Kaylee Shorter opens up in her online blog about her weight loss journey and how her priorities have shifted from losing weight, to gaining muscle and getting stronger.
Before Kaylee understood her body and nutrition, she developed an eating disorder and reveals what it’s really like. “It was a vicious cycle. I would binge, feel awful about it, try to restrict and make up for it the next day, and then feel totally deprived and do it all again.”
Find out below how Kaylee got over the disorder and how she transformed her body into what it is today!
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How It All Started
“I developed an interest in health, nutrition, and fitness when I was only 13 years old. At 13, I began to feel the pressures of society and the common desire to be thin. I was not “fat” by any means, but a little bit thicker, probably about 130 pounds at 5’1″.
I developed an extremely unhealthy obsession with calorie counting and cardio. I weighed myself almost every day and was never satisfied with my results. Even if I lost weight, in my eyes, it wasn’t enough. I would eat about 800-1200 calories a day and would beat myself up if i didn’t do at least 40 minutes of cardio, in addition to swim team practice for an hour to two hours.
I got down to about 95 pounds and was extremely unhappy. I never allowed myself treats and constantly felt deprived and like a slave to my weight. Maintaining this low of a weight felt like a battle every single day. My metabolism was screwed from eating so little while simultaneously using so much energy for daily swim practice and cardio.
I was only 13. 😦 It makes me sad to think about how young I was. My sister is that age now, and she is just a child to me still. Anyway, this lifestyle lasted for about five months.”
High School & Eating Disorders
In high school, I quit this lifestyle. I began to allow myself treats. I quit the swim team. I did not force myself to do cardio. I stopped eating so little. Yet, my metabolism was screwed from what I had done to it by eating so little and working out so much.
At that point, I had conditioned my body to conserve every morsel of food I ate due to the constant and drastic calorie deficit. So, you can imagine, when I returned to “normal” eating, probably an average of 2000 calories a day, my weight skyrocketed. By the end of freshman year, I hit 145 pounds. Within 10 months, I gained almost 50 pounds. The weight gain continued.
By the end of high school, I hit 170 pounds. I felt absolutely awful knowing that all my peers saw me lose all this weight, and then gain back so much more. My confidence was nonexistent. I looked to others for validation. Yes, I was still a funny and nice person to be around, simply because that’s who I am, but no, I was not happy. Not like I am now.
How did this weight gain happen, you may ask? Well, initially, I screwed my metabolism. Eating amounts of food that would normally be sufficient for weight maintenance of a girl my age and size were being stored as fat and causing me to gain weight. This was extremely discouraging, as I knew I simply could not return to the constant calorie deficit I maintained during my drastic weight loss when I was 13.
So, as a result of all this stress, I developed an eating disorder. An ugly gross bitch nasty eating disorder.
It is still hard for me to admit to this day-the embarrassment of it is still there. However, having overcome it, I feel it is something I need to share for the purpose of helping others. “Binge” eating disorder is a disorder in which you get to a point of such a loss of control over food that you literally stuff your face with all the unhealthy shit you have at some point restricted, to the point of being so full you’re uncomfortable.
I found myself doing it all the time, increasingly throughout my high school career, to the point where it was happening almost every other day. It was a vicious cycle. I would binge, feel awful about it, try to restrict and make up for it the next day, and then feel totally deprived and do it all again. I tried to maintain a grain-free and very low carb diet throughout high school to try to lose some of the weight I put on, but the heavy and unrealistic restriction just led to me binging on that stuff anyway.
I did workout regularly, probably about five times a week, but only ever did 40 minutes to an hour of steady-state cardio and ab work. Nothing close to enough to make up for the amount of food I was consuming. So the weight piled on.
I need to make a note that while this was happening, I was CONSTANTLY researching diet and how food affects the body. I had WAY more knowledge concerning nutrition than the average person. The problem was, though, that I would read and read and learn, and try to be perfect based on the information that I was acquiring. I WAS knowledgable, but the knowledge led to me trying to hard to be perfect with my diet which thus backfired and led to binges.
I knew that what I was doing was hurting me and my goals, that’s almost why I did it. The restrictions I set for myself backfired. I’ve just come to accept that restriction simply does not work for me.
Overcoming The Disorder
So the real question- how the in the shit did I overcome this piece of shit disorder??? I stopped restricting myself. I took a step back. I let myself, instead of being in a constant battle of trying to lose weight, instead focus on weight maintenance. I made no foods off limits. And you know what? It worked.
When I didn’t have certain foods off limits all the time, I found I didn’t want them as much. I even refused them. Most of the time though, I ate them! Having certain foods not on restriction all the time made it ok to be satisfied with just one serving instead of the whole, “oh, I fucked up already, might as well go all out and eat as much of it as I can now before I restrict it again” mindset.
