By Liana Jacob
MEET BRAVE woman who since winning her battle against anorexia gained over two-stone in two years and is now a bodybuilding champion with over 69K Instagram followers.
Online holistic lifestyle and fitness physique coach, Kendall Strampel (19), from Florida, USA, was diagnosed with anorexia when she was only 15 years old weighing as little as 6st 1Ib and a UK size two to four, consuming only 600 calories a day.
Her eating disorder was triggered by her desire to have the ‘perfect body’ and her admiration of Instagram bodybuilders.
She started to run five to 10 miles every day with 20 minutes of work out and reducing her meals to the point of starvation shedding 2st 5Ibs from a healthy weight of 8st 6Ibs.
Her goal led her to isolate herself from everyone and she ended up withdrawing from her parents who she thought turned against each other because of her. The reality of what had happened made her realise she had to change.
After finding solace in eating disorder recovery accounts on Instagram helped her gain back 2st 7Ibs and get to a healthy weight of 8st 8Ibs and a UK size of six to eight, consuming 3,100 calories a day.
“I started off running cross-country in school and I joined Instagram; I admired girls with bodybuilding physiques,” Kendall said.
“I saw the highlights of their lives; dainty meals, hours in the gym and motivational posts, I wanted to be them. I thought running and not eating was the answer.
“I refused to put anything in my body that was not considered ‘clean’ and I ran five to ten miles every day while doing twenty minutes of ab workouts.
“My beautiful eight-stone six-pound body quickly dwindled to a mere six-stone one pound in the course of four-months.
“Everyone tried to help me; my family, friends, counsellors, but I would not have it. The thing is, I hated my body for being so frail and small, but I refused to eat – I was afraid of something that was supposed to be keeping me alive.
“I was lucky to be eating six-hundred calories a day; I remember feeling dizzy and weak all the time. I lost all my friends, I avoided all social events because I knew food would be included.
“I completely isolated myself, almost to the point of death. Which at one point was something I craved more than anything, I never thought I would recover; I didn’t think it was possible.
“I think it’s the product of a culture obsessed with image and my desire for a ‘perfect’ body. I suffered for almost two years with anorexia before I finally put my foot down.
“It led me to depression and anxiety; if I could describe how I felt in one word, it would be lonely. Nobody wants you when you treat them like crap.
“I was seventeen and I had done the worst thing I could. I turned my parents against each other. I just wanted to work out and not eat; I tried to convince them to let me and that I was OK.
“This caused chaos among my family. I realised that I was the thing tearing my household apart. I took the initiative to simply try.
“I enjoyed my first ‘fun’ food of ice cream, when I realised how amazing it felt to enjoy the food I loved, and I started to feel more empowered and strong.
“I followed recovery accounts on Instagram and they were so helpful, that I started my own. Sharing my story almost gave me a sense of accountability.
“I felt that I was motivating others with my story and I knew I had to overcome my eating disorder for me and for my following. It gave me such a drive and desire to build my best self.
“It has given me the ability to build relationships. I can now work to help others overcome and create their best self.
“My platform has allowed me to travel and meet so many wonderful people with similar backgrounds. It has given me life; I’m so happy and now I just want to pay it forward.
“I now compete in bikini competitions, body build and eat the most amazing foods while managing to balance my diet with nutrient dense foods.”
Not only has her recovery helped her re-discover herself and her body, but she has now rebuilt her relationship with her friends and reassured her family.
“I think my parents were the proudest people on the planet. My friends came back around and cheer me on. They are my number one supporters and I have built such healthy relationships with them again,” Kendall said.
“I want people to know they are not alone. they can reach out to recovery accounts, seek professional help and that telling someone can be the most lifechanging experience for them.
“Food is not the enemy, it is fuel, your body does not define who you are as a person. You deserve life.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/fearstofit/