I kind of wanted to do a post that I think is very important, but not very often spoken about… The whole community surrounding the fitness world over the past couple of years is and amazing thing, But…
I do feel like the fitness industry is a very strange coterie to be involved in – there are bodybuilders, cross-fitters, powerlifters and many other competitive sports as well as, fitness influencers, fitness guru’s, Instagram booty builders, folk that just want to get a little fitter and enjoy going to the gym, chucking some heavy weights about or just want to sweat and get their heart rate up – However, I do feel like ‘fitness’ can become quite toxic if you let it and many can reach a point where they become OBSESSED, hence the title of this post.
The most colloquial piece of advice influencers, personal trainers, coaches etc preach is about having “balance”, to enjoy life and fitness, eat your veges but enjoy that burger without feeling guilty… Which is amazing, I think everyone should have this mindset and it’s something that I talk about a lot and DRILL it into all of my clients. However, being apart of the fitness community is how I developed a binge eating disorder back in 2016. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s not something I like to shout about as not too many people understand it, but as I’ve had it myself and still struggle with trying not to over eat pretty much every single day of my life – I’d say I have 90% control over it right now, which speaks volumes about my progress over the past few months (after a post bikini show hurdle – which may be a topic for another day)
My advice to anyone starting a journey in fitness would be to do your research and find what works best for you. There is so much misconception floating around, especially to those new to getting into fitness, due to purely being uneducated; not necessarily their fault. I’m sure you’ve all heard your fair share of crazy advice from Sally from your weight watchers club or even the busiest and ‘biggest’ personal trainer in your gym. My point is that all of these different opinions and ‘facts’ from handfuls of different people, in my experience can lead to becoming obsessed, stressed and just confused – which is what let me personally to forming this binge eating habit (luckily, I realised that I had a problem early on and had a few loved ones to talk about it with that understood – I understand that I did not have it as bad as others but I want to share advice where I can, hopefully helping someone)
Because I would starve myself for days as fat-loss was my goal and because, “chocolate makes you fat” (it doesn’t – too many calories do) I would eat completely “clean” (a term to describe food that I despise) to then end up saying “fuck it” on a weekend and demolishing a packs of biscuits and bars of chocolate etc in one sitting, thinking “it’s okay though because i’ll start again tomorrow” No, this is an attitude that is destructive to your mental health towards food, because I’d then be left feeling completely awful about it, therefore going back to deprivation for the next week – the cycle goes on, the binges become more frequent and the weight gain piles on.
I then heard about IIFYM (if it fits your macros) from a PT, saying I can eat all the cake I wanted to as long as it fitted into my daily calories – to an extent yes this is possible as it’s all about calories in vs calories out for fat loss, however if you’re eating 800 calories per day like I was (don’t do this), wasting those calories on half a packet of super noodles for your lunch, cake for desert and other foods that are heavily calorie dense, with little to no veges and other whole-foods, then proceeding to train 6 days per week… Have a guess where I was left – hungry, exhausted, extremely deprived of nutrients which then, again led to more binging.
The scary truth about this is, because it’s a topic that just isn’t talked about; the advice you would probably get is “just don’t eat it or don’t buy it” – believe it or not, it’s just not that simple when your mind has been wired to think a certain way about food and dieting – So many people suffer with this, especially in the fitness industry, and you would never guess from their Instagram profiles because we all filter what we write on social media to give a perception that we are this perfect person with the perfect life.
My advice to people just starting out, or ANYONE really, would be do not listen to everything that you hear, do your own research (and i’m not talking about fitness magazines, your favourite fitness influencers Instagram page, famous fitness websites etc, I’m talking research papers, articles, books) find a way to reach whatever your goal is that suits YOU, not Sally from Weight Watchers, not Keto Keith (the list goes on)!!Another trigger I found was comparing myself to everyone else on social media and being depressed when I wasn’t as lean and didn’t have abs like may of the girls I followed on Instagram. So, do not compare yourself to anyone else on the internet, you are you, accept and love yourself no matter what you look like.
And if you are suffering with a binge eating disorder, whether it be happening once per week or daily… It does get better. Find your triggers, if it’s food THROW IT OUT, if it’s a feeling or situation, try and remove yourself from it. Go for a walk if you’re feeling like you’re about to binge. If you find yourself reaching into your cupboard, say to yourself out loud “am I actually hungry?” or “Is this going to contribute to my goals?” close the cupboard and walk away.
Focus on bettering yourself everyday and pushing your own body to its full potential, focus on what YOUR body can do!
This was an incredibly long post and If I still have your attention, then thank you and I hope you’ve taken something from this, whether you’ve experienced any of these mindsets or not. I hope I’ve helped even just one person by writing this.
This post was inspired by a few people close to me and a girl who recently followed my Instagram account who is actually suffering with a binge eating disorder, my love goes out to you x