Sophia Ellis was completely consumed by her eating disorder; she feared food, binged and purged until she passed out and struggled with depression alongside Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and EDNOS.
The inspiring 23 year young power lifter from Southend tells us her inspirational story below.
At what point did you feel like you had hit rock bottom?
When I was deep in depression, was throwing up more than 14 times a day, was on a heart monitor, felt like I had no way out & tried to kill myself.
Can you describe what your relationship with food and exercise was like during this time?
I feared food. It made me anxious being around it. My mind would tell me how bad it was to eat certain foods and that I didn’t deserve to eat them. I abused exercises just to burn off what I ate, even if I didn’t want to run I had to. With Anorexia I avoided foods, starved myself and was so restrictive. The Bulimia I lost control, binged and purged till I’d pass out.
Can you describe how this made you feel mentally?
I was consumed by the eating disorder. Isolated, lonely and felt worthless. I didn’t want to exist anymore. I hated having the illness but couldn’t see a life without it. It was killing me and I was destroying myself and disgusted with who I was turning into. It made me feel dead inside, like I was in a constant destructive cycle that I couldn’t get out of.
Please explain your key motivation(s) to change your eating and exercise habits?
I wanted to be healthy again for my friends and family. It had broken us apart and I could see what it was doing to them. I wanted to just end the bulimic cycle it was getting too much.
Once you’d highlighted the concerns you had with your eating and exercise, what was your first step to recovery?
I went to my GP after collapsing at work and having heart problems. I managed to get funding for professional help at the Royal Maydsley Hospital. I recommend seeking professional help. Being aware that you are ill and getting help is the first step. I went through several therapies and finally found one that helped. It’s about being patient with yourself, one day at a time.
What was your first training program once you’d decided to make a change to your exercise regime and how did Xercise4Less facilitate this?
My first training programme was one that my brother had helped design for me. After leaving hospital I needed something to get me out of my room so got into weight training. Eventually I found Powerlifting and the rest is history! I trained at Xercise for less when I moved back down to Southend from London and used the facilities for some of my training sessions in prep for competitions.
What advice would you give to anybody currently suffering with body image / self-esteem issues?
Stop comparing yourself to others. You are on your own journey. Accept yourself, accept your body. Confidence comes through self care and appreciation of yourself. Do it for you and no one else. Find what you are passionate about and be bloody badass at it!