Hey everybody :) Welcome back!
I've had many discussions with other people behind the scenes about why I picked the photo on my book, for the cover of my book. Because some people have said, "Why did you pick that photo? That might be triggering for some people."
And I get that, and I've considered changing it, but at the same time, I don't wanna change it. And here's why. It was very intentional, my book cover. It was a part of my healing process to show what was going on because so many times when I was within the fitness community around all the same people, and I tried to voice what was going on with me, most of them had the same response, "You must have been doing something wrong."
Later down the line, years later, I know that's not the case, and I can validate myself now. But now I face a different opposition of how this could be triggering. I wanna talk about a few things here because it's important to talk about. Because if a photo like this is still triggering, and this is something that's coming from my experience, and my reflection, and from my recovery, so it may not be for everyone, it may be worth looking into as to why it is so triggering, triggering in the sense that you wanna go back and restrict and start over exercising and sacrifice your whole life to lose some weight.
It's something to look into and to dig deep within yourself, because that was the case for me, and I had to dig deep because, in my recovery, when I would look at past photos, in the beginning, it made me feel really uncomfortable and uneasy and ashamed of my weight gain and my body changing.
And then later on in my recovery, though, the more work I did, the more I started to see, "Oh my gosh, why did I ever feel the need to lose weight? I was fine before," and then I started having regret. So it moved through phases, but I think that's a natural part of the process.
But there has to be that deep work done because if this was the case still for me, for example, I never did this work, and then after recovery, I still feel the same, then that would mean that by me looking at this photo, if I didn't do the work, my brain would still say, "Oh my gosh, you should lose weight. You should look like this like. Oh, you're fat. You're ugly. You're unworthy of love and attention and approval and validation." No, that's the whole point. You don't want to be so influenced by seeing a trigger, and what is a trigger early on typically is not a trigger for you later on in your recovery. That's part of real recovery.
So if that was the case that every time I looked at this photo and it would trigger me to want to go back to looking like this and do whatever it took to get back there, that's not good. For me, that's not the case anymore.
I don't want to look like this. I don't want to make all of the life sacrifices to look like this, because I dug deep in my recovery to do the work, and that desire in the heart, in the mind, it's no longer there. Okay, so this kind of work is re-association.
I reassociated this look with misery, unhappiness, unhealthy, and all the other issues that I list in the book, and also in other videos on here, on YouTube. So I wanted to do this video because I had to reassociate this body with an eating disorder, with unhealthy, with misery and all of this, and this is a problem, this look, this body, this lifestyle is a problem. And so I want others to do the same. I want people to wake up and see the reality here.
There's a lot of this going on. And a lot of people may recover saying, "Strong is the new skinny," but then they only end up masking their pre-existing eating disorder, or to then develop an eating disorder, striving for health and fitness and strength that isn't healthy, and it's disordered. Also, because too many people would never question someone who's lean, who's fit, who eats 100% clean, to have an eating disorder. Commonly in the world today that people only associate an eating disorder or disordered eating or unhealthy, with emaciated, emaciated anorexic. That's what everyone thinks is, "Oh, that's an eating disorder and a female a problem at that."
But far too many people that look healthy and fit according to society's ideals currently, are actually suffering mentally, physically, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually, from that quest to look healthy and in shape.
Because it's not healthy. It's not taking care of yourself. It's just not. People are ruining their health and their sanity and their life, trying to be healthy. And then when you try to recover, which is taking care of yourself, you were bombarded with thoughts and judgments from others of, "I'm letting myself go. I'm not taking care of myself. I'm lazy. I'm weak. I'm a failure. I'm good for nothing. I'm a pig. I lack character. I'm unlovable. I'm not enough." So many terrible things that we tell ourselves. And then the world tells us too. It's terrible. It's insane. And so the world needs to wake up and face the reality here that what we've been told is health and fitness and being in shape and taking care of ourselves, is the exact opposite when taken to these extremes.
And when people are caught up in the restrict binge cycle for years, so this is why I focus on these photos, not these photos. I would really recommend doing the work of reassociation, reassociating this look, this ideal as it's not health for you. It's not freedom for you. It's not life. It's not living. It's not joy. It's not happiness, it's not excitement, it's not sustainable. It's nothing, and reassociating that constantly whenever the fears and the doubts and the doubting the whole process and doubting what you're doing comes in, you reassociate that and you remind yourself of the truth and the reality of that so that seeing this 'cause the world isn't changing just because we decide to change, right?
So we're gonna see this stuff. But we want to get to the point where when we see this stuff, it doesn't make you feel like you need to change your body immediately or go cut out all these foods that you love and that now you feel deprived. And instead that you're good enough wherever your body's healthy set point weight is supposed to be and where you're at in your healing process in your recovery.
