Emma has been a personal trainer since 2002. She's watched exercise trends come and go, researched health and fitness for more hours than she can ever add up, and loves working with the human body more every day.
fluid, functional, flexible
but I did it anyway.
I’ve made mistakes before. Minor, gigantic, life altering. But never one I could call positive. Until this one.
I injured myself. How isn’t important, but the result was five weeks in a moonboot. I was angry, I didn’t deserve it. So many thoughts along those lines – until I got bored, and figured five weeks of this would drive me insane. I needed to get my shit together.
It was a slow start. When people at work noticed and were sympathetic, instead of revelling in the attention, I chose to put a positive spin on it – and It felt good At first I was probably faking, but it didn’t take long for my attitude to get legit.
You can learn a lot over five weeks. The boot was a crash course in self improvement, and I’m a better person because of the time I spent wearing it. I was suddenly able to see patterns of behaviour I’d fallen into and either not noticed, or chosen to ignore.
Life as a personal trainer can be hectic, especially if the personal trainer in question is disorganised. I chose to see my disorganisation as busyness, which meant I didn’t need to do anything about it. Among the chaos, I spent a lot of time talking to people about eating, the psychology behind eating, and things to change about eating – but I couldn’t recognise my own issues.
Every morning at around 9, I’d buy coffee across the road. I drank way too much coffee, but that’s another story. One morning a tray of muffins appeared while I was waiting for my long black. They were fresh from the oven and smelled incredible. They were raspberry and coconut, I was hungry. You know how the story goes.
I told myself I’d only buy one when it was a flavour I really liked. Heads up – there are no muffin flavours I didn’t really like. I’d get anxious if the muffins were sold out and had all the hallmarks of an addict. I didn’t realise until one Saturday when I’had a long conversation about the muffins with one of my workmates. I definitely had a problem. I also knew part of the problem was constant hunger, fuelling myself with sugar and caffeine, and being a total hypocrite. And that was my last muffin. It was goji berry and coconut. They’re superfoods right?
The next day I bought groceries and cooked a bunch of things to take to work. I changed my breakfast to something more sustaining, and noticed I felt better almost immediately. I ate more vegetables that week than in the entire month before. After a week, I could’ve been in a room full of muffins and not even flinched.
About three weeks after giving up my addiction, I had a clear realisation. My dysfunctional eating was a weird brand of self sabotage. I’d lament being overweight and eat unsuitable food almost in the same moment. I’d compare myself to other women, and when I didn’t measure up I’d eat.
I had a thing for food in a box, but never salad, even though I’m sure it comes in a box. The more messed up I got, the less able I was to shop for food or cook. I’d wander supermarket aisles like someone in a dream and leave with a huge bag of chips or three packets of tim tams that time they were on sale. On the way home, I’d buy a box of food.
Some part of me knew what I was doing, but wasn’t strong or smart enough to change things. One of my clients came back from holiday and noticed I’d gained weight. It wasn’t the hugest amount, but someone who feels awesome at 68kgs will really notice the difference another ten kilos makes. None of my clothes fit, but I kept eating. Thinking about it now with some objectivity, I’m certain it’s related to the recent end of a long relationship. That layer of fat was like some kind of safety zone to make sure no one could get close to me.
Before I made it to objectivity, the part I hated most was being a professional who couldn’t take her own advice. I was as good at messing myself up as I was at helping other people, and because being right was important to me, I couldn’t look at myself and see things needed to change. I was an expert. I was perfect.
Apparently we teach what we most need to learn, and everything I was telling the people I work with was advice I desperately needed. I’ve been known to say I need an Emma Honey for myself, ignoring the fact I have exactly that – I just chose not to listen to her.
So I’ve been bootless for over a week now. Part of me almost misses it, but my hips are pretty stoked I don’t need to walk like a drunk pirate anymore. Today I trained properly for the first time in eight weeks. I was sensible, and kind to myself. It was so much fun to feel capable again, and it turns out eating properly really fuels a workout. Who’d’ve thought?
It’s scary to look with an objective eye at the things you do No one likes to think they need to change, but change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You might end up being an even more fabulous version of yourself.- a happier version who can make the world a better place. For someone who makes a living helping people change, I’ve definitely been guilty of avoiding change in my own life, but I’ve realised you can go along with it, or you can try and fight it, but either way, you won’t stop it.
Use it to your advantage. I promise it feels really really good.