Eating disorders are a topic we don't talk a lot about in the fitness industry, and I think we should. Today we have Becky Freestone sharing her story of recovery from anorexia and orthorexia. She lets us in on what her eating disorders looked like in her life and how she has created a life of recovery. Becky has an inspiring story that I feel anyone can benefit from. Whether you are struggling with an eating disorder yourself or know someone who is, this conversation with Becky is a must-listen!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/66
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You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 66
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, online fitness coach, wife, and mom of four. My guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke and Merry Christmas Eve. This episode is coming out on Christmas Eve and so if you're listening to us, Merry Christmas Eve. If you're listening to this afterwards, I hope that your Christmas was amazing.
Today I am interviewing Becky Freestone and this is such a good interview and I really think that this needs to be a topic that more people are talking about. We're talking about eating disorders and her experience with both anorexia and orthorexia, which is, um, a hyper focus on clean eating and exercising in a way that takes it to an extreme where it kind of rules your life and it rules your thoughts. And we kind of talk about how, um, the way that you are thinking about food and the way that you're thinking about exercise really plays into whether or not you exercising and eating healthy is a healthy thing or when it goes onto that being fueled by anxiety and being fueled by fear and controlling your life. And I think, again, this is something that we don't talk about enough in the fitness industry and as a coach, I've seen clients who tend towards that disordered eating and even into clinical eating disorder. And it's something that if you're a coach, it's really important that you need to be aware of with your clients. And if you are a client or have some goals, it's really important for you to listen to the things that Becky shares and the experiences that she's had and kind of do a little bit of self reflection.
Um, I am all for setting goals. I'm all for achieving whatever it is that you want to achieve. And I truly believe that we challenge ourselves and become different and grow in the process of reaching for those goals. But I will never ever promote you going to the extreme to where it is a detriment to your life, where it means that you are putting your fitness and the way that your body looks above the things that are truly the most important in your life. And I think that's when we start to get into disordered eating. That's what happens with people. And I think that that line of when it goes from being healthy and being dedicated and being a part of you being committed to something and then it moves into something that takes over your life.
And Becky kind of talks about what that looks like for her and how she kind of saw those eating disorder tendencies creep in, um, over the two decades that she was fighting an eating disorder. Um, and I also hope that bringing Becky on gives you hope. If you're feeling some of these things that she's feeling. If you're feeling that anxiety and that fear around food and weight gain, like she's, she talks about, I hope that it gives you hope that there is a beautiful place on the other side, that there is life afterwards. That, um, being in a bigger body, the weight gain that comes from an eating disorder recovery oftentimes doesn't mean that it's not wonderful on the other side.
And that Becky I think would agree that she would never, ever want to go back to where she was during that eating disorder. Even though the recovery process wasn't easy and her body looks different than it did. Um, and maybe she doesn't get as much, you know, verbal praise as she used to get into small body. Anyway, we talk all about this stuff in the interview. It's excellent. Definitely makes sure that you listen all the way to the end. And if you are feeling like you are diving into that disordered eating that you are, um, see yourself doing some of the things that Becky has talked about, I would really encourage you to reach out to her.
All of her contact information is on by www.bicepsafterbabies.com/66 which is where all the show notes for this episode are. And I think she can be a really good resource for those of you who may have that eating disorder disordered eating or eating disorder. I am definitely not an expert in that and so I will definitely refer you to those people who are. So without further ado, let's hop into this episode with Becky Freestone. I'd like to welcome Becky Freestone to the podcast. Hey Becky.
Hi Amber. Thanks for having me.
I'm excited to talk to you today. Um, Becky emailed me and kind of shared her story with me and I was like, this definitely needs to be on the podcast. This is something that I feel like not enough people are talking about in the fitness industry. So we're going to get into it today and hopefully such to shed some light on a topic that maybe is a little bit taboo, something people don't talk about. Um, so starting off, will you just kind of give us, um, a brief or overview of your fitness journey? We'll dive deeper into kind of the specifics, but just kind of a brief timeline for what that looks like for you.
