Erin Kelley

Posted on 05 September 2018

(SISS)  Hi Erin where are you from and where are you currently spending your time?  (Erin Kelley)  Hello! Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio and I currently live near the University of Cincinnati’s campus.  (SISS)  What was one of the hardest things that you had to go through? What advice would you give someone going through the same struggle?  (Erin Kelley)  When I was seven years old I developed Emetophobia, a really intense phobia of throwing up after catching the stomach flu. I can’t even explain how much it affected my life. In 3rd grade I was afraid to eat because I associated food with vomiting. I ended up losing 40 lbs in less than 2 months. In 5th grade I developed severe OCD where I performed rituals in order to avoid throwing up. In high school I developed agoraphobia and had to be put on “half days” where I would only go to class for 3 hours at a time.  Nothing in my life has been harder than that. I feared my own body and what it was capable of. It felt like I was constantly at battle with myself; however, it made me incredibly strong. I would tell anyone that struggles with a phobia, or really any mental disorder, that they are stronger than they realize. Nothing, no heartbreak or abuse or setback, is as hard as fighting your own brain every second of the day. Once you overcome or learn to cope with your illness, you will tackle other obstacles with confidence and strength. Use it to your advantage and let it fuel your work ethic. If you can deal with THAT, you can deal with Erin Kelleyanything!  (SISS)  University of Cincinnati, dedicated to fitness, bringing awareness to Anxiety, depression and OCD #SISS Tell us more, who is @Erin_E_Kelley and what are you most proud of?  (Erin Kelley)  So the six months my freshman and sophomore year of college I lost a total of 55 pounds by adopting a healthy lifestyle. I just wanted to take care of my body, but then I realized in doing so, my body started to take care of me. The more time I spent in the gym, the easier it was for me to cope with my depression. The more I fueled my body with the right foods, the more my body fueled my brain to fight my anxiety. It felt like I found the secret to overall wellness and joy! So many psychologists played around with medication and therapy (which are amazing I’m definitely not dissing either of these tools), but they never suggested I just try to be healthier. Our brain is an organ! Like of course I should be feeding and exercising it for it to work properly?! Why did no one tell me this? There’s an important link between physical and mental health and my goal is to help those who are struggling understand this. I’m most proud of how well I know my body after this mental and physical health journey. I know when my hormones are off balance, when my serotonin is too high, when my dopamine is too low, when my body is getting sick, and even the day I’ll start my cycle. I’m incredibly in tune with my body after taking so much time to learn how and why I operate the way I do. I urge everyone to become experts in themselves because it truly empowers you to make the right decisions for your needs.  (SISS)  One year from now what do you hope to have accomplished (business or personal)?   (Erin Kelley)  I plan to launch a one on one coaching plan that teaches Flexible Fitness and overall wellness. I want to help people, especially collegiate women, become experts in their own bodies so that they can become the healthiest, most productive versions of themselves. In 12 months, I want to have at least positively influenced 5 lives.  (SISS)  How dedicated are you to fitness?  What is your fitness goal?  On your body, what is your favorite body part and what is your least favorite?  (Erin Kelley)  So I used to be 110% dedicated to fitness. I wanted to compete in a figure competition, and honestly I still want to one day, but I sacrificed everything. I sacrificed my social life, my grades, and my mental health. I had no balance in my life, which is why it’s hard to say how “dedicated” I am to fitness now that I do. I think there’s this idea that you have to be SO disciplined and SO motivated all of the time to be considered “fitspo”, or whatever you want to call it. It seems like everyone is competing and sacrificing and pushing and cutting. The fitness industry doesn’t preach balance; however, that’s exactly what so many of us need. I call what I practice “flexible fitness”. MyErin Kelley lifestyle isn’t 100% fitness because I’m a lot more than an athlete. I’m a student, girlfriend, sister, friend, intern, mental health advocate, AND an athlete. I dedicate a part of my life to all of those titles and I can’t say I’m all fitness all the time. I’m dedicated to fitness when I want and need to be, but my dedication changes from day to day. I think it’s okay to have a healthy balance, and I think it should be encouraged more. My fitness goal is to maintain for a while. I just finished a pretty major body recomp for the second time and I’m really happy with how my body looks and feels. I’d like to try to maintain this for a while and enjoy my newfound balance. I love my shoulders, which I feel like is such a weird thing for a girl to love about her body- but I do. I’m most insecure about my stomach, but I’m still happy with where I’m at right now.  (SISS)  What makes you the happiest? What is fun for you?  (Erin Kelley)  This is tough. People make me really happy. I’m an extrovert to a fault and seeing people smile makes my day. Spending time with my family, my boyfriend, and my best friends will always be my favorite thing to do. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone is a weird form of fun for me. I really enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something I’m uncomfortable with. I think that’s why I like the gym so much- like it doesn’t feel good or comfortable to lift heavy weight, but it feels incredible to hit a PR.  (SISS)  What were your best/worst subjects in school?  (Erin Kelley)  I love school and I love learning. I did pretty well in all subjects, which is such a blessing since I had to miss so much school due to my panic disorder and phobia. My best subject was, and definitely still is, math. I almost majored in engineering. My worst subject was probably history, even though I find it super interesting.  (SISS)  Got a Story to Tell? Can you tell us a quick story or moment/night of a relationship experience, a lesson learned? (This could be funny or serious).  (Erin Kelley)  Before starting high school, I was so nervous that I would fall up the stairs. I thought it was comical how much I thought about it and I would joke about how clumsy I was (and still am). Well the first thing I did on my first day was trip on the first step, forcing me to accidentally grab the boy’s butt in front of me for balance. Thoughts become actions. What you put into the Universe comes true, so you have to make it positive.  (SISS)  How do you deal with disappointment? How do you Keep Going?  (Erin Kelley)  One of the fundamental theories of DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) is radical acceptance. It means that instead of wishing something had been different, avoiding a pain point or praying something away, you just accept it and you accept the pain associated with it. I try to practice this when I’m severely disappointed. I allow myself to feel what I am feeling. I accept the truth of my situation and the emotions that come alongside it. This has made me a more sensitive person, because I no longer feel the need to mask my emotions with a “tough” appearance- but I’m ok with that. I let myself feel sadness, anger, depression, and so on because any emotion is valid. However, our behavior is what shapes our future. I choose to fix the problem after I’m done grieving. You have to Erin Kelleyaccept and feel a situation before you can fix it. But you have to fix it. Don’t dwell. I keep going because what other option is there? Our situations and problems are only as bad as how we respond to them. Making positive choices after disappointing events is honestly one of the easiest ways to move on and create happiness.  (SISS)  What is your superpower?  (Erin Kelley)  My vulnerability. Ask me anything; I’m an open book. I have no shame, regret nothing, and have no problem sharing the dark parts about me. I’ve found that this usually comforts people when they can relate to something I’ve done or dealt with. After they’re comfortable, they finally ask for the help they need or they finally stop regretting/hating whatever happened. I love helping people by teaching them the lessons I’ve learned the hard way.  (SISS)  What is your weakness and what do you do to overcome it?  (Erin Kelley)  I’m easily distracted. I set goals for myself but will be side tracked by current obligations and responsibilities. I’m a goal-oriented person, not a detail oriented person, and this often makes finishing projects difficult for me. I’ve learned to overcome this by being incredibly self-aware. I know when I’m becoming distracted, making excuses, or ignoring the details. It’s still hard for me to refocus, but at least I can catch myself. To be honest, I’m still working on this.  (SISS)  Can you tell us four things people might not know about you?  (Erin Kelley)  I’m partially deaf. I had a tumor removed when I was 10 that crushed most of the bones in my right ear. Luckily it wasn’t malignant as the doctor’s had speculated. I hate biscuits and Brussels sprouts. They’re the only two foods I won’t eat. I dated a mall cop. I danced competitively for 12 years and stopped when I didn’t make the dance team in college because of my body type. (SISS)  Can you tell us where else can our readers follow your daily inspiration?  (Erin Kelley)  Absolutely! Follow @erin_e_kelley on Instagram for mental, physical, and spiritual health tips. I’ll be posting some free guides here shortly, but more importantly you can always message me for advice or a friendly conversation.  (SISS)  What’s your favorite quote?  (Erin Kelley)  My mom just sent this to me recently, “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” That’s very much how I view my life, especially my battle with Emetophobia.  (SISS)  At Smart is so sexy we love to see women who are thriving in their career or business.  What are you most passionate about?  (Erin Kelley)  Definitely helping people become happier and more fulfilled. I think the easiest way to go about this is by achieving balance and health. I JUST started chasing my dream career, but at the end of my life I want to say that I changed peoples’ lives for the better.  (SISS)  Who was the most influential person in your life and why?  (Erin Kelley)  My mother. She was the Erin Kelleyonly person who really went through my Emetophobia with me. We struggled together. She knows me almost as well as I know myself, and she has always pushed me to do better and be better. She had an abusive upbringing and could have let some things destroy her, but instead she became the most loving and hardworking woman I know.  (SISS)  Where were you five years ago? What advice would you tell your five years younger self?  (Erin Kelley)  Let’s see, I was about to turn 17 five years ago. I’d tell her that she should spend more time trying to figure herself out, rather than her future college or career. I’d tell her it’s okay not to have everything figured out yet, and that all the drugs and junk food isn’t helping. I’d tell her that she should love herself more, because she is so much stronger than she knows. I’d also tell her that she deserves more than how she lets people treat her, and one day she won’t have to ask for respect, she’ll command it. (SISS)  Can you take us through a typical day? From Waking up to going to bed, Can you give us a play by play of a typical day for you?  (Erin Kelley)  So I just started my fourth year in college. Typically I wake up around 5:30, throw on clothes, and head to the gym. I’ll spend about 30 minutes doing cardio and an hour to 90 minutes lifting. After, I shower and I listen to a business, health, or positivity podcast while I get ready. I eat breakfast (eggs, oatmeal or pancakes, sometimes yogurt, and an abnormal amount of coffee). I’ll head to class for a while; I’m taking 18 credit hours so that takes up a majority of my day. Then I go to work where I eat a packed lunch and drink another absurd amount of coffee. After 5, I sometimes have student org meetings. I’m a member of Phi Mu Fraternity and the Student Alumni Council on campus. If I don’t have meetings, I’ll head to the library or my favorite coffee shop to get even more work done. I’ll spend time on homework, research for my assistant researcher position, or the business I want to launch (usually the latter). I try to see my friends at this time too because I crave human interaction. At night, I’ll try to get some chores done, but usually I’ll end the day with a glass of wine and an episode of Parks and Rec before I head to bed and read. My goal is to be asleep before midnight since I get up pretty early.  (SISS)  Erin KelleyWhat is your favorite book and/or the latest one you’ve read?  (Erin Kelley)  I’m currently reading Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. I’m currently on a journey to find my faith and it’s really helping me understand my own spirituality.  (SISS)  What would be a good theme song for your life?  (Erin Kelley)  “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit is my all time favorite song and a pretty suitable theme song. If anyone is ever in my way, 90% of the time it’s myself and my own limiting beliefs.  (SISS)  When do you feel the sexiest?  (Erin Kelley)  The day right after I shave my entire body. I just feel clean afterwards and usually will take extra care of myself for the days following. Also, anytime I’m kicking major ass in the gym I feel empowered and incredibly sexy.  (SISS)  Is there someone on social media that inspires you and is a great follow?  (Erin Kelley)  Rachel Turner, @StrongChicksRock on Instagram. She has taught me so much and has become such a positive influence in my life. I also just hired her on as a business coach to help launch my coaching program.  (SISS)  What does Smart is so Sexy mean to you?  (Erin Kelley)  To me, Strong is so Sexy means that the most attractive thing you can do is to educate yourself: on yourself, others, and our planet. It means that learning about both sides of an argument and remaining open minded is a beautiful characteristic to possess. It means that true confidence comes from knowledge of oneself.  (SISS)  Thank you so much Erin, you are very inspiring, Keep Going #SISS

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