There was a time when I was ripped to shreds. I was 10% body fat at most. My muscles had muscles. I have to say, my body was very impressive. As a professional dancer and fitness professional, I received compliments constantly. My body helped to get me jobs and clients. People asked me my secret because they wanted to look the way I did. My secret was, that I was silently suffering while food and exercise controlled my whole life.
I trained every single day, sometimes twice a day. I brainwashed myself into thinking that I was a ‘clean eater’ when truthfully, food was my enemy. Social functions scared me since I couldn’t plan my own menu. If I ordered a meal while out to eat and they messed up by not omitting things like cheese or oil, I would go into full panic mode until it was resolved. My issues with food went to such extremes; I would need all the pages in this book to share all the stories…
I see so many people striving to look like some variation of what I did during this time. But the truth is, I was restrictive, obsessive, and miserable. My priorities were completely bogus. I was missing out on so much of life because of my preoccupation with diet, fitness, and my body. I may have looked healthy, but I was so far from it.
In hindsight, I realize that I was obsessed with my physique because I felt completely empty on the inside, so I had to strive for perfection on the outside. I was living in denial of several painful childhood issues, and instead of dealing with them, distracted myself with things I could easily control and manipulate. I let my self-confidence fall victim not only to these issues, but the warped societal norms so many of us hold ourselves to. I wanted to feel accepted. Special. Loved. I was so completely unaware of how to give myself those feelings, that I strived for the external validation that I COULD be accepted, special, and loved. Searching for it that way is like a dog chasing its tail. The more you try, the farther you seem to get.
If I can use my story to help and reach out to even just one person, then it was worth the struggle.
I am at a point now where I am physically much softer and ever so much happier. Fitness and nutrition have become a love and a passion rather than an unhealthy obsession or obligation. I have made it my life’s work to help other people learn to develop healthy and loving relationships with themselves, food, and their bodies. The suffering and self-punishment in regards to food, health, and body image MUST end.
I have learned to accept who I am (although this truly is a never-ending process) and have grown to value myself for what I contribute to the world and those around me… not because I have perfect abs. If you die tomorrow, NO ONE in your eulogy will talk about your abs. No one will care how thin you were. Or how soft and shiny your hair was, how straight your teeth were, or the size of your hips. What will matter is WHO you were, and the impression you made on those around you.
Perfection is defined as “the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.” If that is the case, then you are already perfect. Flaws and defects are self-imposed. You can choose not to succumb to the societal norms that our self-esteem perpetually falls victim to. If you redefine what “flaws” are… or more so, what they AREN’T, then you can free yourself of them. You can choose, right now, to be “perfect.” Just like that. Go ahead… free yourself….
Live your life, enjoy these numbered days, and learn to love yourself however you are at this very moment. Strive to be the best you can be, and whatever that is, love it. No one gets out of life alive… you get one chance. There is so much love out there just waiting for you. And it all starts within.