I had a bit of an identity crisis this morning. (It's certainly not my first--turning 20 was a strange transition. ;)) But today felt different. Today felt like two sides of myself were warring against each other. A Facebook post that I read at 5:30 this morning became the center of my day and it brought up some stuff that I've been struggling with for a while (read: I sort of had an emotional breakdown about it). Namely, how on Earth am I supposed to co-chair Embody and be a Beachbody coach?
The two roles often feel like they couldn't be more different--on one hand, I educate people about eating disorders and (hopefully) shed light on how horribly destructive they are while also being a resource to those who are struggling; on the other, I promote diet and healthy exercise which are often how people find themselves in the previous situation (I even know firsthand how addictive it is). So how can I wear both hats?!
After some loooong conversations today with some amazing people (including both my best friend and my amazing mentor), I've realized it's all in the feelings.
Eating disorders feel like death. They just do. It's a soul-sucking pit of despair. It's feeling like a slave to something that seems so. much. bigger than you. It's not being able to make your own choices. It's constantly worrying and being on the defensive. It's feeling weaker than the voice in your head. It's not feeling like yourself. It's like being lost.
In my experience (because I can only ever speak to that), my journey with the 21 Day Fix/21DFX/Beachbody has opened my eyes to an entirely new world. I've become a part of the best community I could ask for--a group of women (and a few men--shoutout to Shaun T, Rob, and the ShredNation crew) who are determined and strong and empowering themselves and each other and reaching for the best, most authentic versions of themselves.
In our Embody trainings, we define normal eating and talk about how full recovery means keeping food and diet and exercise to one portion of your life--not letting it invade who you are and how you define yourself. (For reference, studies show that people with anorexia think about food 90-100% of the time and 70-90% for people with bulimia.)
For me, Beachbody has taught me how to do just that. I'm finally giving my body the proportions of nutrients it needs in proper sizes and my exercise routine is structured so that I do it and can just walk away. I can tell a difference. And in case you haven't been reading my other posts--I would argue it's even entirely changed my life. For the first time, I'm comfortable using the word "recovered", even if it feels weird sometimes, instead of just "in remission" (my eventual WWU will talk about this more!). It feels like freedom.
So today I've realized--how can I not do both? How could I even dream of walking away from this amazing group of people I'm so lucky to be around, both at Embody and in Inspire Joy? How could I stop working to be the best, most healthy, most authentic version of myself? Isn't that all I could ever wish for? I've seen eating disorders completely rob people of their lives, seen them lose themselves, and I never take this place that I'm in for granted. But it's not all I am--not anymore. As Anna so elegantly puts it--I am the sum of my experiences.
I'm sure I'll have this struggle again or have those moments where I feel like a phony or feel inauthentic or just feel wrong. But reaching this point feels sure good.