Home / Advice / So WHY am I here?

A good example of why I do what I do – Looking back at 17 year old me, I wonder how I ever thought I was hugely fat in this picture. I hated myself, based on what the scales told me. The message to women and young girls HAS to change.

Last week we chatted about WHO I am and WHAT I do, but what about the WHY? It’s a pretty long answer, which is why I figured I should make it a whole separate post in itself.

I think we all have ” a story”. Something that defines who we have become. Mine isn’t particularly special or unique, but it’s still my story, as yours is yours.

I’ve never really been “skinny”. I liked my food too much!! I remember as a kid, always being a bit bigger than my friends, but never FAT. I was pretty active – hockey, horse riding etc. But never small, but it never used to bother me, not at all, when I was younger.

About age 8, I had a relative tell me on more than one occasion that I was fat. If there’s ever a worst possible age to tell an impressionable kid that they’re fat, I reckon around 8 is the worst. It upset me so much, and the fact it wasn’t just the once, made it worse. Then when I was about… 14 or so, I had another relative tell me she didn’t want to adjust my new skirt (to make it smaller), because I was probably only going to gain weight and it would be too small. Now she may have meant because I was still growing, but it wasn’t worded that way, and so again – I took it on board that I was a fatty. These throwaway comments hurt, more than I ever thought they would, and at the age I am now, when I actually AM overweight, these comments would hurt me less now, as I’m more mentally equipped to deal with it. But at that age, you take everything in, internalise and destroy your self esteem.

I remember going through phases of eating a lot less than I needed, of times spent using our gym gear excessively, going for “runs around the block” to lose weight. A bit of obsession. At about 15, I remember giving myself a “12 Week Challenge”, and I dropped over 10kg, easy. I also didn’t eat much. My first school ball came around in 6th Form (Year 12), and I started running, so I could lose as much weight as possible, so that I would look skinny for a boy.

Excuse the terrible quality pic, from memory it’s a photo of a photo. But I thought I was so fat in this photo, and I know now I wasn’t even close.

So from a young age, I definitely had my insecurities, as do most teenagers. 7th Form (Year 13) I got Glandular Fever and missed a heap of school from being so unwell, but also lost a shitload of weight, which I was so happy about, never mind how sick I was!! But it wasn’t until I went flatting, moved to Auckland, and started living the “Auckland lifestyle” (read: work, sit in traffic, eat takeaways and party) that the weight ACTUALLY went on.

And on,

And on.

Oh and then marriage and kids. On goes more and more weight.

Even after having our second baby, my focus was still on losing weight and getting skinny, then at some point about 5 years ago, I was really unwell, as well as injured, and actually couldn’t exercise. So I turned to food, which of course didn’t actually help, and the whole thing messed with my head and I started going down a pretty shitty spiral of head-fuckery.

I decided I couldn’t go on like that, I was sending myself to a really bad place. Eventually, I found a group on Facebook that was focused on how no food is “bad”, to help you to not have food guilt, that food is a fuel, not a reward, nor is it good or bad, scales don’t help, etc. What a re-education! Many of the members are recovering Anorexics, Bulimics and Orthorexia sufferers, so obviously in far more need of help than I was, but the philosophy is still the same.

It was a really hard lesson to learn. But it also steered me on a new path. I had chosen PE as an elective in High School, and loved it, and back then wanted to be a Physiotherapist, but it turned out you have to be good at sciency subjects, and I was more of a languages girl. So until I missed too much school to get University Entry, I was going to go to Uni and do a double degree to be a Travel Journalist. Personal Training wasn’t really on my radar. Once I was out of school and all my friends were at Uni, I decided I loved being in gyms to exercise, so maybe I should work in one. The terrible pay and hard hours didn’t even deter me. So off I went to study to be a Personal Trainer, but then never actually used it, I worked in Sales and Account Management instead, until after having kids, when I was always exhausted and needed to find a way to earn some money to help pay the bills.

When I started back into it, my philosophy was still changing – I still really wanted those scales to shift, and would get upset when they didn’t. But I was starting to see that despite the scales not shifting, my mindset WAS. I knew that I was eating better and moving more, so no matter what the scales said, my body was starting to thank me in other ways.

Getting my head around it was HARD. And it still is. But over time, my message has changed. I’ve run a women’s group on Facebook for years now, and back at the start, I used to run weight loss challenges, in line with The Biggest Loser, until I realised that wasn’t my jam, I didn’t believe in that style of competition, and at the end of the day it’s not about the number on the scale. Now the group is all about encouraging women to be more active, to care for themselves better, to eat foods that make them feel good.

It’s a hard one to shout about – no matter how much I believe in it myself, it’s just not as sexy as promoting challenges and programmes that will make you a skinny bitch in 6 weeks, or help you lose that pesky baby belly etc. It also is a lot harder to sell – it sounds so much more boring making long term, slower, realistic, sustainable changes that will help you over a longer period of time, instead of dropping weight super fast for your holiday or wedding.

But people are starting to get it, and that’s why I’m doing things the way I am. I’ve done the short term crash diets, the exercising like a mad woman every day until I crash and burn, and there’s a reason why I’m not still doing them now – they simply aren’t sustainable.

So I hope that keeping on speaking from my perspective, it will ring true with more and more women – the short term quick fix diet and exercise plans DO NOT WORK. If they did, you would still be doing them, for the rest of your life, but that’s simply not realistic. You need to choose a method that you can commit to for the rest of your life. Nothing out there and crazy, just something that will work for you, keep you active and healthy, and get your mindset in the place it needs to be for you to be the happiest you possible.

So now my sole purpose is to work with women who are sick of the way the media portrays how we should look, how we should move, what we should be doing to meet their criteria for looking “our best”. The women who have tried the crash diets, magic pills, crazy exercise schedules, and now are ready to take the practical approach – make gradual changes to our habits, to create the healthiest lifestyle possible, all while also changing how they think about themselves. It’s not easy, but the more women I can reach, the more they also can spread this message. It also is so important for what we are teaching our kids. If we all remember how impressionable WE were as kids, what message are we sending our own kids now? Is it one of health, caring for ourselves and making the healthiest lifestyle we can, or is it one of self loathing, scales and sizes on clothes tags? (This is a whole other topic for another day!!)

Changing the way we see ourselves isn’t only teaching US how to live, it teaches all the little people around us how THEY should treat their bodies as well. Don’t only do it for you.
A big part of my why is this little lady – showing her that people can be active, healthy and strong, without worrying about how big our tummies or thighs are.

Want to look at working together? Head here to see what I can offer, and please always feel free to contact me if you want to have a chat!!

See you again next week!