on eating disorders

on eating disorders

bethanycmeyers-eating-disorders

Since the be.come project launched on Monday, my inbox has been spilling over with stories from people about their life challenges, body struggles, injuries, eating disorders, shitty relationships and how they are overcoming these through movement. It’s been a powerful week, and also one that made me realize it’s been a while since I talked about my history of eating struggles.

I battled anorexia and bulimia for many years, starting in college and lasting well into my mid 20’s. Once I won the fight over purging / starving, I was left with a new eating disorder – a mental eating disorder – obsessing over each bite I took and beating myself up over every meal because it was inevitably never good enough.

I wouldn’t eat the day (sometimes two) before I had a photo shoot. I constantly stood in the mirror pinching pieces of my body I didn’t feel were tight enough. When I worked out, I would let the thought of being skinnier consume me until my only motivation came from a place of self hate.

I hoped it would heal. I never dreamed it could disappear. And yet it did. And even though I can’t sum up every little thing that helped me along the way, I can tell you what created the most dramatic shift. I changed the conversation.

I threw away my bathroom scale. I only allowed myself to workout when my reason for doing it didn’t involve vanity or losing weight. I found a nice thing to say about my body everyday. I stopped reading nutritional labels and started reading ingredients. I said thank you to every piece of food I put into my body – even the ones that contained sugar, dairy and carbs. And then I created a business with the same message to help you be.come the same.

I thought it was interesting that I chose this picture to tell you this story. I’m covering part of my face with my hands. In my hands is a crystal representing protection. I’ll let you take that metaphor as you please. To me it shows that our pain and shame can be used for good to help others.

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on armpit hair

on armpit hair

bethanycmeyers-armpithair

I’ve wanted to grow my armpit hair for about three years now. I never did because I was certain it would turn off my clients, and being a fitness professional, my pits are on display 24/7.

So when I went to the jungle and knew I would be taking a full month off of teaching, I thought it was the perfect time to go let it grow. And I loved it. It was nice not to deal with shaving, nice not to have the bumps that come along with it, nice to watch the hair go from hard black stubble to soft brown curls.

I always wondered why it’s so rare to find women with armpit hair and why the initial reaction is “ew”. It can’t be because we have an aversion to hair under arms. We see it everyday on men and don’t think twice. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this perception is completely based on societal beauty standards that we unknowingly swear to follow.

When I came back to teaching, I kept the hair. I had enjoyed it for so long I definitely didn’t want to shave it. But the first time I lifted my arms in class to do a move, I felt really self conscious. Like reallyyyyyy self conscious. My face went red with embarrassment. All I wanted to do was grab a razor and go back to the place I felt most comfortable.

But it in that same moment of shame, I felt a wave of defiance. I decided I wasn’t going to shave because of the pressures I felt by what is “pretty” or “acceptable” for women. I will only shave when I hit the moment that I’m ready to do it for ME.

I hope that in sharing this, you’ll rethink the way you interpret what is beautiful. Armpit hair may not be your thing but maybe something else is. I’ve found power in questioning my beauty routine…shifting the focus to what makes me feel best, and not what makes other people happy. In other words, do you. And do it anyway you want. #effyourbeautystandards

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