This week I want to share this story of a brave young woman, who discovered the power of fitness as a teenager, to help her to recover from an eating disorder. What is so special about this situation is that she took responsibility for her own health and wellbeing, after being disappointed with the help she was receiving.
Time and time again we are shown that there is no substitute moving the body and providing it with resistance to grow strong muscles and bones, and for eating good quality, real food to support performance.
This inspiring interview shows the enormous power of taking control of your health and fitness yourself.
I hope that this will help to encourage those of you who have been given poor advice, and who are looking for ways to regain their health through exercise and nutrition.
I am very grateful for this story today, and wish everyone a healthy and fit week x
How has fitness changed/developed/enhanced your life?
At an age of 18 I was suffering from an eating disorder. At a point I weighted only 40 kg. My doctor told me to go to a dietitian and she told me to ‘just eat some more fattening food’, but that was not the way I wanted to gain weight.
Then fitness came into my life and I started to learn how to gain weight in a healthy way. I started to eat a lot of clean food and go to the gym. I am 21 years old now and I gained 13 kg since I was 20 and I feel so much better both physically and mentally.
How and why did you discover fitness?
I discovered fitness when I had to find a way to gain more weight, without getting ‘skinny fat’. I searched the internet for tips and soon bodybuilding topics had my attention. Strong and healthy, that is what I wanted to become and that is what they all wanted to be. It felt like I finally had a way to live my life in a way that felt good, only by reading their stories and asking them for tips. I had to convince my parents that I wanted to go to the gym, but they trusted me to know what I was doing.
Were you fit and healthy as a child?
I’ve always been supported by my parents to do sports and so I have played soccer for over ten years in my childhood. But I also liked a lot of unhealthy food. As a child my condition was good, I could run a marathon, but I still felt over weight compared to my girlfriends. So I started with just eating less. Less ‘bad’, more running. And it worked quickly. Too quickly. And soon I had to stop playing soccer because I was not fit enough to train three times a week.
How has being fit and strong affected your life so far?
It completely changed the way I feel about myself and the world around me. I feel like I have the power to overcome everything. Mentally and Physically I was strong enough to overcome an eating disorder, so nothing is going to stop me now. If you want something bad enough, you have the strength to earn it. That is how I did it and that is how I am going to tackle every problem from now on.
In terms of fitting fitness and healthy living into your everyday life, around all the other activities, what priority does fitness take?
After being on a normal weight again, I believe that life is all about finding balance. You have to feel good about yourself first, that is the first priority. Fitness does help me to feel happy about myself, it is had become an habit to go to the gym about 4 times a week. But having fun with friends and family is also of great importance to me. So if I have to skip one training, I do not feel bad (anymore).
Thinking back, was there a turning point in your life where you knew that you could never go back to being the person you were before?
The point that I was sitting with the dietitian and she told me to just eat a lot at the dinner table during Christmas. I thought; you do not know anything about how I should change my life. I am not saying that all dietitians are wrong, but this one was. It became clear that I had to find my own way to overcome this disorder. And I did.
What favorite activities or exercises do you have that you would like to share with the readers?
Squat Squat Squat.
What would be your no.1 tip for staying motivated with your fitness?
Do it for yourself. Do it because you want to be fit and healthy. Once it becomes a part of your lifestyle, you will stay motivated automatically in my opinion. Keep your goal in mind and track your progress.