My first memory of anxiety affecting my diet was always a suppressed appetite. I would get overwhelmed and anxious as hell as a pre-teen dancing hours a day and would literally forget to eat or find it unnecessary when I was feeling emotional turbulence. Damn I would give millions to have that “condition” again. Not to make light of those who continue to struggle in that department because I know that’s not easy nor healthy. But transitioning to being the type who eats without thought because someone said the wrong thing to me, feels 50 times worse. In my adulthood, especially with my work as a middle school teacher, food became a HUGE solace.
I started to find that stuffing my face would temporarily take away the anxiety from a horrible day with my struggles as an instructor. Even more of a catch 22 was when I was stress eating due to my dance career faults. I would literally hinder future opportunities to use my body as an ideal tool for performance by binge eating after a class didn’t go well or worse was cut from an audition. Though I have now learned that health and fitness is a personal journey one must take for themselves and not for careers, I certainly was not aiding mine as a Professional Dancer. I hit a certain point in 2014 when I did not feel good about myself any longer and I turned to my best friend Chris for help. Chris,
who unintentionally has inspired many to new fitness goals by simply remaining true to his own, had me sign up for a gym membership. Gyms being foreign to a woman like myself, dance and being hyperactive used to be enough to keep me fit and poised in my favorite jeans. I also reached out to my friend Morgan for nutritional advice, what to eat, what not, how to meal prep, etc.
I had no idea just how much dedication this would take. Though I did go to the gym daily with Chris, and change my diet slightly I hadn’t fully invested in making this a lifestyle change. Instead I had framed it as a diet…i.e. only temporary. BIG MISTAKE! I constantly fell back into eating habits from my past such as junk food, large amounts of simple carbs, and plenty of sweets. My weight fluctuated up and down for the next year.
When my mentor told me I missed out on a tour because of my size, it kicked my butt into gear. It didn’t help that that came along with a couple of back to back failed situationships which can always make you realize self-love can come easier when you’re healthy and feel good about myself. I started to be more and more conscious about what I was eating and cooking and though I still had many “cheat days” I started to grow more accustomed to the concept of what I fuel my body with really makes a huge difference in energy, performance, and of course metabolism.
Some time after my grandmother passed in March of 2017, I awoke to a weight that had to have been my biggest in years. I felt so angry because I knew I was falling into my old patterns and I knew my grandmother wouldn’t want that.
I ended up taking the bait from my friend Melany who had SNATCHED her body down by eating healthier and working out at a new gym called G-Train. I signed up for her free challenge, which aligned accountability from fellow students with a great workout three times a week. I dove in with immediate dedication this was something to focus on, to distract me from my recent loss.
As I started to see the results and feel the shift in my emotions I knew I was walking in the direction I’ve needed for some time. Thirty days later I won free sessions to continue my time there. This journey deepened as I encountered what true dedication to meal prep did for me. I saw my waist disappear and my muscles and abs show for the first time in years.
Though I am still constantly fluctuating in size I am grateful to have slowly but surely gotten closer to my goals. I am making this my lifestyle and it feels more and more normal every day. Fueling my body in the right way and making sure I treat it like I want it to last forever.