My fitness “Aha Moment” came about a year ago, and my moment is not one that most people expect.
Unlike many people, my moment didn’t come when I saw myself as too big and eating too much, but rather quite the opposite. You see, I had been struggling for nearly four years with Anorexia Nervosa. But it took a while to get to that point so allow me to explain…
When I was growing up, I never had a proper diet. Like many kids I ate a good deal of junk food, but was never overweight because I swam. Up until high school, when I quit like many do. When I quit swimming, I never changed my diet – I still ate the same crap but wasn’t burning it off with exercise, so naturally I gained weight. Honestly, I was never comfortable with this fact. I never looked too “big,” and people didn’t think that I appeared overweight since I have a naturally small frame…but the numbers on the scale didn’t lie. I was technically bordering on being an overweight teen, which scared me half to death around the time senior year was rolling around. I can still remember the day I was getting my yearly physical, the summer before my senior year when the scale’s number tipped a weight far beyond what I was comfortable with. I cried. I was embarrassed. So I did something about it. Something with good intentions, but also something that got way out of hand.
I started walking. Sounds innocent enough, right? Well it was…until it became my obsession. I would power-walk up steep hills, around the block…wherever…as long as I walked at least ten miles a day. My walks began to take priority. I couldn’t do ANYTHING or go ANYWHERE if I didn’t get my walk in. Rain or shine, I would walk. I even once walked in the dead of night, because I was gone somewhere during the day when I would have normally taken a walk. And this took off a few pounds…but when I paired with restrictive dieting, I lost even more. By the time senior year started, I was down ten pounds, and was actually kind of happy with where I was at. But soon this wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t eating much at all, and I was worried about gaining everything back because I would be in school all day long rather than exercising. So I cut calories even more. And my weight dropped even more. By the time that November rolled around, I was eating a mere 300 calories a day, had lost my period, and was a full blown anorexic.
I never went to an inpatient clinic, but did go to a terrible outpatient place for about six months. The doctors there were terrible, insulting, and I left the place in worse shape than I started. So for four years, I struggled on my own. All the way up until last year, when I finally went off to a different University and had my own student apartment. Around that time, I looked a little something like this…
Pretty sad, huh? I was a stick person who thought she was fat. That being paired with being uncomfortable with being away from home put me in a horrible mental state. I was sad, I was skinny, I was unhealthy. And one of my teachers took notice – my favourite teacher, at that. He was worried and saw that my physical and mental health both were deteriorating. Both his worry and my mother’s worry for my well being made me want to get better for the first time since the disorder began.
And then something clicked. My “aha!” moment. I realized I wanted to live…to be able to go out and do things. I wanted to be healthy again. I wanted to be able to move and walk around without getting tired, or worry whether I would have an irregular heart rhythm at night and die. So that last winter right around winter holiday, I picked up a few Jillian Michaels DVDs. 30 Day Shred and Yoga Meltdown, to be exact. I started doing them. And I’m not going to lie, they were hard at first and I had to use 2 lb weights because I was so weak. But my strength improved with practice, and I got hooked on working out. Fast forward a few months later, around the time of spring break…I bought my gym membership and took my first BodyPump class. After just one class my life was changed. I loved the feeling that the class gave me – you know, that crazy awesome endorphin rush? Yeah. It was awesome. I became a regular, and began weight lifting more and more at home. I began to love how it felt to be strong. And pairing that with the fact that I was actually eating again, I began to feel more energetic than I had in years.
Fitness and health have become my passion during the time of my recovery. I love learning anything I can about physical fitness, health and wellness. I literally eat up this sort of information. I’m loving to incorporate new types of exercises into my workout routine. I’ve recently come to discover that I love spinning…something that I would have never even dared tired a year ago. Being fit has brought me back to life. I have friends again – not the ones that I had in school, but “real life” and internet friends who have the same passion for fitness as I do. I’m more adventurous. I’ve found what I want to do with my life. Right now, I’m working on becoming a certified personal trainer, a Les Mills instructor, and once I finish up my business degree, I’m going to get my health coach certification.
So there’s my long drawn out road to finding my fitness! It was a rough road getting here, but now that I’ve made it…honestly, I would never want to change a thing!