6.10.2014

rock bottom


I've been on a weight loss journey for four years now. I don't know why I ended up on this journey. Four years ago, I felt awful about myself and was on a mission to eat healthier and join a gym. Simple as that. I don't know why it led me to an eating disorder. I don't know why I became so obsessed with a "perfect" body. I don't know why, after all the experiences, it has placed me in a role some would call a "role model.

Truth is, I don't think this journey ever ends. Nor do I think one ever fully recovers from an eating disorder. There is always that tinge of guilt with every bite of food, no matter how much you try to pretend it's not there. There is always that feeling of failure when you don't get a workout in. I feel like those feelings of guilt and failure have only escalated since I first shared my "before and after" weight loss picture.


I never thought that my picture would go viral. I never thought it would bring about a large reader audience on my blog or a 68k following in Instagram. I never thought to watermark it so companies wouldn't use it for false advertisements for their weight loss pills. I never expected the response it received. It felt wonderful to be able to reach people, but eventually I just felt pressure and I've felt it for two years now.

This pressure pounds at me every day, especially in the past months. The pressure to post workouts, healthy recipes, and gym check-ins. I felt like I needed to keep up with everyone else's gym selfies and ab progress photos. As if that determined my value as a person. It wasn't even something enjoyable anymore. What I once loved, felt like a job I wanted to quit. 

I know fully well that I am the one who lets the pressure get to me. I am the only one who can control how I feel. Yet, I crumbled. The strength and confidence I thought I had, I said I had, was at an all-time low. I completely shut out healthy foods and workouts. I despised it all. I despised the position I had somehow put myself in. I despised that people looked up to me. I despised my body.

The past month, I've eaten more pizza then you can imagine. I've had Taco Bell, Wendy's, McDonalds, Dairy Queen. I've drank more beer and margaritas than necessary. I've gone to the gym maybe once every two weeks, sometimes once a week if I'm lucky. I completely rebelled against everything I thought I believed in. Against everything I loved. Against everything I had a passion for. I threw it away.

I started questioning everything I stood for, and questioning why I chose to become a personal trainer. If I can't even practice what I'm preaching, how in the world am I supposed to help someone else? Feeling like a failure, I stepped away from my social media accounts. The few times I posted were maybe the one healthy bowl of oatmeal I made for the week. Or I posted about another fitness account. I had NO material to post of myself. I had no progress photos, gym check-ins, or any picture where I felt good about myself. I kept taking pictures for progress photos, and just couldn't commit to a healthier lifestyle where there would actually be progress. Instead, my progress was backwards as I started adding on pounds.

I've lived in baggy clothes because I've gained weight. Truthfully, I've worn oversized shirts and flowy dresses since my initial weight loss. I still had that fat girl mentality. My fiancé's eyes pop out of his head if I ever wear anything form-fitting. He thinks I'm beautiful, but I don't feel that confidence or beauty. My gym clothes are tight and uncomfortable. My sports bras and leggings are suffocating.

By all means, I know I am not fat. Yet, there comes a time when you don't feel like yourself anymore. You don't feel good about yourself anymore. Not many understand this feeling and it's difficult to find someone who can relate to. My fiancé, friends, and family try to understand or talk me through everything, but they don't fully get it. I tend to keep a lot of the feelings to myself. Eating disorders aren't an easy thing to comprehend. People tend to think "Just eat. Just fix yourself." Not that easy.

I can't even count how many times I've said that it's time to "get back on track." I started feeling like a broken record, and honestly I was broken. I am broken. I feel like I've self-destructed. I feel like I've let people down. 

Through it all, I need to remind myself that I am HUMAN. I am not just a face. I am not just a supposed role model. I am a woman trying to figure things out, just as anyone is. I am searching for balance. I am searching for beauty, in myself and all things. I am painfully trying to understand the definition of beauty, and why I have struggled to feel it. 

I don't have it all together. I apologize for not holding it together, but at the same time I don't. Things fall apart, so better things can come together. I know I've been pretty absent in the fitness/health realm, but I didn't feel like I could help others if I couldn't even help myself.

