Working in the fitness industry is a very tough but rewarding career.
Having previously been a personal trainer, I saw how distorted the mind can become when there is too much emphasis on the aesthetical changes that are being pursued rather than looking towards the self aswell. It lead me taking a totally different path that hopes to encourage others to learn to accept and embrace their authenticity, their unique qualities and above all believe in themselves.
Vicki Mellard is a women’s personal trainer based in Manchester who also runs her own blog and social media platforms to reach out to even more women to fullfil her misson to help all women to feel fantastic in their own bodies.
It was a joy to invite Vicki on board to this project as I have known her for many years now. We have both watch each other grow into stronger people who are finding more confidence in being our authentic selves, which has been lovely to see.
Could you please start off by giving a brief description of your journey to this moment in time and what has led you to create your blog/social media platforms
My journey started when I was 18 / 19 years old on a gap year doing a combination of waitressing, dancing, teaching dance and gym which meant lots of activity barely any rest. This resulting in a loss of weight through minimal eating – unintentional at first but soon developed into an eating disorder. Over the next few years, learned I developed body dysmorphia and a binge eating disorder even when I thought I was recovering. I did gain weight and look healthier but by I was no means there and it was through deciding to follow the fitness teacher route that I began to learn. As I learned and developed so did my mindset. This made me want to help others to not become like I did, to gain a healthy relationship with their body, food and exercise. My blog and social media platforms are an extension of me and my values and I want to help as many people as I can through them.
What are your thoughts on how the fitness industry is dealing with body confidence and self-esteem?
I don’t think it does but I think there are a handful of us trying to change that. The diet culture is massive and no matter what people say being slim and ‘toned’ seems to be what is considered desirable by media which in turn means the public.
However, the body positive movement is also massive which is incredible and it is starting to drip into the fitness industry. What is needed now is a balance of the two so we focus on health and fitness, not looks.
How do you see the future progress of tackling such issues?
I hope we get it, I hope that people begin to see and help teach this message. But unfortunately, unless we educate the public there will always be this need for quick fixes and miracle cures. The world is so fast paced no one likes to take their time anymore.
What impact has the media had on your clients?
It depends because some don’t really pay attention and others do. I think negative impact is your usual from magazines, TV and social media making them feel like they need to work towards something or be something different as that is what is shown. It can make them feel down about themselves. Positive impacts are when they follow people aligned with their values and inspire them.
Have you had any negative/positive experiences yourself? How did you handle them?
When I was in my disorder media was toxic to me, I wanted to look like the models I saw, I needed to be their size and shape. And I didn’t handle it very well instead it drove me on. Now however I try to keep that down by not following certain people or pages. When I am triggered by something I have to take myself away from the situation and realise I am more than that, I don’t need to look like that person or be as successful as them or do what they do as I’m not them I am me. Positive situations are happening more and more now I am loving it ! Some people don’t get it and are just jumping on a bandwagon but the bopo movement or more the body acceptance one is incredible so I just make sure thats what I am following and reading about. Not the kardashians …
What needs to happen for better relationships with our bodies and minds?
A change, a massive change in the media, in what we are shown, in what we learn as children. Talks about body positivity and understanding your body need to happen early on in schools. Diet products need to go and we need to educate the population on how to nourish and feed our bodies, a basic knowledge of how the body works.
More of a focus on health rather than looks and size. You can be healthy at any size but you can also be unhealthy, and that’s my main thing I don’t care what size you are but you need to healthy, looking after your body and working on your mindset.
Finally, share any advice you would like to have been able to give to your younger self about self-love?
STOP valuing yourself based on a number, you are worth more than what you weigh or what your dress size is. You are incredible as is your body so please learn to love it and look after it because in 10 years time you are going to look back and wish you had. Don’t stop living your life because you think you need to look better in order to do so. Take care of your body, your mind and yourself.
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