Between the pressure to do Zoom workouts and fears of the quarantine 15, embracing how stay-at-home guidelines might be changing our bodies is the extra stress no one needs right now. Georgina Cox, a UK-based personal trainer, wants to dial back that stress, one “real” Instagram photo at a time.
“In quarantine, our phones are now one of our main environments,” Cox, 29, tells Health. “You open up Instagram and see ‘perfect-looking’ women, live workouts on top of that, plus posts ‘motivating’ you and saying there are no excuses to not work out. There's a lot of pressure.” Cox wants to use her platform to not only support her clients but also encourage the idea that health and looks are not correlated—and cellulite, rolls, and other changes are nothing to feel bad about.
Right now, it makes sense that women are more focused on their bodies. “When we don't have control in other areas of our lives, our bodies and our food intake become something that we can control,” Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CSCS, a New York-based body positive nutrition therapist, tells Health. “Think of what else you can do to help you cope instead of pushing away these fears of your body changing. Sit with your fears to see where they're coming from and what else might be going on.”
Cox’s own battle to find body positivity brought her to personal training. “I used to weigh a lot more than I do now, 210 pounds, and I wanted to be tiny. I equated thinness with not only health, but happiness,” Cox says. “So I overexercised, underate, and got down to 112 pounds, but I wasn't happy. I didn't have the confidence that I thought would come from changing on the outside.”
Instead, Cox decided to seek happiness in strength rather than just her physical appearance. Now, as a trainer, she never asks her clients to weigh themselves or take any other body measurements; she wants them to gauge their results in terms of their own personal happiness. “I don't want to measure in any other way than how they feel,” Cox says. “Your ideal body will always be the body that you're healthiest, happiest, and strongest in, regardless of how it looks, what you wear, or what your clothing size is.”
During quarantine, Cox turned to Instagram to spread the body positive language she normally uses in person with her clients. “Obviously we all deal with insecurities, and I tell my clients that I'm insecure too,” Cox says. “When they worry about cellulite, I show them mine. Stretch marks? Same. You can have these things and still be confident.”
She hopes that sharing images of body parts that normally evoke insecurity can inspire others to see their beauty beyond their size. “You could be at your heaviest weight or your lowest and still accept your body in a gentle way, and be on the road to a healthier you.”
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