Undoing the Damage

I can remember a time when I was younger and thought of myself as an athlete and I was inspired for improving and succeeding in sports. I truly believed that and enjoyed this part of my life. I was always a sporty and fit kid. I NEVER considered my body shape or thought about food. I was happy just playing sport, hanging out with my friends, getting into mischief at school and dreaming about all the things I had planned for life.

As I grew up somewhere this was lost along the way.

Back then I never thought about food. I just ate well and enjoyed treats. I loved exercise and loved being the fit and strong, sporty girl. I loved kicking a football with the boys at lunch and lifting weights once I entered sports development programs. Exercise was never considered to be connected with 'how I looked', it was purely about how it made me feel. Then as I got older and found my career, slowly my industry changed, and changed that. I slowly started to learn too many rules about nutrition, and once I became involved in competitive body shaping my relationships with food, training and my body completely changed.

I can clearly remember the times when I was so happy and proud that I wasn't the girl that only ordered a 'salad', but I was perfectly confident and somewhere inside had a belief that I was healthy, and I never connected that to how my body looked. In those days I actually never really got the whole ‘salad’ idea, or was aware and understood about girls and diets. 

As I moved through my late 20's and 30's something drastically changed. Food became a constant worry and stress in my life. Exercise became a 'have to' in order to ‘fix’ my physique. I even remember being told when I started out in the sport that I didn't have a good 'genetic structure', and that I didn't have 'good shape'. At time I was also told by some people I had gotten too lean, or that I looked too skinny. Other times I was told I was getting too muscular and big, to then be told by others that I wasn't lean enough or to some it I looked like I had gained weight. Looking back it saddens me that I was told to believe that my body was not 'good enough' and that there was essentially something wrong with it. 

Regardless of what shape I have been in at any point in my life, what I think people forget is that the inside remains the same. Yes our minds expand and our souls grow over time, but we are the same incredible person placed on this planet no matter how our body's changes over the years. At the end of the day our bodies will change over time and there is no stopping it. We grow, we develop, we mature, we age. 

I started way back in the beginning before the boom and what has become a massive industry in Australia over the past few years. As I look back I realize that is was in fact not what I thought it would be. I envisioned that getting my education and working hard would allow me to help other women be fit and healthy so they could live a good quality life, and hopefully prevent lifestyle related diseases later in later years. That was what all health and fitness was all about right? Somewhere along the way it seemed like it was not about that at all. It became about low levels of body fat, having abs, following ‘rules’ about food, thigh gaps, having a specific body type, and fitting the model of ‘perfection’ just like in the modelling industry. It wasn't for the majority any more about what originally made me so passionate about pursuing this goal as a fitness model and health professional.

I know I can’t change the world, but I know I can be the light for many people. I can choose integrity and truth. I may not make a difference to everyone’s lives, but I can make a difference to someone’s. I had to learn all over again in my 30’s what it is to be ‘fit and healthy’. I had to break the daily obsession with food, training and how my body looked. And now I want to share that message with you all in the hope that you to can think back to a time when you were a ‘life’. Someone with hopes and dreams. Someone who had fun and played in life. A person who at one stage didn’t have their body and food as their sole daily focus. I encourage you to challenge these aspects of your life that are not positive, disconnect to anything that sends you messages of what your ‘ideal’ body should be, and fight the programmed idea that you are lesser because you don’t fit society’s image of beauty that we are sold.