From the age of about sixteen my weight has been a major struggle. At sixteen I had what was called ‘puppy fat’ so when my sister in law asked me to come along to an aerobics class I agreed. Within a month or so I began losing weight and within three months friends and family began noticing too. It felt good to hear ‘you’ve lost weight’, ‘you look much better’, ‘you look younger’. In a space of a year, I went from doing aerobics two nights a week to joining the gym and going twice a day, in two hour blocks. I didn’t watch what I ate and looking back now I didn’t have an understanding of health and fitness. I just wanted to be thin. Real thin.
Fast forward to when I hit the age of 24. I was about to get married and like most brides, I wanted to lose more weight for my big day. At this point I was going to the gym once a day for about two hours. I was doing weights and lots of cardio. I began seeing a personal trainer who for the first time put me on a weight-loss diet. So here I was training hard (not smart), doing crazy amounts of cardio and on a high protein diet which pretty much consisted of boiled chicken breast, steamed broccoli and boiled eggs.
About 4 weeks into this diet I was at a session with my trainer. She had me holding dumb bells in each hand and doing lunges. As I went to lunge, I lost balance. I shook it off, picked myself up and went to start over again. This time I had no balance and lost bodily control. I collapsed and was out for about a minute. Before I knew it I had the owner of the gym making me gulp down two sugar drinks. After I felt well enough to stand up, I made my way down the stairs to head home. The owner stopped me at the counter and asked me what my trainer had me doing. After I told him about my program and diet he was pretty shocked. He advised me that the diet I was on was for people looking at participating in bodybuilding competitions and the diet was too high in protein with no carbohydrates which was not sustainable for somebody like myself. I ended up training on my own and my eating went downhill. I binged to the point I ate two entire packets of teddy bear biscuits in one sitting and of course the guilt kicked in straight after.
That week I spent $70 on fat blaster at a chemist and didn’t eat for 3 days. Again after the 3 days I went on binge which consisted of chocolate, pasta and ice cream. Then I tried weight-loss patches. Worked a treat but not realistic at all. My big day came and I had lost weight but definitely not the right way. I gained 13 kilos in my first year of marriage simply by not eating right and heavily consuming comfort foods such as ice cream, chips and chocolate. Skip 10 years and here I am today finally with balance in my life and most importantly happy about myself and how far I have come.
Instagram has driven me crazy with all this ‘clean eating’ business and to exercise ‘this way’ or hang on it’s ‘that way’! It made me think long and hard about what connection there was between my self worth, weight and food all these years. It finally dawned on me. My desire to ‘eat clean’ was actually me yearning for pure ‘clean’ love in my life and genuine ‘clean’ relationships.
Once the connection hit me, I began to distance myself from people who presented a negative attitude and only bought negative energy into my life. I started doing things for loved ones because I wanted to not because I felt obligated to. I surrounded myself with people who raised me, not bought me down. I met up with people for coffee who I could learn from not tell me I wasn’t good enough. I distanced myself from friends and family who enjoyed being mean to others and who loved gossiping.
I wanted change in my life. I wanted to feel good about myself and that started with surrounding myself with positive people and positive energy. I didn’t want to be a toxic person or be friends with toxic people. I no longer wanted to pretend I was happy with myself and I no longer wanted to pretend I had the perfect life. I wanted to be happy, I wanted joy in my life and I wanted to be a genuine person who was authentic, honest and most importantly I wanted to be me.
I would really love for each and every one of you to think about the people you surround yourself with. Ask yourself these questions:
Do you have a real connection with them?
Do you have ‘fake’ conversations with them?
Are you yourself around them?
Do they raise you and appreciate your authentic self?
Do you become a different person when you are with them?
Do you take your own direction or theirs?
I let go of the ‘clean eating’ analogy as I knew in actual fact it had nothing do with food but everything to do with the energy around me and what I actually wanted for myself. Yes people have disappeared from my life but they would not have done so when I stopped being a reflection of them. I stopped becoming a people pleaser and I became someone who knew their self worth and authentic self.