Yeah. Um, I guess starting as like from childhood, I grew up in a very active athletic family. Everyone played sports and it's just kind of something we did something I love to do. So it wasn't something that I felt like it had to do, but just genuinely love to be active and love play sports. I got really competitive, um, in volleyball, uh, when I started high school and then ended up to go on to play in college. And I would say that's about when it turned from like recreational kind of like having fun playing sports to like, Oh, like fitness. Like I need to be very fit to play in college. It was, no one ever said that to me, but that's just kind of where that started was this idea that you're playing in college, you need to like be at your peak condition and you need to take your nutrition seriously. And, and so just my own personality kind of, um, I think kind of created those ideas in my head. And so as I started college, I, um, you know, started going to the gym more and did extra workouts in addition to like the teamwork outs and practices. And I thought that if I became, you know, the fittest person on the team that that would ensure a starting position for me. And I have a slight perfectionistic personality. And so, um, you know, what started out is like innocent, you know, workouts here and there turned into like very intense obsessive, um, unhealthy forms of exercise. And so, and that's kind of where, um, I guess what we'll be talking today about is eating disorders. And that's when my eating disorder began. It may have started before college, but not diagnosed until college. Um, when it really was like, I recognize that I had a problem. I recognize I fell out of control. Um, and I kind of felt like I was stuck and wasn't exactly sure how to get out of it.
So was it you that recognized that or was it people around you?
People around me. Initially I was in denial and people would make comments and the coaches, you know, started showing concern and they had me meet with a nutritionist and tried to put me on a meal plan and get me eating more and started having some accountability. If I was exercising outside of practices or something that you could assume like a teammate or someone who saw me, it would be telling the coaches. And so it became kind of this like, um, I dug my heels in for a while and was in denial and just thought that was like fitness. Like I'm just trying to be the best athlete I can. And so I got a little defensive and then once I, I don't know, maybe six months into rapidly losing a lot of weight and my personality kind of diminishing and my social life was nonexistent at that point. Um, it happened pretty fast for me that I realized like, something's not right. I don't feel like myself anymore and I don't exactly know when this happened, type of feeling. Um, and then I was diagnosed just for an eating disorder. Um, treatment center that yeah, I, I did indeed have, um, I was diagnosed with anorexia at the time. Um, and so I think there was some, probably like I said before, OCD components, um, before college that I, like I said that perfectionism kind of overlapped with OCD. And then that turned into that was manifested really only the OCD was around exercise and the way that I.
Got it. And so one question that I have, because anorexia is one eating disorder, right? There's multiple types of eating disorders and, and you said that like people around you started noticing, right? So that's something that with anorexia you often notice that weight gain, that weight loss and the person looks a certain way. That's not the case with all eating disorders. And I think this is where it can get really tricky is that you didn't, you didn't see that anything was wrong, right? It started with other people seeing something was wrong and eventually you came around to that idea. But I think it can be really a little bit sneakier when you have an eating disorder that doesn't necessarily make you look super thin so that nobody else is recognizing it around you.
Can you speak to that a little bit or your experience with that.
Yeah, so I think you have an absolute, you have a point in the saddest part about that is that the people who don't have the typical quote unquote, you look sick.
You know, they don't have that, um, oftentimes do get overlooked, but they're still suffering from all of the same behaviors. So whether they're suffering from bulimia or, um, you know, compulsive exercise disorder, which oftentimes we'll talk about a little bit, I'm sure in the fitness world, these people who look so fit and lean and you know, they're on stage and they, they're the epitome of health, you know, in our society today. Um, who, who are likely not always, I, I can't speak for all of them, but I'm sure that a lot of them are probably struggling with very similar behaviors that I did. However, it manifests in different ways.
Right. And, and so, so how can we figure out where that line is? So, so for example, um, my husband is a surgeon and um, one of his beliefs about physicians and surgeons in general is that they have been able to make maybe their OCD or their quirks actually productive in society. Um, and he's, he like is very specific. He is very like perfectionistic and that works really well in the OR, right? Like you want your surgeon to be very precise. Um, and so I feel like there's a little bit of that in what we're talking about here in, in the fitness industry where it's like, to some extent, yeah, it's celebrated to like be dedicated and to be committed to something and to execute it and to reach for a goal. Right? Like that's not bad, but at some point it crosses that line. And how, how do we define where that line is? Is it a, is it a general line? Is it a specific to the person line? Like what does that look like?
Yeah, I mean you have such a good point because it is like that's what got me to play college and volleyball was I was very committed and determined. I put in extra hours and I did private coaching and all these things, right. That got me to that point for good. Right? But then I feel like anything taken too far, even as a surgeon and being very, very precise, that could possibly become their detriment. So I feel like we have to, yes. Like even, um, that's how I, that's what got me recovered. I guess going back to like, okay, so I had this personality trait that got me to accomplish something great and then that sabotage and ended up with an eating disorder. And then I use those personality traits for the positive to get myself recovered. And so how do we, your question is how do we, where do we draw the line? Like where we will, because then apply what's healthy and growing it and what's way too far and not healthy.
