From bulimia and anorexia to fitness role model
As a fitness expert and weight loss consultant who is also a celiac, I get a lot of questions in regards to weight loss, fitness, nutrition and food allergies. I am typically very confident addressing most questions thrown my way. If you want help losing weight, committing to change, or improving your fitness level, I AM your girl! BUT, there is one topic of a very serious nature that I get somewhat frequently that I am just not confident addressing. That topic is eating disorders.
Today, I am sharing with you the story of Alison Burgess. You see, Alison beat both bulimia and anorexia and has gone on to become a fitness role model and competitor. I wanted to share her story in the hopes it will help others.
In Alison’s words:
My story may seem like a textbook case of bulimia / anorexia, but however it comes across, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through and also the GREATEST blessing of my life.
I was just 12 and I viewed Bulimia as a way to get rid of calories
I was just 12 years old and I developed bulimia during the most competitive point in my figure skating career. I saw a video in health class about a woman who was bulimic, but my poor little young mind thought that it looked like a great way to get rid of calories. It was my secret and I kept it up all through high school and no one knew.
Trading one illness for another
When I graduated I decided I was “too old” for this and needed to stop. So, I stopped the binging and purging but went to something equally as dangerous- severe caloric restriction. I reasoned that I wouldn’t purge but I would just allow myself to eat however much wouldn’t cause me to freak out and go throw up. This amounted to just about 700 calories a day. Three months later I was 85lbs and in counseling for anorexia. Such a fast transition.
I was no longer “pretty”
I went from being “pretty Miss Alison” in high school to looking like Gollum from Lord of the Rings within a 2 month period. Most of my hair feel out, my skin dried up, the bones in my back stuck out (far), and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis (basically my body was eating itself from the inside out, starting with my bones) at age 20. So I was literally fighting for my life even when it didn’t seem like my life was all that worth living at that point. Fortunately, that eventually changed.
The road to recovery
The biggest first step is deciding to no longer make your “secret” a secret. Admit to yourself, your family, and the other important people in your life that you need help, and keep admitting it every day if you need to, and you will succeed. As far as MY specific recovery this is what I did:
- I got REAL: I was completely real with myself. I never denied I had a major illness, sought counseling from the beginning, and took BABY steps. This is a nasty disease and a product of your own mind, so it’s just as smart as you are.
- Prayer: I used to sit for hours in an empty church just begging God for 5 minutes where I wasn’t obsessing about food. It took a long time, and a lot of faith, but what a miracle I’m living every day now!
- Support:My family and friends were wonderful. They showed me I was lovable even when I felt like I looked like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. I never had to hide my tears, conceal my failures, or worry about burdening any of them.
What I NOW know for sure…
Every day that you don’t give up is one day closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s when you start doubting yourself and God that you start losing, so never take your eyes off the prize!
I’m grateful and proud to say that today at 30 years old I am 100% healthy again and have more confidence and wisdom than I ever would have had if it weren’t for this difficult time. I won’t sit here and tell you that the anorexia voice has disappeared completely from my head, but I will tell you that even at the slightest whisper I am 100x stronger than it is and shut it up before it finishes a complete sentence. If I can do it, anyone can. But not by themselves.
WOW! Quite the journey that Alison has been on! What I love is her sense of accountability and her REFUSAL to be a victim. She has taken control of her life through being real with her self and loved ones, and through HEALTHY nutrition. Alison is a fighter and will NOT let adversity get the best of her! Also, it should be mentioned that Alison just got her WBFF Pro card! So way to go Alison! Keep it up!
Want MORE inspiration? Check out EMI HERE
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About Natalie Jill
Natalie Jill helps people across the globe reach their health, fitness, life and business goals. Natalie is a well known Licensed Sports Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer who was diagnosed as having Celiac Sprue over 12 years ago, and that is why she specializes in weight loss consulting and helping people with food allergies and intolerance’s. Learn how Natalie handled adversity and find out how she "made her own luck". Ready to change your life today? Start by CLICKING HERE.