Theresa Jenn Lopetrone, 35, is our gorgeous February cover model. Here, she reveals all about body image, fitspo and her love of food. 

On contemporary definitions of ‘fitness’ 

Our society has glorified petite waistlines through the use of fat burners, overtraining and Photoshopping. Unfortunately, this standard of ‘fitness’ does not equate to ‘fit’. Somewhere along the way, we decided that chasing these perfected images was more important than focusing on our overall wellbeing. Some women are willing to put their health at risk just to obtain that special number on the scale, a specific placing on stage, or a certain body fat percentage for a photo shoot. It’s best to use that energy towards creating healthy habits that work for you and will prolong your life; this is fitness.

On body image and media

The fitness industry is very similar to the beauty/fashion industry in the sense that whatever is being glamourised and promoted sets the standard for people. However, it is our personal responsibility to stand up for what we believe in and not fall victim to this type of indoctrination. Individually, we can express our thoughts directly to publishers and refrain from comparing ourselves to invented imagery.

On aesthetic ideals

We need to advocate for ourselves and create our own standard of health. The truth is, if you’re not happy within, it doesn’t matter how much weight/body fat you lose; happiness and health are a way of life, not a jean size. I decided to stop allowing the scale to dictate my worth and ditched it for one month. To my surprise I dropped two kilograms in one month just from eating healthy. I didn’t give the scale permission to make me feel insecure or stressed because of some silly number. After a year doing CrossFit, friends asked me if I had lost six to 10 kilos and didn’t believe me when I said I’d only lost two. What had changed dramatically was my body fat percentage.

On measurements   

The scale doesn’t factor in things like body fat loss, so it’s really a bit of a red herring. If you are on transformation journey, take photos of yourself, measure your body, and see how your clothes fit. Otherwise our minds can play tricks on us and we don’t realise how far we’ve come. Sometimes you will take five steps forward and three steps back and that’s part of your journey and your learning process. If you want change to become lifelong, you’ll need to make mistakes and learn from them. You are human, not perfect.

On fitspo 

The key for me making exercise a consistent part of my life was finding exercise I enjoyed, despite disliking all forms of exercise. I tried Pilates, spinning, yoga, running, hiking, cardio machines, circuit training, weight lifting, step classes, aerobics, and finally found CrossFit. For the first time I found an activity that motivated me, that made time fly by, and that mentally and physically challenged me in a fun way. I made a commitment to myself to attend this class three days a week and I even signed up for one-on-one training once a week. I did this for about a year and before I knew it my body had made drastic changes. My pant size went down and I began to see triceps and the beginning stages of abs.

On treat meals 

I think it’s important to eat treats mindfully and really be present with what you are eating so you can fully enjoy it and feel satisfied. I take great pleasure in mindfully eating chocolate and cake. You can’t eat these items on a daily basis, but there is no reason you can’t have one serving on the weekend if you have been consistent with eating clean and being active all week long. The key is to plan what treat you want and what day you will eat your treat. 

On eating clean

After learning from health and fitness magazines how to tweak my diet, I thought it was time to focus on eating food for my health and not for losing weight. 

NEXT: Holly Barker’s cover model secrets>>