Intentional Well-Being Podcast - Kelsey Ellis
Kelsey is an award-winning Body Positive Health and Wellness Coach and the owner of Healthy With Kelsey. She operates a home-based business in Vancouver British Columbia on a mission to help folx take the shame out of their wellness game through joyful movement, making peace with food and stepping into their personal power so they can live whole-hearted and fulfilling lives.
Hey everybody, welcome to the intentional wellbeing podcast I am your host and guide on this
particular journey Dianne Bondy and today I am very excited to talk to somebody I admire and
follow on the ‘gram who’s got incredible ideas. Healthy with Kelsey, fellow Canadian, hey girl
Hey, thanks so much for having me today Dianne, I’m so grateful to be here.
Dianne: Dianne Bondy: (05:55)
I am grateful you are here. I was just checking out your Instagram this morning, and I saw your,
uh, your promotion that you were doing with Canadian tire, cuz I was like, Ooh, I want that
weight tree in the back there. You know, I love that you’re forward facing in fitness space as a
black woman with a traditional, if I dare say it kind of black body that is emulated throughout the
beauty standards and somebody who has embraced body positive fitness in a really wonderful
and intentional way. And I’m so grateful to have you on the podcast. So I wanna how you got
started on this journey. Like what inspired you to step into the fitness space and the second
questions? What are some of the barriers of some of the things that have showed up for you as
a black woman in the fitness space?
Uh, absolutely. There’s been a long journey to kind of get to where I am now. It happened over
the course, I would say have 10 years or so. Really. I came outta college as a college dropout. I
had crazy anxiety, um, actually traveling from Canada, going to the United States on a softball
scholarship and just the huge differentiation between being Canadian, being in the us, being on
the west coast versus being on the east coast, um, being in a school that was predominantly
white, a white Catholic school and just a lot of bullying and challenges that I faced through my
college career. I ended up coming home early and then of course my parents were like, well, if
you’re not in college then you need to get a job. And I was like, sure, well I don’t know what I
need to do with my life. And so, you know, I had my, my retail jobs and things like that and I had
always been an athlete my entire life. Uh, so when I saw an ad in Craigslist for being a personal
trainer, it popped out on the page to me and I was like, you know what? I think I could do that.
And I had no idea about, you know, what I wanted to bring to that space at that time. It just
seemed at, you know, the ripe age of 20 years old, like a good idea to kind of step into that. It
seemed from a financial standpoint better than being in retail. And you know, I started in that
space and I became a trainer and I worked in a traditional fitness environment in a big box gym.
And through my course of my career at the big box gym, it was about nine years that I had
worked there. And I really only …..gym and it really was just your traditional like same fitness
messaging, all the down weight loss, because that’s what is predominantly sold to women. And,
you know, as a trainer, I followed in the footsteps of what they teach you there, which is weigh
your client, do your body compositions, do take their measurements, be very invasive, um, and
you know, tell them how much their body fat is and then they’re gonna be upset about it. And
then they’re probably gonna buy more training and they’re probably gonna buy more diet plans
or whatever it was. And I, but you know, I would have people come into my office. I was
required to do it as a trainer, uh, by upper management. And I hated it. I, I hated it so much and
you know, I would kind of, I was like, you don’t have to step on a scale today. Like, we’ll just say
that you did, but whatever. And you know, my clients loved that and I saw, you know, the
difference in them when we were able to really focus on their wellness goals were outside of
what their body weight was. And at that point, you know, I decided I’m gonna break off, I’m
gonna do my own thing. Um, and, uh, when the pan happened, I work because of big box and
clothes. So I really had the time to reevaluate what I wanna do with my life, how I wanna show
up in this space. And that was when healthy was formed and my old company was called
bodylicious so it was been a transition and right. Um, 2017 too, I went back to school to
become, uh, a nutritionist. And when I did that, I also started to incorporate a lot of intuitive
eating into the realm of fitness and bring that language to the table, which people had never
really heard much about at that time and they were, you know, shocked by that you could listen
to your body and you didn’t have to follow a meal plan um, being in the wellness environment.
Yeah. So, you know, combining that with the fitness aspect, it’s really what kind of formed
healthy with Kelsey and the fact that we can move for reasons outside of looks like and for
aesthetic purposes. So that’s kind of how I short longwinded way to where, what I’m doing now,
but, um, in the gym that I was working at too, there was very few people of color.
Dianne Bondy: (10:06)
and for me, you know, I would receive so much my legs so much commentary on my legs. And I
don’t think that this is something that is unique to black women in general, we have very strong,
powerful thighs, and they always shocked by it. And they always loved to make comments
about how they wish they had our buts, um, and you know, for so much
Dianne Bondy: (11:51)
and pay for it too.
and pay for it exactly and pay for, and for so long, I took it as a compliment, but I didn’t realize at
that time in my life, how much really was underneath the surface, I hadn’t done any work of
really understanding, you know, white supremacy role within the fitness industry. And
Dianne Bondy: (11:51)
over the last two years, I have done a lot more work adding into this and really understanding
my own personal implicit bias topics and how I’ve shown up and how I’m receiving comments
and compliments quote unquote, differently. These days is completely changed my perspective
and understanding, and that helped cultivate a more inclusive practice that I have in a more
inclusive space that I.
