So that's why this story of being rejected by a guy stems from what I've gotten out of my fitness journey. Don't get your panties in a bunch, my courage and confidence that I've gained from this journey go way further than just being used to talk to a man. But, It blows my mind how the one decision to pick me, choose me and commit to myself, has resulted in a confident woman who is learning to love herself more and more everyday.
I was also packing my bags, leaving my ex-husband.
I was also starving.
I was also weighing every green bean and grape that entered my mouth.
I also thought I was fat & hated myself. Yes, in this picture I truly thought I needed to be smaller. My heart hurts as I type this, but what I saw--is not what I know you see when you look at that.
I was starving. I was unhappy. I was starving. I was miserable.
A year ago I stumbled upon my new gym home The Human Form. It was by accident, literally. I came here with a friend because she was going to meet a guy who worked there (who I later ended up dating), I was terrified for her that she was going alone so I came with her--what do you mean you're going to an empty gym alone to meet a man from the internet? I ended up landing the internship of a lifetime there and that's now where I do all of my personal training.
My first week there I watched the owners, Stephen and Michelle make smoothies pretty much everyday. I remember it like it was yesterday that they put 1/2 and avocado, 1 whole banana and some other fruit in there. There was also protein and veggies but all I could think about was how in one smoothie, they just consumed almost all of my fat intake for the day and about 3/4 of my carbs.
I was counting my macros and eating 25g of fat + 100g of carbs a day.
It was then, as the people I admired so much--and my boyfriend at the time, drank their smoothies--that I knew something was wrong with me.
Counting my macros was not healthy for me. I saw food in numbers and not for fuel. I was fearful of 5 extra grams of fat per day. Simultaneously I was binging like crazy because I was eating such a limited amount of food. Even with counting my macros, I was going crazy and living an extremely unhealthy life.
I vowed to myself that I would stop counting and start focusing on eating whole foods mindfully.
Having not done that though for 2 years, and just entering a new relationship, I ate. My now ex-boyfriend loved cooking for me, and I loved that he wanted to. It was all insanely healthy but I had been use to eating practically nothing and being hungry 24/7, so when I began to eat meals with him I was not only eating good stuff--I was eating his size portions of good stuff. I knew I was probably eating too much for my body, but for so long all I could think about was my next meal and a this point I no longer knew what enough (truly enough) looked like for my body.
I ate out at restaurants, for the first time in so long. I ate food I loved, I tried new things and eventually I stopped being so afraid of food.
It took me almost a year to come to a place where I know I'm okay without counting.
Last July I weighed a low of 120lbs. In December of this year I tipped the scale at my highest of 158.
That crushed my soul because I knew that while I finally felt truly strong for the first time ever, a lot of that weight came from not honoring my body through food. Which was really hard to swallow for me.
But something else happened.
Part of me wanted to hide because I knew how lean I could be, I knew where I had once been. But as I reflected on that, I realized that I was starting to love my body where it was. Even at 158. In the picture below I was 158, but I had never felt more sexy and confident in my life. That's what most women and competitors say though. "I love my curvy body". Most say it because they know what is happening and they are ashamed. And I was, I fought myself daily to love this body. But when I allowed myself to start letting that love be okay--what happened was magical.
In the beginning I felt that I could only love myself at 120 because 120 meant abs. I thought that 158 equaled that I was fat, not worthy of love. I based my love with myself on my gravitational pull with the universe.
Something clicked though, I started to be able to grab my butt. I had legs that didn't look like you could break them in half.
I finally, FINALLY realized that beauty, confidence and feeling sexy had nothing to do with abs. That it is OKAY to love your body without it looking like the cover of Oxygen Magazine.
So this year I gained 40lbs. I was recovering from an eating disorder that consumed every part of my being. The weight I gained wasn't all healthy, a lot of my old habits came up many times. This 40lbs is made up of learning how to eat for my body, honoring it through eating intuitively, and sometimes it was made up of ED mindset setbacks.
