Weight-loss v Mental Health… Let me explain how it affected me
Weight-loss v Mental Health… Let me explain how it effected me
So these photo’s shocked me…
This week, I had to gather some photos for a national paper from when I was heavier, when I lost the weight, and of me now! (You can see that article here )
These two photos above are from around 2010. I was fairly heavy; could barely walk up the stairs, no interest in exercise, horrendous diet, heavy smoker, no job, depressed, very unhappy and in a toxic relationship. To be honest, I don’t remember much of my life back then, it’s all a blur because of the situation I was in.
Did my weight bother me? Honestly, I don’t recall my weight getting me down but I was in a very different place then, a pretty low part of my life.
A while after that photo was taken I made a decision, I took my boys and started a new life on my own, throwing myself into fitness and kickboxing, a total lifestyle change! My aim was to fight, that’s what I now lived for, full contact fights, domestically, internationally and at a world championship. But I couldn’t see how thin I was getting, I remember saying to my mam “Don’t comment on how gaunt I will get, I’m doing it to fight and nothing more“. This was true, I wasn’t doing it to look good (looking back I actually looked desperate), it wasn’t for vanity, but then again everyday I’d post a selfie of my abs… so there was definitely some ego there but never a case of rubbing it in people’s face, my feet were still firmly on the ground and I have always worn my heart on my sleeve.
I was losing weight from a fighting athlete’s perspective, I was eating plenty but obviously in a fairly strict calorie deficit (I didn’t count calories then). I was doing an excessive amount of kickboxing training daily, running, resistance training 7 days a week, I was at my fittest and smallest. I had to drop to this weight if I wanted to fight within the weight categories. It was impossible as I was too small in height so I dropped to just under 53kg, horrendous! I was like a teenager. I lost my period, had a very unhealthy relationship with food; nothing but sweet potato, turkey, egg white, broccoli, fish or rice was eaten… and I mean, that was it! Great food choices all the same eh… I was an athlete with no balance or life but I was adamant to fight at that weight so I sacrificed a lot…
I never had any goals in life or anything to focus on. This was a whole new me, I mean I was ripped and in a fitness bubble… I had no balance and no life, remember, the only life I had and ever known was the one I walked away from which was a negative controlled environment.
Did my weight bother me? YES!
I weighed myself 3-4 time a day, before I ate food, after I ate food, morning, noon and night, this was way out of control. This is what athletes do right? No! That’s what someone who suffers with an eating disorder does!! I was obsessed with making weight and cutting for fights so I was always cutting, but I wasn’t always fighting. I was obsessed with not letting my body reach a weight that would effect a weigh in at a competition. I constantly analysed foods, sugars were completely restricted, that included most fruits, I didn’t have a variety of nutrition, I didn’t have balance, I was undernourished.
BUT, I wasn’t overweight anymore, I was a different person, doing things I’d never done… I was around 34 and my life had literally only started.
Different stages of life happened throughout the years and all of a sudden I was this locally well known personal trainer who had lost all this weight, so everyone wanted to train with me. This was happening through my kickboxing days, I was in college and in 2014, I was qualifying as a PT. It was then that I got over worked, not training, falling into old habits. The body fat creeped back in, that flumpy feeling, so no more ab selfies and very little skin shown… hoodies and leggings hid my body with the shame of letting myself go, so no more shorts and vests.
Throughout the following years a lot happened, and Sharon Doherty Fitness was born. You can read about that in my first blog here.
The weight should of been the least of my worries but no, I focused on battling with myself and mentally sabotaging myself because I was loosing control of my weight. I had no self control but I was battling big time with anxiety, the pressure of being a single parent and being so in demand with clients. I was also still getting a lot of mental abuse so this all played a massive factor in what was to come in the years ahead.
Its tough to recall my exact feelings when I go back to write this because my mind was constantly in overdrive, more than my body, if that makes sense? I just thought to myself “All of this comes with the territory of being a self employed personal trainer, hard work pays off an all that”… Yeah yeah yeah… It does after hitting brick walls over and over again, having episodes of anxiety attacks from being in overdrive. If I knew the extent of what I was putting myself through, I don’t think I’d be in this game right now.
For years I continued on working hard, my boys, Josh (16 ) and Reece (13), where thriving happy lads, school was going great with them, hormones kicking in at the usual time, I am truly blessed with these two amazing boys.
