Being 2019, health and fitness is everywhere and almost everyone has their notion on what it means. However, being a gen z who spends a lot of time on social media, I’ve come to realise that the image of fitness is mostly always about weight loss and the physical transformation that comes along with it. Instagram is filled with pictures of people who have gone from 120kg to 70kg. and that’s amazing, but its only a small part of what really happens during ones health journey.
For someone who has been into fitness since I was a youngster, I’ve never felt like I’ve had a transformation to prove to people that i work hard. I’ve never been overweight so I don’t have a fat loss transformation picture to share. But I’ve never been super skinny either, so I don’t have a muscle improvement picture to show either.
This is why I decided to write this blog- to share my personal health and fitness transformation, but to also show that you don’t need a massive mind blowing transformation picture, to have achieved something (things don’t always need to be physical)
For those who don’t know my backstory, I have Tourette’s syndrome (TS). I know, I don’t ‘look like someone with TS’ because Ive learnt to supress it. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 16 even though I developed it at aged 6. From the ages of 10-15 I was in constant pain every single day yet I didn’t know why. I would have thousands of urges every day that I learnt to supress until I got home from school- from there they would all come out and I’d have what I’ve named a ‘tic attack’. This made me depressed and anxious from a very young age. I realised around age 10/11 that I had no control over my body- my bones would crack, my muscles would ache, I’d be constantly fatigued and I could do nothing about it. So, I turned to food. I thought if I can’t control my body, I can at least control the way it looked. I might be the ‘retard’ at school who blinks 100 times a minute and hits herself in the chest, but at least I could look good doing it.
This is where my eating disorder formed. I became obsessed with having control over what I put in my mouth. It started small, around 12 I started to mentally track calories, and then by the time I was 17 dealing with the stress of year 12, I was:
- Tracking my macros/calories
- Weighing everything I put in my body (even lettuce)
- Restricting to as little as 500 cals per day
- Binging every weekend on thousands of calories (packets of chips, whole loaves of bread in 1 sitting, boxes of cereal etc)
- Abusing laxative bars so that I didn’t gain weight after a binge
- Eating a strict paleo diet (other than while binging)
- Not allowing any food freedom (not even on my birthday)
- Weighing myself every day
I was depressed, starving, unsatisfied, anxious and I hated my body with a passion. I was a small 55kg yet thought I looked morbidly obese.
It wasn’t until July 20th 2018 (the day of my 19th birthday) that I was taken to hospital in an ambulance and put on suicide watch. I left the hospital without consent, took myself off my meds against doctors’ advice, and walked into work that night to take the 6:30pm class, as if nothing had even happened.
Over a year later and I’m a completely different person. It’s been a hard 12+ months but so worth it. I’ve put in so much effort, working with multiple medical professionals weekly, plus I’ve surrounded myself with an amazing support system (gym it family included).
but how? Hard fucking work, just like any other health and fitness transformation. Consistency, goal setting, challenging myself, stepping outside of my confront zone and most importantly- believing in myself and eliminating negative self-talk (well, as much as possible).
1 year later and I’m:
- Weighing myself when I feel its necessary (about once a month)
- Eating 80% whole food 20% soul food (enjoying eating)
- Nourishing my body (2000+ calories a day)
- 10 times stronger in the gym (even though I have an injury, still stronger than before)
I’m 7kg heavier than I was when I was in year 12 and yet I’m 100x happier with the skin I’m in. My stomach isn’t as flat, my arms and legs take up a little more room, and I can no longer fit into some old clothes…. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Currently I’m looking after my ongoing back injury (due to back tics), I train hard, eat well and don’t feel the need to look a certain way for anyone. I actually enjoy working out now and love my increased performance (that’s what happens when you eat well, you get strong 😉)
So this is my transformation… not physical, but mental. And it’s important that we talk about the mental transformations just as much as the physical ones.
My room is also neater now too.. haha
Sarah is one of the Personal Trainers at Gym It. Because of her history she is empathetic and understanding but also knows how to get people working hard. If you are interested in PT sessions you can reach Sarah through her Facebook page S.D.N Personal Training or by sending an email to Gym It.