After months of experiencing rapid weight gain/weight fluctuations, chronic diarrhoea, bloating, fatigue, exhaustion, elevated (then low) cortisol levels, ongoing oestrogen depletion, and heightened episodes of anxiety and depression - I finally reached out for help and signed up with a coach 4 weeks ago.
The accumulative misery of everything I was feeling and thinking honestly became unbearable, and unfortunately it took me reaching rock bottom once again to accept that something had to change - because I honestly couldn’t keep living like I was.
seeking help again
Seeking help and admitting that I needed to change was so much harder this time around then when I first did the same at the beginning of my eating disorder recovery. Back then, I was visibly ill, I was easily diagnosable and I had the support of my family and friends to encourage me to pursue an alternative, better life for myself. My disordered habits and ‘ ED voice' were so overt and recognisable, that I could separate a lot of what was genuinely healthy for me from what wasn’t, and I could more clearly chase the promise of a healthier Steph.
This time? I honestly felt so trapped and alone in the new little hell I’d built for myself. So many of my behaviours were subtle and seemingly ‘healthy’, so not too many people questioned what I was doing or could understand how it couldn’t’ be an ok behaviour. It didn’t help that I’d also built this hell upon an image of health and wellbeing on a growing social media platform. I was getting praised for ‘being healthy', and that validation meant that even when those closest to me did express concern, I wouldn’t listen to them. I’d put on weight, I’d fought a lot of my internal demons, and I had everyone (even myself) convinced that this alone was enough for me to keep doing what I was doing.
Deep down though, I knew what I was doing, and I was very conscious of the choices I was making for myself and the behaviours I was dabbling in - but unfortunately, the boundary between my former disordered voice and the new healthy Steph had become so blurred that while yes, I knew what I was doing, I couldn’t always see that it wasn’t the healthy thing to be doing.
Facing up to myself when I was sick and weak was nothing compared to facing up to myself now that I'm stronger, stubborn and more resilient than ever.
plus, fighting against yourself when you’ve already felt like you’ve worked endlessly to get to where you are (and it still not be ‘enough’) is fucking hard.
It’s probably one of the hardest mental battles I’ve ever had to fight, and it took months of self-sabotage to finally stand up for my health.
So 4 weeks ago, I admitted to myself that as healthily as I was eating, as much as I was eating, as effectively I was training, and as much as I was making progress in some areas of my health…at the end of the day, I was still very ill mentally and physically.
Carrying a few extra kilograms in body weight and being able to eat chocolate every day meant nothing if I still didn’t have my period back, if I still felt the need to smash myself with 6 intense workouts a week to feel ok, and if I still hurled insults at myself every time I noticed my body fill a bigger space.
Four weeks ago it all just clicked for me and I wanted out.
I was so done with living a life that I knew in my heart wasn’t healthy, sustainable or making me the least bit healthy. I couldn’t hide from myself anymore, and I couldn’t ignore all the signs my body was throwing at me that it wasn’t thriving - it was barely surviving.
I reached out, I found a coach to help me with my diet and nutrition, and alongside some other specialists and the support from all my loved ones, I’m finally embarking on what I know is going to be an honest and successful journey toward self-love and recovery from so many of the things I’ve made my body and mind endure over the years.
the changes I've made
To keep it simple, here’s a snapshot of what I’ve had to change already during the initial 4 weeks:
PLEASE NOTE, THESE CHANGES WERE TERRIFYING FOR ME TO MAKE. HALF OF ME IS A LITTLE SHOCKED AND IN DISBELIEF THAT I ACTUALLY MANAGED TO IMPLEMENT THEM, AND THE OTHER HALF OF ME IS JUST SO DAMN PROUD OF MYSELF, BECAUSE I WAS HONESTLY SO SCARED I’D NEVER BE ABLE TO GET MYSELF OUT OF THIS BUBBLE. THE THOUGHT OF MISSING ONE OF MY WORKOUTS USED TO TERRIFY ME, I COULD EASILY STAY IN THE GYM AND PUSH THROUGH FATIGUE, ILLNESS AND EXHAUSTION UNTIL I HIT THE CALORIE BURN I ‘NEEDED TO’, AND THERE’S NO WAY I COULD EVEN FATHOM EATING LESS VEGETABLES AND ‘CLEAN’ FOODS IN ORDER TO ACTUALLY FEEL BETTER.
THE RESULTS 4 WEEKS IN
SAFE TO SAY, AFTER 4 WEEKS, I’VE MANAGED TO SECURE MYSELF THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS/SUCCESSES/WINS ALREADY:
SO ALL IN ALL, IT’S STILL VERY EARLY DAYS, AND I HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO OVER THE WEEKS TO COME, BUT I JUST WANT TO GIVE A LITTLE HOPE AND A TINY KICK UP THE ASS FOR ANYONE WHO IS STUCK IN THEIR OWN LITTLE HELL RIGHT NOW. I KNOW YOU DON’T WANT TO CHANGE. I KNOW YOU WANT TO KEEP DOING WHAT FEELS RIGHT, AND SAFE, AND COMFORTABLE. BUT PLEASE BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAY THAT NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES, AND SERIOUSLY, IF YOU’RE NOT HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU’RE DOING FOR YOURSELF RIGHT NOW - THEN WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU KEEP DOING IT?!
JUST REMEMBER THIS;
'THE CAVE WE FEAR TO ENTER OFTEN HOLDS THE TREASURE THAT WE SEEK’