Hi everyone! My name is Kasey Arena & I blog over at Powercakes.net and just recently launched my online personal training site at KaseyArena.com!
I am so excited to be guest posting today with Sam. It’s a small world how we “met”. My childhood friend Jesse, whose Mother is my Mom’s best friend & Training Partner, moved to pursue an amazing opportunity in California. While there, he has become super close with Sam & her husband, who happens to work with Jesse in the fitness industry.
I can’t help but think how small this world is and how some connections are just meant to be! I absolutely love Sam’s mission with Guts Like a Girl & think it is so powerful!
Sam asked me to share a bit about a specific challenge I had and how I utilized fitness & community to overcome the challenge.
My story begins at the age of 11 when I struggled with my first round of anxiety. We moved school districts & this whole sense of “change” threw me for a loop. I used food as a way to “control” something in my life which for me became food restriction.
This anxiety led me to therapy, which truly saved me. I started to learn at a young age that it wasn’t the “food” that was the problem, it was the sense of control I was looking for. I was given coping techniques that I still use to this day & can truly say that going through that at a young age totally molded me into who I am today at 25 years old.
I grew up in a healthy household. My mom was and still is a personal trainer & my best friend. Even though I grew up with health around me, I took food & fitness to an unhealthy level once I got into college.
You see, this whole “change” thing was happening again (as it usually does when you go to college), and I started to look to food as a way to be in control.
At the time, I didn’t admit it was control. I used to say “you have to eat 100% healthy” and you have to “workout 2 times a day” in order to look a certain way. This whole focus on the outside was totally ruining my insides & my love for fitness.
I got into competing in figure competitions with a friend, and although found my love for lifting weights, I also found myself in a deep struggle with an eating disorder.
Food was not my friend & I used it as a way to make myself look “perfect”. I wanted nothing more than a 6 pack & to be as lean as I could be. With that, came a loss of my menstrual cycle, my nails fragile, my hair falling out, & one of the light bulb moments of me almost passing out in a college class.
This had to stop.
How could I pursue my love for fitness if I have an unhealthy relationship with fitness & food?
That’s where community steps in.
It’s amazing how once you truly open up, be vulnerable, and share your story – can you then make a difference.
I started blogging as a way to share recipes which then led me to connect with so many amazing women who were going through the same struggles I was with trying to find balance in life.
Is it easy? No. Is it worth the work? Absolutely!
To get a little more in detail about my story, feel free to check this post here. I could literally take over Sam’s whole page today just sharing different moments of struggle during my eating disorder times in college.
Today I’m here to tell you that if you or someone you know struggles with finding a balance with food & fitness, they are not alone.
Food is FUEL and although it took me a while to realize that & accept it, I did & it has truly changed my life.
Fitness is an outlet to feel powerful & challenge yourself to try new things – not a way to manipulate your looks to have a “perfect” body.
I tell ya, now that I focus more on strength & feeling powerful – me & fitness have a much healthier relationship.
Food will always be there – and that’s something I had to teach myself. I also found a balance for myself to enjoy some things that people might claim to be “unhealthy” for mental sanity & pleasure.
All of these moments lead to myself & one of my best friends (I met through blogging!) Heather, Co-Authoring BODYPEACE. A 30 day guide book to guide you through your relationship with yourself, food, & fitness. Having both struggled from eating disorders in our past, we share our stories, tips we used, & guide women (or men) through a 30 day journey.
Looking back on all of this – it’s amazing to me how far I’ve come. I started as an 11 year old girl who lost 16 pounds in one year as I struggled to find a balance with change. Transitioning into a College Student, that struggled to find a healthy relationship with food & fitness. To now, a 25 year old women who Coaches athletes, speaks at High Schools & Universities, had a Teaching Degree, Personal Trainer, & Author.
All of this wouldn’t be possible without community.
Community of women who together can help raise each other up to their highest potential.
My moral of this story is to always be yourself. My motto is “be true to you” and I live that in all aspects of my life. The more you are true to yourself, the more you inspire others to do the same.
I hope you all have an amazing day & thank you Sam for this opportunity to share my story!
Be true to you,