My Story

How I overcame anxiety, depression, and disordered eating and discovered the world of Powerlifting:

My early twenties were a tough time for me. When I was 19 I came down with mono which led to some complications resulting in weight-loss. I wasn’t overweight to start with, so I went from skinny to skinny-er. But people started commenting on it, “Oh you’ve lost some weight.” “Have you lost weight?” “You look much smaller now.”⠀

For whatever reason, I liked these comments. I took them to mean that I looked BETTER. I liked that my clothes fit a little bit looser. I liked that I looked smaller in photos.⠀

I think it was subconscious at first, but all of the comments I was receiving about my weight, and the changes I was seeing on my body, made me think I should start eating less to keep the weight off...which led to more weight-loss. Now I definitely looked smaller, and to me, that was good. So the cycle continued; I ate less, I lost more weight.⠀

Eventually I started playing a game with myself: How long could I go in a day without eating? “Just one more hour. Another hour.”⠀

The thing is, when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a super skinny girl (at my lightest I was 90lbs.) I just didn’t see that. I felt bloated and full and just not perfect enough.⠀

It wasn’t until I saw a photo of myself on Facebook that it dawned on me just how frail I really was. I finally saw what everyone else was seeing and I realized that I had a problem.⠀

I wouldn’t say that I had an eating disorder because I wasn’t diagnosed with one. But I would definitely say that I had disordered eating patterns. For example: I was abusing laxatives in an effort to feel less “full” (something I’ve never talked about), I had a lot of anxiety about eating large portions (especially very carb-dense foods), I stopped eating out at restaurants with my family, and I was very strict with the kinds of meals I would make for myself; I ate a lot of salads, some protein, and very little else.⠀

This type of thing can’t be reversed overnight, and for me it was a very long process that lasted several years. I truly believe that finding Powerlifting is the thing that eventually saved me.⠀

I’d been battling with my mental health for a couple years by the time I discovered CrossFit. I saw these girls lifting these crazy weights and it just looked so cool. But more importantly, they looked so FIT. I really wanted to look like that. So I immediately looked up the nearest CrossFit gym and signed up right away.⠀

Up until this point in my life exercise was just a way to look better, and for me, CrossFit was going to be my new avenue towards 6-pack abs. But it became clear once I started that I was very weak. One of the owners of the gym happened to be a Powerlifter and suggested I try it out if I wanted to become stronger.⠀

I was addicted immediately. The feeling that I got from lifting heavy weights was like nothing else. I felt SO POWERFUL. What was different about it though, was that my perception of exercise began shifting. We didn’t call it exercise anymore, we called it TRAINING. And training was about improving skills, not about looking better. And the only way I was going to improve at Powerlifting was if I ate more food.⠀

And there it was. My newfound passion required me to eat more food. And the more food I ate, the stronger I felt and the better at Powerlifting I became.⠀

I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t as easy as that. There were many set-backs. It took a while to reverse the negative thoughts I had about myself and my body. But the crazy thing is, the more time I devoted to getting stronger and better at Powerlifting, the more food I ate, and the more my body began to change. That toned figure that I’d always lusted after, I achieved anyway. The key all along had been eating (a lot) of very healthy nutrient-dense food, and lifting weights (safely) and in a well structure manner. The more I took care of myself, physically and mentally, the more my body gave back to me.⠀

I’m going to be honest, I’m still very hard on myself a lot of the time. I don’t always love the way I look. But I try to focus on the way I FEEL, and how my workouts make me feel. And for the most part, I feel STRONG. And I really LOVE that.