What does body love mean to you?
Body love means to me the relationship you have with yourself. How you feel about yourself. To me there are 2 types. The 1st being a healthy relationship where you love/accept yourself for who you are and all your flaws and the 2nd being a negative one in which you feel like the way you look is holding you back in your career, dating or your relationships with others.
I would imagine that many of your clients initially came to you with goals and motivations stemming from a place of body ‘dislike’ rather than body ‘love’. Looking over your personal training history with clients, would you please explain the difference between these two types of goals?
Clients goals and motivations that stem from Body Dislike have always come from something they hate about themselves. They hate the fat around their tummies, the inner thigh rub etc.
Clients goals and motivations that stem from Body Love have always come from them not wanting to improve anything in particular but more wanting to just do exercise to remain healthy.
Many of us have been through a stage where we have struggled with body love and body image. Have you personally experienced this? If so, would you mind sharing some of your story with us?
I think most people these days go through some form of struggle with body love and body image. We’re constantly surrounded by the media portraying unrealistic views of what the ideal body should look like. As a teenager this can be quite difficult especially going to an all girls school. I struggled with body image issues from about 16 -21 years old. I let the scales rule me. I’d weigh myself every day. If I weighed more than 64kgs I would stand in the kitchen whilst eating and exercise. It was a very unhealthy relationship I had with myself. A lot of my issues also came from problems with friends at school and being in an un-happy/healthy relationship. I couldn’t control those aspects of my life so I took it out on my body. I rated my self-worth with how skinny I was.
What did you do to try and get out of that ‘funk’?
I stopped hanging out with my “friends” from school, the relationship finally broke off and I started surrounding myself with positive encouraging people. I started doing things for me. Things I enjoyed doing and wanted to do. As soon as I removed the negative people and replaced them with positive people, my whole perspective on life and myself changed.
What do you do to ensure you are mindful of treating your body with love and ensuring you don’t go back down the path of experiencing difficulties with body love and body image?
For me it’s all about moderation and appreciating the things I can and can’t do. I don’t own scales anymore. The last time I weighed myself I was about 74kgs. I’m 10kgs heavier than I was 9 years ago. Am I worried? Sometimes. I’d be lying if I said no, but I don’t let it consume me. I am healthy, I look great and I feel great. If I over indulge I start to feel unwell and know it’s time to stop and look after myself. It’s not on a getting fat basis it’s more on an internal unwell feeling. I am who I am. I love me. If others don’t love me, that’s their problem. I’m not going to change who I am to fit into what they want and please them.
How do you draw on your personal experience to help your clients?
Yes and no. There are some people I can help by using things from my own personal experiences that have worked but there are also others who aren’t ready or wanting to be helped. So you can try with all your might but until they’re willing to take on some of the advice or wanting to make a change, it’s sadly just failing on deaf ears.
I know that your approach to personal training and exercise is different to many other personal trainers. Are you able to share your personal beliefs around Body Love and exercise, and how your approach sometimes differs to other personal training studios, gyms, and messages from public figures?
We’re all about getting results for our clients, but before we do this we want to know why. Why do they want to lose the weight? Why do they want to get fit? Why do they think they are ready for it now and willing to put in the hard yards? Until they work out their why answers most people just go through the motions.
From your years of experience with clients and personal development, what tips would you give to someone struggling with body love and body image issues?
- Practice Compassion for Yourself.
Bring kind attention to yourself and what you’re aiming for. Understand that you may not be able to give 100% every single day and that’s ok. No human can be perfect all the time. Agree to do the best, to your best ability with each workout. Meet yourself, wherever you are that day, with kindness. You will be pleasantly surprised how much more successful you can be with this slight attitude adjustment.
- Don’t Get Discouraged.
Agree you won’t let one bad day get in the way of you reaching your goals. If you fall down seven times, you will get up eight! (This saying also goes for everyone’s favourite move, burpees, get down and GET BACK UP AGAIN!) 😉 Don’t let it bring you down on yourself.
- Manage Your Energy, Manage Your Time.
Draw a pie chart that represents your daily energy spent and take notice if one category requires more energy. Is your energy dominated by work, problem-solving, stress over finances or taking care of your children? Pay particular attention to how much time is spent on self-care and personal wellbeing. If there’s a deficit in this category, it’s time to prioritize. Nothing else exists without looking after you. If you’re too busy doing everything else and not worrying about you that’s when all the negativity starts flooding in. You need to remember you are number 1. No one else is going to look after you. No one else is going to give you Body Love towards yourself except you!
