Something fitness industry has been quiet about

The piece in the shadows

We all try to fit in the society. It is impossible today not to think of all of the norms out there to which we have to adapt to and “accept”, if we want to “feel good” about ourselves. Because of that, we listen about the things we should be reading, watching, wearing and thinking. Magazines and newspapers are filled with shoulds and should nots, musts and must nots and even though we all know that being like everyone else isn’t right, we still do it just to feel like we fit in.

The same thing is happening on social media. We follow people who have the “perfect lives”, perfect bodies, perfect jobs… We watch videos on how to get followers and likes because today, those things are the ones which “guarantee” our worth and acceptance in the society. However, one thing which is forgotten in all of that is our true self: who we really are, , what are our goals, what are our special characteristics and what is out worth.

All of the norms on the social media to which we have to adapt to, leave an impact on our identity. They shape our mindset, thoughts about life, ourselves and many other life aspects. They make us forget what is right and what is wrong because social media itself decides those things and we can’t do anything about it. Well, that is going to end and I will try to show you how you can find your worth and understand your negative thoughts, how you can understand why you shouldn’t be affected by what people are saying is right and why you should follow your heart.

In this post, I will try to show an aspect of the fitness industry and social media about which people have been quiet about. A simple piece of the puzzle which should be accepted in a different way and not judged because of its appearance. The piece which should be understood and implemented in a way which will help people find their own worth and motivation. This piece, as I like to call it, has been in the shadows for so long and people have been quiet about it because of the ignorance. This piece is not understood and because of it, it is easier not to talk about it, instead of opening up. That piece is a part of the fitness journey each of us experience in a different way. That piece helped some people with finding their worth, to become influencers and help others, while for others, that piece (because of the ignorance) brings only fear, unacceptance and self- distruction.

Our fitness journey- start, results & a turn up

Before I start going deeper into the post, look carefully at the photo below and try to remember all of the steps from the circle, that way you will easily follow up with the content.

It hasn’t been so long since influencers on Instagram started to open up about the reasons why they are doing what they do, what was the reson for their physical and mental change. However, it has been interesting to see how people weren’t accepting the words anxiety, binge eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia, depression and orthorexia until those people opened up about it.

So, we ‘ll all start our fitness journey at some point because we all come to a point at which we feel like it is time for a change. No matter the goal we wish to reach, it is necessary that we learn the basics of how to reach our goals. If we wish to lose weight, we need to learn about a caloric deficit, if we wish to gain weight, then we need to learn about a caloric surplus and so on.

After learning those basics, we implement them into our everyday lives and after some time (if we follow them correctly) we reach certain results. Those first results are definitely the ones which keep pushing us to continue. We feel better about our selves, stronger, we start building our confidence and of course, we enjoy the praise we get from the people we are surrounded with. As we continue with our progress we continue to learn more about our goals and even other categories in the fitness industry. We come in contact with calories, HIIT workouts, weight lifting, cardio exercises, macros, different types of diets (vegetarian, paleo, vegan, omnivore…) and many other things with which the fitness industry is overloaded with. So once we read about all of those things it is kind of hard not to think about implementing them into our lives because each new thing guarantees success. Each new magazine or article on the internet talks about different ways to reach that “perfect” body everyone talks about. Each nutritionist talks about its way of shaping your body and about the diet which is the best for our desired goals. Each company in the fitness industry creates its products for which they claim is the best for weight loss, toning etc. In the end, we come into a position in which there are so many roads to visit, and we simply don’t know which one should we choose simply to continue to feel good about our body, life and mind.

Once this overload happens, we choose the easiest path (which might not be right for reaching the desired goal) and we continue to stick to it no matter what. Per example, xy person who wanted to lose weight, did lots of cardio and was in a caloric deficit until he lost that extra weight and came to a point in which he should have chosen a new path (after losing the aces weight there is no need to stick with cardio and caloric deficit, but it is time to give the body a new treatment where it will become stronger and toned). However, because of the overload which has happened in the mind of our xy person mind (the mix of choices-goals-desires-emotions) he chooses to stick with what he was doing (the easy way where he can “predict” the process) because he had already seen results with it and he believed that they will continue to develop in the same way as they have been developing.

This is the first little “turn-up” which leads to the main one where everything starts going down the hill. So as our xy person starts to determinedly continue with the routine of doing intense cardio and being in a caloric deficit, the body starts to change, but this time in a not as positive direction. This is the step which leads to 4th step of our circle.

