She was the Overall Champ at the 1995 North American Bodybuilding Championships. Before she became a bodybuilder though, Ericca Kern struggled with anorexia and low self esteem for years. Bob talks to Ericca about overcoming eating disorders, maintaining a positive self image and finding balance.
Although Ericca credits bodybuilding as the sport that helped her break free from anorexia, she says she replaced her obsessive behavior about being thin with obsessive behavior about bulking up. "[Bodybuilding] was another extreme, and it was the control over the eating that made me feel like I had control over my life," she says.
After a six-year bodybuilding career, Ericca says she was dissatisfied with the direction the sport had taken—which was favoring an increasingly muscular physique—and gave up competing altogether. "I didn't like the body that I was in 364 days of the year, so for that one day on stage, it wasn't worth it," she says.
Today, Ericca says her relationship with diet and exercise is the healthiest it's ever been. She says that maintaining a positive body image takes time, and that striking a healthy balance is something she continues to work on each day. "It becomes not so much physical, but it's tied in more with the emotional and the spiritual [work] that I need to do for me, and I don't know what that is," says Ericca. "I'm still looking."
Ericca shares ways to recognize if you or someone you love may have an eating disorder:
Ericca's advice for combating eating disorders: