It’s warm, the sun is shining and the day is slowly drawing to a close when I meet Anja Zeidler in Munich. The 25-year-old Swiss chats relaxed. You can no longer tell from her difficult past. But the way to get here was long and hard.
Eating disorders, daily training for hours, and hormones – Anja Zeidler went through a lot to get the perfect body. Until she broke away from all the drama in 2015. She spoke to us about the difficult development.
Bunte.de: A few years ago you were downright addicted to sports – how did that come about?
Anja Zeidler: I already knew as a little girl that one day I wanted to be in public. When I was twelve, I had my first job as a child model. Later the fitness trend came up and then I wanted to be a fitness model. I’m a very ambitious person and I think it’s good to be ambitious, but it’s also dangerous sometimes. You have to know the limit and I never knew when it was enough. So at some point I exceeded my limit.
Of course, the influence of social media also played an important role. E.t is always said these days that Instagram is bad. Not only do I find it bad, but it is the platform today that presents such an unhealthy ideal of beauty over and over again.
Of course, this ideal of beauty was presented to us earlier on posters and in advertising. But nowadays that is reinforced by social media. And that was clearly the dot on the i, the last shot, why my sports addiction happened in the first place and why it could get so far.
Bunte.de: How did your “everyday life” look like in these unhealthy times?
Anja Zeidler: I no longer had a normal everyday life. It was all about training and nutrition 24/7. When I had to get out of the house in the morning, I always thought carefully about when to eat something, I calculated the calories for the whole day, I always pre-cooked everything, took it with me in Tupperware and exactly every three hours I had to eat, even if I was stuck in a traffic jam somewhere. Eating was no longer a pleasure, it was simply a must.
I didn’t see a delicious meal on the plate, just proteins, fats, carbohydrates. Then there was sport. Gym twice a day, endurance training in the morning and strength training in the evening. At first I took a break one day a week, later not anymore. It was all just about food or exercise. I completely distanced myself from my friends and left everything on the track.
Bunte.de: When did you decide you wanted to get well again?
Anja Zeidler: I came out through one of those key moments with my best childhood friend. When we met again after two years, she said: “You are no longer the Anja I know from the sandpit.” My mom has already said the same, but at 20 you don’t listen to your parents. Sarah was in the right position and managed to hold the mirror out to me. So at some point I got insight.
Bunte.de: What did you do then?
Anja Zeidler: We were with me in Los Angeles and after that moment we drove straight to my apartment, then threw everything away and said, now it’s over. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only step. I relapsed quickly, two weeks later I crawled back to my tough coach and said “I’ve gotten fat”, which is not possible in two weeks.
But my self-perception was completely out of hand. Only the third attempt worked because I went back to Switzerland from Los Angeles. I really needed the support and support from my parents. Then I went to a naturopath, I didn’t want to go to a psychiatrist, I didn’t want too much conventional medicine because I had taken so many medications. I didn’t want other drugs to make up for the drugs. What I needed was someone to talk to.
Bunte.de: You wrote that you repeatedly suffered from eating attacks – how should we imagine that?
Anja Zeidler: These eating attacks came in several phases. In my bodybuilding days, I used to diet hard. In the last two weeks before the shoot, there was only cooked turkey breast and green broccoli. It also happened then that I just went nuts in preparation for the shoot. I drove through the McDrive and ordered food for four and two or three frappucchinos afterwards. I sometimes ate 4000 calories in a row. At home I only cried and sometimes vomited.
After I stopped taking hormones, i.e. anabolic steroids, at home, the eating attacks came back. I just said to myself, “I have to go through this now”. It was difficult to rethink, but today I can. Today I eat what I want and this thinking is completely gone and I’m very proud of it.
Bunte.de: What is your tip for people who are similar to you?
Anja Zeidler: I believe that a lot of people who just do sport privately and eat healthily can slide into an extreme. They go on a diet and then hate each other when they have eaten chocolate. My tip is that you really should stop counting the calories. It is almost more important to see sport differently. Away from “I have to do sport to lose weight” and towards “I want to do sport because I enjoy it”. Find the sport that you enjoy. Then you like to stay tuned and then it’s also healthy.
Bunte.de: How do you react now when you realize that you have to shed two or three kilos?
Anja Zeidler: I can only say: Veat nutrition plans and training plans, but look for what you enjoy. It doesn’t matter whether you like to do Zumba, ride a bike, or play bowling. Don’t ask yourself “Do I take it off?” Just do it. If you enjoy it, you do it twice a week and I think that’s really the key to sticking to a healthy lifestyle for a long time.