Right. Because an eating disorder is actually a medical diagnosis, right? Like the in there is like criteria that you have to meet a certain amount of criteria in order for it to be a clinical diagnosis of an eating disorder. That's a very cut and clear line. Right. But when I feel like we fall so often into in the fitness industry is when it maybe hasn't reached the clinical diagnosis but it is in that area of disordered eating and I feel like that area disordered eating is much more gray. Um, and I think much larger population, a much larger population, right. That you wouldn't necessarily clinically qualify have having an eating disorder. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you have a healthy eating pattern. Right. Which I guess is that, is that a individual thing, right? Like what would be the disorder or disordered eating for me may not be disordered eating for you? Or would you say that's more of like a no, if it goes to the point where you are thinking about food all day long, like that would be moving into that disordered eating?
Yeah, I think so. I think the latter. I mean, yes, personality, the personality perhaps. And that more so looks like what, what my friend might eat for lunch is normal for her. Well, I, if I eat that same thing for lunch, that would be starving for me. I mean that, like that comparison. Yes. But as far as behaviors go, there's kind of a trend that you'll see. You'll see the personality change, you'll see the compulsions, you'll see anxiety and fear around missing a workout or being asked to have a cheat meal. And, and they never do. I mean, and this is where your fitness coach, um, things like that, that are like, these aren't normal behaviors. These are kind of taken to the extreme. Um, oftentimes, uh, an excessive fear of weight gain or a very, very strong focus on weight loss. And that's their number one goal. And that's what's gonna bring them happiness. Those types of things are more fall under that disordered eating, which like we said, is oftentimes almost always overlooked. And then the saddest part about it is these people that fall into this class don't feel like they deserve treatment. They don't deserve to get well. They don't deserve a recovery. Like someone who's actually had a clinical diagnosis of an eating disorder, even though the behaviors are so similar.
Well, and like you said, they're often praised, right?
Because these are the people who, not, not that every like fitness competitor has disordered eating, but but if they do and they're able to achieve a level of success, they're able to get their body to a level able to win competitions like whatever. Or even going out in public, people praise them and look at their bodies and be like, Oh you look so awesome. What are you doing? Right? So they get that like reinforcement that like what they're doing is working in the way that they want it to work. And I love what you said that a lot of this comes down to your thoughts and like intentions, right? Like are you exercising because you have a fear of gaining weight or because you have anxiety, if you don't exercise, are you exercising because you are training for a goal or because it helps with your, like your mood or whatever. It's like that intention and that thought surrounding it is so important when it comes to how we exercise and what we eat.
Totally. Totally. Going back to what you just talked about, where you get praised, right? The fitness world for that. So like I just had mentioned previously that I had initially diagnosed anorexia and orthorexia I felt like it's maybe what like the last 10 years, people talk about that by 10 years. Um, so mine kind of morphed into that as I became more involved in fitness and I thought, okay, can't starve myself anymore. Like that's gonna kill me and I do want to live. So what can I still do to stay very, very lean or these are exercising even more and then I could eat more, but I'll eat really clean and I can just get as lean as I can and as much muscle as I can. And so I remember kind of more that morphing in from anorexia to orthorexia.
And it was about, um, I don't know, maybe two weeks before I went into my full and last attempt to recovery and I was in a spin class and I have this very sweet innocent person come up to me afterwards and say, I just want you to know that I've never seen somebody so fit, I've never seen anyone as lean as you are. How do you do it? And at this point like I had bradycardia, very high risk, high risk for heart failure, should have been wearing your heart monitor. My electrolytes were off, all of my lab work was off, liver was not functioning properly. All these things inside, right, that are failing me. But yeah, I look like the epitome of, you know, as lean as you possibly can get. And this girl said that to me and I, and I actually said at this point I knew I was, I was done. I knew I was fed up, I knew what I was doing to my body and I said I actually struggled with an eating disorder. And she kind of like got wide-eyed and was like, and I said, I'm not well at all. My insides are falling apart. My heart is a very high risk for failing and just because I look this way does not mean I'm healthy at all. And she was like, I mean I still this day kind of feel bad. Like maybe that wasn't, that was a little abrasive, but I just wanted to kind of like scream that. So there's been that like this is not okay, this is not something to be praised for. And this wasn't just like a show I had done and you know, it looked like that for a week. That was like year round, day in and day out. I was walking around looking like that and so I just, I worry so much.
