I love Hyla Conrad’s message to the world: you can create a healthy and fit lifestyle you love. (Familiar? Yes! She’s a much admired comrade in the quest to help women really be truly happy being healthy.) In this guest post she talks about how it felt when she got that everyone-drools-over body as a fitness competitor and how you can take what she learned to really sink into true love of your healthy body.
As a former fitness competitor it’s difficult to admit at one point in my life I actually hated myself.
Hate is a strong word! It holds a lot of passion behind it.
During a time in my life when I was the leanest, the fittest, the “healthiest” and had a body that women (and men) drooled over… and I hated myself. My body was rockin’ but my mind was distorted. I had visions of sugarplums dancing in my head while I ate carb-free meals straight from Tupperware containers. My social life was gone, my love for exercise was gone, and my mental state was all outta whack! The body that women dream of obtaining I had it and it didn’t give me the confidence that I thought it would. On the outside people thought I had my shit together and I falsely accused myself of having it all too. On the inside I was dying to eat the sugarplum that still danced around in my head. What was supposed to be self-care turned into an obsession. The obsession never stopped even when I was looking my best.
Looks mean nothing so be careful. The body you could be drooling over might have the mind and actions of an over-exerciser with disordered eating. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was using health and fitness as a way to create an outside body that I THOUGHT would bring me to who I desired to become.
When I became that overly fit person it was a lifestyle habit I couldn’t keep up with. I couldn’t continue dieting and regaining weight, I couldn’t continue hour long sessions in the gym 6 days a week, I couldn’t continue the lifestyle I had created for myself. I hated it! What started out as a goal turned into a lifestyle practice that was unhealthy physically, socially, and mentally.
So how did I go from self-hate to self-love?
1. Visualize- I visualized the person I wanted to become instead of a body I was trying to achieve. When I was over-exercising, each time I would hit the gym I would DREAM of this body I wanted. Achieving this body would mean success and glory. Every exercise I did molded and carved out a certain type of body, and when this body was created, I couldn’t take it. It was too extreme and my genetics resisted it. I was working against myself. When I accepted myself and the person I desired to become my exercise habits quickly changed and I embraced a whole new meaning towards exercise. Exercise now adds value and happiness to my life; it’s not my entire life.
Quoting Elle Woods from Legally Blonde- “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”
2. Follow your intuition-Intuitively eating changed the way I ate. I tried every single diet known to man. Seriously, I’ve tried clean eating, iffym, paleo, gluten free, vegetarian, high protein/low-carb, and intermittent fasting. You name it I’ve tried it. When I stumbled upon intuitively eating I knew it was a perfect fit for me. No rules, no diets, nothing. Just me following my own hunger cues enjoying all types of food and social events. Lifestyle practice guaranteed!
3. Make peace. I made peace with myself. The self-love journey is one that takes a little bit of work but with the tools that I used, I achieved success. I’ve made peace with the woman I desire to become and no longer place value in myself by the way I look. I eat, exercise, and live the way I desire to live. Making peace with my true inner self is what brought this into a full circle of love and self-acceptance.
The list above is a few of the mindset tools I used to create a lifestyle practice that enhances my life. I am more compassionate and understanding and I can focus on improving other areas of my life like family, career, and personal growth. I stand on a strong foundation today and it feels amazing. No longer dieting or over-exercising I’m free!
In my Free The Ultimate Solutions to the 5 Biggest Mistakes Fit Women Make to learn how to have more time and energy, build strong fitness mindset skills, and love your body.
Hyla Conrad is an advocate for intuitively eating and happily exercising. She’s passionate about educating women on the damages of dieting and over-exercising in a realistic field-tested approach. Her goal is to empower women to create a lifestyle they LOVE while improving their confidence and loving themselves for who they are from deep within their soul. When she’s not working you can find Hyla outdoors hiking with her husband and two border collies, cooking, or her nose stuck in a book.