Many women experience low self-esteem and poor perception of their own body. 27-year-old Helene Drage on the other hand tries to show us that it’s possible to live a life where it’s ok to love yourself and your body, regardless of weight.
By: Henriette Danielsen Photo: Hilde Brevig
“This is my body, this is how I look, and I will walk around on the beach this summer without a trace of shame”.
These words are taken from a post written by the personal trainer and health coach Helene Drage right before summer of 2015. Her message was that we shouldn’t care so much about getting the perfect summer body and stop letting others opinion of us steer our happiness.
“I don’t intend to let other people’s opinions ruin my summer. I’ll have fun, swim and laugh with my friends instead, and if someone were to think anything negative about my body, that is in fact their problem”, Helene wrote next to the image you see below.
What inspired you to write this post?
– As a personal trainer I had received a lot of emails from girls who dreaded the upcoming bikini season because they felt they weren’t good enough. I wanted to show them that size doesn’t matter and that we are all beautiful in our own way. I have stretch marks and cellulites; why should I need to hide that?
The post went viral in social media. Thousands of women and men shared it and positive feedback poured in. Many even praised Helene for posing in a bikini.
– I didn’t understand why people praised me for having posed in a bikini? Just because I don’t have the perfect body then I was brave to have taken a picture in a bikini on the beach? In a way it illustrated the whole problem with society today, that everything that isn’t photoshoped isn’t good enough.
What does the term “summer body” mean to you?
– I don’t like that term. For me it indicates that you need to look a particular way in order to have a so-called summer body. A body should be healthy (remember that one can be healthy with a few extra kilos too) and be able to tackle the challenges it faces in everyday life. The body shouldn’t be just skinny in order to look good in a bikini. Who even remembers how people looked in their bikini last summer?
However, Helene’s life hasn’t always consisted of high self-esteem and days at the gym. Her turning point was five years ago, when she got a real wake up call when the scaled showed 140kg.
– I got exhausted by just walking up the stairs and generally had little energy. Not much fun for a girl in the beginning of her 20s, Helene explains.
Helene’s journey to a healthier life began, but it wasn’t an easy one. However, what motivated her and kept her going through the hard times was the dream of a strong and healthy body that functioned normally. Today, Helene inspires thousands of women each day through her job as a personal trainer and on her blog.
What is health to you?
– It’s first and foremost about both physical and mental wellbeing. What do you need a healthy and fit body for if you’re trapped in negative thoughts and obsession? Health is a complex concept, as many tend to judge it merely according to body and appearance, but it’s definitely so much more to it than that.
Do you love your body?
– Yes, in many ways I do. I am healthy and exercise regularly. I am not perfect, but who is? Can it get even better? Of course it can, but it’s also pretty damn good as it is today.
Name: Helene Drage
Occupation: Personal trainer and nutritionist
Lives: Fredrikstad, Norway