If there’s one thing that Fitmark Ambassador Aeryon Ashlie aims to achieve in life, it’s being a positive role model to her daughter and her followers. Like so many parents who want to raise healthy children, Aeryon understands the importance of developing a healthy relationship with food at a very young age. Food and body image are often intertwined, and having struggled with her own eating disorder since the age of 13, Aeryon’s now on the right path and headed in a different direction, setting a good example for her daughter and her followers.
I’m not perfect, but I am working everyday to become the best I can be and become a positive role model for my daughter and followers ~ Fitmark Ambassador Aeryon Ashlie (@aeryonbelaashlie)
Having grown up with a bodybuilder for a father and a figure skater for a mother, fitness and athleticism, not to mention aesthetics, was a way of life for Aeryon’s family. She told us:
I have always been active and in sports with a mother as a figure skating coach and my father being bodybuilder. Health and fitness was always emphasized in our household. When I turned 16, I began going to the gym and discovered a love and passion for lifting.
First Steps into the World of Fitness Competition
While Aeryon continued to struggle with her eating disorder, it started to take a toll on her health. But it was fitness that saved her life. In 2002, encouraged by some of her friends and colleagues in the fitness industry, Aeryon took her passion for weight lifting to the next level and started training for her first fitness competition.
I’m so glad that I made that choice. One of the most surprising factors that resulted from training for my fitness competitions was the positive effect it had on my eating disorder. A constructive element to that type of training was adhering to a structured diet and meal plan. I had tried and failed at diets before, but this time, I had an end goal in mind. I wanted to be successful in the show. The result of this focus had the effect of taming my urges to binge.
Life After Competition
Aeryon thought she had found the solution. But like so many competitors who get carried away and binge after a show, Aeryon “fell back into the same bulimic patterns” each time. Without the regimen of training and dieting for competition, Aeryon’s struggle with her weight and body image progressively got worse.
Once the competition ended, and I lost my focus, I rebounded back into the habits that had dominated so much of my life; I was back to bulimia.
She gained more weight than she ever expected, and felt completely out of control. But that all changed in 2008 with the birth of her daughter, Mekaella. Aeryon decided it was time to get help and get control of her bulimia, so her daughter wouldn’t grow up with the same negative body issues. She wanted to be a positive role model for her daughter.
According to ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), over thirty million people in North America suffer from some kind of an eating disorder or disordered eating. It has the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness (Canadian Mental Health Association). The demographic tends to be women, and usually, those involved in athletics, especially competitive sports ~ excerpt from Bulimia to Balance by Aeryon Ashlie
It was a long and emotional struggle with many setbacks, but Aeryon has risen from the flames. She now loves her body and is enjoying a healthy relationship with food. You can read the whole story in Aeryon’s upcoming eBook called, Bulimia to Balance.
Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food
Both Bulimia and Binge Eating are similar to one another in that they result in extreme shame and guilt after an episode.
A lot of shame and guilt exists around eating disorders (ED), and many suffer in silence before ever seeking help. Aeryon speaks openly about her own struggle in the hopes of starting “a much larger and healthier dialogue about diet, food, and our bodies.” She told us:
The best part of being a fitness professional is the impact you can make on others’ lives. I do a talk on Bulimia to Balance (just finishing up the eBook), and the positive feedback I get from women and men trying to overcome eating disorders is so gratifying.
Love Yourself and Honor Yourself
Aeryon describes herself as a “working mom, spokesperson, supplement sales queen, and athlete.” She’s been working in the fitness industry a long time, not just as an athlete, but also in the field of sports nutrition. She has amassed quite a following on social media and she says:
I am not a trainer anymore, but I do give tips to the many people who reach out daily asking for advice on eating disorders and what tools I use to manage it, as well as questions about how I maintain a healthy look all year. To me, doing a show is not the end goal – looking and feeling great is my end goal.
Let’s take a look at some of those tips:
Aeryon Ashlie’s Top 4 Fitness Tips
- Plan your meals (part of my success in overcoming my bulimia)
- Take time for you
- Move your body
- Forgive yourself…love yourself and honor yourself
Positive Role Models
When it comes to Instagram, Aeryon likes to set an example by showing “many aspects of who” she is. Because it’s not all about looking glamorous in front of the camera. Keeping it real is important if you’re going to stay grounded and keep everything in perspective. She told us:
I want to follow people who have content, who are interesting….lots of people can just post a half naked pic….that doesn’t interest me. I want to see you in your day-to-day…what motivates you…what inspires you. (Also, of course, I like the funny pages!) Look at what you want your message to be. There are so many people trying to make it in this industry that it’s easy to get lost.
Staying on Track with Meal Prep
Aeryon Ashlie’s top tip for staying in shape and on track is meal preparation. Plan your meals ahead of time! Especially if you’re struggling with an eating disorder. Having your meals prepared and with you at all times, is the key in managing eating disorders like bulimia and binge eating. She told us:
My Fitmark bags are essential in both my fitness and bulimia management actually. Part of cognitive behavioural therapy, which is used in the treatment of eating disorders, is planning and preparing your meals. Now, I don’t always need to have my boxed meals, but just as with fitness goals – it keeps me on track and aware of what I’m eating and helps me make better choices.
Aeryon Ashlie’s Favorite Fitmark Bags
Aeryon Ashlie’s Number One Go-To Recipe
I love the crock pot! As a busy single mom on the go, it’s a godsend for me to have meals ready when I get home. Chicken and veg, then I make the carbs when I get home.
Aeryon Ashlie’s Top 3 Fitness Exercises
- Abs: Medicine ball on a Bosu ball using medicine ball for resistance.
- Butt: Sideways on the leg press, no weight working one leg at a time…killer!
- Triceps: Good old-fashioned dips are my favorite!
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team