Fitness: Don’t let self-stigma stop you being your own role model

“I haven’t got the right figure to dance, I’m too old to start playing sport and I’m not the gym type…”

Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:21 pm
You can be anyone you want to be on your journey to fitness. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
You can be anyone you want to be on your journey to fitness. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

This has been me throughout my life, I was sure I wasn’t born sporty, I didn’t fit in the in the dance or fitness industry and I certainly wasn’t the type to go to the gym.

But when I found a bellydance class in my local church hall, I discovered a new skill which would lead me to working professionally on TV as a dancer.

Then later as a new mum by trying out a women’s football team I discovered how fun and supportive sport could be regardless of my talent and now I enjoy exercising anywhere and everywhere.

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I can promise you that you don’t need to look good in Lycra to do Yoga or have pumped up muscles to lift weights, don’t let stereotypes stop you from moving and feeling good through fitness and feeling healthy.

Whilst I attempt to combat the external/societal stigma around exercise and nutrition, you can start with challenging your self-stigma because it doesn’t serve you well and worst of all it can stop you from unlocking the power of deep health, which you deserve!

If it helps don’t even call it names such as exercise and nutrition, because just moving more can change your life from feeling low to loving the new found energy you can discover from committing to focusing on your own health.

Lessen the self-sabotage of ‘picture perfect ideals’ we have in our heads or on social media.

Whilst our lives and wellbeing may have been largely online in lockdown, it has become easier than ever to compare yourself to whatever we deem perfection when we get lost in a scroll hole, feeding our negative mindset and self-stigma again.

Instead, focus on moving your own body whether it’s dancing however you feel to your favourite music at home, going for a walk outdoors or following a home workout programme.

Everybody can move and it's proven that after exercise our self-esteem is boosted and so is our brain’s productivity levels.

Remember with images anyway, some can be doctored, others may not show all the graft behind-the-scenes plus a lot of people online work in health and fitness day-in-day-out which is not realistic for most people. Plus, body size again is subject to so many different factors, not to mention trends in our own minds! Our bodies are not fashion objects, they deserve nurturing.

I know most of us will need to rebuild our confidence to go back to the gym, dance or yoga studio, or start a new sport but by taking action now, we can get there.

Whether it helps you to start by walking short distances, chatting to an instructor about returning or finding supportive community clubs. It’s about gradual sustainable progress out of lockdown and for life.

If you can't find a role model, be your own role model. Your journey can impact your own life and inspire those around you.

I’m leading a free Sofa to So Fit challenge for everyone with Inspiring Community, you can try for free by going to their @InspiringCommunity Fac/book page.