“I USED TO HIDE F O O D”
The skinny arm photo on the left makes me feel sick. That’s who I once was. You may think I look normal, and I’m smiling but only I know the truth and this is something I’ve only ever touched on lightly before.
I was a small size 8, aiming for a size 6.
This was during my time at Miss Ireland. 20 years old and I thought I knew what I was doing.
At this stage I was eating very little, I thought I knew what it took to “tone up” but what I didn’t realise was that I was setting myself up for a serious rebound, body AND mind, that would last for a few years until late 2013.
I’d eat egg whites only for breakfast with a litre of water. Then lunch and dinner would be more egg whites or chicken with green vegetables only. God help you if you out carrots on my plate, root vegetables were a no no.
But I didn’t know WHY. There were zero fats and from what I remember zero carbs in my diet.
Who gave me this diet? ME.
I took what I learnt from random sources and put it into practice. This is the reason why I feel so strongly about people with platforms who put unrealistic ideas of what a daily diet should look like out into the world. I feel a responsibility to fight those ideals and teach girls, young and old, who to eat well, for our bodies and our minds.
I loved reading and researching healthy and healing foods at the time but would only read, I wouldn’t eat.
Thinking back, this period of my life was the set up for what was a long battle with food binging and rock bottom confidence.
After Miss Ireland (and placing dead last I’d say ?), I clearly couldn’t keep up with the way I had been eating before and was starting to see my body add up the LBS on the scales and in my clothes.
So I had moved to America and made use of the gym on my doorstep sometimes twice a day, I was trying to make up for the excess food I was now eating.
I never had a gym so close to me before, it was a luxury but a dangerous luxury. I’d no confidence to go near the weights but dreamed of trying them, and weighed myself before and after every cardio session.
My memories of food binging are most common from that time and no one ever knew.
Here’s one week in particular I remember that l’ll use as an example, I don’t know what set off the emotional eating at this point but it was mind consuming and so fucking hard to come to terms with. I felt like a fat bitch with no self control, I was embarrassed and made sure to always hide any form of evidence, wrappers and receipts!
I’d take my pup and go for a walk to dunkin’ donuts after a long day of working 7am-8pm, I’d buy TWO tuna mayo cheesy bagels, 3 cookies, 2 donuts and a tea. I’d eat it all in front of a sad TV show by myself.
The next morning, I’d jump on the stair master during my first gym session of the day for an hour before work. Or until I thought I had “burned off” what I ate the night before.
At work, I’d spend the day snacking on anything available to me, the mindset “today is a new start” would slowly fade.
That very day I’d maul any chocolate I found in the cupboard, before replacing it the same day from the supermarket so my boss wouldn’t notice. (I was a nanny!)
That same night, after dinner and my second gym session, I went to the local park with my pup but couldn’t resist picking up 2 tubs of Ben & Jerrys on the way home.
After then getting dressed for my second job in the bar starting at 10pm that night, I made my way through a tub and a half of the icecream in 10 minutes while waiting for my bloody taxi.
10 minutes. No hunger, just binging.
I’d stand at work in my little hotpants and heels but feel like an absolute disgusting mess. I looked good on the outside to any other but was so ashamed inside. But of course, smiling to my customers in the maddest effort to make better tips.
The cycle would continue the next day.
I never went out or met up with work friends that would beg me to “come play” on “Sunday Funday”.
I felt embarrassed and out of place, a far cry from the happy go lucky girl they thought they knew from the bar where we worked together.
Not so long after that I went on a “protein shake only” diet. Drinking only 5 shakes a day, no food of any form.
I took a trip home to Ireland for 5 days at Easter and tried to keep that up but my binging started again, I’d eat Easter eggs and mounds of food, as long as no one in America found out, I’d be ok.
Or so I thought.
At such a young age at the time it’s heartbreaking thinking back but I wouldn’t actually change anything for the world.
All that madness has taught me SO much about myself and has now given me the tools needed to help so many other girls. It has shaped me.
Me moving home not long after that, saved my life. I truly believe that.
I’m just glad it didn’t get any further, bulimia probably would have been next on the list. And trust me I did consider it from time to time, the fact that I’m shit scared of throwing up probably put me off.
Self confidence, food and body image are all a massive part of our lives and not to be taken lightly.
I know that when we feel at rock bottom confidence wise, life literally passes so fast. And so we say no to opportunities, we say no to happiness.
To think now I eat well over 2000 calories a day, I look after my health with wholesome foods and exercise because I ENJOY it is crazy! A day I never thought I’d see and that’s something I try to pass on to my bootcamp girls and my online girls.
I don’t want any girl aged 20 to say no to anything for the above reasons.
If you’re struggling with the above, please realise it’s something that CAN be helped, you just need the right person to understand and to help you move forward.
Life is for living. You can look good but it means zilch if you don’t feel good or are hiding food in the background.
Both photos have a similar pose, but both tell 2 completely different stories.
Photo 1 shows a girl shit scared of eating or eating with others, photo 2 shows a girl who’s about to go out and ENJOY a 10 course meal with her amazing other half ?
And now, I could still eat all the above foods I mentioned BUT this time, I’d be fighting Ruairí off tryna take more than his share ?
Look after yourself and make any changes that needs making, your “happy life” depends on it ❤️