Disordered Eating- Real Life Stories, Discussions, and Solutions

How’s it going  today Train Loco Nation! Today we have a fantastic round table discussion on the severity of disordered eating, some real life stories from people, and some great take away points to help others avoid some of these disorders. We just want to say thanks to all of the participants for having the courage and strength to put their stories out there for others to read and hopefully benefit off of. We commend and respect you all for this. We also want to give a special thanks to our friend, colleague, and licensed mental health therapist Kori Propst for contributing her knowledge and experience with this serious subject. Please share this article on your social media platforms, with family, friends, co- workers, anybody that can benefit off of this information. Enjoy!

-Chris and Eric Martinez

e&C1

 

We would like to start this round table discussion off by interviewing Kori Propst on the subject of disordered eating so it can set the tone for the remainder of the discussion. Without further ado, let us introduce, licensed mental health therapist, Kori Propst.

 

DDT: Hi Kori, first and foremost we would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, provide your expertise in this subject, and being willing to help people overcome disordered eating behaviors. Can you please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your background?

KP: Thank you for asking me to participate. The subject is one that is often overlooked. It’s also one that many people are embarrassed to reveal for fear of the consequences. Within the competition prep industry, disordered eating is particularly rampant, and it’s often unskilled and inexperienced coaches who are creating the optimal conditions for females and males to develop disordered eating and significantly unhealthy relationships with food and their bodies.

I’m the Wellness Director for The Diet Doc and manage the general population nutrition and weight loss program here, in addition to working with our competitive athletes on the psychological aspects of sport and competition. I created the Mental Edge behavior training and mindset program to specifically aid individuals in developing the mental toughness skills necessary for optimal resilience, endurance, and psychological stamina. I’m a licensed clinical mental health therapist and health coach, hold pro cards in bodybuilding, fit body, and figure, and have degrees in exercise physiology and counseling. I’m a PhD candidate in Behavioral Medicine. My training and expertise lies specifically in cognitive behavioral treatment and mind-body interventions, both shown to be highly effective in managing disordered eating behaviors. The individuals I work with are often struggling with binge eating, as well as body image, anxiety, and disordered eating behaviors, and have dieted and over exercised themselves toward terrible health and very low confidence.

 

DDT: Within the weight loss/contest prep industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us your thoughts on how some of these poor and dangerous practices could lead to life-long disorders?

KP: The greater number of diets an individual has engaged in, the greater the risk of developing disordered eating and poor body image. With each subsequent diet, rigid food rules, inflexible eating practices including the exclusion of complete food groups and eating only at certain times and in certain amounts; and severely distorted thinking sets the individual up for what can become chronically obsessive and dysfunctional behaviors. It’s not often that disordered eating is a life-long problem, however. Most individuals seek help and are treated successfully through the development of greater emotional awareness and intelligence; examination of thoughts and emotions that trigger tight, rule-driven behavior; and experiential practice of more flexible cognitions and actions that promote a healthy approach to food, but more importantly, life in general. Food often becomes the focus when it’s really just a symptom of more important areas that need attention.

 

With years of experience and looking into the literature, how do these disordered eating and binging occurrences evolve in an individual’s life?

KP: Studies indicate that children as young as 3 years of age are already developing perceptions of their own bodies in comparison to others. The environment in which we grow up has a significant influence on how we view our bodies, in addition to the food identities we develop. Take, for example the individual who grew up in an environment where food was abundant. Never wanting for anything, food could be consumed at anytime, anywhere. Conversely, we all know people who grew up in households where food was scarce and when it was provided, it had to be eaten in its entirety—the clean the plate club. Waste not, want not. On the other hand, many people were given food as rewards or it was removed as a consequence of negative behavior. For many, food was connected to love, and in times of discomfort it was offered as a salve. Despite it not perhaps being a problem then, if a person binges when experiencing an emotion that is perceived as negative in adulthood, it often results in untoward effects. I’ve worked with individuals who have been dieting since the age of 5 with mom. It’s not difficult to understand how if a behavior is engaged in for a long period of time, it becomes virtually automatic and can take significant work to understand its underpinnings, in addition to developing new and more effective skills.

But we have to consider the many facets of disordered eating and binge eating, including biology, psychology, and the social/environmental if we are to understand how they manifest, in addition to how they are best addressed. In a compelling study conducted by researchers in Sweden, the weight maintenance process for the participants was conceptualized as a “tightrope walk.” In the model they developed, the length, width, and tightness of the rope represented the hereditary prerequisites, support prerequisites, and mental preparedness needed, respectively, for weight maintenance. Using a qualitative paradigm to assess the experiences of the subjects, in-depth interviews were performed to collect and understand the subjects’ unique perspectives and attitudes regarding their weight loss and maintenance journeys. Both maintainers and regainers participated. What they found is not surprising, but it bears repeating. Remember that 98% of people who lose weight gain it back, and each time this happens, they are typically now more heavily weighed down with rigid and inflexible rules. Four strategies were particularly significant for achieving weight loss and maintenance success: a) a reliance on heritage; b) finding joy; c) developing a routine; and d) establishing control. I think this is particularly salient as we consider the various factors that are important when addressing food and eating related disorders.

