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My Experience with Health & Fitness, Body Image, Self Love - Episode 6

What’s up everybody

Welcome to another episode of

A little bit of this and Nat

Im your host Natalie

And in this podcast we talk about

Personal growth, self-healing, mindfulness, spirituality

and all things self care.

So if you’re into expanding your mind and connecting with the deeper parts of you

Hit that plus sign so you’ll be notified of new episodes

Cause there’s plenty more where that to come

Its been awhile since I’ve recorded an episode and I missed it

I swore when I started I wasn’t gona be one of those people who starts a podcast, records a couple episodes and then goes MIA

I had systems in place, I had things I was doing to make sure podcasting every week was fun and easy and natural for me


I have a good reason for being away

I … got covid…


In the 6th wave of all this I got it

And I think its because I work at a school

And the mask mandate was lifted in Ontario right after march break

And a lot of people went away on vacation for the march break

But it was mild, more mild than I thought

although I know it could’ve been a lot worse

I definitely did not want to talk about covid at all on this podcast because I think were all just done with it

The only thing I will say is,

Get vaccinated or don’t get vaccinated its really none of my business

I know that you will do what’s in your best interest for your health

Only you can know the best way to take care of yourself

No one can tell you that for you

That’s your choice to make

So that’s all the time I have for politics

And its funny because the podcast episode that I was going to record before I got sick was about my health and taking care of my physical health and my personal experiences with the diet and fitness culture

So a bit of a background story:

I first started getting into health and fitness when I was 15

I started learning how to do yoga just from YouTube videos and did some at home workouts that way too

I wanted to be healthy and feel better

And definitely stay in shape

But I found I really loved it

And I went on to become a personal trainer

I went to college, finished the exercise science program

Got certified and started working at a big name cooperate gym

And through out that process I was really trying to learn what it meant to take care of my body, I was really into nutrition and lifting

And I didn’t realize how disordered my thoughts were around food,

And how they had been disordered for years

since I was probably 8 or so

I learned early on that my outer appearance

Whether I carried a few extra pounds on my waist or not

Was like a key factor of success in life in general

I was judged for being overweight

I got thin and took charge of my health

And I was judged for being too skinny

Was even told that I was starving myself (when I wasn’t)

So becoming a personal trainer for me, originally was about being able to work one on one with women who were experiencing the same issues I was

Trying to find a balance between eating healthy and taking care of myself without going to far into disordered eating and having an unhealthy relationship with fitness

The idea that if I have this piece of cake that’s 30 minutes on the treadmill

The yo yo dieting and juice cleanses and I have to workout everyday or I’m not good enough type of mindset

There’s just a lot of toxicity in the diet and fitness culture that working at a gym as a personal trainer wasn’t what I thought it would be,

I wanted to make a difference in peoples lives and support them mentally and physically as they went through their own weight loss journey

and journey towards self love and growth

But working at a gym really messed with me

At least the gym I worked at

As a personal trainer I know that every single persons journey to loving their bodies looks completely different

And I know that coming to the gym every day to train or coming even 4-5 times a week just doesn’t work for some people

Some people might want to lose weight but they don’t enjoy weight training

And measuring their waist and weighing them and calculating BMI can be triggering for some people

I worked at a women’s gym and I just would’ve liked to see a different way of doing things

Body inclusivity, body positivity, make the focus more about how you feel internally, know that being healthy is about making small efforts and its something you have to be mindful of for the rest of your life

A lifestyle change

And thinking of it that way might help you to make more sustainable life changes

Especially because

When you are building the life you want

You think about how your ideal day would look,

If you’re ideal day doesn’t include waking up early to go to the gym for 3 hours then why would you try to make that a habit now?

It has to be realistic

And it has to be deeper than “losing 20 lbs”

I think it’s way more important to train because you want the ability to move through daily life and not feel so exhausted and sore from it

Again to form that mind body connection

And honestly it bothers me that information about our bodies is so withheld and that we have to go based on what the media tells us is healthy or not

Like everyone has a body, and everyone has the right to know how to get an effective workout in

There’s a huge reason why after years of lifting and trying other forms of exercise while still doing yoga

That after all these years I still do yoga

Yoga is the one thing that stuck

Yoga is perfect for me because I have the background to make it more challenging when I need it to be

And I know that if I’m doing a gentle flow and only training flexibility then I’m doing enough for my body

People don’t realize how important stretching is

People say “oh I’m old”

But that’s not the reason why you feel tension or stiffness in your body

My life changed when I learned that a lot of bodily pain is because of stored unprocessed emotion and energy

And I think it’s only fair that people have a base knowledge of how to take care of your body

I just don’t like how it’s not taught

Or at least it wasn’t taught to me

And even most of the stuff I know about yoga

and the way I train now is all self taught

It just frustrates me that it took me so long to learn how to treat my body with love

Even after years of schooling I still had to seek out even more information

And now its like Im still learning but on a more emotional level,

I just started learning more about the psychology of emotional eating

And all of this stuff still really fascinates me

I love learning,

I’ll be learning the rest of my life

But what I’m trying to get at here is that

there’s so many holes and missing pieces in the health and fitness industry

that it can make people feel alone when trying to seek out the knowledge

That they need to have a healthy lifestyle

I think we learn a little too much from social media and we forget that there’s millions of books out there

If I was a personal trainer and I was working with a client for 6 months to a year

Lets say she had 30 pounds to lose

She lost the weight dropped inches dropped pant sizes

Now she loves to go shopping for new clothes

You know

now she can squat more

And she can run farther and faster

Her strengths up her cardios up

Things that were hard for her before

Were adding more weight too

You know like she’s it all her milestones she’s making all this progress

She hit her goal weight

Did I do my job?

