I became very aware of my health after I struggled with an eating disorder as a teenager. I then chose a career as an actress, where my physical appearance was extremely important to the work I booked. Instead of obsessing over being skinny, I decided to focus on my health and well being. I became a vegetarian at 17, and have been “almost vegan” for the past two years. I work out regularly to strengthen, tone, and stay fit, and I make it a point to never say, “I’m fat.” I think women use that word way too loosely. If you keep telling yourself you are fat, then of course you are going to start believing you are, too. Growing up, my mom made a point of not making a big deal about her diet or weight. If she was dieting, we didn’t know about it, and she never said she was fat. We ate a variety of natural healthy foods on a daily basis and were given treats and sweets only on special occasions. We were taught that exercise’s main purpose is to retain a strong body, not burn calories, and that it’s important to fuel your body with healthy foods. Thanks to my Mom, this set me up for choosing a healthy attitude for living a healthy lifestyle.
I always knew I wanted to teach some form of physical fitness, but it wasn’t until I was touring the country in the Broadway National Tour of WICKED when I realized Pilates was it. I worked 6 days/8 shows a week for almost a year. Our schedule was so physically demanding that in order to stay healthy, you had to take extra care of your body. That meant eating healthy and regularly, light exercise, and lots of sleep! One of my other cast members was a pilates instructor, and she taught me several times a week in a hotel gym, hallway, or even our dressing room. Before I knew it, I was hooked. As soon as I returned home, I signed up for a training program in LA, and here I am a year and a half later with a variety of clients, including stay at home moms, lawyers, teenagers, yoga instructors, and celebrities. I get so much out of each and every client, and they teach me how to be a better teacher every day.
Something else I have learned is that we women are so hard on ourselves! We critique every inch of our bodies and compare ourselves to others, which is a big no no, but I know it can be hard not to do. So what can you do to change this behavior? Start with yourself. Instead of saying something negative about your body, try saying something positive about it every day. Start eating better, drink more water, get more sleep, and most importantly, surround yourself with people who are supportive and positive.
I am currently almost 15 weeks pregnant, and although I am not showing yet, my body feels well … I am just going to say it: “fat.” So, I am not perfect either, and no matter how many sweet and adoring compliments my husband gives me, I still feel that way. So I have to remind myself everyday how healthy I am and how healthy this baby is growing inside of me.
More from Alli McGinnis of Inside Out Beautiful on Babble Beauty this month!