Maybe the reason I wanted to reach out to you is I thought, you know, you have a great audience for this is I just worry so much about these people who are walking around. I'm thinking that they're doing so much good for their bodies who have taken this to a level that is no longer healthy, that are getting praised and validated for it and feel stuck. Cause it's confusing. It's a confusing world to live in where it's like, I know what I'm doing for my health is not, well this is not healthy. Yeah, but he's telling me how amazing I look.
Right. Yeah. And we do, we equate that like, like you were saying, that level of leanness with health and it's, and it's so silly that we like equate those two things together because there are plenty of people who are thin, who are not healthy and there are plenty of people who are what we would consider overweight that are way more healthy and so you just can't make that straight line comparison. And so I love that you said that to her. Like I, I hope that that was an aha moment for her of recognizing that like the way that someone's body looks has nothing to do with how healthy it is regardless of like what the fitness industry, what Instagram, what social media will tell us what like what our bodies should look like. Will you define orthorexia for anybody who's listening who doesn't know that term?
Yeah, I think it's just like, it's, it's nutrition and fitness taken to an extreme. So basically it's, it's when you become um, obsessive compulsive about kind of like I was mentioning before, where it becomes, it turns from something that you do that's a healthy thing and part of your life to your number one priority or number one focus. There's fear and anxiety around it and it no longer is serving you is no longer benefiting or improving your health.
Yeah, and I've heard of it specifically with clean eating is where we often hear, but it's like an obsession with eating clean. Like foods are off limits. Like you know, you only eat, and again, I feel like it's that motivation. Like, what is driving that desire to eat clean? And what you're saying is like that desire and drive comes from like a fear and anxiety. Um, versus like a, you know, if you're someone who like I really want to fuel my body well and I feel really good when I eat clean and I don't eat any sugar. Like it's a very different head space to be in, have someone who's that is being driven by fear and anxiety.
Right. I'm an example of that would be like you just said. So yeah, I feel better when I eat clean foods and I, you know, clean whole foods and of course, you know, you have your treats here and there and you feel balanced and you feel great. Right? Versus, um, for example, when I was struggling with orthorexia, I couldn't go out to eat with my husband on a date because I didn't eat food out. I had to prepare it myself. I had to know where it came from. I had to know what it was, every single ingredient in it. I didn't eat processed foods. So, I mean there's a difference between like, yeah, I like to eat like for the most part, healthy, clean, whole foods versus that's all I can eat. And it starts to interfere with living and it starts to interfere with going out on dates with your husband, eating a pizza with your kids on a Friday night and going to a wedding reception and having a piece of cake and, and being able to just live, uh, you know, like a fulfilling and a well balanced life.
So much. So how does your husband deal with this?
Bless my husband's heart. He's a Saint. Um, he took a few roles cause you know, I, I've been sick since we've been married and um, initially he, it was a really hard, when we first got married I was sort of, you know, quote unquote in remission. I thought I was well and then as soon as we got married, really had a really bad relapse and it was terrifying to him. He didn't know how to handle it. He would try to, you know, be like the food police and come on and you need to eat more. You have to, why aren't you eating? You're worrying me. Those kinds of things. And when you realize that that taking that role of the husband wasn't working, he kind of naturally had to learn. Like I have to back off. Like I have to recognize that she's an adult. I can offer her love and support, but I can't fix this for her. And I think that was a really hard realization for him to get to. But once he did, I saw he truly loves me unconditionally. He knows that I am suffering and that this is a hard thing and it affects him. And I knew that, but he, there was nothing that he could really do to fix it other than love and support me.
And so, um, I think it wasn't until I came to the conclusion myself, and this is so sad to say, but I don't mean it didn't, nothing was going to change until I realized that this was not serving me anymore, that I can't keep living like this, that my life is in a place and you don't necessarily need to get to this place where you're at risk for heart failure, it may see it. You don't need to get, my point is you don't need to get to that place, but you need to get to a place in your life where you recognize this isn't working for you anymore because so much has been sacrificed and my kids were getting older.
