A Trainer's Fitness Story
Hi readers! In case you don’t already know me, I’m Lorena Flores. I’m a brand new trainer here at Arena Fitness Northridge. I figured I’d write in this week's blog because many of you guys knew me as a client before and wonder how I got to be a trainer here. Well, truth is, I have no idea why I was offered this job. You can ask Jonathan. But I guess I could tell you about my fitness path (it’s been a long one) and help someone that’s been through the same kind of thing understand how I got here.
Before I moved to LA, I lived in this little bitty town in Texas. I was an athlete since I could remember. I played softball, volleyball, track, and cheerleading (yes, it’s a sport) since I was a kid. So sports and fitness have always been present. You would think I had to be a very well-nourished girl in order to do all of these sports, and for the most part, I was. My childhood was fairly normal until my dad got really sick and died when I was 12. Needless to say, after 12, my life changed. I was sad all the time. I would cry myself to sleep to the point of throwing up almost every night for a really long time. Six years later,my best friend died in a car accident when I was 18 and I didn’t deal with it very differently. Without knowing it at the time, I guess I developed an eating pattern that wasn’t very healthy. I don’t want to make this post about an eating disorder, because although it’s considered to be a very serious problem, I think the more serious, long-term problems started after I stopped.
Once I was in college I felt like I was dealing with a whole other issue. Forget the tragedy in my life. All I thought about was my weight. Calories, working out, how much I weighed, was ALL that consumed my mind. Seriously, ALL. It didn’t occur to me that my body was just making up for all the time I had starved it. My only concern was, "Why am I gaining so much weight, so fast?" So I did everything I could to prevent that from happening without regressing into my old habits. I was completely obsessed. Before my problems were emotional, but now I had gotten to a place where my problems were cerebral. Dysmorphia kicked me in the butt…hard!
So let's fast forward to where I am now. I’m an aspiring actor in LA (weird, I know?) and when I first moved here, one of the first things out of my manager and agent's mouth wa, "You need to lose 20lbs.' What a warm welcome, right? Of course, I went crazy trying to lose all the weight I could, and once I did, I went back to them and it still wasn’t good enough. My hips were still too wide and my butt was still too big (c’mon,I’m Mexican, what do you want from me?) Mind you, I was a size 4. A SIZE 4! Ugh. Anyway, on with my story…because these ‘industry professionals’ tied my weight to my success as an actor, I got sad again. Really sad. And when I first moved here I rented a room in North Hollywood, so I was alone a lot, isolated, with all these awful thoughts about myself being less of a person because I didn’t weigh 115lbs. It wasn’t until one day (very recent) when I was listening to an interview with Cybill Shepard, that a light switched in my head. She said something like, ”If you hate the way you look at 25, you’re going to want to kill yourself at 50.”
That literally changed my life.
Screw caring about my weight or my size. I was more concerned about living with that mean voice inside my head for the next 30 years that hated everything about me. It made me so sad to think that I would be counting calories and waiting for that one diet that would change my life for the next 30 years. I was tired. It takes a lot of work to be so mean to yourself everyday. It effects your spirit, your soul,y our energy, and most of all, your body. Growing up in Texas is rough. All my friends back home still make me feel like I should be the best at everything, including how I look. Well, I just want to be the best at being me..and I was NEVER living like that, until now .
I realized that a lot of self work had to take place in order for this new part of my brain to take over so, I started simple. All day long I would listen to my censor and see how many times I told myself something negative throughout the day. Your censor is that voice that when you look in the mirror goes, ’you’re disgusting’, ‘look at those love handles’, ‘get a boob job already’. We all have it. Well, let me tell you, this censor of mine was loud and it was mean. I never realized how mean I was to myself until I was more conscious of it. It made total sense that I was so obsessed with working out 5 hours a day and barely eating. I couldn’t be in silence with my own thoughts -they were cruel! So now that I was aware of this censor and how much it controlled everything I did, I had to reverse the words that it was saying. Because truth is, it’ll always be there, but it doesn’t have to be so mean. Every time it would blurt out something mean I would say "STOP!" I didn’t say something positive to replace it. I didn’t disillusion myself into thinking I was Jennifer Lopez or anything. I just said "STOP." And slowly, I started noticing that I was more still. My head wasn’t full of noise that was mostly BS about what I should look like or what I used to look like. I started doing things because I wanted to again. And I started eating things because I wanted to . Not because it was helping or hindering my weight loss. And to tell you the truth, I gained weight in doing so. But I was ok with that. It was more important for me to be good to myself and learn how to handle this new way of thinking before I could ever get back to a fitness plan again.
I learned to ask myself if I was being good or bad to myself every day with every choice, and every thought. Now, by being bad or good I don’t mean if you’re having pizza, "you’re being bad". Or, if you’re having a salad that’s "being good". It’s all about intention. Why are you binging on pizza? What will you feel like afterwards? Awful, most times right? Then why do it? Why are you eating vegetables? To look good? Or because your body deserves to be treated right? If you consciously make a choice to treat yourself better, you’ll make better eating choices without even thinking about it. And if one day, you do want pizza, you can have it knowing you’re not eating it because you’re on some junk train that you can’t get off of.
I’m all about everyone having what they want. It’s why we’re alive. We’re meant to have bountiful and fulfilled lives. Some people think it has to be about crazy sacrifice and 3 hours of burpees, but that’s just not true. It’s all very simple. If you know that eating ice cream will make you feel remorse afterwards, DON’T DO IT. If you know that eating almonds instead would make you feel proud and happy, DO IT. You wouldn’t be with someone that broke your heart everyday, right? It’s the same thing with the way you treat your body and your mind. Don’t cheat on it! You’re worth feeding yourself good, real,f ood. You’re worth 45 minutes of training a day. And when you’re training, be present. Forget your work, your phone, your kids..this is YOUR time. You DESERVE to be there. Be good to yourself in your mind, in your heart, and your body will follow.
I still go through these questions every day. I ask myself ALL THE TIME if I know what my intentions are. Sometimes my intentions are good,sometimes they are bad, sometimes I’m tired and I don’t care what they are. All I would want anyone to get from this blog is that a lot of work went on inside before I could ever see any results on the outside. I walked into Arena because I had too much going on in my head and had no extra energy to train myself on top of everything. So I let them work on my exterior, and I worked on interior. Pay attention to how you treat yourself every day. Treat yourself kindly, and with love. Take your time. It’s going to be hard, but learn the joys of the process, and realize that there is never a time where you’re going to stop working on yourself, so decide how you want to spend your time in your mind and in your body.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story.