Mental Health Awareness Week: Shante's Story

Shante Oudnie - May.13.21

At Reflex Nutrition, we value mental health just as much as physical health. We've been chatting to our PTs, influencers, colleagues, friends and family to get some real life stories and break down the stigma attached to mental health!

We caught up with Reflex PT Shante to chat about all things Mental Health, body image and motivation...

My name is Shante Oudnie, I started working out when I was about 21 years old. I was an active person when I was younger, but as soon as I hit secondary school, my love for sport got pushed into the distant background and I became overweight and unhappy. My confidence plummeted as I got older, I felt weak and trapped in my own body and I knew I had to do something about it.

At first, I didn't really know what I was doing, and my sessions were mainly cardio based. When I finally decided to take my fitness to the next level, my main goal was to gain strength, whilst sculpting my body and building muscle and although I thought lifting weights would make me stronger physically, little did I know, that it would have the biggest impact on my life mentally. 

Physical activity and exercise help improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative moods by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Fitness is my safe and happy place. It enables me to better handle everything else I face in life. I use fitness to push myself out of my comfort zone to become stronger every day. If I feel stressed and I exercise, the feel-good endorphins released lifts my mood, relieves tension and stress, boosts my physical and mental energy and makes me feel so much better about the day ahead.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle situations, stress, relate to others and make healthy choices.

I am now a qualified personal trainer and fitness has become a part of my everyday life. I feel that there is a huge amount of pressure from social media, for women especially, to achieve the 'perfect body'. However, the people in the media only show you a small snippet of their lives, the good angles and the best parts of themselves.

Everyone in this day in age is so focused on instant gratification or instant results, but good things take time and patience. For lasting results, you need to get your mind RIGHT. Do what you can, when you can. If you're not seeing the results you want, change your MINDSET. Stop being so hard on yourself and applying so much pressure. Instead, be kind to your body and gentle. If something isn't working for you, try something different. SWITCH IT UP! It's not about how you look, its more about how you feel, your growth and how far you have come in your journey. How even when you felt like giving up, you didn't! You kept going and pushing to become a better you!  Everyone is different and everyone's bodies are different, so embrace your unique differences. Focus on your own journey and happiness. Don't compare yourself to others, just push yourself to become a better vision of you. 

Everyone has 'OFF' days now and then. When I feel unmotivated it can be frustrating because I know myself that exercise will always help me feel my best, not only physically but mentally too. Sometimes you just have to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone because by the time you sat there and thought about doing something, you could be actually be achieving it.

Things that help me stay motivated:

  1. Writing down how I feel before a workout and then how I feel after. You will never regret a workout and I always feel so much better after my workout is complete.
  2. Be prepared! Set out your clothes the night before, so they are ready for you to put on as soon as you get up in the morning. 
  3. Put on your favourite music or playlist. Good music always gets me excited for my workout sessions.
  4. Ensure to get enough sleep! Sleep gives your body energy by allowing it to rest, recover and rebuild.
  5. Make time. Your health is a priority and making time for yourself is important to your happiness.
  6. Remind yourself of your why? Focus on habits and goals you want to achieve; this will help drive your forward on those days you feel like working out.
  7. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
  8. Plan your workouts and schedule in time for them.
  9. Believe in you! Just remember consistency and dedication = motivation.

If I could give 12 year old Shante a message now, it would be to focus on your own journey and not compare yourself to others. Embrace your own unique differences and flaws because that's what makes you, YOU!

Thank you to Shante for sharing her story. If you'd like to hear more from Shante you can follow her on Instagram. 

Whether you're concerned about yourself, a loved one or one of your clients - There are mental health charities, organisations and support groups can offer expert advice! More information here.