Did I succeed in helping her have a healthy lifestyle?


Maybe on the outside.

She lost the weight but she didn’t learn anything about real self love

She lost the weight but she still restricts in her eating,

still has no understanding of the connection between food and emotions

and physical sensations and emotions

Like if I really succeeded as her trainer she would have an understanding of these core concepts that are the foundation of living a healthy life,

for the rest of your life

Not just for that one year

If I succeeded she would be able to take it from there on her own

She would know how to put an effective workout together

How to balance life and food

And how to give her body what it needs moment by moment

I think that’s hard for anyone

To have a perfect relationship with everything

I have all this knowledge and I’m still struggling


Its about sustainable health and getting better overtime

Life is a very long

We have all this time to get there


Its about the deeper connection you have with your body

And the capacity at which you allow yourself to live and feel and breathe


All the toxicity and the encouragement towards disordered eating, restriction and being 100% “good”

Really made me pull away from the gym altogether

But a part of me also knew that eating healthy and being active was ultimately going to help my mental health and that was important to me

And working out releases endorphins

And I did enjoy working out

I still do but my fitness routine looks a lot different now than when I was 21

I’m 26 now and life looks a lot different than it did in college.

In the past 5 years my thoughts on physical activity have definitely changed,

I don’t force myself to be active if I don’t want to

And I focus more on the way that physical activity can release pent up energy or stored emotion from the body

And yoga does that for me

Yoga has always been my favourite form of movement because its so versatile, you can make it harder or easier moment by moment

But I want be honest and transparent in saying that,

the mentality I experienced still stays with me in some ways

And I feel like I don’t workout like I used to because of it

I think fitness can be a great form of self care

But it can also be a form of self harm and self punishment

Long gone are the days where I’d push myself on the treadmill or push myself to do another set

I know now that I dont have to be sore the next day for it to count as a good workout

And I look at food as a fuel source and really pulled away from viewing certain foods as good and other foods as bad,

I think ill always want to maintain a healthy body figure but carrying a few extra pounds doesn’t affect me as much as it used to.

Im not saying I dont ever experience days of feeling insecure about my body or wishing it looked different in some way

But I know that the way I treat my body should really be my only measurement of physical health

How I feel on the inside matters more

I want to enjoy my body, and honor it, and fuel it with good food and enjoy food and not feel bad about living.

And not place high expectations on myself

And not fight my body or try to control my body

I want to be in tune with what she needs and do things I enjoy

I dont want what I’m eating that day to take up that much space in my life.

And I don’t want to workout everyday I want to go with how I feel in the moment

Before when I was going to record this episode before I got sick

I wanted to talk about having a healthy body image and

How sometimes we think that self love means loving what you see when you look in the mirror

And I think that self love is a lot more than that, its deeper than that

And I know were getting into the summer and its our first real first summer after covid and its bikini season and its shorts season

And its okay for you to want to change your body

I don’t think any of us are immune to this feeling of I could look better or feel better or be doing more for my body

But if you decide you want to start a journey of bettering yourself in this way

Just please be mindful of your mental health as well

You cannot hate yourself thin

That’s not going to work in the long run

Lets focus on having a healthy relationship with food and movement and with our bodies and focus on strengthening that mind body connection so we can make long lasting changes in our health

Some ways Ive been able to do this

In the past month are

I started a health journal

Because you know me I strongly believe you can solve any problem by journaling

Its kind of like a food journal but I talk about everything that relates to my physical health

So I use this journal to write down what I’m eating and how it made me feel and what I did or what I’m going to do to move my body that day,

I write about how much water I drank, where my mind body connection is at, I use it to move through negative thoughts about my body and to try to heal my toxic beliefs about diet and fitness

Its a separate journal from my other journals so I can organize my mind in that way

And I write out any negative thoughts about my body that I may be experiencing, and when I’m done letting it out I write down how I want to feel about my body

I use it to keep track of any physical symptoms i’m having as well

I know keeping a food journal might not work for everyone but Im a writer so its definitely worked for me

Ive always used writing as a tool to help me move through and process uncomfortable thoughts and emotions so doing so when it comes to my relationship with food has been a game changer for sure

For movement lately I started walking

And its been amazing, the sun is starting to come out more and the weathers getting nicer, its so nice to get out in nature

And where I live I found this route that I really like

It takes about half an hour to do which is perfect for me

And there’s a slight hill in the middle of the walk but at the end there’s a steep hill and it just feels really good

And it feels really good for my mind and soul too

And that’s the whole point of moving my body is to feel good so

But I feel like the main thing I’ve learned recently is that anytime you’re having an experience of something you don’t want

So in this case its gaining weight or feeling like your not connected to your body in the way you want to be

Then that experience is already showing you what you do want

And I think in every problem we face, the solution is embedded inside it

Knowing what you do want is all you need to start moving towards it

And honestly Im grateful that my body shows me signs and tells me when things are off balance and how I need to take care of it better

Because what I do want is a healthy body and a healthy relationship with my body where I’m giving it what it needs and I’m enjoying you know the physical experience

Where moving my body feels good and doesn’t feel like punishment

And where eating feels good and it doesn’t feel like an escape

And where I am willing to face the issues that I have with food so that I can reprogram my mind

I want to eat apples and salads and drink lots of water and go for long walks and do some strength training like once a week or something

But I also want to eat chips and watch a movie with my partner and go to nice restaurants and all you can eat sushi and enjoy my life

And not need to obsess about what’s in my food

Or count calories or carbs

I don’t want to restrict any food

I want to feel grateful for food

And my health journal is helping me get there

So writing in this everyday even if its only a couple sentences

And going for long walks as often as I can

Are my two new habits that I want to prioritize in my life