Today’s guest is an ED warrior with a heart of gold. After battling her eating disorder for 12+ years, she has made it her mission to help women learn to love and accept their bodies, say screw you to diet culture and whole-heartedly embrace life. Today I get the honor of introducing you to Rini Frey of Own it Babe.
After sharing my eating disorder recovery story with you all last week, I knew I wanted to open up more conversations around body image, self-love, mental-health, addiction and eating disorders. Who better to have as a guest than Rini Frey of Own it Babe?
Rini and I connected through instagram almost a year ago. I was immediately drawn to her openness, passion and no bullsh*t captions when it came to diet culture. I hadn’t yet come to terms with sharing my story when I came across her account and always admired Rini’s ability to own her story so courageously.
Rini has shed light on a myriad of tough subjects that get pushed to the side on the ever so perfectly curated instagram feed. She isn’t afraid to say what other people are thinking, to dive deep into topics that most shy away from and always leaves you feeling completely inspired after visiting her page.
I know that myself, and her other 105K+ followers, are extremely grateful for the honesty she brings, her willingness to help others struggling for body acceptance and of course the occasional dance break with her dog, Bruce 😉
Everyone, meet Rini Frey of Own it Babe <3
If you were getting introduced on Good Morning America, how would they introduce you?
It feels super weird writing this down, but they might say something like: “Our guest today isn’t your usual cookie-cutter health influencer. In fact, her message is all about rebelling against the conventional health tips and messages we are bombarded with every day. After recovering from 12+ years of eating disorders, she has now made it her mission to help women across the world embrace their bodies and their hunger by learning to love the heck out of themselves!”
Why did you originally create Own it Babe?
To be quite honest, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with Own it Babe. I just knew I needed a platform to connect with like-minded women and to share my story. At the beginning, I didn’t really share my story in a transparent way. I mostly shared smoothie bowls and workout videos, because I didn’t really know how to show up as my true, authentic self. Over time, I became more comfortable sharing the good, the bad and the ugly parts of my past with food.
Do the things or feelings that drove you to start then, still drive you now?
Absolutely, my number one goal is to impact other women in a positive way and to empower them. This was always my “why”, but the context has changed now that I share more about my story and about the negative effects of diet culture. I wasn’t brave enough to do that before and was scared to put out controversial content. My “why” feels a lot more purposeful now that I share a more authentic side of me.
When did you first learn about intuitive eating + how would you explain it to someone that’s never heard of it before?
I first came across Intuitive Eating back in 2015. I believe it was Christy Harrison’s podcast “Food Psych” that introduced me to the idea that dieting and shrinking my body doesn’t have to be my goal in life. It felt liberating to consume this content, however, I wasn’t quite ready to embrace Intuitive Eating until late 2016.
I would describe IE as a way of eating that honors you body’s natural hunger, cravings and fullness by staying away from restriction, meal plans and elimination diets.
What was the hardest part about your eating disorder recovery process? Are there things you still struggle with today?
The hardest part for me was the body image piece. I was so used to beating myself up for the way I looked that frankly, I didn’t know how to choose kindness over self-hate for the longest time. Nowadays, I have made peace with my body. This doesn’t mean that I “love” my body shape or that I love myself every single day.
Bad body image days can happen, because those old thought patterns are deeply engrained in many of us. It’s all about which action we take when these thoughts come up. My action always involves self-care and body kindness. When we choose kindness and compassion, those old thoughts lose their power over us.
What was the turning point for you where you knew you HAD to get help or something HAD to change?
I talk about my “rock-bottom” moment openly, because it shifted so much for me.
It was the month after my wedding back in October 2016. I struggled with severe binge eating episodes after I had dieted down for my wedding. I felt as if I physically unable to stop eating. I now know that this was my body’s way of trying to heal from the restriction I had put it through for so many years.
Back then, I simply felt like I had failed in life. I was binge eating every single day for about a month – in secret.
One day, my husband came home early from a work trip to surprise me, only to find me sitting down on the kitchen floor, crying, surrounded by empty ice cream pints, candy wrappers and half eaten cereal boxes. My secret habit of binge eating and then restricting or purging was exposed.
I knew then and there that I needed help, so I asked my husband to support me in reaching out to a professional.
How do you shut down Ed’s voice when it creeps back in?
It only rarely creeps in nowadays and is mostly triggered by stress, so the first thing I do is call out the voice, either out loud or in my head. I know that the voice isn’t a rational part of me. It simply is a narrative that I taught myself to believe. In moments of doubt, I always remind myself that the voice has zero power over me, unless I choose to give my power away to it (which I wouldn’t do under any circumstances).
I also have a list of long-term desires for my life that I recall when I feel low. It keeps me grounded and moving forward, even on my worst days.
My list answers questions like “What is the legacy I want to leave behind?”, “How do I want to be remembered?”, or “What do I want to remember and cherish when I am old?” Food or the shape of my body are not part of this list, so I remind myself that my priorities in life have changed and I am happier than I ever was before. It’s just not worth it to give into old thoughts.
Biggest misconception about food, health or wellness in general?
That health and wellness is based on the shape of our body. There is so much more to health, i.e. stress management, sleep, self-care, human connection and mental health.
When did you really begin being an influencer? When did you realize this could be your profession?
I would say about 9 months into starting my Instagram account and Blog. It was all very organic. People asked me if I offer more support than the content on my social media channels and website. So, I invested in my Blog as a business for the first time. I started creating online courses and 1:1 coaching services and started believing in myself more.
Tell us about your newest venture…. podcasting!
I am so excited to be able to have another platform to connect with my audience and share free resources on recovery, intuitive eating, body image and self development.
The podcast is going to be my passion project and it has already been so much fun recording interviews with other people in this field.The podcast will hopefully air later this month or in November!
What can we expect from you in the next few years? What’s your ultimate goal with Own it Babe?
My ultimate goal is for my message to become more mainstream and socially accepted. I still get a lot of backlash from people that aren’t ready to hear this message, because they are still stuck in diet culture. I have a lot of compassion for them, because I used to be them.
I hope that more and more people will understand that we are so much more than the shape of our bodies.
In the next few years, I am hoping to be able to speak more, grow a bigger platform through my Podcast and help more people through my online courses and resources.
Do you have any tips for people that want to grow a social following, start a blog or become an influencer as well?
Always start with your “why” and your “who”. It is so important to know why you are creating the content you share and who you are actually speaking to.
I created an avatar of the person I am speaking to with every single piece of content I put out. This has really helped me in building an engaged audience.
Best and WORST piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Best: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.
Worst: Carbs are bad for you ☺
What gets you up in the morning and what keeps you up at night?
Knowing that there is women out there that are struggling, just like I used to, and that need to hear my message gets me up in the morning.
What keeps me up at night is that I am sometimes scared that I won’t be able to keep this business in the future, unless I am able to scale it financially. I struggle with being impatient when it comes to the growth of my business, so I am working hard on thinking long-term, vs. short-term growth.
If you could only eat ONE food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
That’s a tough one. I think it would be carrot cake, because for more than a decade, it was on my mind and I never allowed myself to eat it until my recovery.
Final thoughts for our readers?
There is no shame in reaching out for help. There will never be a “perfect moment” for your recovery and self-love journey. The moment is now. <3
want to read more interviews like this one? check these out:
- Lauryn Evarts Bosstick of The Skinny Confidential
- Michael Bosstick of Dear Media
- Lindsey Simcik of Almost 30 Podcast
- Krista Williams of Almost 30 Podcast
- Also — A List Of Podcast Recommendations for Entrepreneurs + Hustlers