This is a question I ask myself almost daily. I seem to be on a never-ending cycle of destroying and rebuilding. I flip from impeccable behaviour (working out daily, successful in my job and letting only clean foods pass my lips) to completely sabotaging my efforts by going on a binge. Once this happens it can take days, or even weeks to pull myself back together and drag my sorry butt out for a run.
I’m not going to lie; it takes its toll. My home life has suffered immeasurably since my disordered eating became an issue. I can no longer eat out without panicking about the nutritional content, yet will think nothing of buying a tub of ice cream and having it for breakfast on my worst days. My other half despairs when we go to Tesco as he knows I will pick up and put down all manner of junk foods, often making a last minute dash to pick up/put down junk food wilst he is trying to pack, pay and entertain a 2 year old at the same time.
You want to know the funny thing? I am obsessed with nutrition and exercise. I love it. I used to be obese but managed to lose 2 stone simply by walking to work, then carried on to go from a size 18/20 to an 8/10. I used to drink, smoke and eat whatever I could lay my hands on at 3am on my way home. Now I start my day with a green smoothie, can recite at least 10 things to do with chia seeds off the top of my head and my normal dessert is greek yoghurt with peach and flaked almonds.
In my quest for wellness I gave up all of my bad habits. No more 2 for 1 pizzas, my tobacco went in the bi, I joined a gym and I swapped my jaegerbombs for the occasional glass of red wine. This worked well for such a long time and thanks to this new way of life, in 2013 I decided to retrain and work towards leaving my incredibly dull office job to become a fitness professional. My progress was hindered a little by having a son half-way through my training, but as of May 2016 I became a level 3 qualified personal trainer.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot how to relax. My training regimes got ever stricter, my food more bland. I gave up drinking completely and stopped going out with friends as it would impact my gym time.
When my son was 11 months old, he fell down the stairs. I hope to god that I never again have to experience that level of sheer terror. He was absolutely fine, but the incident triggered a chain of psychological issues. I have always suffered from anxiety and depression to a certain extent, but this sent me flying. I couldn’t cross the railway crossing without running. When on the train I was convinced the doors would fly open between stations and his pram would get sucked out of the carriage. I refused to carry my son up and down stairs. This resulted in my being signed off from work for 3 months. During this time I started looking after myself a bit more and was in incredible shape.
When it came to returning to work, everything hit me all over again. My job role had changed drastically, I had to suffer a pay cut and I missed my time with my son greatly. It doesn’t require Sherlock to figure out how I coped…. with all of my other vices kicked to the curb and not conducive to parenting responsibly, I turned to food. Cheap, readily available and most importantly, easy to hide.
I am now 15 months on from that incident, but I have to say I think my issues were brewing for a long time. I am now in a daily battle of getting through my working day without losing my marbles, looking after a toddler, not falling off the healthy wagon and finding the energy after all of this to train for the various runs I keep entering!
I realise I have rambled on rather a lot, so if you have reached this far then thank you! Ultimately, the aim of this blog is to document my transition from office bod to personal trainer (as despite, and possibly due to my own issues, I am VERY good at helping others reach their fitness ghoals) and hopefully enlightening people on the everyday struggles of a person with disordered eating.
Just to clarify; officially my diagnosis is EDNOS which stands for eating disorder not otherwise specified. I suffer from a little of all three of the main disorders (anorexia, bulimia and bing eating) but I do not fit neatly into any of the categories. I will expand on this in later posts.
Oh, and in answer to my question in the title; my answer is this…
Every moment is the opportunity for a fresh start. It is cheesy as hell, but it is true. Don’t wait for next month, next week or even tomorrow. Make that decision, right here and now, to treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. No-one else has the capacity to be as kind, or as cruel to yourself as you; let others try to bring you down and get on with striving for more. That’s all I ask.