The other day I posted my transformation from a young woman battling with Anorexia to my current healthy state now as a Gym owner and Athlete. This Blog will be series looking at my daily nutrition that supports my life and athletic goals. First I am going to give you a bit more of my history.
Growing up I was in competitive sports since the age of 3. I was a competitive figure skater, dancer and ski racer. Starting a young age I always had a natural athletic build. This is what made me a strong skater and skier. It wasn’t until I became a teenager that I started to become body conscious of my build. I had my high school friends and my ski racing “Athletic” friends, two very different social groups. As I was on a provincial team, my teammates didn’t live in my community. I spent winters on the road with my coach and team training and racing.
When I was 15, I decided I wanted to lose some weight. It started with cutting out sweets and treats. I slowly became consumed with counting calories and spending countless hours on the cardio machines at the gym. The more weight I lost, the more compliments I received from my peers at school. That winter I was always cold and I very had little energy. My coach ended up calling my parents and sending me home to deal with my health. I was devastated Ski racing was my life.
I always wore baggy clothing and my parents hadn’t seen me in a month so they didn’t realize the severity of my eating issues. At this time in the late 80’s Anorexia Nervosa was not a common disease. We didn’t know anyone who had ever suffered from it and it was not in the media like it is today.
My parents struggled trying to find me the best help they could to deal with my disease but nothing was working and I was spiralling deeper into the disorder. I couldn’t sleep, I was addicted to exercise and was eating only about 200-500 calories a day. My parents threatened to admit me to the hospital if I dropped below 90 lbs. Not long after that, I was admitted to our local hospital, until I could be admitted to an eating disorders clinic. In the hospital, I had a tube down my throat feeding me the basic nutrients. I would pull it out at night and fill it with water. I had hit rock bottom. My parents had found an eating disorders clinic 8 hours away from my home town. It was an adult program but they were desperate.
I was admitted to the hospital but was still in denial of my anorexia. I would go in and out of being able to acknowledge or accept that i needed help. Since I was a minor my parents were able to admit without my consent. They saved my life!
The recovery process was based around group and private therapy sessions. I was on a sort of reward and punishment treatment. If I gained weight I could go outside and walk around and if not I was stuck on bed rest. I shared a hospital room with 2 other girls suffering from eating disorders. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was served and you had to stay put until you finished your plate and the bathroom was locked. While in therapy I realized that my anorexia was a response to my earlier sexual abuse. Anorexia made me feel I was in control of a life I had previously felt was out of my control. The thinner I got the more I could disappear and not be noticed.
The whole time i was in the hospital I struggled and didn’t want to change. I couldn’t eat, I no longer knew what portion sizes were or what “normal eating” was. My parents would come to visit every second weekend making the 8 hour car ride. My Mom, Dad and Brother would come visit and take me out to fancy restaurants in hopes that I would suddenly decide to eat. But I would order a plain green salad. They would take me shopping and I would get stares from others. I was a size 0 and looked like a cancer patient. The moment that changed my life was when my dad was so angry and frustrated with me that he put me in front of the mirror and told me to look at myself and asked me what was I doing to my body. In that one instance I actually saw what I looked like. The skeleton of a girl I had become and I was scared. I always looked in the mirror and saw a chubby girl with big legs. This is the moment that changed my path to recovery…
From that day on I started gradually changing my behaviour. I wanted to regain my health and I wanted to be able to do sports and activities that anorexia had taken from me! I left the hospital at 90lbs and came home to start the long journey of recovering. The statistics are pretty grim for recovering anorexics.
From Stastics Canada
“Approximately half of those who fully develop the symptoms of anorexia nervosa recover within five years: an estimated 5% to 20% will eventually die from complications related to anorexia nervosa.The malnutrition that results from anorexia denies the body of essential nutrients it needs to function normally, and therefore it slows down its processes to conserve energy. Starvation can also affect most major organ systems. Estrogen levels are low. Constipation, abdominal pain, lethargy, bradycardia, and cold intolerance are also experienced.Over time, reproductive problems, osteoporosis, continued low BMI, and major depression may arise. Death may result due to suicide, starvation, or electrolyte imbalances.”
When I started doing CrossFit I was 135lbs and I still had this deep seeded belief about body image. I didn’t want to get big muscles, I liked being thin and muscular. My fitness revolved around cardio workouts Yoga and Pilates. I did not strength train because I knew with my athletic build and my genetic disposition I could put on muscle and potentially get BIG.
Presently I am 43 years old, I am a mom to 2 amazing daughters, a Crossfit Coach/Gym owner, Athlete and Nutrition coach. Two a half years have gone by since I started. I now weigh 150lbs and my idea of what a strong beautiful woman looks like has totally changed. CrossFit has created a platform for me to embrace my own strength and focus on what my body can do versus what the number on the scale is or what size of jeans I fit into. It has been liberating for me to embrace my natural athletic build and to see what my body can do and perform.
I am no longer afraid of getting “Big” or having muscles I embrace what ever form my body takes.
My main focus has been on building strong foundations in strength with a large focus on nutrition and recovery. Nutrition has been a game changer for my ability to gain muscle and have energy to perform. I eat 2500-2800 calories per day balancing my macros (40% carbs/ 30% protein/ 30% fats) with each meal. I eat 3 meals, 2 snacks and drink a post recovery drink after my workouts. I train 2-3 hours per day. Stretch/ go the pool and get massages to help with recovery. Stay hydrated and get 8-9 hours sleep.
This is a full time passion and job everything from Nutrition coaching to training and programming.
In the next blog I will be discussing my daily nutrition first looking at setting the day up in the best way with a balanced breakfast.