Updated: Jun 17
Whilst I no longer identify as personal trainer, nutrition coach, or body transformation specialist, I feel qualified to talk on the topic of self love and body image, and I have some lessons and hindsight’s of my own I wish to share.
I may sound like a walking contradiction, but I don’t care.
The fact of the matter is, I believe the relationship we all have with our body is a contradiction; full of ups and downs, days where we love what we see, and days which we don’t. And many, many grey areas.
I want to start by saying that I am the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever felt in my life.
I feel a level of comfort and certainty within me, that despite my radical changes, discomfort, and evolution as I find my true place in this world, I am the most Ok I have ever been in being me.
However, on the other side to this is me living in a body which is the heaviest I can remember it.
You see, owning a studio and helping train and coach hundreds of women took its toll on me.
And through every big shift, update, or renovation of my business, saw my health fall to the wayside as I would trade sleep and vegetables for late nights working and eating whatever I could get my hands on.
This cycle was continuous, and it would often take me weeks (and sometimes months) to get back to my normal routine.
2019 saw me experience the biggest shifts of my life.
On the upside - I published my book and closed my gym; but in terms of my health and my body, I was severely neglected.
For years it was up to me to keep myself in great shape FOR my clients. I built my reputation with my body, and I sold my programs and packages with it too.
But I never exercised for myself. I did it to stay in shape for others; and I resented it.
Whilst there is no excuse which can justify my letting myself go, all I can say is I feel as If I needed a complete reset, and a BIG lesson, in order to move forward again.
(As I write this, I have been making the time to exercise FOR me, to eat well FOR me, and to take care of my health and manage my stress FOR ME- and it feels bloody fantastic!!)
I have all the tools and knowledge I need to pick myself up again; and I will.
Through these bumps in the road, the heartache over a wardrobe which is too small for me, and falling into a “poor me” mentality, I have spent time reflecting over old photos of me.
You see, I have been in the best shape of my life, but looking back, I understand that there was no love for my body then.
My body was for others. It was for likes on social media. It was for my business.
But it was not for me.
All I did when I was in the BEST shape of my life was obsess over every single lump or bump, over every roll I had when I sat down, and over how I looked in my bikini.
I was incredibly insecure. Every holiday would be spent taking photos of myself by the pool or beach, to psycho analyse every imperfection, and then post on Facebook with a caption along the lines of "Living my best life" - talk about the highlight reel!
It’s taken until now for me to truly understand how warped my self image was back then, and it is not Ok!
But here I sit now, in one of the worst shapes of my life, feeling truly proud of Zoe Hyde for the first time of my life.
Because back then, even when I had abs, all I felt when I achieved something was a fleeting gratification before I went back to the grind again. Or worse yet, feeling guilty for not "doing enough" or "being enough", so celebrations would be short-lived.
But here, in the worst shape of my life I have built the strongest friendships I’ve ever experienced where we all encourage and cheer at each other’s success, I have the ability to work wherever I like, and I have a relationship with an incredible man (my almost husband) which can withstand any storm.
For the first time, I feel true, authentic comfort and certainty in who I am.
I may not know where I am going, but all I need is who I am, and the rest will fall into place.
And so, this reflection serves to remind you that feeding into the diet culture will NOT help you move forward in your life. Reaching your goal weight won’t suddenly cure a lifetime of poor beliefs, because the work you do on the inside remains with you longer than any temporary health kick or program.
You need to find true, real happiness and fulfilment in order to experience anything else - and that won’t necessarily be found when you are physically at your best!
Learn to accept and love yourself, warts and all, and the rest is a bonus.
Because if you can do this, you will be ok within yourself on the days when your jeans don’t fit, and the days that they do.
On the days where you choose pizza, and the days where you choose salad.
And on the days when your partner or friends tell you they love you, and you truly believe them, instead of pondering “but, why?”
So, love yourself fiercely.
Find comfort in your own body and be grateful of what it allows you to do, be, and experience.
And understand that skinny doesn’t always mean happy.