“I think I put myself on my first diet when I was 8 years old. I remember sitting at my desk in third grade absolutely stressing over what my snack would be when I got home. Peanut butter sandwich? Nope, the TV said too much fat. String cheese? Can’t do that—I think I heard someone say you get bloated with dairy (like I knew what bloated meant). As I grew older, the demon grew bigger and bigger until I found it absolutely overtaking my soul my senior year of high school. I couldn’t keep food down. I had 0 appetite. I remember my dad making me my favorite cake at his restaurant one day while I was working there, and the thought of eating it sent me into a full-blown panic attack in his office. I was scaring my family.”
Kat grew up in a small town outside of Charlotte, NC where she was a dancer for most of her childhood. Growing up a dancer, sweating and moving her body was always something she really enjoyed. A personal trainer in Raleigh, NC, I have enjoyed following her wellness journey on social media because Kat is so AUTHENTIC. She highlights the battles we all face with food that sometimes we are too afraid to admit. Not to mention she also drops recipes here and there that look good and also are good for you. But what I love most about her social media is that she reminds us all that body-image and food are a hard, hard, thing that this society has forced women to be consumed with – and to love yourself regardless. However, as Kat said it took her a while to get to a point of authenticity, and for a while she battled with an eating disorder.
“I moved in and out of my eating disorder through high school and college. It would come in waves and meant anything from binging and purging to skipping meals and missing out on memories with loved ones because of my fear of food.
There were spurts where I threw up after every meal. If I went out with friends, I would spend hours in the bathroom at night trying to remove every calorie I consumed that day. I skipped dinner to go out. I wouldn’t eat for entire days before a dance competition. Then I entered corporate America. And ohhh baby that shit stayed. I threw up after lunch in the office, if I even went. I would cry after happy hours and skip dinner and just let food absolutely consume my life. I don’t know what happened this year, but I woke up. I didn’t want to live that way anymore. I quit my corporate job. Made katmac_fit my personal journal. Started training, and I work in a couple of restaurants to make ends meet, but let me tell you. I am so much happier.”
The Battles Within Our Minds.
“Where did it come from? Who the hell knows. I was a dancer, so I was always very aware of my body and the way it looked. My mom was thin and beautiful, and I wanted to be just like her. Maybe I read too many magazines? Maybe I was talking to the wrong people? All I know is that I have always had the strongest need to control every aspect of my life, and when I would realize that there are some things that I do not have my hands on, I coped with controlling my weight. Fast forward to today. Am I 100%? Absolutely not. But let me tell you I am worldssss away from that 8-year-old girl who couldn’t eat peanut butter. I think the biggest step for me was acknowledging that the world is out of my control, and I’m not going to gain conquer it by shrinking myself.”
One of the biggest hurdles we all face when we are confronted with challenges is shifting our mindsets to be on our side vs. being our biggest enemy. I thought it was interesting to hear about Kat’s mindset shift, as it’s something I think a lot of us can apply to our own health journey’s.
“A huge mentality shift for me has been changing the phrase to “working out” to “training.” I’m no longer working anything out of my body. Instead I am training my body to perform at its absolute best. And that has been the biggest game changer for me.
I have a couple mantras that I’ve been following, but I always try to remember that one wild day can’t throw off an entire week, month, year, life of progress. I have done so so much to get where I am today physically, mentally and emotionally, and you can’t tell me that a missed workout will discredit all of that hard work. I also really try to remind myself that memories are soooooo much more important that calories!!! I will always remember how hard I laughed, the conversations I had, but how much I weighed the next day??? Not so much.”
Body Image and External Validation.
What makes body image extremely hard also is the external validation that we percieve to come with it. We are inundated with images on social media of women who look picture perfect, and the millions of comments praising their body. This can make it extremely easy for someone to lose sight of why they are working out or eating right in the first place. Truth be told, when we do things for other people they aren’t as sustainable. Kat highlighted the importance of making your health and wellness journey about YOU – and no one else.
“I am queen of needing validation. It’s one of my biggest vices. My love language is words of affirmation, so that definitely plays a part too. But it’s different with my health journey. I love a good compliment, but I do this for me. I think it’s mostly because I’m bringing myself out of such a dark place, but every milestone I make in my health journey is for 8 year old Kat who was already counting calories.I wish I could go back and show her how far we’ve come. And because of that, I don’t give a shit about what other people think when it comes to my health journey.This sounds super minor, but I have my Instagram notifications turned off, and I spend minimal time scrolling. I think it’s normal to compare ourselves to others—healthy? Maybe not. But normal. And if I find myself being jealous or wishing I was in someone else’s body or shoes, I compliment them. They worked hard as hell to get where they are too. And this is especially the time to be building each other up as women. We’re all sisters in our fitness/health/life journey!”
I’m New To My Health Journey – Where Do I Start?
Starting a health journey can be challenging, because let’s be real. It won’t be a walk in the park every day. Some days you aren’t going want to do anything with the gym or eating healthy. However, just because it is hard doesn’t mean it isnt doable. As Kat says, there are only two things you need on this journey – kindness and consistency.
“Be kind and be consistent. Those are the only two things you need to do. Be kind to yourself as you go through this journey. Be kind to your body. Be kind to others who are empowering you. Be kind to others who don’t understand—they’ll figure it out eventually. And just be kind to the world. I 100% believe that you receive energy you put out into the world. Be consistent. Take 6 months. Commit to changing. Whether that be losing the soda or walking more or going to the gym, pick something or a couple of things and stick with them. Rome was not built in a day, and you have to be consistent in your journey.”
Kat’s Biggest Accomplishment.
Kindness and consistency are truly two things Kat embodies on her wellness journey – and two things we all owe ourselves in this life. It’s important that you remember to celebrate the highs of this journey, no matter how big or small. Kat’s biggest accomplishment has nothing to do with her weight or waist size – it’s her initial acceptance of having a problem that makes her most proud.
“It took me a lot of yo yo dieting and binging and purging, but I finally feel like I am at a place where I can say “okay, this isn’t okay, so let’s work on getting healthy.” For a long time I would normalize, skipping dinner and working out for hours and throwing up after meals because I was “too full”, but the day I looked myself in the mirror and said yo, let’s work on this, it’s like the world opened up. And I am so grateful to God that that happened.”
So thankful for you Kat – your story I know for a fact inspired me today and reminded me that we all need to give our bodies more credit and love.
Water Your Garden today,