Powerlifting as a way to battle eating disorders

As an outsider to a particular sport, it can sometimes be hard to understand why the people that do it love what they do, especially something like Powerlifting!

Often, getting into new sports has the ability to do much more than build a strong and capable body – it can awaken you to new ways of thinking about yourself and help to battle the stresses of daily life by allocating time in the day just for you.

One of our Deadlift Divas, Grace, has kindly shared some of her reasons for getting into Powerlifting, and speaks about how this has helped her to overcome negative thoughts and feelings surrounding eating. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story with us!

How did you get into powerlifting?

I first got into Powerlifting by being introduced to the Deadlift Divas at MYGYM by a friend who ran an Acroyoga class. After going to the first session, meeting all the ladies and seeing how enthusiastic and supportive Christie (Diva leader) was, I couldn’t wait to go to the next class. The “bug” for me really happened when I entered my first competition, the training leading up to it and the atmosphere on the day – that was it for me, I knew this was something that I really loved and wanted to continue doing.

What attracted you to the sport?

I had wanted to get into lifting at the gym for a while, but had no idea where to start or what I was doing! So the taster session for Deadlift Divas was a god send. Initially what attracted me was the ability to gain strength – I’m a vet student so often have to deal with some rather large and strong animals! In the farming community especially, there was a stigma attached to female vets not being strong enough to do certain things, so I guess I wanted to prove them wrong. At the time I was also just out of recovering from an eating disorder, I’d spent so long being fragile and so this was another driver for me to get stronger.

What do you like most about lifting?

First and foremost is the fact it allows me to de-stress and focus. I know that when I step foot in the gym and walk up to the bar, whatever has been stressing me, causing me anxiety or to generally feel crappy goes out the window. For that hour and a half it allows me to clear my head, put my worries to one side and to really connect with myself.

Secondly, it allows me to appreciate what my body can do, instead of focusing negatively on how it looks, for example. Through powerlifting, I have increased my body confidence and self esteem ten-fold. This sport allows me day by day, week by week to get stronger both physically and mentally. I know that to lift I need to fuel myself adequately, this simple fact has helped me to tackle my eating disorder at times when previously I may have slipped back into “bad habits”. In fact, even when I have slipped into bad habits, Powerlifting has helped me to gain the courage to fight back against my disorder and get back on the recovery wagon.

Lastly, I adore the community and supportive environment it encourages. I have done 2 competitions now and it still amazes me how everyone cheers everyone else on, whether you lift just the bar or 3 times your body weight!  I guess it’s because everyone understands that each lifter is going through their own individual competition and everyone has their own personal battles. We are a small community so we are all supportive of each other, rather like one big family – which I love! I know that if I have an issue, whether that’s gym related or not, I have people I can turn to and people to listen.

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