Is Instagram Killing Your Confidence?

Let’s be honest first up. I LOVE social media. Instagram and Facebook are my usual modes of choice, but really, I find it interesting and as a business-person I recognise its value as a connector and profile building tool. Used well, people have built businesses and even careers by sharing. Or even more importantly, it’s the only way my parents ever have any idea of what the kids and I are up to. It’s a part of our lives and short of the zombie apocalypse, I can’t see it changing anytime soon.

It’s cool, we like it.

However, I’m seeing and hearing more about how it can also shake or break your self image and personal expectations when it comes to your health, fitness, and wellness goals.

#Nofilter? #Notlikely!

A few fitness professionals are starting to show more honest posts, showing the reality (or at least less of the perfection) – not just the professionally shot images or stage-ready bodies, but so many of the ‘Insta-famous’ majority choose to only show their highlight reels. We’ve all seen the selfies in the mirror of six-pack abs, sculpted shoulders, glutes, and legs.  We appreciate it. We aren’t dumb, we KNOW the work that goes into looking like that. The risk is that when we look at them day after day, the quiet whispers in our thinking can start to feel inadequate because we seem to not be able to measure up. I don’t look as good as XXXX XXXXXX in a bikini – therefore I don’t look good in a bikini etc.

For most of these women and men, it is a full time job. My PT clients don’t pay me to spend hours working on myself; they pay me to help them reach their goals. My work in the community centre and in fashion design don’t care at all what I look like. I’m pretty sure my kids wouldn’t care or notice at all! And more than likely, you do not get paid to be in crazy-amazing physical shape either, so give yourself a break if what you see in the mirror doesn’t resemble the pictures on Instagram or on Facebook fan pages.

So my thought for the day is to breathe, and focus for a moment on the thought that while social media can be a wonderful tool and an amazing source of motivation and inspiration, you are only seeing a small and carefully selected portion of people’s lives.  We all get to choose what we share with others for the most part – and not everyone is keeping it real. Which is absolutely their right.

Don’t be negative about yourself up because you don’t look like someone else.  Newsflash: YOU NEVER WILL.  You are unique; there is no one else in the world exactly like you. Own it, be thankful for that fact, and move on.

Just be you. You are awesome.

Peace,

SV

yourebeautifultoo

Shoulders like Boulders! Come and play in June

 

June – who wants to get sculpted with me? I do know it’s high reps by the end, but it’s a bit of fun 🙂
If you are keen on making it the month for accountability and high-rep strength building, you’ll also find great 30 day challenges for abs and butts on Instagram!

supershouldersmonth

Can I ask you a question?

Yes, you can always ask me a question. Always.

The other day I had a question pop up on Facebook chat. It happens a lot. Mostly from my friends and family asking when I’m going to make time to see them, because I’m a shocker for getting caught up in my work and kids and forget the bigger world. But this day it was a facebook friend that I have’t actually met in the real world. Someone who only knows me from my online exploits both here, on Instagram and the facebook page.

Do you sometimes find it easier to talk to strangers? I do. What follows is a simple chat I had that answers questions I get asked often, so I thought I’d share. I’m not a bitch, I did get permission to post this here too 🙂

Thanks for stopping by this weekend. Feel free to connect with me either here, instagram, facebook or twitter as I’m always happy to help out wherever I can 🙂
SV

 

Friend: Hi Bella hope you are doing well. I have a question for you and hope you can help out. I have an unhealthy relationship with food and would love to just have a freaken healthy relationship with food. I am going to a coach who will help me get the body I want but why is it that every time I go on a new healthy plan I binge eat? Or I want to eat everything because once I start to eat healthy again I am 100% on that plan. Did you had an unhealthy relationship and how did you overcome it?

 

Bella: Yep, I’ve always had a pretty disastrous relationship with food! I’ve swung from starving myself as a teen to being obese, to competing and it’s ALL hard. What has worked for me is not seeing ANYTHING as absolute anymore. I do the best I can each day. As I go to bed I ask myself “What can I do better tomorrow?” and “What went well today?” Sounds lame but even if I’ve had a blow-out binge I can usually see a positive like “I ate really well until 4pm” and it’s enough to stop it being constantly negative the way I find most approaches are!

 

Friend: That sounds like a really good idea. Do you still binge today? Did you find it very hard to be healthy still after your first comp or did you lose control?