My passion is to help others. I want to be honest. I want to be helpful. I want to give you a hug. I want to tell you it gets rough as all hell, but it can get better if you believe in yourself. I want to inspire. I want to make you feel like you're not alone. I want to be that person to someone.

So I'm brushing myself off. I'm giving myself a hug and I'm telling myself "I love you." I'm going to study my ass off for this personal training test. I'm going to continue to surround myself with supportive and loving people. I'm going to remain strong and try not to let the pressure get to me. I'm going to continue to fight the demons of an eating disorder. I'm going to treat my body with respect again. I'm going to read and learn and listen to others' experiences. I'm going to grow. I'm going to explore the true meaning of balance. Most importantly, I'm going to learn the ways of loving myself. 


Thank you to Andie Mitchell (http://canyoustayfordinner.comfor being so honest in her writing and inspiring me to express my feelings

 

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for your vulnerability and sharing this with us! We all go through bumps - some worse than others. Remember that you are not alone! You are human and you don't need to be 'perfect' all the time. You will be able to fully recover from your eating disorder - it IS possible girl! You are strong and have come a long way.You are not a failure. You are an inspiration to many people. You're going to be an amazing personal trainer! I'm also prepping for my exam too - we can do it!! Don't give up. You're beautiful <3


    XO J

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  2. Thank you for sharing. When your journey changes from focusing on yourself to making sure everyone else is pleased, that's where it becomes a chore and you lose your motivation. I've been there. People who follow you do so because you're real and tell it like it is. I can't speak for everyone else, but I am in the before stage. I don't follow you to see what you eat or what you do to workout. In all honestly, I don't ever eat anything I see or do a workout that's posted! I follow you because I see you trying and navigating this thing called LIFE.

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  3. This is beautiful and honest thanks for sharing I also started with my journey a few years ago although I don't have as many followers as you because of the success I had and what I learned I also became a persona trainer and fitness coach and the pressure is felt. I understand a bit of your feelings, but I also want you to know we all go thru tough times we are so hard on ourselves and our minds play some mean tricks on us. I think you are beautiful on the outside and the inside and sharing this will bring you more followers because many women will relate to this, like myself. You will be a great personal trainer and will continue to help change lives.

    Brenda Marquez (IG:burios)

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  4. This is beautiful and honest thanks for sharing I also started with my journey a few years ago although I don't have as many followers as you because of the success I had and what I learned I also became a persona trainer and fitness coach and the pressure is felt. I understand a bit of your feelings, but I also want you to know we all go thru tough times we are so hard on ourselves and our minds play some mean tricks on us. I think you are beautiful on the outside and the inside and sharing this will bring you more followers because many women will relate to this, like myself. You will be a great personal trainer and will continue to help change lives.

    Brenda Marquez (IG:burios)

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  5. This is beautiful and honest thanks for sharing I also started with my journey a few years ago although I don't have as many followers as you because of the success I had and what I learned I also became a persona trainer and fitness coach and the pressure is felt. I understand a bit of your feelings, but I also want you to know we all go thru tough times we are so hard on ourselves and our minds play some mean tricks on us. I think you are beautiful on the outside and the inside and sharing this will bring you more followers because many women will relate to this, like myself. You will be a great personal trainer and will continue to help change lives.

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  6. This is great, I love that you are being so honest with everyone of your reader/follower and yourself most importantly. Cant wait to hear how much stronger you become from this all. I have a lot of issues with myself and a lot of times its hard to explain where other understand. Hope you win this journey that you are on. I sure am cheering for you.

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  7. I can relate to this post so much. I'm sorry the pressures of the fit world got to you. But as for me, I like following you on both accounts because I like who you are. You don't need to put up new recipes or workouts all the time, you're human and thats what makes you real. I hope you get through this, because I know you touch a lot of people.

