Metabolic Damage: You're Not Alone

I speak out about my journey through competitions less and less as the years go by. I’ve  realized that though the story needs to be told, there is also a need for education at the forefront, to potentially prevent other women (and men) from a similar story.

 Left picture 2010, Right picture 2013 (ALready a year into my recovery process)

Left picture 2010, Right picture 2013 (ALready a year into my recovery process)

Though I am grateful for where I am now, there were a lot of darker, harder transitions not discussed or shared openly during that time. 

Instagram wasn’t around when I competed (which was a blessing in disguise as I’m sure it would have heightened my insecurities and expectations) or rebounded. Blogging or vlogging wasn’t as big as it is now. So, I was sort of left alone, trying to figure out what the heck was happening to my body, to me.

Thankfully, there was still Google.

I Googled all types of phrases: post competition eating disorders, post figure competition weight gain, depression after competing, metabolism suppressed, broken metabolism, figure competition weight fluctuation, figure competitor binge.

And I was met with mediocre information with the slew of questions I had:

“Was this normal?”

“Do competitors gain weight after competing?”

“How much is normal to gain?”

“Do you diet again?”

“Does it mean I’m “fat” if I got my period again?”

“Am I the only one?”

In this blog, I hope to do but just one critical thing. The “thing” I needed to hear, to read, to see....

You, you are not alone.

I finally found a resource that mentioned the words “adrenal fatigue”.

Then, I found the term “metabolic damage”.

I took a huge sigh of relief and thought “that’s me! I have that condition!”

I’ve recorded a handful of videos a few years back regarding my evolution through this journey, which I will link below.

Typically, a compromised metabolism has experienced the following:

  1. Decrease in calories (600-1200 calories/day)
  2. Increase in calorie output (exercise)- 2+ hours of exercise a day
  3. Removed food groups
  4. Repeated this program anywhere from 4+ months

Some of the common outcomes are:

  1. Weight gain regardless of sticking to clean/healthy foods
  2. Lower body temperature
  3. Increased fatigue
  4. Low mood
  5. Low libido
  6. Decrease in motivation
  7. Emotional (depression, anxiety, more irritability)

I could honestly write on and on about the potential repercussions of competing and caloric restriction (and over-exercising).

But for now, let’s me just remind you of this:

It is normal to gain weight after you’ve been in a calorie deficit

It is normal to gain more than 10+ lbs after you competed

It is normal to want to sleep all day

It is normal to feel exhausted after you walk up a flight of stairs

It is normal to develop body conscious thoughts

As always, there is a silver lining to what is “normal” and what is not. It is normal to feel and experience these things with a compromised brain, body and metabolism. However...

It is not healthy for the body to be in a constant state of “fight or flight”

It is not healthy for the nervous system to constantly feel like everything you eat needs to be stored

It is not healthy for your brain to constantly worry for its survival

It is not healthy for a body to live in this stressed state

A journey towards healing a metabolism is one that includes an incredible amount of support, patience and relearning (See my blog on Maintenance: Who are you spending the most time with). It is one that includes as much physical healing as does emotional/mental healing.I spent years working on detaching myself from my body. In those same years I spent unlearning my own definition of health and beauty, while learning what it was like to really love who I was regardless of my body.

If you’re on a journey towards personal health, I would encourage you to take a moment today to remind yourself that you’re not alone.

Utilize Google, Youtube, Instagram etc. as a resource for you to not feel alone. I guarantee you that there is someone out there feeling, thinking or stressing about the same thing.

Thank you!