First and foremost, I want to go all the way back to the early days of your weight gain, your body shift. Was there an instigating moment or experience that resulted in your lifestyle changing?
Yeah, I remember I was dieting extremely hard. I always had been because I was a exotic dancer and then also, obviously, do Instagram stuff. And through that, there's this emphasis on body and everything like that, and then you want to look a certain way, obviously, for dancing and Instagram. So that all played into what I think already was an addictive and obsessive personality that I'm predisposed to, which really took what could have been a healthy hobby, and it turned it into a toxic and unhealthy obsession. So I was constantly weighing myself, constantly looking at other Instagrammers and other dancers, and just being hyper critical of myself instead of just comparing myself to a rubric of what's healthy for Josh, not what does X person look like, but what's healthy for me?
So I got just completely sick of it when I quit dancing and I said, "You know what, I think now is a moment when I can embrace being me and my authentic self, and I think my followers will appreciate that more than if I just keep posting shirtless selfies of how fit I am." And sure enough, as soon as I made my first post about deciding to just be a healthy weight, not trying to fit into any kind of subjective standard, everyone responded positively to it. So that just confirmed what I already knew in my head, and then that's when I was like, "All right, I'm totally in with this." And then my OnlyFans started taking off with people that were into gaining and all that stuff, so it served a dual purpose of not only inspiring and helping my followers, but then it also made me money on my OnlyFans.
Yeah, I was going to say. And that's interesting that you had that pendulum swing from being so obsessed. I used to be in the dance industry as well, so I really get where you're coming from. Talk about the element of recovery that was in there, both physically and mentally, I'm assuming.
I just remember specifically, there's this seminal moment where it was breakfast and for the last six years, I had been staying fit. I would just ... be hungry. They had three blueberry pancakes, a cinnamon roll, a pop, bacon, eggs, and I hadn't had bacon in five years. And just eating what to some is their everyday meal, for me, felt amazing. And so, after that, I was hooked, and I probably took it a little too far and might have gained so much weight that it then became unhealthy, just like losing too much weight or being too fit can be unhealthy. But that first month or so made me feel like I could finally not be tortured by food, like I could love food, have a good relationship with food, not hate food or hate myself for eating food.
And so, that went a long ways, I think, in helping me not be so anxious and depressed, because looking back, again, being someone who has anxiety, depression, and OCD, I think the constant dieting definitely played into my stress and exacerbated it and made it worse, so I definitely felt like it alleviated all those symptoms and I just felt happier. There was definitely a degree of confidence that might have been lost, and I wasn't walking around looking like Superman with eight pack abs. But the benefit that I got from just being able to eat a big breakfast and not feel guilty about it and hate myself felt really good, so I would say that, definitely, it improved my mental health because I didn't have to be anxious about eating.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).