A NEW EPISODE IS OUT NOW!
02 Fitness and your Mental Health from the side of experience: After Weight Loss Surgery finding a love for group fitness classes and a journey thru recovery from deep trauma, the more personal side of FLEX : with lessons and tips to navigate the difficult
Amy, recently, had weight loss surgery and completely changed her life. She walks you thru how she discovered a love for fitness after a difficult relationship with health. She teaches us the importance of having fun and finding joy in movement. Thea has overcome a lot of trauma, she shares her turbulent history with therapy and how she’s conquering her journey to better mental health and wellness.
A little bit of sass, probably some pet hair, and a messy bun, we bring it all together to give you our best recommendations for creating your best life. Sometimes the curve balls life throws you is just the universe helping you find something better. We give you the tricks to better flex through everything, to help you create the life you want. For humans who want to be healthier and happier.
I love this biweekly release, its been so easy and every part of this project has just flowed. Everytime I start to have a panic, with “what should our next episode be?!” It somehow has fallen into place! It’s been such a big project and I have personally learned SO much and I am excited to be sharing my story and perspective with the world.
Amy, in this episode, shares her weight loss journey. I am so excited to share her clear and frank discussion. I have had SO MANY questions about her weightloss. Sometimes people credit it to me, that like she hired a trainer and thats how she lost the weight. Others think she did nothing and just got this surgery. The truth is so much more grey. Amy lost the weight because she decided to and steadily worked on it for over 2 years. Amy shares how she literally bartered with herself to be successful. She had no interest in exercising. People have thought she has always been skinny and think old photos are her sister. People thought she got the surgery because she’s vain. That last one was a joke but it didn’t sit right with me and I immediately corrected their language. She was motivated by health issues, that is why surgery was an option. She didn’t get this surgery to be vain. She got it to take control of her health and, in turn, her life.
Here’s the thing about Amy. She works REALLY hard at everything she does. She is a strong, driven person who doesnt take BS. When she decides to do something she does the thing. She had tried to lose weight and had done years of yo-yo dieting. We can all relate to that. She had to do something different after she had tried everything else. She says clearly and we say in this podcast, weight loss is a great fitness goal but it is not the only goal. Weight loss was Amy’s goal. Weight loss does not have to be your goal. This weight loss surgery helped Amy lose weight. Weight loss surgery might NOT help you lose weight. Amy is telling HER story. This is her perspective. We don’t have all the answers about how the body works.
The surgery is risky. There are potential for complications that can be life threatening. There is also a high risk of unsuccess. You can surgically shrink your stomach and then stretch it out again by over eating. Amy has completely changed her lifestyle. From I guess I will exercise for loose skin to literally 2 or 3 hours of fitness classes a day. She loves her yoga, her Les Mills, her Zumba. Amy has found a home at the gym as well as an outlet for some of her negative energies. I mean, Amy is a therapist who has done extensive work on her own mental health, battling her own trauma and overcoming so much to be where she is today. She has fought hard to be where she is. She has found exercise as a way to greatly improve her life and she wants to share that.
I know weight loss surgery is controversial. It worked for Amy. Maybe it won’t work for you. But it helped her achieve her goals. It was by no means the only thing she did. She changed her diet, she attended nutrition classes, she hired a trainer, she worked on her habits, etc. There are so many pieces and layers to weight loss. And Amy has some medical diagnoses (PCOS- PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. Which created a hormonal imbalance in which her testosterone was too high, which prevented her from losing weight. The inability to lose weight put her at greater risk for other metabolic disorders. She was confirmed to have high cholesterol and to be prediabetic.) that led to this surgery being a viable option for her when other paths were unsuccessful. I think that Amy clearly explaining her rationale and thoughts throughout the whole process and how they changed are valuable because as we don’t talk about this stuff.
Why do people think they can make comments to me about Amy’s body to me? I get that I am her bestie and her personal trainer and we hang out alot, so I am chalking the comments off as curiosity. I think there is a point to be made that maybe we should in general stop making comments about peoples bodies. Your body is just a vessel. You are so much more than your body.
It’s hard for me to speak on these things because I have always been “normal sized ”. I had a period where I wore Larges but I have never bought anything more than a size 10. I am a petite person and that how I view life. I can’t change who I am, this is my perspective. I haven’t experienced being a plus size person on a personal level. Only thru the dialogue with my clients. And I have made mistakes with language I have used. Since becoming a personal trainer and focusing my energy on health and fitness, my body has changed and I am in fairly good shape. So sometimes when I speak on body positivity, I understand that it can feel offensive. I think Amy’s experience is important because she has received both sides; the social shame of being “fat” and the shame of being “too thin.” Isn’t it great how women’s bodies are never right?
