Finding a healthy balance in life can be difficult, but it's even harder when working against an eating disorder.
Danielle's fitness journey was an uphill battle from the start.
While she went to the gym on-and-off for some time, she never had any goals or guidance while there. A wrist and ankle injury put exercising on hold, and bad advice on rehabbing led to long lasting effects and pain.
At the same time, Danielle was also dealing with a pair of eating disorders: Orthorexia and Binge Eating Disorder. She worked herself into a vicious cycle of gaining weight, restricting herself from foods she considered "bad," then binge eating anything she could find when stressed.
Looking back now, I would estimate I was restricting myself to less than 1000 calories some days, and the binges would probably amount to around 3000. It was a toxic cycle.
Armed with some extra cash and a goal of finding a well-balanced life, she returned to the Steve Nash Delta Fitness Club. There she met her trainer, Julianne, and things clicked instantly.
Training with her felt like working out with a close friend, and I felt a sense of accountability I’d never experienced before when working out; I didn’t want to let her down! She understood everything: how to rehab my ankle injuries, my frustration with my loss of fitness over the years, even my binge-eating disorder and unhealthy obsession with “labelling” foods.
With a vacation to Mexico coming up, Danielle and Julianne worked together to develop her a workout and nutrition plan to get her ready for her vacation. In 3 months she had lost 12 pounds and had never felt so confident in a bathing suit. Unfortunately, the results didn't last.
By Christmas of the same year, she had reverted back to binge eating. Upon returning to the gym in the new year, she had regained close to 10 of the pounds she'd worked so hard to lose. Embarrassed by the setback, Danielle overall felt discouraged.
Julianne reminded her that fitness is a journey and to use this event as motivation to make permanent life changes.
The message was received loud and clear. By May, she had reached her goal bodyweight, something she never envisioned as possible before!
Today she uses fitness and exercise as her stress relieving tool and actively looks forward to her 5am workout wake-ups. She's also been able to make positive strides in dealing with her eating disorders.
At some point in my journey, I couldn’t tell you the exact point, it finally clicked for me that food isn’t “good” or “bad.” Food is just food. I was able to take back the healthy relationship with food that I had honestly begun to believe was just a myth. I can eat a donut or drink a beer without feeling guilt, without feeling like I need to compensate for it by restricting myself the next day or punishing myself with hours of gruelling cardio. These days, I treat myself with love and respect, take joy in moving every day, and have learned how to forgive my body when it fails.