You Are What You Eat

Christopher ConferoOr as it was for me, don’t eat.
by Christopher Confero

Now that summer is winding down, having a beautiful beach body isn’t going to be on the forefront of everyone’s mind. But think back to earlier this year, and we were planning a crash diet here or starving ourselves there. Traveling to the beaches of Mykonos and Miami over the past few months, I can’t say I’m exempt from those sorts of thoughts. However, I’ve learned that trying to quickly get into shape for a passing season is the absolute incorrect way. It’s not a one–time, once–a–year sort of thing. It has to be a complete lifestyle change, and I can personally attest to that.

When people meet me for the first time as I am today, no one would ever guess I grew up as an overweight child. I wouldn’t change anything about my childhood, but the stress of moving around so much caused me to dive head first into a bag of Doritos. I remember hiding away in my bedroom and devouring a complete bag of greasy, salty potato chips. That isn’t an acceptable diet for a 10-year-old. Just like any overweight child, I was constantly ridiculed by my peers. The taunting and teasing went on from around third grade until the end of my junior high years.

I’ve never publicly spoken about what I’m about to share with you. It was always a private matter between my family and more so an inner struggle within myself. At the age of about 13 I developed an eating disorder. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even recall where I learned what an eating disorder was, but like any adolescent, I was desperate to fit in and would attain that by any means necessary.

I struggled with my disorder at its peak for the better part of 10 years. Now I look back on photos of my late teen years in disgust because I could have easily been compared to something resembling a zombie. Dark, sunken–in eyes, pale skin—I certainly wasn’t the poster child of health and beauty.

After high school, I felt like I started to balance out a bit. Any sort of eating disorder is solely a mental struggle, so as I matured, I realized something had to change. Rather than manage my weight with a healthy diet, I would continue to eat poorly, but at the same time, I’d drag myself to the campus rec center at Auburn and do whatever bit of working out I could manage. As long as I was involved in some sort of physical routine, I wouldn’t feel the need to continue with my disorder. The on and off of that part of my life really taught me that it truly was all in my head and that I had to regain control of my life.

Cut to life today and I feel like I’ve really conquered those mountains I’d laid out for myself as a child. I began a steady workout routine with my wonderful trainer, Matt Crane. He taught me that to be totally healthy and achieve the body image that I’ve always wanted, a crash diet wasn’t the answer. It truly is a complete lifestyle change. Eating shouldn’t be for pleasure or therapy; it’s only objective is to fuel our bodies and provide them with the nourishment we need to live. That doesn’t mean we can’t cheat and have a big slice of chocolate cake, but don’t let it control your life. Overeating is just as much of a disorder as not eating at all.

In the end. I’ve learned that nothing is instant and it takes having accountability and education. Whether it’s in the form of a personal trainer or from other resources such as the Children’s Hospital Center for Weight Management, everyone both young and old needs to realize we truly are what we eat.


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