Getting the chance to interview Kaitlynn was really special. Being almost a decade older than her it was truly refreshing and inspiring to see a young woman who is taking such action in her life and setting such an incredible foundation. Not just in her career path but with her health and wellness.
Kaitlynn is 24, lives in Connecticut and recently started a career in Pediatric Occupational Therapy. She works with kids who have developmental disabilities and genetic disorders and helps them learn the fundamentals of life. Anything the average kids needs to be able to learn and do, Kaitlynn helps them achieve that. This career path shows Kaitlynn’s heart. She is passionate, dedicated and kind.
I didn’t know her career when I asked to interview her. I had only seen the awesome fitness things she was doing on Instagram. I learned that she had been an athlete through high school but her fitness journey really took off last January. The transition into college and all that lifestyle has to bring gave Kaitlynn a lot of anxiety and body image issues. “I felt like I was doing things to help myself but didn't have a plan” she shared. She had joined a gym but had lost the structure from her athletic days. “When I saw the Kayla Itsines program I just thought I needed some structure. I made it a really big part of my life.” She started seeing results both physically and mentally which gave her the confidence to venture into other avenues. She started following other fitness leaders on Instagram and taking their workouts into her own hands. Now she has a framework and structure to grow and adapt from. She uses guides she finds on Instagram and adapts them to fit her needs. She listens to her body and does her thing!
One thing she had to overcome on this fitness journey was the mental block of where she was at versus where other people were at. On social media “you’re seeing people from every chapter of the journey. It was hard seeing myself vs. where others were. And then trying to maintain that vision for others and be inspiring. Can I do more, lift more, run farther? Instagram is definitely hard to have body image issues because there are so many things that can trigger you.” I think this was incredibly poignant and important to spend some extra time on. Our entire lives are splashed all over social media. We see a highlight reel of everyone’s live. The places they travel, the fun experiences, friends, fun, success... Especially in the fitness and health space the hot bodies cover 1000‘s of hashtags and accounts. When you’re looking for motivation or inspiration these pictures can be defeating, discouraging and trigger that negative voice in your head telling you you aren't enough.
I have felt this to an extent as well; however, I fear that this pressure is stronger amongst the 20-something generation. I feel lucky in a sense that Facebook came out at the end of college for me and even then it was basically photo storage. YouTube, Instagram and SnapChat didn’t exist. When I was in my early 20’s I was beginning the recovery process of anorexia. I can’t imagine having the additional external factors of social media influencing my recovery. I say this because I believe we have a big responsibility in the world of health and fitness to paint the real picture. We have the responsibility to lead with positivity, understanding and openness. Health looks different on every BODY. And while there are many accounts that blend together of hot body after hot body I think the most impactful and inspiring accounts and people out there are those who are sharing the truth. Those who are sharing the rough edges of living a healthy lifestyle.
I love that Kaitlynn has a feed where she shows the commitment she’s made to her health while she spreads a message of self love over body perfection. One of my favorite quotes says: “Celebrate the behavior not the results.” And what that means is take pride and shout from the rooftops the incredibly positive and powerful behavior that you’re doing day in and day out for your body. Don’t just celebrate the number on the scale. Because when you’re doing the right work, the results will come.
I asked Kaitlynn to share her advice with you and the more I dive into this blog post I think it’s advice that transcends generations and is incredibly valuable:
1. Have a goal. Once you have a goal map out what you need to do for yourself.
2. Commit. Making decisions every day that leads you to your goal. Like going to the gym instead of watching the Bachelorette.
3. Support. When I made my Instagram I didn’t tell a single person. All the sudden people started finding it and they were so supportive. If you don’t have people who share common goals it can be difficult to navigate through this.
4. Start saying YES to everything! Anything that you’re afraid of just do it it. That’s been my motto for the last few months.
5. You’ll get there when you’re meant to get there not a moment sooner. Don’t lose sight of your final destination. It’s a journey. You want to achieve this for your entire life.
Kaitlynn’s voice is one worth listening to! Her authenticity, positivity and passion for this journey through life is incredible. I feel lucky to have met her and I know she is off to make a huge impact on this world!
Thank you for taking the time to engage in my 28th interview of 52 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 Kaitlynn on Instagram @fitness_kait