Project HB was created by me, fitness instructor and blogger Carly Wilkinson. As an instructor, I help women feel empowered, confident and comfortable in their bodies, and as a consultant, I help fitness business owners do what they love. I’m a normal woman in a completely average body, with a balanced approach to health and fitness.
It’s time to grab a cuppa and get settled in. I hope you’ll be inspired to move your body in ways that feel joyful, and learn that by doing this, you’ll cultivate a positive body image and grow your self-worth. Seriously girl, you need to put that kettle on before you read any further. This is gonna be life-changing stuff. Go on, I’ll wait.
How to be an HB
HB stands for HAPPY BODY! See your first class with me as day one of your very own Project Happy Body! Project HB isn’t a weight loss regime or a strict diet. It’s deciding to do something for YOU. It’s an attitude. A pledge to respect your damn self. A head held high and no apology for your body or who you are. Acceptance and love for yourself. A promise to nurture your body and to move it with easy abandon… because it’s a gorgeous, capable, badass machine and it BELONGS TO YOU.
Here are the seven steps to Project Happy Body:
MOVE your body in ways that feel joyful. Exercise and sweat to feel good, not to punish yourself. You’ll feel more connected to your body and you’ll want to look after it.
EAT proper, nourishing food – you need fuel! Don’t deprive yourself, but know you have choices. Enjoy the odd cake, because you’re a human.
REST when you need it. Your body will tell you when it’s tired, and it’s your job to listen.
RESPECT your body for the incredible journey you’ve been on with it. Love it for what it can do, instead of fixating on what it looks like.
DON’T JUDGE anybody else’s body or their relationship with it. You don’t know their story, or where they are in their journey. Focus on you.
BELIEVE in yourself, your right to express your opinions, and your right to exist. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself or to say “no” when you feel uncomfortable. Your opinions are valid and they matter – YOU matter.
STRUT into every class or gym like you are 10 feet tall, even if you’re feeling scared and small. Head high, chest proud, take up space with your body. Own it!
How it all began
Project HB was founded in 2013 and it’s been quite a journey!
I was a normal girl with a normal job in questionable flat-share in Bermondsey. Life was just “happening” to me. I was coasting. I took stock of myself on my 29th birthday. It hurt to admit it, but I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, and in my own head.
I put on my trainers and spent the night of my birthday going for The Saddest Little Run Ever. I needed some thinking space.
On this flailing journey along the Thames, I searched my soul. I was unhappy with every area of my life; home, work, social life, appearance… I was unhealthily obsessed with internet dating too. I realise now, I was looking for someone or something who would magically make me happy.
I decided that it was time I took responsibility for my own happiness, instead of blaming everyone around me and defaulting on big life decisions because I was always waiting for someone to give me the answers.
It was time for ME to take control of me. I wanted to reach 30 and have a body I felt comfortable being “me” in, and a mind I felt like I wasn’t fighting with.
Project HB was born – and it started life as the very sassily named “Project Hot B*tch”, because I needed something to make me feel badass and invincible. “Project Hot B*tch” as it was then known, saw me exercising like a mad woman for about 5 weeks, in a desperate attempt to avoid going home to my grotty flat-share.
And then… the endorphins started firing. Those fitness classes became a sacred time of the day that I was finally making the decision to do something for me and no one else. I was spending this time getting to know myself. I was respecting my body.
I didn’t really know what I was hoping to achieve when I started it, but by the end, I liked my extra energy. I liked the tiny changes to my body. I was learning to like and value myself.
By August of that year, I’d started to feel better in my job, I’d moved to a far happier house, and I’d banned myself from online dating for the rest of the year. “The Project Hot B*tch Blog” burst into life. My confidence was growing for the first time in 29 anxious years.
The fitness classes continued. I felt like they were a safe space where I could be myself. They were making me happy. And the happier I got, the more I wanted to look after myself and my health. It was a pretty compelling cycle to be “stuck” in, and one I absolutely advocate to women today.
The story today…
And now? I’m a qualified fitness instructor after leaving my job, moving cities and re-starting my career. I’ve changed the ‘HB’ of my brand from ‘Hot B*tch’ to ‘Happy Body’, to encompass the ethos I live by these days, although I definitely friends shouting “HEY HOT B*TCH!!” at me across the street, ha!
It’s been challenging and bloody scary to take this leap but life is short and precious. And no one can deny the incredible power of feeling so passionately about something that you squash down your fears, stand up tall and proud, give a finger to the haters and just GO. FOR. IT.
The absolute best bit of it all is that I’m still just me! I’m a normal woman. I like cake and cheese, I get afraid of trying new stuff, and I TOTALLY press snooze when the alarm goes off for a 6.30am run.
The biggest difference? I feel really grounded, far more empowered and gloriously happy in my body and mind nowadays. I weigh the same as I did back in 2013, but I have changed shape. I’ve become a lot stronger and I feel full of life and quietly confident in my own skin. I like my body. I’m friends with my mind. Happiness and healthiness have blossomed, hand in hand. I’ve spread my message to anyone I can, and I feel compelled to do so, because I meet women every day who can identify with my story.
For now, this website is both a hug and a high five to you if you’ve arrived here recognising the anxious, lost girl I’ve described above. I’m here to tell you, you are NOT alone. Today – you become an HB. Welcome to the club!
Today, you look at your body and you be nice to it. Sign up to a class before you talk yourself out of it, get off the crappy diet you start every Monday, and throw out your bathroom scales. This journey lasts for a lifetime, and it’s about liking yourself and being comfortable with you. Life’s far more fulfilling when you’re not fighting against who you are.
Promise me this. Today is the day you put out into the world what you want back. It starts with you, and it starts right now, ok?
Now let’s fill this town with Happy Bodies!
This video is of one of my bootcamps in Bath – ain’t it great?! The talented HB who made it is called Sharon – check her out!