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  8. i completely understand where you are coming from. I know what it's like to feel like you are letting people down but by doing what they want you are not really doing what you want. I wouldn't consider myself as ever having a physical ED but i am definitely emotionally struggling with it. It's hard to know what is right but still feel so guilty about everything. it's such a hard mind set to break away from. Logic and Emotions collide and it's not all that fun. thank you so much for being honest and letting us know that you struggle too. it makes you seem more of like a best friend rather than "some hot chick on instagram" . you're so much more. xoxo

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  9. Thank you so much for writing this, and for being so honest. I went through something similar, and I feel like not many people understand. Last year I lost 20 lbs, and got really into fitness and clean eating. I started a fitness instagram account and got tons of followers, way more than my personal one. I was getting hundreds of likes on my pictures, and it felt great. But over time, I lost that initial feeling and began to feel burdened by it. I felt like a failure if I didn't post pictures or if I ate something bad, like I was letting these strangers down. I started to hate my weight loss. After a few months I started gaining weight back. I was going through a lot of personal stuff (boyfriend cheating on me, moving, starting college, etc...) and I deleted my account. I eventually did gain most of the weight back, which is really hard for me. But I'm also glad that I took myself out of that unhealthy mind set where I constantly thought about food, working out, or posting fitness pictures. I'm currently trying to find a healthy balance, but just for myself. I really respect and admire how you have put your personal life out there to inspire me, and you were one of the first fitness instagram accounts I followed, and you were a huge motivator for me. Just know that your followers, friends and family will be there to support you through it all. I watch your YouTube videos and follow both your instagrams, and this probably sounds so creepy, but I feel like I know you on some level. You definitely are a "role model" for me, but you're also human. You're a teacher, studying for your personal trainer certification, and planning a wedding...that's a lot,girl! Don't beat yourself up about not being what other people expect you to be. Lots of people think you're pretty damn awesome.

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  10. Thank you for being so honest Brianna. The best way you can help others is to be yourself and if your followers can't understand that then they can go find another seemingly "perfect" role model. We all know perfection doesn't exist anyways. In saying that, I truly believe that the reason people love you so much is because you are relatable. You've never sugar coated your challenges and temptations. I personally find you helpful and motivating simply because you have the same struggles as I do and you're open about them.

    I sincerely hope you are able to overcome your eating disorder and guilty feelings when it comes to food. I don't know how many times I've wished I could just have no relationship with food. To just eat because I'm hungry and stop when I'm satisfied. But in todays world I'm really not sure if its possible so I'll settle with having a "healthy relationship" instead of an unhealthy relationship with it.

    It sounds like you have an excellent support system around you and that is huge. Lean on them and believe what they say. Don't listen to that evil voice in your head. Don't give it power. You have so many exciting things to look forward to right now. Exercise because it makes you have a healthy strong heart. Eat because it gives you energy. Like you said, learn to love yourself.

    If it means anything, I've been a faithful follower of yours for years and you've never disappointed me. I know that you don't HAVE to put everything out there but you chose to and your successes and failures have helped me through my own highs and lows. And I truly appreciate all the help you have unknowingly provided.

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  11. Hi Brianna. I'm Van and have been following your instagram for a few months now. I really enjoy your realism and can understand YOUR rock bottom. A life experience like this is a catch 22 in that you've felt like you've had to question your motives. I get no one likes to second guess the major choices in life. But behind every question is an answer (no matter how long is takes to figure it out). I'm glad you're taking the opportunity to reassess and move forward. Because no matter how far back you think you've gone, you're actually still moving forward. That is what counts :-) And I'm sure you will learn to love yourself more than all your "followers" combined, but don't take my word for it. Just wait and see ;-)

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing. I've been experiencing something similar. When I first started working out and eating healthy I really enjoyed it. I felt like I had a good relationship with food and myself. But somehow I've slowly started to beat myself up about how I'm not losing weight or gaining muscle as fast as everyone else I see on instagram. How I seem to not be able to enjoy eating healthy anymore. I do, but I'm jealous of everyone else who can eat crap food and not feel completely guilty and awful about themselves afterwards. I feel worse about how I look now then I ever did before I changed my lifestyle. Despite losing fifteen pounds, somehow learning how to nourish myself properly and how to exercise in ways I enjoy that also help me burn fat have pushed me to be more focused on it than ever. It's not enjoyable anymore. I'm trying to find a balance with it and learn to forgive myself for pretty much emotionally abusing myself now. It takes time of course. Know that you're not alone in battling these issues! Thank you for opening up about it. I don't have anyone in my life that truly understands either.