40lbs is a lot, I don't say that with rainbows and butterflies shooting out of my ass. But speaking of ass, I have one now. I have many things now that I choose to break society's version of beautiful and decide I was beautiful on my own.
Now, out of curiosity, I weighed myself and am chillin at 143. I love myself more at 143 than I ever did at 120. Because a number doesn't decide you're confident or beautiful--you decide that.
143 is good. My ED mindset isn't there, I can wake up and eat the foods I love that simultaneously fuel me and leave me feeling good. I can look in the mirror with a deep acceptance and love for my body. I'm actually strong. I can lift heavy shit well. I don't have dark circles under my eyes, I don't run out of energy in my workouts, I'm happy.
Strong Curves + radical self love VS. weak, extreme hate for my body.
I am beautiful because I decided I was. The freedom and confidence that came with that is earth shatteringly beautiful.
There are still days I feel my self love tank is dipping low, but I know now that self love is a choice and most importantly a journey, not an end goal.
So if you feel like you're struggling with self love because you don't look like a model, I challenge you to be okay with being a bit of a rebel and allowing yourself to decide what your version of beautiful is.
With a whole lot of love, shaky fingers and vulnerability,
Oh Emily, where do I even begin? I am so proud of you and your year with Strong Chicks Rock. Friends, here is Emily's journey with SCR. Excuse me while I go grab some tissues and ugly cry.
Emily, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this journey.
In her own words....
"I was scrolling through Instagram one day, looking at all the fitness accounts I’d started following. I was very slowly recovering from a hip surgery at the time. I was frequently in pain, and frustrated with not being able to work out the way I wanted to. So I took to Instagram, following all of these strong, thin, beautiful women who I wanted to look like, who I thought had it all figured out. It made me feel worse sometimes, caused me push my body in way sit wasn’t ready for, and caused me to think less of myself because I didn’t look like those women. Then I found Rachel’s account. I’m sure I looked through the last 6 months of her posts that afternoon, and at the end of each one she gave her email. Something about her message stuck with me, and I decided to send her an email thinking, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
As Rachel asked me about my goals, my life, and why I reached out to her, I bombarded her with questions. I was so nervous about jumping into something with someone I didn’t know, trusting her with personal stories about how I was feeling and how I wanted to feel. Rachel was extremely patient with me, thorough with her answers, and incredibly kind. I finally committed after about a week of this question game (thanks for not getting sick of me, Rach!) I was so excited. I knew Rachel was going to help me lose the weight I needed to and then I could finally feel good about my body.
Fast forward a year, and I don’t even know what I weigh. I don’t own a scale, and I walk past them at the gym without caring about what they might say if I were to step on one. My year with Rachel hasn’t looked anything like I thought it would and I’m honestly so grateful for that. It’s been filled with so much learning, self love, and hard work.
I’ve learned what it looks like to honor my body through food. I’ve realized that it looks different for everyone, and that’s okay. I’ve gained physical and mental strength. I’ve become a part of a community of women from all over the country who are kind and empowering. They lift me up on bad days and challenge me to always be my best.
Most importantly I’ve learned something that makes all of those other things possible. I didn’t need to lose the weight in order to love myself. I didn’t need to be lifting hundreds of pounds to be good enough. I could like myself right now, exactly the way I was. It seems silly, but I honestly had NO idea that was possible before meeting Rachel. Self love is a radical thing for women in this world, and that’s what makes Strong Chicks Rock so amazing. Working out isn’t a punishment, food is not something you earn, you can’t hate yourself healthy. You start with loving yourself. Unconditionally.
SCR is spreading a message that goes against so much of what women are told these days. It is okay to love your body. It is okay to feel good about yourself. It is not your weight that defines health. The choices you make should make YOU feel good, and nobody else’s opinion matters. I am unbelievably grateful for the past year I’ve spent with SCR and can’t imagine my life without Rachel and her support."
Strong Chicks Rock may not be for everyone, and that's okay. Because I know that the women it is for will find me, and will have radical transformations like Emily did. Transformations of the mind and heart, of falling deeply in love with yourself. That is all I need, that Is all I ever wanted to do for women.