Dianne Bondy: (11:51)
I love that there’s so many things that you touched on there that I speak to in that when we’re
receiving these compliments, we’re not understanding that these compliments are feeding into
our own internalized self oppression about how we feel about our bodies and how it’s so
interesting to me, how black women are often the beauty standard yet we’re not seen as the
beauty standards. So any of the features that we come about naturally through our culture are
duplicated in whiteness and whiteness is celebrated for that. Whereas black blackness is
demonized for that. So I think really, I didn’t really understand all of that too, until I did a deep
dive into the way I felt about my own body. And I very rarely see women of color and black
women in particular in the fitness spaces as fitness leaders. And I think one thing that really
touched my heart is I follow you. And maybe I stalk you a little bit, um, because you are so
creative with your content. You’re so interesting with your content. Uh, when you had posted a
picture in your gym advertising that you were offering services as a personal trainer and to have
other trainers like make fun of your body in that post and for you to hear that, because that
really touched my heart as trainers you would think, or for trainers, you would think that we’re
interested in body diversity. I think it’s a very strange idea that we’re all living up to this
singleized, um, ideal of what a perfect body looks like that is steeped in white supremacy. Like,
you know, our bodies are always modified in some kind of way. And then at the same time
demonized, and that was a really hard thing to do. And was it that you were standing behind
these people who were making these comments about their body? Like how did you hear about
this? And like, I don’t wanna relive any trauma for you, but what, what did that teach you in the
Just off to the side, I don’t know that they had any awareness that I was in the room or maybe
they connect didn’t connect the dots that that person, the poster was me, but I had, was working
with a client in the same room. It was like a fitness studio and the fitness video, my poster was
up on the wall advertising exactly like, you know, my little training thing. And here’s a little bio
about me and they commented all my legs. And for me, that was always my place of where I felt
most insecure about and natural, as you know, as women in the fitness industry, we’re
supposed to have, you know, no lumps, no bumps, cellulite, um, and my legs were the opposite
of that. yeah. And so when I heard that I really internalized that as not being good enough and
that catapulted me, further up the pathway of disordered eating and having disordered thoughts
about my body. And that was really what set off an unhealthy relation. Well, there’s a lot of
things that set off a unhealthy relationship with my fitness in general, but that really took things
to the next level for me. And I think the biggest challenge within the fitness industry is people
have this as trainers don’t listen to their clients, when their clients tell them they have goals
other than changing their body. It’s like, they don’t believe it. Yeah. They don’t believe it. And we
just assume, and then we make choices, um, about, you know, how to build their training
programs or how to build their eating plans or whatever that might be based on their desire for
what they is an underlying desire to still lose weight. So, and yeah, go ahead. Yeah. So I think
it’s just a challenge for trainers to really catch themselves, projecting those biases onto their
clients. And truly listen. Somebody says, because I want to natural in my, I want to move
because I wanted to have more energy, take that for face value and don’t attach your own
projections into that.
Dianne Bondy: (14:51)
And that would only happen if your trainers are doing self-study or if your trainers are aware
that, uh, weight loss is not the goal. And you said something very powerful when it was the
policy of the, you know, of your management and of the gym that you worked at, that we take
these me measurements and that we tap into that emotional unworthiness that we attach to this
measurement, that somehow we are our bodies and what our bodies look like, define our worth
in the world, right? Like that pretty privilege. We talk about the better looking you are, the more
access you have to wealth and opportunity and all those things. And we tap into that on such a
cerebral level that they’re gonna buy more. So that really, um, speaks to me as a person who
teaches yoga, where in the yoga practice, if we’re actually teaching yoga and not just fast, hot
Hoens in a gym, we’re teaching people that what we, that our bodies are an extension of our
divine selves and they don’t need to be fixed. And your whole life’s journey, isn’t about fixing a
body to fit a, uh, a beauty standard that never existed in the first place. And doesn’t take into
consideration the diversity sizes of bodies that bodies of different cultures, ethnicities and colors
are different. And that there’s just no one size fits all kind of model because I’ve done some
reading around, you know, why we do certain exercises in fitness and why it is we choose to do
three sets of 15 and all that kind of stuff. What, I don’t think what a lot of people know is the way
that fitness routines are set up or inherently based on white male goals, not necessarily what
other people are looking for. And moving forward into the fitness space, like you said, Kelsey,
we have to listen to our clients. And the first time I hired a personal trainer as a, uh, adult
woman, um, as a woman with children as a, uh, dare I say, older woman, I had to tell them I
won’t be doing measurements and I won’t be stepping on a scale because I have a history of
disordered eating. I had a raging eating disorder that I nurtured for the better part of 30 years,
and only came to understand my relationship with that eating disorder. When I got pregnant and
my body wasn’t just about me. It was about someone else as well. And that I was more
respectful of that human being. I was caring that I was of my own body, which is really
interesting to me. I had to like unpack that once my body was being shared with someone else,
my intention was I would never wanna her harm that other person. So I need to suspend my
bad behavior. So not only was I aware of this behavior that was detrimental to my wellbeing, but
I wasn’t going to set that baggage or that, you know, that, that video onto my son, who I was
carrying at the time. And then I had to also unpack that, that I don’t think I’m worthy enough to
take care of my body when I’m not, you know, carrying another human being. And I had to really
unpack these toxic messaging. And I know a lot of toxic around fitness comes from gym class. I
don’t know. I recently I read a, a piece around gym class where they literally shame you in gym
class. I don’t know what it was like, where you went to school, but around the sixth grade, we
had to do fitness testing, which incorporated a four minute run, um, doing a number of sit ups,
doing a number of pushups and hanging from a rope for a certain amount of time. And they
measured your fitness based on those activities. And I really think it’s unfortunate because if
you’re in a certain body, maybe you have more upper body strength. Um, maybe if you’re
another body, maybe you have more lower body strength. If you’re an athlete at school already,
if you’re on the soccer team, your cardiovascular fitness is gonna be different from somebody
who maybe does as gymnastics. Like, it’s really interesting that we set these universal
standards. We start very young. We weigh people at school in front of everybody. And then we
wonder why young children, young women, young men, young people, young humans have a
disordered relationship with their body. We’re all like, how did this it’s infuriating.
It is infuriating. I found that been two for people. There has been often two root sources of
where they feel like they’re incompetent when it comes to fitness or wellness, or they’ve had,
you know, a traumatic experience. And one of those you mentioned, which is in school, in, I
remember doing a similar fitness program where, you know, you do four things and then
basically you are determined whether you are considered fit or not, or how bad your fitness is or
how good your fitness is. And I remember that hanging one, we didn’t have to hang from a rope,
but we had to hang from a bar like a chin bar and the whole class, watches while this goes on.
