Interview with Stephanie Schultz of POP Pilates!
So today I have something super special for you all. It's my first blog interview! And it couldn't be with a cooler girl. I met Stephanie through the amazing recovery blog community and she's quickly become a friend and an inspiration. Check out what she has to say about her own journey in recovery and her tips for staying positive & loving yourself. (PS: does she not have the most gorgeous red hair ever?? Talk about hair goals :) )
Describe your personal experience with disordered eating and body image issues.
As a child I never thought much about my body except I always thought I was “bigger” than other girls. I was especially concerned about my thighs. I remember my mom telling me I’m just “big boned.” Deep down I know it bothered me more than I let on. As I entered university I definitely put on the freshman 15. I remember the summer between second and third year looking in the mirror and being so disgusted and ashamed with myself. I was uncomfortable in my body, so I decided to change. I slowly started exercising and changing my diet. Side note: my diet wasn’t the healthiest; I loved my sweets, and fast food. I hardly ate fruits or veggies. As I continued this “healthy” lifestyle, it started to become more of an obsession with my body. I would wake up and the first thing I would do is look at myself in the mirror … naked. I would pick out all the flaws I saw. Then I would weigh myself. If I wasn’t lighter than the day before, I would workout extra hard and eat much less. These disordered habits continued for about 1.5 to 2 years.
How can someone separate their worth from their weight? How do we stop thinking we are "better" if we are thin?
I used to validate my worth based on my weight. The number on the scale would dictate my mood for the day. It was sick, but at the time it just made sense to me. I think the best thing you can do is simply STOP weighing yourself. Your weight says absolutely nothing about your worth. It doesn’t tell you what kind of a person you are, how kind you are, or even how smart you are. It says NOTHING. It doesn’t even signify how fit you are. I stopped weighing myself and it was such a relief. It took a while to kick the habit, but once I finally stopped, I just felt free. I know it can be hard to stop weighing yourself, but do it slowly. Instead of weighing every day, do it every second day. Then every third, then twice a week, then once. Eventually you’ll realize that you don’t need to weigh yourself at all.
"Your weight says absolutely nothing about your worth. It doesn’t tell you what kind of a person you are, how kind you are, or even how smart you are."
What makes you feel beautiful?
I used to spend hours scrolling through Tumblr wishing I looked like all the fitspo models. I thought that was what beauty was. But now, I feel most beautiful when I’m living in the moment. When I’m laughing or having a deep conversation with someone I love. That is beautiful. It has nothing to do with my body. I’m not even thinking about my body. When I’m 100% in flow and living intuitively I feel the most beautiful.
Why are you so passionate about promoting body positivity and freedom from disordered eating?
Because I know what it feels like to have consuming thoughts about being ugly, worthless, and not good enough. I know what it feels like to seclude yourself from the people you love because you’d rather be alone and think about what you could do to make your body “better.” I know the dark days and I NEVER want anyone to experience that darkness. I believe I went through my struggle for a reason, and that’s to now help people love themselves, to promote self-love and to work towards loving your body no matter what it looks like.
If you could tell your 14 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
That you don’t need to “have it all together.” You probably won’t ever have it all together. Life isn’t about being perfect. It’s about living. It’s about forming relationships with people who love and inspire you. Don’t waste your time worrying, but instead use your time to create experiences and memories. Do as much as you can to help serve and inspire others.