Hola! Jenni here, your leader and chief cheerleader at Rise with Resilience. I’m gonna tell you a little story, so stop what you're doing and listen up!
I have been a fitness professional for the past decade but from a very young age, I was exposed to fitness. I remember so vividly dancing to Jane Fonda workout videos with my mom in our living room. Instead of doing those workouts with the sole purpose of looking a certain way, we did them to feel fierce, strong, have fun, and feel empowered in our bodies. There were many reasons why we looked different from our peers, but we decided to embrace it, instead of hiding, and chose to rise with resilience…
When I joined the fitness industry as an adult, I was not prepared for the negative body image I would develop. I noticed I was constantly comparing myself to other trainers. It got even worse once I finally got an instagram account. I now consider myself to be a strong-headed, independent, confident, body-neutral 29-year-old. But it wasn’t always that way. Like many young people, I fell victim to the messages out there to change my body. My self-esteem definitely suffered and my body image issues were highlighted. However, through having worked so closely with people in a fitness environment for many years, I was able to eventually become truly body neutral and, in my opinion, have the ideal body image.
Fast forward to March 2020 for my lockdown story… The first time we went into lockdown I ended up losing a lot of weight. I was stressed about not being able to afford food since I was not able to teach in person, so I ate very little and very cheaply. I walked/biked everywhere I needed to go in order to save even more money. When I went back to work in the gym, many people complimented me for how “lean” I looked and how “fit” I became during our forced time off. Little did they know that my reason for weight loss was not a happy one, and not an intentional one either. It was a result of incredible stress and an incredible fear of the unknown.
The second time we went into lockdown I was still stressed, but at least I had been there before; I knew what to do. I ate normally and whatever I wanted, and I gained my weight back (and then some). This time, however, I received no compliments when I went back to the gym.
About my weight fluctuation
Throughout this weight fluctuation (and fluctuation of compliments as well) I grew even more fatigued by the toxicity of this industry and how much we celebrate weight loss. I guess you could say this was the straw that broke the camel’s back because Rise with Resilience started to become the body-neutral fitness community it is today.
If I can change the mindset of even one person reading this, I will have accomplished something. But I know there is so much more work to be done. The negligence of the fitness and diet industries has long-lasting negative effects, and it targets the most vulnerable, often women and girls under the age of 25. And now when I speak to my female clients, the only ones who are truly accepting of their bodies are the ones who are over 60. This is unacceptable.
Go out there, live your life, enjoy the company of the people that you love, experience the things you want to experience and go after everything you want because you are more than worthy. What you look like is the least interesting thing about you and it doesn’t have to hold you back anymore. <3