6 min read
Written by a girl who has beaten it… Twice
6 min read
Written by a girl who has beaten it… Twice
Location: Sherwood Park, AB
Photo By: i yunmai
You’ve decided to sign up for a tournament. You’re excited to test your skills once again on the competition stage, but as soon as you sign up for your weight class, your heart drops. You didn’t have to choose the weight class that you did. You could’ve moved up, but for some reason, you just couldn’t. Your mornings now involve waking up, stripping your clothes, and hoping to God that the number on the scale hasn’t gone up. This morning you got lucky because it went down .2lbs. It would seem like no big deal to anyone else, but to you, it’s so much more than that. It’s lower, but it’s not low enough. Here’s another day of counting calories, pushing to sweat more, weighing yourself after what seems like every sip of water, and if you feel bloated in the slightest, you’re skipping the next meal. Sometimes it feels as though you’ve gone backwards from how far you’ve come. Or maybe, you’re just starting to realize that your actions are slowly becoming habits and that, in itself, is an issue. You know that you should take a step back from dieting but as terrible as everything seems, you’re addicted to the feeling of hunger, the freezing cold scale touching your bare toes in the morning, and knowing that you’re getting smaller with every pound gone.
For people who have recovered from eating disorders, or for those who seem to be sliding into one, cutting weight is a slippery slope. The intrusive thoughts feel like a cloud hovering over you that never goes away, and there always seems to be a voice sitting in the back of your head that says, “You don’t need to eat that.” Some of us wear t-shirts over our rash guards to hide our size – even if we’ve made weight because sometimes, we see what we’ve done to ourselves, and we’re ashamed. It’s weighing in after every meal, every morning, and every night no matter how far away the tournament may be. It’s pushing harder than everyone else in the room, and it’s a constant internal battle—day in – day out. Training begins to suffer, energy and drive begin to fade, and we feel as though we are slowly fading into the darkness that we have created for ourselves. Eating disorders are unforgiving and can quickly kill whatever it is that you love even faster than you could imagine.
As someone who has experienced this not once but twice, I’m not going to sit here and tell you the same lines we’ve all heard before. The “it gets better” or the “just start eating” or the all-time favorite “the number on the scale is just a number.” Anyone who says those things to you probably doesn’t fully understand where you are mentally, and that’s okay. Now, with this being said, I’m going to be honest and tell you that things will not get better if you don’t put the effort in—yup, you, and you only. There are supports available, but no one can help you unless you genuinely want to help yourself.
Taking a step back from anything that pushes you to focus more on the scale (competing included) is going to help you more than you think. I understand it’s hard, but giving yourself any excuse to keep off the scale will be beneficial. On the other side of things, stepping back from competition will allow you to enjoy Jiu-Jitsu in a different way. Use this time to expand your game. Try new techniques, even if you think they’d never work or that they’re too hard for you to do. Drill them anyway. Occupy your mind with something else you enjoy. Jiu-Jitsu can be your outlet if you want it to be. If you’re unsure where to start with clearing the cloud away, read the ideas listed below. These come from people who have walked in our shoes before, and these suggestions might be able to help you too.
One; Delete the fitness tracking apps. They take so much time out of your day, and by now, I’m sure you know how many calories are in what you’re eating without having to look. You don’t realize how time-consuming they can be until you decide to put the phone down and focus on the little moments in life you could be missing out on.
Two; Stop your post-meal weigh-ins. It’s normal for your body weight to fluctuate throughout the day, and the number given to you after a meal is going to be completely off. Would you weigh yourself on a scale that isn’t properly calibrated? Of course not. If you’re having issues with this, try getting out of the house for a walk or being away from home when eating. You can begin to build off this by then skipping your nighttime weigh-in if you have one and then eventually just throwing the scale away completely.
Three; Unfollow all of the fitspos on social media. People only post what they want their followers to see. I’m sure the accounts you’re following don’t post about the burger they ate or the pop they drank. Comparing something real to something fake doesn’t make much sense. Unfollow them. You’ll thank me later.
Four; DO JIUJITSU! Your gym has an unlimited amount of support available. They don’t even have to know what it is you’re going through. Just having that sense of community around you is going to help you recover faster. The sport can and should be used as an outlet. It is your safe place where you’re free to be whoever you want to be and a space that works both your body and mind. Go early, and stay late. Learn every possible technique until your brain can’t hold any more information, then go study and drill them. Jiu-Jitsu will give you endless possibilities and can be a wonderful escape if you want it to be.
The steps listed above aren’t the be-all-end-all and may not work for you. These are nothing other than starting points that could help you get off on the right foot. Always keep in mind that every step you take toward recovery is a great one, no matter how big or small. It all begins with you recognizing the issue and dealing with it head-on. Don’t hide from this. Talk to a friend, write in your journal, or communicate in whatever way makes you feel strongest. In the end, you are in complete control. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and remember that recovery has no time frame. I can promise that the difficult road ahead will be worth it in the end and that you’re going to come back stronger and better than ever.
You can do this.