Friend: So who’s your fitness model?
Me: I don’t get you.
Friend: I mean, aren’t you going to get someone fit and muscular and with the whole six-pack abs to be the model in your photos?
Me: Um, no. I’m modelling.
Friend: Oh. #awkward
Earlier last week, I was back in Singapore in preparation for my first online health and body transformation program for Singaporeans. Part of it involves a massive photo and video shoot for at least 100 exercises, including instructions, getting the proper form and executing them, which was partly why last week’s post was a miss (which I am deeply sorry about… but I’m back!)
A friend of mine, with good intentions, asked me that question. He didn’t think I was ‘fit’ enough to be a model for my own program. That aside, I still went on with the filming.
Normal, nothing special me, shooting videos and taking pictures for a fitness program.
I did not question him further and simply took it in my stride because I absolutely don’t care. I’ll tell you why.
HOW FAR I’VE COME, AND HOW MUCH I’VE DONE
If you don’t know much about where I started, let me give you a quick run down. In 2010 I was obese. Absolutely determined to lose weight, I went on a strict 1200 calorie diet, worked out like a mad person and went absolutely obsessed with how much calories I’m taking in every day.
Results were, however, amazing, despite all those crazy moments. 8 months later, I lost 10% of my body fat and I was finally, just like how I wanted to be, skinny.
I thought life would be way more fun after that, people will start noticing me because I looked good and I am not fat. It was fun while it lasted, but the three weeks after I somehow ‘showed’ everyone my new look turned out to be just that.
The novelty effect start to wear out. I became confused, lost and most importantly, felt like I was losing my enthusiasm day by day.
While everyone else congratulated me on my weight loss, my sister was the only one who said I looked unhealthy and weak. True enough, after losing 20kg, I lacked confidence and didn’t know what to do next. I weighed myself every day and allowed that number to control my life. The happy girl in the picture on the extreme left is gone.
The problem didn’t stop there. For many months after that, I had problems eating, I was obsessed with the number and I never really knew how to live without worrying about how much calories I’m eating. My weight went up and down, and as a result, I beat myself up when I weighed more than I wanted to.
It took me two years and more after the 8 month weight loss to be okay with my body and who I am.
Today, I weigh about 68kg and probably have about 20-22% body fat. I don’t really know because it has been quite some time since I weighed myself. I workout every day doing things I love for no longer than 40 minutes a day and while I eat foods that nourishes me, I don’t stress out about that slice of cake I had on my mum’s birthday last Monday.
I can deadlift 240lbs, I can hold a ten second crane pose, and I am fit and active. I don’t have abs, I may have fats here and there and I definitely won’t make the cover of Women’s Health. But here’s the thing, I absolutely and honestly don’t care.
Why? Because I know how it feels to be constantly obsessed with the number on the scales, what you’re eating and how much body fat% you have. And that is probably the worse feeling in the world.
I can choose to look at the picture in the middle and feel bad about myself for gaining weight, or I can look at the picture on the right and feel proud about how far I have come since the first day I decided to lose weight, how much knowledge and personal experiences I have gained because of this, and how much I can help as many people now to embrace themselves the way they are. I chose the latter, and I am not looking back.
LOVE + PRIORITY
If you want results in health and fitness, here’s two things you need to do first before you even pick up those weights.
Number one. Love yourself.
If there was one thing I’ve learned all these years and something I hope to convey the message to everyone today is that the key to change, the only one thing you need to make a difference to your life and your health is to fully embrace your body and who you are. You are NOT just another person in this planet, you are an individual, unique and definitely awesome in so many ways.
Most importantly, you have to believe that. You don’t just simply say that you’re beautiful and then go ahead to Instagram or Tumblr and search for #fitspo or #fitness. You have to fully believe that you’re a beautiful, amazing and gorgeous person before you can be free from all hatred and resentment.
Before you can even change your current lifestyle.
Number two. Decide what your priority is.
