Why trust me with your fitness?

Emily and some of her dogs

I sometimes forget that my blog is out there for anyone to see, and that therefore there are people (shock horror) who I don’t know who might read it. So I thought I’d introduce myself, and tell you a bit about why I’m a little bit different to many personal trainers/fitness people out there.

I’m Emily. I am a 42 year old living in rural Norfolk in the UK. As you can see from the photo, I have dogs. There are 6 in total.

I have done a lot of different jobs over the years. It took me a long time to realise that my passion was to support women to get more active, because I didn’t really believe I could be a fitness professional. Why so? Well, because I was never the sporty person at school. I took up triathlon in my 30s as a bit of a challenge, and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I was very slow.

Around that same time I started to feel the pressure to be a certain size more than I ever had. I mean, as a teenager and in my 20s I’d always believed I was too big, yet looking back at photos I absolutely wasn’t. But I’d never followed an official diet, rather I’d just cut back on fun stuff until my weight went down a bit, then started up eating it all. I see now, with the benefit of hindsight, that although this wasn’t done in a structured way, it was still classic yo-yo dieting.

This size pressure led me to a diet club for the first time in my life. I felt quite uncomfortable the first few meetings when there were people who had maintained or gained weight, while I was losing weight with apparent ease. Indeed for the first few months I didn’t comprehend how anyone couldn’t lose weight.

Of course that honeymoon period came to an end. I started to crave the old foods I’d always eaten, and would exercise more to “allow” me to eat beyond what the diet club suggested. I felt like I was managing to cheat the system. “Goodness this is easy, why haven’t I done it before?”. You know. That smugness that comes before the lesson!!

A couple of years after joining, I realised I hadn’t addressed my body image. I hadn’t looked at my relationship with food. I had simply added guilt to a long line of yo-yo dieting. And I was gaining weight. How come I now couldn’t lose? Why wasn’t it working any longer?

I looked around me and realised that I had become one of those people I felt uncomfortable for when I first started. So I eventually stopped going. (There was quite a long time when I hovered in the self-loathing hinterland, believing I must be a failure because it had been so easy initially).

And got a stressful job. And put on weight. Quelle surprise.

Fast forward 6 months and I left the job, but was the heaviest I had ever been. It was time to work out what I was going to do with my life work-wise, and it was also time to address whether I was going to diet again or learn to love my body as it is.

Because being active makes me feel so good – I’m not necessarily talking going to the gym or cycling miles, although personally I do like those, rather I’m talking moving, simply moving. I (with some help from a friend) realised that getting qualified as a personal trainer would be a great way to be able to help women like me. Women who were sick of the diet treadmill and who wanted to feel great about themselves. Surely if I wanted that, others would?

Getting qualified made me address my body hang-ups. I can demonstrate an exercise just as well as someone who is a size 8. I can support someone to feel ace about themselves better than someone who has never dieted or felt guilt around food. I can rock my funky gym leggings every day, and feel proud of the body that supports me through all this.

And do you know what… I can help other women feel great too.

In qualifying as a personal trainer, one must study basic nutrition. The aim being to “help” obese clients to lose weight. Much of the fitness industry is still all about getting people to be a smaller version of themselves. And that’s fine, but it’s not for me.

For me, it’s about helping people to move more. To be able to live their life more fully. To be able to feel confident in their awesomeness. The scales have nothing to do with that. Your weight (and mine) have no bearing on how active we are and how happy we are and how utterly brilliant we are.

If this rings true with you, if you’re sick of defining food as “good” or “bad/naughty”, if you’re over feeling sluggish but know that the gym is too daunting a place for you right now, then I’m your lady. And if you love dogs as much as I do, well then we’re doing well. And if you want to be able to enjoy cake and wine because they are just normal parts of life, then you need to be in my gang!

To join my gang, and for support, hints and tips, sign up to my mailing list or head over to my Embracing Fitness community Facebook group.

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