And yes, the other one is with, if you played on a competitive sporting team that intrinsically it is
built in with having to do things like, you know, suicide laps and burpees or wall sits and hold it,
if your team loses, or if you’re the slowest one, catch the ball, or it’s like, you, it attaches where
you’ve had failure, quote, unquote, failure. You missed the ball or you didn’t, you know, get the
shot in, attaching that with now punishment. So people start to associate exercise,
Dianne Bondy: (20:28)
Yes. Yeah. And so being a athlete my entire life, I was always subjected to that, you know,
running laps over and over and I hated running, believe it or not, I played soccer and I hated
running. And I really deteriorated my relationship with running as an adult because I felt like I
had to do it versus I got to do it. And so I would attach these goals. Like I have to run for a
certain distance or at a certain speed for it to count. And so I, I hated doing it. And then I
realized as I was older and I couldn’t make my own, you know, quote unquote, rule running, I
wanted to run for five minutes. I could, if I wanted to stop and walk, I could, I started to create a
new relationship with running and I started to enjoy it more when I got to set the tone of it and
not have to do it in a competitive group where I’m just trying to keep up with everybody else. I’m
five foot two. I got short legs, I’m strong as hell, but I’m not a great runner. I’m fine with that.
Dianne Bondy: (21:19)
I’m giving you the circle clap. Cuz I’ve got my foot two and I’ve got a big boo and heavy legs and
it takes a while to get my momentum forward, but I can do it. I, I ran a half, I ran two half
marathons, two summers ago, inadvertently. I didn’t mean to run two. Uh, I just, my, my running
partner at the time D was like, oh, like, Ooh, Lemon’s doing this. Do you wanna run? I’m like, ah,
we’re all trained up. Why don’t we do it? And then we run the Detroit half because that’s how I
was managing my, um, anxiety, um, at the height of the pandemic. But I love what you say
about that. I love how you speak about how we directly connect fitness with being punitive to our
Dianne Bondy: (22:04)
When we make a mistake, when you miss the goal, when you miss the catch, when you do that,
all of a sudden you have to do this, this work and it’s like shaming on a whole level with
everybody else. So I think it’s important that we name that there is fitness trauma, that there is
trauma in these spaces. Absolutely. That develop into a very disordered relationship with your
body. yeah, go ahead.
So I think, that was the other big contributing factor to that too, is using a form of punishment for
what you ate. That’s the other contributing factor is that we, yeah, we attach our worthiness to
eating either good or clean or eating, you know, junky foods and then being bad. And then
feeling like we have to use fitness as a way to make up for it. That because fitness has been
sold to us as, as this calculation, as if we can just do this math equation for our a body and we
go, you know, calories in and calories out. And if you wanna lose, you have to burn more than
you take in. And it, it doesn’t work like that. That is such an old way of thinking.
Dianne Bondy: (22:55)
It leaves out the fact that we are ever evolving human beings with organ systems that are
always changing. And what you need yesterday does not determine what you need today. You
know, you’re stressed where you are in your cycle. There’s so many things that change what
you need every day,
Dianne Bondy: (23:46)
how old you are. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. Everything. Absolutely. I’m glad that we’re looking at this more holistically and I
didn have this full understanding and still a lot of trainers out there with this mindset.
Dianne Bondy: (23:47)
Absolutely. I’m glad that we’re looking at this more holistically and I didn have this full
understanding and still a lot of trainers out there with this mindset. I would even argue that
there’s the majority of trainers out there have this mindset that calories in versus calories out. I
have learned, I had a dramatic weight loss in the last five years and it was completely due to
illness and I, and that changed my whole perspective of the world and how my body worked.
And there is a correlation, not a causation with disordered eating and thyroid disease. We’ve
seen some things that have happened. And so I developed a hyperactive thyroid. So all of a
sudden I’m eating so much and my body is just losing weight and everybody is congratulating
me. And I’m not even acknowledging that it’s happening. And I’m feeling sweaty and tired. And
my blood pressure is like 160 over 90. Like I’m two seconds away from stroking out and people
are, all people can tell me is how proud there are of me that I’m losing weight and I’m not doing
anything. I’m actually getting up in the middle of the night and driving too, the nearest drive
through and eating an entire meal the middle of the night because I’m so freaking hungry. And
yet this weight is falling off of me. And so that really taught me that hormones plays a large part
in how your body, um, works its metabolism like that. I, I, you know, and cuz that little thyroid
gland in your throat control so many things and I had no idea it that really, it really clicked with
me that all the stuff that I’ve ever been taught by trying to control my body or punish my body
was garbage right. Was absolute garbage. And when people were absolute, constantly on
Instagram and social media, every space I went, everybody was constantly congratulating me
so much so that I did alive that I did videos to tell people, stop congratulating me for this
perceived weight loss because I’m sick. I came really close to having a heart attack and dying
because of a condition I had. And everybody just wanted to congratulate me on being thin and
people are thinner and people, um, that I talked to online about this were having the same
conversations around when they were dealing with breast cancer or they were dealing with a,
like a, a, a, a serious chronic illness. And one of the side effects of that serious chronic illness
was weight loss. And I had people saying things like, I wish I could have hyperthyroidism for a
month. And I’m like, no, you don’t. You really, really don’t, it’s a horrible existence and
experience. And I think we are so conditioned that weight loss is the end goal for everything that
people are willing to have a near fatal disease in order to achieve weight loss
It reminds me a lot of, you know, clients who have had, who are struggling with their mental
health and are taking, you know, antidepressants or antipsychotic medications. And one of the
side effects of that medication is weight loss and how thrilled they are about that. And I think to
myself, it’s not about that. It’s about managing your mental health and that should not even be
an option on the table. And I feel like a lot of them have doctors who have said, well, you know,
Hey, Hey, this medication, and then they’re scared to stop using it because they don’t want that
benefit to stop. And it’s just like perceived benefit it’s yeah. For received benefit. And, you know,
you mentioned something earlier, too, that reminded me of the fact that I always tell my clients
that diet culture is something that problem in the first place and then sells you the solution.