 

DDT: When an individual has eating-related struggles and bad relationships with food, what are some steps you’ve taken with clients on how to overcome them?

KP: Important from the start is to recognize that the behaviors we engage in around food and eating 1) can often mimic the relationship we have with ourselves; 2) can be both subconscious and conscious; and 3) often reveal our desire to make sense of our lives or establish some level of balance and control. As addressed above, steps for achieving a sense of freedom from food and eating issues involves a multi-faceted approach. It’s valuable for me and those I work with to first establish a willingness to develop a new level of self-awareness: this entails honest assessment of thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, memories, and perceptions. Often I find that there is a large disconnect between the mind and the body, the individual largely living in a vivid cognitive world (very cerebral), but lacking a sense of themselves below the neck. So one of the primary goals in working to achieve balance with food and eating is to learn how to recognize the triggers for engaging in dysfunctional eating, be it binging, purging, starving, or a combination. Often the triggers manifest in the body—emotions signal something to pay attention to, but without the skill to do so, eating or not eating is used to control, suppress, or even extend an emotion, but not necessarily consciously. I want to help my clients develop the ability to redirect their attention to their needs as indicated by their emotions—or thoughts—as opposed to ignoring them, running from them, or stuffing them away. Of course the other piece of crucial importance is to assess the environment and the circumstances that promote the use of discordant eating practices and to help the individual set up a structure that will help foster the use of more effective behavior. All eating-related struggles and poor relationships with food operate a continuum. For some it’s a matter of just recognizing that a thought or emotion need not be acted upon—they lie to us—and practicing a new response. For others, it’s a deeper-level process.

 

DDT: In one of your videos you talk about “Maximizing your Mental Mojo,” how can this relate to those struggling with disordered eating?

KP: The mental aspects of our health and behavior can’t be ignored if we are to develop the most integrated and congruent sense of ourselves. And this is evolving. Even though we live in a largely intellectually based society, too few of us take the time to understand the biases we have, the beliefs we may hold and why, or work to turn upside-down the stories we’ve told ourselves or that we’ve been told. Maximizing your mental mojo is my treatise to challenge all of us to take a hard look at what we do, how we think, and why. We’re pattern-driven animals. We like certainty. We appreciate black and white comparisons. But the world is largely gray. Challenging our perceptions maximizes our ability to bolster our mental mojo, and it reinforces curiosity, questioning, and openness to differences that we may never have considered before. A good and simple example of this is the client who experiences anxiety over a small uptick on the scale. She may automatically think, “I did something wrong! Oh no! I’m going backwards!” We can guess what follows. But she has a choice here to step back, recognize that she’s making assumptions, move into a place of curiosity instead of catastrophe, and ask questions. Just because it’s different than what she expected doesn’t mean it’s wrong or bad. It’s just different. If she can approach it this way, she’s now more empowered to think critically.

 

DDT: What are your top 3-5 take home points for our readers that are currently struggling with eating, food, weight, or body image?

KP:

1. Turn reaction into creation. Our default is to be impulsive and reactive. When we can pause, breathe, and see that in everything we have a choice, we are in a position to create and explore.

2. Without attention to the body, we’ll not be able to master the mind. They don’t behave in isolation.

3. Tune into the now. Be present for what is right in front of you. Anxiety stems from a focus too far ahead- trying to control what often cannot be- or living in the past.

4. Look at your behavior as a skeptic. Are you doing what you’ve always done because you’ve always done it? Or is it actually helpful and congruent with what is important to you?

5. Take stock of your basic needs and how they are being met in your life. Assess your behaviors and ask if they may be substitutes for what genuinely motivates us– autonomy, competence, and connection.

 

DDT: Is there anything you want to really touch on or hit home with our readers regarding this topic of disordered eating that we haven’t discussed?

KP: I look at disordered eating as a microcosm of what one is experiencing in life—stuckness, lack of freedom, a sense of not having a voice or feeling okay with vulnerability. My goal in working with “it” is in working with the person—helping them understand who they are and the power they have that the eating disorder is squelching and preventing them from experiencing.Overcoming disordered eating is not easily done on one’s own. It takes a strong support system and objective individuals who have training in behavioral health and psychology to help move a person toward integration of the mind and body and an understanding of one’s needs and motivations. I think it’s also important to remember that it’s not just a female issue—many men struggle with disordered eating behavior as well. Unfortunately, it often goes unrecognized due to the misperception that it is largely experienced by females, in addition to a misunderstanding of its symptoms.

