Why I Started a PodcastAug 31, 2021
My Story and Why I Created The Breaking Body Biases Podcast
Listen to this solo episode above. I share my journey of struggling with dieting, weight cycling, poor body image and so much more.
In this solo episode I share some of journey. From my days as a young dancer dieting and turning to fitness at 16 years old. To the bumpy road I had in the fitness industry with a negative body image, weight cycling, eating disorders and so much more.
Welcome to episode 2 of the Breaking Body Biases podcast. It's Christine here and this episode is just me, just me telling you a little bit about my story, my journey, and why I started the podcast. To begin with one of the really amazing things that happened from starting this podcast was that I got to hear a lot of amazing stories. Everyone has their own lived experiences, they see things through different lenses. And my hope is that someone's story will resonate with you, or they maybe all the episodes may resonate with you. But again, my hope is that at some point you're able to really be aware of diet culture, how it's influencing you and how it's making you feel. Good, bad, (probably bad) and help to change that. Help to cancel out the noise. And my goal is to give you some positive uplifting things and voices to hear, and to really take in, to examine how you feel about health and fitness.
Now, my journey in health and fitness started and with diet culture, my relationship with my body and diet culture started at around 11 years old. I grew up dancing and in the dance world there, especially back then, there was a lot of comparison and I found myself wanting to be smaller. I was told on various occasions that I did not have a dancer's body. Although I did dream about becoming Janet Jackson's backup dancer. I was told enough that I didn't have the right physique for it, so I didn't pursue it. And that's really sad. And I, I think there's a lot of people out there that don't pursue dreams or pursue relationships or in a lot of ways, just day to day living, they don't live. They don't do things. Because of the way they feel about their body.
I started dieting when I was 11 as a way to change my body because I thought it needed to be smaller. I was told I needed to be smaller and I've tried just about any and every diet out there and they've all failed. Some of them we're successful for a short time, but in the end they all did not work. So why did I keep going back? Why did I keep trying new diet after new diet? You think I learned my lesson? You'd think I would just move on and accept that. Maybe dieting wasn't for me, maybe this is the way my body is supposed to look, but no, I bought into it. I bought into what diet culture was selling. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. It's that big of an industry because of the failures that are out there. And I know I've personally spent my fair share of money, pursuing diet programs, pills, lotions, powders, you name it I have bought it
In the eighties or maybe a little late eighties. Susan powder came out with the oh so popular, low fat diet. That was my first real big trendy diet thinking. I thought this is going to solve all my problems, as she put it, I was going to be able to eat 10 pounds of plain potatoes rather than, you know, a bag of potato chips because fat was the demon in all of this. That was the bad ingredient that I needed to remove from my diet. So we quickly bought up all the non-fat low-fat products out in the market. And of course not successful.
Later I went on to do the opposite and took out all the carbs. And if you know me, I love my carbs. I have often referred to myself as a car before. That's how much I love my carbs, but I decided to try the Atkins diet. And it was really based on something someone said to me was, Oh, you couldn't do that, you eat too many carbs, you could never do that. So game on, that was a challenge telling me I can't do something. So I went ahead and did it, but it left me feeling tired. I couldn't even go up a flight of stairs without feeling exhausted. I had bad breath, which really was not great being single during this time. Maybe that's why I was single and I really didn't enjoy any of the food I was eating. I'm not a big meat eater. I don't find it enjoyable, but that's pretty much all I was eating. I couldn't eat a banana, way too high in sugar. So I found myself miserable. I was tired. Oh, the brain fog. I felt dumb as a rock. But I got thin, I reached my goal. I got smaller, but at what cost, my health was horrible. In fact, during this time I wasn't leading any kind of fitness classes. I wasn't participating in any kind of workout because I didn't have the energy.
My fitness career started at around the age of 16. I actually got a job at a local gym so that way I could work out more dance classes just wasn't enough to keep myself small. So I began a lifelong, hopefully not now, but I had a bad relationship with exercise. It was punishment for what I was eating and a means to get smaller. So as I began my fitness career, it was very, very disordered. My relationship with fitness movement, my relationship with food, and I would gain weight, lose weight with every diet I would, most of the time I would lose some weight, some more successful diets than others. Like I said, the Atkins diet was very successful and becoming thin, but not very healthy at all. So with every diet I would fail and not only put back on the weight, but many times put back more weight and it left me feeling even more depressed and negative about my body image, but I kept going back. I've tried pills that left my heart beating super fast. I've tried different calorie restrictions, removing food groups. You name it and I've tried it. I've tried starvation, binge eating and nothing worked. So that's when I decided to give the diet one last try. I decided I needed a really big goal. Maybe that was it. I needed something big in my life that I'd need to lose the weight for. So that way I could reach my goal and to stay at my goal. So I decided I was going to try out for a professional dance team. Now, mind you, I gave up on my dance dreams right after high school, because I was repeatedly told I didn't have a dancer's body. So I decided once and for all, I was going to get that dancers body. So I put myself on a highly restricted diet, so restrictive that I was only eating, boiled chicken and grilled asparagus, that's it - boiled chicken and grilled asparagus. And I was miserable. Again I was single, there was no way I was able to date during this time and if I would have been in a relationship, I probably would have driven them out the door. I remember being at a family barbecue and seeing food and feeling like I can't be here. I just can't be here. I am not going to be able to have the willpower to not eat food here. And I knew that I could only eat grilled chicken and asparagus.
