Michelle Bridges 12WBT (12 week body transformation) changed my life because it taught me valuable lessons about nutrition and fitness. For the first time in my life I have a healthy view of food, exercise and my own body.
My first diet started at the age of 9. I remember feeling guilty after a big meal and deciding that I need to lose weight. I was chubby but not overweight – did I mention I was 9?
By the age of 14 I had full blown anorexia. A few months before my 15th birthday I weighed under 40 kg (I’m 171 cm tall) and I was not well. I was determined to be skinny because I thought skinny people get love but the skinnier I got the less loved I felt. My family didn’t intervene because they didn’t know how to; they initially applauded me my for my weight loss but as I got skinnier I learned how to hide my size from them. Friends at school kept saying (with horror in their eyes) that I was so thin – all that said to me is ‘you have their attention, they see you, keep going’.
I was obsessed with calories. I would constantly tell people how many calories they were about to consume and was horrified when they would eat. I survived on 4 apples and 2 bananas a day for over 6 months. If I ate more (like an extra apple) I would punish myself by not eating the next day. I was obsessed with exercise and going to the gym. I would do 2-3 classes in a row with no food in my system. Rejecting food felt like a WIN because I was in control.
The truth is, I was out of control. One day at the gym I collapsed and I thought I was going to die. I decided that by surviving I owed it to myself to life a happy life – and anorexia robbed me of happiness. I didn’t get a period for 11 months since I was so underweight, my skin was shocking, I had no friends.
I see now that I never really recovered from anorexia. I gained weight and looked for balance in my life but my obsession with food and the need for control prevailed.
At 23 I was shaken to the core by a guy, and I controlled this with food. I thought that if I was skinnier and more beautiful that he would love me. I developed bulimia and it was very bad for 2 and a half years (I would purge up to 8 times a day and my body was so abused I was often vomiting blood). I avoided people – family, friends, neighbours – so that no one would know my food secret. I drove to different supermarkets every day to buy my binge food, I didn’t want to get recognised. At times I felt like a drug addict going out to buy drugs, only mine was in the form of chips, sweets and ice-cream….
Me at 24 – the fake smile is covering up my bulimia
A few years later I met a lovely man (who is now my husband) and I realised that if I don’t want him to know about my food issues I have to stop purging. Basically I didn’t want to hang out with him and smell like vomit. I attended Overeaters Anonymous trying to stop binging and purging and after much effort I stopped abusing my body. Well,almost.
Bulimia stayed in my life until I turned 32, although I am happy to say that in the last year I was almost purge free. Bulimia ruined my teeth and after years of dentist visits I had my teeth fixed which meant that I could (finally) get braces. Ten months ago the braces came off and now I have beautiful teeth and I am determined to look after them. Stomach acid and permanent retainers do not mix ladies.
I am 32 years old now, happily married and 12 weeks ago I weighed 70 kg. For years I have been looking for help with my weight; I was looking for something methodical, intelligent and not likely to let me relapse. I came across the Michelle Bridges 12WBT (12 Week Body Transformation) program and decided I should take part. Friends of mine had done this program and they loved Michelle’s coaching and her level-headed approach to food. I absolutely needed that.
I have been on the program for 12 weeks and I am in the best shape of my life – physically and mentally. I followed the Michelle Bridges 12WBT food and exercise plans, watched Michelle’s weekly videos and I can proudly say that I am learning to look after my body. Through Michelle’s coaching and the support of my Inner West 12WBT team (go Inner West!) I am also looking after my mind and my spirit. I excercise regularly, I enjoy beautiful, healthy food without any guilt and I have friends who are motivated to be healthy and happy. I am free of bulimia and the distorted view of my body.
Michelle Bridges 12WBT is the best thing that I have done for myself in my entire life. I am super proud of myself for choosing to release old demons and I feel lucky to have found someone who could help me get my life back. I wish I could thank Michelle for what she has done for me. I no longer see food as good or bad – I see it as nutritious or not nutritious. If it is nutritious it is a fuel for my body, if it isn’t nutritious then that food is not really worth eating.
Has this transformation been easy? No it hasn’t. But it is definitely worth it.
Why am I sharing this very personal story with you?
As a fashion blogger I feel responsible for the images I post and the illusions they create (you might have noticed I haven’t posted much lately because I have been struggling with the fact that I was promoting thinness). Fashion is a best friend but she’s also a bitch and she expects so much. She told me that skinny is beautiful, rich and happy. I have so far felt inadequate in the eyes of fashion – never thin or pretty enough – and this has caused me immense pain. I don’t want anyone else to feel like this and to waste years on self abuse.
All my love,
If you need help with food related issues please contact the Centre for Eating and Dieting Disorders Australia.