 

DDT: Where can our readers follow your work and get in contact with you?

KP: I can be reached via email at [email protected] My articles appear on our weekly blog, found at www.thedietdoc.com/blog, in addition to our magazine, Alpha- The Evolution of Fitness (www.alphamagonline.com). This publication has four sections including Mindset, Nutrition, Sport, and Training.

I’m also on the advisory board for Oxygen Women’s Fitness and am a contributing writer for that publication, as well as Ultra Fitness Magazine.

Our YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/thedietdocweightloss) has a number of videos that address eating related issues, psychology, and nutrition.

Our newest book, 50 Days to Your Best Life, which I co-authored with Dr. Joe Klemczewski, will be released within the next couple months. We are offering a package deal that includes the book, podcasts on changing your relationships with food, and a year-long subscription to our magazine. This book includes chapters not only on nutrition and training, but detailed information on the psychological components of eating, as well as activities for developing your new relationship with food. www.thedietdoc.com

Thank you again for the opportunity to participate in this interview, guys!

 

Thanks Kori!

Kori

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Vanessa Loera

[email protected]

Instagram @healthnfitnessa

 vanessa

 

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

           

The obsession of weight loss begun as early as nine years old. Wanting to lose a few pounds is a normal thing for the people in my family so each week switching up diets and binging on the weekends was the norm. At school I would only eat food that could quickly be consumed, like cookies and pop tarts; so that no one would see the chubby girl eating (I was always the fat best friend). I was also on the wrestling team so going a whole day forcing yourself not to eat or drink was a “normal” thing for the sport. I even started using diet pills such as Ephedrine, starting freshmen year but even with those I never had a long period of weight loss. I wasn’t a huge fan of starving myself or throwing up so instead when I felt like I over did it I would take laxatives or dieters teas. You would be obsessed about your weight too if you constantly heard comments like “Vanessa your cute, but you would be hot if you lost 20 pounds” “Vanessa you have a cute face but you need to shrink here (my belly) and grow here (my height)”

 

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

Up until the past two years , dieting 5 days and binging 2 days has always been normal…taking laxatives after a big meals has always been normal….feeling so full after a meal that you feel like you can throw up has always been normal…hating yourself has always been normal. Feeling like your trapped in your own body has always been normal…wanting to be somebody else has always been normal…………

None of this is normal, and it is all dysfunctional. I was forced to take notice because after high school I did start dieting better “Eating Clean”, I stopped binging and began weigh training but then I started over doing it. I even began prepping for a bikini competition but my body starting revolting. Menstrual cycles ceased , acne full blown, hair falling out, fatigue ,mental fog, injuries not recovering , weight loss was a fail, muscle building was nonexistent and libido …..What was that? Lol

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?

First, I started watching all of Layne Norton’s video logs. I started following Leigh Peele’s blog. I deleted all my fitspirations and only followed a selective few that I feel like are great role models like Krissy Mae Cags, Soheefit, Kelsea Koenreich, Roxie Beckles and Chady Dunmore. Seeing fellow females maintaining a healthy active lifestyle while still enjoying food has made a huge difference, it lets me know it can be done. Lastly becoming part of the Dynamic Duo Team has helped with support and management of my eating habits.

 

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight?

– You need to eat properly to match your energy you’re expending, to recover and build the physique you work so hard for.

– You can enjoy foods and a social life without beating yourself up.

– You cannot hate yourself to a better body, Love and respect yourself in the body you are in now and the physique you dream of will eventually follow.

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

Be selective on who you choose to look up to, be selective on who’s dieting advise your taking . Love and respect yourself enough to know when you’re over doing it. Seek guidance not just to meet your physique goals but to provide outside mental clarity and discipline you might need.

 


 

Sabine GUIDON

[email protected]

 

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

I was prepped by a coach who believed your body does not need carbs to function; hopefully she was not a card guru. Off season my carb intake was no more than 3 servings of 25g of starchy carbs, I was having some fibrous carbs though. Starchy were in first three meals.

When it was time to start prep, we were cycling carbs. First doing days with 1 serving of starch, followed by day with 2 servings and then 3 servings. Closer to show rotation was 0, 1, 2.

At first, it did not affect me that much if not having trouble to have reasonable cheat once a week. I tended to over eat on those days and stuff my face with sugar.

