A local Hawaii girl at heart, I grew up playing soccer, running cross-country, writing poetry, and reading books (a crazy mix, I know!). As I grew older, my love for all things health and fitness-related grew. But in the midst of it all, I ended up developing an eating disorder. A very bad eating disorder.
Fast forward twenty-plus years. Outwardly, I was the epitome of “health” (a Masters weightlifter, certified personal trainer and yoga instructor, CHEK Holistic Health Coach, and Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified), yet inwardly, I still battled a number of food and exercise rules. Although I knew I still harbored a number of crazy training and diet beliefs, I tried pushing them aside, thinking that over time, I would be able to “get over it” and “eat normally”.
But then during dinner one night, as we sat eating English muffin pizzas, my daughter remarked, “Mommy, why are you eating pizza? You never eat pizza. You only eat salad.”
At that moment, my heart broke. I knew I needed to take a good hard look at myself: my priorities, my mental and physical health, the message I was sending to my children, the life I was (or wasn’t) living.
And it was challenging. It was scary. It was one of the hardest facts I had to face:
I was not truly recovered from my eating disorder.
Yes, I could eat a slice of pie or scoop of ice cream, but not without lifting a lot of heavy weights beforehand. I still had anxiety around calories and macronutrients that didn’t fit into the amount of food I had allotted myself for the day. I had anxiety if I couldn’t complete the number of sets or reps my coach laid out for me. Heck, I had even worse anxiety if I took a rest day and did absolutely NOTHING. I was so rigid and regimented with my diet and training that I wasn’t really living life.
So I decided to make a change. A very big change.
I was going to recover. REALLY recover. Not 99% recover. Not 99.9% recover. 100% recover…because 99% recovered is 100% NOT recovered. I decided on that night of the pizza dinner that I would find true food and exercise freedom. Not maybe find it. Not hopefully find it.
I was going to find it.
What does that mean? Well, I am determined to be able to eat a slice of pizza without constraints or have a scoop of ice cream with my children without wondering if there was too much sugar in the cone. I am determined to be ok with taking more than one rest day from training, from not using exercise as a means to exorcise my mental demons. I want to be a mother who can sleep in with her children on a Sunday morning rather than head to the gym at the crack of dawn to get in her lifting.
Basically, I want to live life. And live life to its fullest.
This site, as well as my YouTube channel and other social media platforms, will be devoted to sharing my recovery journey. Why? Well, because eating disorders thrive in fear. And secrecy. And darkness. Anorexia would want me to stay silent, to sit at my table eating lettuce and carrots.
But I am not.
I am not going to let the eating disorder voice win anymore. My story is one that many others have had to endure. My story is one that is evolving, and it behooves me to share that tale in hopes that my experience may help another. So I am stepping out into the light, walking to (and through) whatever lies ahead on this journey, and praying my long and arduous path to full health will inspire and leave a lasting impact on my family, friends, and those on similar road to healing.
I got this. You got this. I am strong. We are strong. We ARE Zentaistrong.
Where else you can find me…
FB: Freeing Faith
YouTube: Lauren Takao (Zentai Health and Wellness)