A year and a half ago, I wrote this post sharing some of the ins and outs of my rollercoaster of a journey with health & fitness -- and while, at the time, I was sharing all that I had in me to share, there are big chunks of my story that I left out.
Out of fear.
Out of embarrassment.
But the thing is -- it's MY story (and probably your story too in a lot of ways), and if there's anything I've learned in my journey of being a blogger/coach/wellness advocate/woman, it's that sharing your story opens doors for others to say "ME TOO."
Hell, if the me too movement isn't damn proof of that.
And as I was leafing through old journals from my final year at university a few weeks ago and I read something that made my heart sink....
“I’ll be happy once I’m skinny. All I have to do is get to a size 2 and I'll finally feel beautiful and enough."
I finally feel like I'm in a good place with my body. A place where I genuinely love everything its capable of, and no matter the scars, the cellulite, the stretch marks -- they are a part of me and because of that, I love them and most importantly, I love MYSELF.
But it wasn't always this way -- I spent years believing I wasn't enough and so much of my time was dedicated to trying to "fix" the way I looked...
It's my final year at university and I'm in the last week before our senior musical theatre showcase. I'd been working my body to the bone for MONTHS to prepare.
You see, as a performer, I knew that I was about to put not just my talent but myself in front of a room full of people who could change the entire trajectory of my career as an actor. And all I could think about was fitting into that size 2 dress from Anthropology and losing the flab under my arms so I could finally get my big break.
So I did everything I could.
I woke up every morning and ran 3 miles, rain, cold, snow, shine, even though I hated running more than anything on the planet. If I had a break during my school day, I would go to the gym in the building and do ab circuits/life weights/run on the treadmill REPEAT. And before bed at night, I would find some random tone it up workout on youtube and do that.
All to do it all over again the next day.
I was obsessed.
And my entire life was taken over -- between my workouts, double showers a day, and school, I had no time for anything FUN in my life.
But that week, I stepped into that dress and you know what? It fit.
But those voices in my head that said I wasn't good enough didn't just magically go away.
And that day. I looked in the mirror and cried because I had finally gotten to where I wanted to be and I still didn't like what I see.
It took hitting rock bottom after rock bottom, binging until I gained all the weight back, to going on one crash diet after the next and rocking that diet cycle of death for a few years before I finally burnt myself to the ground and my body said no more for me to finally show up for me.
To focus on being HEALTHY instead of skinny.
To ditch the scale.
To eat REAL food and lots of it.
Lady love, life is about SO much more than your workout.
It's about going on adventures, spending time with the people in your life who light you up, saying YES to things that excite you and showing up for yourself every single day.
And if you find yourself struggling with the idea of taking a "day off" from your exercise routine (or if you call a 'rest day' an hour and a half intensive yoga flow), then its time to gut check yourself and make a change.
So how did I get from that girl crying in the mirror to where I'm at today? Honest? It took a shit ton of hard work, a lot of tears, major realizations and a shit ton of vulnerability.
First of all -- Acknowledge that you are a human being and that this transition won't happen overnight. The patterns of over-exercising you've built up? They've become habits, and it's as difficult to break as an eating disorder. Give yourself grace, start cutting back on all those classes you're taking and be kind to yourself. This was a game changer for me (albeit fucking HARD because my perfectionist nature did not like it one bit).
Second of all -- I started working with a health coach, who is still my coach and mentor (and friend) to this day. Having someone else looking out for my health & wellbeing was EVERYTHING. And whats more, she welcomed me into a community of other women that were also struggling with similar things so it gave me a space to communicate freely and openly. This is why I ended up becoming a health coach myself because all I wanted to do was pay it forward to others the way she did to me.
And lastly -- do your research. Over-exercising has long term harmful effects on your body. It can lead to adrenal fatigue (most women in the fitness space severely suffer from this without ever realizing), injury and more.
In time, you'll get to a place where you no longer use exercise as a form of punishment. Where you move in ways that light you up and workout from a place of LOVE for your body and your mind, not hate.
And all of a sudden, the world will open its door to so many beautiful things that you never realized you were missing out on this entire time -- I know it did for me.
I found time to foster budding relationships with women that have since become my best friends and business partners.
I learned all about how to use food as fuel and how I'd been putting so many harmful ingredients in my body for years.
I learned about what true self care is all about, and the beauty of personal development.
And that burnt out irritable version of myself? She's long gone.
I see so many women in the health & fitness space and they remind me of myself back then. My story ends well, but I know so many still struggle.
So if you are one of those women, I hope you can hear me when I say that your worth is not defined by your body. You are enough just as you are right fucking now.
And no matter how long it takes you to get to the other side, know that I am in your corner, cheering you on along this crazy ass thing we called life.
You are so loved.
And you are so enough.