Danielle’s message immediately stood out to me. Her company, Be Good To Your Body, is all about teaching you ways to treat your body kindly. I came across one of her Instagram picture that talked about this kindness and I had to meet this girl! I am so open in my own page about treating ourselves more kindly and making that a part of our daily routine not just “when we have time.” So I get really excited when there are more people spreading that message!
I loved talking with Danielle and hearing where her passion for this kindness came from. The more people I interview the more I see that there is always a catalyst for their change! I am excited to share Danielle’s story and hopefully through reading this you’ll be inspired to take one step today towards treating yourself with more kindness.
Danielle is a Holistic Nutritionist and Personal Trainer in Toronto, Canada. In addition, she has been modeling for the past 10 years. For a long time modeling was the main focus. She had other passions but in her 20’s she was doing it full time. When she first started modeling she didn’t have to do anything to look a certain way. She was naturally slender, she didn’t exercise that often and could pretty much eat whatever she wanted with very little if any consequences. But in her 20’s as she started to become a woman she remembers hearing “you need to be one inch smaller” from her agency. “The rebellious side of me said: ‘I don’t want to do that!’ I wanted to model without being ‘that measurement’” Danielle shared. But there was also that part of her that really wanted this career. So she got caught up in trying to get to “that measurement.”
In the process Danielle developed an unhealthy relationship with food and over exercising. “I really got caught up in it and lost sight of what I believed in” she shared. For a long time Danielle was consumed with over exercising, was constantly thinking of calories and struggled with comparing herself to the other girls in the industry. This routine and destructive behavior took the best of her and she found herself really unhappy with modeling. She took a break and during this time she went back to school for holistic nutrition. The time away from the industry and pressure allowed her to reflect and look at her values again. She gained perspective during this time. Danielle credits going back to school as what really helped her find a balance in her life.
“I didn’t realize that it was doing harm to my body or mind” Danielle shared about over exercising. “It’s not true that more exercise is better. Sometimes your body needs to rest. It takes a really strong person to be gentle with yourself” she said. She’s right! It does take strength to give yourself a break. Coming from a recovered anorexic and exercise bulimic myself, a “rest day” can be terrifying. There is this thought that you have to keep burning calories or you’ll completely fail. The positive thing that came out of for Danielle is that she is really able to listen to herself with exercise. She is very in tune with what her body needs and wants right now.
Additionally, she’s stopped comparing herself to others. “You come to realize that everyone has their own different body shape and size and it’s really a wonderful thing to have that much variety out there” she says. I loved when Danielle talked about shifting the way we look at our bodies. Listen to this! She says, “We all say ‘I wish I had...’ [referring to a great body] but if we thought of our bodies as our personalities we’d think twice.” Our personalities make us incredibly unique and special. It’s not very common that we hear someone say they want to be exactly like someone else. But we always compare our bodies and say we wish we had those thighs, that stomach, etc. We don’t want to be exactly like someone else! “We need to change the way we look at our bodies” said Danielle.
Now that Danielle is in control of her food and exercise and practices body kindness she’s been able to get back into modeling with a different mindset. Now doing a different type of modeling. She’s gone from runways to a “measurement” she’s more comfortable with.
Danielle wants to focus her attention on young girls and models who are just starting out. She remembers how tough it was when she entered modeling and had little confidence and low self esteem. She wants to be a mentor to these young woman and show them how to live authentically, eat to nourish your body and maintain your weight a healthy way. She wants to help them through the struggle of modeling - through self esteem and body image issues. I believe in her mission so much. It’s hard even as non-models to not get sucked into the pressure of looking a certain way. I believe if the modeling industry was able to make a healthy shift it would benefit everyone involved: the girls in the pictures and the girls looking at the pictures.
I asked Danielle to share what she’s experienced as some of the most challenging things when it comes to living healthy and then her top tips to getting through and living a kind and balanced life.
She shared that you will without a doubt experience plateaus... and many of them. “Your body wants to be in homeostasis and wants to be balanced” she shared. Your body is changing and it’s going to fight that change! So you need to keep pushing through and do not give up even if you can’t see anything working in the moment. She also said sticking to a new healthy routine will have its challenges. “The best way to overcome these challenges is to think of it as small changes” says Danielle. Make one small change and then add on. The more you stick to this the faster it becomes your lifestyle. And finally you’ll experience challenges with those you surround yourself with. No matter what you’ll encounter people who don’t share your values or goals. “It’s tough sometimes” says Danielle. “You have to know your values and be really strong. Once you know that you can make better decision. Do I want to indulge or am I doing it because I want to make those other people comfortable? You’re in charge and the one who makes the ultimate decision of your body.”
Danielle’s top tips for you are simple effective and you can implement these today!
1) I think it’s important to keep a food journal and be aware of what you’re eating. You’ll learn if you are eating the right foods for your body.
2) Drink lemon water every morning. It’s awesome! It starts your digestion and liver enzymes. Plus it helps clear up your skin!
3) Schedule in your workouts. Think of it as a meeting, date or work. Put it in your calendar or you won’t make it a habit.
4) We all have fears that hold us back, fight that fear, try new things, make decisions, even if they feel outside your box, give it a try. Write down 5 things every day you are grateful for.
Danielle has chosen a path and taken on a mission to help change the conversation around body image. Her passion to help young girls and models elevate themselves and learn nutrition early is truly remarkable! I am so proud to know you and I support you in everything you do! Thank you Danielle for being a true light on this earth!
Thank you for taking the time to engage in my 22nd interview of inspiring women! Please feel free to share your comments, feelings and send this to a friend you think would benefit from reading this! If you want me to interview someone you find incredibly inspiring, I would be truly honored to meet them! This is a journey that has no parameters or rules! Let’s have fun with it and continue to spread the message of empowerment, love and kindness - to ourselves and others!
You can follow Danielle on Instagram @begoodtoyourbody.ca you can also check out her website at: http://www.begoodtoyourbody.ca
Photography Credit: Charlotte Oh @conscious.branding