So I was building my business, getting everyone else fit and healthy, my clients were loosing stones and I loved every minute of seeing how I could help these amazing people, but the sad part was, I just couldn’t help myself.
I think everyone can relate to giving someone advice yet you’re the one who seriously needs to listen to your advice and apply it to yourself… so I got myself a coach.
About 18/20 months ago, I went out and got myself a nutrition coach, Jayne O’Toole, this lady has helped and worked with me through the toughest parts of the last 18 months, she seriously had her hands full when I signed up. Within the first few months I more or less had a mental breakdown. I hit my lowest point ever, I could still get up and be the best mother I could be to my boys, still get out of bed and go to work with a smile on my face, but deep inside I was totally lost. Apart from everything you’ve read above, I had to deal with other personal issues; I had to deal with grief, life changing situations within my family, addictions that tore my family apart. Some things can be mended but some things just can’t. And what can’t be, I’ve learned to accept this.
It’s because of this breakdown and only for Jayne that I started weekly counselling sessions over 12 months ago. Nobody told me that it was going to be so tough. It tore me apart emotionally, opened me up to the past, things that I just never even imagined started popping up and I had to deal with them… I’ll be honest, I felt messed up for a while, but I kept going at it, confused for the best part of 8 months but then everything settled down.
I started to accept myself in the form that I am, I was now working from the inside instead of focusing on the outside.
This photo was last year at a very good friend’s wedding. I gained a decent bit of body fat over the last few years, no structure to my training, attending counselling but still battling with myself.
A quote I love
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they worked on It every day”
How was it that I owned a gym but could barely train? I was exhausted, constantly working, sleeping about 4/5 hours a night, sometimes less, still so much personal shit going on, but there was nothing I could do, only to let it all run its course.
It was now time to look after me, I work smart, I take care of my emotional and mental health, I still battle daily with shit but I’m aware of it and I have it all under control. My battles with weight is all down to my relationship with myself not with food. Sometimes my nutrition goes out the window due to my mental/emotional health or just plain exhaustion, but I never feel guilty over food or feel it’s my enemy, and that’s where I know my relationship with food is ok. I just give up on myself and tend to loose self-control from time to time, and this is where the professional help comes in, If and when I need it which thankfully is not as often anymore. I love food, and I love fueling my body, not depriving or restricting it with what it needs.
I’m scared of the past with how I look at myself. I remember a certain person telling me that I looked like a man when I was fairly lean, 8% body fat, not a pick on me, a tiny little thing at 53kg. That shit always stuck in the back of my mind and affected me really badly, it affects me in everyday life but not as much now as it has done over the last 7 years.
I found myself some years ago with some of the symptoms of a condition called body dysmorphia, it’s basically where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. I was comparing what I done before with why can’t I do that now? My nutrition coach Jayne and counsellor Mary really had their work cut out for them! It took me a while to realise that back then I didn’t work, never mind running a successful business, putting myself through courses all while being a single parent. I forgot about the amount of shit I’ve been through over the last 10 years… And your life can have a serious impact on you weight! Life can be a mother f**ker sometimes, and affect you in the most horrible ways, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows but my support network around me is unbelievable…
Does my weight bother me? NO
Does my body bother me? YES, 70% of the time.
But I have come along way with investing in myself and working on self-acceptance. I’m ok with that, I’ve learned that some days are easier than others and I’m loving the process of learning about who I truly am.
A brief article in a national paper brought my journey to a wider audience and it makes me proud that I can hold my head up high and hopefully help other people, let them know that no matter how tough shit gets, if you put your mind to something you can achieve it…
Not for 1 second, 9 years ago when I walked away from a relationship, did I think that I would be one day in the newspaper and going onto a radio show next week to tell my story… I am forever grateful for going through these stages of my life, so many life lessons learnt, and so many achievements to be proud of.
Lastly, thank you all for being apart of my journey so far and I hope that this blog (that just ended up being too long to just be a Facebook post) can help someone, anyone! To know that if even 1 person takes something valuable away from me sharing my journey in a little more detail, well I’m really happy.
LET'S GET STARTED
Looking to sign up for unlimited classes or interested in Personal Training?
Send us a message and we'll get right back and get you started on your own fitness journey!
+353 (87) 126 8714
Unit 11, Ashbourne Industrial Estate, Ashbourne, Meath
+353 (87) 948 1981
Unit 11, Ashbourne Industrial Estate, Ashbourne, Meath
© 2019 SDF- Sharon Doherty Fitness.
LET'S GET STARTED