The funny thing is I had finally achieved the body that I had been working towards. My body was finally thinner, but I wasn't happy. In fact, I was more unhappy, thin than I was heavier and all that work was for nothing, because I did make the team. I was even told that if I lost five or more pounds, I'd probably be good to audition the next year. It was crazy. I couldn't imagine doing any more than I had already been doing to lose the weight that I lost. So I think it was at that point that I just finally accepted that. Finally, Christine, you do not have a dancer's body. You will never be thin, stop trying. It was at that point that I met a guy who would be my boyfriend and who I would move in with and we'd live together. What I didn't realize is that he was fat phobic. So much so that as I gained a few pounds, because remember I was on this highly restrictive diet when I had met him and I was thinner than probably I've ever, ever been in my entire life.
So, all I needed to do was eat a French fry and I was done. My body began to shift and I began to gain a few pounds here and there. And he was not too happy about that. I could feel him pulling away. I thought that maybe that it was because we had been together for a while and you know, it's not so romantic living with someone, but at one point he expressed to me that the reason why we weren't being intimate was because he was so repulsed by my body fat. He said, if you lost weight, we could have sex again. And at that point I should have run. I should have said F-you and just gotten out of that relationship but because my belief system had been so messed up, I thought, Oh, maybe I should lose weight. And as I began to do that, that's when I started to have the realizations that this relationship wasn't right. My relationship with weight loss wasn’t right. And I was lucky enough to come in contact with Melissa Toller, who is a writer and podcaster and just an all around amazing person. And she was doing work in this space that I am currently in years ahead of me, she had been a fitness competitor and was disillusioned with people's connection to their body and their body image and the dieting that was going on and the unhealthy habits and when I would hear her talk about breaking the rules, and disrupting the diet industry, I was really intrigued by it, but I wasn't quite ready yet. You see, all of us are influenced by diet culture, you know, at a young age, if you take dance likely or influenced, maybe by your parents, no fault of their own, they're heavily influenced by diet culture. So we're hearing this messaging at every turn and then we're bombarded by the media and celebrities and the billion dollar industry. That's diet culture telling us to shrink ourselves and be smaller. And that beauty is small thin bodies. We're also influenced by that, that it took me some time to get to where I am right now took years.
So if you're listening to this and you're thinking, gosh, I'm at a certain point in my relationship with my body, that I'd love to not think about weight loss and be okay with it. It might take some time, give yourself some grace. It took me several years, but I'm hoping that this podcast and the people that share their stories will help connect with you and take you on that journey. That same journey that I was on, that I continue to be on as I learn more and build my relationship. If you talk about building your physical body, your muscles, your cardiovascular endurance, you don't just do it once and you're good. It's daily work. It's putting in that time to keep yourself strong. That's why kids go to school daily. To learn to strengthen their brain to increase their mental capacity and they learn every day. And that's what you do on this journey with improving your body image, with improving your relationship with your body and food. And again, that's why I started this podcast.
In the fitness industry I've been told so many times to lose weight. When I filmed my fitness DVD they wanted to put my fitness program in the plus sized category, just for the way I looked. And it's just so strange because the workout is good for everybody. So why are we separating workouts into the categories based on the way someone looks? So in the fitness industry, I found myself not pursuing certain aspirations because of the way my body looked. So again, I began to do more work in this area, building my confidence, building that muscle, building a better relationship with my body, connecting more to other people that are working in this space and wanting to learn about health at every size and intuitive eating just changed my life. And I hope that influences your perspective because if it's a billion dollar industry out there, that's selling you products that make you feel or programs that make you feel bad about the way your body looks, they want you to continue to feel bad so they can continue to sell you more products. Could you imagine if we all woke up tomorrow morning and did not care at all about what the scale said? Or the sizes of our garments? Could you imagine that? That industry would go bankrupt and I'm thinking there'd be a lot more joy and happiness in the world. Wouldn't that be amazing? So that's the goal of this podcast. We hope to bring you messaging and stories that inspire you, that help you shift your mindset away from movement and eating as a way to change your body and instead, encourage behavior changes that make you feel good about your body that bring you health and I'm not talking about thinness health but real health, a stronger heart, stronger muscles, a clear head, more energy, better sleep. All these things have nothing to do with your weight. So if we could focus on changes that increase your health without sacrificing your happiness, that'll be a good day. So I hope you'll join me each week as I interview dieticians and fitness professionals and wellness practitioners, and really lots of just different, amazing people that have stories like mine, different than mine because again, we all have our own lived experiences.
Learn, take it all in, be aware of what you're feeling. Is there something that you're questioning? That's a good thing. Question and be aware and challenge society's norms. I am so honored that you're here listening to this podcast and I'm here for you every step of the way. I can't wait to share more episodes with you. For more information about our programming at the studio. www.PopFitStudio For more information about our instructor training programs you can go to FitProEd.com and then of course, the podcast, whether you want to just listen, you want to be a guest or know of someone that would make a great guest go to breakingbodybiases.com.
And we can't wait to take this journey with you and build our small little army into this huge, massive community to help destroy diet culture. Thanks for listening.
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