Hometown: London, UK
Q: Describe your body metamorphosis. How have you grown to love your body more now as compared to before?
A: I’ve pretty much been skinny all my life. Some people would say that I was lucky to have a slim figure because it was the “ideal” body type. While I would receive some compliments here and there, looking back, I definitely had body image issues. On one hand, I had people saying “you could be a model.” On the other hand, people thought I was too skinny and would encourage me to eat more. I was in middle school when my body images issues really began to develop. Not only was I skinny, but I wasn’t “maturing” as fast as other girls. I started to secretly hate what I’d see when I looked in a mirror.
Then one day, I stared at my reflection and had a life changing conversation with myself. I asked myself, “What are you doing? Why do you care so much about what other people say or think?” As much as it sounds like I took this all from a feel-good, cliche-filled movie, that really was the moment my life changed. I stopped listening to what others were saying and started thinking and feeling for myself. That was almost a decade ago. Here I am at 20 and I love what I see when I look at myself. I’m not perfect, but then again, who has the correct definition for perfection?
Just like when I was younger, people are still either telling me that I have the perfect figure or that I should eat a little more to put on more weight. On top of that, a couple months ago, I began my fitness journey which now includes a lot of weight-lifting. Some question why I want to gain muscle mass while others congratulate and compliment my progress. Everyone has an opinion! The difference now is that I don’t laugh when people say things and try to hide a feeling of self-consciousness or self-hate. I just…laugh. Haha! Why? People will always have a compliment, a critique, an opinion on the choices I make. At the end of the day, though, this is MY body and I have to live in it. All that matters is what I’m thinking and feeling.
Q: What are your favorite ways to stay healthy?
A: I LOVE FOOD! Since beginning my fitness journey, food has played one of the most important roles. Although, in the past, I wasn’t what you would call a fast food junkie, I didn’t pay that much attention to what I was putting in my body. Fried foods, sugar, and salt were ever present in my daily diet. Thanks to my high metabolism, I’ve managed to never go above 120 lbs. However, health goes far beyond one’s physical appearance. Now that I’m a “clean” eater, I not only look, but FEEL my best. I eat lots of protein, fruits and vegetables and am working on increasing my water intake. I love eating and have been incorporating a lot of new, clean recipes in my diet. It’s definitely my favorite way to stay healthy.
I also have grown to love weight-lifting. When I first started to work out, I did a lot of cardio. The pounds started melting off, but I wasn’t building much muscle. Now that I’m weight-lifting, I see much more muscle growth and I’m loving every second of it! I love pushing myself and seeing the physical progress I’m making. It’s amazing to see what the human body is capable of doing with a little motivation and some heavy weights!
A: I used to be one of those people who always said, “I should start working out” or “I need to go to the gym.” A couple of months ago, I created an Instagram account. I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon fitness pages, but before long, I was hooked! (Some of Grace’s favorite Instagram pages are @ashleyfreeman, @sammybfit & @kee_ma_la_shmexy) I saw all these women documenting their fitness journeys through pictures and videos. Their transformations are amazing. While some are professional figure or bikini competitors, most of those I follow on Instagram are regular people just like me. I’ve always wanted to put on a little weight, build muscle, and whip my diet into shape. I just continued to tell myself, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Enough was enough! After seeing the progress other women were making, I decided it was time to put my words into action.
I started going to the gym regularly and slowly making changes to my diet. Fast forward a couple months and i’m looking more lean, seeing some muscle growth, and feeling my absolute best. Things aren’t perfect, though. I have lazy days when I don’t work out and “cheat” meals where I indulge in foods that no longer have a regular place in my diet. That doesn’t get me down. Once skipped workout or one cheat meal won’t make me unhealthy just like one workout or healthy meal won’t make me healthy. After all, life is about balance right?
More importantly, after beginning my fitness/health journey, what motivated me to KEEP this lifestyle are the changes I see and feel. My body surprises me every time I go to the gym and lift weights. Physically, I’m gaining muscle mass little by little and am moving steadily towards my targeted physique. Mentally and emotionally, I’m a happier person. My confidence level has boosted and I am enjoying life in ways I’d never imagined. It’s true what they say: be good to your body and it will be good to you.
A: First and foremost, SET REALISTIC GOALS! Whether you want to change your diet, drop a few pounds, or build muscle, don’t set goals that require overnight miracles. These are LIFESTYLE changes and there isn’t a magic pill or one day miracle that will get you immediate results. Start off small and make little changes. Also, give yourself the credit you deserve! Don’t be hard on yourself because you dropped 2 lbs instead of 20. Don’t start calling yourself a failure because you indulged in the Brownie Obsession dessert at TGI Friday’s (oh my goodness…it’s so delicious!). You’re still down 2 pounds and you definitely deserve to treat yourself to some chocolatey goodness here and there. Always remember that SMALL PROGRESS IS STILL PROGRESS!
Secondly, don’t compare yourself to others. People make different choices. Everyone’s health journey will differ. When you look at yourself, don’t focus so much on where you want to end up. Continually remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Set goals, stay focused and keep going!
Last but not least, remember that being healthy isn’t a destination, but a lifestyle. Take it day by day. Don’t get so wrapped up in things that you forget to enjoy life. you’ve only got one life to live so make it worthwhile!
Want to see more of Grace?
Check out her instagram page @gymspired_grace!