How exercise helped me combat the early signs of serious eating disorders

Okay, lets strip away the glam, the pics you have seen of me under impeccable lighting taken by A-list photographers and all the rest of the “show” so to speak. What you are left with is an everyday woman who has battled her demons, just like we all have. These fitness titles and images don't make me “special,” but I want to use every opportunity I have to encourage women in the areas that I have experience in, in hopes of imparting wisdom and hope to those who are also sharing similar struggles. 

So here is a rather large reveal, and I am hoping this reaches someone who really needs to hear this.

As an adolescent, I battled with eating disorders after my first job working at McDonalds.

After gaining a few extra lbs., I became obsessed with losing weight and as a result, started to dabble with patterns of different eating disorders. I messed with bulimia/purging for awhile but couldn't stand the unpleasant experience, and after reading horror stories about side effects such as tooth erosion and so much more, I abandoned the practice and then proceed to “will” myself into inducing anorexia. I abstained from eating for about a full week but loved food far too much to stick with it. Educating myself about the negative side effects of eating disorders proved as a strong deterrent, as I valued my health and well being immensely.

My Saving Grace

A recent image of "everyday me," enjoying the gift of movement!

I then turned to exercise and I was hooked! Throughout the years following, I stumbled upon and honed a method of eating that worked perfectly to combat the struggles I had also experienced as a compulsive over-eater for quite a long period of time.

Another massive saving grace for me was the sport of bodybuilding. Back in the 80's, female bodybuilding was in its infancy and the women were more reminiscent of the figure competitors of today. I picked up my first weight at age 15 and haven't looked back. I fell in love with Gladys Portuguese's (aka Mrs. Jean Claude Van Damme) physique and set about striving to sculpt my physique after hers. My saving grace with weight training was that it set me free from eating disorders and the feeling of bondage I felt to the scale. Weight training provided me with the control to shape and sculpt my physique, much like a sculptor, and it shifted the focus off the scale and onto body composition. Using the mirror and how clothing fits on a day to day basis, helps to monitor with weight and consistency; liberating and a Godsend!

What Worked For Me

If you are struggling with body image and are either considering any of the harmful paths I mentioned here, or even if you are already in a struggle and the root reason is because you want to be skinny,  I implore you to consider my suggestions below.

Suggestion 1

Begin to replace the word “skinny” with the words “lean and fit.” This may begin to help you "flip the switch," so to speak, in how you are perceiving your body image goals. Thinking this way can also help you redefine the purpose of what you are doing.

Suggestion 2

Turn to fitness as your solution. 

Your desired end will still be met “skinny” or “skinnier,” but you will also progressively become healthier as you change your process. I feel so strongly about this that I want to encourage you to challenge yourself to try this for the next 60 days - TRAIN! You can follow along with me on my video workouts for free on this link HERE and also HERE.

You many not be able to change every situation, but perhaps changing how you think about it can be a first step in the process of healing.

Thank you for reading, 


The perfected method of eating for me that I mentioned, is something you will hear more about in the days and weeks ahead.

Susan ArrudaComment