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  13. Thankyou so much for the honest post, I completely relate. Since I was a teenager I have struggled with restricting food and now as a young adult fell back into an eating disorder thinking I was being "fit". People constantly tell me im fit or healthy until I dropped to a dangerous weight this winter. I first thought I cant wait to get out of my eating disorder so I can eat and not exercise without guilt. But really I have come to realize I just want to be able to enjoy my life and be present for the people I love not obsessing over serving size or clean eating. Your not alone and your confidence to talk about these issues is ispiring! Istagram can be very misleading about fittness and healthy eating im glad you ars be authentic and real!

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  14. Thank you for sharing! For those of us that have been through a fitness and health journey, I think it's something we all feel. I've been feeling that way for months. Feeling like I am gripping on for sanity and struggling to keep the weight off and the pressure to stay the same or look better.
    For you of course it's magnified by 100%.

    Thank you for being honest, and being yourself. You're amazing on the inside as well as outside. Stay strong and don't be so hard on yourself!

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  15. This just described me to a T lately. I too am in the process of becoming a personal trainer. I've suffered from an eating disorder for 8 years. I have gained some weight back and got into a healthy regime, but a lot of drastic things have happened to me lately where I feel like everything was spiraling. I was tired of controlling everything I was eating and just wanted to live. And naturally, I went overboard and gained some weight these past few months due to the struggles of still finding that perfect balance. I'm still struggling. And I get upset about it everyday. I've missed a lot of workouts and eating on a schedule. However, I am trying to make myself realize that this is only temporary behavior as I am trying to find myself again, especially after a severe breakup. So, I inderstand where you are coming from. I do not know you, but I see the same genuine spirit in you as I see I'm myself. You will still be the same person and people will still love you. Remember that. And thank you for your honesty, it's refreshing.

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  16. Wow thanks so much for this post. I definitely feel this way all the time. I think our stories are very similar. The ups and downs are all apart of the journey, and its okay to indulge. We have to learn not to always feel guilty! Thanks Brianna!

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  17. Brianna, you have described exactly what I have been dealing with for the past year. Needless to say, I have been struggling. Never have I been more unhappy with my body at this point in my life. I have always been active, but I have just feel burned out. It's also been tough because I'm a NASM CPT and I feel like I'm failing because I'm not taking care of myself. I keep asking myself who would want to listen to me when I don't have it all together? But, ultimately I want to help people become healthy and happy! Every day I'm trying to be better and love myself. I knew I was not the only one who felt this way but having it come from you is so encouraging. Thank you for your amazing honest posts and I love your instagram as I get to see your adorable dogs (my family actually has a JRT named Otto and I really want to get a corgi when I get out of college)! Anyway, thank you so much for being real and keep doing what you're doing because you inspire and encourage lots of people :)

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  18. Stay up Brianna!!! I think you might be stressed/down because of wedding planning. I'm getting married in 2 months and I haven't been kind to myself either. This post really inspired me and your not alone. Xx -Danielle

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  19. Personally, the reason why I've been a loyal follower for the past year, was how true and real you are. So what if you have a setback? don't we all?
    This is what makes you different and what makes you so so so inspiring! Never feel bad for any set back, it's your right and prerogative.

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  20. Don't apologize for being human. We all are. Ups and downs are why we follow. I've been told the same for my journey. I share every bad day and bad weigh in and good days and awesome workouts. Because NO ONE is perfect. And no one expects you to be!

