MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is Body Image. Did you know that just "over one third of UK adults have felt anxious (34 per cent), or depressed (35 per cent) because of concerns about their body image." [Mental Health Foundation]
We asked our Rebel trainers to reveal all and share what body insecurities they have, and how they have learned to embrace it.
Join the movement to #BeBodyKind - grab yourself a pen in any of our changing rooms and write on the mirror what you love about your body #LoveYourReflection.
Yes, I am a fitness instructor, personal trainer, dancer, size 12 bad ass and most importantly a happy human being. Does your job have to define what size you are?
When I first started working in the fitness industry I was hesitant as to whether I would be accepted as a curvy gal. I didn’t fit the physical stereotype of a personal trainer and was overwhelmed by the fear that people wouldn’t attend my classes for this reason. I had inner battles with myself as to whether I should conform to what the industry believes a PT should look like and my own belief that I was happy the way I was. Guess what thought won? ;-)
Never let the outside worlds thought and opinions of yourself take over what your reality is. We are all unique in our very own special and badass way and that is your superpower. If those memories lay on your skin today then look down at them and know how strong you once were and how strong it has made you today.
I’ve never had a good word to say about my gal, my stomach. I spent the majority of my teens and early twenties trying everything and anything to get to the end goal of abs. I’ve put my body through absolute torture to try and be happy in a pair of jeans. Wearing that crack a joke mask gets you through a lot when you really can’t stand the sight of your body. Now I can’t stop looking at it. This funny ol’ body of mine is growing a little human. Sure, it’s my baby, so it’s gonna be the weirdest, hairiest, most inappropriate baby in the world, but it’ll be mine. I’m brewing it. This stomach that I despised is now doing something pretty fucking cool and I’m unbelievably grateful to it. So ta belly, you the bestest.
I've had ALOT of moles all over my body (way more than what I consider the average person to have) for as long as I remember and I started feeling insecure about them from the age of 11. I used to wear long sleeved everything and jeans/opaque tights all the time to try and hide them. When I turned 16 years old, I started to feel a bit braver about them so I started getting my arms out and I started feeling braver about getting my legs out when I was about 20 years old. The one thing I've learned about my moles since getting my skin out is that the majority of people either don't notice or don't care. Also, when I really think about it, if anyone were to ever call them out in a negative way, that would only ever make that person look bad, not me. If I didn't have my moles, I probably would of found something else to feel insecure about. I've grown to accept them as they make me who I am. No one has ever said anything mean to me about my moles and more often than not, I get compliments on my body (I have my workout regime to thank for that lol!). I think it's important that everyone practises self love and acceptance - it's easier said than done, especially because of social media, but it's surprising how body positivity can lead to having more positivity in other areas of your life too.
Imagine standing in a room with 40 other guys having a panel use your body image as a factor as to whether you get a job. That’s been me for 10years. I’m Craig, I’m a musical theatre performer and a 1rebel trainer. What you see in this picture may be different to what I see. Yeah I keep myself in shape, present myself well but are deeper than the exterior. Seeing men with great heads of hair, nice and thick with perfect hairlines, telling myself that is what makes men handsome, a good head of hair. The frustration I had was that I wasn’t born with it therefore couldn’t change it. 4 years ago I decided to take control of what I wasn’t happy with, I had a hair transplant and found a love for fitness. I changed myself, but it wasn’t the physical change that enhances my life, it was the mental change in my head. I’m exactly the same person I was 4 years ago, just with more self esteem and self love.
I love my legs! I can say this confidently now, but this hasn’t always been the case.
When I was a teenager I was teased a lot about having ‘big legs’ ‘calves bigger than guys’ ‘legs to rival rugby players’ it was mainly boys that would call me out about it and at the time it made me self conscious.
Now that I am older and wiser, I know that my legs are one of my STRONGEST body parts and so they are now one of my FAVOURITE body parts. These legs carry me around everyday, they get me through endless rides, reshapes, rumbles and anything else life has throw at me.
It is important to remember that everyone is different, so don’t compare yourself to others, celebrate what makes you unique and what makes you you!
Body acceptance is something that is so important. You only have one life and this is your body for life, so embrace it, the sooner you learn to do that, the happier you will be! Celebrate what makes you different and mainly what makes you strong, physically and mentally. Don’t get too hung up on how you look, connect with how you feel! Exercise is an amazing way to do that!
I don’t always ‘love myself’ but I do accept myself more and more; I am quite a pragmatic person and I find the concept of being constructive and solutions based about my body and myself much easier to grasp than trying to connect emotionally with ‘loving myself’ or ‘celebrating my body’. One feels achievable where the other feels like something I should get but I still feel secretly cynical about; haha! And when I don’t feel like I can achieve either; I try and think hard about whether I would be as unkind to someone else as I am being to myself and that often gives me the context I need to make my brain be a bit nicer.
I was watching the BAFTA’s on Sunday and it occurred to me that the qualities of the women we are celebrating at the moment are very real, they are qualities it’s taken a long time for us to be bold about; funny, messy, honest, complicated, strong, crass; imperfect. I can relate because they remind me of myself in many ways - I am quite sure I am not alone there! Anyway, this is my body and it has bits I don’t love about it just like everyone else’s. Even if I don’t always like it, I don’t feel ashamed of it; and when I started to say it out loud, it didn’t feel like a dirty little secret anymore. And I am learning to accept my stretch marks because I’ve got a choice to either do that or not and only one seems practical to me as a constructive answer, so I am going to roll with it and see what happens :)
I used to get asked if I even felt feminine having small breasts. Define feminine? To me feminine has no definition. I am a woman as much as my strong and petite figure may not fit the stereotype the world gives us. I’ve learnt to feel empowered with the body I was given. It carries me, it helps me stay agile, strong, fast.
I used to really wish I had curves instead of muscles, D cups instead of A cups... but learning now that all bodies are beautiful, all are and should be accepted and most importantly all women’s bodies are feminine.
I’ve had eczema since I was born, all over my body. Some of my worst childhood memories include my mum peeling me out of my blood stained school shirts and smothering my little arms and legs with diprobase. I was always very self conscious as a kid especially in the summer but miraculously at some point in my preteen years, I grew out of it. I spent around 15 years eczema free and shortly after moving out I started feeling that oh so familiar itch which soon escalated into full blown severe dermatitis all over my face, limbs, torso and back. I didn’t want to leave the house. I tried everything from herbal remedies to drinking more water. I ended up being hospitalised 3 times with bacterial and viral infections before seeing a dermatologist who told me how to control my skin but also let me know my condition was serious and that it was incurable. Those words stuck with me, just like my eczema. Every day is a battle to feel comfortable in a job where I to stand in front of a room full of people, confidently showing so much skin. Some days I have good days and sometimes I’m in agony and the sweat burns my raw skin but everyday I plaster a smile on my face and know that the best thing to do is to just wear it with pride knowing that other eczema sufferers will maybe see me and know that they’re not alone.
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