I’m new to health and fitness and a lot of people ask me why I’ve traded an academic career for personal training and nutrition consulting. I think the easiest way to address this question is to tell you that I wanted to help people do what I did. So, here’s my story:
My journey to health has been long and grueling. I’ve struggled with food addiction, weight fluctuations, and knee injuries most of my life, which have inhibited me from leading the healthy and active lifestyle I’ve always envied of those around me. In fact, and this is a deep dark secret here, so try not to laugh: I’ve always wanted to be an athlete. You know, one of those people who have true physical prowess; one of those freaks who can run for days, jump over hurdles that tower over them, lift ridiculously heavy weights, and are always comfortable in their own bodies. And why wouldn’t they be comfortable and confident in their own skin? They have amazing control over their anatomical selves, while the rest of us struggle to walk in a straight line without falling over. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you understand what I’m getting at, right?
About two years ago, I had some health issues that put things into perspective for me. You know those cartoons where the light bulb comes on over the character’s head when they get an idea or finally understand what’s going on? Well that’s seriously what it was like for me. It was like someone, or something, flipped a switch in my head. All of a sudden, all I could think of was that if I were healthy, I would have a much easier time dealing with what life was throwing at me. I would be better equipped to deal with potential illness, treatment methods, and recovery from those methods. So, I started seeking help from people in the health and fitness industry.
As someone who has never been in shape, it was extremely difficult to walk into a gym and ask for help. Every time I stepped foot into the health club I was so insecure. I was surrounded by people who looked like they’d always been healthy – with the abs, and the prowess, and whatnot – while there I was: bloated, overweight, weak, and completely lost. Fortunately, I was working with a personal trainer who’d already been helping me with my nutrition. This pre-established relationship helped a lot because I needed to know that I could trust my coach.
Slowly, over the coming months, I started to see myself changing, not only physically but mentally and emotionally, too. I was gaining confidence in myself physically because I was dropping weight, could fit into smaller sizes, and was feeling – dare I say it? – sexy! Mentally, I was focused: I was training consistently, my nutrition was spot on, and nothing was going to stop me from achieving me goal of becoming healthy. All of these things are wonderful, but it was actually the emotional gains I saw that have changed my life the most. Somehow, over the course of six months, without knowing it, I stopped being a victim. I was no longer a prisoner to the weak, injured, addicted state I had lived in my entire life. I wasn’t settling for complacency from my health care providers by allowing them to push me, and my health concerns, aside anymore.
At some point along the line, I had started to become a strong, confident woman, who believed in herself.
Though I still struggle with not listening to my “old-self”, the one who harbours so much insecurity, I’m having so much fun getting to know my “new-self”. She feels all of the fear of my old-self, hears all of her doubts and “I can’t”, but she goes forward and attempts it all anyway. I still may not be able to run for days, or leap over humongous hurdles, but I’m no longer held back from trying. I can’t even describe the feeling of empowerment that comes from achieving something you never thought you could…like health, or athleticism.
And just to think, it’s all thanks to one little light bulb moment. Have you had yours yet?
Article written by Sarah Greer, Edgemont World Health member turned personal trainer.