I won’t lie to you guys, I was nervous about how I would respond to the emotions surrounding the comment from last Wednesday. It might have seemed like a harmless sentence to the man who said it however to me it was a very triggering statement – one that really had me reaching deep within myself to find stable footing once more.
I’m not proud of my reaction to it, but I am proud of my response moving forward from it.
Now that a full week has passed I realize that I am more frustrated with my response to the comment than I was about the comment itself.
Regardless of if it was something that should have been said or not, this isn’t the first nor will it be the last time that someone says something in regards to my physical appearance. We live in a shallow world, my friends – with so much weight placed on outer appearances, comments about my looks, body or other physical aspects are bound to occur every now and then. In fact, I can guarantee that I am not alone in this. How many of you have had to deal with someone else commenting on your body?
In the end I cannot control other people and their words – what I can control is my response to them.
It would’ve been easy to allow this comment to unravel all of the hard work that I’ve so carefully stitched together. Giving up and giving in is always the easier option, but that doesn’t make it the best option or even the right one.
I am in the fortunate [as well as unfortunate] position of being a health professional. This means that everything about me is scrutinized from head to toe by my clients and honestly, I can’t fault them for that. They want to know that the person asking them to do set upon set of burpees can actually do those burpees herself. I get it – I understand. After all, most trainers and fitness professionals fall under a certain category and do indeed fit a certain description.
But the fact of the matter is that I’ve never been one to fit into any “category”.
I’ve always been an outlier, in nearly every way possible, so of course I’m not going to fit into the “personal trainer” category. Square peg, round hole. Sure, the passion and love for all things fitness and health pushes me into that area, but my beliefs, the way I train and the things I place above food and fitness nudge me into more of a broader category – and I’m ok with that.
I’m never going to be the perfectly sculpted trainer. I’m never going to be the trainer who counts macros. I’m never going to be the trainer who tells you to cut carbs or give up sugar. That’s just not the kind of health professional that I want to be.
I want to be the trainer who pushes you to believe in your abilities.
The trainer who has you reaching for that last rep, even when you feel like you can’t possibly do it.
The one who you can talk to about your diet without fear of having to give up all your favorite foods.
The trainer who appreciates your homemade treats [as long as they are gluten-free!] and shares her own.
But I most definitely don’t want to be the trainer with an unhealthy relationship with food.
It took me a long time to get to where I’m at with food. It was years before I stopped counting calories, fearing fats and carbs and it was only a short time ago that I gave up counting macros completely. And while both counting calories and counting macros isn’t a bad thing in its intentions, it was an unhealthy obsession for me – one that lead to restriction, binging and guilt, and I have no interest in ever going back to that.
So maybe last week’s comment was a blessing in disguise.
Though I still firmly believe that people should keep their mouths shut in regards to someone else’s body, I also think that this whole ordeal helped me to better understand the kind of representation I want to be as a fitness professional.
I love my job. I love the atmosphere. And regardless of last week, I love the people.
I might not fit into the “mold” of what a fitness professional looks like, thinks like or even acts like, but I do think that I have an important story to tell, one that I won’t let be shuffled to the back because of someone else’s perceptions of me.
How do you handle comments about your physical appearance from others?