Coach Real Talk with Ashlee
When I was asked to open up and write about my darkest times in life, my struggles, I thought – alright… I can do this. I’ve lived 30 odd years earth side and my relationship with myself has to be my biggest work in progress.
It wasn’t until I sat down to write that I realised I actually had some pretty painful memories that I’d buried away. The depth and details, something even my closest friends and family aren’t privy to.
Flash back to 10 years ago. I was studying. I was single. I was young. Weekends were a combination of drug and alcohol fueled partying, hung-over McDonald’s runs and self-loathing. Weekdays were a blur of recovery/ preparation for the weekend ahead. I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. I’d describe the feeling as one of constant discomfort in my own skin.
Nutrition was not a priority. I ate some of the healthy stuff, but my diet consisted mainly of low-quality, convenient foods. I didn’t eat breakfast most days, and generally reached for a chocolate or three come 3pm. Takeaway was also a familiar beast. I put a lot of this down to age and general naivety around the impact that lifestyle/ food had on my mental and physical well being.
My darkest memories though came when I started to binge and purge. This went on in secrecy for almost two years. On my worst weeks I could do this multiple times on any given day. Food consumed my every thought. My day was planned around when I could be alone and what food I could get my hands on. I would walk to the bakery and buy pies, sausage rolls and cakes. Enough food for days. The momentary high that I experienced soon came crashing down when I brought everything back up and the overwhelming feeling of shame washed over me. I was disgusted with myself. In that moment and long after.
My self-image and self-esteem were non-existent. I had no respect for myself or my body. Unhealthy habits and unhealthy thoughts controlled my days. I got in to a relationship at this point. The binges became less frequent. I was so incredibly ashamed of my secret and scared that my partner would find out and I would be even less lovable.
Eventually that relationship ended. It was hard to understand back then but looking back I can see that it was never going to work as my relationship with myself was so poor. Building on this didn’t come easy. It was a very bumpy road, but small changes and a growing awareness of myself and what makes me feel good was the start of developing a much healthier relationship.
Over the past 5 years my natural curiosity toward health and wellness grew as I started to understand that I was in control of how I felt, what I knew, and who I was. My best friend was on her own health journey at the time and would share podcasts and books that I would soak up. I started educating myself and putting some of what I had read in to practice. I began to see a direct connection between food, exercise, thoughts and how I felt.
Fast forward to now. I am still very much imperfect. What I DO know though - is that I am worthy! Worthy of love- from others and myself! Worthy of feeling incredible every single day and that all starts and ends with ME! Small changes over time helped me to form habits that are now part of my everyday life. Now, my biggest priority is ME. It’s MY health. It’s MY growth.
NOW, I look at the mirror and I LOVE what I see because this body does some pretty amazing things!
I’ve made it my mission to help other women see this too.