I didn't want to be that role model that I'm a slave to the gym and I'll miss, I would miss um, here's another example of what orthorexia might look like is if my kids had a production at school or a play or something like that, or I would plan around, um, like I would, I wouldn't volunteer if it interfered with a class at the gym or if there was a play or something like that, I would have severe anxiety leading up to that and knowing that it wasn't going to be able to make that class that I like to go to, cause I was going to be, I would go to my kids things, but it was with tremendous amounts of anxiety and guilt and, and, and just like almost paranoia. Like I can't believe I'm missing one of my routine. I'm missing my routine. But of course I am. It's my children. Like how, you know, like now being recovered, I, it's hard for me to talk about those memories, but that's what it does to you. It kind of strips you of your values and your priorities and the things that truly mattered most of your life because it almost is a form of an addiction. It comes first.
Yeah. So let's talk about what your recovery looked like. So once you had this realization made this identification, it's not like you can just snap your fingers and like everything's rosy and fine and those anxieties have gone away. Um, I'm sure there was some sort of transition as you, um, changed your eating habits as you gained weight probably and saw your body change. Can you kind of walk us through your thoughts and emotions and feelings as that happened?
Yeah, so like I mentioned before, I had attempted recovery probably a hundred plus times. You know, I struggled for two decades and so it was always this like, okay, this is going to be the year this is going to be the year. this is going to be the year this is going to be the year. And I just felt like I never quite had one the tools that I needed, but also, like I said, I didn't, I wasn't to a point where I knew I needed to give it up and there was no other option at this point. Um, and it was the hardest thing. I had to say this because I'm sure I have a long life ahead of me. I hope. And there will of course be hard things as well in the future. But up to this point, it was the hardest thing that I've ever done was to recover from an eating disorder. However, the most rewarding and gratifying thing that I've ever done. So when I decided that I was going to recover, I decided I was going to do something different than I had done. Every attempt prior that had me in the same place. And that was to not be careful about it and not baby-step my way into it because what would happen is I'd get a nutritionist and I'd have this meal plan and I'd be really careful and I'd start adding in foods that scared me and I tried to taper down the exercise and I, and that never worked for me. I always ended up in the same place I was when I started and nothing had changed in my brain. I just had gained a little bit of weight. And then before you knew I was right back to where it started.
And so with this attempt I decided I have to be really bold and I have to do something different. It's like that thing we always hear you do the same thing and you're going to get the same results. So I had to mix it up and so I went into this with, I'm going to fully give into my hunger and you better believe I was really, really hungry after restricting so heavily for 20 years and so I thought this is going to be terrifying. I know how incredibly once I start eating how hungry I'm going to be, this goes against every dietician that I've ever worked with that I'm sure they would all look down upon this and think this is reckless and crazy, but I need to just allow my body to lead me to recovery. I needed to allow my body to take over and do what it needs to do to get me there. And I did and I was really hungry and I ate lot of food, they call it extreme hunger and recovery where you feel like a bottomless pit and you can't get enough. And I did that for months and months and months. And yes, of course I put on weight, um, I rehabilitated my weight back to a place or a set point where my body wants to be naturally without having to micromanage that or without initially, you know, okay, here's the BMI range I think I should get to, I'm going to stop right there. Which is in the past what would happen is once you get to be in my 21 you're going to be fine. Well, it never happened for me. My set point range is higher than a BMI of 21 naturally I feel much healthier and stronger and better at a BMI, much higher than 21 but of course at the time my eating disorder loved to latch onto that number and so it would get there and then stop. And then it was very hard to maintain because I was still having to diet and restrict it that place.
And so being able to go into it, knowing there is not necessarily a number I'm trying to get to or a number I will quote unquote allow myself to reach and just lending your body through what it needs to do, um, was in some ways like miraculous. It's amazing. It's amazing how brilliant our bodies are when we let them be. However, it was terrifying. So as I was gaining weight, I wasn't weighing myself, I decided I wouldn't weigh myself throughout my recovery at all. So I ran over my scale with my car the first day of recovery. Back and forth is totally crushed it. My kids videoed it. It was a great lesson for them to learn cause they up to that point had seen me weighing myself and I needed to teach them that like, this is, I was wrong. I don't need to be weighing myself every single morning.
