I grew up believing HAPPY = SKINNY.
As an aspiring ballerina (and frankly, just as a woman in our society) it’s kinda hard to avoid that message, amiright?
By age 11, I was in at least 6 dance classes/week, counting calories like it was my JOB, and religiously including 100 sit-ups into my bedtime routine.
Throughout my dance career I was stuck in a never-ending under-eating → binging → over-exercising cycle. And WORSE, I was beating myself up about it every second of the day.
If I missed an extra workout, I felt like a failure. If I got it in, I was on a treadmill for hours - literally running my body down, depleting my energy, and going nowhere fast.
People classified me as a “naturally skinny” person. Which felt like a pat on the back - a secret handshake - part of the club!
Yet every time I received a comment like that I secretly wished that they could see how HARD I was working to be where I was.
It took A LOT of discipline to live my life!
The daily weighing in, counting food points, measuring my waist, following the latest “lose 5” fad, tripling reps of the best fat burning exercises, restricting, depriving, and covering up my health problems.
There was never a day my stomach didn’t hurt.
My skin was a mess and my eczema was out of control.
My menstrual cycle disappeared, and the amount of anxiety I felt was overwhelming.
Then when I was 26, my grandmother died from tongue cancer and my perspective started to shift.
In the last few years of her life she had many surgeries and treatments.
As an always-looking-on-the-bright-side kind of a person, she said she was so happy in these years because she physically couldn’t eat that much and she finally lost the weight she had wanted to lose for her entire life.
She had ⅓ of a tongue and was ecstatic because she was a “skinny person”.
This turned my whole idea of HAPPY = SKINNY on it’s head.
During this time I studied yoga and mindfulness, and came across this life-changing quote (in the video below) in my readings about death and impermanence.
I became determined to find BALANCE in my approach to how exercise fit into my life in a way that I could maintain and feel GOOD about.
In ways that freed me up to focus my thoughts on my other passions, my career, what I want to create in the world.
In ways that kept me strong.
In ways that kept me centered.
In ways that were exciting and fun.
In ways that felt full of EASE.
In ways where HAPPY = HEALTHY.
Over the years, I've incorporated practices into my life that allow me to truly appreciate my body, feel in tune, aligned, and treat it well.
I want to share this lifestyle with as many people as possible, which is why I do the work I do!
It's about fusing mindfulness into your fitness life, and:
- starting right here, right now, exactly where you are in this very moment,
- heightening your awareness around your daily thought + action patterns so you can make mini adjustments that have large impacts,
- shifting your perspective of "balance" so you're no longer beating yourself up over perfectionism and actually feeling a sense of peace with your body,
- getting on the self KINDNESS wagon, so you actually feel like you LIKE yourself and you enjoy being in your body.
When you follow these steps, which I layout in greater details in my online programs and coaching sessions, you will start to find greater strength, confidence, ease and balance in your body.
If you're ready to do this too, watch this video, and leave me a comment with the ONE thing you're going to do today to get started.
How does this sit with you? Leave me a comment below with the ONE thing you're going to do for body today.
I'd absolutely love to hear from you.
With ALL my love and happy balanced healthiness,
hi, i'm elyse!
I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com
It's FREE and you'll also get to join into our Fit & Flexible community!