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  21. I've been following you since you were featured in a Tone It Up Post. I love how true, real and honest you are. You are a great example to all of us. You are a role model to so many people, but you have to remember that you don't owe us shit. This is your life, your struggles and your choices. Yes, it's great to have you as an inspiration, but I don't want you to feel pressure because of that. It's not worth it. You should always do what you really want to do, not what you feel like people would like you to.
    By the way you even inspired me to get a nose piercing and today I done it :-)
    Have a lovely day,
    Margo

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  22. Last year I started following many fitness accts on instagram. Yours was one of them. Mainly bc of your before and after pic. A year later and your acct is the only one I still follow of those. I like your acct for you, not the work outs or healthy food. In fact I have found that even though your health and fitness journey is admirable, so is your life in general. You just have a light, that no matter if you are eating oatmeal or laughing with your pups it shines through. People always feel that they need talent to be an artist, but I believe that your life can be art. And your art matters. Your life matters. You are so much more than work out videos, perfect eye brows and makeup. You just live your life and people will follow you just for that. I have struggled with all of this myself. You introduced me to the book intuitive eating and it changed my life. I wanted a life where dieting wasn't a focus. I wanted to live healthy and do things I enjoy instead of worrying about what I was going to eat. Now I can have that. I love to run, so I run. I love to paint and sew, so I am starting a business combining the two (slowly, so that it doesn't consume me and I can enjoy other things). My point is that if you want balance, just do what you love bc you love it. It will all balance out. Also, I have to remind myself of this : am I doing something that will matter to me in 40 years. Will I look back on this and just be proud that I tried? Will I look back and be happy that I took the time to go through this process? Anyway, sorry to write a book. I just know that the pressure can take away your love for what you are doing. I have seen it with other people and myself and I hate that you feel it too. Much love to you and all of your followers. - Daree

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  23. Brianna, as many of the people that have commented on this post before me, I too have struggled, and I too say thank you for opening yourself up like this. It's always inspiring to find someone you can relate to and watch progress -not just to their success stories. I've also said so many times 'Tomorrow I'm back on track' and then binged uncontrollably, only to start my healthy lifestyle yet again. I've had mood swings, I shut out my friends from what's happening to me, I cut my social life short and I've felt helpless, fake and empty for awhile...but there's always light at the end of the tunnel, and I keep telling myself that no matter how many times I fall (and I fall constantly) I do get myself back up. I've always been the fit girl among my girlfriends, the 'cute' (feels awkward saying this about myself) one at college..but for the past couple of years it's been hard to wear a shirt that doesn't cover my butt (and I know I'm not 'fat'!), which sucks for someone in their early twenties who on the surface looks like she's confident. I think the hardest part for me, being a perfectionist, is loving my body the way it is, especially having so many instagram accounts that show seemingly perfectly fit, lithe bodies...I follow your instagram account, and I think part of being a role model means being truthful about yourself instead of trying to look unbreakable, because that is just not realistic or human, and allowing other to learn from your struggle is the greatest gift you can give through your account. I'm sorry for my rambling, but I nearly cried when I read your post: it's that close to how I feel, and it's just written down so plainly, it makes it easier to see my own struggles, and make me want to be a better me. We'll get where we want to be, we're just finding our way now! Thanks for sharing.

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  24. Do not be sorry for your life. You are an individual and everyone struggles. Don't worry. You are doing great.

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  25. I've been reading your blog for a while, but have never commented. I love to read your blog because you seem so REAL and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks this. As far as being a role model, I have to tell you that my role models aren't people with "perfect" lives. They're people that stumble and sometimes fall, but they pick themselves up and keep moving forward. That is such an important life lesson to learn and the best role models show how to keep on going after a setback. You ARE a role model! (A real one. The best kind!)

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  26. There's a beautiful quote that is my life mantra, and I thought you'd appreciate it. The phrase is from the French movie "La Haine" from the early 90s (in English, 'hate'). The expression is along the lines of "It's the story of a man who's falling from a building. At each floor, he keeps repeating to himself 'so far so good, so far so good, so far so good'...but it's now how you fall that matters; it's how you land. The French phrase "C'est l'atterrissage" is tattooed on my wrist as a daily reminder that no one is perfect

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  27. you're absolutely amazing, thank you for being so honest, real and you.

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