So that's why I chose this photo and not the photos of when I got to 90 pounds. After the fact, I lost a lot of weight on all of these healing diets to try to heal the problems that came from when I looked like this, but when I was 90 pounds, I was so insecure about weighing that much. It's not like I wanted to look like that, I was just trying to heal myself.
And I tried to push my stomach out to try to make it look bigger because I was so disgusted with being that thin. But I got there again because I went on all these healing diets to try to heal the damage that came about when I was looking like this. I'm trying to do this to help reassociate this look with misery and un-health, by the way. So when people say, "Well okay, this makes sense to me but I didn't go that far, I didn't go as far as you did. I don't think I deserve recovery. I need to lose weight to be able to eat and gain weight and recover, first." No, I needed to recover here. I needed to recover here, badly.
My body tried to here with me binging and going on these cheat meals that would last all day and then all weekend and then for weeks on end, but I didn't understand recovery at that point, and I didn't allow it. I was too fearful and I didn't have the knowledge and awareness that it would be okay if I went through the process.
And then there are the people that didn't get even this lean, but they did the same behaviors, the same cycle. Restrict, binge, restrict, exercise, restrict, exercise cycle, maybe they lost some weight, maybe they didn't even lose weight, maybe they gained weight. Well, they all deserve recovery too. This is the problem. An eating disorder isn't a look, necessarily. It's how you feel.
And then the sad thing is is even if people encourage you to go into recovery, if people acknowledge that and validate that, then they say, "Okay, yeah, you need to gain some weight. Yeah, but not too much." When maybe your body needs to gain more than what some people would accept is enough weight gain to heal. The body knows how much it needs to gain to heal. And when they're giving this advice, then they never recover fully because they may need to go to a higher BMI to truly recover mentally, physically, emotionally.
So if you don't know already by now, I wanna raise awareness about the fitness facade that's destroying our society and that looking like this is not sexy, and it's not healthy. And it's not sexy because it's not healthy for the majority of the population. Because not to mention, guess what I had to do to prep for this body? Did I look this way after the shoot?
No, I was sucking in the whole time and then I swelled up later for my binge. I had a huge binge after, and all that I was thinking about during the photoshoot was food, the whole time. I'm not kidding you. I was flexing so hard that I was sore afterwards 'cause I was unnaturally posing the whole time. It's really uncomfortable and really unnatural. There was all this lighting that also accentuated the cut and striation and all that. And of course, you slab some baby oil on that and it adds to the accentuation. For a week or two before there is a photo shoot prep where you cut carbs, fats, water, salt, also I was posing always.
I always was posing to hide my scoliosis because I don't have a straight spine. So that was an insecurity and so I had to make it look like I had a straight spine. You accentuate your butts, you stick out your butt to make your torso appear longer and your butt bigger and have a thigh gap, which if you stand normally, it wouldn't look like that.
And what was going on during the photo shoot? The whole time I could not wait for the photoshoot to be over. Every photoshoot I did, I could not wait for it to be over so that I could go binge. And I was super uncomfortable and awkward and I was depressed. I didn't like my life and what it had turned into, and I was living for photos. And I was living for validation on social media from the photos. I was insecure. I was extremely fatigued. I had fitness and I looked fit but I was so fatigued all the time. I could have had a lot more fitness if I just would have eaten freaking more food, My personality had faded away, I was no longer me.
My life revolved around food and exercise and upholding my identity and reputation as the Fit Chick, risking myself along the way. So, does that sound familiar? So just because someone is smiling or looks healthy and fit, or looks like they have it all together, the perfect life, most of the time you're not getting the full story by looking at a photo or looking at a video, like this video, even my life right now. Everyone's going through something at all times. So remember that when you start comparing your life to others and where they're at on their journey. Because if you do that, you'll lose yourself, and your truth, and your path, and what you're doing along the way. And then you get off track of what you're supposed to be and what you're supposed to be doing.
Well, it's a feeling, not a look, and it's a healthy, balanced relationship with food, exercise, and your body.
Well, it's a lot, a lot. But some of my definitions are, not being so freaking stressed out about having the perfect diet all the time, feeling satisfied rather than feeling deprived and jealous that other people could eat your favorite foods, free from the stress and chains of counting calories and macros to tell you how much or what you can eat or when you can eat it, but instead eating intuitively allowing the body to guide me. And not working out out of guilt or shame about eating too much or eating too many carbs, or to try to force unhealthy weight loss, but instead moving my body in ways that I enjoyed for the sake of enjoyment and not punishment and not to exhaustion. And also appreciating my body for all that it does to allow me to live life. And not being so under-fed that all I could think about was food 24/7 and facing extreme hunger all the time, but rather free from food that's free from extreme hunger.
