MY ENTIRE FITNESS JOURNEY: - Dee Gautham

Eating disorders, bodybuilding, how I landed in the fitness industry, and breaking FREE from food and body obsession

 

My body journey “officially” started when I was 14, when my family moved to rural New Hampshire.

Middle school sucks for everyone.

But was especially hard for me, because I looked different from everyone around me.

I was surrounded by slender, slim blonde girls in 00 Abercrombie jeans… And I stuck out like a sore thumb. 

Not to mention, I hit puberty early, and got boobs and curves FAST. 

I started to become hyper-aware of my body and food habits…

And I developed my first eating disorder. I restricted my food, over-exercised to the point that I lost my period.

It was at that point that my mom took me to see a nutritionist, that I learned how to truly achieve balance in my nutrition. 

My body image improved through high school, particularly as I fell into sports (swim team, crew, and cross country running!) and I focused on what my body could DO for me instead of what it looked like.

But my relationship with food was always a little rocky. I loved food. And I particularly love to bake – but I would never eat what I baked, and still lived in fear of food and weight gain.  

And – My body struggles issues re-surfaced during college.

College is an awkward time, isn’t it? Everyone’s judging each other, everyone’s comparing themselves to each other, and there’s a ton of academic pressures. 

I went to Dartmouth. I started off pre-med, and then switched to a math and computer science major (which is a whole other story). I love my school. (Go big green!) But needless just say… The academic and social pressure was intense.

Not to mention… I was on the cheerleading squad for a bit of time 🙂

The pressure got to me.

I started to developed disordered eating habits again during this time as a way to cope with my stress. This time it was bulimic tendencies. I would binge and purge, or binge and over-exercise as a form of purging or ‘punishment.’ I didn’t ‘purge’  very often, but it happened particularly when I was stressed out, and was not healthy.  

I continued to struggle with my body image post-college, as I entered the career world (I started my career in Silicon Valley as a Product Manager).

I was still very conscious of my body, and obsessive about food and exercise.

I had no clue what I was doing, though. I tried every diet under the sun, I counted my calories and slashed them extremely low.

I spend hours in the gym trying to change my body… But despite all this, nothing changed, and I remained anxious and panicked about my body constantly.

It was around this time that I fell into the world of bikini bodybuilding.

I had been googling “weight workouts for women,” and came across a bikini bodybuilding website. I was hooked. I was obsessed with the idea of shaping my body to the ‘ideal aesthetic’ and I would do anything to finally reach the ‘perfect’ shape.

I’m not going to lie. Bodybuilding was amazing. I learned SO MUCH about nutrition, and how to train with weights during this time.

Most importantly, I learned how to EAT instead of starve. I learned I could eat 2,000+ calories and still reach my aesthetic goals…. instead of depriving myself. 

Plus, learning to train with weights was SO empowering. It was incredible to see my body FINALLY changing, after years of struggling and feeling lost and confused with it.

It was around this time that I started my Instagram page, got certified as a personal trainer, and started doing online coaching for women.

Bodybuilding was an amazing part of my life. BUT … it started to have its downsides.

I have an obsessive personality. I started to become obsessed with my aesthetics, obsessed with macros, and I became a slave to achieving the ‘perfect’ physique.

After years of looking different than everyone around me… I finally had the “perfect body.” I finally felt like I was “good enough,” worthy, accepted, and admired… and I wanted to keep it that way. 

(Aka – all myself worth was in my body). 

I would spend 2+ hours in the gym after work every day. I would track every single morsel I ate. I was unable to be fully present in the moment of my life, or enjoy social events because I was ALWAYS thinking about food, workouts, or my body. When I went out to eat I was constantly worrying about if food would fit into my macros. When I traveled I was constantly worried about whether I’d be able to get my workouts in.

I avoided visiting my family because there was no gym at their house. I didn’t go on dates with my boyfriend because I was worried about the macros. I socially isolated myself for the sake of “fitness.”

This pic was one day before my first show:

This? This is not true freedom to me.

On top of that, my body image was still seriously distorted. I was constantly “body checking” myself in the mirror, squeezing, poking, proding, and  obsessing over every line and ounce of fat on my body. 

