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Olympian Eating Disorder: Catherine Garceau’s Inspirational Fitness Story

Guest post from Catherine Garceau

Catherine Garceau

Catherine Garceau - Bronze Medal Olympian

At the Sydney 2000 Olympics, I was honored to win a Bronze Medal as part of Canada’s Synchronized Swimming Team. You’d think I’d be set for life after that, right? Well, not really. Like everyone else, I’ve gone through the roller coaster ride of life. In fact, in contrast to my podium high, in 2008, as my weight neared 200 pounds, I hit an all time low–and experienced complete desperation.

“If I could just recommit to regular exercise, get to sleep before 10pm every night, do the master cleanse for 10 days, and stop bingeing, I’d get my body back,” I thought again and again. But the more I aimed for perfection, the more I found myself plunging into a bag of M&Ms or Doritos (or both!).  My dedicated weeks of  “perfection” came back to haunt me every time, leading to humiliating binges, chronic fatigue, and depression.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, I hope you can find, as I did, a whole new way to approach weight loss and exercise.  For me, this turn-around started when a naturopathic friend gave me a gift: a Qigong DVD.  “Qigong…for weight loss?” my athletically obsessed and skeptic mind chattered. But at that point, I was desperate and willing to try anything. So I began the daily practice of this Qigong (wuyijiehe.com). And to my surprise, little by little, my days became more peaceful and my body calmer. Qigong started to fill me with increased energy from within. Still I wondered: Could I ever get my strong and toned body again? And was it even necessary? I decided I’d only commit if I could do so without imposing harsh and regimented training routines on myself.  I flew out into the cosmos my intention to find a ‘whole new way’ of experiencing weight loss, exercise and healing.

Gradually I lost weight as I accepted and embraced my body’s needs for rest, balanced nutrition, and a spiritual foundation of faith. Above all, I followed a ‘no rushing‘ rule—I was in this for the long-term– no more quick-fix.

Synchronicities kept showing me the way. For instance, I’d think of a question I had about one aspect of digestion, and ‘poof’ someone would hand me a book addressing this very issue. I’d follow my love for dolphins and ‘poof’ be offered a job to perform as a Mermaid in Vegas. Just short of one year later, after I had decided to move back with my family to rebuild my life and career, my mother kept telling me about a nearby phys-ed teacher who was attracting up to eighty women per night to dance it up in a neighborhood school gym. Never would I have guessed that Zumba Fitness would be this ‘whole new way’ of exercise for me… but that day, after one hour of Latin inspired aerobics, I came home smiling, sweaty, energized and full of hope!

And just as Qigong had become my body-mind practice to foster deep energy generation and rejuvenation, Zumba classes became my time to forget about my worries, loosen up, and have fun. What was most transformative for me wasn’t the great sweat and cardio I got out of each class, but most importantly, I learned to exercise without the cruel energy of punishment featured by my Olympic training workouts in the past.

Wellness Olympia, Canada, Catherine GarceauEven Dr. Daniel Amen, whom I interviewed for my Wellness Olympiad expert library, confirmed the benefits I was getting out of Zumba: “Few activities stimulate as wide a variety of brain systems as dancing does,” says Dr. Amen.  And he was right! Much more than weight loss and toning, my organizational skills got better, my memory improved, my body felt lighter and I refound my zest for life! Everything I had studied for so long and seen manifest in others became my reality too.

Now, in addition to coaching privately and teaching 360 Degrees Of Nourishment, a 6-week course I teach online, I now teach both Qigong and Zumba in my local community. This is all great practice for an exciting future ahead, involving dancing and public speaking.

My greatest hope is that YOU find YOUR ‘whole new way’ to exercise and LOVE your body. Five keys to help you:

  • See the gift in your downfall; it really can be a new door opening!
  • Look for synchronicities, invitations, and new activities. The Universe is always conspiring to make you succeed!
  • Less IS more. Replace rules, pain and extended hours at the gym with new body-mind practices such as yoga/qigong.
  • Think long term; don’t be a in a rush.
  • Ditch The Workout, Join The Party”: try a Zumba class (www.zumba.com) or find your own way to party as you exercise!

Catherine Garceau's book, Heart of BronzePlease visit www.wellnessolympiad.com/free for some of the freebies I now offer. I invite you to follow my blog and take part in our online community at www.teaminnergold.com.  Also, look out for my book, Heart of Bronze, which will be published this fall. Until then, keep it light!
With joy,

Catherine Garceau
Olympic Bronze Medalist,
Founder of the Wellness Olympiad
www.wellnessolympiad.com
www.catherinegarceau.com
www.teaminnergold.com

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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One Response to Olympian Eating Disorder: Catherine Garceau’s Inspirational Fitness Story

  1. Calla Gold July 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    What a great story! The key is to find what works for you. Some people really enjoy spending 2 hours at the gym every day. Others find that to be absolute torture. Be it Zumba, or hiking, or biking to work.. There are so many great ways to stay healthy while enjoying yourself. And that’s really the key, especially if you’re at a point in your life where your health has slipped. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
    Calla Gold recently posted..Broken Engagements – Who Keeps the Ring?My Profile

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