This months interview is with Jessica Trowbridge, one of our lovely See Change Trainers.
I have known Jess since I was 12 years old, so I know pretty much everything about her. Basically she’s awesome, and I’m excited for you to get to know her better too!
Jess talks about some tough issues surrounding self acceptance and health, and I think she’s incredibly brave to put herself out there.
Thank you Jess for being so open and honest.
1. Why is health and fitness important to you?
I’ve been active for a lot of my life. Dance, cycling, running, swimming etc etc. Apart from the obvious physical health benefits, I get a great deal of mental and emotional health benefits from being active. As cliché as it sounds, being active and focusing on my fitness and health goals has really helped me learn more about myself and grow as a person.
Training is my “me time”.
2. What made you decide to become a personal trainer?
I have been very passionate about dance my whole life, but disliked the seemingly common attitudes surrounding the industry and the ideals and pressures put on young people. I completed a dance teaching course and through that became even more dissatisfied with the whole industry. I took a beat and went back to a “normal” job. I’d been going to the gym for around five years, personal training, boxing, bootcamp, group classes – all the fun stuff – when I decided being a personal trainer was more my style. I felt my passion return for wanting to create something POSITIVE in peoples lives and that hasn’t gone away. I love what I do!
3. What is something not many people know about you?
I grew up with terrible self esteem. I was always within healthy weight ranges but I never felt good enough, I was angry, I was bitter and cynical and I honestly hated myself. I have struggled with anorexic tendencies, anxiety, depression, and bulimia since my early teens.
My whole self worth was tied up in how I compared myself to others and how I looked and that damn number on the scales. I felt guilty about what I ate, I had panic attacks about what people thought of me and what I said, I would have insomnia and anxiety over how my “life was ruined” or “wasted” because I was a complete failure as a woman because I couldn’t attain this ridiculous ideal of perfection I had put upon myself. It was a vicious cycle I couldn’t get out of.
The scariest thing was, because I had such low respect for myself and my body I also believed that these thoughts and behaviours were normal.
In 2012 some circumstances in my work life changed and suddenly I wasn’t busy anymore. I had time to think and be still and things emotionally and mentally took over. I got to the point where it would take me at least 20 minutes to leave the house because I had to check everything compulsively, my body was in such a state of anxiety and panic I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating and I was crying all the time.
I took myself off the the doctor and a psychologist and I was diagnosed with OCD, anxiety and situational depression.
I took some time off work and found out what “not being able to get up” meant. Suddenly everything was difficult and tiring. Getting out of the house, making it through the day, shopping, feeding the cats, going back to work. Funnily enough the only thing that kept me wanting to get up and leaving the house was my personal training sessions. In that 40-60 minutes my anxiety disappeared, I felt light, I could breathe, I felt somewhat happy and my trainer helped me feel like myself for a bit.
The more I learnt about OCD the more I understood where a lot of my previous issues had come from and how to avoid falling back into old routines, vicious cycles and unhealthy mindsets.
All I cared about during this recovery time was getting back to feeling “normal” instead of being constantly stressed and anxious. So I ate. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!!!
If you had have told 21 year old me that I was going to put on so much weight I think you just might have caused a breakdown back then. But now it doesn’t affect me like that. Hitting rock bottom and putting on the weight has actually helped me let go of a lot of those thoughts and attitudes.
I was at my heaviest 8 months ago and also at my happiest. A concept that is foreign but welcome and has continued as I have been losing weight very slowly. I don’t want to fall into old emotional and mental unhealthy ways again and while I still struggle some days, I no longer feel the need to meet a ridiculous ideal.
I’m no longer ashamed of myself, or hate myself. I believe in myself and I understand who I am now and what sort of person I want to be in the world.
I like who I am now
4. What do you love about training at See Change?
The atmosphere and the people. It’s such an awesome place to work and I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people!
5. What is your training philosophy?
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Get to know yourself.
Train for the love of it and train for yourself!