Each time, I was prepping diet was getting harder and harder; till the prep when I was 8 weeks without any starches. I was feeling like dying, not to say the horrible cravings I had during prep. My body started betraying me even before stepping onstage as I bloated with sweet potato during my loading. Then post show added an incredible amount of weight just introducing back starches in my daily regimen. Few weeks later, my cravings were uncontrollable and a daily routine. I added some good 25 lbs. post show and I just could not get back to dieting. My body would just not go there and so was my mind. It took me two years to get back to normal off season weight

 

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

 

For sure!!! I was totally losing control over food, would live office to go to the candy shop, spend 20/30$ in chocolates and eating them in car even before reaching back office. I was feeling miserable for not being able to stick to a plan and was hating myself for that and what my body had become.

I was thinking that if I picked a show date, I will get the job done and it would be easier to follow diet. I was wrong. It only aggravated the problem I was having. I think the harder was the mental part, that relation to food.

The more I was trying to deprive myself and cut calories, the bigger the cravings will be.

I had to first accept my body; then to accept raise my calories and carbs to start healing.

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?

 

It’s hard to say as at first my body was not responding to anything. despite raising carbs, my cravings were just as bad; probably less regular but I was feeling the need to eat as much junk as I could… probably in fear of diet again.

Then suddenly, my body became cooperative but I did it the wrong way. Way too much cardio (about 30/45 min daily) and very small servings of carbs; but body responded again. Till a Sunday when a bingeing episode happened, it scared me to death to start losing control again.  The Monday following I hired a coach who had specialize in optimizing metabolism and we worked on building mine during 8 months. We went from 120g carbs and 40g fat to 345 g carbs and 72g of fat daily; in the meantime my weight went up by 12 lbs. It was hard to accept.

 

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight?

 

Lesson 1, do it healthy!! No more low carbs for me.

Lesson 2, finding balance with my food. Keeping all type of food year round in moderation

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

 

It’s serious!! You need help. I know how you can feel: ashamed, miserable, poor… but go out for help. Do not think as I did that prepping for a show will help you. trust me, it won’t! It will just aggravate your disorder.

Be patient, trust the process. Accept to put a bit of weight on at first.

I have been there and been lucky to get out of it (some are not as lucky as I am); I know what it is so if anybody needs help I can be reached at [email protected]

And do not forget, if you do it properly there is still hope. I am now 9 weeks post show, in the process of reverse dieting and my weight is still pounds lighter than show weight. I have never looked so good: lean and tight, enjoying yummy food and so confident with whom I am now

 

 

Alfred Sanchez III 

www.youtube.com/JourneyOfGreatness

alfred

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you? 

 

One of the MAIN experiences I would have to say was the binging. I would sneak off to binge after weighing in as if I were a junkie trying to get a fix off drugs. I tried numerous times to figure out why I was binging after a month of super strict “bro” dieting. I couldn’t figure it out. I thought it was a normal thing to do. Boy was I wrong.

 

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

 

Heck yes. There was many times where I would anger super quick, always snapping at my wife for little things. I was NEVER like that before hand. I would find myself constantly checking my weight, being sad and somewhat depressed because the scale wouldn’t budge.

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?

 

IIFYM or Macro counting. Then, I was stuck on eating “clean” or strict dieting. IIFYM has shown me NOW that there’s a more sustainable way to eat, and live.

 

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight?

 

1. I would have to say I’ve learned to be patient. 2. I’ve learned to be more open to trying new foods. 3. I’ve learned to be more attentive to labels, foods, and what’s being consumed.

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

 

I’d tell them to use their voice. Speak up. Don’t let yourself go on struggling and thinking that this is all okay. Voice your opinions and concerns. Listen to your body. If you’re having a hard dealing with dieting then something is wrong. You should be enjoying the transformation. Not hating every second.

 

 

Heather Sanchez-

heather

 

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

Since being a young child I can remember being overweight. I believe the main reasons were a lack of nutritional knowledge and not being active.
But never in all the time of being overweight do I believe I binged or had a bad relationship with food. Once experimenting with “strict dieting” I began this awful habit of snacking which often times turned into binging. Being forbidden from certain foods or food groups only makes you want it more. I was so restricted that all I wanted to do is eat.
Not only did I notice an unhealthy relationship with food, I also noticed my body wasn’t the same. My hair began to fall out, I was missing my cycle and awful mood swings.

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

Yes! I’d weigh in monthly to track my progress but immediately after I’d have food waiting in my car and I’d begin the all-day binge before even making it back home. I’d eat myself sick! This caused horrible rebounds. I’d be very I’ll for days after doing this and it was an obvious set back each time I’d do this. My body got to the point that I literally couldn’t handle certain food, they’d make me sick.

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?
Since changing from those restrictive diets to flexible dieting I feel a sense of freedom from the constant thought of what I wish I could eat. Being able to make choices and not be told exactly what to eat and exactly how much and at what time of each and every day has made a huge difference. I still have days that I struggle but I feel like I’ve come a long way and I’m so glad that I’ve discovered flexible dieting!