I love this tribe. I am abundantly grateful for you every day.
I talk about this subject so frequently because it's what drove me to want to create SCR. It's what helps me connect to my clients, it helps me understand them better. Because I get it. Each time I talk about my history with binge eating I open up just a little bit more. This time though, I think I'm ready to share it all.
I hope if you're reading this, that these words help you in every way that you need right now. If you find yourself needing help, or someone to talk to--I AM HERE. I don't say that in a fake or insincere way. I truly, to my core, mean it.
The hold that food had over my life was scary. I think it started at a young age when I would go over to a friend's house and shovel white bread and butter down my throat. When I'd get home and my dad would ask what I ate, I'd say something like "salad with chicken."
My dad wasn't stupid, I think he knew that I wasn't always eating salad. Nor did he want me to eat salad all the time. He wanted me to value my health at a young age. I didn't though. I wanted to be "normal" like everyone else. I wanted to buy super sack lunch at school on Wednesday. I couldn't though. Or at least I wasn't allowed, so I'd dig up or even steal money from my dad so I could indulge with my friends.
This lead through high school, but I didn't realize it was a problem until I got married.
After I had my son I was in shock over what my body looked like. I wanted my lean body back. Why was I left with this skin, these deep, deep stretch marks and all this unwanted weight? I wanted it gone. Yesterday.
I thought I finally found my way and started getting in shape.
I had a slight problem though. I never left my house, I only went to the store once a week and sometimes to see family. So my vision for what I "should" look like became 100% locked on what the girls on Instagram looked like.
I NEVER aspired to look like them. But with these women being the only women I looked at, I just thought that finally reaching my "goal" meant attaining abs.
So I got there. I had abs, and I still hated myself. I thought I was fat at 125 lbs. I don't say that lightly, and I realize now that in no way shape or form was I fat. But that's not what I saw in the mirror.
I would get so upset that I wasn't at my goal that I would tell my husband "Let's just go out to eat. It's my cheat meal". He would agree and I'd stuff my face. Then I'd be so upset that I did that, I'd continue to eat poorly. Make sense right?
I'd begin to eat my sons cereal to the point of feeling like I was going to throw up, crying because it hurt so bad but I felt like I couldn't stop.
I'd binge on protein bars, fruit, chips. Anything, even seemingly "healthy" foods.
I'd do this for 1-4 weeks and then commit to some insane goal. Like competing. Meaning I'd restrict or count my food like a crazy person. Replacing one addiction with another.
Then a few weeks or months after *thinking* I had my shit together I'd binge again. Every time the binges would get worse.
It finally got to a point that I told my husband. I told him not to give me the keys to the car so I couldn't go and buy food. I told him not to give me money to buy it.
The moment I had it in my head I "needed" food, I'd ask for the keys and money. He would say no, just like I asked him to.
Then? I would cry. I would literally sob. I yelled at him for not letting me do what I want with my body. I did this until he caved and gave me the keys, so I could go feed my addiction.
It makes me sick just writing this.
My mother is an addict and alcoholic. Comparing the way I treated food, with looking at the way she treats drugs and alcohol. I don't see any difference.
I was literally ruining my body and my mind and I truly felt like there was nothing I could do about it. I didn't feel like I was in control.
OF COURSE there was something I could do. I WAS IN CONTROL. I didn't realize it though.
I could have sought help but I felt like as a personal trainer whose mission is to help women break free from food, and LOVE their bodies--how could I ask for help?
I didn't tell my dad because I didn't want him to think less of me. I didn't tell my sister because I thought she looked up to me. I didn't tell my best friend because I wanted it to look like I was better. Like I didn't struggle too. I did.
I did tell my husband. It was never his fault. I was bat shit crazy. He didn't know that me eating 5 protein bars was bad. I lied to him, I used him. All for food.
