#IWD: Celebrating Louise Green, The Body Exchange

Sometimes I think running is a great metaphor for stages of our lives. Some runs are a memorable because they feel so great, some because they’re particularly hard, and some can take you over rough, rocky terrain. If I could liken this next person’s journey to a run it would be akin to one of those where you start off on a nice, smooth, established track. Suddenly the nice, smooth track morphs into a dirt trail taking you through a dark, dense forest. It makes for a hard run, but as you keep going, the shards of light that were only peeking through the dense trees suddenly becomes a big, bright light leading into a beautiful big clearing.  With the darkness and rough, rocky terrain over, you find yourself striding ahead in triumph, knowing that although that stage had been tough going, it had also been very necessary, for it not only showed you what you were capable of, but it got you to back to where you needed to be, only stronger for the experience.

Louise Green, Founder of The Body Exchange, is what I class as a ‘warrior’ of the Body Positive Fitness movement. She shows no fear in challenging people’s perceptions of what ‘fit’ looks like and in doing so is fast becoming one of the most prolific figures in this movement. Louise has, in her typical fearless fashion, laid bare the story of her journey in ‘making it happen.’

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The other day I read something that said:

 “All Great Changes are Preceeded by Chaos” in my case that is so very true.

 My “turn” to fitness came to me while I was in the early stages of recovery after a decade of leading an extremely party filled lifestyle that had nothing to do with health and fitness and everything to do with self-destruction.

 It wasn’t so unexpected that I would reclaim my athletic roots since I had been an avid athlete as a child and teen. Even during my “party years” I tried desperately to cling on to athleticism. I’d do crazy things like show up at the track at 6:00am in the morning to run with boozy breath, 5 minutes before smoking a cigarette. I was trying to straddle 2 lifestyles of polar opposite ends and it never took hold because of my issues with addiction. So when I got clean and sober, I literally had an athletic re-birth and I’ve never looked back, not once. Fitness is the foundation to my life and without it, I’m in trouble.

 My party years became very dark and I knew that exercise, endorphins and natural highs were going to keep me striving for a healthy lifestyle. It started in my first year of sobriety, this time no boozy breath and no cigarettes. I joined a 5k running clinic and I was terrified but my desire to change started to outweigh the fear that had kept me stuck for so long. Overtime and with some amazing support, the 5k runs turned into 10k runs and then suddenly I was leading 10k run clinics, it was then I realized my truly calling in life. My mind kept expanding “if I can do this, then I can surely do that” so I starting running half marathons and overtime my mind has become something that only considers unlimited possibility.

I know for certain now, that I am capable of anything, with the right training, drive and support.

 With my new mindset and several years of doing fitness leadership in a voluntary position I left a thriving career as a talent agent to pursue fitness as my full time job.

 In 2007 I opened my fitness business, Body Exchange, fitness and adventure for plus-size woman. Since then, I’ve dedicated my life to training plus-size women, changing the way society views us and pursuing my own athletic dreams as a plus size athlete.

I went from living a totally isolated, limiting life to opening up my wings and developing a limitless mindset. It’s that mindset that I now coach others to adopt in hope that it changes their lives like it did mine.

I truly have fitness and adventure to thank for my recovery and my total life renovation; it gave me my life back. I sometimes look at pictures of myself smoking or holding a beer and that person is so far away from me now I literally can’t believe it’s me. I will acknowledge that it wasn’t easy and how badly I wanted it. I put in the work to change and I strongly believe change is for anyone who wants it. 

With my own personal experience and my interaction with thousands of plus size women, I am a first hand witness that anyone who has the desire can live and lead a limitless life full of athletic pursuits, at any size.

 

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