Dianne Bondy: (26:31)
That doesn’t six of the time. Sorry, go ahead.
Yeah. And exactly. So when I look, look at like the systems in place for, you know, the fitness in
industry and this applies to nutrition, this applies to anything within the wellness space really is
let’s create this perceived, you know, insecurity for you and then tell you the solution to it. So
when we talk about those body compositions, it’s a Sy you do it on your first session with your
trainer. That’s why the, they walk you through a questionnaire on your first day there, because
they’re gonna be able to upsell you based on the fact that you’re gonna be so disappointed and
feeling insecure in your body once you do that. So they just wanna get you through the door
often, they’ll offer it for free. You don’t even, Hey.
Dianne Bondy: (27:25)
Hey. Right, right.
Once you step on this scale, now you’re more likely to buy into the solution quote, unquote
solution. Right. So, yeah, it’s interesting to me. And I think for me, one of the biggest things I’ve
learned that has kept me going in this space is reminding myself, like I refuse to be like paw in
the giant scheme thing. You know what I mean? I refuse to keep falling into the trap of diet
culture over and over again, because it’s the same vicious cycle. This
Dianne Bondy: (28:15)
mm-hmm And there’s a reason why weight Watchers has a lifetime membership. And if
anybody, any reason to question that , there’s a reason that’s a perfect, you know, something
you can find right out there in the open that basically says this doesn’t work, but you’re gonna
keep it. So I don’t know what more proof you need.
And there’s a reason why weight Watchers has a lifetime membership. And if anybody, any
reason to question that , there’s a reason that’s a perfect, you know, something you can find
right out there in the open that basically says this doesn’t work, but you’re gonna keep it. So I
don’t know what more proof you need.
Dianne Bondy: (29:12)
exactly. And then the idea of weight Watchers, rebranding, as WW, as a wellness entity, as a
lifestyle brand, we are onto you. We are not fooled by your level of bullshit because I find people
buy into that. Whenever somebody is caught doing something inappropriate or wrong, I find big
companies. The first thing they do is rebrand. Let’s rebrand and distance ourself from our
previous bad behavior. And that’s not acknowledge your previous bad behavior. Let’s not speak
to the bigger issues at hand. Let’s just rebrand repackage and keep, um, you know, and keep
selling this garbage. And this leads me to my next question. I have a hard time with wellness
versus wellbeing, and that’s why this podcast is called the intentional wellbeing podcast,
because I think the wellness is industry has really be been co-opted by white supremacy and
wellness for targeted that mostly white women and missing out a whole demographic of people,
of color, bipo, black and indigenous people of color who also need to be in a wellness space
where they’re not being criticized for their bodies. So to you, what is, is the difference between
wellness and wellbeing? If you perceive one?
That’s a good question I think I wellness really being the industry in itself.
Dianne Bondy: (29:54)
and that could be, you know, that could be product that could be service. That could be, you
know, a, a spa day. Usually I feel like wellness a, that is something that is sold that you
experience in your body.
Dianne Bondy: (30:13)
Yes, one hundred percent.I’m giving the circle clap because that’s a hundred percent.true and
wellbeing can be, can be priceless. And what I mean, priceless. I mean, it’s not a commodity. I
think wellness is a commodity and I think wellbeing is an intentional, um, reflection on yourself.
And I just, I, I had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to the students of the Diaspora today at
a local high school. And the majority of my students were black women. And I was talking to
them about how important it is. A lot of them are activists in the space of, you know, equity and,
uh, diversity. And I said to them, the importance of taking care of your wellbeing, we don’t need
to have a lot of money to go spend $200 on a facial or go spend on a manicure pedicure. If
that’s not within your reach or your wheelhouse, that wellbeing can be taking a walk around your
block, if you feel safe to do so, wellbeing can be taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon,
which I think of as an incredible luxury, because I don’t have a lot of time in the middle of a day.
But if I could take a nap at two o’clock, which is kind of my burnout time, it’s kind of when my
brain is like, okay, we’ve already been up for like nine hours and we need some rest. Like to me,
that contributes to me feeling better about myself that contributes me, elevating my energy and
elevating my awareness. And once I’ve taken that rest, then I can feel empowered to redirect
that newfound energy into fighting the system. And that’s how I look at wellbeing. Like I think
Do you follow the nap industry.
Dianne Bondy: (31:43)
I do. I think the nap industry.
Of course like the best possible way, like fight the system is to rest, not contribute to take time,
rest and redirect that energy.
Dianne Bondy: (31:55)
And you’re tired that fight fight work. It’s true. Exhausted. And I think that’s part of the challenge.
It’s like, you know, when we are constantly type with our body, when we’re constantly
preoccupied with the fears and of scarcity in the world that we live in, people don’t have the
capacity or the energy, their threshold is so low, they don’t have the energy to advocate to fight,
to change, make change. And I think that’s part of, you know, the suppress no suppression in a
way of people speaking about, you know, some of these systems that are really detrimental to
our health, if we.
Dianne Bondy: (32:29)
you know, sick and tired, then they’re not gonna have the capacity and energy sick and
medicated. We’re not gonna have the capacity and energy to,
Dianne Bondy: (32:35)
to push back, push back yeah.
