contributed to diet culture. Modeling such an unattainable & unsustainable (fun-free) lifestyle. But I have compassion for myself, because I know I was just doing the best I could with where I was at. I’ve grown so much since this time and I want to begin sharing this transition with you. How my mindset has shifted. How living up to the expectations of what you think others want you to be is a recipe for unhappiness, resentment, and exhaustion.
Because I no longer want to manipulate others into thinking that if they just follow what I do, they will be happy. I don’t want people to want my life. I don’t want people to train with me because of what I look like. I have woken up and I no longer wish to contribute to these ideas.
Instead, I want to inspire people based on something much deeper. I want to be forthcoming. I want it to be joyful. I just want to be the most ME I can be, because I’ve decided that is enough.
This is just the beginning of a series of posts I plan to share about this topic. How I restored my once obsessive addiction to exercise and food restriction, all while walking this tight rope as a personal trainer (and small business owner). And how I’ve begun the journey of making peace with the things I was once addicted to. ????????✨ Thanks so much for following along!