By Colleen Conlon, Equinox
Hope is seeing the light when you are surrounded by darkness. I had an extreme eating disorder for eight years of my life. For most of that time it was very hard to see the light. There were days I’d be so miserable that I barely wanted to go on with my life. But I’m still here because I knew deep down that things could change, I just didn’t know what to do!
About three years ago, I had enough. I asked myself, “What at this very moment do you want?” More importantly I asked, “What can you work towards to overcome the situation?” I first knew I wanted to love my body. So my first few steps were to seek professional help and get the counseling I needed; secondly, educate myself on proper fitness and nutrition. From that point on, I felt hopeful that I would be able to become a happier healthier version of myself! As the next few months passed and I saw my attitude changing, I felt confident and optimistic, and decided that if I could overcome this disorder that I would want to help others do so too.
I love educating my clients. I love explaining to clients that there is hope in obtaining everything they want. Nothing makes me feel more empowered than when I see them succeed! There are a lot of misconceptions about fitness and nutrition and people think they know what they are doing, but in reality many are wrong. It feels like magic when I am able to explain to clients why a certain eating or exercise program will be able to get them to their goals. I mean, how cool is it that if you can do what I tell you to do over time, you will reach your goal?! I think it’s funny when other fitness professionals say, “I can’t wave a magic wand and give you what you want” — because as a fitness professional we can. We have the answers, we have the magic to get clients to where they want to be, it’s then just a matter of the client running with the program. Each time I see a client break down a new wall, I feel hopeful that anything is possible and it makes me feel empowered to break down a new barrier of my own!
Over the past three years, my life has turned into one crazy unexpected rollercoaster ride. I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s been good and bad, and many lessons learned along the way. Over the past three years, I began to question myself more about my own hopes and dreams. And by knowing what I want, I’ve found a whole new sense of empowerment. I know what I need to do to achieve my goals, and that just gives me this awesome sense of confidence that I am going to be more than okay, but great!
I recently got a tattoo of an elephant on my ankle that symbolizes hope, possibilities, and empowerment. Growing up when I would feel really stressed out and couldn’t hide it, my mother would tell me, “Colleen, you can eat an elephant one bite at a time.” I remember being very confused the first few times she’d tell me this, but now it’s the best reminder. No matter how big an obstacle may be, have hope because it is possible to overcome anything one bite at a time. To me, that is empowered.
Colleen Conlon is a Group Fitness Instructor for Equinox, as well as a Personal Trainer in NYC and New Jersey. She teaches formats including: Indoor Cycling, Treadmill, Body Conditioning, and H.I.I.T. Colleen believes fitness should be FUN, SAFE, and TRANSFORMING! When she is not teaching, you can always find her working towards bettering herself in the fitness industry, be it educating herself with her nose in a book, sharing advice for those who seek her knowledge, or training at the gym for life!