It’s time to share my story of the past year and what God has brought me through during this time. One year ago this weekend, I was stepping on to the bodybuilding stage for the first time. Before we dive in to the months that follow this moment, we must first rewind to discuss some history that led to the decision to jump on such an endeavor.
At a very young age, the words “you’ll never be a size 2” were spoken over me. Laughable, possibly, but to a thirteen-year-old girl, it was devastating and set the stage for this mentality of proving someone wrong when they tell you that you cannot do something. As our pastor says, Satan is not in control but he keeps good records. Satan knew he had found a strand of weakness and an area he could attack me: BODY IMAGE.
As I blossomed throughout high school and discovered that I was indeed, a leader, I knew I was destined for great things. I knew God has some crazy, cool purpose for me and I wasn’t sure when it would be revealed. As a leader and someone of influence, I had and still have a true desire to help people. That is my calling. As college approached I began to break free from my “normal” and started searching for who and what I wanted to be, questioning what I believed, and determining what footsteps the Lord was guiding me towards. I stumbled upon a nutrition class in a mere attempt to lose the freshmen fifteen and chase a great lion of running my first marathon. I had discovered fitness and the gym and loved the adrenaline rush, sense of accomplishment and the endorphin high that increased my energy to do better and be better. However, a second voice spoke something over me during college in the form of a drunken college boy that stated, “You’re too big to be wearing that.” I was appalled, embarrassed, ashamed, and began to seek approval from others in the form of physical fitness and weight loss. All the meanwhile, I was missing a vital promise: I was already enough and “more than” in my heavenly Father’s eyes.
Fast forwarding to present day, I was home in Dothan and I literally woke up one day with the self-righteous idea of competing in a bikini competition. It was not a prayer filled decision. It was impulsive. I had done zero research and had no idea what I was getting in to. I was tired of failing at relationships and wanted to selfishly do something for Katie. After working out numerous hours and eating a repetitive lower carbohydrate diet, I had arrived at the glory day of stepping on stage.
And then I placed first. And then I placed again. I felt awesome. I had succeeded. I literally could do anything I set my mind to. I had put in the work. I had eaten the diet. I had conquered and shown everyone that my body was enough.
And then it went away, in a matter of days. Introducing foods back in to my diet, even healthy foods such as fruits, were literally swelling me and blowing me up. It is hard to put in to words the physical aches and pains that my body was enduring for putting all my weight back on in a mere few short weeks. WEEKS. I had worked MONTHS to be that size zero. I was miserable, irritable, disappointed in myself, scared of what everyone thought and knew that all the success was now a complete failure. I ran. I ran away from people, blocked out the Lord, and was on this path of self-destruction with food and exercise. No one can prepare you for the aftermath of recovery from stage shape. You can hear about it and read about it but to live it is another story.
I was so tired and didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I didn’t want to eat another piece of chicken. I couldn’t keep my eyes open at work. I couldn’t focus. You could have handed me a jar of peanut butter and I could literally devour it in one sitting with an entire pack of Oreos. Food was now an addiction and obsession. I was so hungry and I couldn’t stop. I hated myself and I was mad. The depression needed a revelation.
Now that I had asked God for help in a teary-eyed moment in the pulled over car on 431 South, I had no idea what it would look like. I have purposely omitted names and people from this blog but God had already intricately placed people in my life for His divine appointment and intervention. Those people know exactly who they are and my heart and soul cannot thank you enough for what you endured with me and for me and the unconditional love you showed me in my darkest days.
I gave my life to the Lord at the age of 7, and then truly dedicated my life on July 6th 2000 in my bedroom on the floor. It was my full blown encounter with Jesus that I needed only Him. By no coincidence, only providence, July 6th, 2016 God spoke to me in the most powerful way. He broke my chains and I was now free. He told me I was going to heal and overcome. OVERCOME.
So, I began to seek professional help. I was embarrassed that I, Katie Newton, needed professional help. I fought hard to keep this image that I had it all together. Stepping in to session two, I was indeed, established with anorexia nervosa and body image dysmorphia. I cried all summer at the thought of wearing a swimsuit and avoided mirrors when getting dressed and stepping out of the shower. I hated what I saw. God had promised that I would overcome, but He said there would be a HARD road to recovery.
A special book was placed in my hands by a dear friend: Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson. My prayer life changed. I began to understand that God literally just wanted open communication with me and that he was going to take care of me. He wanted me to dream big because He had big plans for all of this. How could I further the kingdom through this heart aching, heart wrenching recovery?
Months of depression, anxiety, and misery, I broke down and finally went to a medical doctor. With viles of bloodwork, I discovered that I indeed had shut down my thyroid and adrenals and basically had no hormones in my body. The shots, pills, and bruises began. I hated every single minute of it. I was paying in October for something that had happened in April and May. My patience was worn thin.
I woke up in November and I felt free. I was finally free. It was like I could breathe again. The body image issues had always been there. The stage just brought them to the surface. God needed my attention and He graciously took a bad situation to be the best thing that ever happened in my full surrender to him. Consecrate: to set apart, to be the designated one, to be completely dedicated to God.
Months of treatment, counseling, and medications, He set me free. He had set me free but I had to drop it from my hands. He had every single move mapped out to teach me and prepare me for a big promise I knew He had for me. He wanted me to share nutrition with others, thus, the birth of this website, this blog, my business and this mission: to share my love for nutrition with others so they may thrive again and do kingdom work.
This very short version of all that happened over the past months is intended to reach maybe just one person that needs encouragement or needs healing. God has already paid the price. He intricately knit us together in our mother’s womb just the way He wanted us. We are perfect to Him. He wants us to be good stewards of our bodies as a holy temple.
You can ask for help. Pride and Satan does not win. You can walk in freedom from food, body image, or whatever hold Satan has over you. You can love the way you look. You can feel confident that you are made for a greater purpose. I encourage you to break the chains, overcome, and walk in His perfect plan for your life.