As I work out and continue to lose weight during my Body Back journey I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the issue of healthful weight loss and eating disorders. I can think of no better week than now. It is National Eating Disorders Awareness week. As someone with great awareness of eating disorders, I like to pass on the message of good health this week each year. Many years ago as a high school student and aspiring ballerina, my dieting got out of control and my battle with anorexia began. Fortunately, I was 15 and my parents made sure I got excellent treatment. I have been in remission for a very long time and as I’ve said previously, an eating disorder is no longer part of my life. I have healthfully gained and lost weight over the years and now have a healthy relationship with food.
I feel so fortunate to have gone through that battle when I was very young. It made me a savvy and critical media consumer with so many extreme beauty messages out there. As a teenager I became very aware of my mental health and that has served me very well in adulthood.
When I was at an in-patient treatment center the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school I met many women much older than me who had been sick for decades. After hearing their stories, I knew that was not a path I wanted for my life and I worked very hard to take steps to beat anorexia.
So many of the women I met were mothers. Many were “fitness enthusiasts.” Their dieting and exercise was out-of-control. They were suffering as their behavior became compulsive and obsessive. They were sick. Any time a family member battles a mental illness, the family does too. The children suffered as their mothers suffered. When I had children, I wanted to make sure that I was a great example of health and good body image.
The 2015 NEDA Eating Disorders Awareness week theme is “I Had No Idea.” It’s about early intervention. Here is a free, anonymous online screening that may help someone.
Like I said when I started this, I took the “I love my body, I don’t care, let’s eat a cupcake!” thing a tad too far and was eating a bit too much junk and being too sedentary. That’s not a good example either. So, I looked for a good program. Before I ever started classes with Fit4Mom and before I started a program like Body Back, I made sure to look into the ideals of the program. While Body Back does encourage weight loss and features high intensity workouts, it DOES NOT promote extreme dieting or unsafe exercise.
I’m raising a daughter and a son. Most often eating disorders effect women. I NEVER want my daughter to suffer as I did. I will always be forthcoming with her about my battle, food and exercise. (Age permitting of course. She’s 4.) If you think because you’re just raising sons that you don’t have to worry about this, you couldn’t be more wrong. The National Eating Disorders Association reports this year that “10 million men and boys will battle some form of the illness at some point in their lifetime and, due in large part to stereotypes and cultural bias, males are much less likely to seek treatment for their eating disorder.” I believe it. The battle to make the team or the demand for athletic scholarships could push a kid into unhealthy behaviors, boys included. I feel it’s just as important to discuss healthy eating and body image with my son as well.
There are mothers out there who become consumed with “losing the baby weight” and their pursuit of fitness becomes dangerous. If you have a friend who you think is suffering, learn about how to reach out to her. Know that eating disorders are a mental illness and need to be treated as illnesses. Read more on how to help someone you love.
Someone asked me yesterday if losing the approximate 15 lbs. I have lost put me at my “ideal weight.” I don’t have an “ideal weight.” Body Back is just helping me have the fit body I need to be the best mom I can. For me, it’s all about balance. I killed it with good workouts this week because I wanted to and it felt good, not to be thinner. I enjoyed a snow day brownie with my kids too because I refuse to deprive myself to the point of misery or diet to obsession. Never again. Balance. Fit4Mom and Body Back encourages a community of healthy moms. I’m proud to be a part of that. I hope this helps someone.