Over the past few months I have been delving into work that has presented a lot of self reflection around my relationship with food, where I use to be and where I am now.
With a story coming into my facebook news feed yesterday a number of emotions began to rise. A post from a powerlifter completely stopped me in my tracks. She had water loaded in order to cut weight for a competition. This caused her to vomit blood and have a seizure. The pictures and caption that she posted were very confronting. Her comments could be read from a comical nature which truly shocked me.
This is the dark side of strength sports.
This is scary and saddening- but this is what is happening.
After reading this post I felt it was the right time to delve further into my “journey” and my experiences over the past decade and let light into these conversations. Conversations that need to be had, stories that need to be shared to let our women know that they are not alone and even more importantly to ensure that our future women don’t do the dangerous shit that we have done.
As I sit at a cafe, coffee to my left, full belly of eggs and toast, happy heart, this delicious meal and simple relaxed scene is completely different from 5 years ago.
A spur of the moment decision to go down to the local cafe and grab a meal was something that needed to be planned in advance. A meal that I would not eat unless it was around training. A meal that I needed to “save” calories for. A meal that had a lot of anxious energy thrown at it.
My relationship with food controlled the decisions I made in the past.
My relationship with food now influences the decisions I make and the actions I take. It influences me to educate our women to the future dangers that are out there. To show them that there is a way out even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. To let them know that they are not alone and most importantly to be someone that they can talk to if and when they need.
So where did it all start for me.
When did I enter into a blackhole that kept me trapped for so long? A blackhole that sucked me in and spun me every which way, causing damage upon damage over the many years. How did I get there….
I can’t be exactly sure when this happened. Reflection has taken me back to my most vivid memory of when and why this may have started. 10 years ago now. When I was 20 years old a student at University, my boyfriend of three years had cheated on me. Lost in complete helplessness and hurt, I lost my appetite, stopped eating and dropped a lot of weight really fast. I became stick thin within a really short amount of time and never dealt with how I felt or how I got there. Who else can relate to this? Having complete heart break and just giving up on yourself. This was me.
My life was turned upside down and the self loathing that would last for the better part of 6 years was ignited.
From here, the blackhole sucked me hard.
This was all my fault. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. From here my choices were made out of hatred for myself and my body.
I drank a lot. I smoked. I took a lot of drugs. When I did eat food, it was crap. I had to train to combat the shit I was putting into my body. I was one of the only students in my dorm that went to the gym. On the outside I was told well done for keeping active. Thats not what I was doing. I was trying to ignore the feelings with abuse. Abuse with substance and abuse with exercise.
I was unhappy with myself and my choices reflected that.
Within months of this happening I met my now husband.
We began dating and I felt happy. Happy to be in a relationship. Happy that someone wanted me. This happiness was something that kept my mind busy. Busy in the sense that I didn’t have to think about the real shit, the real feelings that were in my head. Underneath this boyfriend bubble, I was struggling with myself, who I was and how I felt about myself. We lived a life of uni, drinking and gigs. There was no time to get real with myself-so I didn’t.
I was working for a bank while he was working for the government. We were in a good position, developing solid careers, saving money and making our parents proud.
Our day to day life was a routine. Wake up, drive to the city, go to the gym, come home to where we were living with his parents and do it all again.
It was an easy routine. We had it all taken care of but we knew there was more.
Deep in the blackhole, training for punishment was at the top of my list.
I trained nearly every day. I took anti suppressant pills and prided myself on eating as little as possible. I was really good at hiding my unhappiness. In my career I was progressing, a bubbly character who contributed to her team and was always striving for more. As we continued this routine we became bored and dissatisfied.
Stuff it we said. With a 24kg suitcase each, we sold all our belongings, gave my Mum our dog moved over the ditch. We landed on the sunny Gold Coast of Australia.
Busying myself with the move, nothing had really changed.
One of the first things I did when we landed in Australia was find myself a gym membership. I joined a gym and the cycle continued.
Maybe I was moving to Australia to help solve this unhappiness in myself. Maybe I was hoping Australia would fix everything.
And in fact it would get much worse.
As I delve into the next part of my journey next week, always remember you are never alone. Reach out.