A story that gets better with the telling

 

Personal trainer Tasha Wall   wants Prince George residents to tell their stories to help improve self-esteem. Bill Phillips photo
Personal trainer Tasha Wall wants Prince George residents to tell their stories to help improve self-esteem. Bill Phillips photo

BY BILL PHILLIPS
bill@pgdailynews.ca

The story Tasha Wall wants to tell someday is that she helped everyone else tell their story.

She is starting by telling her story.

“My whole vision is that I want to create self-esteem through health and wellness,” she says. “I want to tell how fitness changed my life. I want to reach out to youth and prevent weight gain and educate them on how to be healthy.”

That can happen with people, starting with health and wellness professionals such as herself, telling their stories.

“If those people start talking about the times that they weren’t strong and how they became strong,” she says. “In turn, the people who are not in a good place are going to feel more comfortable in coming out and speaking up and saying, ‘I’m not OK and I’m relating to you, I’m going through what you’re going through, how can you help me?’”

It is, after all, part of her story. Now a personal trainer who recently took part in a competition to pose for Maxim magazine, Wall’s story involves battling self-esteem issues.

It started in high school when she realized she had some freedom.

“I gained a whole bunch of weight in high school,” she says. “Life consisted of eating at McDonald’s every day and drinking on the weekends. Of course I packed on the weight, 30 to 40 pounds. That carried into my 20s and affected my every choice. When you don’t have self-esteem you become a settler and you don’t try in life.

“I was settling in everything in my life including the men that I chose, the jobs that I worked at. That was all because I didn’t believe in myself.”

She eventually hired a personal trainer, got into shape and lost a bunch of weight. But then she went too far the other way and became obsessed with losing weight.

“I needed to be perfect, just being fit wasn’t enough,” she says. “Then I developed an eating disorder. That consisted of starving myself and then binging at the end because I couldn’t maintain starving myself.”

She was on that roller coaster for a couple of years before she sought out professional help and went to counselling. She went back to a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle and became a personal trainer.

After her second child she suffered with post-partum depression.

“It was just an emotional roller coaster,” she says. “I found my way back through talking about it. All of a sudden all these people stepped up and said ‘I felt that,’ and ‘I’ve done that.’”

That’s when she realized that if people simply told their stories, it can help tremendously. And the support she received from the community when she was in the Maxim competition has spurred her on.

“All of a sudden the entire town came out to support me,” she says. “There is something to be said for a small town that cheers each other on. In the end, I lost but what I gained is courage.”

That courage has her working towards creating a kids health camp in the community.

“This is where kids, young and teens, would come to build their self-esteem,” she says, adding the camp would feature sports, arts and crafts, cooking classes, lessons for kids on how to garden and grow their own food.

“We would put them into activities that they’re already good at and put them into an atmosphere where they can thrive,” she says. “In doing that, they would naturally build their self-esteem.”

The camp would involve health role models, starting with health and wellness professionals and other, such as Prince George Cougars players.

“I want to get all the success stories, maybe they’re local, or maybe Canada-wide,” she says. “My grand vision to hopefully get the NHL involved and reach out to young boys.”

Starting small is the key and that’s why she wants to share her story … in hopes it will inspire someone to tell their story, which will, hopefully inspire someone else to tell their story.

“One story doesn’t change the world, but everybody has a story and your one story can change whoever is listening,” she says.

She took that message to the Healthier You Expo on the weekend and was a speaker there. She will also be meeting with women at Elizabeth Fry. She is encouraging her clients to tell their stories and encourages others to do the same, either through her, through social media, or just to someone they know.

“We’re Canada, we care about each other,” she says. “We support one another. Basically what we can do right now, today, is care about each other, speak out truth and hope that it will change the lives of millions.”