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I know what you're thinking: "Did I read that right? Why did a personal trainer need to go on a weight loss journey? Aren't they all supposed to be as fit as a fiddle?" While I can't speak for other trainers, I will be the first to admit that I have dealt with struggles of emotional eating and drinking. Below is my story of how I "let myself go" when life got tough, and then, subsequently managed to pick up the pieces and re-build my confidence by using the same methods that I am using with my clients.
Since the time that I was a teenager, I have been competing in various sports including wrestling, football, powerlifting, soccer, and bodybuilding. As such, I’ve always stayed in pretty good shape. Four and a half years ago, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our first daughter, Margaret.
Unfortunately, for my wife, she developed post-partum depression. Part of the process of her recovery was for her to sleep through the nights, while I stayed up with our daughter for night- time feedings, and also, to help get Margaret through some late-night bouts of Colic.
Running on high levels of stress, and less than adequate sleep, I started to turn to food and alcohol to cope. I noticed that my weight started to increase, but at the end of each long day (and thinking of the prospect of another sleepless night), I would again inevitably turn to food and alcohol to ease my stress.
After a few months, my wife’s post partum seemed to resolve itself, but my eating and drinking habits did not. My clothes no longer fit, and I bought new clothes to wear to the gym. The clothes managed to trick a few people into believing that I was bulking up and gaining muscle. Most people were not fooled, however, and made comments about my weight gain. As a personal trainer, it was embarrassing. Yet, as many can relate to, I would often go home and eat and/or drink to deal with these feelings of shame. Totally irrational behaviour right? Well, emotions (especially strong emotions) tend to subdue our ability to make rational decisions.
After spending nearly two years feeling bad about myself and the way I looked, I decided that enough was enough. I decided that I would give myself 6 months to lose 45lbs (my goal). There was a part of me that wanted to ignore my better judgement and lose the weight in 2-3 months. I knew that this was possible, but I also knew that it would likely be hell, and would also make me much more likely to regain the weight back once I had lost it.
So, I decided to follow my own advice and ended up losing 45lbs in 6 months.
Fast forward to today: I have kept that weight off for 2 years now. I feel better about myself, and most importantly find it easier to run and roll around with my 4 and 1 year old daughters.
Everybody’s story is different. If you’re reading this and have your own story about weight gain, I want you to know that I have been in similar shoes. Maybe it wasn’t the same amount of weight, or the same time-frame, but the feelings of shame, embarrassment, and lack of esteem likely share some common threads.
We all go through some rough patches, but we all have the ability to climb our way back out.
If you’re going through a rough patch in terms of eating or drinking, I am ready to help; when you are.