To push back. And that’s part of that rage that I have that in that I’m like, I am not gonna
continue to keep being part of the system in this way. And my goal is to help, you know, by
speaking up and bring people on board who also feel the same way, who no longer stand for
these systems to operate in the ways that they have have been that have been so talked
Dianne Bondy: (33:06)
So detrimental today, when we were doing our, uh, movement practice, I’ve really been
redesigning exercise because for some people, exercise has a real trigger point. Like I have to
exercise as opposed to I get to move my body. Right. And you made mention earlier today
around the analogy of running that you don’t have to run an eight minute mile or a nine minute
mile, or, you know, whatever it is that you, you run a six minute kilometer, you can just go out
there for run and you can stop whenever. And, and it counts. And I always tell people, and I got
this from Louise green, big fit girl. Who’s actually out in BC with you as well. That it’s not a all or
nothing. It is all or something. And just giving yourself an opportunity to remove movement as
being pure punitive. And I’ve been starting to re like kind of Reig or rethink of exercise as joyful,
intentional move. So I do squats a lot. Do I like squats? No. Am I joyful when I’m doing squats?
No, but do I need to do squats to keep my kneecaps on my knees? Because I have that, um,
displacement of the kneecap, my kneecap gravitates to one side and my physiotherapist is like,
unfortunately squats will help with that. And so I do them because I know it’s an investment in
my knees. I know it’s an investment in my future self.
Dianne Bondy: (34:31)
Uh, so that’s an intentional movement for me. What I love the most. And she’s in the room here
is my bike Spinderella. I bought her at the beginning of the pandemic, cuz I’m like, wait, I can’t
go to spring class. What am I gonna do? I told my husband, I’m buying a spin bike. I’m getting a
Peloton app. And I’m spinning cuz I refuse to pay $3,000 for a bike. Okay. I’m just saying that I
can’t take outside, but I can’t take outside. I’m sorry. But no, I’m sorry. But no, so yeah. So I
have, I have the, uh, the hack, you know, and so it’s so incredible to ride that bike for the joy of
it. And I think that’s one of the first videos I saw you were on that bike, doing that. Um, the, I
reshared it. And I’m like, oh my God, Kelsey is me. I am Kelsey, cuz I’m exactly that person on
the bike. Like I am singing, I am happy. And when I go to classes, spin classes just started to
back up here in Ontario. When I go back to class, I’m the only one screaming, hooting and
hollering. I take my hair down. I have hairography with my spin class. Like it is a joyful moment
and never in a billion years. Did I think riding a bike to nowhere would be such a fun experience.
Right? And then I get to beat consistent with that because people always ask me, how do you
say so inspired? I don’t, I’m not inspired. I saw this on Instagram. I’m consistent because I know
that getting on my bike and doing some kind of joyful movement offsets my absolute hate hatred
of, of squats, death by squats, I call it that joyful intentional movement is an investment current
self as well as my future self. And for me at this age, in my life, my mother was on blood
pressure medication and had heart disease, had her heart disease had started. So I’m thinking
to myself, I wanna break that cycle for myself. So I’m gonna continue with my, with taking care
of my body so that at 80 I’m able cuz I’m gonna be traveling at 80, just so you know that. So I
can lift up my 35 pound carry on cuz I don’t know how to pack light and put it in the overhead
bin at 80, at 80, I wanna be able to get on the floor and play with my grandchildren. If I have any
at 80, at 80, I wanna be able to, you know, still go out there and push the lawn around my lawn.
So these are investments in my future self. So that also aligns with that intentional movement
and that joyful movement is that getting on the bike and singing along to whatever song is going
on, doing the Beyonce ride, you know, doing the JC ride, doing the nineties hip hop ride and just
loving every minute of it and inadvertently getting a workout. The workout is completely
I love that. You know, what’s interesting. I’ve had clients before where I’ve recommended hard
for them initially is to cover the metrics. So ride your bike, cover the metrics. Yes. And pull that
towel off at the end. So, you know, notice them, I searching or observing them, just notice what
they look like and then do it in a class where you do watch the metrics and notice that they’re
either very similar or generally they’re higher when you don’t, you’re not focused on them all the
time. You’re thinking how hard this is. You’re just getting to move to it. Cuz you can be a lot
more consistent with it rather than I know for myself when it’s like the instructor says go hard. It,
I go all of effort and then I can barely pedal for the next song.
Dianne Bondy: (37:46)
So it’s like at the end of the day, if I just, you know, go kind of moderate the whole time, it’s just
as same as same outcome output would’ve same outcome similar. And I would’ve enjoyed it a
Dianne Bondy: (37:55)
I remember when I used to belong to a spin studio here in town, I would cover the metrics all the
time because you know, they would give you, okay, your power should be here and your, your
cadence should be here. And we’re looking to work at this heart rate and I would just put the
towel right over everything. And when the coach got off the bike and would walk around, I’d go
leave that towel. I’m not here for that. I’m not here for the metrics. I’m here for the joy of the ride.
I’m here because I get to move because being able to work out and being able to participate in
able bodied fitness is a real privilege.
Dianne Bondy: (38:31)
There are so many of us out here. Yeah. That don’t get to move our bodies on command in a
way that we, we have full control of. And so I like to be in awe and in relationship with my body
as a, as opposed to fighting my body. And I always tell everybody, genetics plays a role
environment, plays a role, attitude plays a role. But at the end of the day, mother nature will
always win. There’s no fighting your at the end, you can do coming community with it. Yes. So
why not? We, our whole lives shouldn’t be around changing what we look like. Because like you
said before, that distracts us from being disruptive. That distracts us from being a rebel with the
cause, which is breaking rules that need to be broken, which is what you did at work by saying
you don’t have to of step on the scale, even though management requires it. I’m gonna tell you
it’s not required here.
Dianne Bondy: (39:27)
I think that’s wonderful. I love women who are rebellious.So as a black woman in the fitness
industry, what are some of the barriers that you butted up against? What are some of the
Dianne Bondy: (39:35)
Personally, personally, or professionally?
