• Tanner Clemens

MY TRANSFORMATION STORY



This is a story I have told a million times over. I honestly even questioned if it was worth telling because I feel like SO many people have heard it.  I've talked about it openly for years so anyone who has kept up with me at all could probably recite it all.
However, I couldn't shake the feeling that I still need to share it, at least one more time.  Just in case someone needed to hear it. And if it helps or inspires one person, well, then it's worth risking the redundancy I am feeling.  So here it goes:I wasn't always this way you know. I used to not love exercise. I didn't care about what I ate. I had zero self confidence. And truth be told, I didn't like who I was. Hated myself actually. But I also didn't know how to change it. Nor did I really even try.I think that sometimes it's just easier (at least in our minds) to accept defeat than to fight to do anything about it.  At least that's how I felt.  Because if I didn't try to change, it left no room for failure.  And at the time, I couldn't handle another failed attempt in my life. I was already at rock bottom (or so I thought). I had just endured a break up. I was coming off a year long injury that was preventing me from taking advantage of my college basketball scholarship. I was depressed, overweight and I just felt horrible about myself.  So to me, it just made more sense to steer into skid instead of actually doing anything about it.  For a while, that seemed to work. I was already miserable so why risk making things worse?That was a hard lesson I had to learn, if not the hardest. You see, when things are going wrong whether that be in a relationship, a job, or something personal in your own life, there's one thing I've realized. It ALWAYS gets bad before it gets better. And the longer you try to avoid that pit, the longer it takes to get on the mend. If you're at ends with your spouse, there WILL be an argument before you can fix things and work towards a stronger relationship. If you're having a hard time at work, there WILL be a discussion with your boss or a confrontation that will either lead to a better situation or a new situation altogether. If you're struggling with something personal, you WILL hit a breaking point where you have no choice but to give up for good or to stand up and fight.  It's only a matter time. And my breaking point was coming. I just didn't know it yet.It happened mid January of my Freshman year of college. Like I said, I had just dealt with a break up, I was injured for an entire year, I couldn't play on my college basketball team yet, I was 30lbs heavier than I was a year before AND to top it all off, I was dealing with an eating disorder. One that I battled on and off throughout high school but came back and overtook me that year. More so than it ever had before.  I had no clue how serious Bulimia was.  I mean, sure there were health risks and concerns but even knowing all of them, it didn't fix it. I couldn't just stop.  It was as if someone else had complete control of my body and I didn't even know who I was anymore.  And trust me, I wanted to beat this. I really did. I had tried hundreds if not thousands of times to be normal and eat normally and to keep food down, but I couldn't. For some reason I had it in my head that if I really needed to get it under control, I could. And I could do it all on my own if it came down to it.  But that was another lie that I told myself.  It had reached the point where I was throwing up 10-15 times a day.  I kept nothing down and what I didn't understand is that I still wasn't losing weight.  A common misconception is that people with bulimia are rail thin. However, it can go both ways. You can either become extremely skinny or extremely overweight.  Sounds weird I know.  But the explanation of it is simple: it's science. When you consume food, your body produces insulin to take the sugars from the food you eat to use as energy or store for future use. But when your body gets rid of that food before the insulin can do anything, the insulin will tell your body that "it needs more food" making you think you're still hungry. Therefore, you eat continuously and it turns into a vicious cycle of bingeing (overeating) and purging. Mostly of carbs because that's what the insulin is telling your body it needs. Leading to weight gain.  Of course in my case, I became extremely overweight.  And the more weight I gained, the less motivated I was to do anything about it.Until the day that I truly hit rock bottom.  My roommates and I decided to go eat at Olive Garden one evening because we were broke and well because, breadsticks.  So in order to save even more money, we decided to do the whole "buy one now, take one for later deal". All which is fine and dandy if you actually plan to eat the second meal later. But of course, for me, I did not have the self control to do so.  Before leaving the restaurant, I had already went to bathroom once. And by the time we got home, I had not kept any food down.  My friends all decided to go to a party but I opted out to stay home.  Mainly because I was feeling sorry for myself but also because I felt hungry and couldn't stand the thought of what they'd think of me if I ate again. So there I was. Alone. In our apartment. And I just taken down my second Olive Garden meal all in a matter 2 hours. To which, as I'm sure you know, I did not keep down either. Normally, this cycle would end by me just falling asleep crying but this night was different. Tears burned my faced and I couldn't shake the overwhelming feeling of anger that came over me.It was no longer sadness or self pity. It was anger. Absolute fury. As I looked at myself in the mirror and saw that I looked heavier than ever, then stepped on the scale all to reaffirm my fear that I actually WAS the heaviest I had ever been, I finally hit my breaking point.  I opened my Bible for the first time in months.  I prayed. I admitted to some loved ones that I had a problem. I bought a self help program for bulimia. I made an appointment with a counselor. I took "before pictures" I cried some more. And I ordered workout dvds.  All within that night. For the first time in almost a year, I decided to fight. And nothing and nobody was going to get in the way of that.
Over the course of the next few months, I taught myself how to "eat" again through the help of my new program. I educated myself on bulimia and how it starts, how it continues and how it can be beat. I exercised every day. It wasn't pretty, but I did it anyway.  I talked through it all with people I could trust. And I truly worked on figuring out how to love myself for me and to be happy and content with who I was and where I was in life.Two months later, I was bulimia free. Not only that, but I had lost 15lbs and met my now husband.When I moved home for the summer, I continued my journey by starting CrossFit and lost another 17lbs.It was then that I fell in love with exercise and how it made me feel.  Not only that, but I fell in love with the process as well which is why I became a personal trainer, a crossfit coach and went on to get my Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science.  And for the next few years, health and fitness was my entire life.  I lived, breathed and spent my days in the gym helping others on their journey too. While it is no longer what I do for a living anymore (that's a another story 😉) I do believe it all shaped me into who I am today. Without it, I wouldn't have learned how to fight. And I wouldn't be able to help others who struggled like I did. Whether that be with weightloss, self image or even an eating disorder. Even if it's just to let people know that they're not alone and no low is TOO low to recover from. ❤️

"To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory." Isaiah 61:3



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