Absolutely quizzes personal trainer, podcast host and fitness influencer Tally Rye on January self care and her new book, Train Happy
Interview: Abbie Schofield
Absolutely: Your ethos prioritises exercise as a form of self-care rather than self-punishment. Why is this important?
Tally: For so long many of us have been battling our own bodies through food restriction and using exercise as a tool to earn and burn food. Honestly, I think so many of us are physically and emotionally exhausted from this and want a new narrative – we want to actually feel good about ourselves. I believe that for women especially this is a key part of our empowerment – to give up the war and start working with ourselves. All that energy we put into punishing exercise and criticising our bodies we can now channel into mood-boosting workouts that help build our self esteem, self worth and overall confidence and take that energy into all aspects of our life.
Absolutely: What inspired you to write a book?
Tally: Through my own personal relationship with food and fitness, I became aware of Intuitive Eating; a framework created by two Dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995, to help people to stop dieting and to start working with their bodies to find peace with food. So much of this resonated with me.
Understanding that exercise didn’t have to be about weight loss and aesthetics and could be about so much more was extremely liberating. Through my work on and offline, I felt a need for a new approach to fitness and when asked what I wanted to write about, I knew an intuitive, non-diet approach to fitness that educated people on the vast and varied benefits of exercise was what was missing.
Absolutely: Was it important for you to provide a training plan that is flexible and can easily fit into people’s lives?
Tally: That was the key criteria. I wanted the training plan to feel like the cherry on the cake at the end of the book. I hope through reading each section it helps the reader to establish a more positive relationship with exercise, food and their body and that by the end they feel excited about working out and trying different ways of moving. I wanted to encourage 3 workouts a week; resistance, bodyweight and a weekly challenge. There is no pass or fail with this plan, it is for each person to do at their own pace and to use as they see fit.
Absolutely: Is the New Year a particularly troubling time of year for diet culture?
Tally: This is when diet culture is at its peak. This consists of messaging that in order to be your ‘best you’ and your ‘happiest self’ you will need to shrink your body in some way to live up to societies body standards. This can be through overt messaging such as promotion of detox teas and appetite suppressant lollipops or it can be much more subtle whereby a ‘healthy lifestyle change’ becomes code for dieting and pursuing intentional weight loss.
Absolutely: Do you think social media contributes to this?
Tally: Yes it absolutely does. Much of what we see is filtered and photoshopped as well as being a perfectly presented, well-angled highlight reel. However it’s not all bad! When you diversify your feeds to follow people of different body types, backgrounds and interests it can be a positive and educational place that provides a sense of community and belonging.
Absolutely: What can we do to combat post-Christmas diets?
Tally: Firstly don’t beat yourself up if you feel uncomfortable with Christmas weight gain or want to lose weight. Remember we are living in a culture that tells us fat is bad and thin is good, so naturally we will have internalised that. Show yourself compassion.
If you do want to move your body more and care for your wellbeing in 2020, instead of thinking ‘what can I cut out’ which is often the diet culture approach, ask yourself what can you add in? Perhaps that’s more movement, prioritising sleep, seeking mental health support, trying new foods to add more variety in etc. Restriction isn’t sustainable and we really want to think long term.
Absolutely: Do you have any advice for people who are struggling to practise self-care?
Tally: Often those that struggle with self care are giving so much of themselves to others that they forget to check in with themselves. As the saying goes ‘how can you pour from an empty cup?’ You need to fill your cup before you can give to others. It’s also worth reflecting on why you might be avoiding self care and why you don’t feel like you are a priority.
Absolutely: Finally, What are your personal goals for 2020?
Tally: I would love to talk to more of my fellow fitness professionals about Intuitive Fitness and create a more formal education for them. I would also love to take Train Happy to the US and meet with likeminded professionals over there. 2020 is also the year I turn 30 so it has been a dream of mine to start tennis lessons, so I would love to begin before my birthday. I also want to continue my work in therapy, and actively support my mental health as much as my physical health.
Train Happy by Tally Rye is out 9 January 2020, £14.99; pavilionbooks.com
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