One day I sat on the couch after I had convinced my husband to take me to the store to buy food fo "us". I suggested that we "needed" a platter of cheese and crackers because to him he thought it was healthy so it was okay. Him and my son fell asleep and I ate the whole thing. Then I ate a whole box of cereal. My husband woke up to me crying with a bowl of cereal in my hands, I sat there saying " I can't stop, I need help." Over and over again,
I sat there deciding whether or not I wanted to give up my business and stop Strong Chicks Rock. How dare I help women when I can't even help myself? Who the fuck am I to help anyone?
So I cried, and I sat. I cried more. As I sat there and held my stomach I thought "I will get better for my clients." If I could get myself better, I could help women everywhere. I could help women dig out from what feels like the depths of hell. But I have to do it first.
So I did. Through the hate I felt, through the challenges I faced and the anger I felt. I did it.
I started by making small goals. Like "three days binge free". I would make a mark on my dry erase board every night ONLY if I made it through the day honoring my body through food. I had to switch my mindset from eating for a body, to eating to fuel my body and love it.
I'd have one good day. Yay! One mark up on the board and I was so proud! Day two, I binged and would have to physically erase my day one check and then begin again the next day with mark 1.
Eventually I got 3 marks, 7, 14, 30 and so on.
I did it.
This is where my passion stems from. This is what made me want to help women, hell, save women.
Some people may say I'm sharing too much. Why would I open myself up and expose my deepest and darkest secrets?
Because I want you to know that I get it. I know how to help women become free from the chains food has you wrapped in.
Now, I make it my mission to help women love themselves and create healthy relationships with food.
I don't pretend to know it all. And there are still days that I feel struggle. There are still things I'm learning as I create a healthier relationship with food daily. But I'm doing it. And I want to help you do it too.
Cheers to honesty, to healthier relationships with your body and food & most importantly, cheers to self-love. May your heart be open to loving YOU more and more every day.
If you need help getting a hold of your fitness and nutrition, please don't hesitate to email me at email@example.com. No pressure, we can simply talk.
Sometimes titles for my posts come to me quickly and other times, like now, I have so much to say that I want to pull you in with but I can't fit it all..#thestruggle
While I wish I could've learned the things I'm going to talk about below in school. I won't blame school for not teaching them to me. I won't blame anyone. Because now,
I I'm learning through incredible life experiences, both good and not so good--what I've always wanted to learn. Now, I can do something about it. I can work every day through Strong Chicks Rock to teach women what I wanted to know. know
1.) Women empowerment is rad as fuck. High school Rachel didn't understand this. See, my friends lived off gossip and tearing others apart. While it never felt right to me, while I'm not proud of many of my actions in middle/high school--I let myself live in a reality I deemed normal, where if I wasn't dressed right I was looked down upon, where if we didn't gossip we didn't fit in, where the thought of supporting another girl wasn't heard of. How sad is that?
What is cooler than women joining together and supporting each other? Nothing. To let go of the need to compete, to support each others dreams and goals. To STOP bullying. To stand together and live in the awesomeness that is being a woman. Ladies let me tell you something, life isn't a competition between us all. So if I could talk to myself in high school right now, I'd say this: Support one another, be kind, encourage and support each other, don't let someone sit alone at lunch, compliment someone, speak nothing but goodness, be fucking good.
2.) LOVE AND ACCEPT YOURSELF. I spent hundreds of dollars that I saved from working in high school to buy extensions because I thought pretty meant long hair. I thought accepted meant Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch, fancy VS underwear, highlights in my hair, eyeliner. Never did I look in the mirror and say: "Hey you beautiful girl, you are perfect just the way you are". I was so caught up in doing my hair (2 hours before school started) that I had ZERO idea of what self love even was.
Think back on your high school experience. Can you imagine the kind of life you would have lived if you had learned to love and accept yourself. Not feeling the need to change for every.single.person who made a comment about you. Not even that. Changing for what you thought people would want. Can you imagine the chain reaction that would have happened from starting to love yourself, then exuding confidence, happiness and peace? If I could talk to myself in high school right now, I'd say this: It is okay to be different, it is okay to not conform to what society says you should wear, how to act, what color to make your hair. Practice self love daily. You are allowed to love yourself.
