Tiffany Gaston realized her daughters were the same age as when she struggled with her own body image so she shares how she found a healthier path.
How has your weight seesawed?
As a young girl, I developed on the frame of a gymnast. Before long, it became my mission to strip the muscle from my frame in an effort to become more like the supermodels I envied.
I took on extremely dangerous habits due to my body dysmorphia and, soon after, I battled anorexia and won.
What was your turning point?
My parents pointed it out and I knew I’d have to enter a treatment facility if I did not commit to changing my ways, but more so, my warped mentality. I was fearful but I knew that I had a problem and I knew I was self-harming.
My main issue, I came to understand, had more to do with what my ideal body type should be and in not embracing my own genetics. I would never be like the 6ft runway models I admired. However, I could become my own image of beauty. In a world so inundated with social media and images that are altered, we mustn’t look up to anyone but the reflection in the mirror.
How did you change your diet at first?
Under the guidance of a therapist, I had to slowly reintroduce foods as I had severely shrunken my stomach and had been utilizing mind control as a means of withholding food and starving my already small frame.
Using therapy to understand my condition, practice and persistence in executing a completely different mindset and ultimately time to heal, allowed me to regain control of a healthier more balanced lifestyle.
I have been enjoying an anti-inflammatory diet for the past five years and would mostly identify with being Paleo. My balance comes in the form of open meals weekly with family and friends and I never feel deprived.
When did you get serious about training?
I began lifting weights at the age of 16. Prior, I had been very active as a gymnast, track, and cross country athlete. I found that weight training lent itself to the betterment of my other sports and transformed my body and mind into a strong powerful tool, which I used to overcome my body issues and helped to improve my self-esteem and confidence in my athletic appearance.
Now, a 39-year-old happy, healthy wife and mother of three, I have learned to embrace my body, love it for what it is and the strength I know it to be capable of. The only goal I chase physically is to continually challenge and improve myself.
This is tremendously important to me since my three children are always watching. My hope for them is to always choose strong over skinny and to love themselves for the unique individuals they are.
For more transformation stories, sign up to the TRAIN for HER newsletter today!