What does it mean to be healthy?
For Kelsey Heenan, it’s not just a toned body and a perfect diet.
The 33-year-old fitness influencer puts mental health above physical after suffering from an eating disorder, which she often discusses candidly. She has 411,000 followers on Instagram.
“It basically got to the point where I was so undernourished that I needed treatment ASAP,” Henin told The Post, describing it as a “horrible, scary time” in her life after her college career.
Despite being the oldest patient at the treatment center at 21 years old, Henin went through the healing process, and learned the skills she needed to bounce back stronger, which she’ll talk about during New York Powerful Fitness and Wellness Festival at Chelsea Piers On October 1.
Now, the Los Angeles-based content creator and entrepreneur dedicates her time to helping others – both mentally and physically – who may be suffering just as before.
“Fitness and nutrition should be a part of our lives, but there is no need to control our lives,” she advised.
Often times, she explained, people become “preoccupied with always needing to be a certain weight or a certain size” and “these things end up failing us.”
“We don’t end up failing our diet, we don’t end up failing our exercise programs — these programs are not made for our success, because they don’t fit into the lifestyle we live,” she said.
Plus, there’s no feasible way for anyone who lives a busy life or has kids to be at the gym for hours on end, she said. Frankly, it is unrealistic.
“There isn’t just one right way to do things, so you have to figure out what’s best for your body for the goals that you have, and have a goal of being consistent over time,” she added.
On her Instagram page, she regularly posts workout routines while also preaching best practices for staying confident, and sharing words of encouragement with her followers.
in one section With 212,000 views, she shares the story of hearing a random woman in her dressing room complain that she was “too fat” to wear what she was trying to wear.
“It broke my heart into a million pieces,” Henin said in the video. “You can wear anything you want. Confidence is a lot like the muscles you need to exercise regularly to be able to grow stronger.”
“Respect for the body,” she said, is the most important practice to engage in, especially when negative feelings about body image are exploding.
“We can’t always control the thoughts that come to our mind,” she said, but controlling them is key.
“[But] We can look at ourselves respectfully and objectively say, “Look, my body does so much for me, I don’t exactly like what I see in the mirror right now but it is only a reflection of what is visible. There are so many other things that make value.”
Writing down traits that are “valued” and not superficial is part of building a “strong foundation” for personal and personal health. Choosing a diet or training program only in order to look better in the mirror, without this “foundation” will not be successful.
“It’s the respect factor, which requires constant work, and it’s a journey. But then also, it’s a relationship with food, a relationship with exercise,” she also urged people to reconsider their arbitrary dietary rules and question whether they are helpful. “It has to do with what hinders a person’s ability.”
For example, cutting back on sugars and carbohydrates can increase the amount of stress and create more obstacles than the paths to a healthy relationship with the body. In fact, no one should have “strict food rules,” she argues, because they “don’t serve us well.”
“Food is so much more than just nutrients. It’s part of our culture. It’s part of the community. It’s part of birthday celebrations and anniversaries and all of those things.” “So how do we make these two things meet — where we can understand and prioritize nutrients, but then also be able to understand that food is so much more — and do it without judgment?”
But of course, hitting the head with a stretch In billions of dollars The diet culture industry comes with its own hurdles. Like anything on the Internet, trolls are on the run, but Henin is determined to dismantle people’s perceptions of what they think of as “health.”
“Often, people get one-sided tunnel vision because of their experience and what they’ve learned in their own lives,” she said of her approach, which includes competing on common ground.
“If someone is very strict in nutrition…never thinks about new nutrients and never gets their body moving, this is not going to be a long-term health strategy.”
Heenan’s approach to nutrition and fitness expands beyond the confines of a phone screen. In 2014, she and her husband founded HIIT Burncomplete with their own app, the couple produces four workout challenges each year as an incentive.
“There are many places you can go to get information on nutrition, but what you’re missing a lot of is the psychological and emotional connection and understanding of the emotional side of nutrition,” she said. “I’m trying to bridge that gap for people and create a safe space for people to be able to have these conversations and be able to work through some of these things.”
Her message, albeit “painful” and difficult to share, clearly resonates with her thousands of followers – though she would “never wish these things to anyone”.
“Being able to have an open conversation about the struggles that I’ve been through that I’ve been through has been a great way to continue building confidence in myself because it’s like, ‘Wow, I’m not alone,’ and we can continue to grow together.”
If you or someone you love has an eating disorder, you can get help. Call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at (800) 931-2237 or visit nationaleatingdisorders.org.