Life goes beyond the digits on the scale and your body is capable of so much more. Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Hit Cheryl up on Instagram or Facebook.
Name: Carla Dunareanu (@itsmecarlad)
Occupation: Actress and host
Diet: None. I eat what I want but I make sure if I’ve had a heavy or not-so-healthy meal, I will exercise it off the next day.
Training: I work out about two times a week. I try to do an even amount of cardio and strength training.
Q: You used to be a competitive swimmer.
A: Yes, I was a competitive swimmer from the time I was seven. It started when my family and I moved to Australia from Germany. I come from a family of swimmers so it was always my dream to continue the tradition.
What sports did you get into as you got older?
There were so many. I loved sports so I ended up doing volleyball, track and field, netball, touch rugby, hockey, cycling, roller blading, rock climbing, badminton – the list goes on. You name it, chances are I’ve tried it and loved it.
What does fitness mean to you?
Fitness is definitely a lifestyle. It’s how you navigate your day-to-day by being able to achieve everything you want to, while maintaining a healthy body.
You had scoliosis from a young age, how does that shape your fitness goals?
My fitness goals now are to improve my strength and my lower back as I’ve had scoliosis since I was 15 and that used to lead to a lot of back pain. I want to make sure my body is in good condition for when I hopefully have a child.
What do you think are some of the misconceptions that people have about fitness these days?
It would be that fitness is looking like all the models we see on social media. It’s hard to remind ourselves that we all have different body shapes and that you will never truly be able to 100 per cent look like someone else. While it’s great to be inspired by people of fitness influence, you also need to acknowledge and appreciate your own body and perhaps the limitations it has.
There is no cookie-cutter label as to what is “fit” and what is a “body goal”. I think if you eat healthy and exercise regularly, your body will be in its best shape no matter what it looks like.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
Probably when I was in secondary school. I was never a “skinny” girl and because I’ve always done a sport of some sort, I always had muscles. While physically I felt I had an advantage over a lot of girls my age, visually I wanted to look like the girls who were petite and fair and had great skin. I was also always in the sun training so I was tan and had freckles.
Are you happy with your body now and why?
Absolutely! I love how I look and feel now. I’m so appreciative of my body and how it has allowed me to live a comfortable life up until now. It is healthy, happy and has the ability to do whatever I want it to. I can carry my nieces even though they are 15kg each, I can do full push-ups, I can run a half marathon (obviously with training) and I think my clothes sit nicely on me.
I think a large part of the contentedness comes from being happy. I don’t diet because I know it makes me super grumpy. I work out because I know it gives me endorphins and perks up my day. Now, more than ever I listen to my body and what it wants and needs at a particular time. Pushing yourself too hard can cause more harm than good and while you may like what you see in the mirror from all that training, inside you may feel unhappy. Life is about balance.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
All the time! I think family is always the biggest contributor to that. It seems to be really common in Asian culture to talk about food (“Have you eaten?”) or the fluctuation of your weight (“Eh you put on weight. Now you look a bit fat”). But I’ve learnt to take it with a pinch of salt because they never say these things to offend. It’s merely an observation.
What advice do you have for people who are struggling to love their bodies?
You’ve only got one. The faster you learn to love and appreciate it, the more time you will have enjoying its abilities! While it may not look like any other body out there, it is unique and special and all your own. Treat it with love and care. It’s like any other relationship you make; the more effort and time you put into it, the more rewards you will reap.