Disclaimer: This may be raw and real but it is my story.

I suffered from anorexia and bulimia for over 19 years. They are two different forms of disorderly eating.  Anorexia is when one limits their food intake so drastically they are starving themselves, while bulimia is when one binges on extreme amounts of food, then purges by induced vomiting.

Although there may be other reasons why someone develops this disease, mine was a lack of control in my life. I wanted to be perfect and please everyone around me. I was living my life for others rather than me. So it began…day one started with me bringing lettuce and an apple to school. That’s it. Then when I thought the apple was too much, I just ate the lettuce. I saw myself as overweight, even though I wasn’t. I had a distorted image of myself. It was crazy. I looked in the mirror and viewed myself in a way that nobody could understand. It was like those funky mirrors at amusement parks that made you look really tall and thin or really short and big. Come to think of it, they have similar ones at shopping stores. You know the ones I’m talking about, the mirrors that make us look thiner. It’s ridiculous how society has become. Some stores even have dim lighting to make us feel like we look more appealing??

I still have the first cd I ever played as a reminder of that night. When the class was over, a woman told me I helped her to forget about her stressful day. A gentleman said it was his first day at the gym and he had so much fun he didn’t feel like he was working out. I was helping others and they were helping me!

As time went by, I lost weight drastically. I would hide in baggy clothes, skip meals and make myself busy.  I felt tired, eyes were sunken, cheek bones defined, and I isolated myself from my friends and family. Then I was forced to sit at the dinner table and finish meals that were “fit for a king”. You see, I was able to control my lack of food intake, but once I was forced to eat, I felt helpless. I had no control again, until I discovered purging. I would go to the washroom and purge my meals, to feel whole again. Happy. Strong. I owned me again. Total control…or so I thought. This cycle went on an on for over 19 years. It consumed me.

Then I experienced my very first group fitness class. Although at the time I was “ill”. I didnt “look” it. At this point in my life I had used my disorderly eating as a maintenance tool, as stupid as that sounds. During this spin class, we were engaged in a very powerful track and I got to the point where I wanted to give up. I remember the instructor saying “treat your body like a temple”. “Protect it as nobody else will, but you”. Those words hit home and I let go….not because of the tension killing my legs, but my whole being just let go. I broke down and the instructor asked me if I was hurt. It was this moment that my life changed. I confided in the instructor about my self image issues and the next thing I knew I was signing up for my first cycle certification. Why? Well the course was paid for, so I went. But all I wanted to do was spin for me, avoid people at all costs. Not look anyone in the eye, get the hell out of the gym, just get in the car and go home. When we had to complete our teachback process and be open to receiving feedback both positive and constructive, this was the most empowering moment for me. I was put on the spot in front of so many people and had my layers peeled away like an onion.  It was so difficult to showcase what we had learned. I was terrified people would judge me. What were they thinking? Little did I know this experience would break the cocoon that I was hiding in. We talked, opened up about our fears, and worked together to finish the certification successfully. I was asked to teach a class once a week.

I still have the first cd I ever played as a reminder of that night. When the class was over, a woman told me I helped her to forget about her stressful day. A gentleman said it was his first day at the gym and he had so much fun he didn’t feel like he was working out. I was helping others and they were helping me!

I often tell my class now…”you feed me.  I’ll feed you”.  I’m asking them to allow themselves to own that time.  To let go. De-stress. Have fun. And I will give them 120% of me. My energy, my motivation, my inspirational messages, the raw, the real me, even my quirky jokes.

My message is clear. Please live for you. We have one life my friends.  Release the negativity. Refrain from judgement. Try new adventures. Face your fears. Break the cocoon. Open the door. Look at the light. Stop living in darkness. Ask for help. It is truly the most empowering feeling to overcome something you never thought was possible.