Tackling Eating Disorders

*The following post was written by Brooke Beneze and all of the views expressed in this post are hers. As her brother, I absolutely am thrilled that Brooke wanted to come on here and talk about a subject I have very little knowledge or experience with. The beauty in people is that everyone is different, even if they share the same blood. Brooke and I may have slightly different methods for our own health and wellness…but we are both enjoying the journeys that we are individually on. So, of course, I support her and this post wholeheartedly. Enjoy!

Hello! I am very excited to be here! I am Cal’s younger sister, Brooke, and some days, I think we couldn’t be more different. This is why I volunteered to write a post from a different perspective. I really don’t like juice cleanses, food rules, and I don’t feel the need to exercise five-to-six days out of the week, though there was a point in my life when I let those things define me. While I believe Cal’s journey is incredibly impressive and his dedication is inspiring, I think I speak for many when I say that I also think he is CRAZY! All that money?! How many workouts per day?! I couldn’t do it. With that being said, he’s mentioned several times that this is his story and he isn’t trying to tell others how to lose weight.

Everyone goes on a unique journey when it comes to weight loss, body image, and self-esteem. I remember in the fourth grade, one of my best friends made a comment about my looking at food labels before I would eat a snack, and I guess that’s my first memory of when my obsession began.

I don’t think I ever had the healthiest relationship with food and the worst of it was probably from the ages 18-20. I counted EVERYTHING. I counted the calories of the gum that I was chewing, I weighed myself every single day and felt like a failure when I didn’t lose weight and I would never eat a dish if I didn’t know what was in it. I even remember going to bed very early because I was hungry and wanted to just time-warp to breakfast. Today, this behavior is called Orthorexia. I wasn’t Anorexic, I wasn’t Bulimic, I never binged, but I was incredibly restrictive to the point where it was very difficult for me to have a social life and actually like the person that I was in any capacity other than my appearance. I was holding myself back all because I let a number on a scale determine my self-worth. The lowest weight that I ever got to was 101 pounds. And now I weigh about 20 pounds more, I can definitely say I don’t ever want to go back to those days. All of the counting, rules, depression, and isolation was not worth being “skinny.”

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Nearly seven years into my journey, it wasn’t until last October that I gave up counting calories for good. I gave myself a break exercising, too, and I’ve never felt more free. The crazy thing is, I think I’ve actually lost weight, but I don’t really know since I stopped weighing myself, as well. It took me a long time to realize that my habits were detrimental to my mental health. I could never be satisfied with myself and I wasn’t very fun to be around, either.

These days, my goals and my lifestyle are very different. I’m still learning and getting better every day, but I feel like I’ve got a better grasp on balance. I focus on making myself feel good and fueling myself with primarily whole ingredients, while still allowing myself to drink lots of wine sometimes and have a piece of bread at dinner without feeling guilt. Sometimes I do still have weight loss goals, but I feel like it’s more important to just eat some more veggies and less packaged stuff, move around a little bit more, and let my body find it’s happy place. Ultimately, no one really cares about how much you weigh or if you have abs. Most people just want to see you be the happiest and most confident version of yourself.

Now, I want to help others! I want to help people that have had a negative relationship with food in the past, and/or peers that, like myself, work a 9-to-5 desk job and are just starting to become interested in beginning an exercise routine or meal prepping. With so much information out there and different methods being thrown in your face all of the time, it’s really daunting to get started.

My brother is very unique and extremely driven. For him, he can handle exercising as much as he does and being very strict with his diet. For most other people, however, his habits aren’t very realistic. Cal is absolutely fun to watch and his progress is astonishing already, but no, you do not have to do what he does in order to lose weight.

Cal, keep doing you as long as it makes you happy! Thank you for giving me the space to tell my story and offer a different perspective. I began this by saying that I feel like we’re awfully different people, but there’s no denying that we are both also very long-winded, driven, and “fitness-y” people, as well. Love you, brother!

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