When you THINK you are Healthy
Do you want to know what it’s like to be a fitness professional? Well, most of the time it starts with an obsession. Pure hunger to be the best. To look your best and perform your best. But when does it stop (does it ever stop?). When are we ever satisfied? What extremes are we prepared to go to? Well for me in the beginning, I spent years comparing myself to others and seeking other people’s approval to feed my own insecurity and ego. Just to have someone tell you ‘You look amazing’ and really you “Feel like SH#T”. I began to question if it was really worth it.
At the age of 18 I decided to begin what I thought was a health and fitness journey. Little did I know I would be entering the most detrimental and unhealthiest stage of my life. The battle to seek perfection ended in defeat.
ME AT 20
At this point I had the so-called ‘cover girl’ image and from the outside it may have looked like I had it all, but on the inside I felt empty.
I was constantly complimented and told I looked amazing, from gym members to work colleagues and even strangers. They kept stroking my Ego. So I kept going.
The issue was buried deep inside. The need to be ‘enough’ and desire to be ‘perfect’. I was losing sight of my true self, constantly self- centered and consumed with my body image.
I did this because of my own insecurities and feeling of not being ‘enough’. I tried to fill this void from the compliments I was receiving, which was a big mistake. My fitness lifestyle was keeping my inner demons at bay, at least for the moment…
The amount of social pressure placed on women today is unreal! One only needs to flick through a magazine, turn on the TV or browse photos on social platforms such as Instagram to see that there is a lot of pressure for women to look their best. But for whom exactly?
THE BIG CRASH
At the age of 26 I came crashing down. I fell into a heap and hit adrenal fatigue, I could not do it anymore. Having the so called ‘perfect body’ (perhaps externally) wasn’t worth the extreme dieting and overtraining in the gym. I was digging myself an early grave.
I had no energy, I was always hungry, I had no social life, miserable relationships with family and friends. Of course, no one wanted to be my friend as I socially isolated myself from most social environments. The thought of eating anything other than chicken and broccoli gave my anxiety! I missed my own 21st Birthday celebration, while I was sitting at home my mum was out drinking Cocktails for me!
I made one very big mistake by listening to that ‘Ego’ and didn’t listen to my body nor the signs that were presenting. I was in denial.
Why because that little voice inside called ‘Ego’ would attack it at any opportunity.
My family and friends who had my best interest at heart tried to help me see it but I would deflect this advice at any opportunity. At the time, I didn’t know the long-term effects of what over training and continuous dieting would have on my health and unfortunately learnt the hard way.
If you are sitting there scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, I would like to share some very important advice from my somewhat wiser self.
If I can teach others there’s no need to fight this battle as you are perfect just the way you are, every imperfection is what makes you you!
Once we start to look from within and accept who we are as a person this is when the true magic happens. We no longer have to rely on external approval as your own is enough.
Accept yourself for who you are rather than ‘trying to be’ or ‘wanting to be’ look within ‘just be you’ once you master this you will live your life to your true self.
Be Grateful towards your life experiences even if they may not play out according to plan. Embrace, Learn and move forward. All you have in NOW.
Be Kind to yourself, we all make mistakes. When you learnt to crawl you fell down right? If we don’t fall how can we expect to learn? As long as we can take a lesson from the experience.
Last week I had the opportunity to speak to my 21-year-old self, I was able to reach out with my past experience, (mistakes) knowledge and understanding. It really goes to show how many of us are impacted by these social pressures to be ‘perfect’
I was speaking to a young girl who reminded me of myself in my younger years. She had limited knowledge, and was being over-influenced and misguided by her coach. I could see her first competition was going to be a disaster, and I wanted to help her.
This is how the conversation went (while gasping for air on the Stairmaster, mind you!)
I asked her how her preparation was going…
1. She told me she was starving not hungry (6 weeks into her 12-week program) on 1200cal. I thought to myself what will it look like in 6 more weeks .
2. Her coach told her she needs to lose 10kg in 12 weeks she’s 24 years old, 5″1″ and sitting at 60kg!
3. Her coach told her she is expected to lose her menstrual cycle.
Out of concern I asked her how she was feeling. She responded, ” this is so hard, I don’t know if I should be competing!” I felt like saying “maybe you need a new coach!” – Instead I put that conversation aside and thought if I can help her understand some potential health implications my job is done!
This really hit home as I WISH I had someone who turned to me at her age to educate me on the potential issues that could arise.
WHY IS UNDER-EATING DETRIMENTAL?
Let me address these points and stress the physical and mental repercussions of reducing calories below recommended baseline:
Physically – Starvation slows down the functionality of our metabolism so then when we do increase calories our bodies will be more likely to store body fat. Our body will no longer utilize out fat stores for energy and will in fact store it as the body goes into “survival mode” The body will look for the next source which can potentially be the breakdown of muscle tissue for energy.
Mentally – Extreme mood swings… I like to refer to it as ‘Hangry!’ We all know what it is like when we are hungry patience and tolerance is LOW! Not to mention a loss of concentration, judgement, fatigue and increase of emotional distress.
Nothing in extreme is healthy nor of benefit no matter what it may be, too much work, too much play. Balance is key.
If you are interested in hearing more from Simone, check out her website: http://www.amazesimbodies.com.au