TeamBretMichaels.com / LifeRocksFoundation.org Story: Andrea Overcomes & Becomes Positive Role Model In Health
I am telling my story so maybe others will come to know and understand what I did throughout my life. I hope to share why I did I what I did and to help encourage people who may be going through what I went through. I believe you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.
I can remember perfectly the day I began my eating disorder and even today I can’t believe it. Sometimes I feel like it is not real. Now today I want to make a big step and I want to tell my story. I have never told it really!
I remember how I was being hard with myself… I was trying to be perfect, to be good enough for everyone, but I never got it… You always can be thinner, prettier, more clever, smarter, a better daughter and better athlete etc….
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 don’t really know what made me stick my fingers down my throat but after it happened once, and after feeling the pleasure of control, I couldn’t stop. I made myself sick every day at first, then it became three times a day. I’d purge after every meal I ate, making myself sick after I was done eating. At times the meals were very small as I was restricting my intake while other day I’d binge, often consuming 4000 plus calories in a day.
It turned into an addiction. My legs would begin to shake and I would suddenly feel uneasy and fidgety once I had eaten a bit of food. I would have to make myself sick, whether it be in my own home, in a friend’s house or out in public, I would always find a place to do it. I was discreet, no one knew.
After more than thirteen years, I knew that I had a very serious problem. I had lost a lot of weight, from a healthy 140 to below 115, yet I wanted to be smaller. I would starve myself for as long as I could but then would be so hungry that I would binge on anything I could find, and then make myself sick again. It was like a vicious circle of starving, binging and purging. I knew it wasn’t right but at the same time thought there was nothing wrong with me and that it was a normal thing to do. It was as if I had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. The angel telling me to get help and the devil telling me there was nothing wrong with me and to carry on till I lost more weight. I exercised obsessively, even in my college years, while playing basketball and volleyball (Division 1). In addition to going to basketball and volleyball practice, I was teaching several aerobic classes a day! I was seriously underweight, fragile and very mentally ill. Alongside my eating disorder came depression, hair loss, self hate and lies.
If people did think something was wrong, few probably suspected how bad it was. I doubt anyone actually thought I spent most of the night bingeing and purging, then going to my classes, ball practice and work during the days. Few probably suspected that I purged between classes in undergrad or later as I worked as a Physical Education teacher.
I wasn’t lazy, stupid, greedy, self-centered, or arrogant as some had suggested. I was just struggling with an eating disorder. I was sick. I didn’t know how to eat normally. I didn’t know how to eat without eating a lot. I didn’t know how to stop bingeing and purging without severely restricting. Purging was extremely calming. I liked it. A lot. It wasn’t something I could just stop by myself. I was a exercise science student and college athlete by day, then years later a mother and teacher too but a bulimic all of the time. Music and the words to music made me focus! It seemed to tune out the angel and the devil at times that sat on my shoulder. To me music is everything. Still today I just drive and listen just to clear my head..
Today in my forties I am healthier than I have been at any time in my life. I eat healthy foods in proper proportions and maintain a strong and athletic body through regular CrossFit workouts. I am a certified CrossFit Coach and own CrossFit APx in Cary, NC where I help people to be their personal best. In addition to our general membership of CrossFit athletes I help those with special needs including those who are physically handicapped, have a neuromuscular disease, eating disorders etc. When I open my gym aka box, my goal was to make it the most inclusive gym in the nation. A place where everyone with the will to work hard to achieve their health and fitness goals can and would be accepted unconditionally. I have had the pleasure meeting this man ! We all give to the world in many ways he is fortunate he can through music plus much more.