If this dialogue kicks up some feelings for you, I invite you to talk about it. In whatever environment and with whomever feels like a safe outlet. Maybe this is a sign you need to work thru something in your own life? I am a personal trainer so I get so many questions about weight loss or how do I lose belly fat. These are the 2 most often asked questions I get in my DMs. Weight loss required effort, belly fat can be anything from diet, to hormones to overall body fat percentage… I think a better question for health is “how’s your shoulder mobility?” “ Can you get up and down off the floor without trouble?” “ Can you easily walk a mile?” Assessing our wellness of how we feel in our body is step one, from there then maybe fine tune goals. But it should start with how you feel not how you look.
This episode we wanted to share more of our personal stories. The first episode really set up our “professional” credentials, which is available, this episode is the reverse. I asked Amy how she got into fitness and Amy asks me about my struggles with mental health.
It was literally the same questions just reversed. Amy talking thru her journey of fitness was emotional, and me sharing my mental health journey was really emotional. I am not going to lie this was a VERY difficult episode for me to record, and for me to edit. I put off editing it because it was hard for me to listen to. I didn’t even dive super deep into my past trauma but for some reason that act of vulnerability, of unzipping and sharing more of my story, it was a big accomplishment emotionally. But I also want you to know how hard it was for me.
For so long I lived in a place of self-blame. I thought I deserved my bad luck. I thought I deserved to suffer because I wasn’t good enough. MY mind was a really dark and scary place. I often acted irrationally. I would run away from the thing. Quit my job, move out my apartment. Just run. And I repeated that pattern of making rash decisions rushing thru consequences, heavily drinking and avoiding dealing with anything that was difficult. I had extreme social anxiety. I was terrified to talk to strangers and I would work terrible shitty jobs where I would quit and be fired constantly.
I went thru a breakup with my high school boyfriend and it wasn’t pretty. There was a lot of drama and people in my life were awful to me. I got a new apartment and started taking classes at the university and then met a boy who I thought was the man of my dreams. I proceeded to try to mold myself into what he wanted because I thought that if I could get him to love me it would prove I was worthy of love. He was really into school, so it made me really into school. He preferred me skinny, I lost 20 pounds. He preferred blondes, I bleached my hair. I poured 7 years into trying to be perfect for him. When I couldn’t find a job after graduating he kicked me out. I finally found a job at a nonprofit and I poured myself into that job. I endured abuse from coworkers, a sexist boss and horrible hours. I thought if I could raise enough money for this children’s charity that I could be worthy. I was never able to raise enough money and I was ultimately let go. I stopped caring for myself and I stopped playing the office politics and my whole world fell apart.
Failing like this forced me to look at my life. I always run, I always chase the next thing. How long can I out run my inner demons? It has been a real struggle to deal with the mistakes I have made. Rash decisions made from emotional reactivity. I thought I was weak for never being able to “control” my emotions, and more and more I realize I am an empath and I feel DEEPLY. I feel more deeply than most of the people around me.
More and more I have been trying to use my EMPATHY as a superpower rather than a burden. I have to forgiven myself for being 20 and scared, running from one abusive relationship to another. I didn’t know I was seeking pain. I didn’t know I could chose peace. I no longer beat myself up for not knowing.
I feel in a way like I am just waking up. Opening my eyes for the first time. Reborn so many times from new ashes that I no longer resemble the original shape I was. Looking back on my experiences its almost like the universe needed to teach me lessons, my life was hard because I had to prove to myself I am resilient.
Growing up I felt so out of place. I felt so lonely. Now that I am older, my mother is an alcoholic and a narcissist and my father is on the autism spectrum. They did the best they could in their own ways and it’s ok for me to see that was the best the could do but also not hold space in my life, currently, to be abused or mistreated out of niceness.
A friend once told me I should share my experiences and I said I never want to relive or retell them because they have no impact on me anymore. She told me that was a shame because others going through what I went through might need to see my light. That’s why I am doing this podcast. I do really want to detach myself from who I was and allow myself to grow anew in a new pot with good around me rather than bad, but I did create the cirsumstance I have now by going through what I went through.
I used to think the only thing interesting about me was my trauma. And I am so glad I dont feel that anymore. I did not invite more trauma but holding trauma as a currency does allow you to play the victim and I am not a victim. I am a survivor.
It’s hard for me to talk about the past. I feel so scapegoated and so gaslighted that I fear none of my story is real, or it “wasn’t that bad” and Amy articulates this in the podcast so well. My story sucks, it sucks I had to go through the things I have been through. I have so much trauma that I am just now healing from and that sucks. But I am not alone right? We all have so much healing to do and we don’t have to heal alone or in silence. I hope me telling my story inspires you to tell yours, or for you to invite healing and peace into your life. YOU deserve it. We all do.
My most recent therapist advised me to write a fictional book and put stories I want to tell but not be associated with in the form of fiction. I think this is such a beautiful idea because writing out things for me does allow me to let them go and it takes away the gaslight narrative because I am not saying these stories are true and holding them in the candle of fiction also further allows me to disconnect from the negativity and heal. I have started writing stories and that helped me so much.
We are so guilty of gaslighting ourselves. Don’t gaslight your story.