Think of it this way: You start building a house in a way you have imagined it in your head. Firstly you start building the construction of the floors and walls then the roof and after, it would be logical for you to focus on the interior (plumbing, insulation, rough-in electrical outlets..), but instead you choose to continue with building up exterior constructions with the same house design in your head. This is where the problem appears- you can’t expect to build up your “dream house” if continuing with the same process. If you use only 1 part of the whole process (“the house building process”) and if you don’t focus on the other parts (interior, styling…) you will not be able to build the house you wish to, instead the house will fall apart, because adding on the basic constructions to it won’t be able to keep the house “alive” with one part of the process it is logical to choose your next step

That same process happens with the body. Once you reach a point in which one approach can’t reach its full potential, it is time to swich things around. If not, then the body will come to a negative state where all the problems come to life.

So let us go back to the fitness process of our xy person. As a result of continuously following his old routine, he lost extra weight, which didn’t include only fat loss, but muscle loss too. The reason for that is the fact that the body passed its safe state and it had to adapt to the new situation. So, as a result, the xy person didn’t reach the “perfect” body he wanted to, his body came to a point in which it started to convert muscle as energy (because of the caloric deficit) and the whole immune system in the person started to lose its full potential. Because of all of that, the body started to function differently and it started to respond in different ways to the current situation. As a result, some people started to have the feeling of constant need of consuming junk food, some felt really tired, some lost their focus, some women lost their periods and other people just had mood swings. There are really a lot of different responses to the situation when the body passes its maximum capacity.

Once those responses appear and the balance in the body is disturbed, we start to create negative thoughts about many aspects of our lives. Why? Well our hormones stop to function properly, our body doesn’t get enough energy and we feel tired and frustrated and overall we lose energy to do things in the way we wish to do them. Once that happens and once we constantly start creating and developing our negative thoughts, they spread like a virus and create a negative behaviour/obsession/disorder.

Once our mind gets overloaded with negative thoughts because we didn’t reach our desired goal by following the same routine, we unconsciously start developing negative behaviors which appear as a side effect of the “not reached goal”. Social media is a great triger when it comes to creating negative thoughts about ourselves, our bodies and also negative behaviors which might progress into obsessions/disorders.

As we continue to follow the path we think is right (thinking that it is the right path because it brought us positive results at one point), we lose the capability of making rational choices and we simply dive into what the negative thoughts “tell” us to do. Because of that some people who started with the routine of doing exercise 3 times per week, start doing it 6 times per week in an even higher intensity, others who decided to switch up their diet habits and eat clean start to count calories and become even more rigid with the food they consume etc. DISCLAIMER* I am not saying that this happens to everyone in the world, but most people do develop certain negative behaviours after the times passes. However, the development of those behaviours depends on the character of the person, their lifestyle and many other factors which do have a huge impact on its developement. Some people,in time, simply erase the first signs of the negative behaviours, while others develop something stronger than just behaviour.

Learning how to deal with the problem

In the end, depending on the start that person had and the routine he decided to continue to follow, many people develop an obsession with simple things like calories, exercise types, exercise frequency, food consumption, training to burn calories so that they can eat without the feeling of guilt… The time in which these behaviours will be present differs from a person to a person. Some people ,who accept and realise that what they are doing is not good, find a way of beating this behaviours simply by doing the opposite of what their mind tells them it is right, others dive into the thoughts and fight with the negative behaviours for a long time until they reach the rock bottom and finally open their eyes and realise that what they are doing has to change, while there are many who in little intervals get the overflow of the negative feelings and simply ignore them because they don’t have a huge effect on their life. The most important thing is that each person ACCEPTS & DECIDES TO CHANGE those negative behaviours which for some develop into disorders/obsessions. The quote “acceptance is the key to change” doesn’t exist for no reason 😉

Once you accept that you have a negative thought which leads you to a negative behavior, you are on the road to reach the point of “turning a new leaf”.

I myself can tell you that accepting that you have a problem with calorie counting or fear of consuming certain foods, can help you fight against those fears and can help you overcome them and no one can tell you that there is NO WAY OUT. Because there is.

“Turning over a new leaf” and some examples

As I have mentioned above, words anxiety, binge eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia, depression and orthorexia, haven’t been “accepted” until people on social media like influencers started to open up about them. Even though they are still not understood properly, they are starting to be more and more acceptable in the society which is the main goal. Influencers who opened up about these problems brought the topic closer to peoples way of understanding it and they also showed a way of overcoming it. Each of them hit the rock bottom and decided to turn over a new leaf. The best examples of the people who showed strength, determination and who fearlessly opened up about one of the problems above are:

Maryana Dvorska

Proud and happy inside out

An amazing woman who inspires so many people and who shared her story of developing a binge eating disorder. She is a Gymshark athlete and is so passionate and determined in what she does and most importantly, she helps others reach their desired goals. However, she built up the strength to stand up and fight against the problem which almost took the happiness from her life and she WON! Oh and she has amazing recipes on here youtube chanel so check her out 🙂

you can follow here on:

INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE

Lauren Simpson

No limits when it comes to progress.