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight?

1. To be patient, it takes time
2. To trust myself
3. Research! If someone is offering help/ dieting advice do your research to be sure it’s something that will work for you. Had I done so before severe dieting I could have avoided many, many months of being deprived!

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

You are not the only one. There are others out there that share the same experiences you do. There’s also help! Ask around, use social media and research. Take it one day at a time and find what works for you, if you feel like something isn’t right it probably isn’t! Listen to your body.

 

 

Cassandra Culver-

 cassandra

 

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

My story isn’t a bad competition prep, I was just a girl who wanted to feel better about herself lost 60lbs when I was in high school, and got too skinny (180 to 119). However, I thought I was fat. I did hours of cardio; lifted moderate weights, and ate very little. I was very discouraged because I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted, and I thought that was the only way to achieve them. I didn’t change my habits until a female physique competitor at my gym told me to watch Layne Norton’s video on Metabolic Damage. That was what started it all. I reverse dieted for a year and increased my caloric intake from less than 1000 to over 3000. It was life changing. Did I mention that I only had to do 3 20 minute HIIT sessions per week!

 

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

I was eating less than 1000 calories and just felt horrible all of the time. I was moody, hungry, and sad that I wasn’t seeing results. I also had people that were worried about me and tried to tell me that I needed help.

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them? It was a challenge at first to eat the amount that Layne started me off with; it felt like so much food. However, I told myself to trust the process. When I did, I felt better than ever and lifted heavier than I ever had. That was liberating.

 

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight? Weight isn’t everything. Do not stress over the scale, it will make you crazy. Food isn’t the enemy. You can have anything that you choose, in moderation. Also, learn eating habits that you can maintain as a lifestyle, not just for a short amount of time.

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues? You can overcome anything. Once you get past the initial challenge, it will become your lifestyle. J

 

 

Jodie M-

 

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

I have been dieting since I was 15. I am turning 30 this year so that’s half my life on some kind of diet with food at the forefront of my mind for the majority of each day. For the first 10 years of my dieting life I did all the commercial fads; 1200 calories, shake diets, diets from gossip magazines, Weight Watchers (actually probably one of the better ones), Jenny Craig, keto. You name it, I gave it a go. About 5 years ago I became interested in competing, and entered the world of clean eating, cardio, low carbs.

 

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

After my first competition I became a massive binge eater. I felt out of control. The amount of food I could put away in a very short time scared me. I had binged previously in my early dieting years but not to this extent. I remember going to the shop and buying a box of ice-cream cones and a block of chocolate and sitting in my car and eating it all before I got home, I didn’t want my husband to see the packets of food or know that I had no self-control. I hated myself; I had just spent the past year dieting and training for a show and now I was spiraling out of control, I felt lost and desperate.

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?

While I am by no means perfect, flexible dieting has made a huge change in my life. Learning moderation and that all food can be enjoyed in the correct quantities has mostly eliminated binging. I still overeat on occasions but I am 99% better than prior to this lifestyle. Reducing cardio has also played a part I believe as I am not as hungry now.

 

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight?

 – You are not alone, everyone has their own struggles.

– It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, ask for help. Saying it out loud takes the pressure off.

– The moderate approach isn’t sexy or flashy, but over time it is the only sustainable way.

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

Welcome to the club J and it’s a bloody big club! Patience is your best weapon, not self-control. You can only exercise self-control for so long. Find an approach that you can honestly see yourself following for the rest of your life, with your health and happiness as a priority, and invest the necessary time. For me, I am a year and half into flexible dieting and my body is not where I want it to be, but I know with consistency and time, I will make it. And I will enjoy the journey on the way. Be kind to yourselves.

 


 

Aria Adamy

Website:  www.facebook.com/AriaAdamyBikini

Aria

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices.  Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

 

The most influential factor in my diet/training regimen occurred when I joined a popular competition training team in September 2012.  I hoped to take my skinny physique to the next level with weight training.

 

The Team advised us to eat only clean foods, with no added salt or condiments.  We were to eat six small meals a day with one cheat meal once a week.  I was told that adhering to the plan would greatly increase my success as a bikini competitor.  We were told to “stick to the plan” with no exception.

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating.  Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

 

The biggest cause for concern was when I began binging.  It never occurred to me that my weekly cheat meal or post competition celebratory meals were in fact binges.  I had never been a binger and six months into my training with the Team, I began binging during the week, outside of the weekly cheat or post competition meals.  After that I couldn’t be around “bad” food without eating it all.  The weekly cheat meals were an excuse for a binge.  I even began binging on “clean” foods that were on the Team’s plan, thinking that made it better.  I classified foods as good or bad.  I experienced a lot of food guilt and anxiety around “bad” foods.

