As much as I tried to escape the past by pretending it didn’t happen… the past ALWAYS comes back to haunt you. It took me an entire decade to wake up to everything that trauma and disordered eating had done to me, my brain, my health, relationships and my entire being. The haunting of my past came rushing back the moment I was sexually assaulted.
My emotional landscape suffered but what happened to my health is something I did not expect.
Trauma is relentless. It comes back in waves. Sometimes for moments, sometimes for weeks. At first it is a shock to the system, but then it turns into a slow drip. A stress hormone called cortisol, along with adrenaline and norepinephrine course throughout your body. Resulting in trauma seeping through your veins. All of these neurochemicals act on each system in the body.
Had a super stressful day? There’s a reason you have a headache.
Nervous about a big day? Your stomach might be in knots.
Just broke up with your girlfriend? Yep, that ache in your chest and muscles isn’t imagined.
The problem is, trauma treatment typically does not include wellness. Psychiatry, psychotherapy, Doctors and maybe a Dietician will be thrown into the mix. These professionals help us SO much with the mental health aspect of things and getting our body medically stable. But is just being medically stable enough?
For me it wasn't. I was an athlete in mind, body and soul and I did not want to lose that part of myself. So I fought every. Damn. Day.
We pick up and carry on and try go back to our old life before the trauma occurred but guess what, you can’t go back to that version of yourself.
Your life and your body have changed.
Let me paint a picture for you on what happened the following year:
My health fell apart.
Nightmares all night, lead to tons of naps each day.
As much as I slept, I was exhausted.
My appetite was gone.
My stomach hurt.
My digestive system slowed.
I lost 20 lbs.
I was dehydrated, my kidneys were stressed out, UTI’s became common.
As an avid athlete, this did not help my performance in the gym.
Trauma had come and stolen part of my identity already. Now my identity as an athlete was being taken from me too.
I searched and I searched for a trauma-program that was holistic and health focused and found NOTHING.
The frustration I felt was unreal, but then I realized… hey wait, I’m an Exercise Physiologist, this is exactly what I went to school for: to help people with illnesses through wellness and exercise.
I turned to the American college of sports medicine where I was licensed as an Exercise physiologist. I cracked open my books and scrolled through the index. Trauma and eating disorder centered care was not there.
How is that trauma can impact so much of my body and yet it is left out of major major textbooks and wellness education?
Trauma-informed care may be a trendy word buzzing around now, but it wasn’t then. I had to do this on my own. It took me 10 years to finally come to a place of feeling OKAY.
I’ve said this many times before but I do believe my background in health and fitness saved my life.
Healing my body and my health became my north star. It helped me to cultivate habit change and I used my knowledge of the body to understand my needs. This was the moment the seed for Empowered was planted.
Empowered RX is a program created by survivors for survivors, to help women and girls get their health back on track after trauma has disrupted it. We know first hand the struggles you are facing, we are in the trenches with you.
For most people- forming health habits is hard enough. Add in mental and physical barriers and it becomes even more so. Often times the trauma creates secondary coping mechanisms that degrade our health in other ways and compound all previous issues. Eating disorders, anger, stress, insomnia. Osteoporosis, mental health illnesses, ulcers, UTI’s you name it, it can happen.
These are the big aftermath symptoms of trauma, but trauma is pervasive. It lives in the fascia and in the muscles of our body. It lives in our ribcage and previous injuries.
Most importantly, it lives as an imprint in your nervous system. This can impact your health, bodily functions, sleep and relationships!
Things like box jumps, jump roping, inversions ,and high intensity exercise can become movements that trigger panic attacks or flashbacks.
For someone with PTSD, the dropping of weights or even being spotted from behind can be triggering.
NONE OF OUR FITNESS EDUCATION IS TEACHING THIS and yet 86% of women have endured trauma.
Empowered RX is determined to change the status quo, offering a more holistic approach to health and wellness that addresses trauma and eating disorders while empowering women to take back their power.
Have you ever had a client who no matter what you do with them, doesn't seem to make progress? How about a client who is always injured and super stressed out? These are no coincidence. The typical health/fitness model will not work, and yet people will spend thousands of dollars looking for answers.
Our Coaches are provided our curriculum which is trauma-informed health, wellness and life coaching. We help women rebuild their life and health from the inside out. Our coaching program is designed to compliment your current education and allow you to provide the best possible service and care to your clients.
If you are a fitness/health coach interested in helping people through their struggles PLEASE reach out. Keep an eye out for our Coaching Articles coming up which will all be geared towards YOU as a Coach and how you can help your client in the trenches.
We specialize in Eating Disorders and Anxiety as it relates to fitness!
Reach out to Leah@empoweredrx.org for more information!
Check out our website at www.empoweredrx.org