As a personal trainer, the most common thing people, especially women, come in and ask me is “can you help me get skinny?”
My answer to that is “no.”
My question is; “why is that your aspiration?”
If we are asked to build a house, we can only use the tools we are given.
Our body is our home and we are the architects.
If you build an unstable foundation by cutting corners, then the house will never hold up.
This foundation of your body is only as strong as the food you fuel it with.
Think about the structure of your body strengthened by the exercise and movement we do.
And the roof, is our minds, which is imperative to keeping the whole house and foundation undamaged.
If we start “dieting”, then we are not creating a great foundation for our house.
A diet has an end point and will eventually stop. When that happens, we return to our old habits and the weight just creeps back on, usually with consequences.
Let me tell you a little story about myself.
In my early twenties, i didn’t really give much thought to what i ate, like most people that age. I didn’t generally gain weight really easily, so that was never something i had to worry about.
When i brought my own home at 23 years old, i can honestly say i have never had so much stress in my life.
I was in way over my head!
I struggled with leaving home for the first time and living with my boyfriend (now husband) who was at work a lot. Being alone was new to me and i felt very isolated.
Suddenly we were in six figures of debt, with a nightmare house that just seemed to be the gift that kept giving in terms of problems.
We were very poor.
My in-laws were also difficult to deal with and caused me so much stress and frustration.
In hindsight, i probably should have listened to the warning signs my body was screaming at me, but at that time, i was in survival mode.
I would wake up with this awful pain just under my sternum that would be debilitating and sometimes stop me going to work.
I was constipated and prone to bloating.
I would catch every cold going around.
I would get random cystic pimples that would take weeks to clear up.
Then, right before my 25th birthday, i was rushed to hospital with what they later “diagnosed” as idiopathic acute pancreatitis. Basically that meant they knew what it was, but didn’t know what cause it.
I was not allowed to eat for five days, not that i wanted to anyway.
I lost 6kg in a week and a further 2kg after i left hospital.
My body started recovering, but my mind took a lot longer.
So here i was, suddenly 8kg lighter, less healthy than i’d ever been and i was being told how great i looked.
Yep, that’s right, people who didn’t know i’d been sick would come up and tell me i looked amazing and asked my secret.
Admittedly, it took my over a year to start to put on some healthy weight again.
I was terrified it would happen again. And my way of dealing with it was to blame it on food.
Before i traveled, i would not eat for 24 hours, simply because i was afraid i would get sick again and wouldn’t be able to go. Yes, it sounds silly, but i wasn’t able to process any of it properly for a long time.
So i started doing shakes to avoid eating too much and that kept my weight down.
I was also weak AF and most of my training was based on cardio.
In some ways i did like being skinny.
Simply because of the compliments people would give me and i got a bit of work on tv and modelling.
I liked being able to say i was a size 6 to people and see a flicker of jealousy.
But i didn’t like that i felt tired most of the time, that every compliment i received felt fake, because i was a fake.
My mum in particular was worried about me, as she herself has struggled with eating disorders in the past and did not want that for me.
In a sense, i understand it a little better now.
It was about control for me.
Being skinny wasn’t the intention for me though, it was about not getting sick again and in my mind, food must’ve done that to me.
No doctor could tell me what had caused it, as all the tests came back clear.
So after about a year or so of living the “skinny” life, i decided to take control of my health and start educating myself about how to get healthy and well again.
As much as that time in my life was difficult, i am grateful now that it happened to me. It put me on the right path to where i am.
I enrolled in a nutritional medicine course and made it my intention to help others get back from the dark places i was in.
Food really is medicine and i learned how to start using it to heal my body, both mentally and physically.
Gradually, i started to gain a few kilos, both muscle and body fat, which helped me feel strong and feminine again.
If i could choose between how i look now and then, i would choose now.
Being skinny isn’t healthy, unless you’re made that way.
If we have this great abundance of nutrient packed food, why are we still choosing to make poor decisions?
You don’t have to be a size 6 to be healthy. You can be healthy at any weight, as health is more than just a number on the scales. It’s the foundation, the house and the roof.