Sorry for all these questions

 

Bella: Every now and then. It’s a thing. My ‘binges’ these days aren’t really binges, it’s just things I shouldn’t really eat. But I still work at being positive about my food and mindset. And yes, I found it REALLY hard after competing. Questions are fine – happy to help out. I should blog this conversation as I think LOTS of people would love to ask me!

 

Friend: What or who motivate you after comp to not go back to “old you” binge eat and eat and eat and eat? I am so scared once I reach comp body that after comp I will F it up again. Why do we feel like freaking binge eating? Thanks for answering my questions

 

Bella: I kind of did for a while. It’s about knowing where you are happy within yourself I guess. I don’t need to be as lean as I was on stage to be happy. I eat and train the way I do for ME to be happy. Eating crappy food all the time and feeling flubby isn’t happy for me

 

Friend: That is exactly how I feel! I am sooo much happier with skinnier and healthier me and much more self confidence but o dear do I hate being fat. This is the biggest Ive been and it is a daily struggle. I guess its still a long journey for me but I will get there. Thanks for the chat Bella I really appreciate it.

                

Bella: Any time. It a constantly evolving thing, and that’s okay! We are always changing and growing.

 

Friend: Thanks again for this chat. Not a lot of people understand the binge eating cycle so it was a good chat. I am sure I will still have heaps of questions for you in future. Hopefully one day I can help out people like you are doing now

 

Bella: Of course, happy to help out any time at all. xx

strangers

Well played Universe…Well Played.

I’ve posted a bit on social media of the last few days about coming to terms with the fact that I don’t want to keep fighting my body. I became aware that while I do love competing and pushing my body through a competition preparation in order to be lean enough to get up on stage and REALLY celebrate the work that I put in to my fitness – I want to be gentle to myself too.

What this means is that while I am still preparing to compete during 2014, I’m doing so being more mindful of my health, balance and my happiness. I’ve moved to a way of eating that is more flexible and family friendly (IIFYM) so that I can eat more meals with my family and live like a real person. I’ve moved my supplements to a more wholesome and beneficial range so that I’m not loading myself up with more chemicals than I need. I’m trying to be more chilled out about my expectations of myself really.

It’s nice. I woke up this morning pumped and full of energy, had my breakfast, had my supps, went to the gym to train a PT client and then had a training session with Coach Corey. I felt awesome. Good deadlifts, good back and shoulders – feeling strong, feeling like I’m where I want to be.

It’s nice, this sense of peace and lack of urgency.

Then the doorbell rings.

It’s the Fed-Ex man with a small parcel containing three of the most beautiful stage bikinis ever.

I try them on.

They fit.

If I kicked my own ass they’d look great on stage sometime soon.

But I’d need to kick my own ass to do it in time.

This is me shaking my fist at the Universe. Well played Universe, very well played.

SV

If It Fits my …. What?

I wrote a while ago about finding my food religion. If you’ve forgotten you can see the rambling thought-process here.

About the time of writing that post I started looking into IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). For a really quick run-down of what that means, see below:

What Is It?

IIFYM simply means eating a diet that meets your macronutrient needs.

To break it down and start from the beginning, macronutrients are the three main food groups – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each macronutrient has its own role to play, and is needed in different quantities depending on your goals, metabolism, training history, and many other factors.

IIFYM eating flies in the face of conventional dieting, and the notion that anyone who wants to get in shape has to eat a stringent diet, composed of a limited number of so-called “clean foods,” needs to eat at precise times throughout the day, must have certain types of food pre and post workout, and that any deviation from this strict structure is breaking the rules of dieting.

The idea of IIFYM is simple – you eat whatever foods you like the fill your allotment of proteins, carbs and fats.

AND

That is the basic idea behind IIFYM.
There is more to it but it really is quite simple.
1. Know how many calories your body burns throughout an average day (your TDEE)
2. Eat 15-20% less calories every day than that number
3. Split those calories up between fat, protein and carbs in an ratio that is most beneficial for muscle preservation, fat loss, without a drop in daily energy.

So, the good news is that my life would be less regimented. So less broccoli and chicken six times a day. The bad news is that as soon as you mention IIFYM to anyone who has prepped the ‘old-school’ way, they immediately think of this:

IIFYM

Okay, I’ll be honest. You can do IIFYM and eat crap foods. It’s the truth. And people do.

It’s not what I’m about. I’ve worked my ass off the hard way to lose 50kg and be the healthiest I’ve ever been. While a big part of my new-found health is just through being lighter, I believe a large part is also just that I don’t eat and drink rubbish foods anymore. I don’t enjoy them, most of them don’t agree with my tummy and up until now they haven’t worked with the diet plans that I have been following. So why change now?

