Jada Sezer on mental wellness, self-esteem and body confidence

During her masters in child psychotherapy, Jada, who is one of the UK’s first plus size models, witnessed the damaging effects the media has on young people’s development, and quickly sought to change this.

Through her uplifting, positive messages, Jada has now become a go-to voice for the younger generation. “The biggest problem is when fitness is associated with loss rather than gain. Think about the mental strength you can gain rather than the calories you can lose,” she reveals.

Are you anxious about lockdown 2.0? Are you concerned about your mental health? Jada Sezer is your girl. With a 296K following on Instagram, the fitness guru and Asics ambassador empowers her followers to embrace the skin they’re in through her inspirational content on self-esteem, body confidence and mental wellness.

Here, Jada shares her tips on how to make your body your own best friend, how to keep your mental health in check and her top fitness tips.

The relationship I have with my body is a constant work in progress

Forming a good relationship with your body is like getting to know a new friend. It requires nourishment, care and attention. That’s something I’ve only discovered in the last decade and it’s incredible how much that has allowed me to love myself and boost my self esteem.

Environment has a larger effect on you than willpower

People always ask me how I’m so body confident and I always say it’s not an end destination. It’s a constant, ever evolving process that has its peaks and troughs. The key is how you pick yourself back up and whether you have the right tools to do that. For me, running is an essential tool. Being able to get out into an open space, sweat and get my heart racing helps to boost my self confidence and keep my mental health in check.

It is also so important to surround yourself with the right people because they reinforce how you feel about yourself. If you’re around people who are always talking about their fat roles and moaning about their body, you’ll start mimicking the behaviour. Environment has a larger effect on you than willpower.

Listen to your own narrative

The older I get, the more I listen to my own narrative, not anyone else’s. What have I learnt as a kid that created these negative self narratives? What have I been conditioned to accept as normal? By paying attention to those thoughts, you can rewire them to create a new idea of yourself moving forward.

Fitness is the backbone to be functioning at my best

Fitness is how I’m able to go through life as a solid, stable person. I don’t walk through life constantly motivated to exercise, no one does, but fitness has allowed me to maintain a strong healthy mind. It gives you clarity when you feel stressed and it removes you from loops of negativity or self comparison. I’m a huge overthinker. Fitness allows me to break that cycle. It also makes me want to eat better and have a healthier diet when I’m moving my body.

Yoga and running are my fitness go-to’s

Aside from running, yoga is the other go-to in mental wellbeing toolkit. When I don’t want to do anything high intensity, I’ll go and do something slower like yoga. It makes me feel a sense of peace but I also get a huge endorphin release.

Get up and workout before your mind catches up with you

I have little hacks to keep me motivated to workout in Winter. Firstly, I’ll place my fitness kit at the end of my bed so when my alarm goes off, I have everything set up, I can roll straight out of bed and be out the door before my mind can catch up and stop me. I also set myself a fun goal for the end of a workout, whether that’s meeting a friend for coffee or visiting the bakery. If I know there’s a croissant at the end, I’m always motivated.

It’s about making fitness fun rather than a punishment. It’s so self destructive to have a punishment relationship with fitness because you’ll always have a negative connotation attached to it. I also pay attention to my mood. I listen to whether my body wants a high intensity workout or if it needs something slower. It’s all about moving in a way that will get me out of my head.

Think about the mental strength you can gain rather than the calories you can lose

Fitness trackers can be really self destructive if you’re tracking every minute of every day. Like all technology, it can be helpful but it’s our responsibility to use it in a way that works for us. I love to use my fit bit when I’m swimming because I can see how many laps I’ve done, but I’ll never wear it all day because you shouldn’t micromanage your life around it. If it causes you anxiety, remove it. The biggest problem is when fitness is associated with loss rather than gain. Think about the mental strength you can gain rather than the calories you can lose.

Mental health

My background in child psychotherapy has been very helpful in understanding how to look after my mental health. I love to journal and self reflect. I love stretching because it helps create a better relationship with your body. It’s all about slowing right down and listening to your body and your thoughts. I’ve also started a new diary that allows me to write a to-do list that are not structured or time specific.

It’s just tick boxes, not time frames, which has alleviated a lot of stress. These small things make a large difference. It’s also so important to look at how you spend the first and last hour of your day.

Give yourself an hour without technology and set up lovely rituals like reading a book or doing a face mask. Another way I keep my mental health in check is with meditation. I’ll do ten minutes of brain training on the Elevate app and then do headspace. I’m currently working with Asics and I love what they stand for. Their name literally translates to ‘a sound mind in a sound body’. It’s such a perfect analogy. Look after your mind and you’ll probably find you start looking after your body.

You play the apps, don’t let them play you

I regularly step in and step out with social media. Play the apps, don’t let them play you. Use it for your own benefit. I’ve had periods where I’ve had to step out of social media when it’s making me anxious and I become overly worried about engagement or content not performing. I’ve really had to get a handle on my relationship with social media. When it becomes all about validation, I have to step out and remember only I can validate myself.

Vulnerability has been commodified into relatability

Vulnerability has been commodified into relatability and I don’t believe that has longevity. Although I am honest with my followers, my instagram is still a brand, it’s still my business, and I have to keep some parts of my life private. There are so many elements of my life followers don’t know about – I’m sure they wouldn’t want to either, they’d be so bored!

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