When I was a kid, I suffered from binge eating disorder. I would hide with jars of peanut butter, jars of frosting, and sleeves of Girl Scout Cookies and stuff myself until it hurt. This was in the early 80s and long before we had the DSM-5 and a diagnosis for BED (binge eating disorder). To everyone who knew me, I was just a fat kid who needed to go on a diet or go out for a run to "burn the butter". As we now know, diets and cardio don't fix the underlying issues. It's just window dressing. The real work was needed and that happened decades later.
Fast forward to the early 2000s when I was 33 years old. I was told that if I didn't do something about my high cholesterol (260) and excessive weight gain, I would be put on medicine for the rest of my life. I was too young for this, something had to change. I started to do research regarding what to do about my health issues. I frequently saw internet pages promoting "pro-ana" and "pro-mia". I had heard of anorexia and bulimia before but I never realized that there were people promoting it online as a lifestyle. Right about that time, a family friend of mine was in ICU dying from the complications from anorexia. She was only 32. It made little sense to me at the time that someone so young and promising was dying so needlessly. As I read the information on those pro-ana and pro-mia sites, I started to see that the information for losing weight and living a "healthier lifestyle" was eerily similar. Was it possible I was heading down the same road as my friend? Her end was a tragic one. I could not get her story out of my head. In the end I did not choose to jump on the extreme bandwagon and start starving or purging. Instead I found a middle, more moderate and adequate way to get my mental and physical health in order and back on track. As a result, I dropped my total cholesterol from 260 to 141 and lost about 100 pounds very gradually. It took years of work. I never binged again.
Five years after I accomplished this big health goal, it was 2013 and I was turning 40. I was going through another life change, I was switching careers and studying to become a personal trainer. Since then I have inspired many people to become stronger in a healthy way. I have enjoyed watching people recovering from eating disorders build not just their strength but their self-confidence. I believe it's important for me to offer strength training to people in a healthy, non-extreme manner. I have become the trainer I needed years ago and other people suffering from eating disorders need today.
I believe that we can be healthy at any size as the saying goes. Aesthetic enhancements, drill sergeant tactics, measuring, skin calipers, starvation/yo-yo dieting, pills, and full on sweat sessions are not how I operate when helping my clients thrive. Instead I collaborate in treatment teams with my favorite registered dietitian Page Love and the therapist of choice. As a team we help our clients move on from the horrors of eating disorders onto a path of resiliency.
Co-written Article with Page Love
Testimonials from Clients Suffering from Eating Disorders (click on Eating Disorders)
Article from Australia - What Happens When Personal Trainers Get Too Personal
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