The fitness industry is a highly stressful environment.
Being a fitness professional puts a lot of pressure on an individual to look like a knock-out.
I couldn’t deal.
Becoming a trainer and helping others lead healthier lives was rewarding. It’s something I am proud of achieving and will never regret. But it came at a high cost, and one that pulled me out of the game for awhile. That’s why I haven’t been updating this blog. I felt so much anxiety working in the industry that I began to have panic attacks and began to binge and purge at an alarming frequency, almost nonstop. If I wasn’t purging, I was binging, if I wasn’t binging, I was starving myself, filled with shame, my stress levels skyrocketing multiple times daily. I developed TMJ from throwing up and possibly from clenching my jaw out of stress and for awhile couldn’t eat solid food. I broke blood vessels in my eye sockets and dreaded being seen by anyone. I eventually spoke to my boss and he encouraged me to cut my hours and see a therapist. I did that, but it wasn’t enough. My therapist told me that what I was going through was not uncommon for fitness trainers, particularly those with eating disorders in their past (which I have).
I got a job managing at a printing company, a job that fit my skill and needs but was completely unrelated to health and fitness. I immediately felt relief, and over the next couple months I was able to recover. I’ve done all the restrictive, food-demonizing diets out there, just about, and during this time my therapist had some good advice: don’t restrict myself from foods I want, but practice eating regularly and in moderation. This really helped me heal mentally.
Physically however, this wreaked havoc. Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago where I’m in the doctor’s office, tears of pain pouring down my face, getting diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Leaky Gut and intestinal infection, chronically elevated cortisol (stress) levels, am written a prescription for steroids and referred to a specialist. That specialist spends a few hours running tests on me that reveal I have multiple severe food intolerance/allergies, several nutrition deficiencies, and a highly stressed, poorly functioning thyroid. According to the doctor, I had food intolerances to begin with(dairy, soy and gluten) and over the course of the last year my body was under too much stress to repair itself from, meanwhile all the good bacteria in my stomach was emptied. This was right at the time I began to ease up on my strict healthy eating standards and ate more foods I was unknowingly unable to digest, which irritated my gut further.
So here I am, under careful supervision of a gut specialist, nursing myself back to health with supplements and a highly individualized, restrictive diet. Square one. But this time I’m the sick person and not the expert. I thought though, it would be good to share my story. Reveal the truth. Eat some humble pie. And maybe if I share my recipe adventures on here, it may help others who also aren’t able to eat so many things now part of the American diet. Here’s to a new adventure.