emma russell

This week our Healthy Living Transformation is brought to us by our fan Emma!

Hello! My name is Emma and I am proud to say I have recovered, both mentally and physically, from one of the most challenging things I have ever faced: an eating disorder.

I struggled with my body image and self-worth for the better part of my high school years. I was in and out of hospitals and developed many health problems. I was never truly ready to accept that I was deep into an eating disorder, and I couldn’t see that I was too thin. I only saw that I was still ‘imperfect’. Eventually, my parents sat me down and told me they couldn’t send me to college the way I was, and so I began to attempt to physically recover. I went off to college that year weight restored, but in the worst place I could be mentally. I never learned to love myself, so the voices were still there telling me I should go back to my old ways. By the middle of my senior year of college, I was 6 feet tall and still very much underweight. In March 2015, I realized I didn’t want all of my hair to fall out again, I didn’t want to spend my time in the hospital, and most of all, I wanted to finally be free.

I was given the opportunity to recover my way, in the hope that it would work out better. I was deemed to be healthy enough physically to lift weights and so I began lifting. About 8 months after I started lifting, I discovered powerlifting and changed my style of training. In April 2015, I competed in my first meet. Since then, I have competed in three other meets (soon to be four). Six years later, I can proudly say I have conquered my eating disorder.

Throughout the process of recovery, I learned the importance of dietary fat. I learned fats help with vitamin absorption, energy, digestion, hair, skin, nails, and reproduction. I was lacking in all of those things while underweight, and the addition of dietary fats in my diet has changed that completely. One thing that was off limits to me during my disorder was peanut butter. Perhaps the best thing about discovering peanut butter again was learning about all of the different flavors. I thought I was fine with having regular peanut butter until I tried Toffee Crunch Nuts n More! Thankfully, I’m no longer scared of fats and can enjoy peanut butter as often as I want!

Recovering from an eating disorder is arguably the hardest, but most rewarding thing I have ever done. I tried my absolute hardest. I failed, I cried (a lot), I laughed, and I wanted to give up at times. However, I set my mind to recovering for good. I learned that I am worth it. I deserve to be happy and I deserve to live my life to the fullest. No one should live in the despair of an eating disorder. Everyone deserves to love themselves and accept themselves just the way they are.