The Many Faces Of Perseverance Blog Series. I thought it would be nice to take the filter out of our daily lives and to be able to relate to many different people about struggles that we each face. I am learning everyday to embrace the struggles we go through, instead of fearing them. I am learning that everything we go through is putting us on our path and helping us grow. I am learning that even when its uncomfortable and hard that we are learning so much about ourselves and that our struggles are shaping us into a better version of ourselves. I hope you gain guidance, inspiration, and support from this series – Alexa
Amanda, what made you want to share your story?
Sharing my story hasn’t always been a natural thing for me. For years, I was ashamed of the things I’d been through. I felt so alone in my struggles and didn’t think anyone would understand what I was going through.
It wasn’t until I saw a few of my personal mentors sharing their stories so candidly that I realized the power of vulnerability and that having the courage to share your story isn’t about you, but about all the people that NEED to hear it for their journey.
Ever since that moment, I’ve committed to being as real, raw and vulnerable as possible because of my story can change ONE persons life, that’s everything to me.
Ever since I can remember, I had a negative relationship with food.
I never had or felt I had an outright ‘problem’, whatever the hell that means anyways, but food always seemed to be on my mind. Whether I was having a bad day and felt that the only form of self medication was to have an entire bag of m&ms in one sitting because “I deserved it” OR when I obsessively counted my calories & labeled foods like carbohydrates, dairy and sweets as BAD and completely OFF LIMITS.
I thought this was how life had to be. A bunch of my friends operated that way. Magazine articles and social media would tell me what foods to stay away from & that the best way to get over a bad day was to stuff your face with as many sweets as physically possible. I didn’t know any different. And yes, a large part of it stemmed from my need to feel constantly in control, my perfectionist tendencies and just generally feeling not good enough, but when it comes down to it, I thought it was normal. That this was just what life would be forever. But in 2012, I saw a picture of myself that changed EVERYTHING. And I decided I needed to do something about it.
When I started out on my path to a healthy lifestyle, I wanted results FAST. I was a size 12, felt perpetually sluggish and I kept thinking: “If I could just be skinny, then I would be happy.”
So I started a quick fix slim down program & I became a cardio junkie, started counting my calories (pretty sure I spent more time on that calorie counting app than I did texting my friends), deemed any type of carb completely off limits and my entire day/ emotional energy revolved around my 2 hour long workouts & figuring out what I could eat with my limited meal choices.
In about a month, I started seeing weight come off faster than I ever have (little did I know at the time that it was because my body wasn’t at all getting what it needed to function). I felt “good” that I was seeing changes, but my energy was at an all time low and I didn’t have much of a life outside of my fitness world because it took up so much of my freaking time. Between working out for at least an hour and a half every single day, taking two showers because I would get two workouts in and then drinking copious amounts of water to curb my grumbling tummy and running to the bathroom every half hour, I didn’t have time to enjoy my life. Plain and simple, I was not happy.
Fast forward to a year later — I had gained all that weight back, and then some. The summer of 2013 was the worst summer of my life. You know when you are SO overwhelmed with life that all you can do is cry and eat your feelings? Well, that pretty much summed up my summer. I literally would spend every day crying. I felt worthless and I didn’t recognize the person that was in front of me. And, since I still had such a negative relationship with food, I resorted to eating everything and anything in front of me because that was the only thing that “made me feel better”. Pints of Ben & Jerrys half baked, a pan of brownies, a bag of peanut m&ms, an entire bag of Target trail mix — you name it, I ate it.
But with the help of my now husband Kevan, I got help. I started seeing a therapist and I slowly but surely came out of the deep dark hole I had been living in. I started working out again, and this time, I knew I had to come at it from a different approach. I never wanted to feel like that weak girl again – I needed to feel strong.
The past two years, I have learned SO much about how to not only feel confident in my own skin and look the way I always wanted, but how to FEEL AMAZING from the inside out. I’ve learned to Love my Body. And through it all, I’ve gained so much freedom.
Freedom to make choices that LIBERATE me instead of LIMIT me.
Freedom to eat so many incredible foods (carbs included) and knowing that indulging is okay!
Freedom to become the strong, beautiful woman I always knew was inside of me.
If you struggle with a negative relationship with food, know that it CAN and WILL get better. And above all, that you are NOT alone. This isn’t something that will happen overnight. It takes time, practice and dedication but I promise you it is so worth it when you start to see the light on the other side. And my biggest advice? Find support. If it weren’t for the amazing community of women that I am a part of, constantly encouraging me through my struggles and helping me celebrate my successes, I would not be where I am today.