Karen's journey: From anorexia, to couch potato to a Fit Girl!

door sophie-koopmans

You know the phrase “you don’t know what you have, until it's gone”? Well, that is exactly what happened to me. Ironically, it wasn’t until I had an accident that left me on the couch for 2 months, that I realized how much our bodies do for us and how little I had done for mine in the last few years. It took me getting into a situation where I couldn't do anything at all to have this appreciation for my body.

When summer started rolling around, I felt like everyone seemed to be worried about one thing….how to get that amazing bikini body. The gyms started to get full again, more people were seen running outside and people started going on extreme diets to help them get in shape fast for this summer.  While I personally also get extra motivated when I think about that sexy bikini I want to wear with confidence, this shouldn’t be someone's sole motivation when they want to embark on a fit journey.

I think that there is no ideal time of the year to start working on yourself. You don’t have to wait until summer is close or for the New Year to start in order for you to begin exercising and eating well. Take it from me!

How the journey began

Last year, I went on a ski trip where I ended up breaking the interior cruciate ligament of my left knee. I also gave myself two bone bruises. Because of the bone bruises, I couldn’t do anything at all because every slight movement was extremely painful. It really was the worst pain that I have ever experienced. While waiting for the bone bruises to go away and till I was able to move my leg again, all I did for 2 months straight was watch TV from my couch. When I finally could move, I started going to physiotherapy. By this point it was already too late, after not using my left leg at all for 2 months, it had become a “pudding” leg...there was seriously no muscle at all! I have never seen any part of my body in such a state.

Physiotherapy did not help my injury, so the only option I had left was to have a surgery to reconstruct the ligament and regain mobility of my knee.  After my surgery,  I had to start from zero once again. My life revolved around going to physiotherapy every single day just to try to gain muscle again and to help everything to heal faster.  After only 3 weeks, my leg started to look normal again and the progress was undeniable.

I was amazed to see how much my body was cooperating with me in order to get stronger, and it was at this point that I developed a love for exercise and a better sense of appreciation of my body. Ever since then, I started going to the gym and taking care of what I ate because I wanted to become a healthy and strong woman. After some months, I really started to see results.  I don’t think I will ever give up this new healthy lifestyle!

Nurturing a good relationship with my body

Before my knee injury, I had never been a sporty person, but I was always concerned with being skinny. Because I didn’t like to exercise or eat healthy at all,  the only way I had left to become skinny was to barely eat. This led to developing anorexia when I was just 14 years old. Ironically, after I got better, I started to eat compulsively, so my weight ended up yoyo-ing from sometimes fat to sometimes skinny.

So, my relationship with food and exercise was never really good until I had to take care of my body for my health, and not just for my image. For the first time in my life, I started to listen to my body and nourish it. I've found that exercising makes me feel more connected to myself and more aware of what is happening inside my head. All in all, it has brought me a new sense of balance, peace and happiness.

I wanted to share my personal journey to show that we all have different paths we need to follow on our way to becoming fit, and different reasons as to why we decide to do so. Some people want to lose weight, others want to gain muscle, others - like me - have to because of an injury, etc. I think that sometimes we tend to compare ourselves to pictures from girls we see on Instagram and start diminishing our accomplishments. But being fit is about being healthier and happier with yourself, not about being skinny and having the most amazing flat and defined abs.

Learning to appreciate our bodies and treat it as a temple is really the most important thing you have to do. Once you do these things, everything else will fall into place. You will naturally start eating healthier and exercising more often, and results will come. Personally, I’m still far away from my goals and my dream body, but guess what? I’ve never been healthier and happier. Remember, small changes lead to great things.