- Make a Healthy “GO-TO” List.
Routines create consistency and consistency is an essential ingredient for reaching your goals and healthy Body Love. I know when I’ve hit a fork in the road, having “go-to” healthy habits have kept me on the right path. Here are some of my personal go-to lists to help me stay on track to maintain my healthy Body Love all year long:
- Go-to nourishing meals that are satisfying and healthy.
- Go-to healthy snacks on hand when I need to sustain energy until my next meal.
- Go-to grocery lists with healthy foods that I can make simple and delicious meals out of.
- Go-to workouts that I know I get results from AND that make me feel good.
- Go-to music playlist that gets me moving. (Eye of the tiger, anyone?)
- Go-to friends or support team to be there when I’m facing challenges.
- Aim to FEEL GOOD with Everything You Do!
Ditch the idea of dieting and exercising just to look good. Why? It’s a short-lived motivator that has no real staying power. Aim for workouts that make you feel good and have fun. Simply put, when you have fun and feel good, you will keep coming back to it. The bonus is, when your focus is on feeling good rather than simply looking good, Active Living and healthy Body Love naturally becomes your lifestyle. STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY.
You are a qualified prenatal and postnatal trainer, who runs Preggibellies classes and group classes for Mums. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the body love and body image issues many new Mums experience and what advice and tips you’d like to give them specifically?
Some of the issues mums experience after having a baby are them feeling unattractive, they worry about the loose skin, stretch marks, being able to keep up with their kids, not bouncing back into shape like all the movie stars do etc.
When they’re down on themselves one thing I say is if you heard your daughter or your son saying things about themselves like you are about yourself, how would that make you feel? That makes them take a step back and think about what they’re saying.
Some other advice I give is to let go of that negative inner voice. You have to replace it with another one. Start by treating yourself like your own best friend; EVERY TIME YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR, find something to APPRECIATE about yourself instead of criticizing yourself about it. Give yourself some compliments. Accept compliments someone gives you instead of brushing it off. It doesn’t make you “up yourself” for doing so.
It may take a while to deconstruct the years of self-hate and self-criticism, but the end result will be a much HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER YOU. PT2U’s motto is a “Better you, at PT2U!”
Do you find that many of your clients have self esteem, self love, confidence, or self care difficulties? If so, do you think that investing in a life coach or counsellor to work on these aspects of self would be a great supplement to personal training and gym services? If so, how can you see this being beneficial?
This day and age many people suffer from low self esteem, self love, confidence and self care issues. If this is something that a person wants to change and stop lacking in all of these areas then YES a life coach or counsellor is someone that I think they should be working with. If you’re tired of feeling so negative about yourself when you know deep down something is telling you that you shouldn’t be feeling this way, then you need to do something about it.
I know that you have personally experienced coaching and mentoring services as part of your business and personal growth – are you able to please summarise the benefits you have gained through this experience, both personally and professionally?
I believe any successful person needs to work with a coach or mentor. Having someone there to pull you up and keep you accountable is fantastic. We are our own worst enemies. This is something I’ve had to personally deal with as well. I am now a stronger business owner than I ever have been. I wanted to change. I want to be a better leader. A better trainer. A better business owner. I needed help and I wasn’t afraid to ask for it. I’ve been able to implement systems to free my time to work on the business to help other people.
Do you have a favourite quote or affirmation about body love? Take care of your body as if it has to last for the rest of your life.
It’s not a quote or affirmation but here is a beautiful youtube video by Mary Lambert about Body Love:
Jacqui Tame | PT2U
Personal Trainer + Owner PT2U
Jacqui has been my friend and super personal trainer since the day I met her in 2007. She is magnetic. One of those people that others are naturally drawn to. Her smile and laugh light up the room, and she is so generous and caring.
As a personal trainer, she’s kick-ass! She has the perfect balance of tough-love but kindness. There is a reason why her business has one of the best reputations in Canberra
If you’re from Canberra, check out her page. PT2U not only run 1-on-1 personal training, but have a full timetable of group classes ranging from bootcamps, to boxing, to pilates. They also have classes specifically for Mums + Bubs, as well as Preggi Bellies for pre and postnatal women.
If you’re not from Canberra, check out the PT2U Facebook page. Jacqui shares tips + info that can help you no matter where you are located.
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