It’s not how you look, its how you feel

Do you want to look amazing? Fit into your skinny jeans? Or rock a bikini at the beach? Have you ever considered forgetting these image based goals? It might be just the thing that helps you to get a body that you love!… And no I’m not telling you to stop caring about what you look like altogether (lets face it, no one wants to look like a toad) BUT I am asking you to shift the focus away from what you look like and instead focus on how you feel.

Back in 2009 I decided to take my chance at a body sculpting competition, I ended up winning the local competition before going on to compete nationally and internationally in NYC, where I won my first World title. Determined to prove it wasn’t a ‘fluke’ I decided to compete again in 2010, resulting in back to back World titles.

I know exactly what it takes to get my body to look a particular way, I know what I have to eat, how much I have to exercise and what colour I need to paint it (yes you read right, ah the joys of combatting stage lights!).

One of the main reasons I began competing was to motivate and inspire other women to live healthy, active lives.

I didn’t expect them to all jump on stage in a bikini (I get that not everyone is as crazy as me!!) But I did think that if I could just manage to get on stage (let alone win a World Championship) AFTER having two children, then they would realise that being a mum wasn’t an excuse for being out of shape.

However, not long into my fitness modelling career I began to realise that something was missing, and although I was able to mould my body to any shape I wanted to win competitions or appear in magazines I wasn’t REALLY happy.

Focusing on the way I looked was slowly destroying my soul. Motivating others by looking a certain way wasn’t all it cracked up to be. Being a Fitness Model meant that there were added pressures on how I looked off the stage and away from the camera as well. I vividly remember my first fitness expo where I was signing autographs for my sponsors. One of the ‘gentleman’ I had just signed a poster for decided to tell me I no longer looked anything like the girl on my poster… and that I was now much “fatter” (I would have felt better at the time if he kicked me in the face). It took me a while to stop trying to explain myself to these kinds of people and although my skin thickened very quickly I still realised it was detrimental to my soul. Putting myself in that position was something I no longer wanted to do.

I decided it was time to hang up the competition heels and begin focussing on how I felt. I wanted to feel fit, healthy and strong. I decided not to worry about how I looked but instead focussed on nourishing my body, enjoying my training and trying new activities to nourish my soul.

An amazing thing happened when I stopped focussing on how I looked… My body began to look after itself. Whilst I was not ‘competition ready’ I was healthier, happier and less body conscious than ever before. I started to love my body, just as it was (see my before and after in the header? The smile on the right side is real!).

I encourage you to stop focusing on how you look, as strange as that may sound. I know looking a certain way wont make you love your body and it certainly wont make you any happier in the long term. Instead Focus on how you feel within your body, take the time to nourish and care for it and you will find that you will not only be healthy, strong and active, but you will look better as well.

  • Amber xx

 

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