Maybe it’s the wisdom of walking around on this earth for 33 years, but what I do know for sure is that if it’s not in my heart, I don’t even start. Passion is everything to me both personally and professionally, so when I had a chance to share my life’s mantra with the digital collection of confident, driven women She Knows Now, I was all over it.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the launch of this RAD she-power platform and was so inspired by Tiffany Hardin’s (She Knows Now founder) passion and commitment to creating positive images of successful women in the media. As the founder of a strategic consulting firm, Gild Creative Group (GCG), Hardin understands how impactful media’s images can be in developing our own personal image of ourselves. So to shift the focus from selfies, fashion and food–all which flood our Instagram feeds and profiles–Hardin felt it was appropriate to show an alternative image: the image of the confident women sharing insight on what she knows for sure. We love it.
So while my fun and sweaty journey has been a long challenging (yet inspiring) experience,I do have a secret sauce formula on how I stay RAD. I have to recommit to it on a daily basis and it still blows my mind that I was able to go from a spunky little soccer chick as a child, to a popular, yet insecure cheerleader in high school, to a curvy and not so sweaty student in college and reclaimed it all by kicking a 14-year-long eating disorder to the curb in my late twenties and now this, the RADdest experience of all–owning a fitness and wellness movement.
Looking back inspires me to look forward with confidence that the best is still yet to come, so while I haven’t always known why, how or what life meant to me I for sure know today that this RAD sweaty life only works when I remember these five things. May this help you along your healthy and sweaty journey too beauties.
1. Confidence Can’t Be Faked
I’ve tried it many times and each time I failed. People can read into your insecurities quicker than you can fabricate some false sense of confidence ladies. That smize you gave your coworker when she gets promoted before you might of felt great, but trust me, all she read was hate. That designer dress you snagged online at a thrift store price fits you like a glove, but with your head bowed and shoulders rounded forward all it’s glory is instantly blocked. You know this story right? It wasn’t until I really worked on being confident and stopped faking it that I realized genuine connections and experiences start with me. Not the other way around.
2. Mental Strength Is Key
And how did I make this shift from fake confidence to the real deal? It started in my mind then eventually flowed through my heart and actions. I started to feed my soul the things that nourished it. I started to own my thoughts, even if they didn’t make sense to others. I started to be as kind to myself as I was to others. It wasn’t easy to break a cycle of negativity, but the key words are: I started. And mini triumphs became monumental victories that over time became constant reminders of my second favorite life mantra: “You have therefore you can, you can therefore you will…overcome.”
3. Numbers Don’t Matter
Many things in life are a numbers game, but I had to learn the hard way that numbers and health were a lethal combination for me. As I mentioned earlier, battling and gaining victory over a 14 year long eating disorder has hands down been one of my greatest triumphs. So today, people constantly ask me how I overcame such a destructive mental illness. Well the answer is simply this: I stop counting everything. Calories, weeks it would take to lose 10 lbs, what size I wore, how much I weighed, how many minutes I worked out etc. Once I stopped seeing being healthy as some master mind mathematician formula as a opposed to a series of feelings and experiences, I was finally able to break up with ED (eating disorder) for good.
4. Diets Don’t Work
Once I stopped playing games with food, food stopped playing games with me. Cravings would kick in and I would stop and think, “Do I really want this sweet treat or will the sweetness of catching up with an old friend suffice.” My emotions and my tastebuds got divorced and I started marrying my appetite and diet to function – not boredom, sadness, stress etc. This was nowhere close to easy, however the more mindful I was the healthier and stronger (mind, body and spirit) I became. I started to get really creative with food and the idea of ever eating in a restrictive boring way become extinct. Now I eat exciting and flavorful foods that make me feel good (not just look good).
5. Sweating Is Not A Punishment
Disclaimer: I love to sweat. Always have, always will. Growing up an athlete showed me that fitness should be fun. However, the older I got and the more competitive of an athlete I became, the eating disorder came back and fitness became a chore, or a punishment rather. I would exercise for outlandish amounts of time, push through injuries, chose working out over hanging out or having a life almost all the time and only sweat as a way to look good. Missing a workout would begin the cycle of this never ending self hate conversation and before I knew it I was one insecure FitGirl.
What happened to the little girl that would run to soccer practice? How did I become this exercising maniac? The fun was lost, that’s how. So I stopped thinking of fitness in traditional terms and started sweating in ways that made me happy. If it wasn’t fun to me or I didn’t feel like doing it, I didn’t. Miles on end turned into crazy dance parties in my living room and 100 crunches a night turned into morning hip hop ab sessions doing The Grind workout videos (hey throwback). Bottom line, I made fitness fun and forgot the rest.
You can do the same, now that you know.
Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!