I met Bridget through Instagram (duh) and have come to consider her a friend. She continually inspires me with her outlook on life. She is fun-loving, kind and down to earth. If you struggle with balance? Follow this girl. She gets it. Our fitness journeys are really similar, so I feel very connected to her, but different enough that I think many of you will benefit from hearing what she has to say... enjoy!
What is your name and How old are you? Bridget, 24
How long have you been on Instagram? I began my fitness Instagram in January of 2014. I remember being home for Christmas and talking about my new year's resolution with my mom. Every year I would have the same goal to"lose weight", and I decided that this would truly be my year. I decided to make the Instagram to hold myself accountable. (If I could go back in time, I would have changed my goal to being healthy and strong!)
What is your go-to healthy meal? What about your go-to cocktail? I'm a huge breakfast person! I will seriously eat breakfast foods no matter the time of the day. Something I usually make would be egg whites topped with feta cheese, Simply Potatoes hash browns, bell peppers and onions, and Lightlife Veggie bacon strips with side of reduced sugar ketchup! Go-to cocktail? 98% champagne with 2% OJ!
What would you say sparked your interest in the community? Nothing seemed to work in terms of me reaching any type of fitness goal. At first I just wanted to lose weight. This was something I would dream about, wish for, cry over all the time, yet I never had a plan to execute it. I remember thinking, nothing will change if I change nothing. My fitness account was a platform I could post "proof" of what I was eating and what I was doing to be active. Then I began making connections with women all over the world with the same struggles and aspirations, and they kept me motivated and inspired me. I never knew that making an fitness account would change my life, but it did.
What is your best advice for someone who is struggling with comparison and negative self-talk?Our parents/guardians didn't grow up with social media. They could avoid beauty magazines easily. Us? We have these platforms at our fingertips to not only use to help us, but to unfortunately tear us down. I sometimes can't help scrolling through my IG feed and comparing myself to these beautiful women, or being worried of my boyfriend doing the same thing. My best advice? Someone else's beauty does not take away from yours. You are seeing highlight reels of people's lives. We're all human, we all have "flaws", we all have things we don't like about ourselves that other's admire. I use to feel competitive towards other females, but now I realize we all need each other to feel loved, to feel empowered, to feel HAPPY. I want every single person on this Earth to find true self love. That would have a direct positive impact on any relationship they have with others. As for the negative self-talk, it might be cliche, but if you wouldn't say it to your best friend you shouldn't be saying it to yourself. Instead of pointing out what you don't like about yourself, decide goals you want to achieve that will help you love yourself more (mentally and physically).
What does being 'body positive' mean to you? How do you practice that? This is so important! I've been unhealthily heavy, I've been unhealthily underweight, and I am where I am at now. I will tell you this, at every stage I had something that was bothering me, something I wanted to "fix". I still struggle with this, but I am at a much better place now. Body positive used to mean that I would look in the mirror and be in love with the way I look. Now, body positive means loving my body for all that it does for me. I went from not being able to jog for a straight minute to being able to run 5k's for fun, from not being able to do a single push up to being able to do burpees. I can now hike without being exhausted, paddleboard without losing balance, climb over a fence when I'm running from the police... just kidding. But seriously, our bodies are amazing and do so much for us. I finally began to feel guilt. Not for having cellulite and stretch marks, for having belly rolls, or for having a little chub by my arms when I wear a push up bra (AKA for being a human)-- I felt guilty for being so harsh and mean to a body that has done nothing but carry me through my best and worst days. I decided loving my body doesn't mean just loving the way it looked, but fueling it with foods that will make it healthy. I practice this every day by finding balance. For redefining what the word "flaw" is that society has driven into my brain since I was a little girl. I think I am beautiful, and I don't think that is wrong. I would love for every man and woman to feel that way.
What has been the biggest breakthrough for you personally in your health journey or what would you most want someone to understand about your story? The importance of self respect and self love. I've always been told, "You must love yourself first before being able to love anyone else" and I just never actually understood it (I thought I had). Because I didn't respect or love myself the amount that we all should, I found myself dependent on being in a relationship so that I didn't feel "alone" and dependent of feeling accepted by my peers, whether they were kind, genuine people or not. I ended up in a horrible relationship with a boy that did not respect me. He looked down on my friends, isolated me, tore down my self esteem, controlled what I did, what I wore, and who I would hang out with. The worst part of it all was I lost myself. I didn't recognize who I saw in the mirror. I faked happiness when I would see people, I would cry every single day, and I put up with someone who belittled me and called it love. I cannot put into words what fitness has done for me. When I began to work out and eat healthier for ME, I began to create a healthy relationship with myself. It sometimes brings me to tears thinking back on who I use to be. I wish I could hug her and let her know it's going to be okay. Then one day, I began to see results and I couldn't believe it. I remember sharing my excitement, but this person I was in a relationship with told me to delete my account, that I just wanted attention, and asked me if I was trying to be more attractive for other people. That was the moment it clicked. I realized that I am starting to care for my body, to make it healthier, and yet I am doing nothing for my mind. I am putting up with a dark shadow that is trying to stop me from being the best version of myself. That was the day I decided to never talk to him again. That was the day I found out how tough I truly was. That was the day I found out what self love and respect really meant. That was the day that changed my life forever. I now have an amazing relationship with my parents, have the most supporting, caring friends, and found the love of my life who reminds me how proud he is of my everyday.
If you find yourself in a relationship, whether it be a friendship or romantic, that brings nothing but negativity, that doesn't support you being a kinder, healthier version of yourself, that talks down on you, or makes you lose a sense of who you are- please get help. I promise you that you have control over this, that there are people willing to help you, that you can have the life you've always wanted and that you deserve. And if you do feel alone, you can always reach out to me. Life is too short to be miserable every single day. You deserve happiness!