INTRO: I remember well when Jenny was a new member to the Fat Loss Revealed forums. She was in need of a serious revamp of her approach to nutrition and exercise to get the results she wanted. Like so many, she was confused and overwhelmed by all the conflicting and terrible information out there. What I didn’t know at the time was she had been dealing with eating disorders which obviously compounded her ability to get on the right track for her health, well-being and personal fitness goals. Regular writer for BrinkZone, long time member of both the Fat Loss Revealed and Body Building Revealed forums, trainer, and owner of shailafitness.com, Sumi Singh does a Q&A with Jenny on how she finally broke threw the barriers, which I think everyone will find inspiring, regardless of where you are in your personal health/fitness journey. Jenny shows that with the right info, hard work, commitment to change, it can be done; be it fat loss, improved health, etc.
Excerpt from “Overcoming Disordered Eating: A Personal Story”
Sumi: What was your first sign to yourself, that something wasn’t right?
Jenny: When you are so hungry and yet so afraid of people seeing you eat—for fear they’ll judge you— that you feel it necessary to sneak food and inhale it while hidden in a bathroom or closet…it’s a pretty strong indication something is not right.
Sumi: I understand you went through several phases; first anorexia, then bulimia. Or was it a mix of both?
Jenny: It was a mix over the years. I started by skipping meals and going long periods having only eaten a very small amount. That can really only be sustained short-term because people start noticing and the last thing I wanted was for someone to nag me about how I needed to eat moreAlso, you get really hungry eventually you binge because, well, you’re hungry. So that’s when the purging started because I realized I could eat and appease those people saying I needed to eat and the food didn’t really ‘count’ since it wouldn’t be staying down there for long. To me, that was balance—don’t eat around certain people, then eat and purge when you’re around others.I also exercised quite a bit; I grew up roller skating and I bought VHS tapes and did them at home. Cher’s first step aerobics VHS was my jam and I did it so much that I had it memorized (I could probably do it today with my eyes closed).
Sumi: When did you realize that you needed help? Who helped you? What steps did you take?
Jenny: This all continued on and off for around 9 years. I did go months at a time without purging, but disordered eating (skipping meals, hiding food, starving, and bingeing) was still very much a part of me for 9 years.Then I met the man that would later become my husband and he was accepting and loving and even though I thought I had hid my ED well (I had hid it from everyone else), he knew and he told me it wasn’t necessary and I believed him. I felt safe being me. I’m oversimplifying it, but really at that time, I thought that because he loved me, I could just be me and I’d be fine. I didn’t fear eating in front of him, so I ate. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to eat properly; we were poor growing up, so all I knew was soda, fast food, spaghetti noodles with butter, comfort foods, etc. So what do you think happened? I got fat, that’s what happened. I basically swapped one extreme for the other.
It didn’t happen overnight, but little by little over the years I piled on the fat. I was overfat and feeling helpless—that was me. I could say that because I had stopped purging and I was now fat—which is what most consider to be the opposite of someone with an ED—that I was recovered from my ED, but I would be lying, right? Because overeating to the point of becoming overfat is still a form of disordered eating, isn’t it? Anyway, I didn’t want to go back to what I had done before, because I didn’t want to end up in the same place I started…
Meanwhile my husband was applying for a new career and we had started doing a lot of research about it and I ended up on some forums intended for those applying for this particular field. The application process required that you pass a physical agility test and there was this one guy on the forums that was super helpful to everyone and kept answering people’s questions on how to prepare for such a test.
That man was Will Brink. He was so knowledgeable on fat loss and fitness, so I started researching Will and found his Fat Loss Revealed e-book and forums. I bought his book in 2009 and I would say that’s when my real life-changing journey started.
I dove into the e-book and forums and started reading as much as possible, trying to learn how to lose fat and be healthy. At first it was like reading a foreign language, but I was determined and the moderators on the forum were so knowledgeable, helpful and patient…boy, were they patient. I asked anything and everything and if I didn’t understand, I would ask for clarification.