As a young girl, I was focused on training my body for an Olympic swimming career. I would practice twice a day, eat foods that would give me energy to train hard, and even listen to hypnotherapy tapes focused on motivation as I slept. This constant act of training my body to achieve, made me a successful athlete but never helped me with learning that my body was gift. I looked at my body like it was a machine. If I didn’t swim fast of enough, it was my body’s fault. The constant fine tuning I was focused on wasn’t an act of self-love. It was more like job. My body and performance was my career. For me this started at the age of 9.
As the years went by, I become disconnected from my heart, or I don’t know if I ever connected at all. Coaching, parental approval, friendship, identity, and even romance became tied to the performance of my body in the pool. My scent even was chlorine. My swimming engulfed my whole sense of self-worth. The pressure of this resulted in a 19-year struggle with an Eating Disorder and terrible body dysmorphia.
At the age of 33 the pain had become so serve that I can honestly say that for 19 years I hated my body. I would look at other women and think, “If only I was that shape, then I would be successful.” It was in that pain that I decided a change had to happen, or I was going to die. But where to begin? All my identity was wrapped up in being an athlete. What was my identity?