How Weight Training Saved My Life

How Weight Training Saved My Life | Libero Magazine
Weight training has improved my whole outlook on myself and my life. It has given me a reason to believe in myself and who I am.

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Disclaimer: Always consult with your recovery team (therapist/nutritionist/doctor) before taking on any form of physical activity

It might sound stupid but I really do believe that weight training saved my life. I honestly don’t think I would be anywhere near as recovered as I am today, had it not been for this discovery.

My relapse last October really beat me up and knocked me down. I could see what I was doing to both my body and mind but I kept restricting and kept walking until my legs were sore. I didn’t care. All I knew was I wanted to be small and fragile. I wanted to disappear.

I can proudly say with confidence that this is no longer the case these days.

I can’t pinpoint the exact thing or moment when my (healthy) obsession with weight training began but it was about February last year. After reading some healthy living blogs online I got inspired to lift heavy things and here I am. Lifting heavier things!

I look back on those dark days now and can see just how much I have changed and how much progress I have made. Weight training has given me so much and has taught me to love life again.

Here are some ways weight training has saved me:

1. My body image has improved.

I still have my “bad” days but I do really and truly love my body. By training with weights, I have gained a lot of muscle and it feels amazing because now, on those not-so-great-body-image days where I thought “oh, my arms are huge” or “my stomach is sticking out”, I can remind myself of my strength and what my body can do now that I’m strong. My arms allow me to do pushups and pullups and my stomach is the core of every single exercise in the gym!

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2. Food is no longer an enemy.

Food is now known as fuel. I eat good, healthy food so I can do all of the exercises and things I love. Food fuels and nourishes my body instead of being a source of pure stress and frustration. I no longer see food as the “bad guy” because I know the difference between having a lot of energy verses having none. And I’d definitely choose having more energy!

3. My confidence skyrocketed.

If someone told me I would be going to the gym and lifting weights with the guys a year ago, I would have laughed in their face. That was NOT something I’d ever be able to do, but I’m doing it! I can confidently walk into the gym and do my thing without too much stress or worry. This has transferred into my daily life as well,  I can finally walk with my head up, smile and be proud of myself.

4. My focus has changed.

Somewhere along the line I decided that being strong was more important than being weak. I no longer want to be fragile, instead, I want to be strong. I want to be powerful. Being able to squat 1.5 times my body weight or dead-lifting more from one week to the next is what I focus on, not how I compare to those models on TV and in the magazines.

5. I am proud of myself.

When I was in my relapse I was hopeless and couldn’t find anything that I was proud of about myself. I didn’t think I was good enough to live, but weight training taught me that I do have things I am good at. If I do some barbell squats one week at a certain weight and then the next week I add weight to them, I feel amazing! I feel proud that I am able to push myself like that and this carries over to the rest of my life. I am proud of my artwork and my writing and so on. Weight training has given me a reason to believe in myself and who I am.

I’m thankful for my new love. Weight training has improved my whole outlook on myself and my life.

There are days when I wonder what I’d be like or where I’d be had I not discovered it, and I really can’t say. I know I wouldn’t be here, that’s for sure.



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Tayla is recovering from anorexia. She hopes to major in Culinary Arts/Business one day. She writes about eating disorder recovery and anxiety.

1 Comment

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  • Tayla, I have had the exact same experience with weight training. It has seriously been the missing piece in my recovery. I keep thinking that someone should do a study with it. Take a group of weight restored, medically stable eating disorder patients and augment their ongoing outpatient nutritional and traditional therapy with a trainer-guided weight training program for 6 months to a year. Compare that to a group that just received the traditional outpatient care. I bet you anything those patients that weight trained would be way less likely to relapse and much more happy with their recovered bodies.


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