Eating Disorders Start at a Young Age
I was 9 years old when I developed an eating disorder. I was a very observant child as I watched my mother struggle with her weight. I listened to her and her mother talk about diets and exercise plans to lose weight. Her sisters struggled with weight. Her friends struggled with weight. I thought that’s what you did as a woman when you grew up. You struggled with weight and you hated yourself because of it.
By the time I was 12, I started skipping meals. When I got hungry, I would go to the bathroom and force my finger down my throat to make me gag, which would make my stomach upset enough to kill my appetite.
When I went on a religious mission for my church, my female companions talked constantly about their weight problems. We were all putting it on and having a huge struggle with it. I had one companion that resorted to starving herself and when the hunger pains became too much, she would lick my plate clean when I was done eating my self-imposed meager rations.
In my early twenties, I lived off of soda and candy bars. I survived in college by skipping breakfast, eating a dinner roll for lunch, a soda and candy bar for a snack, and then binged on dinner. I then punished myself with guilt trips and excessive exercise and running.
By the time I got married, I was no better. When I got pregnant, everything changed. I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted and however much I wanted – for the baby’s sake. Looking back, I ate a well-rounded meal three times a day, with snacks when I felt hungry. I loved being pregnant and it was a happy time for me. Little did I know then that my body was starved for nutrients and when I started eating good – it not only affected me physically, but mentally as well.
After the baby was born and a year later weaned, I returned to my starvation mode of dieting and exercising. I ran myself into the ground, and with two more babies over the space of 6 years – my body all but stopped working for me at the age of 34.
More Food Doesn’t Help
I was diagnosed with 11 different health problems by then, including a breast cancer scare and ER visits for heart problems. My body was inflamed and sore, anemic, weak and fatigued. One doctor responded to my complaints of troubling symptoms by telling me that I wasn’t consuming enough calories at a time when I weighed 200 lbs. I gawked at him and threw open my arms and exclaimed, “Does it look like I’m starving?” He told me to increase my calories, but he didn’t tell me how or what I should eat. So, I ate more hot dogs with my kids, more cake, more pancakes and hash browns – anything to cope with the crazy symptoms I was dealing with – thinking food would take care of it. I just got fatter.
Getting Healthy With Food
It wasn’t until a few years later, after my divorce, that I met and married a bodybuilder that set me on the right path to healthy living and nutrition. For the first time in my life, someone explained nutrition to me. I learned to eat good tasting and nutrient dense food and still lose weight and have lots of energy to burn. Not only that, I gained muscle and felt so good at 40 than I had ever felt at any other time in my life.
Help Your Body, Help Your Mind
The reason I share this story is to illustrate that I’ve been there with bad health issues and struggled with the feelings of low self-esteem, guilt, and self-hatred. I get it. But did you know that the mind and the body are not mutually exclusive when it comes to weight issues? There is a connection. Once I started giving my body healthy food, it started helping my brain process information better, and as my thinking changed (thanks to education about nutrition and proper diet I received from my second husband) my body improved, and then my self-esteem improved, and then I no longer hated myself.
This is why I’ve returned to Personal Training while pursuing my Master’s degree in counseling, so that I can help others find good health through body and mind training to improve overall health as soon as possible without having to go through the misery and heartache I went through.
Taking Health to a Whole New Level
My business partner and mentor, Nathan Pond of XLR8 Fitness and Counseling, has developed health/exercise programs to address all sorts of mental and physical challenges. Combined with a nutritious diet, our clients are finally getting the benefits of health they have been struggling to find for years.
Check out www.XLR8therapy.com for more information about Nathan’s programs.
Follow my blog to get ideas and be inspired to find your good health again.
Till next time,