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Heather Boddy’s Guide to Self and Body Acceptance


About Heather

Heather Boddy is a fitness professional specializing in many different forms of fitness and movement. She started a unique workout program called Geeknasium which focuses on pop-culture and fandom-themed fitness. Heather is passionate about creating a safe space to be our authentic selves. She aims to help make fitness feel good for everyone through her work and helps her clients find body acceptance.

Heather is also an actress and model with a strong background in creative arts. She’s a public speaker and the podcast host of Love Your Bodd. You can learn more about Heather and her work on her website and Instagram.

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Whole, Full, and Alive is a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story, and with who you truly are — underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account. Who is your authentic self?

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Caitie Corradino: I got to feel what it was like to be that societal idea and to have things be a little easier for me and to have things function in my favor. But it still didn't feel good and I still wanted more. And I, none, nothing was enough. No number on the scale, no amount of times I was exercising. No person who was attracted to me, like none of that was enough.

Welcome to Whole Full and Alive, a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story, and with who you truly are. Underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account. I'm Caitie Corradino, a registered dietician nutritionist, certified fitness and yoga instructor, eating disorder recovery coach, Reiki healer, and founder of Full Soul Nutrition.

But underneath my titles and resume, um, a big fan of kitchen dance breaks, early mornings, all things chocolate truffles, world traveling, and serendipity. I'm here to share no-bullshit stories and actionable tools to help you feel unshakably worthy. You have everything you need within you to feel whole, full, and alive right here, right now.

Let's get into it.

Hey, welcome back to another episode of Whole Full and Alive. I'm so grateful that you're here. Whether this is your first episode, your second episode, or your 30th episode, I'm so grateful that you and I have been connected in some way, or you've been connected to this show in some way, and you're here tuning in.

Thank you for being here. Before we dive into today's interview, I wanna invite you to take a pause in your day. Let's take 15 seconds just for you right now, before you keep listening, before you keep multitasking. If you're multitasking right now, take a nice deep breath in through your nose. Let it fill your body all the way through the base of your spine and hold it.

Then a nice long exhale to release and let it go. And just soften into wherever you are right now, releasing some tension maybe in your shoulders, in your face, places where there doesn't need to be tension, before we keep moving forward. I love to always remind myself that I always have 15 seconds no matter where I am, no matter what I'm doing.

I can always take just 15 seconds, maybe even a little less, but 15 seconds about to take a nice, deep breath. Even if I'm like in a client session, actively speaking with someone one-on-one, I always have that moment to take a beat, to take a breath. I think our brain is always trying to tell us to rush to the next thing and that we don't have the time. But the reality is we don't need that much time to help ourselves just shift a little bit more into a regulated state.

Maybe we don't have a lot of time, but we do have 15 seconds to give ourselves that moment to breathe. So, I hope that feels good for you. Before we dive into today's interview, I also wanna remind you that I do have space at my practice, Full Soul Nutrition for one-on-one nutrition counseling, holistic nutrition counseling clients, body image coaching clients, and I will be launching an opening space in my group program in a few weeks from now.

If you are looking to break free from binge eating, food anxiety, body dysmorphia, self-doubt, and burnout, I am here for you in a variety of capacities. Please feel free to hit the link in the show notes or visit my website at for more info. So today's interview, let's get into it.

Today I am so excited to be speaking with Heather Boddy, who is a fitness instructor of various formats. She is a spin instructor, a Pilates instructor, a strength and conditioning instructor, a multi-talented fitness instructor, and also actress, and artist, and human being. And the creator of Geeknasium, which is a fitness program that is designed specifically for self-proclaimed geeks, nerds to geek out while they work out.

Heather has created an inclusive fitness community for people who might otherwise feel judged or ostracized in fitness spaces or aren't feeling like they're having a lot of fun or like they're fitting in at the gym. She has created a truly, truly unique fitness community, and today she is gonna tell us a little bit about how she created that community and why she created that community specifically.

At the top of the episode, she is gonna tell us a lot more about her own personal fitness journey and how she decided to release the pursuit of thinness and the various things that have helped her to continue to accept her body as a fitness instructor and to release the pursuit of thinness as a fitness instructor.

She's also going to tell us a little bit about self-acceptance beyond body acceptance. How do you then come to accept yourself on a deeper level, and how is self-acceptance different from body acceptance? And how does all of this stuff tie into working out? How does body acceptance help you stick with a fitness routine more consistently?

Hhow does self-acceptance allow you to build a fitness routine that's actually gonna work and be sustainable for you? I am so excited for you to hear Heather's voice today. I think you'll find it really inspiring to hear how she released the pursuit of thinness. I know it's something that a lot of people who listen to this show have wrote in questions about, and I think you'll be super inspired to hear how she built this super unique community of people.