It’s all psychological. You want what you can’t have. We all know this. By the end of freshman year of college, I hadn’t binged at all. And, in the process, got down to about 160 pounds. I made overcoming binging a priority before I made losing weight a priority. It was important to acknowledge and overcome my problem before trying to proceed to lose weight.
After I realized that restricting certain foods obviously did not work for me, and after I realized how to keep myself from being tempted to binge, I made a decision that the summer before sophomore year of college would be the summer I was finally successful with solid and SUSTAINED weight loss.
The summer where I would commit but not restrict myself. The summer where instead of trying to lose 20 pounds in a month, I would go slow and steady. Not down to 95 pounds again. Not even a specific goal weight in mind. My goal was simply to have consistent progress, however small it may be.
After being called fat too many times, I was ready to show what I was made of. Ready to prove that instead of always preaching about nutrition and how food affects your body, show that I actually did know what I was talking about. Be a walking example.
So that is exactly what I did.
How I Did It..
That entire summer, I committed to the gym. I began to incorporate more into my workouts besides cardio and abs. I began to incorporate leg and butt exercises. I stuck to it. I worked out an hour a day max. I had one rest day. Maintaining consistency with this was not a piece of cake, but it was not unattainable for me either. Trying to be perfect with my diet and workouts was what set me up for failure in the past. I was not going to make that mistake again.
I was able to stick to around 1700 calories a day without feeling too restricted. Did i go over sometimes? Hell yeah. But only slightly. Nothing like when I would binge and probably consume 4000-5000 calories in one day. Instead of making certain foods off limits, I worked them into my daily goals. I knew that if I was going to have a treat, that would mean less of something else later in the day. I saw results. I was losing about one pound a week. Nothing too drastic, but progress, nonetheless.
I was feeling good. By August, my friends were telling me of the difference they noticed. Results motivated me to keep pushing. By the time school started, I was finally under 150 pounds- a hump I constantly struggled to get over.
Upon returning to school for sophomore year, the feedback I recieved from everyone was so positive and encouraging! The results motivated me to keep going. Why stop there? I finally felt in control and ready to continue. I began to really focus my workouts on more body weight exercises and use more machines in the gym than I ever used to.
I maintained my weight, but gained muscle and lost some fat and altered my body shape a bit throughout sophomore year. I have always been chesty , so I created a new goal to build my legs and booty so as to look more proportional. The gym became an addiction. A healthy one, though.
I fell in love with working out and how it made me feel. Being in shape made every day activities easier. I was able to walk stairs, and work long shifts without exhaustion. I had energy. Was my body where I wanted it to be yet? Was it perfect? No, not by any means! Not even close! That’s beside the point, though. The sense of accomplishment and committment I acquired throughout the process had (and still has) my confidence and happiness soaring!
I was so proud of how far I had come. I felt happy and like I could conquer so much more in life if I really wanted it, even if it was not weight related.
Taking Things To The Next Level
Junior year, I started to see more and more fitness related social media accounts with incredible advice. I noticed that women who preached about lifting weights looked absolutely incredible. I absolutely loved the strong and curvy look. I wanted it for myself and knew it was attainable. I kept seeing this acronym- “IIFYM” and was wondering what the heck it was about.
IIFYM – If it fits your macros. This means that people following this diet or, should I say, lifestyle, simply set goals for their daily carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake, and without limiting themselves any foods in particular whatsoever. Instead, IIFYM simply focuses on hitting your macronutrient targets every day, whatever they may be. This may seem grueling to some people, but I was already so used to calorie counting that I was willing to give it a shot. It made perfect sense, since losing weight or building muscle simply comes down to energy expenditure versus energy taken in.
So in October, I slowly but surely began weightlifting, looked up my macros based on my specifc needs, and I fell in absolute LOVE with the lifestyle. It was intimidating at first, walking into the weight room with all the guys who clearly knew what they were doing, but I was constantly educating myself. Constantly fiending for more information, more exercises, how to do exercises correctly and effectively, how to be successful.
After a few months, I was loving the results so much that I decided I wanted to pursue a career in Personal Training and helping others overcome the same struggle that I did. I switched my major to exercise science and took strength training, learned how to properly weight lift and have fallen in absolute love with it. So here I am now, starting this blog with the hopes that people that were just like me are able to look at what I’ve overcome, feel inspired, and committ to success themselves!
This process and the purpose of me sharing my story, workouts, and advice is less about the vanity of looking good, of course we all want to look good!! But it’s more about helping people realize what they are capable of. Helping people feel accomplished. Helping people realize that they can do anything if they want it badly enough. You have probably heard that throughout your entire life. I always dismissed it.
Yeah, yeah I can do anything blah blah blah you’re corny. But after experiencing it myself, I promise you, it’s true. Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. My purpose in creating this blog is to get you guys to 100% believe that YOU CAN, and to provide you with the tools to help guide you along the way.