Good morning everyone! I hope you’re having a good start to your week.
This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week & it’s a time that truly hits home with me. For those who have been long time readers of my blog and for those who are newer – I personally have struggled with Eating Disorders twice in my life before truly embracing the road of Discovery through BODYpeace.
My soulsistaa Heather shared a stunning fact on her blog stating that 80 percent of women are dissatisfied with their weight. 80 PERCENT. That number has only risen over the years and still, to this day, it continues to rise. It’s an epidemic, with many underlying causes. Every form of an eating disorder truly stems from an underlying issue that we must deal with.
Too often we feel “out of control” about something in our lives and we reach to something we can control. In my case, it was food & fitness.
Now, I’ve been able to take these two controlled variables in my life and learn to love them for what they do.
Food fuels my body to do what I love to do everyday & just to function. While fitness helps keep me strong & feel vibrant. Fitness is my happy place & my stress relief – no longer a way to “burn more calories” to look a certain way.
Let’s take a little journey, shall we?
On the Left: Whenever I was 11 years old our family decided to move. We were in the same school district yet a different Elementary school. This sudden “change” threw me into a loop of anxiety with starting at a new school with nobody that I knew. I wrote deeply about this experience [here] and I highly suggest you reading it if you’re interested in more of a back story on this experience. At the time, I started to make up rules in my head to follow in regards to food since I could “control” the food. You see, I was looking for control when I felt like I had none. I started to limit my food intake, not “mix” certain foods together, and only eat 4 hours apart because I had a fear I’d get sick eating too close together. Rules that may seem silly to some, but took over my life.
I lost 16 pounds between 5th & 6th grade at the same time of hitting a growth spurt. My arms con-caved & my life was run by my thoughts. I started going to therapy at age 12 and learned about myself in a whole new way, at a very young age. While kids were playing on the play ground, I was learning about myself & why I was dealing with these feelings where I may have felt them before at an earlier time in my life.
School was the last place I wanted to be and for a few years it was a struggle. I kept going to therapy and got to a place of being able to control my thoughts & work with them, instead of against them. This eating disorder was not based on “appearance” but it was based on control.
Middle Picture: College. College is a time for so many that is FILLED with “change” and being afraid of the freshman 15. If you’re catching my drift from my 11-year-old self, you’d see that change and I sometimes didn’t work too well together. I was falling in love with this idea that I could “diet” and “do 2-a-days” sometimes 3-a-day workouts in order to “look a certain way”. I was completely losing sight of Kasey and reaching towards outward appearance changers in order to make myself happy. What started as a fun bodybuilding competition at my University turned into a full-out eating disorder. I became obsessed with eating healthy and only eating between 1,000-1,200 calories. I became addicted to the feeling of control once again.
I lost my menstrual cycle due to lack of body fat, my hair was thin and was falling out, my nails could bend backwards, & I almost passed out one morning in class due to lack of energy (aka food). Even with all of these issues, I still believed that “no, this is what I HAVE to do to look the way I want to.”
And guess what? Even after I had those sought after 6 pack abs – I still found many things wrong with myself whenever I looked in the mirror. At lower than 12% body fat, I still was not “good enough” in my eyes.
I needed a wake up call & I needed to find happiness as Kasey.
On the right: BODYpeace photo shoot.
Now, in between college Kasey & current Kasey – something clicked. I took a good deep look at myself in the mirror one day and stated that I couldn’t live like this anymore. I needed to find balance. I wanted to fall back in love with fitness & food instead of using it as a way to look a certain way.
I wanted to feel like an athlete again.
Over the next few years, I started to challenge myself. I challenged myself to start eating more fats in my day, more carbs in my weeks, & more calories over all to sustain my fitness level. I started to look in the mirror, see my muscles start to grow, & realize that feeling strong is whenever I felt beautiful. I wanted to take my past and use it for my future. I was determined to not let myself go back to the way I was and start to focus on my INSIDES instead of my outsides.
I started to focus on me. I listened to my thoughts & got deep into my feelings. I spent many days looking in the mirror and working with myself to get through why I was feeling the way I was.
Any type of outward appearance struggle usually is rooting from something on the inside. I came from a place of anxiety and control over my feelings and I had to learn to use those in a positive way and not let them take over my life.
I started to challenge myself to eat some “unhealthy” foods in balance and realized that I was OK! One of the biggest tips I can give is to truly challenge yourself outside of your comfort zone. Go THROUGH the problem you are facing instead of continuing to go around it.
During our BODYpeace photo shoot, Heather & I both wanted to take some shots where we felt vulnerable. For me, it was shorts & a sports bra. For some, this may not be a big deal but for me, it was huge.
Taking off my top layers felt like shedding years of bodyshame. I was shedding those moments where I would cry at night because I ate a handful of raisins and felt “less than” because of it. This day of taking a picture in shorts & a sport bra was SO liberating. I was surrounded by girlfriends who supported me, embraced me, & made me feel so comfortable. I laughed and smiled & felt SO free. This was a truly BODYpeace moment.
The rest of my life I will continue to be on a road of discovery and I would be lying if I told you that I don’t still have moments of struggle. We are NOT meant to be perfect but we ARE meant to be ourselves. And being ourselves doesn’t mean we don’t struggle. Everyday is a new day of learning more about myself.
My past has prepared me for my future. I am so passionate about what I do because I want to help others not to go what I went through. And if they are, I am able to give them advice. I want to work with clients & athletes on fueling their bodies for performance and not restricting due to fear.
My past is not something I am ashamed of. My past is what helped mold me into the person I am today and for that, I am grateful.
If you are struggling, please do not stay quite. Seek help & talk with someone. Do not be ashamed.
I am always here to help & always here to be real with you.
Be true to you,
P.S. – If you feel like this is a topic that you want to dive deeper into, pick up a copy of BODYpeace!