I clearly remember sitting with Lizzie one evening chatting like we usually do about anything and everything. Our conversation took an unlikely turn when we started opening up about body image insecurities. A conversation neither of us felt comfortable sharing before for risk of being told – you are naturally lean what could you possibly be concerned about? We were both shocked to realise that we both had experienced discomfort in our bodies. After that conversation we both felt a huge relief. We knew right then and there, the value of feeling like we weren’t alone in our struggles. And we soon realised that the struggles female athletes share, are all too common, body image being just one of them.
This led us to create KaMana Community. Personally, I was already presenting to schools and sports clubs on the topic of menstrual cycle health. This was more of a science-based presentation, but I knew these girls craved more. Whenever I mentioned body image issues, confidence or restrictive eating, the girls would sit upright and alert, soaking it all in. No one I was aware of was speaking to them about this stuff.
Lizzie and I soon started to share raw and real conversations on Jolyn Australia’s Instagram. The feedback we received was overwhelming and slightly alarming. For example, the results of a Jolyn Instagram poll with over 3000 followers interacting showed:
95% said they wanted to:
- Change something about their body
- Felt self-conscious about their body
- Compared their body to others
We need to talk about this! In today's world, it is increasingly difficult to be a young female athlete. There is overwhelming pressure from social media, peers, coaches and themselves. By sharing stories and advice, we want athletes to feel like they are not alone in their struggles. We are all in this together.
Lizzie and I created KaMana with the mission to celebrate and supports young female athletes so they can be confident in their skin and can chase their dreams. Lizzie and I have experienced so much joy through sport. The experiences sport has given us has been incredible, from feeling empowered from finishing a hard swim set, to overcoming injury, to travelling the world competing for our country. We have made so many long-lasting positive memories along the way and learnt countless life lessons. We want all female athletes to experience this.
Unfortunately, we have seen too many girls quit sport due to an overall lack in confidence, body image issues, self-doubt, restrictive eating and physiological issues which can lead to an increase in injury risk and reduction in performance among others things. Being a healthy athlete is so important. But what is a healthy athlete?
Our interactive workshops explore important topics that aren’t spoken enough about, they are designed to equip girls with the knowledge, skills and confidence to reach their potential.
Regardless of what you look like majority of young girls in Australia experience body image insecurities. Often these body image insecurities lead to restrictive eating in attempt to lose weight or change the way we look. We explore what makes all our bodies unique, and break down the impacts of social media and comparison on the way we perceive ourselves. Together we learn how to be kinder to ourselves and build confidence.
Our nutrition workshop is not your average nutrition talk. We highlight the importance of eating food to help fuel our training and racing. As food is so intricately tied to body image it can sometimes be hard to see the positives food can give us. We share our journey with food and focus on how to develop a positive relationship with food. We love food! But know this relationship can sometimes be complicated.
Female athletes and menstrual cycle health
It is so important to understand what a healthy menstrual cycle is and what is normal. Gone are the days where women cheered when they lost their period thinking they are super fit (this is not okay). And gone are the days when athletes were put straight on ‘the pill’ to manage and skip their period. We now know so much more about the female athletes and we are determined to share what we know. I wish I knew this stuff when I was younger. This workshop focuses on understanding what a healthy menstrual cycle is and also how we can track our cycle to potentially help with training, recovery, wellbeing and performance.
Goals and healthy habits
When I was younger, I struggled to believe in my athletic ability. I looked up to the athletes I competed against and thought how impressive they were and I genuinely thought – I will never be that good. In our KaMana goal setting workshop, we explore the power of having dream goals and building self-belief. We also explore the challenges of dealing with the disappointing feeling of not achieving your goals. The shame associated with defeat is rarely spoken about either. This workshop also includes our tips on the little things each athlete can do to give themselves the best opportunity to succeed. As an Exercise Physiologist and athlete, I have been obsessed at exploring topics like sleep, nutrition, recovery and keeping a balance.
This is just the beginning for KaMana, sharing our wisdom and passion to other aspiring female athletes. Lizzie and I would love to help many more girls be inspired to continue with sport, chase their dreams and build confidence along the way.