Fitmark Ambassador Aeryon Ashlie struggled for years trying to find a healthy balance between post-competition rebound and her own issues with food. It was the birth of her daughter that sparked her desire to become a positive role model and share her story.
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, and the positive feedback I get from women and men trying to overcome eating disorders is so gratifying.
Feeling good and looking good are healthy pursuits, provided you keep everything in balance. For Aeryon, it was a constant struggle once the structure of stage-prep came to an end. Without the focus of an end goal in sight, post competition became a trigger her habit to give into temptation and indulge to the extreme. Until she was “back to bulimia,” gaining more weight than she expected, and completely out of control. She told us:
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.
Eating disorders affect millions and millions of people all over the world and across all ages, and it may surprise you to learn that many of them are athletes. Aeryon has found through her own struggle and her online followers that many people suffer in silence with the guilt and shame for years and years, without ever getting help. She told us:
I guess the biggest thing is that unlike most addictions you can’t stop eating….so finding management is key. I never thought I would be at the point I am now….I remember sitting on the floor in front of the toilet crying just wishing….I could not deal with it anymore….
It was fitness that saved Aeryon and the very same structure of stage prep, dieting and meal planning. Training for competition and having that end goal in mind always had a positive effect on her eating disorder and helped tame the urge to binge. So Aeryon applied those rules to her everyday life and found a way to stay on track and manage her eating disorder. Setting post-competition goals and sticking to her meal prep once the show was over left no room for straying of course. She told us:
It’s kind of ironic, actually, but I am blessed to have the tools from my fitness career to help manage my eating disorder.
The Silent Struggle
With a strong online following and an established career in fitness, Aeryon decided it was time to speak out about eating disorders. She told us:
Several years ago, I started giving public talks regarding how I work through and manage my eating disorder. I was continuously getting messages asking for help and guidance, so I decided having something I can refer people to would be a help. Another thing I realized is this topic is often regarded as a young person’s issue and the people reaching out to me were often in their late 30’s, some even 40-50’s who were still struggling in silence.
- Fitmark Ambassador: Aeryon Ashlie
- Lifestyle: Fitness Model, Fitness Competitor, Supplements Queen, Spokesperson, Mom
- Favorite Fitmark Bags: Performance Duffel⎜Envoy Backpack⎜the Shield⎜Max Rep Transition Pack
Spreading the Word
Aeryon has turned her Bulimia to Balance talk into an eBook, so she can reach more people and help them manage their own eating disorders. She told us:
I believe that people with ED thrive on structure and control. Now I can only speak for myself, but as I started out on my journey in understanding my illness, I could see how competing was a great appeal to me. The problem for me always lied in after the “after show” when the strict structure was gone and I had to find a way to manage. In talking to most athletes with ED, they all expressed the same feelings.
Menu Planning and Meal Prep
One of the best management tools Aeryon has found that keeps her on track is meal prep. She told us:
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. My Fitmark Bags are essential in both my fitness and bulimia management, actually.
Developing a positive body image and a healthy relationship with food is something Aeryon is passionate about. She has appeared at the Vancouver Pro Show, The West Coast Women’s Show, and will speaking this fall at the Vancouver Health Show. She told us:
I believe giving people the hope that they are not alone, that ED is not something to be ashamed of, and that they can learn to manage their ED is very important.
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team