I’ve always been disciplined.
I’ve always expected the best of myself [except in chemistry class, there was just no hope there].
I’ve always loved to compete.
I’ve always loved anything to do with health & fitness.
I just haven’t always been healthy.
In high school, I found myself on the track team.
My soccer skills were sub-par & being vertically challenged put a damper on my basketball game. It wasn’t until sophomore year that i noticed my body didn’t look like most of my competitors. They made distance running seem effortless with their long legs & lean bodies.
I barely hit the five foot mark, so i didn’t exactly fit into the long legs, lean body description. It was then & there that I decided to take matters into my own hands…I couldn’t lengthen my legs, but I could become leaner. And leaner meant faster, or so I thought.
Skipping meals became a ritual. I learned the calorie count in every food you could think of. I obsessed over my daily caloric intake.
What started out as just trying to be a “healthier“, leaner runner, gradually turned into a full blown eating disorder. I could barely make it through track practices or races without almost passing out. Even though it was apparent that my lack of food was doing my running no favors, I pressed on. I told myself I wasn’t small enough – yet.
After a few months, it became very apparent to my family, coaches & friends what was going on…I was shrinking. Even though my clothes were baggy, my face was sunken in, and I had zero energy, if anyone questioned my eating habits, I denied having an issue.
I mean, I still ate, albeit very little, but I ate. I was totally fine, right?
Clearly I wasn’t anorexic! They didn’t eat at all…right?!
The problem was much bigger than food. It was a problem with my mind. Even though I was severely underweight, I saw myself as fat. I barely consumed enough calories to survive, yet I insisted on running at least six miles every day. I jumped on the scale every morning, fearing I had somehow managed to gain weight in my sleep.
People commented on my shrinking physique, but I thought I could still stand to lose a few!
My goal was to lose…and I was succeeding!
My strong will power, discipline & borderline OCD tendencies had completely taken over.
I was my own worst enemy.
I hated myself & my body.
I continued to drop weight and by the middle of my junior year I was at my lowest weight…75 Pounds!! As a result, I was banished from running. Why would they take away the one thing that made me happy? Not to mention, if I couldn’t run, I had to eat even less…the viscous cycle continued.
At this point the doctors began to step in. I was told that my body fat was to low and I would DIE if I continued down this path.
To be brutally blunt, that finally scared the S*#%T out of me! I finally began to question my habits.
I was given two weeks to start gaining a few pounds or i would be shipped off to a rehab center in Arizona.
There was no way I was going to let that happen!
I gradually (& miraculously) gained some weight over the weeks that followed. Sounds like a piece of cake, right?
NO! It was almost worse than starving myself. Every week, my pants were getting tighter & tighter. I was undoing everything i had worked so hard for over the past year.
(Even though I was miserable then too!)
Regardless, I felt like a marshmallow puff. I loathed how I looked, but everyone else told me I looked healthy.
The old Carrie was back! Mmm, no, not so fast!
People couldn’t see that on the inside, I was miserable.
Physically, I was healthier, but mentally I was broken.
I obsessed over food! Binging and then skipping meals. I insisted on running at least 8 miles or 60 min on the elliptical every day!
Part of me constantly struggled with anorexic thoughts to get that scale to move back down.
The other part of me knew that was a slippery slope I never wanted to travel down again.
It seemed like there really was no good option for me…I was destined to be miserable.
Huge shoutout to my husband, family & friends who were always there to support me.
Fast forward to the past few years. I really started to dive in & learn about food…
about how food is actually your friend, it is your fuel.
The better fuel you put into your body, the better your body will function…not only in daily tasks, but also in your workouts.
I swapped skipping meals with eating clean, balanced meals & snacks throughout the day…really making that metabolism work!
Until i started giving myself the proper fuel [a.k.a. real foods], I did not realize how amazing i could feel!
My obsession with counting calories subsided. Now my focus is getting the proper balance of macronutrients.
Do i have cheat days? Of course.
Do i eat sweets?
I do, (I freaking love chocolate chips cookies…the one food where I lack all self-control!).
And yes, i do consume adult beverages. Life is way too short to not enjoy these things…
The key is balance, moderation & consistancy.
You should never take things to extreme to find results…
whether food choices or working out…
Speaking of working out…I actually enjoy working out now!
I enjoyed running to an extent, but it eventually became a chore. I thought I had to put in miles upon miles in order to stay in shape… even though I wasn’t even a huge fan of what I looked like…
This is where i must insert a little plug for Orangetheory Fitness, where i just happen to be a fitness coach [formerly, an inconsistent member].
I have fallen in love with this place. It has not only made me look forward to working out, but I’m stronger, faster, happier & feel better than ever because of this place!
(and it’s beautiful orange glow!)
I absolutely love being a coach! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to help our members work towards their goals, find a sense of community, and have a little (hopefully a lot) of fun along the way!
Why do I tell you this long winded, rambling story?
I’d say at least 16 years of my life…about half of my life so far, were spent dealing with eating disorders & body image distortion.
I’m not proud of those years.
I would never want to relive those years.
But those years made me who I am today. Without those struggles, I wouldn’t have found my strengths.
Those years of fighting for my health & happiness have fueled my passion to help others find their healthiest, happiest selves!
Our bodies are absolutely amazing, but we have got to treat them with respect. We only get one shot at this thing called life; only one chance to be our best.
Give yourself some grace, surround yourself with people who build you up, crank up your favorite music & go do the things you love!
*Oh, and in case you were wondering about my obsession with the scale…I’m happy to report the scale & I have gone our separate weighs [pun intended]!!
There is just no reason to focus on a number that doesn’t accurately represent your health or your strength. In my opinion, how your clothes fit is a better judge of progress, maintenance, etc.
***I must add…if you are struggling with disordered eating or body image issues, trust me, I know there is no quick fix. There is no magic trick to pull yourself out of the depths.
I do know that the sooner you can get help, the better! Please do yourself a favor, reach out to someone & start the road to recovery. It will be so worth it.
Peace, Love & Health…
Trainer, Orange Theory Fitness