My Journey to Self-Love & Empowerment (Part 2)
By Rhian Roussos
Before we get started on Part 2, we just want to take a minute to thank everyone for all the love and support they have shown after part one ... the impact this story has had is truly incredible.
I got home, put my bags down, walked straight to my bathroom and stood on the scale.
I just starred at it …
I got off in panic removed all my clothes and got back on, I stood still glaring down at a number I’d never seen on the scales before. Thinking this was the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
About 7 weeks prior to this moment I weighed 49.5kgs, standing on that scale I weighed 61kgs. In less than 50 days I had put on nearly 12kgs.
Because of the extreme measures I took to achieve my goal and my body’s inability to reverse itself out of that depleted state, I went from being 9% body fat to 24% body fat and looking like I had never trained a day in my life.
So here I was … standing in my bathroom looking at this scale… staring at myself in the mirror feeling completely crushed. Id just spent three weeks exploring America with my best friends having the time of my life to come home and feel guilty about enjoying myself so much. I kept saying to myself “Damn… I shouldn’t have eaten that!” or “maybe if I had just done more cardio.” Thinking back upon this now I wish I could go back in time and shake myself and yell “NOOO! More cardio and less food/fun is not the answer!”
I had no balance. I went from one extreme to the next with no consideration of the consequences. Some people handle the process a lot better then I ever could. Some people have no issue coming out of comp. I did. I didn’t have too much time to dwell on it though… as, I had to pack my life up in Brisbane and move to Sydney within one week of arriving home. So I pushed my feelings down along with everything else I was avoiding dealing with.
When I arrived in Sydney… I was anxious. I went straight into working 60+ hours a week, trying to train at 9:30pm every night, eating a strict diet hoping some how the damage I had done to my body would reverse its self. I did everything I could to avoid getting on the scale. I wouldn’t take full length pictures where you could see my whole body. I kept thinking “you’ll come good if you just keep pushing harder”… I didn’t. Then a good friend of mine introduced me to Crossfit.
Having done a lot of prior training, Crossfit came really easy to me. The cardio aspect took a little getting used to but the strength was my jam. I loved it. I loved weightlifting. I loved the fact that for once I had a way to focus on my performance and not my body image. My competitive side flourished… but my body was still falling apart.
I was still working 60+ hours a week and not dealing with the fact that I couldn’t eat a meal where I hadn’t measured the weight of the chicken I was about to consume. My body didn’t stand a chance. Eventually I got shingles and was forced to take two weeks off of work. This was the start of rock bottom. Everything I had been pushing down and ignoring just came bursting to the surface in the form of sickness. I had treated my body so poorly that I had now made myself sick.
For two weeks I could barely move from my bed. The amount of time I spent alone with my thoughts gave me an opportunity to think over a lot of stuff. It became very apparent to me during this point in my life that I was never going to have successful and meaningful relationships until I had worked through my personal issues. So I made a conscious decision to put my health and my body first… every step I took from that point was in the aim of bettering myself ... processing the old and the bad and moving forward. It was a long journey coming back from that place… sometimes I battled with it more than others but for the most part what kept me moving in the right direction was my desire to become competitive at Crossfit.
If there is one thing that I have learnt from all this is that no matter how bad I was feeling … I knew I was going to be ok, because I believed it. I learnt that the only person that has any control over how you truly feel is yourself. I spent time mastering that and learning how to process feelings that were real and valid and recognise what was just in my head. I stopped weighing myself every week, I stopped weighing my food to the gram, I stopped comparing myself to people I didn’t know. I did everything in my power to make sure I was becoming a stronger person. It turns out my problem wasn’t food or my weight… my problem was my own mind. I had sabotaged myself every chance I got.
If I could go back 5 years and have a conversation with myself … I would tell say “there is no body in this world like you, what you have to offer runs far deeper then a set of abs and striations in your legs or shoulders. Focus on what you can offer the world and what you are capable of doing and creating. Being 9% body fat and hungry all the time contributes nothing…. you aren’t going to change someone’s life (or your own) by making yourself smaller.”
If there is one thing that you wonderful people get from reading this blog, I hope it’s that you have the power to take control of your health and of your life. If you know you can do better… then make better choices, educate yourself or work with someone who is educated to make the changes you need to have a fulfilling, healthy, BALANCED life. Your worth is not validated by a set of abs or a thigh gap. It doesn’t matter what every body else is doing and achieving – your life is about breaking down your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live your best, most fulfilling life. You are not in competition with anyone else. The plan is to outdo your past not other people. Take your time and focus on becoming the person you want to be (on the inside not the outside) and everything else will fall into place.
When I was able to separate myself from that old way of thinking everything changed for me. I’m not perfect and I definitely still have my bad days but that’s ok because now I can reality check really quickly and remind myself what this whole journey is really all about. My self worth isn’t determined by how I look, its determined by who I am as a person. So as long as I’m healthy, happy doing my job, training hard and enjoying the little things in life with the people I love there isn’t really much more I could ask for.