I had to quit being a personal trainer and fitness blogger in order to make any kind of progress with body image and weight neutrality. I'm sure some people can go through the process and be open about the weight fluctuations that may happen when you stop restricting and overtraining. I was not that person. As a fitness professional, there was NO WAY I was going to risk ANY weight gain in front of friends, coworkers, clients, fitness classes, the whole internet. I had to be the leanest, fittest, strongest, bestest person on the outside even if I was a wreck on the inside and killing myself to keep up appearances. But then I look at people like Jill Coleman and Neghar Fonooni who kept being fitness pros and just shifted their outlook and message. I suppose I did too in a way by ditching everything else and starting Happy Eaters to share the journey, but getting out of the gym / martial arts / diet / fitness culture is what allowed me to focus on food peace and feeling good without the pressure to keep up a certain image. I think what was so uncomfortable was feeling like my inside and outside didn't match, that I had a public mask of sorts and I couldn't take it off. That's a lot of pressure. Bailing on social media helped a lot there too.
I sometimes felt like it would be easier to embrace the recovery process and not cling so tightly to outcomes if I lived alone in a cave, or someplace where nobody knew me. Realistically though, I just had to realize that we all have similar struggles. People aren't going to be shocked or repelled if I let them know that it's messy for me too. Rather than judgment or disappointment, they're usually relieved and can relate.