we all have them. our pluses and minuses. The things we love about our body and the things we hate. the things we’re ready to wish away if and when our magical genie appears. but is it really about the space between our thighs, the dimples under our bums, and the boob fat outside our sports bras? unfortunately we all know the answer to that question but we refuse to acknowledge or work on what’s going on inside instead. I guess we’re material girls after all…
from the outside looking in, i’m a 28 year old fitness professional who’s spent her life in a sports bra. I’m athletic, coordinated, muscular, and an active wear connoisseur.
but behind closed doors, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been at war with my own body.
from a young age I was built to be an athlete. huge quads, quick reflexes, and tough skin. like most young girls before the age of instagram, I played sports, rarely shaved my legs, and went to Rita’s Water Ice with my dad most saturdays. but as I got older, I started to notice my body in comparison to my friends. I noticed it when I tried to squeeze myself into the latest Abercrombie jeans or tried on bathing suits that claimed to be “athletic fit.”
in college I struggled with weight. as an athlete I had to be strong but fast and as a grieving sophomore I wanted ice cream and to just go home.
Food is our longest standing relationship to date.
food is culture, its reward, it’s punishment, it’s forgiveness, its fresh starts, and prescriptions. but like all relationships, our relationship with what we eat and how we eat needs attention.
I remember learning and using the word “diet” growing up. my mom loved a diet. she would gab on the phone with her sisters about nutrisytem, weight watchers, and the latest slim fasts to hit costco shelves. she was a full time attorney, worked out everyday, and for as long as I remember, was on a diet.
diet is a trigger word for many. But if you ask me,“intuitive eating, intermittent fasting, cleanse, detox, guilt-free, superfood, food freedom, and clean ingredients” are all equally as triggering. how do you eat with your intuition? should I fast? for how long? what about juice cleanses? sugar detoxes? how many superfoods are too many superfoods? and how the hell am I ever going to be free from food? I need food.
these were the thoughts running through my head before I took a step back and looked at what I was eating and why.
most of my twenties were spent on a bike, with an overpacked backpack, riding from one studio to the next, teaching from sun up to sun down. I cared a lot about what people thought of me – my style, my energy, my playlists, and the rolls of skin between my leggings and my sports bra.
as a result, I spent most of my day bargaining with my breakfast, rationing my snacks, and rewarding myself after dinner. I deserved this, I couldn’t have that, bread was bad, dairy was fattening, and anything with sugar or gluten was off limits. I ate super well then not so well. on the outside I might have looked put together, but on the inside I was struggling.
i’m going to say something you might not like. diets are a necessary evil. not the deprivation diets nor the fad diets. the 28 day slim downs or the beyonce lemonade drink. I mean the diet in which you choose to eat. the foods you fill your imaginary food pyramid with. the greens, the fats, the fibers, carbs, proteins, and treats. your diet, is the culmination of food choices you practice daily. sometimes even these diets are chosen for you. but we must remember, in its simplest form, a diet describes the kinds of foods a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
so how did I change? or what changed you asked?
I asked for help.
instructors, trainers, and teachers need instructors, trainers, and teachers.
I needed a dietician. I wanted to take a hard look at why I’ve been dying to lose 5 pounds for 5 years and couldn’t, why I categorized foods as good and bad, and how to move forward eating for me and establish a diet that made me feel good.
insert katie gill.
I started working with katie on December 14th 2021. katie has been a friend, a client, and even a colleague of mine for years. but this was the first time I hired her. I wasn’t joining her program for fun or as a friend. I wanted help. within a week I saw myself and my beliefs for the first time with clear eyes. I realized I hadn’t had rice in months, never ate bread on a weekday, only bought dairy free yogurt, and never trusted myself to have cheese in the house. sounds crazy right? well to me at the time, it wasn’t crazy. those were “bad” foods. food that a diet culture I was chronically consuming helped to me alienate. this instagram influencer didn’t eat bread, this one no dairy, that other one never had processed sugar. without realizing it, I was inhabiting their habits. I scrolled enough to enroll myself. I’m lucky enough to have no problems eating dairy or gluten, yet I prescribed myself the belief that they were bad, in hopes that in turn it would make me feel and look better.
three weeks into katie’s program I had lost weight, ate more, restricted less, and enjoyed rice with my significant other on taco tuesdays. it wasn’t easy and I’m still working at it, but for the first time in 28 years, I understand, like, and am at peace with my diet. these changes don’t happen overnight, over 12 weeks, or even over the course of 5 years. think about the entirety of your relationship with food? how long has it been one way? how long have you actually, whole heartedly, tried to better it? it’s a journey – don’t stop believing.
so why did I share this?
I guess I wanted you to see that I’m human. I may be a professional fitness instructor but I’m not a professional nutritionist. I’m not a “holistic health coach” or a “whole foods practitioner” for that matter. so many of my clients ask me what to eat. after 9 weeks of working with katie, I know what I should eat, but I still don’t know what you should eat. be cautious with who you listen to and align with online and in person. be cautious with who you share your journey with. try not to overcomplicate or underestimate. don’t pass judgment on the diets of those around you. after all, everyone is in their own relationship with food.
so maybe – if you’re up to it – take a look at your own relationship. and I say that with caution…because maybe it’s perfectly fine. maybe your relationship is on the right path. but if you’re feeling rocky…if your ship is lost at sea or misguided by a hundred glowing light houses…know that you’re not alone.
time for a shameless plug:
katie gill and I are hosting our very first program together. where fitness and nutrition meet in a collaborative supportive space. to learn more about our 3 month program reach out – don’t be shy!