Hello everyone! Happy FRIDAY! Today I’m bringing back Feature Friday to introduce you to the lovely Madelyn Moon.
Madelyn & I not only have very very similar stories with restriction, over-exercising, & competing, but she is also passionate about helping others find BODYpeace. Heather and I were recently guests on her Mind Body Musings podcast (you can listen to that episode here) – it was so much fun to talk with her, get to know her story more, & be so open & honest with each other. Below is her story so take a few minutes to check it out & welcome Madelyn to the blog! :]
Greetings, new friends!
Thank you so much Kasey for giving me the opportunity to share my story of discovery with your beautiful sisters. My journey has not been an easy one, similar to many other individuals, but it’s one that I knew I had to create. I knew that I would never live the life I truly deserved unless I came to terms with the body I was given, the body I was blessed with, the body that would never betray me.
When I was in high school, I started my first diet and exercise program. I became obsessed with eating strictly vegetarian and eating fewer calories than I burned off in my hour-long elliptical or Turbo Kick class. I started to watch my weight like a hawk, weighing myself every morning, every night and as much as I could in between. I fantasized about not just looking skinny, but also feeling skinny.
Once I entered college, I was introduced to the life of a female fitness competitor. The glamorous suits, the dark tans, the sparkly jewelry and of course, the absolutely perfect, drop-dead-drool-worthy body.
That’s what I wanted.
And so I set out for it. I stopped eating strictly vegetarian and jumped right into my 6-meal-a-day “clean eating” bodybuilding diet that was composed of chicken, broccoli, rice, oats and lots of protein powder. My stomach hurt most of the time from the protein load (something I was not used to) and the lack of fiber, nutrients and fat, but I couldn’t have cared less. I was slimming down and “toning” up. That’s all I really wanted…right?
My competition day rolled around four months later after consistently performing two-a-day workouts, staying inside every weekend night, feeling guilty about wanting foods not on my plan, and stressing out over every morsel of food that entered my body. But the day was finally here!
That’s all that really mattered to me.
After I finished walking out on the stage, I received my placement and my critique card where the judges wrote down everything I needed to work on. I placed around the middle, which completely shattered my world, and then after looking at my critique card, I had almost lost all faith in my physique. I needed to work on my glutes, my stomach, my symmetry, my posing and pretty much everything else. The only thing I scored high in was my makeup and tan, which I didn’t even do myself!
I was heartbroken. I was destroyed. I was mystified. And more than anything, I was metabolically damaged, starving, exhausted, mentally foggy, relationship-less, insecure and still feeling like I was “not enough.”
This was a moment in my life where I new something needed to change. I realized that I was putting my security and my self-worth into the wrong hands. I was putting it into everybody else’s hands except my own. I put my self-worth into the hands of five judges I would never actually meet, and into the opinions of others.
More than that, I was scared to love my body on my own. I was scared that if I loved my body unconditionally, I would let it slip. I would gain a pound, I would let myself “get fat” or I would no longer look sexy. The interesting thing was, I had nobody in my life I could even look sexy for. I had no relationships, no boyfriend and nothing else that I thought I would get once I “looked perfect.”
This is the moment I realized happiness does not coming from my body. Happiness does not come from my size or shape. Happiness doesn’t come from appearances. It only comes from within. It comes from being content and grateful for the fact that I was even blessed with a physical, working body to begin with.
My journey to self-love was not an easy one, like I said, but I have worked diligently for years now to get where I am today. I have accumulated a list of four big things that have made the biggest impact in my discovery process. Here’s what they are…
- I learned that I wouldn’t be “okay” with my weight until I was “okay” with my life.
One of the biggest things I had to work on was how I viewed life. I have always been a person that thought the grass was greener on the other side. That life would be better if I had this or that. And since I couldn’t control those things, I tried to control my weight, and hence, my food intake.
I began to wake up every morning and give thanks for the things I was blessed with. I was grateful for each and every body part I had. I was grateful for my family and friends. I started thanking instead of wishing. I gave up control, and focused on the things I didn’t even need to control. Soon, I realized I was blessed with so much.
- I went on a fasting spree.
No, no, not a food fast. Quite the opposite actually. I wrote a very long list of things I needed to stop doing and put it on my fridge. Some of my reminders were to: stop reading nutrition articles, don’t hire a competition coach, stop looking at fitness Instagram accounts, stop counting calories, stop trying to have an “all or nothing” attitude when it comes to nutrition, etc. I needed to stop being so intense. I then wrote down the things I should do instead, such as: read more fiction, listen to positive podcasts, eat out more (I was always scared of calories I couldn’t count), rest more and workout less, be more spontaneous, go on more dates, and so on. Posting these things on my fridge made the biggest difference. My friends saw the list, my family saw the list, and I saw it each day. The accountability was amazing, and I definitely recommend this to everyone.
- I stopped seeing foods as “good” and “bad” and as “indulgent” or “clean”
Excuse me, but I call bullshit on all of this. What is a “clean” food anyways? Is a clean food regular milk or only organic milk? Is a sugar-free rice cake a “clean” food since it’s “healthy” or is it not clean because it was made in a facility? Is grass-fed beef the only beef considered clean, or can I eat frozen beef from Safeway? Are naturally flavored apple oats “cleaner” than Kombucha? Is Stevia “cleaner” than organic cane sugar? Nobody knows!
Labeling a food as clean is not only confusing, but it’s also a way to make certain foods more righteous than others. Similarly, saying this food or that food is “indulgent” automatically creates a mental response that says you need to feel guilt afterwards. Or that since you indulged, you did something you can only do rarely. And something you can only do rarely must be something that’s not that good for you, right?
I stopped using these words. I stopped calling my meals good, bad, or clean or a cheat. They were all just meals. And they were all on the same level of nourishment. Whatever I was eating, I was eating it for a reason. Whether it was for good company, or it was for a future workout, they were serving a purpose.
- I began to challenge social norms and actually speak up about it.
While this might not be the easiest of lessons to learn, it is one of the most rewarding. The media is really powerful. They can convince us that beauty can be pinpointed to certain features, certain body types and certain heights. They have tried to convince us to believe there is a one-size-fits-all version of beauty by hammering it into our heads in every magazine, on every ad and on every movie. I started to realize this, and I started to speak up about it. Women who are caring, generous, nourishing, kind, smart, funny, confident and healthy….those are the women I started to look up to. I began to compliment women on their confidence and their glow. I started to speak up to younger girls about beauty and what it really means to be beautiful. Being beautiful means to be confident. It means being secure in the body you were given.
With all of these things combined, I began to think, feel and live differently. It was all so rewarding. With that said, I would like to invite you to do two things. First, I would like to invite you to get my free eBook How to Love Your Body Again, which will provide you with a lot more information on how you too can start to love your body unconditionally. You can get that here: http://bit.ly/1ux23wk
Secondly, I would like to introduce you to a coaching program that I am starting January 19th called Four Weeks to Body Freedom. This unique program will run for four weeks (obvi), teaching you dynamic lessons that will set you up for a life of unconditional body respect and lasting food freedom. In four weeks, you can finally learn the steps to ultimate food freedom. This program is a way for you to receive my undivided attention and help, as we work together through your journey to self-discovery. Please sign up here to reserve your spot, as the spots are indeed limited for this first go round.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
Thanks again for reading my story. Much love!
How amazing is this woman? I am so happy to have met her & continue our friendship! Definitely check her out & say hey! :]
You can find Madelyn:
Side note: TOMORROW LAUNCHES MY 2014 12 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS! Keep an eye out!