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“In the summer of 2011 I was the smallest I’ve been,” says World Health Edmonton member Amber. “I weighed 100 pounds and was pretty deep into hiding the fact that I was battling an eating disorder.”

Amber developed an eating disorder around the age of 15.

“I was always a bigger kid growing up so it started out as a completely normal thing- I just wanted to eat better and get more active,” remembers Amber. “So that’s exactly what I did, but with little to no supervision it escalated to me restricting my calories to roughly 900 a day.”

Amber developed what she calls “weird rituals” around eating that involved eating nothing but a bowl of cereal in the middle of the night and a can of tuna or vegetables after school.

“That’s when things were pretty bad, I’d say nearly at the worst,” says Amber. “I was eating so little that I was getting stomach cramping and bloating and had completely lost my period.”

At 16, Amber’s mom convinced her to go see a nutritionist.

“She then had me move in with her and start my road to recovery, which unfortunately backfired,” says Amber. “I developed a binge eating disorder on top of  the anorexia. I would starve myself Monday to Friday and then I’d eat the house clean on the weekends.”

Amber’s 100 pound frame went up to 165 pounds by the time she turned 18.

“I knew inside that I wasn’t that person, but I didn’t know how to make it better. Anorexia and binge eating had taken over.”

Alongside her eating disorders, Amber knew something else was wrong and she began looking in to what could be making her feel terrible on a daily basis.

“It took me 7 months to get it figured out,” says Amber. “But a month into being on Synthroid after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I began to come out of the fog.”

With a diagnosis to give her some answers and medication to provide relief, Amber was on track to a healthier lifestyle when she stumbled across a YouTube personality Furious Pete who had overcome an eating disorder himself, and peaked her interest in the gym.

“I had no idea what a deadlift or a delt was or even how to squat but I knew from watching him and listening to his story that I could do just the same thing and turn my life around.”

When Amber knew lifting was what she wanted to do, she went in to World Health and asked to be set up with a personal trainer who could coach her to lift heavy.IMG_20160202_180720

“I just wanted to be able to deadlift and squat and bench and put on pounds of muscle,” says Amber. “The three main lifts quickly became what I loved the most about training and it turned out that I actually had a knack for it! I learned more about bodybuilding movements and how to isolate certain muscles as well and very quickly fell in love with power building, which is a combination of powerlifting and bodybuilding.”

Today Amber is a healthy aspiring powerlifter.

“My weight hasn’t changed a lot, I currently weigh between 146 and 150 pounds,” she says. “But my body has changed, as has my mind. I feel proud of the body I have made. I’m not the most aesthetic or most muscular, but I’m a work in progress and I always will be.”

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