That was something that I don't want to teach you guys is something you need to do and we're going to crush the scale together. And it was a really cool experience. Um, and so I did not weigh myself throughout the entire recovery, but I did obviously feel my body getting bigger and changing and prior to recovery, like my worth and my identity was my body for a really, really long time. That's all people talk to me about was my workouts and how I ate and how I stayed so lean and what I did for that. I mean it was like the weirdest shift to go from like that body as my body changed. People didn't know what to say to me. They didn't know what to talk to me about and that was, that was a sad time. That was like, Whoa. Like I don't even think people know who I am anymore because I kind of had to rediscover who I am because I did have to let that go. I did have to recognize that my worth is wrapped up in how fun I am. I like much more of a person than that and so it felt good in some ways to let go of that. At the same time, it was like kind of overwhelming to see how much of that was me for so many years. Um, but, that's just kind of how people saw me and, and I even got some comments. Um, I don't know, maybe six months in people I'd see at the store or something suddenly just throughout town, you know, are you that girl, are you, and they look at me like they could kind of recognize me, but like, like it was a very dramatic change for me physically. And that was kind of like, you know, depending on the day it would really be hard or I would just kind of laugh and be like, gosh, this is a really crazy process.
And just kind of know that I wasn't going to stop until I knew that my mind was well and that I was free from, you know, consuming looping thoughts of eating or excuse me, of what I could eat when I could eat next and what a earlier and what my workout was today and what it's going to be tomorrow, what I was doing next week for that. And it was just like always all consuming were my thoughts. So until I felt free from that, I knew I wasn't there yet. So I didn't really try to micromanage the weight gain. I just went off of a mental state and that's, I'm a coach and as a coach, that's kind of what I focus on is let's focus on your mental state and your physical state will fall into place when you're coming from a history of any disorder.
Do you know how much you gained over that process?
I can guess. I still don't know. I haven't weighed myself. Um, I dunno. Probably 50 pounds or 50 pounds.
Did you find that your body overshot and then.
Um, I think , no, I think maybe a little bit and I think it was more so like swelling and edema, that type of thing. Yeah, bloating. I felt like my body kind of redistributed and kind of, I think over time without really like trying to intentionally do it. I think it just became a little bit less soft and so it kind of like naturally as you're, you know, nourish yourself properly, you're going to put on muscle whether you're lifting weights or not. And so I think I just naturally kind of redistributed my weight, if that makes sense. Yeah. But I don't think I had like a dramatic overshoot and a dramatic weight loss. No.
Yeah. What would you say to somebody who is listening right now and is identifying with where you are at and recognizing that maybe they're experiencing some of the same symptoms or some of the same tendencies that maybe you were experiencing during this eating disorder and they're kind of thinking, well, like what's next? And they're worried about the future. They don't know what to do next. What would you, what would you tell that woman who's listening about her next step, what it should be and how to make it through this process that you made it through where you did have to go through this weight gain and you did have to go through regaining this trust with your body and you did have to, you know, not necessarily micromanage your food anymore. What would you tell her?
Right. Um, well, I'd want to give her a big hug or him, whoever's listening because I feel like, um, it's a hard place to be and it's a hard place to recognize that you're there when you kind of maybe perhaps have been in denial or not intentionally even recognize this as a problem that you're struggling with. Um, it's kind of a hard pill to swallow because it feels really confusing, like we talked about for reasons earlier. Um, but I would highly recommend if you're in that place, extremely highly recommend that you reevaluate where you are now, where you want to be, where are your values, how have your values been put on the back burner because of the behaviors and the lifestyle that you're choosing to live at this time. Um, and, and then and look for help. Um, I am not, I don't want to promote myself in this podcast. That's not what it's about.
But myself and a lot of other eating disorder recovery coaches are out there who have walked in your shoes and kind of know what this experience looks like and can kind of aide you throughout the way. I personally had a coach throughout my recovery. I was amazed at how helpful a coach was who had that lived experience versus all the therapists that I had seen in years prior that didn't quite fully comprehended. And I knew that it was very obvious to me that they didn't understand what I was going through. And as soon as I found a coach who actually lived experience with it, I was finally able to give my trust and understand like, I don't have a lot to lose at this point and you've walked in my shoes, helped me like, please, how do I help me navigate this?
Um, and so I would just say reach out to someone who you felt like would be a great fit for you in that regard. Just like fitness coach, just like an expert coach. Um, somebody, a coach, coaches are there for a reason to help you get from point A to point B when you don't know how to get there. Um, and so yeah, I just, I would love to offer hope. Like I would love for these people listening who do feel like they're in that place to know that there is absolutely 100%, I believe a way out of it. And you can live still a very healthy and fulfilling life without that obsessive component that you feel like you may be stuck in right now.
