As with anyone’s journey, my journey to finding a healthier lifestyle has definitely not been all smooth sailing to say the least. My fitness journey officially begun at the end of 2015 when I discovered Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Guides (BBG). I’d always been fit; I come from a very healthy and active family. And I’d never go as far to say I was overweight at the start of my journey but I was what I call ‘Skinny Fat’. No toning, no definition, no muscle and a bit of fat around the tummy, thighs, arms – all those typical problem areas. I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted. Lots of processed foods, and rarely any fruit and vegetables apart from at dinner time.
I had never stuck to any exercise program or diet before, but I was tired of feeling embarrassed about my body and uncomfortable in my own skin; so I decided to take the leap of faith and purchased the BBG 1.0 ebook. And honestly, that one decision that seemed like something so simple and insignificant at the time, completed changed my life (cliche I know, but its true!).
I was very disciplined and completed every workout each week (3 resistance circuits and 3-4 cardio sessions), completely cleaned up my diet and really committed myself whole-heartedly to changing my lifestyle for the better. I started researching and educating myself about proper nutrition, the body and whole-foods based diets. I’d changed my mindset from just ‘mindlessly’ eating for the sake of eating to looking at meals times as opportunity to nourish and fuel my body to perform and feel its best. At the time also, I had just gotten out of a very destructive long-term relationship; so I was willing to throw myself into anything that would distract me from the pain and suffering I had been experiencing. So I found this new lifestyle and exercise to be the perfect outlet.
However, even though I started off my fitness journey with the best intentions, things quickly began to de-rail. Shortly after starting BBG, I began my fitness Instagram account (@eb.fiitness) and started following some other fellow BBG girls and #fitspo accounts for inspiration. Every girl that I came across on in my feed had amazing abs and looked like they were straight off a Victoria Secret runway. Consequently, I fell into the trap of basing my definition of fitness around also having abs and being super skinny to the point your rib cage popped out (*face palm*).
I quickly lost sight of why I started my journey – which was to feel good and confident in my own skin. My mindset started to shift from wanting to feel good, to wanting abs and wanting them at any cost because I thought abs = health. I thought in order to achieve this I had to severely restrict my food intake, only eat ‘clean’ foods and exercise like a madwomen multiple times a day with no rest days. Obviously this led to be having my popping Insta-worthy abs, but was I really healthy? Did I feel good? And was I happy. No, no and hell no.
Little did I know at the time that these abs and achieving this physic Instagram portrayed as ‘healthy’ came at a huge cost. Physically, I had so little body fat that I began to always feel fatigued, exhausted and like everything was an effort. I lost my period for Two.Whole.Years. My body was in starvation mode and began shutting down to try and preserve energy. But not only was I physically unhealthy, my mental health was suffering. I was so consumed by the health and fitness industry and my unrealistic, unhealthy goals, I didn’t even see the harm I was doing to my body – no matter how many family members, friends or health professionals pointed it out. I didn’t see that my type A personality had caused me to take something that was supposed to be beneficial to my health and turned it into something that was the compete opposed. I thought the restriction, deprivation, depression, anxiety and social isolation was all normal. If this is what it took to look like the ‘healthy’, fit girls on my Instagram feed, I was willing to do it.
But let me tell you, Instagram and social media are a highlights reel – only showcasing the best 5% of someones life/day. The 5% with the best lighting; the 5% with the most flattering clothing and angles. What you don’t see is the rest of the persons’ life where things aren’t so glamorous – the anxiety, stress, emotional breakdowns, eating disorders and social isolation.
I sadly did not realise this at the beginning of my fitness journey. So here I am, over 2 years on from the beginning of my fitness journey, wishing I knew then what I know now. Because it would have saved me a whole lot of pain and suffering. It would have saved me a whole lot of money from countless doctors’ and specialist appointments to try and fix the damage done in my quest for ‘health’ (or more like my quest for abs). It would have saved me from the inner demons I still battle everyday.
But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve seen the error in my ways and I’m fighting with every ounce of my being to overcome my unhealthy habits and behaviours and truely live a healthy, balanced life. I may not be an expert in this health and fitness field, far from it, but I’ve gained so much knowledge from my own trial and error and own experiences and research.
So as I continue to work towards living my healthiest, happiest life, I’ve decided to start writing this blog to share my experiences, my struggles, my triumphs and just anything that has helped me. Because I know what I have experienced and am still experiencing is far too common these days. I can’t change the past, and I don’t want my blog to be about dwelling on what has been or wallowing in self-pity for the mistakes I’ve made. What’s done is done. The focus is now on living my best and healthiest life; doing what makes me happy and finding a sustainable, balanced lifestyle that is free of restriction and deprivation. And honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing of the past, because everything has helped me grow as an individual and has lead to me finding my massive passion for all things health and fitness! Who would have thought a few years ago the kid that didn’t know how to use an oven would yearn to spend hours in the kitchen baking and recipe testing; or the girl who hated the gym would leap out of bed at 6:30am every morning to smash out a sweaty session!
So for those of you who made it to the end of this post, thank you! And I can’t wait for you to join me on this new part of my journey! ❤