My Fitness Testimonial

I'M GOING ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE BEGINNING... it's a lengthy testimonial but I believe it could inspire a lot of you reading or at least give you a look at how I got to where I am today. It definitely wasn't pretty
 -Bethany 

Growing up, I was not surrounded by the freshest of ingredients or the most balanced nutritional diet. My family was middle class and always put food on the table that would keep me and my three sisters fed and even that, I could imagine, was a task in itself. I'm not saying it was all boxed or canned food but big dinner meals usually consisted of butter soaked veggies, high in fat content and carbohydrates as well as other typical southern cooking staples. From the ages of 7-14, I was sitting in the obese range when taking statistics into consideration. Where I am from that was a pretty average weight and I was still active enough to where I didn't feel any different. 

sidenote: I am thankful for everything I had and didn't have when growing up. I am just stating how it was. This is not me complaining or bashing my life or the food my family provided me. It kept me alive and it kept me growing. Its a huge problem that we see in middle class and poverty stricken America. The household income doesn't always allow for a family of 5 to eat as well as they should. Anyway, back to the good stuff.

When I got into High School, I became more self-conscious about the weight and not being like the other girls in my grade. My family's income level never improved and the convenience/affordability of a pop-tart (wasn't complaining), hamburger helper, fast food or canned vegetable diet was at its highest. As I began my senior year in High School, I was more physically active with my High School Marching Band and I had some money of my own and was able to start making some of my own dietary decisions. (Y'all might laugh at the Marching Band but the physical exertion was the perfect exercise for me. It taught me discipline and kept the heart rate up. We were pretty great and our practice style was very militaristic. A lot of my character comes from lessons learned in this segment of my life's journey). I lost a considerable amount of weight and started to develop a passion for being active. I was doing over 200 push-ups a day and running 2 miles on top of what we would do at practice. Without a gym membership, I was just left to train at the local parks or run through the neighborhoods. I was also training and on track to start a career with the Air Force right after high school. I was genuinely in love with being active and loved the challenge of setting and breaking goals. This was my first taste of fitness and I loved it. 

After High School, my life and my health took an unhealthy turn. Initially, I gained weight and reached a number that I consider my breaking point, 175 lbs. My mentality switched to the severe opposite and I became extremely strict about my daily macros and obsessive about what my diet consisted of. After months of persistence, I now sat around 105 lbs and was challenged with anorexia and bulimia. I already have this insane desire for perfection with everything that I do (I genuinely believe it influences my actions and decisions, whether its attainable or not I cant fight this need) and I became convinced that I had to work so much harder and that I had so much more to do with the way my body looked. I was convinced that eating a strict 1200 calorie low-carb and high protein diet was the route I had to take. This method would allow me to every now and then enjoy something sweet if I was prepared and had taken laxatives beforehand to flush it out. I was so blinded and uninterested in learning about any lifestyle habits that would require me to eat more food. I knew what more food would mean for my body and I was so focused on being the smallest I could be. I had gone from my heaviest of 176 lbs down to my lightest at 105 lbs by becoming so used to the feeling of being hungry. I tricked myself into thinking I was full by chewing gum or sometimes I would go to sleep early to avoid my stomach growling.

For my weight, I was eating what was appropriate for a fairly active person and was exerting myself in an obsessive way. In the next time to come, I experienced a monumental turning part in my life. I was raped in my apartment of Lexington Ky. Too small and weak to fight back, I felt extremely stupid for spending so much time in the gym and not seeing any benefit from the stress of "perfection". I don't think that this was the turning point for all of my challenges with my body image but I am now able to see that this was the moment I became alive. Up until then, I always tried to justify my actions, they were okay because I was staying active and pushing my fitness abilities ( I was getting pretty amazing at long distance running for a bit, I would run 8 or more miles a day with a 10 min mile) but I finally came to terms with the fact that anorexia is never healthy and bulimia could easily turn into serious health complications if I didn't stop abusing laxatives. My desire for a fit physique had finally found the right mentality and passion behind it. There was a purpose for my training and that was to cut the bullshit out and survive. 

I tossed my scale but kept the habit of logging food. I stepped up my caloric intake and started more weight training. I became obsessed with wanting to the biggest and strongest. I put on weight steadily and rose to 125 lbs, where I currently sit. In 2015, I enrolled to study at The National Academy of Sports Medicine and became certified to practice as a Personal Trainer. I have been through a lot of ups and downs physically during my life and I have learned something from every experience. I have learned that nothing good for you will come through practicing superficial habits. Our quality of health is directly related to our quality of life. Training at the gym or eating foods that support you properly isn't about looking as great as you want to but about making you feel as great as you look. After years of focusing on my health and fitness, I realize that I am in love with becoming a better me and I go through moments of obsessing but I am not the only one. You are allowed to obsess over your life and what you choose to do with it. I have been free of anorexia and bulimia now for 3 years.  I am human and I eat ice cream. I no longer abuse my body by hating it for how it stores that sweet delicious sugar-filled energy.

Tomorrow is a brand new day with new opportunities. Today is the day to build a better version of ourselves. 

 

Bethany HoodComment