I think you'll be really inspired to hear how she built this super unique community and perhaps start thinking about what kind of communities you might wanna build. So, without any further ado, let's get into my interview with Heather Boddy.

I am so excited to be sitting down here today with Heather Boddy. Heather, thank you so, so much for coming on the show. This is the second time, actually, maybe like the fourth time I've done a podcast interview with you.

Heather Boddy: Yeah. It's been like, and vice versa, like, I've interviewed you, you've interviewed me. It's, we just can't get enough of each other.

Caitie: That's so, so funny. I mean, yeah. I think the way that I first met you is I think a nice intro to who you are. So I met Heather probably almost a decade ago, which makes me shake a little bit. Um, but I met you working for 24-Hour Fitness, right? That's where we first met.

Heather: Yes.

Caitie: Yeah, we were both, yes, sitting at Pilates among a million other things and that's when we clicked because we kind of realized that we were both taking a very similar approach to fitness, which was really exciting. And so you've seen me evolve through my first podcast and my second podcast and my like shift from full-time fitness into full-time dietician and whatever it is I'm doing right now.

I've seen you evolve through your, being a full-time group fitness instructor to kind of creating your own thing and really, really coming into yourself over the last couple of years. So it's been so nice to be connected with you for all this time.

Heather: I agree. I like, I think this is something that we can talk about later when I like tell my story or whatever, but one thing that like really, something about you that you might not know is that when I was interviewing you and the entire Fit for All team, which was probably back in like 2016 or 2017, you said something that really struck a chord with me about like body image and fitness and the nature of what I was doing in my podcast.

It was, I was talking about like treating myself after a workout or something like that. And you had mentioned like, “well, food has no moral value.” Like, and it was the first time that I had heard anyone say that, and then the continuing to watch you evolve really helped shape my evolution as well, which is really special.

Caitie: Wow. It's really, really special to hear that reflected. I mean, Wow. I mean, what an incredible evolution we've both been through together. And to hear that I was the first person to say that to you just makes me think about like, the nature of podcasting in general. We were just talking about this off-mic 30 seconds ago, like how the reason we're here is to strike a chord with one person or give one person an “aha” moment.

The fact that I could give the interviewer “aha” moment is incredibly special. And it just makes me feel like I can understand how my impact can be so profound by just saying one thing to one person. And I, cause I know that there's so many people that you have brought the intuitive eating mindset to since that moment.

I know there's probably a lot of people who you have said to like, “Hey, food doesn't have any moral value,” since that moment.

Heather: Yep. 100 per all my clients, basically.

Caitie: That is, wow, that's really exciting. I don't even know how to land in that fully, but I'll try. And to kick us off here, we are gonna be talking about Heather's survival guide to body acceptance and self-acceptance.

Kind of starting with body acceptance, Heather, like when did that journey start for you? When did you recognize that you wanted to accept your body? Because your podcast was always called Love Your Bodd, right? That was something that you started quite a long time ago, and I do think that your body acceptance journey kind of kicked into full gear a bit after you started the podcast Love Your Bodd, yeah?

Heather: Yeah. My body acceptance journey has been exactly that - ajourney. And I would say that I grew up relatively secure in my body. Even though I grew up as a larger body person, as a person in a larger body, I accepted a lot about myself, whether it was good or bad in terms of like pigeonholing myself as the ugly best friend.

That was just something that I kind of accepted about myself, whether it was true or not. And it wasn't that I felt bad about my body, it's that I was just sort of like, “Oh, well this is where I fit in society. I fit in this box.” And that is where I will say like, you know, we don't need to fit in boxes.

Just because society pushes that, like that norm of like, “Oh, well you look a certain way, you must not be desirable.” Like that's not true and that is something that I have grown to learn over time. But when I was younger, I really just like thought that because I existed in a larger body, that meant that like people were not attracted to me.

Again, like I said, over time, that definitely is not true and has been proven over and over again that it's not true. But if we get into the evidence that I received, so I was in the acting industry and I was only getting cast in roles as I began to lose weight. And for me, that served as evidence like, oh, the smaller that my body gets, the more desirable I am to be on screen or on a stage

Then let that evolve into my dating life, it was the same situation. The smaller my body got, the more people were attracted to me. Again, not necessarily true, but it was the type of people I was attracting because I thought I needed to get, quote unquote, this type of person in order to be considered valid and loved and attractive.

I was seeking evidence in the wrong things and I was seeking evidence from really dark places of like, well, the smaller my body gets, the more valid I am. And then that also showed up in the fitness industry where the smaller my body got, the more I was hired at specific gyms. And the more I was seen as a reliable fitness professional.

