Madelyn Moon has come a long way with her body. Suffering with an eating disorder her entire life, the 25-year-old motivational speaker and life coach says she once used fitness competitions to help hide her body dysmorphia.
“When I was younger, I started to create very disordered eating habits with food and I developed body dysmorphia,” Moon told People. “When I found fitness competitions, I realized it was this nice, clean, hidden way to have an eating disorder dressed up with the word ‘fitness.’”
When Moon started working on making her body to make it more muscular, people around her completely ignored the fact that she was losing a large amount of weight. Instead, they showered her with compliments about how toned she was.
“If you have a six-pack or a toned butt, people are like, ‘Wow you’re so fit!’ You get admiration and no one even questions it,” she explained. “When I realized I could diet all my body fat away and have a reason to do it and get admired, to me it was a win-win. I could feel like I was in control of my life, I could perfect myself, and no one would know that it was unhealthy.”
Moon was just 20 years old when she started training for her first competition, committing to an intensive meal prep and exercise routine that required her to workout twice a day six to seven times a week.
“I was given a meal plan by my coach that he told me to stick to to a T,” she said. “It was the same food at the same exact time, and I would make sure it was on the dot. I would pack a disgusting mixture … and bring it to class and let it sit in my warm backpack all morning, and then whenever the time came to have it I would drink it. That’s how rigid I would be. I would never go anywhere without my meals.”
She continued, “I felt terrible. was eating almost no dietary fat or carbohydrates so I felt very sluggish, my digestion was awful and my brain was very cloudy. During one of my preps, my coach told me to have 240 grams of protein per day so I was eating more protein than my body could even process. I was really serious and focused – there was no laughter or joy.”
Despite her petite frame, Moon admitted that she was never fully satisfied with her body’s transformation.
“On one side I was like, I’m finally getting there, I’m getting leaner and smaller and smaller, but then the other side was like, it’s not small enough,” she said. “There was happiness in feeling like I was getting a thin body, but it was never enough. I was never satisfied.”
After participating in her second fitness competition, Moon finally reached her breaking point and realized that she needed a change.
“I just realized that this was not the way I wanted to live,” she said. “I had shed a lot of tears, I had said no to a lot of opportunities, I was isolated and alone, I didn’t have my period. I didn’t think it was worth it. After the second show, I was tired of hating myself.”
The Mind Body Musings podcast host now uses fitness as a means to preserve self-love, not destroy it.
“I can look back at old photos and not be triggered, because I don’t want that body because I don’t want that life. I’m still fit — I go to the gym, I do yoga, I eat healthy foods. I still do a lot of healthy actions, but my mind is happy now.”
Talk about inspirational. Love your bodies, yourself. Follow more of Madelyn’s positive musings on Instagram. Keep up the good work, girl!