By now you all know that food and body image issues are something that I face daily, even as a CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) and general health-nut. I see it in myself, I see it in others, and I know that these are issues I need to talk about more frequently. That being said, allow me to attempt to tackle the food phobias.
In addressing topics of this nature, the most challenging thing for me is organizing my own jumbled thoughts and opinions into something that makes sense to all of you. That being said, bear with me here. I wholeheartedly welcome your input and feedback on this one! This post will be in two parts, because I feel like I need to properly update you all, before I go ahead and share some deep thoughts/realizations. So here goes!
So, how the heck have I been?!
As previously mentioned, I have a history of suffering with both body dysmorphia and disordered eating (anorexia). More about all of that here: Eating Disorder Awareness
In 2012, I began my fitness journey, during which I learned to direct my obsessive tendencies towards something a bit more constructive, if not still obsessive – competitive bodybuilding. I was very successful my first competitive season back in 2013, took an extended break during which I continued my intense training and semi-strict diet, and returned to competing in 2017. To say my return to competing was less than stellar would be a vast understatement, and disappointment was the prevalent emotion mid-late 2017. With my history, you can only imagine the dark road my thoughts began going down. Here’s a timeline of where my thoughts have been since early 2017.
January – End of March: After prepping to compete for 7 long months, losing my father, and not being able to compete in 2016, I was determined to kick butt in 2017. Prep literally and metaphorically kicked my butt.
April 2017: Returned to the stage, only to place 6th out of 6. I was initially devastated. I was told I needed to be smaller, tighter, and leaner. I competed at 106.5 lbs.
May-June of 2017: The fire was lit once more, and I was determined to do another show, and place. I got tinier, and leaner. July of 2017 I competed at 102 lbs. This time, I placed 6th out of 13. I missed placing by one point, and again, was devastated.
July-December of 2017: I felt disgusted with the whole process of competing, discouraged by my lack of success, and lost without my fitness fire. I continued to train intensely, though it felt like my training lacked my usual passion and focus. I was going through the motions, all the while retreating into disordered eating patterns – all because I equated my lack of success in the sport to my not being lean enough. I beat myself up constantly, retreating into my own head. I would be excessively restrictive with food during the week, and essentially eat like a normal person on the weekends, while training hard. I went through a series of highs and lows. Miserable during the week because I was essentially starving myself, and elated on the weekends when I could enjoy food and train hard to make up for it. I maintained a low weight through the new year, and got used to being “stage lean”, which isn’t at all healthy or normal for me. Clearly, something was wrong here.
January-Present Day, 2018
I’ve always dealt with the aches and pains that come with intense training, but in January of this year I started experiencing both chronic back pain and intense sciatica. I was told to stop training until the problems were fixed. I haven’t stepped foot in a gym since late January, and the pain and sciatica are not improving. All of those bad thoughts and feelings that I had late last year are currently amplified, because I cannot even train to distract myself. What I’m dealing with right now is my self worth and confidence essentially imploding, as I feel like I’ve hit a new (and different kind of) low. In the spirit of being open and honest, I’m just saying that it is not easy to be me right now…
So, here’s what I’m struggling with right now, and what post 2 will talk about:
Food and Weight-Gain Phobias
Loss of Identity/Lack of Self-Worth
Body Dysmorphia and Disordered Eating
Thanks as always for stopping by, and reading.
If you enjoy these kinds of posts, please do leave me a comment. 🙂
Part 2 Coming Soon!