My body not wanting to binge 'cause it's fueled properly and eating what I want, exactly what I want and crave until I'm satisfied, mentally satisfied, and not thinking about food in between, right? Able to just eat normally again and not feeling cold all the time, and not feeling hangry all the time, and having a period and desire to be intimate. Being able to be present with others rather than dull and lifeless and just consumed with food thoughts.
And then another question that I get a lot, so is that possible for you too?
Because every day that you eat even a couple hundred calories under what your body needs that day, and if you do that every day for years and years or even if you have cheat meals in there to try to make up, some of your organs, if not all of them will suffer and they will get damaged, and they will get depleted along the way. Your brain, your heart, your digestive organs, your endocrine glands, your hormonal system, your muscles, your bones, everything, it will suffer... Because they all need a certain amount of calories every single day. A lot of them. Each organ requires a lot of energy. So when you're in a caloric deficit, you're damaging your body through starvation, and that's what a diet is. And that's what unnaturally supposing your weight it looks like.
So I want to share an old meal plan that I found that I wanted to read. I felt like this went along with this topic, right?
This is not healthy, and at different times it got to different extremes. I had a bunch of these little meal plans that I used to follow. And although it looks like you're having five to six meals per day, and that's what some people justify as "Oh, I'm eating a lot," it doesn't mean crap if you're still not eating enough at those five to six meal times. If you're not eating enough fats, enough carbs, sugar if you're craving it, salt, protein, whatever...
This is called lean down. This is when I started facing digestive problems. I started facing extreme hunger for the first time ever. Food started to become more appealing and I felt like I wanted to binge all of a sudden.
So breakfast was a cup of oatmeal, six egg whites, eight ounces of orange juice, a multivitamin, one to two Max Lean. I don't even remember what Max Lean is.
So a snack was a scoop of protein and the teaspoon of glutamine.
Lunch was chicken breast or eight ounces of fish, one cup of rice, one cup of vegetables, and a multivitamin.
Snack was a scoop of protein, a teaspoon of glutamine. *And there's a little note, second dose of Max Lean should be taken about an hour before you work out. If you work out in the morning, take your second dose of Max Lean about lunch time.
Dinner, one chicken breast or eight ounces of fish or eight ounces of lean beef, with a dinner salad with a low fat dressing.
Late night snack, scoop of protein, teaspoon of glutamine.
That's a lot of protein and let me tell you, my farts were so stinky. I remember getting to this place.
So this second meal plan is for a photoshoot prep, like I was talking about.
There's low carb days and high carb days.
Let's go through the low carb day first.
7AM -Half of an avocado, four to six egg whites and spinach.
9:00 AM on the dot, (and you bet, I was on the dot. EXTREME lol) Half to one cup of oats, one scoop of protein powder, cinnamon and almonds.
11:00 AM, fish such as tilapia, rarely salmon 'cause it had too much fat, and veggies: So asparagus, broccoli, green beans, whatever.
2:00 PM, chicken with salad or veggies, no dressings unless apple cider vinegar.
5:00 PM, tilapia and asparagus.
8:00 PM, 4 to 10 egg whites.
Jeez, don't let these five to six meals a day fool you.
See, that's why I can't judge anyone who's still in this because look at where I'm coming from. So who am I to judge? I get it. I'm just spreading the message to show you there's another way, there is a way out of this. You don't have to live like this.
Okay, so let's go to the high carb day.
7:00 AM, half a ripe banana. (Oh, there's your extra carbs. It's a half of a banana lol), one tablespoon peanut butter,
9AM one half to one cup oats with blueberries, one scoop protein powder, cinnamon, almonds,
11:00 AM, fish, veggies, half cup brown rice, and black beans or four ounces of sweet potato.
2:00 PM, chicken, four ounces sweet potato or quinoa, veggies, or salad.
5:00 PM, tilapia, asparagus.
8:00 PM, four to 10 egg whites.
So there you have it, folks. Those are my ridiculous meal plans that a lot of people are trying to live off of. These are orthorexic meal plans that makes one anxious if they go outside of this plan or outside of the safe foods, whether out of fear of gaining weight or out of fear of not eating clean enough. Normal eaters don't typically eat like this, like just eat the yolks and eat the WHOLE banana for pete's sake! Have some olive oil and have a good dressing with more toppings... And branch out of those few "safe clean" foods and eat things that are both satisfying and nourishing!
Anyways, so I found a couple of blogs on my old fitness website that I've actually posted as excerpts below to get an inside scoop to how I was feeling during that time period!
"You hear that the pre competition prep is hard both physically and mentally, that you have to be in a certain mind set to do it, right? Well, do you ever hear about the difficulties post comp? I don't, or didn't when deciding to compete, I had a feeling it would be a bit difficult readjusting, but not nearly as difficult as when it actually came! I just want others to be aware, and explain why I have been a bit MIA for the last couple weeks, after the competition.