The second person who has shown her inner strength and dedication is this lovely lady. Today she is a huge fitness influencer, has her own fitness guide which many people are following and she is teaching others how to build up a good relationship with what their own self. She built up an unhealthy relationship with exercising and food (undereating) and that lifestyle made her very unhappy until she found her strength a right coach and has made some extremely astonishing changes. You can read her amazing story here.

you can follow her on:

INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE

NATACHA OCEANE

Here is another kind, loving and super positive woman who had a bad relationship with calorie counting, binge eating and over exercising. However, she learned to listen to her body needs and today she eats intuitively, lives the life she wanted to live, has her lovely supportive boyfriend (Mario) and she gives bits of advice to many people out there who are looking for a way to beat those negative behaviours. She also has her training guide which many people can rely on and with it a lot of people built up a healthy relationship with their mind, body and the whole fitness road. Listen to here story here.

you can follow her on:

INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE

SARAH RAMADAN

Once you fall into your own thoughts which strive for perfection, getting out is the hardest step you will ever do. Anorexia, a mental illness that has the highest mortality rate than any other out there. This lovely and strong woman had to fall into its chains simply because of who she was and because of her desire to give her best, always. However, Sarah fought hard and she found a way out through learning about fitness from her older brother. In 2015, she started her social media account Fight for growth and since then she has been determined to help others find their life motivation and to build self-confidence. I have been following her for quite a time and I have no words to describe this gentle, passionate, loving woman who inspires simply by showing a smile on her face.

you can follow her on:

INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE

KENDALL STRAMPEL

Another inspiring story, so special in any aspect is Kendall’s story. Sadly, anorexia took over her life when she was and she started lying to her family simply so that she could get the feeling of “security” which she got from not eating and working out obsessively (which lead to orthorexia). However, after such a long time and not being happy with how she looked and felt, she realised that she needed to make a change. She wanted to make a change and she realised that the main KEY is in her hands so she started training, she joined a community from Sarah Ramadan and after gaining 20 thousand followers she realised that she can’t look back. If she does, then she is not letting her self down, but those people out there to, so she slowly started to make a change and to recover. Today, she is a personal trainer who is so inspiring and she has her on social media profile where she shares positivity and tips on how to achieve your biggest goals and how to find your way out of the chains of an eating disorder.

you can follow her on:

INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE

TAYLOR CHAMBERLAIN

An interesting thing is that in life there are moments when you simply don’t expect that you will find a way out and then suddenly you get a sign which helps you gain all you ever wanted back. For me, this lovely lady was an inspiration which kept me going. When I started to see only dark on my road I found her video, about her own fight with an eating disorder, and once I watched it, I gained my motivation back and decided to continue to work even harder. This woman is kind, gentle, passionate and so inspiring, not only to me but to many other people out there. She shares everything she knows on her youtube channel and Instagram and let me tell you, she truly rocks at it. She suffered from an eating disorder in the past but she fought hard and made enormous progress, in which she had support from her husband (Steve) today. Listen to her story here and also check out her clothing line called Balance Athletica. She has put so much effort into creating her own sports clothing line and also into building a life she is living today.

you can follow her on:

INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE

MAIN MESSAGE

I wrote this article because I feel the need to show people a different aspect of eating disorders and also other mental problems which are not understood in the world. The fitness journey (the picture on the top of the post) is a path in which there are many ups and downs and for a lot of people, this journey leads to a dark road. Because of it, I felt the need to show people that even if that happens to them, that is OKAY! There is no need for guilt or self-blame because a lot of people experience the same thing on this road. Because of that social media and fitness industry should try to understand that this “down the hill” piece of the puzzle should be accepted as a part of the life/fitness journey. That way people would feel empowered to work on their negative thoughts/behaviours/obsession/disorders if they do appear on that road, instead of blaming themselves. The fitness industry and social media should look at the bigger picture and see what is truly important in this journey- that is the fact that there is a way out. Even though each story is different and you will need to find your own path, sometimes reading about other peoples stories makes it easier to start believing in success and hope.

I hope reading this article helped you to feel better about your own road. I hope it showed you a different aspect of the fitness journey and I hope it gave you the needed signs/tools to continue to progress and reach your goals.

With love,

Lara

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