A personal trainer reveals how she transformed her figure from super lean to strong and curvy after beating the bulimia that controlled her life.
Johanna Sophia, 23, from Toronto, Canada, became gripped by the eating disorder as she started to compete in bodybuilding competitions as a teenager.
Living off a restrictive low-calorie diet and working out up to three times a day, she started purging once a day and dropped to a chiselled but unhealthy 117lb (8st 3lbs).
The fitness fan turned her life around after realising she was depressed and began focusing on her well-being and began her journey with a 100-day squat challenge.
Now the personal trainer is more confident than ever in her figure and flaunts her strong, curvaceous body – and is particularly proud of her butt and legs.
Obsessed: Johanna Sophia, 23, from Toronto, Canada, became gripped by the eating disorder as she started to compete in bodybuilding competitions as a teenager
Confident: The personal trainer works hard to keep herself healthy and shows off her curves
She said: ‘In my first year of competing, I knew I needed to eat a whole lot less and do cardio up to three times a day.
‘I developed an eating disorder, bulimia. Eventually I realised that I needed to stop but I was so deep in the competition world and the superficial bubble that it took a long time to figure it out.
‘At the worst of my eating disorder, I was super-light and was making myself sick at least once a day.
‘I was consuming the low-calorie diet that my coach put me on but also was binge eating junk food – whatever sugary or fatty food I could get my hands on.
Focused: The gym-goer began building her more curvaceous figure with a 100-day squat challenge that she used to get through her period of depression
‘The fixation caused be to constantly pick out the imperfections all over my body, I always felt like I wasn’t enough or didn’t measure up.
‘After my third and last competition, it took me a good year to tackle my problems and since then despite there being many challenges since I’ve never looked back.’
After quitting the sport in 2014, Johanna turned her attention to ‘taking care of herself first’.
The gym-goer began building her more curvaceous figure with a 100-day squat challenge that she used to get through her period of depression.
Restriction: During her eating disorder, pictured, Johanna would purge at least once a day
Fixated: At her thinnest, pictured, Johanna would focus on picking out her imperfections
Chiselled: Johanna’s bodybuilding trainer placed her on a very restrictive diet while training
She continued: ‘I ended up increasing my squat 1RM from 225lbs to 320lbs in just 70 days, and with that came an extra three inches on my butt.
‘People would call my rear a “thanksgiving table” because it stuck out so much.
‘When I used to compete people saw me as ripped and disciplined, but I felt awful and looking back now, all I see is how unhappy I was compared to how happy I am now.’
Johanna, who now weighs 145lbs (10st 5lbs), maintains a healthy approach to diet and exercise and allows herself treats when she needs them.
She explained: ‘I eat intuitively and allow myself treats when I really want them, I abide by the 80-20 rule.
Balanced: Johanna said she allows herself treats when she wants them but eats healthily
Inspiration: The personal trainer hopes her story will help others learn to love themselves
‘For 80 per cent of the time, I’m eating healthy and working out, doing things that will keep my body alive and the 20 per cent is eating what I truly enjoy or while socialising, I’m not afraid to indulge any more.
‘What I am mindful of is keeping my protein high, healthy fats moderate and carbohydrates complex – meaning I get the majority of my carbs from foods like sweet potatoes, quinoa, rice and others.
‘As a result of all these habits and this free way of living and eating, I can say that I pretty much never crave anything, and I feel more healthy and energized.’
Johanna believes that by focussing on rebuilding herself without obsessive constraints she was able to find happiness.
Realisation: Johanna said she now appreciates she was not happy when she was bodybuilding
She added: ‘I brought a level of care into my eating – which meant being a little more “loose” with expectations of myself when it came to ‘healthy eating’.
‘I would allow myself to have more treats when I wanted to, and that meant that I wouldn’t crave them as often and I wouldn’t feel guilt when having them.’
Now she hopes to inspire and empower others through her Instagram account that boasts over 100,000 followers – giving tips on exercise, diet and mindfulness.
Johanna said: ‘I realized after I came out of my depressed state and eating disorder that there are a lot of women who struggle with the same things, and that fitness was what brought me out of it.
‘What I was reaching for during my battle wasn’t a reality, I didn’t look good, womanly and wasn’t happy.
‘Now I have the freedom to have an off day or do what I like, my body is just a product of how my mind has changed.’