Rainbow-Rose Blossom is our Body Shop person of inspiration for October. Rainbow chose to share her personal and powerful story in Fitness Journal to inspire and help people and to bring awareness to eating disorders.
Rainbow shares her story below:
“I guess you could say I was a normal kid… a far cry from who I am today. I had a normal name, brown hair and was shy and sensitive, but filled with smiles. I got the nickname midge mouse because I was so tiny. I kept up with the other kids and I was just like everyone else for the most part.
My life changed when I was nine and I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a result of whooping cough. Every 6-8 weeks my body would mimic the symptoms of whooping cough and I spent a lot my childhood completely exhausted; with poor concentration, headaches, body aches, weakened immune system and a horrendous sounding cough.
I was given an adult shock dose of prednisone (a steroid) to try and help my weakened immune system. One of the side effects was massive weight gain and I became overweight. I couldn’t exercise because I was so exhausted all the time and only attended school part time which meant I missed out a lot socially. My Mum had to quit her job to look after me and I blamed myself for becoming sick. During this time I became interested in alternative music and fashion, as it was something I related to. But between this and my illness, I became very different to my peers, didn’t fit in, never felt good enough and I hated myself for it.
The CFS lasted for seven years until I was 16. However when I was 15, I read that eating healthily could helps with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I began chopping out some foods. I felt better and eventually chopped out more and began eating less and less, as the voices in my head were telling me – and had been for a long time, that I wasn’t good enough, was worthless and fat.
My weight dropped drastically and I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I felt worthless, ugly, fat and disgusting beyond words, like I was nothing and that I wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone, including food because I wasn’t good enough to live. I was terrified to eat a single blueberry, weighing myself up to nine times in a single session and had a tortuous bathroom ritual which involved trying to make myself throw up; the “voices” demanding me to stand in front of the mirror, while ridiculing and torturing me and then to do a certain amount of sit ups. It left me feeling like any part of a soul I had, was shattered into tiny pieces. Every single part of my mind was tortured and possessed by the demon living in my head in which I didn’t want to live or die, so around I went in a vicious circle of mind games, body dysmorphia, self hatred, feeling trapped, lost, stuck, broken and alone.
Someone once told me I would wake up and realise that there was more to life and that I was worth more than this. Fortunately I had that day on the 22nd February 2011. I was sick and tired of being told what I could and could not do and I realised how much it was hurting my parents. I wanted to reach my dreams of becoming strong and gaining muscle, going vegetarian and leaving home, so I decided to fight for my dreams and began the process of recovery. Recovery is one of the most painful things to ever do because you are confronting your demons and every single thing that has gotten you to where you are, but it is also one of the most beautiful as you start climbing the ladder of being free and growing as a person. My parents took full control of my food during my weight gain phase. I struggled with self harming and water loading but I visualised my dreams while I ate and my goal was to see food as fuel and that we eat to live.
A couple months into recovery I wanted to give up, but I started to realise I really did want to make my dreams come true. I discovered Radical Self Love from a blogger called Gala Darling; I was learning to love myself for the first time in my life! I knew if I was going to get through this that I wanted to do it in style and be something extraordinary and most importantly be me to the fullest! I decided to legally change my name as a way to let go of my past. My birth name had taken on dark memories and reminders and never truly felt like me. I had been having my hair dyed bright rainbow colours since I was 16 and had very eccentric fashion. Rainbows also had another very special meaning to me through my pain (the rain), I discovered my style and who I am (the sun), creating all the colours of the rainbow (who I am today and my growth).
My full name Rainbow-Rose Blossom means growing into different colours of love representing that through everything you go through in life it grows you and you become a better person.
Once I reached my goal weight, I moved cities, went vegetarian, joined a gym, got a personal trainer and an amazing counsellor and began my fitness journey. Some of my gym highlights so far include a 10 minute plank, 60kg 1 rep max deadlift, 10 pull ups unassisted and 34 boy push ups. My fitness journey has also come with challenges from struggles with food, gaining weight to build muscle, sickness and injury, but I have found a true passion for exercise especially lifting along with muscle building and clean eating. Exercise and being able to be healthy and strong are some of the greatest gifts that have come from recovery. After being unhealthy and unable to do it for so long, I am the strongest, healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been.
I have good and bad days but I am truly grateful for my journey. I wouldn’t be who I am today and have the knowledge, wisdom, strength, gratitude and the relationship with my parents that I do now and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I love that I am different and that I am me. It is truly the most beautiful, inspirational and powerful thing you can ever – the unique person that you are.
I gained my personal training certificates and I write a blog under my name (www.rainbow-roseblossom.blogspot.co.nz) where I share my knowledge, inspiration and uniqueness. My dream now is to be a fitness model/personality teaching people how to love themselves, to fight for their dreams, be healthy and strong and to inspire the world.