The Mind Can Make the Body Sick But Only the Body Can Make the Mind Well: From Eating Disorder, Personal Training and Finally Freedom

I have spent half my life suffering from an eating disorder

I have spent a third of my life seeking treatment but still suffering

I have lived free for three years.


In treatment they had a saying “the mind can make the body sick but only the body can make the mind well.” A year ago, I took this idea to the next step. It wasn’t enough to just feed my body, my body wanted to move. My body wanted to be strong, to be challenged. It wanted to be breathless and fearless. I had no idea how to do this. My only frame of reference was a relationship with my body that revolved around irrational, unattainable goals, a sense of self loathing and meticulous number crunching. I’d finally learned to hear what my body needed, but I had no clue how to achieve it.


When I reached out to UVAC for help I was matched with personal trainer Susan Van Abs. I was terrified going into our first meeting. I was convinced that this was a bad idea, I would hate it, it would hurt, my body would fail, I would be weak, not good enough. I made a deal with myself: I would try it, I didn’t have to like it, but I had to stick with it for  four months. If after that I still hated it, I could quit- my conscience clear.


I met with Susan and explained what I was looking for. She took it all in stride and never once judged me or made assumptions about me. She developed new work outs week after week that kept me interested and challenged. She has supported me and encouraged me to work at the top of my game but never once pushed me too far. She respects that I can’t really talk about weights and numbers. Instead she has helped me define goals that are about living a bigger, richer life.


Within two months I was begging to come twice a week. I now look forward to meeting with Susan all day when I’m at work, to venting my frustrations with ball slams, to feeling my strength with pull ups, to testing my stamina with stairs. As my body has gotten healthier, stronger, my mind has continued to heal. I’ve taken emotional risks, pushed my boundaries, and reconnected with a self I’d forgotten or never really known.


Susan has been a critical part of this continued growth. Without her compassion and expertise my world might still be small and shadowed. With her help, now my body is strong and my heart is brave. I highly recommend her to anyone, no matter your goal or your starting point. Susan will meet you where you are and help you grow to whatever comes next. I’m very lucky to work with her.

UVAC Member, Personal Training Client and Seeker of Health


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