Dianne Bondy: (39:39)
Oh, I think one of the biggest barrier has been professionally is building trust. Oh that’s because
I think people to white trainers and that’s what we see a lot of when they go, yeah. You two, for
example, I started a YouTube channel earlier this year and every time I type in, you know,
fitness workout or 20 minute dumbbell strength class, all it is is just algorithms are white traders
for pages percent. Anybody who looks like me, I don’t see anybody who ever takes nobody
sweats. like, yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. But I’m over here laying on my floor. Like I, so, you know,
like, does anybody else feel this way when they’re, you know, and I think to myself, you know,
it’s so hard because I’m so, I’m so buried under all of this. And then when I’m buried and I have,
you know, low views or whatever people take that as I don’t, I’m not as good, good. And that’s
not true at all. It’s just, I haven’t had the opportunity or the exposure compared to my fellow,
other white trainers that has been a struggle. Um, both online, offline is, is trusted. I think that
can be honestly, in any industry, as a black person,
Dianne Bondy: (41:00)
if you have a product to sell, if you have sunscreen or a, a makeup brand or you are going to
have more barriers to overcome with your product because cultivating that trust is range.
Dianne Bondy: (41:15)
inherently. Absolutely. Even if you have the best product in the world,
Dianne Bondy: (41:20)
it’s true. It’s true. I found the same thing. Oh no. I found the same thing. I’ve had the same thing.
So I created a YouTube channel maybe a couple years ago when my first book came out, I I’ve
always kind of had a YouTube channel, but I took it seriously and became more about posting
content cuz that’s the thing with the YouTube channel is consistency. Right? Remain, always
creating that content. And I noticed people like yoga with Adrian had like millions of views and
doing all this stuff and I’m like, okay, I know I I’m a, a good instructor. I know I could put this out
there, but it wasn’t until she, I actually mentioned me right after everybody was really activated
around the death and the murder of George Floyd when white folks were sharing their pages
with us, bipo people doing us, a favor, being performative, however you wanna call it. And yoga
with Adrian gave me a shout out. And the minute she gave me a shout out, I came up to
thousand, you know, subscribers in a minute. Right. And then from there I kind of stalled right?
Once that whole let’s do the social justice thing for five minutes and show people, we actually
cared for five min. I knew it was gonna pass. And I knew there was gonna be backlash cuz
that’s always how these things work out. But it wasn’t until that, could you actually elevate your
platform? And that me so sad that we still need a white teacher to validate us as human beings
for other people to believe that we’re good enough to be in the space. And that’s what I learned
from that entire experience. It really hurt my heart.
You hit the nail on the head and that’s, I think that’s where I feel like sometimes I’m a crab in the
bucket, you know? Yeah. Climb up the sides of the walls. I’m I think I’m about to be there. And
then I slide back down and exactly it’s, it’s waiting for those like validations from other people
who have more power in those spaces, you know?
Dianne Bondy: (43:09)
And it’s, it’s frustrating and rather than being able to self cultivate that, and I hear you on that, it’s
a huge frustration and I’m on a sick and tired of Googling or Pinteresting anything where I have
to type black as the first word. I won’t find
Dianne Bondy: (43:24)
One hundred percent.
until I type it black. I need to look at black hairstyles outfits on black women. I need to, you
know, otherwise it’s just the all algorithms and things. It’s just, so I’m not able to, you know, find
the content that I I’m looking for. And I assume that people who are just looking, you know, the
average person who doesn’t know that is just gonna type in dumbbell workout. Right. And yes,
I’m anybody there, unless I type in like dumbbell workout for black women and it doesn’t even
have to be for black women. I just have to yeah. Like see a, yeah. Use that in my keywords and
my SEO. So people are confined to me oh,
Dianne Bondy: (44:03)
it’s frustrating. It’s exhausting absolutely frustrating and exhausting on top of just showing,
showing up in the world as a black person or showing up in the world as a black woman, it’s
exhausting on top of that, that you have to qualify every statement in order to see yourself
represented. And I want people to think about that. Who’s listening to this podcast. You never
have to type in white people doing you just type in people doing, and it’s automatically gonna
default to whiteness. And that’s a problem.
I recently had like an epiphany in my life where just earliest experience of, of racism. And I had
such a yep. Moment. Just one I just one I know, but there’s one in particular and this really
when I was my first mixed up, but I, and stepdad who are both white mm-hmm . And so I, I
never, I don’t know, as a five year old, you’re not like really thinking about like, oh, am my
different or I have black skin, et cetera so much. And so I remember being pulled out of class to
take an ESL, test me east Indian children. And I think, um, another we’re pulled out of our class
to take a random ESL English as a second language. And I remember thinking I’m so smart. I
know all my, I only is weird in my little five, six year old brain. And obviously I went in and I
remember sitting around this round table and taking this test. And I obviously passed with flying
colors because English is my first one language first language, which I remember thinking in
that moment, I am going to have to work harder than everybody else for the rest of my life to get
half as far to get half as far. And I, there will always be this extra barrier for me to have to
overcome, to prove myself. And I try to catch myself cuz I’m unpacking that now always a 33
year old woman, how I’m constantly having this desire to prove myself to be better, to feel
accepted. Like I’m worthy. I have enough, I have something of worth to offer people.
Dianne Bondy: (46:11)
And I feel like that initial experience laid the groundwork for that, you know?
Dianne Bondy: (46:16)
Wow. We get taught that very early on, on, and very young. And I don’t know if growing up with
two white parents that wasn’t maybe expressed to you. Cuz my, that was one of the first lessons
that I was taught as a child. Not only from my black parents, but from their friends who were
white. First of all, I remember my dad’s best friend whose name was Martin Keith. And I
remember him sitting me down and saying to me an old, a much older, uh, white man who was
a, a professor. And he, he sat down to me and said to me, you’re a woman you’re black and
you’re fat. You have three strikes against you. Those are the three things that are gonna keep
you from being successful. So he thought he was doing me a favor, which started the ball rolling
on my relationship with my body and my disordered eating cuz I was maybe seven at the time.