3.) Healthy and strong aren't a joke. Though I knew better, and I have to apologize to my dad...because growing up with a strength and conditioning coach as a dad, I know what healthy is. In high school though, I went to a "normal" gym for the first time because I wanted my ex-boyfriend to see me working out. I literally would run with my bestfriend past the lacrosse field only so he could see me (yup, I was that girl). Though I knew better, I opened up Seventeen Magazine and searched for workouts, but because I had 0 self confidence and was too embarrassed to ask my brilliant dad(because in my heart--I wasn't doing this journey for me)--I went to the treadmill every time. I'm sure you know how this story continues, following the treadmill I did a few core exercise and called it a day. I didn't understand the gym, but who was I kidding. I wasn't there for me or my health.
The extent of learning about what "healthy" is, stopped in middle school after I learned what the food pyramid was--well fuck that(7-8 servings of grains a day my asshole). If you didn't play a sport you didn't learn how to workout, or what it means to be strong. Not in the sense of simply picking up a weight and putting it down, but strength in all aspects of your life. Because of fitness, because of knowing how to honor my body through food that fuels me well and through movement--I'm able to walk through life with confidence. I would have killed to feel the way I do now back in high school. I wish that someone would have talked about learning to eat healthy, not dieting, but how to honor your body with nutrient dense food. If I could talk to myself in high school right now, I'd say this: Don't be embarrassed to make healthy choices. Make this journey about YOU and no one else. Try not to fall into fads and what Seventeen says. Start moving to feel good, eat to feel good. Do those things out of an act of self love and respect
I don't share these things to diss my school, more so to speak to the women who and girls who have ever ONCE felt like I did.
I went through a lot of my life never feeling like I was enough. Like I had to change for everyone. Its not a new story. It's been told 100x over. Instead of letting it continue though, and letting the story repeat for girls for the rest of time. I want to do something about it, I want young girls, women my age and women everywhere to be able to take my stories and my past life experiences and learn from it. I want them to take the things I wish I would have learned and start making moves to change those things. How?
If you're a woman who wants to make a change in society, in how women see themselves, in how we act, do one of the following(or all--you don't need my permission):
- Be kind to women
- Let go of the need to compete with other women
- Compliment another woman
- Speak words of kindness. Gossiping needs to stop!
- Lift other women up who you admire
- Stand up for yourself
- Don't change to fit into labels you think you need to
- Practice self love (AND SHARE IT)
- Share your journey of loving yourself. It INSPIRES other women to do the same.
- Advocate for your health.
- Start to honor your body through movement and food that fuels you well
If you've ever wondered why I started SCR, what you just read about my own personal experiences with life is why.
It's not enough to go through something shitty and change then be done. To go through something shitty, change and then advocate for women to do the same--that's it. To be the change, that's why this started. Strong Chicks Rock was designed to be a community for women to grow and learn through their fitness journeys HOW to love yourself, HOW to be kind, HOW to rock your life, and HOW to create your own version of healthy. So we produce women who come out knowing their worth, loving who are they, knowing who they are and then those women inspire others to make the same change.
Will you be the change today? Will you take the reigns on your life and do something about the things you want to change?
In Light and Love,
It's huuuump day (emphasis on the UMP). Blame it on the two cups of coffee, or the fact that the universe has placed some truly wonderful women in my life who encouraged the heck out of me yesterday. But, whatever it is..I AM HAPPY.
I wanted to talk about the free challenge groups I run.
I know sometimes people are like "wtf, how is this free?". Yeah, I get that. It sounds too good to be true doesn't it?
Since starting Strong Chicks Rock 2 1/2 years ago I've spoken to hundreds of women about their goals and have helped many of those women reach those goals. One of the biggest things about getting these women started though is cost. I totally get it.
I use to be the type of girl who would rather buy 5 pairs of $5 yoga pants that would rip in a few weeks rather than spend $20 on one good pair. Or I'd mindlessly spend $5 at Starbucks in the morning, then $9 at Chipolte for lunch (yes, I know guac is extra) and at the end of the day realize I'd spent $14 (A DAY) but I wouldn't spend $35 a month on a gym membership.
