This post has been updated and edited since its publish date OCT 27th 2016 to reflect where I am now. All of the original content is the same I have just added something onto the end which I will flag as edited.
First of all I call this a journey rather than a transformation as I don't believe it's over. Fitness and health is part of my lifestyle therefore any changes are continuous as I keeping learning and growing. I wanted to share this as a kind of update on where I am, looking back on where I have come from and also to share it with my new readers. The aim is to give you an insight into the different stages to my journey and how I have changed physically but most importantly mentally. There are no extremes in my journey but i have been in situations I am sure many of you can relate and I want to be able to help you get out of them
A lot has happened between these 2 pictures it hasn't been as simple as just putting some muscle as they might lead you to believe ...
I've always been pretty slim (or skinny as I was called) whilst growing up its my genetics to be so. So when I first started losing the weight it wasn't that noticeable to me or the people around me and it wasn't intentional at first ... I was just super busy and would forget to eat proper meals. However I then started to notice and liked it but wanted to be smaller, so I obsessed over calories never eating over 1000 a day but not caring what that 1000 was made up of. Diet drinks were my go to as was cereal and my training consisted of dancing, running and ab work. People around me noticed and tried to help but I refused to listen as I was happy ... It was at the same time that my body dysmorphia started to kick in as did my binge eating (BED). Always thinking I was bigger than I was, starving myself then binging uncontrollably. (A great post all about binge eating here written by my friend).
University was a step in the right direction as I realised if I wanted to dance full time I needed to eat more and after talks with a variety of people I started to do just that.
However it's here where it all goes a bit wobbly. Yes I started to eat more but I was still calorie counting, still scared of so many food types, obsessive over exercise and my body dysmorphia disorder (BDD) was in full swing. Always dieting. Always feeling guilty for going out, eating out, missing the gym. Always feeling bigger than my friends. Always comparing. In times of stress, upset or boredom I would binge - uncontrollably then feel horrendous. Through my eating disorder I had damaged my metabolism and created a load of digestive issues which also didn't help my BDD or BED. I did get more relaxed around food and training as these next 3 years went on but it was so easy to slip up and i did on many occasions. Resulting in me becoming 'skinny fat' when you look slim but have a high body fat percentage than you should do. On the outside I looked fine on the inside it was constant battle between being super strict and not giving a care.
Moving to Manchester and pursuing a career in fitness is probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. It made me a lot happier and relaxed but it also made me realise what I had put my body through over the past 4 years. And I wanted to change! I started to lift weights and I loved the strength my body had, the way I could create shape in my body and most of all I enjoyed it. However with this new training came a new way of eating and in true Vicki style I threw myself into the fitness way of eating - more protein, carb cycling, high fat meals, all the peanut butter, IIFYM, clean eating etc I did it all and I did it wrong. I started to gain a lot of weight but it wasn't really noticeable to many except me but I couldn't seem to lose it. And still BDD was there and the BED not so much but it made appearances now and then. Being a PT can put a lot of pressure on you to look a certain way and I did feel this pressure and it was around April 2015 when I was at my 'biggest' - never overweight but for me it wasn't healthy where I was. I was unhappy in myself, my confidence was an all time low and my work was suffering.
SO I decided to change I got a nutrition coach Sophia who helped me establish the right nutrition and relationship with food. I started to see positive change and it was great , my binge eating almost stopped and I was feeling good. Seeking help isn't a bad thing and if you need it just go for it because I promise you it will make it 100 times better for you.
Over the next year and a half I prepped for a photoshoot, reverse dieted back to maintenance, let myself go a bit over Christmas, tried new training methods and basically just tried to find my groove. I've gained some body fat and muscle and then started a little cut to reveal the muscle I had made and prepped for another shoot. All the while battling with my body dysmorphia.
2016 (edited section in italics)
This was the start of the change in mindset. It was from a holiday I had been on which became the turning point for me as I realised I needed to shift my focus from the physical to the mental side of it. I wasn't 100% happy at this time with myself and my body and I did still have negative thoughts but it was going to take time. At the point of originally posting this in October 2016 I was happy with how I looked but I was also coming off the back of a photoshoot so I did have the aesthetic driver still there. These words following were true but in a slightly veiled "fitspo" way: 'I can now say hand on my heart I am happy with how I look, how I eat and how I train. My mindset is completely different to the girl you have read about in the last few paragraphs. I love my body but I should have loved it then. Yes aesthetics are great and I won't lie and say I don't care how I look because I do. But what I care more about now is the strength my body has, how fit and healthy I am, how happy I am in my work and my life. I eat foods that i enjoy that will fuel my body but if I want some chocolate or a glass of prosecco or 2 I will. I don't restrict any more so I don't feel the need to binge. I train hard in the gym but if I don't want to train then I wont and I won't feel guilty about it. I look in the mirror and embrace any flaws I am seeing that day and I love them anyway'
EDITED AND ADDED SECTION
Over the next 3 years I went from the girl posing above saying she was happy but influenced by that "fitspo" life to the woman I am today completely in tune with myself. I've worked hard on my mental health and mindset to change it from a negative to a positive place. I have taken the time to work out how to be real and not be affected by what I see in the media, what I believe I should say as a PT and be my true self.
As anyone who has recovered from an eating disorder I still have occasional thoughts and triggers that could set me back but fortunately I am in a better place to manage them. I still have moments when I look in the mirror and feel meh about myself but it doesn't stay and I don't focus on it. Comparison is still there but again it isn't an all consuming exercise.
Instead I can appreciate who I am and my body, be confident in my own skin and when I look at myself now it's just me. No judgement, no scrutiny just acceptance. It's why I am so passionate about helping women realise there is more to life than your body or a number on a scale. Why I want to rid the world of diet culture and unrealistic society standards. Women deserve to feel confident, feel happy and feel at one with who they are.
I wish the girl from 2010 believed that as I don't think she would have thought this possible.
Thank you for reading and i hope if I can help just 1 person then it has been worth sharing :)