Reflections From A Women's Personal Trainer
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After working with many women as their personal trainer, I've noticed some common themes:
- Feelings of "not-enoughness"
- A lack of confidence
- Lack of time for their own health & wellbeing
- Negative self-talk
- Lack of self-belief
- Lack of self-love
I always knew that food habits would be essential for helping women reach their goals, but I learnt very quickly that mindset habits and self-perception was even more important.
Over and over I’ve heard from women that when they lose weight, or feel confident in that bikini, or their partner is happy with them - THEN they’ll value themselves and think they’re worthy or 'enough' and feel happy. This stems from a negative self-perception based on the beliefs held about oneself. Whatever the thoughts you allow to repeat over and over in your head are, will become the beliefs you hold about yourself.
And what did I learn from all these women? Many of them hold negative, unkind and and toxic beliefs about themselves. One of the questions I often ask in my coaching sessions is, 'If I asked you to list all the things you love, how long would it take for you to mention yourself?'
It’s a sobering question, hey.
So what does it mean to love yourself? Being able to love yourself is not about selfishness. It is all about having a healthy self-worth. Self-worth is “characterised by a quiet sense of self-respect and a feeling of satisfaction of who we are. True self-worth, unlike pride, is not based on our performance.” It is based on our value as a unique individual whose purpose in this universe no one else can fill. It's the belief that because you've been created uniquely (there is no other YOU on this planet), you are super special and are here for a reason. Your personality, gifts, talents and abilities are a gift to the world, and without you, the world would be missing out on something special only you can bring.
Once we start believing this truth about ourselves, this healthy self-love manifests into benevolent self-care. I say 'benevolent,' because I believe true self-care is never at the expense of others, or because we are better than others. True self-care is an awareness of the need of taking care of oneself so that you can best serve others around you. This kind of self-care includes sowing into your mental, emotional, spiritual, relational and physical health, as well as taking time to rest, relax and rejuvenate.
And second to noticing the lack of self-love amongst women I train and coach, the second most common theme is a lack of time and priority put on self-care. We women are very good at putting everyone else first and our needs last. Mothers especially are in a time of life when the demands of bringing up the kids makes it difficult to practice self-care. Healthy meals are forgotten in the rush of daily life, exercise is a luxury, and simple alone-time ends up being spent scrolling Facebook whilst being sprawled on the lounge, because it seems like too much energy to run a hot bath, relax with some essential oils and candles, and be still.
So why make the effort for self-care? Because the benefits are amazing. And by serving ourselves, we can better serve others (our kids, our spouse, our work, our friends) because we are in a better mental state.
Why is self-perception the one thing I wish I could change in women? Because everything else stems from this. A healthy self-concept (self-love) leads to seeing the need for self-care, which in turn will better not only our own lives but our interactions with those around us.
If you are needing some guidance on improving your self-concept, Amy Kate from The Mindful Collective is a great resource. She has also kindly shared her Self Care Menu (below) with us to spark many ideas for how you can practically start self-caring. Download your free copy below.
Also if you would like to share how you practice self-care, leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.