 

I hit rock bottom during December 2014.  I enjoyed the holidays with my family and indulged in foods outside of the plan.  I was employed by my training team at the time and felt I could not go back to work having gained weight.  They had seen me struggle toward the end of the year, even dropping out of competitions I had paid for.  I reached out for help multiple times but was told to “stick to the plan”.  On Christmas Day, I found myself running ten miles to burn off the extra calories.  Running had gotten me to stage weight for competitions, so it would surely work in the off season, right?  I quickly realized I could not continue to do this and quit my job and the Team.

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles?  If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?

 

Layne Norton has helped me tremendously.  First, Layne advised me that competing is out of the question until the reverse diet is complete.  Layne has helped me slowly increase my metabolic capacity.  I am no longer binging out of hunger!  I am able to maintain my weight and eat more, while continuing to weight train (LOVE) and do minimal amounts of cardio.  IIFYM has allowed me to enjoy the foods I love in moderation, even foods I considered bad.  I don’t have food guilt.  I don’t have the urge to do more cardio to offset calories.  I can honestly say I enjoy training again.  In the past, I kept my binges private because I felt ashamed and weak minded.  Layne encourages me to be honest about them.  I began turning to food during times of stress but Layne has helped me work through the emotions behind my binging as well.

     

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food or weight?

 

1.  Your weight does NOT define your self-worth

2.  Slow and steady means sustainable.  Take your time and know that progress is progress, no matter how slow or small

3.  Do not compare your journey to anyone else’s

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

 

Do not be ashamed.  Do not be afraid to get professional health.  You are worth it and you are NOT alone.

 

 

Breanna Budge

www.brefitpersonaltraining.com.au

 

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

Before I started my competition prep I was just a normal and healthy girl and I didn’t cut any food groups and I always had energy to train and never deprived myself from anything. I than began my prep and I was put on a strict low carb diet with no “cheat” meals. This made me create a very unhealthy relationship with food. I was scared to eat anything off my plan. Even in my off season.

 

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

Not only did I develop such an unhealthy relationship with food. I also started to notice a lack of energy- I even had to sit down to fold the washing. My skin was dull, my hair would fall out in clumps and I would have anxiety attacks if I had to eat out.

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?

The biggest difference was learning to count my macros. I have to admit it was so hard at first, to get out of the ‘good’ food, ‘bad’ food mindset. But I am so glad I pushed through to do it. Even though I no longer count my macros I know so much more about food that I don’t feel the need too. I still make sure I eat about 30g of protein for each meal and eat vegetables 3 times a day and I also don’t deprive myself from anything. IIFYM saved my life. It saved my relationships and just helped me mentally so much.

 

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight?

– Carbs DON’T make you fat. Eating CONSISTENTLY too much makes you gain weight.

– You being hungry and miserable affects the people around you. Life is too short not to go out and enjoy yourself. Don’t let your decisions affect others.

– The more you stress and put your body under stress the less it will respond. Live balanced and healthy. Listen to your body and you will be surprised what it does.

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

I would tell them that life is too short to not be happy. Because deep down you’re not happy eating fish and greens for every meal. If you just try and learn counting your macros you will be surprised how good you will feel and look. When you do IIFYM you learn about food, instead of following a plan. You just have to give it a chance and push through that scared feeling.

 

 

 

Kerry Potter-

 

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

Wow, where to begin. I could write a novel on this question but I will try to keep my response short. I always had a desire to be super thin because I ran cross-country and track in college and most of the girls on my teams were rails. I on the other hand, have always had super muscular legs and ranged in the high teens or low 20% body fat range. When I first started competing as a figure/fitness competitor in 2009, I got lean super quick and I got lots of attention. At that time, I was in graduate school for nutrition and in the works of becoming a Registered Dietitian. However, I let my own insecurities with myself as a person and that I was not good enough as a person and that people wouldn’t like me as an individual unless I looked a certain way take over my sane and rational thoughts and decided to follow any coach in the fitness industry I thought that could get me super lean. That led to really unhealthy practices which I knew were not right but because I was basically willing to “die” to be thin, it didn’t matter.

