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Figure And Bikini Website

At last...

At last...

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Unfortunately, having a negative body image is all too common today, and after struggling with an eating disorder for eight years, it is all too familiar to me too. With that said, I am proud to say I am in “recovery” now thanks to the introduction and addition of one simple thing to my life: Fitness.

Body Image... two words that mean something to practically every single person to set foot on this planet. Often times, when people hear the words body image, the envision someone who is terribly skinny and perhaps struggling with anorexia or bulimia. However, the truth is that having a negative body image occurs in all walks of life at all ages and in both males and females.

To me, it is obvious that negative body image is a serious topic that haunts many people... including myself. As a gymnast in my early years of life and a technically trained dancer from the age of 12 to 19, I was constantly under pressure to fit into a "cookie cutter" image that simply wasn't possible for me to achieve in a healthy way. I suffered from anorexia and bulimia and struggled with multiple injuries due to malnutrition. Despite 9 surgeries, casting of my ankle for almost 20 months total, and many months of rehab, I realized my body was giving up. As difficult as it was, I knew dance was no longer a possibility for me, and it seemed as if my life had ended. I was lost and depressed. Until I found the world of fitness that is.

While my first time stepping foot in a gym had felt like it was quite possibly the biggest step I've ever had to take in my life, it wasn't long before I found myself in awe at the muscular, lean woman (and men) I saw around me. At first, I only didcardio and took a few aerobic classes; however, I couldn't keep myself from chatting with the girls around the gym. Soon enough, I was engulfed into this brand new and completely exciting way of life. Not only was I eating... I was eating six meals a day! I started gaining weight and finally reached a healthy and happy place in my life. In what seemed like an instant, I left the world of dancers starving themselves to try to stay thin enough (even though there was no such thing) and stepped into a world of healthy, lean, and hardworking individuals who were constantly striving to transform their body into something better than it currently was.

A few months after joining the gym, I ventured into the free weight area where I was encourged by a few members to consider competing. I've been competing my entire life, so as you can imagine, I was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity. I started lifting weights in addition to my cardio program I had been doing, I choreographed a fitness routine, and I started dieting. Eight weeks later, I stepped on stage in the best shape of my life. I was proud of myself not only for stepping on stage as I had done so many times as a dancer, but for overcoming something that had consumed my life for so many years.

Fitness saved my life... no doubt about it. Now, I look towards the future with hopes and dreams of not only achieving my goals as a fitness competitor but also working with individuals (specifically athletes) that struggle with eating disorders and negative body image to discover the gym and what it means to be truly healthy and happy. I pass my message along to all who will listen. If I can overcome an eating disorder after years of battle, anyone can do it!

Author: Sarah Sussman
thesussfamily@aol.com
http://www.sarahsussman.com

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