Where my journey to body acceptance, because all this time I was just looking for evidence that the smaller my body got, the more valid I was. And my journey with body acceptance, like I said, it has been a rollercoaster. Starting Love Your Bodd was sort of where it started.

I wanted to hold up a mirror to society and say like, “Hey, we are causing people harm by continually only showing one body type on TV or putting people through harm by only casting people who look a certain way in shows and putting them on media and putting the societal pressure on people.”

However, at the same time as starting that podcast, I was in the throes of diet culture and I had, I was a beach body coach and I was selling workouts, and I had just become a certified fitness professional, and I was so focused on making my body smaller that that was like all that mattered to me pretty much.

I used to post before and after photos and just to show like, “Oh, this is what I looked like before and this is what I look like now.” And I'm going to share this because it's part of my journey, not because it's any sort of goal that anyone should have, but in that time of my life, I had lost 80 pounds.

At that time I was very proud of myself for that weight loss. And I thought, “Wow, all of the hard work I'm putting in is really paying off.” I was in a relationship at the time with someone who I had deemed like very attractive, and I was thinking like, “Wow, I really hit the jackpot here with this attractive guy.”

I was at the height of my fitness career. I was teaching 16 classes a week and I was doing my own workouts on top of all of that. And my podcast was doing well, and I was talking on my podcast about, you know, how important it is to take care of your body. And that's where Love Your Bodd started was like, let's love our bodies in terms of like exercise and nutrition and that kind of thing.

What I didn't realize at that time was that I was actually really miserable and I was really not in a good place. The relationship that I was in was emotionally abusive. Didn't know it at the time because I was so focused on what I could control, which was how much I was eating and how many times I was exercising.

I also was tired all the time from all the classes I was teaching, not eating enough. Still, even though I was at that 80-pound loss, it felt like it wasn't enough. And it felt like I needed to do more to be considered valid. I needed to do more, more, more. And I would say that that is sort of my rock bottom was noticing that at that point in my life when I was doing the most, I still needed more.

There was a shift. It wasn't a perfect shift, but I did realize like something's got to change. And luckily, that guy who I was with broke up with me. I can't say how long I would've stayed with him had he not been the one to break things off. And that breakup was really tough. But it was also kind of like a wake-up call of like, okay, I need to start taking care, actually taking care of myself, not depriving myself of food, not over-exercising, not throwing myself at people who don't care about me.

I need to prioritize me. So that was the first shift that happened. The second shift that happened actually happened during the pandemic because I had found, my body had found like a homeostasis where it stayed and it had stayed there for three years. And I was like, great, this is awesome. I can, you know, I felt I was eating intuitively. I had a really healthy relationship with exercise. I was feeling really good about myself when lockdown happened.

During lockdown,. I gained a lot of weight and at first I was terrified because I was like, I'm a fittest professional. If I am showing up, gaining weight, like what does that say about me? And because of reminders from the people who I've surrounded myself with, which like will be my first tip, honestly, in a survival guide for body acceptance, is to surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are and who also accept their own bodies and who are not in the throes of diet culture, and who celebrate diverse bodies.

Because I think that I had curated my Instagram feed and the types of people who I communicate with to mostly be people who were all having these discussions about like, yes, it's lockdown, we're stuck at home. It's natural, we're gonna gain weight. Like you don't need to pressure yourself. We're all going through a very traumatic event. And like your biggest fear should not be the number on the scale.

In fact, I don't weigh myself. It was actually, I put on a pair of shorts and they didn't fit me anymore. And that's kind of like, what put me into a spiral. And that was where the next shift for body acceptance happened was really like my online business had started and I was in charge or helping guide all of these people through this traumatic event.

And the last thing I wanted was to pressure them to feel like they needed to lose weight, right? Like that was the last thing I wanted to do with all of these people who trusted me to help guide them through this hard time, and I just wanted to be a safe space where people could exercise and it didn't feel like a punishment.

I just wanted to be a safe space where people could work out and talk about what they're feeling and talk about what they're going through without their body being the issue. And I was like, so if I'm trying to create this space for these people, why am I so worried about what I look like? Why am I so focused on that?

It became such an issue in my mind that I asked my clients, I was like,” I don't know if you guys noticed this, but I am gaining weight.” Like right along with like, we're, we're all like, I'm doing this too. And I put up a video from when I first, I have a workout library where I create the exercises and I create, I filmed the videos myself. And one of the videos that I posted was from a year and a half prior where I was in a much smaller body.

Then, I did a live workout with them a couple of days later where I was in my body that I was in on that day. And I asked them, I was like, is it difficult for you to see or does it make you think any less of me to see these two videos, like side by side, like one where I'm like obviously much smaller and one where I'm obviously like much in a different body?