Yeah. And then, you know, something that also that comes up for me. I feel like I coach people to track macros. I coach counting macros and I feel like for some people that can be a very healthy thing. It can help them to learn balance. It can help them to learn moderation. At the same time I do feel like because there's the tracking and the weighing and the logging that it does attract some people who tend towards that perfectionistic, that tend towards that like orthorexia mentality as a coach, how can I and any other coaches listening start to identify those behaviors and recognize this is valuable for this person and it's detrimental to the health and mental wellness of this person.
Yeah, that is such a good question. Um, yeah, macros are my best friend. Like I actually had a, a fitness coach who was giving me macros every week and giving my workouts and that was like the best thing in the world cause it's so rigid and like so rigid. Yeah. It's so structured it so you know exactly the numbers. Like we love numbers, we love measuring all of that. It's like a person with an eating disorder, or disordered eating's best friend. However, some people go into it not having those tendencies and fall into them once they start tracking.
Like it could be a trigger for some people, for some person.
Totally can. So something that we don't talk about a lot is there's a huge genetic factor with eating disorders.
So with as a coach you can often ask, are there, are there any eating disorders that run in your family that you know of? Do you have any history of an eating disorder? Oftentimes they might lie or not recognize that they have struggled in the past. Um, but things to look for basically I would say are, when you say that they are, let's say they have like I have a weight loss goal, right? And I'm trying to get to this number and you see that they get there, um, really rapidly and then aren't satisfied and they want to lose more and they want to lose more. Or, like I mentioned earlier, um, you give them a cheat meal, ok you have two cheat meals a week and they never take them or they're not even hitting the macros that you're giving them and they're on a quite a restrictive or a cut. Right. And they're still not even really hitting those or, um, that they, and it's hard as a coach because you don't see their every day, you know, you don't see if they're weighing out their lettuce or they're doing like, things like that are very much in my mind again, that I might get some pushback for that. But like weighing out lettuce to me is very disordered.
Um, even if you're counting macros and you're very disciplined and so I think there are things to just kind of like as coaches, just ask questions, just be open and ask. How do you feel about your body? How do you feel about, you know, these cheat meals that you're eating? How do you feel about, um, me, you know, increasing your macros when I do that. Does that scare you? Are you worried to go through a bulk or to a building season or does that kind of stuff? Like do you see that they, if you're coaching someone for a show that they get really lean and they can't come out of that? Things like that are kind of red flags.
So good. And then what would you say if that is identified, what's the next step for that coach to refer them?
Yes, absolutely. I think I had it, bless his heart. I had a great coach who really did try and I was open with him about my eating disorder. Um, history at the time I did, I made it sound like I wasn't really struggling anymore. However, the macros and the exercises and everything was totally orthorexia. And I think he caught on pretty quick and saw that like he tried to get me to increase my body fat percentage and I, you know, for a year stayed the same place and just wouldn't, and so I think he caught on, but I think he thought that he would have the skills or the knowledge to be able to get me to that point of being able to gain or to kind of let go of some of these um, behaviors. And it just unfortunately, like he is so knowledgeable and such so good at what he does, but he is not an eating disorder specialist. And so how hard he tried, um, it wasn't going, it wasn't the help that I needed.
And so it was me that kinda had to, and it was hard cause I had felt this relationship with them and trust, but I had to, I need to seek help. I need to get help for my eating disorder. And, and so that's where I reached out to coach that, you know, help people throughout their recovery with an eating disorder.
Um, so as a coach, if you're a fitness coach and you know that you have a client or you're working with someone who has those tendencies, I don't think it hurts to suggest, Hey, why don't you have a consultation? I know so and so that, you know, might be able to at least kind of ask you questions and see and talk to you and see if that's something you feel like, you know, might help you, but to be a fitness coach and know that you have someone with an eating disorder or you're very strong hunch that they do and to keep working with them, I feel like it's disserving them because they're probably not going to be the ones that stand up and say, Oh yeah, by the way, like, yeah, I have an eating disorder. You know, I think that's just kind of feeding their eating disorder and that's what they want is these macros every week and weighing themselves and all those things. So it just kind of feeds it.
