Seeing as though this is my first blog post on the site, I thought it best to tell you my story and how I ended up here. I was never one for athletics as a child. I was lazy. I grew up in South Florida so I would say it was too hot to be outside. I dabbled in soccer and basketball but they didn’t stick. I was lazy. Watching TV was simply much more enjoyable than going outside to play a sport.
As I got older, exercise was for losing weight. Period. There was no other reason to possibly set foot into a gym. So whenever January would roll around, I’d start exercising to get skinny for Spring Break then would not exercise again until the following January.
It wasn’t until I had gotten to my fattest point, oddly after a backpacking trip, that I started to eat well and exercise on a consistent basis. I signed up for a (then) new fitness studio which came with a hefty price tag. Atkins was the diet of choice then but I always allowed myself one ‘cheat’ day a week where I would binge on carbs til I couldn’t breathe. The diet worked though and I was able to drop 2 dress sizes pretty quickly. People at work started to call me ‘skinny’ and I loved every second of it.
The novelty of the diet wore off and I was onto the next ‘diet’ – being vegan. This required carbs but I figured because I was still working out hard, it wouldn’t be an issue. More time passed and my chicken nugget nightmares had outweighed the strength to say no and I was eating whatever I wanted. The exercise managed to stick though, and I wasn’t sure why.
I had had a few bouts of depression throughout my life. A few distinct ones that were slightly worse but always stemmed from the idea that I wasn’t good enough.
Therapy and medication were normal for me. They worked and I deemed them necessary for my ability to function daily. But still, there was another ‘habit’ that I hadn’t realized I had picked up.
I was reading something on Instagram that had a list.
I thought, holy sh*t, that’s me. And not only that, but I had been exhibiting this behavior for years. I tried to think of the first time this happened. I was able to pin point an episode dating nearly 10 years prior when I had gone into a bakery and bought 6 or 7 pastries then ate them all in one sitting, alone in my apartment. I told myself that I would start the diet or exercise harder tomorrow. I never thought this was abnormal behavior. I thought I just had a big appetite and the shame and guilt were felt because I didn’t want to be fat. It was only after seeing this Instagram post that I realized that something was wrong and that I had BED. I messaged my sister to share with her my revelation and she shared that she was going through the same thing. She suggested some books, which I got immediately. I also brought the issue up with my therapist. I went to a some OA meetings for support. One thing that stayed consistent while dealing with this was the exercise.
One day, while I was suffering through a depressive episode and struggling with my new diagnosis, I forced myself to go to the gym. I told myself that that was the only thing I had to do that day. Then I could get back into bed and carry out my depression. Slowly this became a daily goal. Then, one day after my workout class, the strangest thing happened. It felt like I was floating and I was smiling. I thought to myself that I want to do this all day every day. I walked straight up to the coach and said, ‘how do I work here?’. That was when my passion for fitness and drive to help others really took hold. I got my certification in group fitness as well as personal training shortly thereafter.
Since making fitness a priority in my life, I am no longer in therapy or on medication. I don’t even know the last time I had a binge. I won’t sit here and say that it was all because of exercise, but it was a large factor in how I was able to turn things around for myself. I even stopped drinking as a side effect of fitness. The possibilities are truly endless when you make fitness a large part of your life!