Over the last two years I seriously can’t count the amount of times girls, of all ages, have approached me with questions in regards to their health and fitness. These conversations range from everything to do with nutrition, meal timing, substituting foods, how to build a booty like Beyonce (of course) and all things self-love! I always knew at some point I wanted to address these types of issues on my blog but for me to write that in one post, I would be here for days on end. I have too much to say, too much to share and too much personal experience to cram into one teeny weeny post. So, here begins my part 1 of 3 in a series of blog posts that addresses the things that sit on my mind every time I finish a conversation with these girls.
To kick things off as my part 1, I wanted to address something that sits SO damn heavy on my heart… Something that a lot of girls who know my background end up approaching me about it once they feel comfortable… I want to talk about binge eating.
Before I get all crazy too fast (me in a nutshell), I just want everyone to be mindful as to what binge eating actually is as it is often mistaken for overindulgence… I have popped two pointers below that summarizes it pretty darn well, in my opinion!
“The consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time, typically as part of an eating disorder.”
It will come as a surprise (and maybe not) to a lot of people around me, even those who know me personally, that I had a severe problem with binge eating for around 1.5 years. I was heavily into ‘fitness’ (or what I thought was fitness back then) and would restrict myself to the point of obsession on a daily basis. I would play netball religiously, run 14k’s a day, walk on an inclined treadmill for hours, run around the lake in my school lunch break, do light weights (to tone, duh), and literally any type of activity I could cram into a day. Put this together with an extremely restrictive diet regime and you have a BIG recipe for disaster. To the outside world I was just a health freak but I knew I was suffering, badly. Suffering with stress, suffering with body image and suffering with the balance of life. I hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror and my way to deal with this was restrict myself even more, which would work for a few days until it hit the weekend and it was a complete and utter blow out. It was all or nothing to me, I was either doing the gym AND the diet or I was doing none at all. I could never juggle both for a long period of time and looking back I’m not surprised when I was only eating a small portion of grapes, chicken, eggs, broccoli and a latte during the week after I worked out multiple times a day. I would binge because of this behavior every few days for the next year and a half.
TB to a friends birthday, I literally thought I was fat here… a fat fringe perhaps is all looking back now haha.
I distinctly remember a time leading up to my year 12 formal… I was so worried that I wasn’t going to fit my dress or my stomach was going to look too fat. So what do you think I did? I cut out all carbohydrates in the final week and found myself running extra km’s in the hopes I would shift some weight. I was consuming around 800 calories per day, making me pretty damn tired and because of this I treated the people around me the way I felt inside, poorly. I weighed around 50kgs and I would STILL look in the mirror and think hmm, maybe just a few more kgs off around the stomach and Ill be happier…I seriously thought it worked like that. On the day of the formal I hadn’t eaten anything until my Mum encouraged me to have a Rekordelig cider while getting ready. I drank the cider and I felt myself bloat and bloat and bloat and before I knew it, I was beyond uncomfortable. Then I ate some ‘bad’ food, because here I was breaking this rule of my ‘healthy’ diet by drinking a freakin’ cider. I can’t even remember what I binged on after that but I remember absolutely hating myself for it and thinking about the extra time on the treadmill I would have to make up. I woke up the next day, returned back to my restricted diet and ran an extra 5kms in the hopes the day before would be worked off and erased from my mind.
You would never have guessed looking at me like this ^, right? Try to remember that…
Another time I remember distinctly was when I was trying to comp-prep myself. I had only started training a little while before that and I thought I would try and set myself some goals in the hopes that these binges would stop… They ended up becoming more severe. One day I found myself sick for two days because of the amount of calories I consumed the night before-hand. I ate honey macadamias in a huge, huge, HUGE abundance. If you didn’t know, macadamias contain the highest amount of calories for a nut… then cover that in honey… Yeah! I made myself physically sick for two days because of this uncontrollable binging. People asked what was wrong or what I had come down with and I just couldn’t give them a straight answer, regardless of knowing exactly what caused it! My body just couldn’t process what I was doing to it and this was one of the times where I really sat there with a heat pack on my belly and thought, “what the fuck am I doing?”.
I could give you a million examples of times like these… I could sit here and describe the times I would go home and eat whole 2 packets of Tim-Tams and had to tell my parents to stop buying them. Or tell you about the times I had my head hurled over the toilet bowl trying to get the ice-cream I just consumed out, but I don’t want to. I just want everyone to understand.
Understand that you may know a person and you probably do know them extremely well… But some internal battles we all face just aren’t as clear as day; most of the time, we don’t want them to be. If I wanted everyone to know then I would have done all of the above in front of you and wouldn’t have disguised my bloodshot eyes the following day… I told you, this is heavy stuff and I refuse to sugar-coat the situation I was in because this is a reality for young/middle aged girls in today’s society. We need to realize that this isn’t something you can just guess about someone. We don’t have a characteristic that you can pick up on and go “Oh yep, that Schae, she’s a binge eater”, it doesn’t work like that. You need to understand that in the end it will always come down to the individual, I have always said this and always will because it was no ones decision but my own to help myself. They need to take the initial step as an individual in this extremely long and extremely slow process, whether or not they choose to involve you is ultimately their choice. I’m super stubborn (blessing and a curse) so naturally I tried to fix my problems on my own and it worked. But would it have been easier if I let people in… looking back now, absolutely.
I’ve been there, I’ve come out the other side and as much as I don’t wish it upon anyone, I don’t want to erase those years for what it has allowed me to share with others. To be able to share this process that I struggled with for 1.5 years of my life in the hopes of helping someone else, that is enough for me to sit here and choke up writing this blog post. I’ll be honest, sharing this for everyone to see is a really scary thing for me regardless of how liberating it is to help another girl/s in a similar situation. I know my Mum and Dad see all my blog posts and I can guarantee they were unaware of what was going on inside my head.
So, for you guys, Ma & Pa… it’s not that I didn’t share this with you because I didn’t trust you or feel comfortable with you… I just needed to recognize it myself and thought I would deal with it the best I could before I tried explain it to anyone else. It was the harder way to go about it but trust me when I say, I had no freakin’ idea on what my next step was going to be.
If you’re reading this and you know someone going through a similar situation, just support them, I promise its nearly all you can do. And most importantly, to any girl out there reading this blog post and thinking that you are in my starting place… I want you, TODAY, to face the reality of what you’re doing and how it’s making you feel. I can’t write you a manual although I really wish I could, but my biggest piece of advice is you need to start making choices towards HEALTH. This should be a comfortable balance between diet, training, travelling, friendships, family, love and all things life. So whatever this means to you… Start incorporating foods back into your diet, find physical activity you actually love, go out for dinner with your family, have the conversation with your friends about what’s going on, or if that’s even too much, send me an email. I PROMISE I will reply with things that I believe have truly helped me get to where I am today. Trust me when I say that there is no one correct journey when you go through something as big as binge eating, everyone is different. You will go forwards, you will go backwards but most importantly…you need to remember that the person who restricted themselves, binged and run herself into the ground is simply not you anymore. Work on the girl who understands that, not the one who wants to fall back into old habits.
So here I am… The strong willed, goal driven, health freak Schae you guys all know has a past of self-hate and binging, I’m okay with this. To move forward with your life, you need to be okay with your past too.
Be kind to yourself X