Today I shared this blog on my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, which is probably why most of you are reading this right now. Sharing my personal fitness journey is never something I thought I would do, especially with people who actually know me. For some reason I was embarrassed to document the hard work I put in at the gym and the weird colored smoothies I consume almost every day. AND the thought of writing about my relationship with food and health is terrifying.
Being a personal trainer and revolving my life around health and wellness is the best and hardest thing I have ever done. Don't get me wrong I have always loved exercise and living an active life because that's the way I was raised, but when I chose to study exercise my whole perspective on myself changed. I always felt pressure to look a certain way because I wanted to be a Personal Trainer and exercise expert.
I remember freshman year of college in my Intro to Exercise Physiology class we had to take height, weight and body composition. I was absolutely horrified because I was heavier than I had ever been. I'm talking what felt like the Freshman 25 here, all from excess drinking, eating shit and not nearly as much activity as I was used to. I hadn't actually stepped on a scale until it was in class, in front of people I had just met. This is where something changed for me, I saw my weight, which I don't exactly remember and my percent body fat, which was 27%. Now for anyone who knows body fat percentages that really is not that bad, I still had 3% until I was even considered overweight but I felt absolutely horrible about myself. I had never been so uncomfortable in my own skin, and I hated it. So as soon as I got home that summer I started running every day, I didn't change anything about my eating habits but just the added extra activity (and also significant decrease in drinking) changed my body significantly and I was happy, after all my goal was weight loss.
When I got back to school Sophomore year all my friends commented on how great I looked and I was happy but I wanted to feel better about myself. So I learned all I could about exercise physiology and nutrition in school and I also turned to twitter for fitness tips. This is where I created my first fitness account, which is long gone by now but none of my friends or family knew about it, for some reason I was super embarrassed to say that I wanted to lose weight. Looking back on it I was probably embarrassed because I didn't need to lose weight, but I wanted to more than anything. I dowloaded my fitness pal and used it obsessively, I would plan out my 1200 calorie days every night before I went to bed. I thought that was okay because every place I read said that 1200 was the absolute minimum amount your body needs. On top of that I was running at least 4-5 miles a day and adding another 30 minutes on the elliptical after that. The worst part about all this was that I thought I was being so healthy, I thought that going to bed hungry every night was getting me closer and closer to my goals.
Then it was my moment of truth, I signed up for a research project where I would find out my body composition again, I was so ready to compare it to that 27% that was taken almost a year before that. When the results came it I was 19% body fat, I was so excited and proud of myself that I actually made that change in my life. Although I didn't do it in the healthiest of ways, it definitely worked.
The major issue with this whole thing was I stopped seeing food as food, I saw it as calories and to me that was something negative. In my mind food was either good or bad, it was a cheat or not a cheat. I became so judjemental of other people's unhealthy eating habits because I grouped foods into their categories; but really I was just jealous of their ability to eat foods and not feel bad about eating them. To this day I still feel guilty when I eat certain things because I have already labeled them as bad. So the whole concept of balance is still something I need to work on.
What I am trying to say is that I have been working on becoming the healthiest version of myself for a pretty long time now. I have make stupid mistakes and unhealthy decisions that have led me to where I am now. Now, I am still working on developing a healthier relationship with food and fitness and I am getting closer every single day. I posted this on my personal Instagram and Facebook page hoping to reach more people so maybe I can share some of the things that I have learned over the past few years. I want to help people develop a great relationship with food and exercise before it becomes an unhealthy obsession and goes bad. Your health is the most important thing you own, and building a healthy relationship with food and exercise is the only way to better health. If I can not help your relationship with health and fitness, I know I can at least give you a great workout!
Thanks for reading!