Okay. So this is what was instilled in me. And then my parents had always taught me from the
get go. You have to show up at 110%. And my husband’s always commenting on that. He’s
always saying, whenever you do something, you do it 110%. You never do anything. Halfway I
go because I don’t get to pass on mediocrity. I don’t get to, I don’t get to, I don’t get to be
mediocre. I don’t get it. Other folks get to be mediocre and are considered geniuses in their
mediocrity. But if you know, if I don’t come a hundred percent or 110, correct, it’s instantly gonna
be a blow against my ethnicity or my race. Well clearly the black person can’t do it. And I’m here
to say the black woman can, the black man can, the black person can the black human can. But
you know what I mean? It’s instantly gonna be an entire, um, conversation about how well we
gave black people the chance. And clearly they can’t, they can’t hold up, right? Not mentioning
how many barriers you put in our place in order to hope for us to fail. And we can see that like in
American culture, especially with, um, a black president who was beyond reproach, there were
scandals in the Obama administration followed up by the huge buffoon they elected afterward,
which was the backlash of a racist country, trying to undo the first black president and how
much the other president got away with doing, including treason. So I am just baffled that
people can’t see it or don’t understand it or try to Gaslight me around it. When the examples are
evidently clear, you choose not to see these things because it makes you reflect on who you
actually are. And once you reflect on who you actually are, you’re maybe not gonna like what
you find. So that’s why you like to Gaslight folks or tell me, I’m always talking about race
because it is always about race. Let’s not pretend I, I show up in a racialized identity that is
going to impact every single, um, interaction I have. Doesn’t matter if I’m interacting with a black
person or a white person. For example, today when I finished my, uh, class at the high school, I
was so activated and so inspired. I backed out I was between two SUVs in my band, which is
the worst place you can be. I’m backing out really slowly. Cuz I can’t see around the first SUV.
And of course I ding somebody who’s driving by and I go, here we go. This is gonna be terrible.
I get my insurance. I pull out another black person pulls outta the car. We see each other. We
look at each other’s car. We go, we’re good. And we walk away. I can’t be guaranteed that I
would’ve had that extended experience. If that person wasn’t black. I’m just saying, I’m not
saying, I’m just saying.
Dianne Bondy: (49:42)
we saw each other. Right. He took Agh of relief when he saw me, cuz I thought he thought
there’s gonna be some confrontation. And I’m like, oh my God, did I hit you? I didn’t even see
you. Right. So, and the first thing I know to myself is he’s a black man. So this was better for
Yeah. It’s so true. And I think, you know, underlying for any person of color who runs a business
or shows up in this, uh, public place, for example, on social media, there’s constant fear of
Dianne Bondy: (50:11)
I, you know, and I building my platform, it has created so much more anxiety and stress for me
about, I bet worry. I bet about, you know, this cancel culture and it’s like, the world is waiting for
you to slip up, to validate what they already think about you.
Dianne Bondy: (50:29)
It’s true. It’s a hundred percent true. And on the flip side of that, you created some awesome
content that another creator decided to steal word for word, they weren’t, they weren’t even
subtle about it because they felt so entitled to you as a black woman, that they could just steal
your content. I can’t believe.
the worst I was the worst is the fact that they stole content from me where I specifically talked
about the equity between white women and black women. And they stole every piece word for
word and, but deleted that part of my, my caption.
Dianne Bondy: (51:06)
That’s where I really noticed that we now have really to hide race into this because not only did
you steal the content, but you specifically remove the part where I talk about the Indi
discrepancies between white women and black women in this. And that was huge component of
my words, my,
Dianne Bondy: (51:24)
your whole point.
And you’re the same. It’s from my heart. These are my words. These are my, this is everything.
Dianne Bondy: (51:29)
These are my experiences.
These are my experiences. And you can experience and then recreate them to fit your own
narrative. And that made me so upset. So it battles like that, that we’re fighting every day on top
of trying to run our businesses. it’s incredible about it.
Dianne Bondy: (51:47)
Exhausting. Cause I had taken a couple, a couple days off, uh, social media. I came back on to
you expressing this and I was like, what? The, and then I went to that creator’s page and I wrote
a huge diatribe on her page and I said, make this right. Or I’m gonna publicly out your ass to
everybody. And what I have to say about the D squad on Instagram is they come correct. If you
come and you show your ass they’re gonna tell you about yourself. And I just, I can’t tell you
how enraged I was. I was enraged, right? My husband’s always like, well, should you be doing
these public shamings? I’m like, if people aren’t gonna be accountable for their actions, I have
no problem calling them out in a public space. That person had no problem stealing your
content and putting up on their page in a public space. So they should be okay to be called out
when they do that.
Just saying, yeah, I agree. It’s it’s it was infuriating. I had never really experienced anything that
like that. I don’t know how to describe it. I felt very much like again, that crowd.
Dianne Bondy: (52:50)
working is violating and I felt like I had worked so hard to build this up and for someone to come
in and utilize my content to boost their own platform, it just felt like I.
Dianne Bondy: (53:01)
felt so, so empowered to do it.
And the comments that were under those posts, congratulating that person to validate what they
were doing was okay from other white women that really, that made it, of course that much
worse. You know? .
Dianne Bondy: (53:13)
I hope, I hope our, I hope some of your black sisters came to the party cuz I was enraged. I, I let
that, that’s where I knew.
the healthy with Kelsey community came through and they really had my back cuz same thing I,
when I couldn’t do it anymore, cuz you, you know how it feels when you’re the, the victim of it.
It’s like you don’t have the capacity, the energy. And this is where I really needed to call my
community to have that support. Cuz I didn’t have it in me, you know?
Dianne Bondy: (53:39)
Sitting my out like crying. So I of course capacity to come in and fight this. And also again, that
fear with cancel, call that what I calling that person out that they, you know, felt.
