my insecurity – imposter syndrome

It took me over 10 years and a vicious irritable bowel disease to arrive at my current spot, and why understanding and mastering my mindset has been so important to me over the last several years so I thought I would give you a glimpse into my own history of struggle.

When I first set out to do triathlon over 10 years ago, my husband watched me become frustrated and down on myself for not fitting into what I perceived a triathlete to look like.  “If I could just be leaner; make my legs smaller; give away some of my butt…” 

Well, I might as well have been asking to be 5’10” instead of 5’2! I have an ass (thanks mom). I have big, muscular legs that I inherited from my dad, which decades of bicycling assured would develop. I am literally “big boned”- (I know a lot of people say that, but I really am). My wrists, hands, ankles, rib cage, etc are thick. I am not petite, so the idea that I could EVER achieve the body of a 5’2″ professional athlete is absurd. 

While Lekeli (my husband) supported me by dismissing my negative thoughts, at the time I couldn’t hear it. He just didn’t understand the voices in my head. “You are so slow. You are so fat.” “You are such a triathlete imposter.” “Look at how big your Mexican middle is (my stomach).” So I kept forging ahead. Training obsessively. Dieting restrictively. My Ulcerative Colitis raged on. I didn’t listen. 

Here’s what was going on: the more I dieted and prepped for races, the more my self-worth became inextricably linked with my physique — when I was “in shape” people noticed and complimented me–“Wow, you look amazing, you must have a big race coming up!”  For someone as introverted as I am, it’s surprising how much I wanted and needed that attention & affirmation! I craved it because it meant I was Good Lee-Ann. I was disciplined and focused. When I was in my off-season, the affirmation stopped and I was Bad Lee-Ann. No more compliments or attention. In my head, I always felt too thick and uncomfortable in my body as though everyone was judging me everywhere I went. (Looking back, it’s funny to assume people might have cared that much about my weight. They were probably worried about their own weight!) Ha! 

So in essence, I had conditioned myself to need the affirmation about my physique to feel good, and without it, I was no good. I was unlovable. Affirmation about other stuff didn’t matter, I couldn’t hear it. My intellect? Who cares! My ability as a trainer? Didn’t matter! I was an addict who was constantly looking for a fix–and the way I got it was through others saying I looked good–affirmation from others. 

I had no thoughts of my own about my own worth!

I try not to judge myself when I recount this because I know that I was only doing the best I could at the time, and I know that without that experience, I wouldn’t have made it here. But I’ll be honest….writing this stuff out is embarrassing. It’s not my proudest moment. It’s not something I brag about. But hopefully by my sharing some of my challenge and insecurity, you can start to be more honest with your own motivation for doing what you do. 

I did turn it around and so can you. I hope that sharing some of my past struggles with you will free you to start unearthing some of your own insecurities.  

Some questions for you:

  • Name the #1 most important thing for you to achieve in your healthy lifestyle journey. I recently had someone email me that, “they needed to lose 10 lbs as fast as possible.” My question is … you guessed it … WHY? What happens at 10 lbs lighter that can’t happen right now? 
  • Once you name it, ask HOW COME? Why is that important to me? When I achieve it, what will that mean?
  • Ask yourself, can I see a scenario where I don’t achieve it and I am still able to be ok?

I specialize in helping people with GI issues, disorders, disease and dysfunction implement a sound and balanced fitness and wellness program that caters to their condition. Working with busy women is a second audience that I cater to, acting as a confidant and partner in navigating busy schedules, self care, families, children, work and the list goes on.

We always think we can go at it alone; if we are just focused enough, disciplined enough, smart enough, want it bad enough… It has NOTHING to do with that. Sometimes, it’s just time to bite the bullet and let someone take the load off of you; take the guesswork out of your workout and help you pivot and navigate a very important part of your daily living – your health!

If this resonates with you, contact me today to get started. I have tons of free content available to share with you and most of all, I am the person in YOUR corner that knows you can do it!

Pictured above from left to right: 1995 Lekeli & Lee-Ann 18 years old; 2008 Lekeli & Lee-Ann Wedding 31 years old; 2019 Lee-Ann & Lekeli 42 years old

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