MY STORY ...
My fitness journey is one that took me quite a while to be able to talk about; but something that i think is SO important to as not only did it get me here today, but is also something that others can relate to.
Often people say to me "you're lucky you're naturally skinny".. umm no i'm not! At 14 I was a size 16! However, at this age you become impressionable, and I did not have the knowledge to lose weight in a healthy way
I was always a big girl. I was never the skinny, cute, popular girl in school and over the years my size crept up as I just ate a lot. I don’t even think I really enjoyed the food (obv I loved some a bit too much), but a lot was more out of habit. I rememeber when I was in year 10/11 I was in Topshop getting some new black trousers for school and I couldn’t fit into a size 14, whilst my sister was in a 12 (she is 3 years older). I refused to try the size 16 trousers on.
At 18/19 years old (2010)..
I didn't love my body at all; I ate whatever i wanted and exercise wasn't of any interest to me. The below pictures were the turning point for me as i was shocked to see i was bigger than my older sister and all my friends. Something had to change but I didn't have much willpower or knowledge of how to do so
At 20 (2011)..
I was in my second year of uni and i got a terrible bout of food poisoning. I lost alot of weight very quickly (not a fun 10 days!!) but people started to tell me i looked skinny - which I loved. So once i'd recovered I decided I didn't want to put the weight back on so I started going to the gym and eating less.
I'm quite an impatient person.. and soon I started making myself sick as i became obsessed with losing weight and for people to notice. My knowledge was not good on how to lose or maintain a healthy weight and things started spiralling out of control
At 20 - 21 (2011-2012)..
I started working in London on placement as an Event Coordinator, and became even more obsessed with being thin. I would eat the absolute bare minimum, look up every single foods nutritional information, and then make myself sick anyway. I wouldn't have any macro targets - the aim was just stay low on everything and double figures i'd immediately rule out.
I would do hours and hours of cardio a day, even after working on my feet for 15 hours each day running events. i would layer up my clothes to look bigger so my colleagues wouldn't say anything, but they quickly cottoned on.
The below bikini pictures I remember I would sneak back into the hotel room to make myself sick after each and every meal. Being thin was everything. I was irritable and constantly cold, but all I wanted was to be skinny not realising the colossal downsides to it. It took over my life and I didn't really enjoy anything!
At 21 (2012)..
This below was me at my skinniest. I remember strangers coming up to me and gasping at how thin I was. I was always SO cold. I was always hungry. I was always irritable and horrible. I looked at myself and half of me would freak out at the bones i could see but the other half loved how I had the control to do this to myself. There would be days i would literally eat lettuce and white fish as it had the lowest calories. I enjoyed the feeling that people were concerned about me. I would ask everyone around me if I looked fat because I was convinced I was and when they said I wasn't I would think that they were lying. If someone said I looked healthy (because i'd actually eaten a bit more that day). I would hate myself because to me it meant I had gained weight, so I would not eat for a day as punishment. I couldn't concentrate on anything other than when I would next have to get out of eating. But I would obsess over food; it was all I could think of.
Then one day my sister showed up at my flat out of the blue. She sat me down and cried that she thought I was going to die. She wanted her kids in the future to have an aunt. That was the moment I realised I couldn't keep going with this - not only for my health, but for my friends and family too.
People would just say oh just eat a bit more like it was easy; but the fear of food was so hard to overcome. It's just like any other fear - whether its dogs or spiders or bananas!! That nauseating, sweaty panic that washes over you - that is what it would feel like to eat. I couldn't bring myself to eat more, or eat more calorie dense food but I tried. It wasn't an easy change, and I slipped back into my old ways many a time
At 22/23 (2013-2014)..
I was in my final year at Bournemouth Uni. I started gaining weight due to going out again, drinking lots. I managed to mask my eating problems from this weight gain but I would still limit my food intake and make myself sick. It got so tiring!!! Making myself sick, trying to hide it from everyone, and it hurt. When I was hungover I was happy that I could just say I was making myself sick because of that. I started to eat a little more but would spend hours doing cardio at the gym. I was still obsessed with being thin, but I couldn't carry on making myself sick all of the time
At 24 (2015)..
I started a masters degree at Leeds Uni.. I started learning more about food and gymming out of interest, and my focus shifted to being strong.
I managed to stop myself being sick for the most part because it tired me out so much that it affected my gymming.
My mindset had begun to shift to food being fuel and that being skinny and weak wasn't what I wanted. People started to be impressed with my dedication to begin healthy which spurred me on and I started to feel more confident in my body and the strength that I had. I loved when I could add weight on at the gym - it made me feel powerful and strong and that control I had now was to keep reaching those new heavier weights!
At 26 (2017)..
By now fitness was a big part of my life. i still avoided a lot of food but I would eat a lot of nutrient rich food - which I truly enjoyed. A lot of people would say to me "oh just have this or that it won't hurt" - people who knew I had issues in the past, and actually made me feel so shit at times as though I was being disrespectful to them for not being able to eat something that they had made because of total fear.
I think back now and just see it as complete disrespect of them
I will always have fears of food, I still do now but at this point I knew if I wanted to progress with my strength & fitness I needed more knowledge. I either got a personal trainer... or became one!! I've always been a bit of a nerd and want to know everything haha so I enrolled to become a PT!
I wanted to really understand the effect of food and exercise on my body and how to progress with my strength!
And 28/29 (2019-2020)..
This is the strongest and the most confident I have ever felt in my body. I'm a Level 3 qualified PT, fitness nutrition specialist, spin and kettlebell instructor. I eat healthily because I love how it makes me feel and I work out for strength. I feel good in my body and not in a self-obsessed way, but for me to feel good about myself physically AND mentally.
I don't live live on a diet anymore or deprive myself of food I don't want and it's a lifestyle that I love. People have finally come to accept that this is who I am and actually respect it, whereas previously people would try to egg me on to eat something I didn't want to. I will never forget the time that someone very close to me actually tried to make me out to be "boring"and actually compared me to someone else saying I wasn't "as fun" because I wouldn't eat a McDonald's!!!! No i'm not joking!! And they actually managed to make me feel bad about it! (they aren't in my life anymore unsurprisingly!)
It's not all about how you look, but it's about how you feel in yourself and being strong got me out of a downward spiral that I really don't know if or how I would have gotten out of it. I've always been stubborn lol but I now use that in bettering and pushing myself and I hope now as a PT i can share that knowledge and passion too!!