So of course, I worked with all types of coaches promoting super low calorie diets, very few food options, no fruits, crazy myths, too much cardio. And yes I was lean as all heck, but I felt horrible. And I started excluding myself from my friends because I had no energy to hang out with anyone. The only energy I had was for exercising. Then because I was so hungry, I ended up developing a binging issue in the middle of the night. That was a super dark time in my life. I was so hungry from starving on foods I hated during the day such as tuna, raw almonds and basically broccoli that I would binge on my roommate’s peanut butter in the middle of the night. Then I would feel so guilty and ashamed I would drive to the grocery store at 4 am to replace her peanut butter so she would never know. My sleep cycle became disrupted among many other issues that I developed in the years to come (amenorrhea, thyroid issues) which still have not resolved even with a healthy diet and mindset today. I look back on the 3+ years I suffered with disordered eating habits and all the events and memories I missed out on with my friends, and I would never wish that on anyone else. Not only did my body suffer physically, but doing anything to be thin for one show can lead to a life long struggle emotionally. Is being thin for one second in time really worth the mental hassle and all the amazing things you will miss going on around you?

 

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

My life revolved around compulsive behaviors such as having to weigh myself 5 or more times a day, having heart failure and throwing a fit if I did not have access to a scale in the morning to weigh myself, chewing packs of gum in a day and just always thinking about food and when I was going to exercise. It was like I had no room for any other thoughts.

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?

Meeting my nutritional needs is the first thing on the list. My good friend Crystal always reminds me that until our nutritional needs are met, our cravings will be unreliable cues on what to eat. Basically, I made sure I was actually eating enough food to satisfy my hunger from a variety of carbohydrates, protein and fat. And of course a lot of therapy to break some of the disordered thought patterns in the way I talked to myself. I once had a therapist ask me if I would ever talk to one of my nutrition or weight loss clients the way I talked to myself, and I was like um NO. So she was like “Then why the heck is it ok to talk to yourself like that?” Some of the skills I practice come from cognitive behavior therapy…ha no but in all seriousness, I have worked with some really good therapists, including Kori Propst who is a bodybuilder herself which helps to work with someone who knows the nature of the sport, in addition to really good family and friend support. I was also blessed to meet my friend Natalie Mason who was in my dietetic residency with me at Baylor University Medical University. Natalie was well versed in the concept of mindful and intuitive eating and never had issues maintaining her weight. Yet she ate foods for herself that were both nurturing to her body but at the same time she enjoyed. No food was off limit so if she wanted a cookie, she would eat and “savor” that cookie, but she never had a compulsion to binge on those foods. From there, I learned about the Center of Mindful Eating and joined to help myself start my own daily mindful eating practice rituals.

 

I still wouldn’t say I am 100% percent better with my disorder eating or disordered thought patterns, but in comparison to where I was a year ago, I have come a long way and I don’t discount that one second. Working with Kori, other therapists and friends on disordered self-talk to myself and not letting those thoughts define me have helped me come a long way!

 

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight?

– Whatever problems you have an “X” weight such as 160, you will probably still have at “X” weight such as 120. That doesn’t mean that you possibly feel better in terms of health, joints, etc. But if you don’t handle stress, problem-solving skills etc. at 160, it doesn’t mean they will magically appear just because you are 40 pounds lighter.

– Your physical appearance and weight is such a small part of who you truly are and if people only appreciate you at a certain weight and physical appearance, they aren’t people you need to associate with long-term.

– Breathe. Literally. I find a lot of people with food issues have a lot of anxiety also. I know I can worry a lot and cause myself anxiety. But no longer call myself an anxious person. I just acknowledge the thoughts that are scrolling across my mind and let them go. When a stop in the midst of everything, and just take a couple of minutes to breathe, a lot of nasty thoughts and tension leave my mind. Then I find that I am so much less likely to make impulsive decisions like binging on half a jar of peanut butter just to find a way to avoid anxiety.

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

For the time being, you have to walk away from the goal of weight loss. Believe me, I didn’t want to let go of that goal for a long time. And don’t be ashamed of it. Let the people who are close to you know what you are dealing with and that you need their help.

You have to start realizing that you are an amazing person and your physical appearance and food are so little of what defines you. I would really encourage professionally help lastly because if the issue is truly running your life, you are just not going to wake up one day and be cured and then start yet again another diet. You will know you are making progress because when difficult thoughts arise, you learn to witness rather than obey them. In so doing

 

Tina Salicco-

 

DDT: Within the weight loss industry we hear so often about the ill effects suffered by individuals from poor and even dangerous dieting practices. Can you tell us about some of your own experiences and how they influenced you?

