Words from Emilia:
I started working with Lauren 13 months ago and the changes that I have seen in her strength, both physical and mental, leave me in awe frequently. I asked Lauren to share her story to highlight the power of nutrition and training in women, especially in women of such strength that has been hidden for too long. You can find Lauren on Instagram @bake_lift so feel free to comment there or on here for her!
“Sometimes I look back on pictures of myself as a teenager and I can’t believe how worried I was. At my lowest weight I was 127 pounds at 5.8” and yet, I hated my body. I desperately wanted my pear shaped lower half to match my scrawny upper half. Because no-one ever told me any different, nothing in the 90s (my teenage years) ever explained that having curves was ok or than ‘thin’ isn’t always ‘better’.
So for nearly 20 years I used cardio as my tool of choice, the only option for me to get the body I wanted was of course to burn everything off as soon as I ate it. But in my mid thirties I started a new job and signed up for a new gym. I had a free induction with a trainer who took me past all my favourite machines and straight into the weights area where the first thing I did was squat, deadlift and bench. I was hooked immediately, here was the thing my body had craved and needed for so long! I immediately began training with him once a week, getting stronger and more adept.
So, having become a dedicated weighlifter, I decided to resurrect my quest for the healthy body through diet. This was in no small part because my father had recently passed away from a heart attack at age 67, having lead a high stress, poor nutrition, zero exercise lifestyle. I vowed I would not allow myself to go down the same slippery slope and that I needed to dedicate myself to making sure I had the best possible opportunity for a long life.
And so entered Emilia Thompson, who I had initially consulted just for nutrition but who I very soon asked to set my programming too. My goals were of course aesthetically driven; ‘I want a big bum and a ‘toned’ body’ but what I hadn’t counted on was how my mindset, my relationship with myself and with food would change. Emilia may be my nutritional and physical coach but she is so much more now after a year of training. She was my unofficial therapist when I recently got very ill, my mentor when I see how she can achieve so much, my firm encouragement when I slip and my gentle friend when I am too hard on myself. The things I have realised over the last year have been life changing.
Like: it’s hard, for women especially, to realise that your body is an ongoing experiment. There is no such thing as ‘I’ll just hit this weight and be happy’. What if you want a big bum but you’re dieting – It’s not possible, you have to eat to grow. What if you want to see your abs but also increase your weights each session – It may be possible for a little bit but strength is often sacrificed when you’re looking for muscle definition.
There’s also no such thing as ‘this food is bad’. Unless you’re eating arsenic (please don’t) food is just fuel for your goals. Some of those goals may be to lose fat or build muscle and some might be to enjoy yourself. Yes, you should have a goal of enjoying yourself otherwise what the hell are you doing this for.
In the last year: I’ve had to get comfortable with eating more protein than I’ve ever eaten before in my life. I’ve had to retrain my brain that carbs aren’t bad for me and fat isn’t the devil, you need these to be healthy and happy and full. And most difficult of all, that the scales are not the ultimate measure of my worth as a woman, they’re just a tool. The things I measure my worth on now are: I have picked 253 pounds up off the ground, I have leg pressed 396 pounds, I’ve grown a pancake size 10 bum into a juicy size 12 to 14 bum (yes, bigger can be better) and I can eat a plate of pancakes and feel no guilt because I know exactly what I’m going to channel those lovely carbs into.
In short, I am happy with myself. Bigger / smaller – they’re just stages on a journey with no end because I never want it to. My body is a wonderful thing, it’s the only one I’ve got and it would be a shame to spend my life being miserable about it. Far better to enjoy the journey that never ends because if it did that would mean I’m perfect and lets face it, nobody’s perfect. Why should I be? I’m just going to be the best version of me I can be.”