An interview with Life Coach Maddy Moon
Once, not too long ago, Maddy Moon was a fitness competitor weighed down by her pride, obsession, and masculine drive. She strived to ignore her feminine energy, fearful that it made her look weak. Eventually, she discovered that her obsession with bodybuilding and creating the perfect physique was taking her further away from her desire to serve the world… not closer.
Today, Maddy’s mission is to help you realise the heart-pounding fact that you’ve only been gifted one life, and every day you’re faced with the choice to either make the most of it or fight against who you’re really meant to be.
Maddy’s journey to confidence wasn’t always a smooth one: “when I was a fitness competitor, I had the lowest amount of self-confidence I’ve ever had. I had suffered from disordered eating, compulsive exercise and body dysmorphia for at least five years, until I stepped into an even more disordered world: fitness competitions.”
The following couple of years, Maddy embraced a dangerously low calorie intake, obsessive personality, isolation, hormone imbalances and a gym addiction. The shows became the main focus of her life.
She knew she had had enough after her second competition:
“The night of the show I had a huge realisation that I was tormenting myself with this never-ending chase for perfection. I was lean as a green bean but yet it still wasn’t enough. It was exhausting.”
Ultimately she didn’t want to live her life as a prisoner in her own body: “it was time to change, to allow myself to gain some weight, and for me to realise that I’m more than the skin I live in.”
How did you see the fitness competition and modelling world changing whilst you were involved in it?
The world of fitness competitions didn’t change much while I was in it. It was always a dangerous sport for women, and will continue to be (unless the standards for these competitions change).
As long as we have to lean out to dangerous levels, we will have to be deprived of an appropriate calorie intake, rest and, typically speaking, a social life. Some people may disagree with me, and that’s fine. Based on my experience, as well as the experience of the competitors I was alongside, if you want to do “well” in one of these shows, you will have to do unnatural things to your body such as eating too little and working out intensely. It messes with the body, yes, but more so it messes with the mind.
What’s the truth you do not see on social media?
Almost everything! You see the highlight reels of these people’s lives but you do not see the “real life” that’s going on outside of their perfectly positioned photo. When I would post images of my morning abs, I didn’t dare express how much I still hated my body. I didn’t share how tired I was, or how depressed I was getting. I was addicted to the rush of “likes” and admiration, that I didn’t want to risk the embarrassment that would come with sharing the truth: I was unhappy.
I don’t particularly like body photos because that creates some envy in viewers, but if a personal trainer is going to show their lean abs, I definitely appreciate it when they also share when they are not lean, or when they are having a bad body image day. We need more of that.
This is why I’m very grateful for fitness coaches who will share what’s really going on, or share photos of their bloated bellies after pizza. It brings some reality into the picture.
Why do you think more younger and younger girls are getting into fitness competitions and have body-building goals?
Partly because social media is a popular tool for younger and younger ages. I doubt that if teens had access to as much social media as they do they would be interested in fitness competitions. I also think the uprise in kitchen spirituality and orthorexia has contributed to the increase in fitness competitions, and of course there are the classic resources such as fitness magazines.
What was the best tool to support you in your recovery and changing your relationship with food?
Including the right people in my life and excluding the wrong ones. I sought after help only from people that truly loved the skin they were in and weren’t chasing after body perfection. I also contribute a lot of my recovery to the book Intuitive Eating. That’s a must-have for anyone that is dealing with a poor relationship to food!
Why is body image such an issue for women?
It’s predominantly women but more and more men are stepping forth saying that they too struggle. It’s an issue because everywhere you look, “the perfect body” ideals are staring you in the face. When you see 400 of the same body in advertisements, the media, movies and online, of course you will start to think your own cellulite, tummy and loose-skinned arms are uncommon. But in reality, they aren’t uncommon at all. They are beautiful and perfect. It’s only the media (and photoshop) that make us think differently.
How do you think body image issues relate to men instead?
There are many standards men have to meet in order to be considered a “real man”. Such as being big, tall, emotionless, tough, fierce, and able to handle anything. Some men are short, skinny, and emotional, and they are just as much man as anyone else. With that said, the media doesn’t always promote this type of man, so as a result, men are struggling with not feeling adequate and accepted in the same way women are.
Is there someone who has really inspired you on your journey?
The first person who inspired me on my road to recovery was Matt Stone, author of Diet Recovery. He helped me a lot and ended up being someone I worked alongside down the road. It was all very serendipitous.
Talking about inspiration, you are the host of a very successful podcast yourself. What’s the favourite podcast episode you recorded so far?
I’m interviewing one of my favourite authors, Mark Manson, next week so I’m sure that will reach the top of my list soon!
You can connect with Maddy on her podcast, blog, coaching, retreats and other live events.
If anyone wants immediate inspiration and guidance, get Maddy’s free course How to Powerfully Live Your One Life on her website HERE.