Welcome back. (If you have not read part 1 click here https://www.lovemovevibe.com/post/it-all-started-with-a-bag-of-carrots-and-a-prom-dress-that-didn-t-fit
So to recap - I fell in love with dieting and working out. But slowly, the control it had over me got out of control.
I changed my life, my schedule and days, because I became obsessed.
So I am about 20 years old, and I have started to work out TWICE a day. I restrict, restrict, restrict as long as I can, and then something like a muffin can trigger me into a binge.
So what does that look like?
Here is what my cycle looked like, and after working with many women - I came to realize theirs did to.
Anyone who has had a relationship with binge or restrict eating before will understand this pattern.
Phase 1: "Motivated and Dedicated" (p.s. I hate those words)
You start off with good intentions. You have a plan. You set out to be healthy, strong - and you are quote, unquote "disciplined".
You hit the gym or run club or whatever you connect with.
You have healthy meals all planned out.
You cut out sugar, fats, processed food - like Joey from Full House style
"CUT IT OUT!"
You feel great, light, your energy starts to rise and you are proud of yourself.
You talk about it, you think about it, it starts to define you.
Phase 2: The challenge
The routine starts to tire, you may skip a day, life gets in the way, or your hunger outweighs your ability to say no.
This is the part where you try hard to push through. You don't listen to your body when it says you are tired because you are on a mission to lose a pound that week and need all your workouts.
You feel the ache and pains but grove on to the songs that sound like, "you can do it" or "wow I could never stay that motivated" or "how is that diet going?".
You grow tired - from pushing through and grinding past rest days.
Your pallet starts to beg, like I mean BEG for variety. The foods are bland or repetitive or you fear so called 'unclean' food items now.
Phase 3: The so called failure
Your body says F*** You
Your mind becomes exhausted and shuts down
Life, days, and activities become blurry
Working our becomes a chore that you start to say, you will get to later.
You sit down to a cheat meal, that turns into a full blown cheat weekend or week or month or whatever.
But here is the kicker:
If you work with a coach or a personal trainer, they tell you to keep pushing.
If you have friends doing some sort of fitness, you feel like you have to keep going to keep on the 'grind' that they all talk about
If you follow anyone or anything in the fitness industry you are brainwashed to believe breaks are set backs or you have to stay 'motivated' or 'dig deep'
And your inner critic tells you things and says words that are NOT nice at all.
You start to pick apart your body, your will power, anything to try and stay in the game
Phase 4: GUILT... guilt... guilt :(
Your body did everything it is supposed to do because you were restricting it - but you feel guilty.
You eat and think, man I messed this all up - and head straight into a binge of eating blindly and emotionally driven.
You feel like you should have pushed through. And after you dust yourself off, you guilt yourself to get started again.
Re-fresh Monday - here I come!
Phase 5: The REBOUND
You run back to your old ways like a toxic ex-boyfriend, ignoring all that just happened to you.
You lock and load again.
You reload a renewed motivation and discipline.
And you go back to Phase 1....
For some this can go on for years, for me it was over 7 years.
But what some people don't talk about are a few things which trickle into those phases more and more as you repeat the cycle.
Losing yourself in the 'healthy or fitness' journey is when self care turns into ... an unhealthy relationship with self.
You start to hide your food relationship because you have set such high standards for your self.
With that, food fears also are heavy - you tend to lean away from carbs or fat (depending on who has coached you or guided you) or BOTH
You totally stop listening to your body - it sends you endless notifications like Facebook on your birthday ... but you ignore it. Exhaustion, injury, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, IBS, bloating, irritability, fogginess etc. Those were all signs.
Working out loses its fun, it is a chore, it is the yellow brick road to weight loss.
So this was exactly me. For 7 years I went through phase 1-5 and the cycle could last 5-6 months or I could smash through it in literally one week.
I would wake up on Monday morning, 5 am go to the gym. Have my meals all cooked and ready for me to stick to it again. I show up at work, on fire. Tuesday pizza lunch has my nose twitching but I lock in on my 'goals' and I feel that first ping of 'if you eat that pizza, the rest of your diet is shot for the day'. So I remove myself from the lunch room to eat asparagus and fish (WTF let's talk about isolating experiences).
I would make it to Thursday and the excuses would start. I would be tired, my food prep was not there to protect me, there was another special lunch or event I was invited to that included food. I took the first, the second bite and these words would come out of my mouth or repeated in my mind...
"I will start again next week"
This was exhausting, depressing, isolating, frustrating, embarrassing, and just plain shitty honestly. I was so focused on what I was reading in magazines, seeing on the internet in fitness blogs or in advertisements, that I stopped living my life, to try and achieve what I was being sold and told would I needed to do, in order to have a better life.
You know what I mean... if only I had a better, smaller, cellulite free, jiggle free body.
But I was numb to that. I did not see it that way. I saw it as a mission to be the best version of my self. To be fit, in shape, toned...
I had trainers all around me working their clients out to crazy limits, restricting their foods, subscribing supplements, pushing them ... and then slowly that client would fatigue.
The success stories were only the ones who lost the most weight, ate the least amount of calories or junk foods, and were seen sweating buckets on the treadmill.
No one talked about anything or anyone else.
And NO one talked about the phases, all of us were going through but trying to hide.
And it got harder, and harder to keep up with. So I thought, hey - let's sign up for a fitness competition so you are FORCED to do it. So that something is on the line. So that you are motivated and dedicated beyond your own will. So it's not just about health but now a 'healthy' competition. Little did I know that, the fitness industry energy would lead to develop deeper personal body issues, insecurities, poor decisions when it came to my body, insecurities ... and even the loss of friends.
Stay tuned, because my next chapter will discuss one of the worst decisions I made, and also the EXACT words that were said to me, that led to the official turning point in my journey.
As always, I am here if any of this triggers or lights up any feelings within, with an open ear and arms. The journey towards body positive is that of releasing your old beliefs, values and habits - changing them in for new routines, rituals and habits that show your inner soul she is valued loved and worthy.