07 Apr Summer’s Story
Overcoming anorexia, meth addiction, and heart surgery…a 13 year journey to turn things around
If Summer can do it…so can YOU!
Last week , I received this e-mail: “Natalie, five days ago I started your “Jump Start Challenge,” and I am happy to say that so far I have lost 3 ½ pounds. I was very excited to see this, but I am more excited about what your program has already given me, rather than what I lost.” This e-mail wouldn’t necessarily have stood out to me until I read the story that followed…
In Summer’s words
Since a very young age I have suffered from severe “body image issues.” I was always the chubby girl in school and this lead to years of being made fun of and never really fitting in. It was during my freshman year of college that I began extreme dieting. I would binge and purge and eventually became anorexic. I would run 10 miles a day and was so unhealthy. No matter how thin people said I was, I was never able to see it. I would look in the mirror and be disgusted at the image looking back at me. In my mind I knew I was never going to be “skinny” enough. I was so afraid of being the “fat girl” again that my eating disorders became a horrible obsession.
Addicted to the unthinkable
This obsession became so severe that at the age of 19, I became addicted to crystal meth. It gave me hours upon hours of energy, I was never hungry and for the first time in my life, I felt thin. But all of this came at a great price. Just 6 months after the first line I ever I did, I almost over dosed. My heart could no longer take the amount of meth I was doing. It was a very sobering reality check for me.
My obsession with my body had almost led to death. Although that was 14 years ago, I have found that I still fear food. I have always felt so guilty after eating, and never took the time to really focus on what I was eating that made me feel guilty.
The months following this event in my life were not easy. I had to learn to function without drugs, excessive exercise, and had to eat food. It was as if everything in my life changed overnight. I began counseling and tried to get to the root of all my body image issues. It was tough process because it made me re-live so many painful events and I found that I would turn to food for comfort, of which only made me feel worse after. I knew I had to change. I wanted to change. Living this way was so draining and destructive.
The path to my real healing came from my faith and knowing that I couldn’t do it alone. I turned to my family, close friends and church for support. When I would begin to feel bad about myself, or how I felt I looked, I would open my Bible and see how God saw me rather than how I saw myself. I began to focus on being healthy rather than being thin. I joined a support group for women with eating disorders and opened up about my painful past and realized I was sitting in a room with so many other women who knew my pain. That alone was such a big help to me.
Running instead of pills: After two years of recovery, I got married and had my first set of twin daughters. After giving birth I suffered from minor postpartum depression. My DR recommended that I take an anti-depressant to help me get through the “slump” but I decided to lace up my shoes and start running. Unlike a few years earlier, I was running for my well being… not to be a size 2. This started what has now become my passion and love for the sport of running and little did I know, would actually help save my heart.
I no longer did drugs but the damage lingered: Fast forward about 5 years when I was diagnosed with a heart condition called SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) My cardiologist couldn’t not say for sure if this was because of my drug use, but said the meth defiantly contributed to the condition my heart was in. He did say that running was very good for my heart and that I needed to keep it up, so I did. However, in January of 2011, I had to have heart surgery because I could no longer go on with the effects of SVT. Had I know at the age of 19, that 13 years later I would have to have heart surgery and suffer like I did, I never would have touched that drug, but once again God spared my life and I was not going to take that for granted.
Four months ago, I gave birth to my second set of twin girls. I knew that I needed to be a role model for my girls. To set an example of what a healthy lifestyle is and teach them to LOVE the skin they are. Of course that starts with me, and I had no idea how to do this. A friend of mine shared something on Facebook from your website so I started reading the articles you had posted. It was obvious you are very educated and you practice what you preach.
Turning to Nutrition
I decided to give the “7-Day Jump Start Challenge” a try. I really liked that everyday I had a meal plan to follow and loved that I had an itemized grocery list to take with me when I went shopping. I am happy to say that I have followed the program to a ‘T’. I love the food selection you have in your menus. I love eating and don’t feel guilty because I am finally eating HEALTHY! I have more energy and over all feel so much better. It is amazing! I know the “challenge” is up in 2 days, but I will never go back to my bad habits. This was exactly what I needed to start a new and healthy lifestyle, not just for me, but my entire family.
So here I am today. I am the mom to 4 beautiful girls and I feel I have such an amazing gift to give them; my personal journey. A journey that has not been easy, but has lead me to a point in my life where I love who I am. The negativity from my past has not made me bitter, but has made me better. I know what it is like to be overweight and struggle daily to eat right and be healthy. I know what it is like to battle your mind every time you look in the mirror. I am able to teach my girls to never make fun of someone who is different but accept them just as they are, and to be an example of a confident strong woman, who knows that there is so much more to who you are than just your appearance.
Thank you again for your help. I wish I would have had this when I was younger, but I am thankful I have it now and can teach my daughters it is NOT about being thin, but about being healthy, happy and content with who you are!
WOW…what an inspiring story! Overcoming eating disorder, drug addiction, and heart surgery to find a great man and become the mother to 4 beautiful children. No more pills, drugs, or torturous workouts to be ‘thin’, rather a lifestyle that revolves around proper nutrition and healthy eating.
Excuses or solutions…YOU decide!