Totally. Yeah. And I feel like you may refer them, you know, or you may say like you need to get help with this and they may not and they may go find another coach. Um, and you know, you can do what you can do as a coach, but I think you're absolutely right if you continue trying to coach them through something like that, it's just, it's not in your wheelhouse. Like that's not your wheelhouse. And referring onto that professional who that is, their wheelhouse is serving your client in the highest, highest level.
Absolutely. And like you said, there's that risk of losing your client.
But I would hope that all coaches like really are doing this for the betterment of their client, can see that forest from the trees a little bit.
Right. And I think majority of coaches out there are so, yeah.
Yeah, for sure. What do you want to make sure that all women know after this interview?
Oh gosh. The first thing that comes to mind is I would love for women to know that their body is not their worth. The size of your body, particularly the size or the shape of your body or being able to manipulate or, or um, control the size of your body is not what we're put on this earth to do. Our bodies are so that we can live and experience of rich and fulfilling lives, but we can do that in almost every size body. And so I think we get so caught up in trying to look smaller than so-and-so or be the fittest in the room or the fittest in the gym or the cleanest eater or these things that I feel like we are such easy distractions that just aren't, are not our worth. I know for me personally, and I'm sure you can agree with this Amber, that you don't choose your friends based off of the size of their body.
I'm sure we are choosing our friends based off of how they make us feel when we're around them and that has nothing to do with their size. And so if we can just remember that, that we are, we're here to help and serve and support one another as women and not to try to look a certain mold that we can find so much freedom in that, so, so much freedom and so much just joy in having that knowledge and truly experiencing and living that.
That's awesome. So if our audience wants to find you or reach out or connect with you, how can they do that, Becky?
Um, well, let's see. So I have, I do, like I said, I coach eating disorder recovery coach and I have a website called whybefree.com. Um, they can reach out there. I have an email, they're attached, they can email me. I have a YouTube channel that's just called Becky Freestone that basically just talks about lots of different topics involving eating disorders. Um, I actually a partner in my, uh, business partner myself for opening up an eating disorder recovery center and that is called Triple R Recovery Center. You can find that online as well.
Is that an in person or is that online?
No, that's in person. So yeah, that's going to be a day program here based in Utah and that'll be starting the end of January. Um, so yeah, and if you can't remember all of those, the Why Be Free Coaching website has an email contact that you can send any questions that you have. So what do you want to, if they're struggling, I love love to just talk. Not even necessarily you don't have to work with me too. I'd love to just talk with you and if you have questions or whatever, I would love to be able to answer them.
Yeah, we'll link that all up in the show notes too. So if you go to www.bicepsafterbabies.com/66, Then you will be able to help. We'll have all those links for you on the, on the, on the website too. Well, awesome. Becky, I am so grateful that you are willing to come on and share your story. Um, I hope those of you who are listening, um, like maybe some of you recognize yourself in Becky and maybe this was kind of a light bulb moment for you of, of where you're taking your fitness journey. I am all for women setting goals. I'm all for women reaching for things, um, but not at the expense of your highest good, which is not the size of your body. And um, I hope that Becky's story really like related that. Becky, thank you so much for being willing to come on and share it.
Thank you again for having me. I really appreciate it, Amber.
I am so grateful for Becky for coming and sharing herstory. That's not an easy thing to do. Um, we don't talk a lot about eating disorders. I think we probably should. I think especially in the fitness industry, we probably should talk more about it. Um, but it's a real thing. And especially like I said with macro counting and I feel like it can be an amazing, awesome thing that can help you to be more aware and to learn nutritional values of food and be able to put yourself in the driver's seat. However, just like any tool, it can be used to go too far, right? Like you can use a hammer to build a house or to break into somebody's house. And so it's not necessarily the hammer that's the problem. It is how you use it. And I truly believe that macros can be used very well to be able to support your health and fitness goals.
However, it can also be taken too far. And that's where we really get into like that all or nothing mentality that perfectionistic every like having to hit your numbers and zero them out every single day. That's not how I coach. It's not, it's not how what I preach. And I really hope that if you're finding that counting macros is leading you down that path, that macro counting probably isn't the right, right vehicle for you. And I will, I will freely admit that not everybody should count macros. It is a tool. It can be used well and it can also be used unwell, not well, however you would say that. Um, so hopefully that you got a lot of value from that episode. I really want to thank Becky for taking the time to come on and share that with you guys because it's something that's really important.
That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber now go on and be strong because remember my friend, you, you can do anything. Merry Christmas.
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