I was developing orthorexia : An unhealthy obsession with eating “perfectly” and eating “right.”

About a year ago, (early 2018) I realized that focusing so much on aesthetics was mentally unhealthy for me.

I stopped working with my bodybuilding coaches and started just doing things more intuitively, exploring the world of intuitive eating and trying to reach true food freedom and peace from my body.

About 6 months ago, I left the fitness industry for some time and started to do business coaching for other entrepreneurs.

In that time off, I started to realize that my quest and obsession for a perfect physique was just a way to ‘hide’ the real me, shield me from criticism, protect me from judgement or being hurt… 

And that? That’s not true confidence, to me. 

I truly believe that the most revolutionary leaders in the world are the ones who can tune out the noise, go within, listen to their Self, and be true to themselves.

Looking like this X is truly not my natural body shape. My natural body shape has curves. Hips. Boobs. These are qualities which make me unique, which I suppressed heavily when I was body building, just because I thought I needed to look a certain way in order to be accepted.

And I truly believe that you cannot thrive most in the world if you are living on someone else’s definition of success.

What I believe now is:

True confidence in your body does not come not from making your body conform to a norm, but from being OK with your natural body shape which may be out of the norm – and making that FEEL the best it can.

It comes from prioritizing workouts that make you FEEL best: Strong, fit,  powerful.

It comes from eating foods that energize you, that make you feel good, and that help your body feel the best it can feel, without deprivation or restriction.

It comes from truly understanding how to LISTEN to your body in all areas, and give it what it’s screaming for emotionally and spiritually – compassion. self care. acceptance. nourishment. love.

When you focus on the things that make you FEEL best…

And let your body do it’s thing….

You will find it looks and feels amazing. 

Is it OK to have aesthetic goals? Yes! Sometimes. There IS value in setting a goal and working your ass off to achieve it. But not because you hate your looks and need the body to change them. Because the body isn’t going to change your insecurities, it’s just going to cover them up. Work on accepting yourself and prioritizing how you want to FEEL above all else.

Today, I’m finally in a spot where I feel like I have true peace, and freedom, from food and my body: 

I eat what I want, and stop when I’m full.
I honor my hunger, feel my fullness, and respect my body. 
I do not track, count, or obsess about food.

I no longer feel guilt, shame, or anxiety around food. 
I do not obsess about workouts or try to push myself out of feelings of inadequacy.
I focus on what makes me FEEL good instead of obsessing over looks. 
I do not sacrifice my LIFE for the sake of “fitness.”
I am able to look in the mirror and love what I see, at all sizes.
I am able to remove the meanings associated with body fat.  

This is the state I aim for all my clients to achieve when we are done working together.

Getting to this spot took time. It took work. It was not easy.

I went to therapy. I worked with coaches. I invested a LOT in my own self-growth and development to break free from obsessive dieting and food thoughts. 

But it was SO damn worth it. 

If you’re struggling with your body image, I know how much it can suck. Trust me when I say I know what you are going through. I love you and I know that if you put in the effort, you WILL heal from this and live in a body you love <3. 

 

I BELIEVE:

  • Food is meant to be enjoyed, not restricted or associated with guilt, shame, or fear.
  • Exercise is supposed to be enjoyable and fun, not feel like punishment.  
  • Your body is your home, and you feel the best in life when you are truly confident in your body.
  • All human bodies and minds are HIGHLY different and unique.We should become the best versions of ourselves instead of all trying to look the same.  

Can you relate to this? Tell me below 

I SPECIALIZE IN 

Helping women:

  • Shed fat, gain strength, and tone in a healthy and balanced manner.  
  • Heal disordered eating habits (restriction, binging, over-exercise)
  • End emotional eating and binge eating.
  • Reach peace and freedom between food, body, and mind

Please note: I am a coach, not a medical professional. If you are struggling with a diagnosed eating disorder, I strongly suggest working with a clinical psychologist to help recover.  

Join my FREE Facebook Group here to connect with other incredible women and get LIVE health, food, and confidence tips from me:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1005925919580029/

If you’re interested in working with me 1:1, apply here: https://deegautham.typeform.com/to/kGklLt

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