I am a personal trainer and a nutrition coach, and yes, I've struggled with an eating disorder. When I made the decision to go back to school for a degree in nutrition, after battling for years with my eating disorder, a lot of people thought I was crazy. How could I ever get over my "food problem" if I was following a career path that revolved around it?
For me, the first few years were a struggle, as I bounced between jobs as a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and health coach; I had a hard time drawing the line in the sand between nutrition, fitness, weight, and health. The problem was, everywhere I turned I was inundated with two very common beliefs:
Belief 1: A workout automatically means weight loss. We've all heard the sayings "sweating for the wedding" and "a funeral for my fat," plus most of the "fitspiration" out there has to do with one thing only: looking a certain way.
Belief 2. We diet to lose weight. Of course, any time we modify our diet, our gut instinct is to think about how much weight we're going to lose. We aren't taught to eat our vegetables to get all the vitamins we need, we're taught to eat our vegetables, because they're filled with fiber, low in calories, and will help us lose weight.
It was only a matter of time before I realized what was going on and switched my path entirely. I decide to focus on emotional eating and body image in my coaching practice, and gave up the personal training and fitness jobs. There was one problem though -- I loved fitness.
As I transitioned back to a healthy eating focus with my nutrition practice, and started encouraging my clients to workout, I was nervous. I never want anyone to think I promote healthy behaviors solely for the purpose of weight loss. In fact, I really don't care if my clients lose weight.
What if it wasn't about fitting into size 2 jeans, and was about feeling comfortable and confident in your jeans.
What if it wasn't about portion control to lose weight, and was about getting the proper amount of nutrients your body needs to thrive.
What if it wasn't about willpower and deprivation, and was about nourishment and making healthy choices.
What if it wasn't about weight loss, and it was about being the best, most authentic, healthiest, version of you.
We need to start creating a difference between health and weight. Being healthy does not have to mean being skinny. I encourage proper nutrition, I support being active, I enjoy strength training, not because of the way it makes me look, but because of the way it makes me feel.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.