Not only did my body go through some hardship, but my mind definitely did as well. It was a minor setback for me, filled with binge eating and a bit of body dysmorphia looking in the mirror! I am not trying to be that girl like "oh, i'm fat" but literally, after seeing a different body in the mirror (not a lot of curves, and definition in every part of my body) but after the competition, the curves comes back quicker than you have time to readjust, so it is a bit startling and shocking to say the least! And because of the binging I probably gained a bit more which I am trying to get back to a happy place again, before I even started comp prep. That is where reality is, a happy and healthy place, where you are not depriving the body of nutrients!
Not to mention (here's a bit of TMI for ya lol) because I was lacking nutrients, I got so backed up for WEEKS, yes constipated, had to use Fleet Enema 4 times, drank senna tea, use milk magnesia, stool softener, you name it, it was painful! My body, every inch of it, bloated when consuming regular foods again, to where it was always uncomfortable and painful!
Anyway, I had to readjust from competition prep back to simply living a healthy lifestyle. It was hard on my body in the sense that it was confused, I have to get my metabolism back to normal after being deprived for however many months. Like us all, we want to look lean and cut all day everyday, but to keep it real here, that's not realistic. Not "that lean." So, on that note, with that setback, a bit frustrating yes, but tis reality. We are human!
My body is always fluctuating, within a range, but it's totally normal for us! We shouldn't get too caught up with the numbers, but focus on how good we feel, and recognize how far we have come!
Think about it like this...Like singers, when they sing live, most sound nothing like what the record label version sounds like; whereas fitness models don't walk around at that body fat % all year like they do when they have a photo shoot, the editors may use photoshop or when an individual steps on stage after dehydrating, using diuretics, on fat burners, and starving the body of nutrients!
If you strive for that to be your reality, you will never be satisfied! Again, it is human nature to be our own worst critic, but dammit, give yourself a break, YOU are awesome!"
"I find it ironic that in the pursuit to become the most "healthy" and "try" to live a healthy lifestyle, I was the LEAST unhealthy!
If you have read my previous blogs, before I tore down and rebuilt this website, I went from hardcore fitness addict to slowly becoming more aware of how crazy it all was, to then finally breaking down (not as a choice) physically and mentally in result from all that I was doing to myself. I thought I was in the "health" and fitness industry! HA It is simply just the fitness industry, not healthy at all really..
I lost my "true" identity in it all, because the industry is all superficial, materialistic, and externally based. There is SO much more to life than just on the material level.
In the end, everything happens for a reason, and I have been humbled and feel compelled to share my experience to help others to see that what we see everywhere is not reality. We should not feel guilty for everything, we should not compare, not feel inferior or less than, and we should feel confident with who we are naturally, and do what makes us feel good, not what society tells us to do, be, feel, look like, etc.
The experience itself has forced me over the past year to seek out my options, do my research, read, study, and try it all out. I still have the rest of my life to learn!
It all takes baby steps. Change is Good!"
So many people say, "Well, can I recover? I wish that I could recover and be free with food and have a healthy relationship with food, but also look like this."
But people have to remember that getting to look like this and suppressing your weight causes the binge eating, causes the craziness around food. It causes it, you can't have both. You can get to your healthy set point weight, but it's typically not gonna be where it was when you started to face extreme hunger or these physical symptoms. But at the same time, some people could be at a higher weight or even at a normal weight or a higher weight and also face extreme hunger because they're dieting like it doesn't matter...
Anyways, you should go watch the other video about what's your set point weight, and I talk about it there.
And a lot of these standards are based off of our sexuality. We're told that this look for both men and women is sexy, it's attractive. It's I'll have good sex or I'll attract the perfect mate if I look this way, or if this is my lifestyle if I eat this way...
But the reality here, a reality check is that the girl that looks in shape like this to this extreme, that a guy with that mindset wants to have sex with, she doesn't even want to have sex with them now because they don't have their period. They would rather focus on food. Because they can't get it off their mind. And they're so out of it and dazed and dull and it's taken away the essence of her femininity, distracted by the pursuit of attaining this perfect body and can't be a true woman or focus on what she's meant to focus on in life and vice versa. The guy that a woman with this mindset is striving to be with is also caught up in disorder eating and would rather talk about his abs, protein powder, and how much reps he did in the gym that day, or how he can't have carbs with you and enjoy a meal out with you and be intimate, truly intimate, not just purely sexual because his true masculinity has been suppressed, thinking that's what he has to do to be a man and neglecting the actual work he needs to do internally to be a true man.
Vice versa, this is interchangeable with females and males. So that's the reality here. We lose our libido and our sex drive, typically, unless hormones and certain supplements are taken to supplement that, or we just lose our presence and our ability to truly connect with each other.
That's all I have to say for this one guys, hope this helped in some way ! If you'd like further information or help in your recovery be sure to check out my online resources I have to offer for diet recovery!