So I know when talking to ladies about their goals, they see a price tag and are like yeah see ya later.
Here's the issue: Upfront money isn't fun. Here's the cool thing: My training is a one time fee, then I'm your coach for LIFE.
Give away a free week of training. By me doing this, you (aka: my future rad ass client) are able to see what being a part of Strong Chicks Rock is like. Each free group is a little different so you can see the many different components that make up SCR. We do groups focused on:
-Learning to eat healthy
-Different methods of training (home/gym/outside)
Every group is different. Every group is 100% FREE. Every group leaves with FREE goodies.
I want you to feel confident in joining SCR. I want you to make sure my team is a good fit for you and your goals because I understand making and investment upfront can be freaky.
I promise that you won't regret in investing in yourself, to become the best version of YOU possible.
I promise that I won't give up on you and your goals
I promise that when you join SCR, you are entering a JUDGE FREE zone.
I promise that if you give 100% to your program, you WILL achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
I hope this answers some of your questions, and allows you to see why I offer my free training. If you are interested in joining our next free training group: Punch Fear In The Face, starting 6/19 please head here and drop your email so I can send you the info :)
Today, the day of commercialized love (you know it, let's be honest), I see so many women down on themselves for being alone. Let me say this loud and clear, I'm no love expert but you don't need anyone to validate your existence on this earth!!
I know that statement alone probably won't change how you may feel so today instead of giving you ideas on how to avoid love, or tell you to go indulge in a box of chocolates. I'm going to talk to you about loving the most important person in your life, YOU.
Being Honest With Yourself
How many times have you said out loud, to a friend or in your mind "I love myself" or "we as women should love our bodies!". I guarantee you've probably actually said it a lot, but more than likely you haven't meant it. We all like to act like we have our shit together, like we are happy with where we are, happy that your high school jeans don't fit anymore because you're embracing your curves. I can say this from personal experience and the large amount of women I've trained that we aren't, you aren't, truly okay with where you are (most of the time).
The obvious solution to this problem would be to change, to take action and commit to health and fitness, that is, if your value of yourself comes from body image. Where the real challenge stems from though is realizing that we've gotten ourself to this point, and the mental struggle ahead that has to be fought.
It's easy to look at the big picture, instead of focusing on the now. Being unhappy with your body or where you are in life can suck..if we let it.
So, how do you love yourself even if you aren't in ideal shape, or you don't have your dream job/boyfriend/life.
I could give you some cliche answers, that everyone says. I won't do that though. I'll give it to you 100% truthfully, because that's what you deserve.
If you have low self esteem, which to be frank most ( a lot ) of women do. You need to do esteemable acts. Things like volunteering, helping others. Doing things that make you feel good, that allow you to make a difference or change in someone else's life will in turn make you feel good about yourself.
Next, take a look at your life. Do you put your faith/hope in a man? In a grade? A relationship? Does your sense of self worth stem from how great others see you. Or how how much someone else loves you?
If that is the case, first acknowledge it. I didn't realize (or I didn't want to admit) that my self worth depended on how much others thought of me, or cared about me. If you don't know who you are outside of your relationship/job ect, then it's time to learn. LEARN WHO YOU ARE. Do you want to take dancing lesions? Go sign up right now! Is there a band you've always wanted to see, go get tickets! Want to color your hair? DO IT!
When you interlock who you are in someone else, you lose yourself. Your identity is now dependent on someone or something else. You need to find you. Discover what you enjoy, things you like and so on.
Ready, Set, Go
Knowing who you are, may be the single most important step in loving yourself.
The road to self love is amazing, and challenging. Challenging because if you've only ever known yourself through others, if you've lowered your worth based on others, then you don't know who you are.
I can promise you though that truly discovering YOU, is the best thing in the world. For the longest time I didn't even know what music I liked, because I liked what everyone else did.
When you know who you are, you see yourself in a new light and can love who you are because you know your value doesn't rely on anyone else accepting you, but YOU.
Go on, get down with your bad self and walk the journey of falling in love with yourself. Every part of you.