Every single day someone tells me how much they wish they could be like me… they tell me how much of an inspiration I am. They want to be able to do some of the things I can do. No matter how much I try and help people realize that losing 200 pounds and running 100 miles isn’t the story they should be paying attention too, no one seems to listen or understand.

Do you know what it is like living with an eating disorder?

There is a strong statistical chance you do. For some it might be binge eating. For others it might be Bulimia. And others it might be Anorexia. A clinical name might not exist for the unhealthy relationship we have with our food… but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.

The greater statistical chance is you suffer from a variety of “self” challenges… lack of self-esteem, poor self-confidence and/or disillusionment with your own self-efficacy.

I ask myself every single day why anyone in the world would look up to me. I often wonder how someone can look at me and wish they could trade me places.

If people could see the patience, persistence and perseverance it takes to live day to day to grow away from the eating disorders, body image issues and understand the person staring back at me in the mirror, they might change their mind about trading places with me.

A number on the scale doesn’t define me.

My food choices don’t define me.

The time and distance of a race I run doesn’t define me.

No matter how much weight I have lost or how far I have learned to run, there is one battle I still fight every day. The most difficult part of the fight is I have to eat to survive and the struggle to have a positive relationship with food is a daily battle I must be vigilant with every time I walk to the kitchen.

Being told I’m “skinny” kills me inside.

Who would say this to me?? You’d be surprised. At Christmas it was a jealous family member telling me I need to learn to eat. At running events it is people that think they are being nice commenting on my body.

When I take my shirt off it is very obvious I am not skinny. Although my skin drops and hangs, I am able to hide behind the fabric of my baggy shirts and loose fitting clothes. My first instinct is to grab for a XXL shirt or baggy pants to hide my imperfections from the wandering eyes of the people I interact with.

A person seeing me for my looks eats away at my soul.

Have I mentioned it kills me inside to have someone compliment me on my looks? Why? The words people use have a strong negative connotation behind them. Skinny, slim, tiny… the list goes on and on. Do you know the words no one ever uses? Fit, strong, healthy, athletic… The words we use with ourselves and others matter. No comment is better than a backhanded and degrading comments about how you see me.

Wishing people could see what is in my head and my heart instead of a number on the scale or a race medal will forever be my wish.

I have been working diligently on my personal development for over 10 years now and people still point out the physical changes but completely pass over the intelligence and character qualities it has taken to achieve the physical changes that are easy to see. If improving fitness and health was a simple as calories in and calories out, the United States wouldn’t have over 30% of the population fitting into the “obese” category with over 60% fitting into the “overweight” category.

Miracle diets and quick fixes are sold over and over even when deep down we know it takes more work than buying a pill and placing our hope in a product.

Are you struggling with an eating disorder too?

Don’t worry, you are not alone. If you are struggling, finding a professional who can help you work through the problem is the best step you can take. Professionals will help you without judgement and ridicule while you work through the depths of the behavior. Working with a wide variety of people, I understand how difficult it can be to wake up and admit to yourself there might be a problem with you actions. Once you can open your eyes to the issue, you can begin to take the necessary steps forward to uncover the cause and effect so you can begin taking the steps to healing.

Mindset and Behavior change takes courage… but I believe in you. Do you believe in yourself? If you or someone you know is struggling, please help them find their way. A great conversation starter is- “How is everything going?” and listen with an open mind and a soft hard. Your loved one doesn’t really want your opinion on how they should change their actions… but they would love your undivided attention to talk through their struggles.

Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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  1. Thank you for this, this article is what I was needing this morning. Keep up the good work and stay strong.


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