Taking Care of Both Your Mind and Your Body with Xercise4Less Gyms
Sometimes it can be hard to understand how connected our physical fitness is to our mental wellbeing. And sometimes a breakdown in our mental strength can lead to a life-threatening situation for our bodies. That’s what happened to one of our Xercise4Less Wigan Personal Trainers, Beth.
In 2012, just before her 12th birthday, Beth was unfortunately diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She found it very difficult to deal with her new-found medical condition. As Beth admitted, “it hit me hard”. To add to her weakened physical health, she found caring for her condition mentally draining. Beth explains that “after years of hating the same routine every day, I stopped looking after my diabetes”.
Soon her medical situation spun out of control, she “let it control me” and “before I knew it, I had diabulimia and depression”. Beth lost so much weight that at one point she weighed shockingly just 3 and a half stone and was close to death as the picture on the left shows all too clearly.
Thankfully Beth managed to pull herself out of this serious situation with a lot of mental hard work and the help of exercise. These days she is happier than ever and weighs a healthy 10 and a half stone as you can see in the picture on the right.
The Struggle to Overcome Eating Disorders
The type of eating disorder that Beth suffered from is increasingly common in the UK’s population with society’s unhealthy focus on the ‘perfect’ body shape. Women, in particular, suffer from bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder. Beth suffered from diabulimia: an eating disorder common in a diabetic where the person purposefully restricts insulin to lose weight.
Diabulimia is also desperately common with up to a third of women with Type 1 diabetes and even higher levels among the 15-30 age group. The consequences of diabulimia can be severe, leading to organ damage, stroke and even death, which Beth came close to.
So how did Beth manage to pull herself and her body back from the brink?
Realising a Positive Body Image through Exercise
As Beth says, “everyone has a goal in life” and initially when she had started to recover from her weakened physical condition and low mental state, her goal was to get fit. Then her goal was to join the Marines. She worked hard to “smash my goal” but due to her health condition that ambition proved just out of reach.
When she recalibrated her personal goals though, Beth realised that becoming a Personal Trainer at the Xercise4Less Wigan Gym would enable her to “help others achieve their goals” as well as allowing her to “understand and enjoy fitness” for herself. Working at our inclusive gym in Wigan, she quickly realised that she wasn’t bothered about being “the most athletic or the muscliest or the slimmest”.
Beth didn’t focus on her body image, she worked out “to be healthy” and “to control my diabetes rather than it controlling me”. She wanted to be “strong inside and out” and never experience diabulimia again. Exercising in a friendly and supportive gym every day meant Beth could avoid judging her body and “just focus on a better you”.
Strengthen Your Mental Health and Wellbeing with Xercise4Less Gyms
Beth wanted to share her story to inspire our gym community. Her experience shows that no matter your fitness level or how low you’re feeling, working out at your local gym can be hugely beneficial. As you’ve seen with Beth, exercise has been a constant strength in her struggle with health issues and with mental depression.
When you join our Wigan gym or work out at any of Xercise4Less gyms, you’ll be part of a real community of supportive and likeminded people who want to improve their physical fitness and their mental wellbeing. You can work with Personal Trainers like Beth who will encourage and motivate you to realise your personal fitness ambitions. Your health is in your own hands, but Xercise4Less Gyms will also be there to hold your hand right through your fitness journey whether you’re ready to join a gym, new to gyms, a casual gym goer or already an experienced gym user.