Want to know another reason why I don’t really care if I don’t have a under 15% body fat, no abs, and not a fitness model? Because it’s not my priority.
My priority right now is not to be shredded.
My priority right now is to educate as many people as possible, how to love their perfect bodies before they even try to change it, devoid of what the media and society portrays as ‘perfect’.
My priority right now is to teach people how to love themselves, and that having a flat tummy, six pack abs or a very low body fat% do not determine how amazing of a person they are.
And my priority right now is to help those, upon embracing their body, who want to be fit, healthier and leaner, how to do it safely, without compromising on their happiness, safety and wellbeing.
And as a fitness professional, at any time I want to get ripped or shredded, I will know exactly what to do without compromising on my happiness. But at this moment, I don’t want to do that and that is definitely okay.
Figure out what your goals are, what your priority is and why you’re choose to do what you’re doing.
If you’re a mother and your priority is to be the best mum and wife, and you can only afford 30 minutes working out a day, then that’s you. DOn’t try to be anyone else.
And I mean, way ahead. If there was one thing I wished someone had told me when I was losing weight was how easy it is to shed the pounds compared to maintaining it.
I took 8 months to lose 20 kilos.
It took me two and more years to figure out how to maintain the weight.
Not a good deal isn’t it? The problem is, most weight loss programs there is in the market do not teach us how to face the world after losing weight. Say for example you’re on a meal replacement program. Have you figured out how you want to deal with LIFE once you get off the shakes?
While you’re on your journey, think about how you’re planning to maintain the weight once you’ve achieved them. It will make a difference. Having the end in mind can make it easier when you finally get there, even if you haven’t got it all figured out yet.
THE PROBLEM TODAY
Society today poses more problems than ever before, especially when it comes to body image.
In the past, we had skinny thin models of which many aspired to look like, but today we have muscular, shredded and extremely fit athletes at their peak, of which most of us want to be.
But here’s the thing. It takes a lot of sacrifices and I mean A LOT of social, physical and mental sacrifices for those fitness models to be where they are today. For many of them, they dedicate hours to training, meal prep and counting macros. It’s not easy holding on to a pose for minutes just to get the right shot. For most whom I know (mutual friends), they have to decline numerous social events because they’re ‘in season’.
For some, obsession to the ‘you gotta eat clean’ is norm.
Unless you really do aspire to be a fitness model or a bodybuilder, be genuine. Be yourself. And stop flooding your minds with pictures that are ‘perfect’. It is not normal and instead of inspiring you, it can bring you down, make you obsessed and disappoint you should you not get the same results.
I WANT YOU TO KNOW…
I also personally think that as a fitness professional, we have to show every side of us, not just one that shows us in our peak, but one that shows us when we’re not training.
And you might not hear this often, but I want you to know that even personal trainers and fitness professionals are not the ‘perfection’ society perceives.
Heck. I am not perfect and I want you to know that.
I know there are some great ripped personal trainers out there, but we are not always lean, we are not always shredded and truthfully, we are normal people. Fitness is not just about abs. It’s not just about how much you weigh. It’s about you being happy with your health, your energy levels and how you feel on a daily basis.
How much body fat a trainer have does not determine how great they are in helping you change your life, as much as how much body fat you have does not determine how great of a person you are. You are more than just a number.
WHAT ARE YOU ACCEPTING ABOUT YOURSELF?
I sincerely hope when you read this, even if it’s just a little bit, you can try to fully embrace who you are, and not get intimidated by what the media shows.
Before I go, drop me a comment below and tell me, what are you accepting about yourself?
It may be the fact that you’re a mother of three young kids, and despite running errands all day long, you accept the fact that you can only set aside 20 minutes a day to gym time.
It may also be the fact that you’re a shift worker, and sometimes you don’t get the advantage of working out at regular hours, but you still try your best to.
Whoever you are, whatever you do. I want to know. There’s a lot of us here so share with the community by leaving a comment below.
You’re perfect, your body is perfect and I hope you can accept that about yourself.