Fulfillment in life doesn’t come from losing weight. True happiness is not found in the number on the scale or on your pants. Willpower and strength doesn’t come from how long you can go without carbs — and depleting yourself of your time, energy, and self-worth. I know this from my own experience with body and food issues. We diet because we think it will make us happy, yet when we diet the message we tell our body that it is not good enough and WE are not good enough.
My goal in life is to disrupt society. I want it to be the norm for people to speak positively about themselves rather than tell themselves they’re not good enough. I want everyone reading to know this: YOU are powerful. YOU have self-worth. No diet, scale or person should tell you that you are anything less than who you are.
As a trainer and business owner in the health and fitness industry for the past 16 years, I’ve spent the majority of my career listening to society’s standards of success. I gave people restrictive diets, weighed them, and measured them. I would tell people what they “should” and “shouldn’t” eat, only to find that none of it ever lasted long term. I found no matter how much weight people lost they still looked in the mirror and were unhappy with what they saw. Even when people got to their “goal” weight they would find something that still wasn’t good enough and something to dislike about their bodies.
This is because of our self talk. It shapes how we see ourselves, the way others see us, and even how others see themselves. Every time you say you’re starting a new diet, or that you need to lose weight, or that you’re fat, your daughter hears you. Every time you say you are tired, old, and out-of-shape, your son believes this is the way he should talk and feel. I always say, “You are who you say you are.” Too many people are walking around saying “I’m FAT, I’m OLD, I’m TIRED, I’m OUT OF SHAPE” as if spreading negative messages about themselves is going to have a positive effect. I have news for you: body shaming won’t get you in shape. Telling others how tired, stressed, or broke you are is not something people are really interested in talking about or hearing you complain about.
My family bonded over food. Growing up, every Sunday, my mom, sister, and I would lay around all day bingeing on “bad” food and watching movies. Food in my house was always divided as good or bad. We would either be dieting or having a “cheat” day. Our Sunday cheat day became our favorite day. Then, Monday would come again and we would go back to our restrictive and unhappy eating patterns. I carried this with me through my college years and into my adulthood. I was completely obsessed with food and my body.
My husband was the one who made we aware of this when he told me that I had some real issues with food. At first, I didn’t hear it. I had all the excuses in the book for each of my habits. “I’m a trainer! I know all the research! I don’t have any food issues! I know what’s healthy! Cleanses and cheat days are how this world works!” I grew up thinking this way, and my beliefs were supported by society. But now I see the error in my thinking. It’s been over a year since I’ve given up on dieting and speaking negatively about my body.
I am now 4 months pregnant with twins. I have vowed to break the cycle of negative self-talk and food issues I grew up with. I have learned that you can tell children what they should or should not do, but ultimately they are going to do what WE do. I cannot be a good example for my children by just telling them to love themselves. I will show them by loving myself for who I am every day.
Before you change your body, you have to change your life. A lasting change starts with your thoughts and beliefs. You need to realize you are NOT fat, tired, or out of shape. You are smart, caring, successful, and incredible. Imagine the power you would have if you walked around telling yourself these positive I AM statements instead of these negative, and ultimately untrue, declarations.
Last week, I saw a documentary called Embrace that said 91% of women hate their bodies. It said that 50% of girls ages 5–12 are on a diet. This needs to change. NO ONE wants this for his or her child, parent, or best friend. But if we want to see this change happen in society, we must start with ourselves. True happiness, self-worth, and self-value begins with one person only, and that person is YOU.
This is why my goal is to disrupt society. People should be talking about how great they are. People should workout and move because it makes them feel good, not because they are trying to look like a fitness model on Instagram. You should not be controlled by food, restriction, and obsession. Your power should come from within. You need to know that you are wonderful the way you are. Once you realize your self worth, that’s when real change starts.
This message is what I am spreading to my family, friends, and the world. Thank you for continuing to let me share my story and goals with you. I love all of you and believe in you!
ALIVE and LIVING,
Originally published at medium.com