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Conversations with the Inspiring Carly Compton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carly Compton.

Carly, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I always wrestled with body image growing up. I have been an athlete my entire life, so physical fitness itself was never an issue for me. However, I struggled with my mental perception of my body; I was larger than my friends, and I never really saw my body type represented in media or in the stores we would shop at together. I was always working out, eating healthy, and wanting to see results that never really came or, rather, results that never seemed good enough. So, when those results didn’t come, I turned to bulimia in my junior year of high school. I battled eating disorders for about five years, which were some of the darkest times of my life. I told no one, all the while yearning for compliments on my “improved” body.

In hopes of recovering from my eating disorder, I joined a community of fitness coaches and began helping others through online groups. These groups, however, often celebrated losing the most weight during a defined period of time as opposed to actually helping those participating in developing a healthy lifelong relationship with food and exercise. During all this, I was still struggling with bulimia. I was trying to help others find their own healthy lifestyle while I was living a misleading and incredibly unhealthy life myself.

Feeling increasingly hypocritical and exhausted from the effects of my eating disorder and hiding it from others, I slowly began my recovery process after seeing other women openly discuss their own struggles online. I felt empowered to overcome the negative perception of my body, as well as increasing awareness of the toxicity of the diet and fitness industry, which exist largely to profit off the insecurities within one’s self they help to create.

Turned off by programs that focus on weight loss, the desire to strive for the always elusive perfect body, and the harmfulness of before-and-after photos, I decided to create my very own at-home workout/lifestyle program. Today, I am fully recovered from my eating disorder. I can finally look in the mirror and love what I see, and I am helping individuals across the world find this balance, happiness, and worth within themselves.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Many individuals struggle with their own body image, and, unfortunately, the resulting development of an eating disorder is far too common. One of the hardest things for me was the constant mental fight between wanting to be healthy and wanting to be “skinny,” whatever that means. I was already a successful athlete; I thought I was pretty healthy, but a part of me also insisted that healthy only meant “skinny.” Since I wasn’t getting “skinny” through exercise and healthy eating, I turned to bulimia to hopefully reach this strange goal of looking “skinny.” My eating disorder didn’t drastically change my physical appearance, which only encouraged me to continue, in addition to restricting myself from eating foods I liked, overexercising, and just generally pushing my body to the point of pure exhaustion. Thankfully, I eventually realized that this was NOT the answer. During my eating disorder, my throat was constantly burning, I had no energy, and it consumed my every thought, which had a negative effect on my personal relationships and the relationship I had with myself. In my quest to become “skinny,” I was really only becoming more unhealthy.

One thing I always tell the people I work with is that healthy DOES NOT HAVE A LOOK, it simply looks different on every single body. Instead of focusing on being “skinny” or getting abs, focus on treating your body and mind with love and respect. Learn to enjoy food, figure out how to move your body in a way that you love, and talk to yourself positively on a regular basis.

If you are reading this and you struggle with body image, an eating disorder, or your relationship with exercise, just know that the best thing you can do for yourself and your body is to just live! Life is so short and it’s not meant to include constantly dieting, stressing about the way you look, and spending all your time at the gym (unless that is what you actually enjoy!).

There is a way to be healthy without obsession. There is a way to love your body even if you feel like you don’t meet the requirements of the “perfect body” that has been societally programmed into us through diet culture, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression, including implications of racism and transphobia. Instead, figure out what works for YOU.

What should we know about Paradise Fitness with Carly? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I like to call myself a healthy lifestyle coach. In the past, I have instructed HIIT workouts at gyms, and I am currently a volunteer for an eating disorder non-profit in Los Angeles. I founded Paradise Fitness with Carly in 2017, an at-home workout and lifestyle program that helps individuals develop a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and–most importantly–themselves. I have the privilege of working with (mostly) women every single month, helping them move away from endless dieting, figure out what type of movement feels good for their bodies, and discover their self-worth.

One thing that sets PFWC: At-Home Transformation apart from other at-home workout programs is that we do not focus on weight loss. I never ask participants how much weight they want to lose. In fact, when they set their monthly goals, weight loss is not allowed to be one. Instead, we focus on things that are much more important, like figuring out how to fuel your body without restriction, learning how to move your body in a way that is enjoyable, and how to practice self-love on a daily basis.

In addition to at-home workout videos and a nontraditional nutrition guide, the program includes a private Facebook community that is filled with individuals working toward the same goals, looking for support in certain areas of life, or who just simply want to a safe online space to share struggles, achievements, and anything else. I also offer 1:1 mentoring where I get to work directly with individuals every month to help them reach their goals. Personally, this is my favorite aspect of my program because I get to really know people on an individual level and offer more intimate support.

Every single aspect of my program was thoroughly thought out and implemented because I wish I would have had something like this during my eating disorder. The workouts are all done at-home with no weight or equipment required, meaning that those who are intimated by gyms or exercising in public have one less thing to worry about. The best part is that during the workout videos, I’m sweating and struggling. I wanted this program to be as real and raw as possible. I think I was able to accomplish that.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
Believe it or not, Instagram played a huge role during my recovery. Although it can be a toxic app, there were a couple of accounts I stumbled upon that talked openly about their battles with and recovery from eating disorders, which was exactly what I needed at that time. I quickly made sure to unfollow anyone who was making me feel negative about myself and replace them with empowering and uplifting accounts, which I recommend everyone else do as well.

It was these uplifting accounts that motivated me to create the account I have now, one that equally shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. I try to use my account to empower others and provide an open space for people to ask me questions they might have about my own journey with eating disorders, health, and fitness and how it might possibly help them.

By surrounding myself with these inspiring women both online and in real life, I am constantly learning, tweaking, and figuring out what works for me and my life. It is these continuous small lessons that helped and motivated me to create PFWC.

Pricing:

  • PFWC: At-Home Transformation Package is $100
  • PFWC: At-Home Transformation Package + 1:1 Mentoring $140
  • 1:1 Mentoring is $50/month

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@aaronkatzeman, @_studiosalty

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