Dianne Bondy: (53:52)
turned around and now they have done something that has, you know, poorly reflected on
myself. That cancels me. It’s just like it is exhausts me
Dianne Bondy: (54:07)
Oh Lord. I, I let that person have it. I was, I was limit like I could, I could feel the steam rising off
the top of my head. You were, I, I think I started with how dare you. You should be ashamed of
yourself. Like I start, that’s how I started the conversation. And I just thought, how do you feel so
entitled to somebody else’s content that you feel you can just steal it and pass it off as your
own. But that’s what white culture does all the time.
Dianne Bondy: (54:37)
all the time. So that feels normal to people like her. Them people like them. It feels normal.
Dianne Bondy: (54:45)
Yeah, Yeah. Oh totally. It feel normal to appropriate. Oh well she’s just a black woman.
Nobody’s gonna give a shit about her. I’ll steal her content and we see that to be true in lots of
find it. Yeah, exactly. Well guess what? And we’re we are blessed your community, my
community. I love it. They come correct. It’s like when somebody shows their whole ass on my
page and their comments, I say to my husband, you, you know what, before I comment, I’m
gonna leave it for an hour and see what happens. And inadvertently I come back and
somebody’s corrected the situation. I’m like no need to comment. Somebody said exactly what I
was feeling. And I, and I’m hopeful that it’s a person who’s the same culture as the person who
showed their whole ass. .
I agree. I, those words need to come from those people. Because again, that’s where the cost
is. That’s where they’re gonna take it for face value rather than feeling attacked. They’re gonna
be feeling called in rather than called out and trying to.
Dianne Bondy: (55:40)
trying to help people understand the difference can be exhausting cuz there’s a lot of gas
lighting that goes on around being what the difference is between being called in and called out.
But people need to also take responsibility. And I think for so long, white people have not had to
Dianne Bondy: (55:56)
And so when they are called out they’re shocked by it, but at this end of the day, being shocked
by it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do anything about it. .
Dianne Bondy: (56:07)
And not from a place to publicly shame you, but have a learning experience. And to know that
this is not okay and hope absolutely a different space in the future and to think right.
Dianne Bondy: (56:21)
To think and to also understand that there can be no healing without accountability.
Dianne Bondy: (56:29)
You just have to own it. We are, we are human. We are bound to screw up. We are bound to
get it wrong. We are bound to step into it. And language and culture is shifting and evolving
constantly. What was okay last week may not be okay today. What was okay. 10 years ago is
definitely not okay today. And so when we screw it up and when we get it wrong, instead of
coming with what that, wasn’t my intention and I was only curious and why are you being so
mean? Instead of all that, just be like, whoa, I clearly triggered you. I was absolutely wrong to
roll up you on this way. This will never happen again. And what can I to fix the situation? What
do you need from me to make this better? How can I show you? I’m holding myself accountable
and I wanna do the right thing and people aren’t ready for that. People wanna be like, it’s not my
intention. I understand. It’s not your intention to belittle to other or shame. It was curiosity or
whatever bullshit you wanna call it. But the person has now committed to communicated to you.
The harm that you have caused. Now you need to be accountable for that harm. Just own it.
Like if you would just own it and apologize. A lot of these conversations wouldn’t have to go any
further. There wouldn’t have to be a public shaming or a calling in.
You wouldn’t have to drag you.
Dianne Bondy: (57:42)
We wouldn’t, if you would just own it and apologize, we could all move on. And when you
apologize, don’t do it again. Learn your lesson. It’s not that hard. We as black post have to
constantly learn our lessons the hard way and publicly it’s your turn.
Dianne Bondy: (58:00)
it’s your turn, right? It can’t. If you thought this was gonna go on forever, it’s not like things are
changing and you either get on board or you get left behind.
kudos to that well said, well said,
Dianne Bondy: (58:14)
I’m just saying, well, I think that’s a good place to end our conversation today. I love your
content. I love you. And I’ve been so excited. It’s only taken us, I think, six months to finally find
time where we are both free to get together. And I wanna know if somebody wants to train with
you or buy any of your courses or be in contact with you. What’s the best way to, to reach out to
healthy with Kelsey?
Yeah, the best way to reach out to me is, uh, get through to me on Instagram, which is healthy
underscore with underscored Kelsey, you can connect with me there. You can also check out
my website, which is, uh, Kelsey ellis.ca. Um, and the in contact. I have a new group coaching
program that’s launcing in 2022, which is really focused on rebuilding your relationship your
relationship with health and fitness and redefining what those things mean to you and it’s an
eight week intesive program and so it’s a really beautiful experience that I feel so thrilled, and,
and like, passionate about and I’m so excited to host one again because I just had one in
September and I host them twice a year so, if you’re looking to connect and really sit down and
get to do the work of unlearning, unpakcing and creating a new narrative for yourself and your
life then that’s a really good place to start, so I hope you’ll join me on that journey.
Dianne Bondy: (59:06)
Uh, absolutley. Don’t forget to tag me in that so I can share it on my pages because I really feel
part of the community is supporting and uplifting other black women and other black creators. If
we don’t look out for each other and coming to find out nobody else will. So we need to really
support each other and lift each other up and share our platforms. So if you want to get in
contact and be in relationship with healthy with Kelsey, check her out on, on Instagram, healthy
underscore with underscore Kelsey and I share a lot of her content on my page. So you can
scroll through my page and find her if you can’t find her there and what a wonderful enlightening
inspirational conversation we had today, I’m grateful to have here, have you here on the
intentional wellbeing podcast, I’m gonna continue to follow you and uplift you. And I’m grateful to
be in community with you, Kelsey,
Awe, right back at you. Diane, it’s been an honor and a pleasure to get to share with you and
have this conversation today. And I’m gonna walk into the rest of my day, feeling a lot more
empowered and later on my feet. So thank you.
Dianne Bondy: (01:00:43)
Thank you. And so make sure you listen to us anywhere you can find podcasts. And if you have
a minute, I would love it. If you would rate this podcast, give us five stories. You know, this
conversation was fire and uh, recommend it to your friends. Anybody you think who could learn
something from this pod. Thanks everyone for listening. And I’ll catch you next time. Yeah.c