For me, IIFYM is about flexibility and diversity in the way that I eat. It’s my goal for 2014 and beyond that I learn to ‘live lean’. For me that means not having such a huge difference between my ‘on-season’ or show body and my ‘off-season’ body. To achieve that either meant following a comp diet year-round which is restrictive and well, boring. OR follow the rabbit hole to the promised land where I can eat a varied diet comprising of all food groups,  cheat/treats when I want them and still maintain a lean body and muscle mass. And that is where I found IIFYM.

I got some initial advice, stalked a lot of interwebz and made myself a plan. I’m pretty sure it’s wrong, but I’ve been following it and my weight has been coming back down and muscle mass is increasing.

BUT, I’ve been lucky enough now to have been accepted as a team member in the IIFYM Challenge and will be undergoing some one-on-one coaching about my macros and targets to get myself back to that lean and happy place that comp prep got me to but that I couldn’t maintain. The challenge starts off properly in a few days and I’m excited as all get-out to learn more and see how this works for me.

IIFYM Challenge participant

You can find out more about the Challenge, register for future intakes and say thanks to the gorgeous sponsors of the free program HERE.

Until then…

IIFYM Cookies

Talk soon,

SV

Accountability is a Bitch…. But I like her anyway

SO…

I’m home from my epic journey away. It was awesome. There were wedding gowns, tuk-tuks, zoo animals, cocktails, shouting Indian tailors, skimpy swim-wear and monkey backpack that made people cry. No, I wasn’t stuck in a Baz Luhrman movie – it was just a family holiday to Thailand. It was very cool.

BUT…

now I am home. And as always, looking for new goals and adventures.

Adventure One – I am a qualified personal trainer now!! With clients and everything. I’m really excited to be working with people and sharing the epic awesomeness that it is to do something amazing for your own health and fitness.

AND…

Adventure Two – I’m ready to move my own fitness up to the next level. I love being healthy. I love being fit. I like being a healthy weight on the lower end of the BMI scale for my height. But what I really want next is to look FIT. Like, ‘proper fit’. I realise that I sound like a twit trying to explain it and I apologise. I guess I just want to test the boundaries again of what I can achieve.

BECAUSE…

there is a bodybuilding competition in September this year (about 15 weeks away). I’m playing the uncommitted card. I will train my ass off for it and assess if I am ready to compete closer to the date. I want it, but I want to do it well more. If that means I bail and the last moment this year but commit to competing next year I’ll be ready. But the ‘end date’ for my latest challenge will remain show day regardless.

THEREFORE…

I want to show you where I am starting. This is fresh from a holiday where I both ate at a buffet and swam like a kid twice a day. According to my trusty scales, I’ve come home exactly the same weight as I left. Muscle definition is down though so there is a bit of catching up to do. I am carrying an injury so can’t hit upper weights too hard just yet but will train legs as hard as I can and keep up my cardio. Nutrition is wired tight to bring my body weight down a little and make sure I am getting enough protein and goodies to fuel the machine that I am.

Comp prep sepia 300513

ARGH, SHIELD YOUR EYES!

Okay, so it’s certainly not a cover model body yet but I’m excited at the idea of being accountable to all of my invisible interwebz friends (and my mum, I know she reads this!) about how I go each week.

So stay tuned, or flip the channel, but know that I have a bucketful of adventure for the next few months 🙂

Cheers,

Sailor Vee

“I just want to get toned.”

From the gurus at http://www.bodybuilding.com…

For some reason, women, their trainers, and advertisers have kidnapped the word “toned” and turned it into the ultimate lady goal. It seems that being muscular is not a goal women should aspire to. Here’s the real deal: You can’t see shape without muscles. You can run on the treadmill or swoosh away on the elliptical all day. Sure, you might get thinner, but without some meat on your delts, triceps, and biceps, you’ll never see those awesome shoulder caps.

Ladies, “I want more muscle,” is an absolutely legitimate goal to tell your trainer or your friends.

On a scientific note, “tone” actually has meaning on a physiological level. Your muscles maintain a low-level contraction, even when you’re at rest. That’s why your muscles are always at least a little firm. This is called “muscle tone,” or “residual muscle tension.” It helps keep you upright, and maintain balance and posture. In this light, there’s really no way to “tone up” your muscles—they’re already toned.