20-year old Liberty Buxton from West Yorkshire struggled with Anorexia Nervosa as a result of anxiety and bullying in high school. After a scare from the doctor, however, she turned her life around by joining Xercise4Less.
During the slump of her eating disorder, she weighed 6st 7lbs, in April 2014. However, she now weighs 9 stone 1 pound.
At what point did you feel like you had hit rock bottom?
When I went to the doctors and they told me I could potentially never have children due to the damage I had done to my body. This really hit home and made me feel like I was at my lowest.
Can you describe what your relationship with food and exercise was like during this time?
Completely unhealthy. There were days I’d not eat at all and then pass out when exercising, so I’d only eat the bare minimum just to survive. I’d go to the gym for hours just on the treadmill to make up for the fact I had eaten one extra potato than I normally would, or that I actually ate lunch instead of skipping it.
Can you describe how this made you feel mentally?
Absolutely drained. I slept so much and not only was I physically drained but my mental health was in such a bad state. I’d look on Instagram and just cry.
Please explain your key motivation(s) to change your eating and exercise habits?
Once I had realised the damage I had done to my body. I hadn’t had a period for over a year, and combined with the news the doctor had given me about conceiving, I slowly started to realise that the life I was living wasn’t healthy at all.
Once you’d highlighted the concerns you had with your eating and exercise, what was your first step to recovery?
The first step was to admit to myself that I had an eating disorder, instead of being in denial. From then on I slowly started to incorporate more food into my diet and tried hard to not feel guilty after doing so. I even quit the gym for a while whilst I got myself back on track and went back once I had a healthy view on fitness.
What was your first training program once you’d decided to make a change to your exercise regime and how did Xercise4Less facilitate this?
Until I had made progress with my eating habits, I then started going back to the gym. Initially I trained at another local gym, but they didn’t have as much equipment and facilities, nor did were the opening times very accommodating, so I moved to Xercise4Less.
I’ll be the first to admit when I started weight training I had no idea what I was doing, but Xercise4Less has staff who are always happy to assist if you’re stuck. With it being a much bigger and popular gym there’s always someone around to help me if needed. I used to feel nervous walking into the gym but now I’ll walk into Xercise4Less and be completely in my comfort zone, deadlifting away!
What advice would you give to anybody currently suffering with body image / self-esteem issues?
Firstly, ignore anything anyone has to say about your body. That is YOUR body for a reason, absolutely no one on this planet has the right to say anything about your looks, so don’t give them the satisfaction. Secondly – STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. You are your own person and that person is beautiful regardless of what you or anyone else thinks about you.
Remember – true beauty comes from within. Reduce your time on social media and focus more time into yourself; have a long bath, go for a walk, read a book, lift some weights!