I began with a coach who was a friend of mine and had competed in the past. His girlfriend was under his wing as well and so I figured he would be a good start. He was great in that I went from extremely disordered eating to multiple meals in a day, he began the process of me not fearing food and all in all it was a positive experience, however, after weeks of lettuce, lettuce, and more lettuce and a metabolism that sky rocketed I began to starve more than I had on no food for years prior. I remember being at a cottage and the sound of my friend chomping on chips was enough to send me home. I messaged him and he advised me to grab a cold coffee from Starbucks with some sugar free syrup to kill the craving and fill me up. I remember that day so vividly because it was so PAINFUL! At 4 weeks out from my first competition I decided I needed a new coach because the starvation could not be corrected. I sought out a man who lived close to me and wow did he win me over! And in 4 weeks I went from far from stage ready to “over-dieted” according to the judges! I could care less. He had me on 5 asparagus spears and tilapia with mustard, cut sodium, depleted water, etc., etc…the typical (or so I thought) diet. After a bout of competitions and finally placing first I had an “off season” where my horrible rebound from my first round of shows did not get any better…he was convincing me I needed to gain muscle and the 8oz of fish and 2 cups of rice with salsa before bed was necessary…despite the pukish feeling. This went on through the summer and then came the paleo diet to prep me for my next round of shows…the paleo diet did not work…I felt sick every morning and thanked God I wasn’t employed because I had to lie down after fasted cardio every morning to settle my tummy. Showed up to the fall competitions “not lean enough” according to judges…this was very obvious based on how I looked when I first stepped on stage. Big blow out with the coach and off I went to find someone who could fix me. Joined a coach who had me eating half a grapefruit a day, half a green pepper a day and fish, fish, fish…it sounded so ridiculous there had to be something scientific behind it. The science in this formula didn’t work for me…after 3 months of this and intense cardio sessions I remained absolutely, positively the SAME! So off I went again (terrified I’d be “fat” forever). Began with a coach who believed it was impossible to lean out with sugary carbs like berries. Paleo was the way to go! Massive, coconut flour pancakes for breakfast with psyllium husk and cocoa…those were the answers.  Eventually, I tried to explain to her that the MASSIVE bowls of veggies and healthy fats were not working for me. I tried to convince her I may be fat sensitive or maybe allergic to veggies? I was researching everything possible to explain the massive gut I would develop at the end of every day. Resulted in me banning veggies from my diet for 2 years and believing that I had destroyed my body forever and would never be stage lean again.

 

DDT: The more diets an individual engages in, the greater their risk for developing disordered eating. Did you notice a shift for yourself in behaviors that you’d classify as somewhat dysfunctional or that gave you a reason to be concerned for your health?

Prior to competing I had a very controlled way of eating…I simply didn’t. Every morning I would eat a Special K granola bar with a coffee than stretch until 3 or 4 pm and go back to the same coffee shop for a second coffee accompanied by a whole wheat bagel with a mass amount of light cream cheese. This would be my only meal of the day but if I was feeling super thin I would surround myself with candy at night. On Saturdays I would have a turkey, cheese and cucumber bagel because I would head out to party at night and needed a little more of a meal to soak up the booze. Then came 3 a.m Sunday morning, headed home from whatever club I was at, and the pit stop at the 24 hour coffee shop for donuts or cinnamon buns or whatever I had craved through the week…cheat day was on! I would feast for a full 24 hours on anything and everything I craved during the week…it was gross yet so good. Monday I would be physically sore and wouldn’t eat to compensate for the gluttony of the day before. This happened for 4 years. SO, did the bad diets coaches put me on increase my disordered eating? Nope…I was obsessed with controlling my food from the age of 21 thanks to my new found bond with my older sister who also had the same eating regimen…I learned from the best. My eating after the diets given to me by coaches now became an obsession with food as opposed to an obsession to avoid food I guess.

 

DDT: What has made the difference for you as you’ve worked through the ill effects of your dieting and eating-related struggles? If you’ve dealt with disordered eating behavior, how have you overcome them?

Truthfully, not being given a strict meal plan and learning about macronutrients and the fact that nothing is bad or good has helped me immensely. Do I still struggle? Do I think I am healed? Pfft I WISH! I don’t think I ever will be, sadly, but I am in a better place than I was a year ago so who knows! I can’t really pinpoint what has changed…maybe it’s that fact that I am no longer deprived of foods I love, or the fact that I have met the man of my dreams and built the life I dreamed of or coaches who constantly wear me down and build me up or maybe it is because I have been able to lean out again and no longer feel gross and doomed. Can’t quite say what has changed but something has and I am so happy for that!

 

DDT: What have been your top 1-3 lessons learned through your personal struggles related to eating, food, or weight?

My top lesson when it comes to eating, food and weight is that dealing with all three of those things is as much dependent on a person’s mental state as their physical.

 

DDT: What would you tell others who are dealing with disordered eating or who have struggled with weight or food-related issues?

My advice to people who are struggling is they are so far from alone…there are many of us and that’s okay but don’t be scared of your struggles; face them dead on. Seek help because truthfully I don’t think I could have done any of this alone but I would never do it without educated individuals backing me up from the beginning. Research and know whose process you are following…this could save you from taking 2 steps forward in your struggles and 10 back!

 

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