I’ve been on social media as Mani Fitness for a while now, and I realized that I haven’t really talked about my fitness journey, although my whole purpose is sharing my journey and helping you during yours. I mentioned some things here and there, but I never really told the “story”. I’m hoping that sharing my journey will help you in some way, or at the very least help you realize that you are not alone. Eventually, I am planning on starting a podcast and making an episode sharing my journey in more detail, but I will tell you the main parts of the story in this blog post.
It all started when I was about 13. I was on vacation with my parents and my brother. We went to Québec to see my grandparents. There was a family supper, and most of my immediate family was present. During that evening, a family member looked at my mom and mentioned that I had gained some weight as I was standing right next to them. At first it didn’t really affect me. Well, actually, I think I kind of just brushed it off. However, as the hours and the days went by, the obsession grew bigger and bigger. I kept looking at myself in the mirror lifting my shirt, checking at every angle to see if I still looked “big”.
My parents went back home, and my brother and I stayed the whole summer with our grandparents. My ultimate goal during that time was to lose weight. I would ask my grandfather to go on walks with me all the time and instead of just walking next to him, I would run for 2 minutes, then run back to where he was walking and then doing that over and over again. I would also go to the park near their house with my brother. I would use the swing set, not because I wanted to have fun, but because I knew it would help me burn some calories.
I used to drink milk more than water or any other liquid. That same summer, another family member told me milk had a lot of calories. That was the last time I drank milk that summer.
At school, I learned about the Canadian food guide and received a little tracker that helped me track the portions of each food group. I would use it to track my portions and I would obsess over it. I wanted to consume the exact same number of what was recommended. Not less, not more. They recommend 6 grain portions for age 14-18 and I would make sure I had 6.
A year later, I started counting calories using the app Lose it!. I would obsess over the numbers. If I ate past my calories, I would feel incredibly guilty. I would restrict myself. Not restrict myself as in not eating enough. I would eat enough calories, but I wouldn’t allow myself ANY bad foods. Then, a couple times a week I would binge because of it which made me feel extremely guilty.
I started doing home workout using Fitness Blender YouTube videos. I absolutely loved their workouts and I would create HIIT, legs, core and arms workout splits. I LOVED HIIT workouts and leg workouts. I can honestly say that I ended up being the fittest I’ve ever been during that time. My relationship with exercise was a little better. I would make sure to work out almost every day and use rest days once or twice a week. I think Fitness Blender helped me think differently, without me realizing it, because of the content they posted. I would go on really long walks. From after supper, until sunset, which is a big time frame during the summer. It wasn’t really unhealthy because I really enjoyed those walks. I would use them to think about my crush at work and all the possible scenarios that could happen in between us. (He’s been my boyfriend for 3 years now. If you’re reading this, I love you James. ♥) I also really enjoyed running and biking. I would do those pretty often. But again, it wouldn’t be unhealthy because I genuinely loved it, and I wouldn’t do it for hours on end or add another workout that day. If I biked or ran, that was my only workout with the only exception of an added ab workout from time to time. In spite of that, I would still count my calories and enter my exercise on the app to make sure I knew how many calories I burned.
That lasted for a while until one day, I went to Burger King with James and I ordered a regular meal. If I remember correctly, I ordered an Original chicken sandwich, a poutine and a chocolate milk (my usual LOL). Halfway through my meal I was in so much pain, I was bent over in my seat. I was so used to eating incredibly healthy, my body could not tolerate my meal. That’s when James told me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy and eating fast food should not make me feel so much pain that I feel like ripping my stomach out to get rid of it.
It kind of hit me then. I didn’t realize what I was doing. I was in my own world. It’s like I couldn’t see that I was obsessive. Slowly after that, I stopped tracking my calories, little by little.
After that, I was spending less time working out and more time eating out. It was the beginning of James and I’s relationship which meant that I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him, which meant less workouts and more eating out on our dates. However, I still incorporated some healthy meals and I exercised a little bit. I would always go back to eating healthy because I felt guilty for all the bad food I ate. That lasted for the whole year. The year after that, I started University and I still exercised a little bit and ate fairly healthy, but juggling school, work, a relationship, a place to live and visiting my parents was pretty difficult and I had a hard time finding time to go to the gym and cook. I still did those things, but not as much as I’d liked. I would have weeks where I’d cook all my meals, and weeks where I ate out too much.
Honestly, it’s still kind of like this. It’s like my relationship with food is still not 100% and I still eat as much food as I can when I eat unhealthy because my brain still thinks I won’t be allowed to eat that ever again which means I just eat as much as I can right away. I am working on that, but it’s very hard to overcome.
Recently, I also lost motivation and I stopped going to the gym. I was just in a slump because I wasn’t happy mentally. I wasn’t going forward with the business I’m trying to build, I didn’t really like my job anymore, I kept making excuses and eating like crap to fill that void.
Now, I am back on track. I got a new job. It’s still not what I want to be doing, but until I can get enough of an income with my business, I will keep that job. I snapped out of it and stopped making excuses about my career and made a game plan to achieve certain goals. That helped me feel empowered which made me want to go back to the gym. I still have to work on the “eating as much as I can while I can” with bad foods, but I know things will get better.
I wanted to share this part of my journey, because I think, especially in today’s society, that it’s easy to feel lonely because you see everyone’s good moments, and not so much the bad. I do that as well. I share all my workouts, and the “healthy” food I eat. I do share some of the bad food, but you don’t see all of the battles I have with food weekly. I share when I don’t workout, sometimes. I usually don’t post it because I’m embarrassed about still having trouble with my relationship with both exercise and food. However, I think it’s important to share this (big) part of my journey. The battle is not over!
I know I’m not a big fitness guru or a big influencer, but I hope reading about my journey helps you realize that even the people who are in the fitness industry struggle. Most people on social media want to show the perfect things about their journey and won’t share the struggles. I want to be completely transparent with you. I want to share as much as possible, because nothing is worse than feeling like you’re the only one experiencing something. In the last few years my relationship with both exercise and food have dramatically improved, and I worked really hard to get to where I am now.
You can get through this!
I hope you liked this blog post. If you did please share it to help other’s realize that they are not alone in this ♥