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My Story- Jennifer Duffy

Hi my name is Jennifer,

I am currently struggling with and fighting back from an eating disorder as well as fighting and struggling with a few

different mental health illnesses like depression, anxieties, OCD and more. This is something I can now openly say I

am going through and not be ashamed.

Let’s go back a little bit though. For me I grew up playing competitive soccer my whole life, even to the point of

college level and I loved it. It was a big part of my life, even though I look back now while in the process of learning

about myself that this may have been one of the small factors that could of lead to my eating disorder tendencies.

The strict nutrition aspects and high-level training, I was hooked and in my case probably took it a little too far. But

back then, heck I didn’t know about these things or what I was probably doing to myself physically and mentally.

Because back then, I don’t think it was in full affect as of yet.

Around the year of 2014 when I was finished playing at the college level, I continued to play for fun recreationally.

Over that time, I was happily married. But again over a period of time between then and 2020 I got more into the

weightlifting, programs, diet programs and so on to fit the mold of a gym weightlifter. My mental health got worse as I

spun into more of a depression state of mind, again still not realizing this. There were some pretty dark days with my

mental health that I am again only now learning more about and finding some reasoning as to the route causes and

so on. While struggling with my mental health, that is when I took fitness to a WHOLE other level. Started as a mental

health outlet and release (which still is to this day but in a healthier way). But over time it started some MAJOR eating

disorder tendencies. In 2021, my marriage ended, I then again got stricter with the gym and food. I was doing cardio

for an hour every day minimum where I would focus on the calories burned and time over enjoyment. I stopped

subbing for soccer because I was isolating. I made excuses to see friends of mine because I would be scared if it

was for a meal or just for the sense of wanting to be home and alone and eating when and what I wanted. Summer of

2022 is when I realized something was wrong with some help from a few people subtly making comments here and

there, and I think my eyes were starting to see what they were talking about.

For me It got to the point where, I was weighing myself weekly and tracking it (happy when number went down and

mind accepting a number and then upset if it ever went over it), tracking and counting and weighing all my foods to a

T, saying I liked going for walks after every meal because “I didn’t like sitting after eating”, saying I was lactose

intolerant, saying I was gluten sensitive, isolating from friends and family, exercising at gym two times a day. That

was my life and the ED had full control at this point. But when I finally accepted it, that is when I reached out to the

FEW close friends I pushed away and close family, to only hear the words “we wanted to say something but didn’t

know how and didn’t want to hurt you”. Did that hurt yes, but I understood.

Late summer of 2022 is when I started working with a coach. This coach had the all-in approach. At first I was all for

it and enjoyed working with her and she did help me in some ways, my parents like this coach because it was the all

in approach and more of a rapid weight gain rapid fix situation. I went with it and did the best I could. By fall of 2022,

this coach was moving and that meant her business was ending as she was moving on to other work. For me that

was VERY challenging and I was VERY scared. This was because for me it is HARD to reach out and open up with

someone that I don’t know.

About a month went by and that is when I came across Lisa Madison’s business the Flourishing Space. Read the bio

and immediately related in so many ways and decided to reach out. The day I had my first consult phone call I

believe I was TERRIFIED, as anyone like me would be. I was taught to be closed off and not open up and show

emotions. SO I didn’t know what to expect. But the moment that call started…it didn’t take long for me to realize the

warmth and care and love that Lisa expresses more. The compassion and honesty and just comfort she made me

feel really helped me flow that conversation more easily and the many more following. I knew from that phone call

that Lisa would be the perfect person to help me. Her approach also made me realize that what I was trying to do

before was just not for me. All in approach can be good for some for sure, but it wasn’t for me. She made me realize


that that approach overwhelmed me and more, which also affected the beginning of her helping me in a sense that if

I didn’t have a fear food every day or rush things more or not go quicker in a recovery sense I was doing it wrong. But

Lisa made me realize that everyone is different and that there was nothing wrong with eating the foods you enjoy as

long as it’s just more and the right amount to fuel you properly. Which is what I started doing. Yes I still eat very

health I still work out and do cardio. But it was learning the balance in the both and being able to have both. Learning

that if I still have fitness goals and want to work out and do cardio, I have to fight harder with the ED and fuel

properly. Working with Lisa and working on my mental aspect of things with touching base on the foods here and

there I found to be very beneficial for me. This is because I have learned so much more about myself and why I am

the way I am, why I react the way I do to emotions and how it contributes to me now and even my mental health and

ED.

I am still not quite there yet, still have a long way to go in a food sense of things which again I am not afraid to admit.

But the growth I have made as a whole, is just huge. I may have lots of days where I can’t see my growth, and LISA

is right there with me telling me and reminding me when I need to hear it. That is what I love about the teamwork

between me and her. She is willing to be that strength for me when I know I can’t. She knows all that I have been

through which is what allows her to remind me how far I have come given all the crap and hurdles I have had to deal

with and still deal with.

Yes, I have a long way to go, but just being open and knowing what I need for myself even if some days I can’t do it,

there is always the next day. And I know I will have Lisa when I again don’t have that strength.


All I can say and finish with is, every day is a battle, and what I have been told many times is recovery is not linear,

you will have ups and downs some longer lasting then others, but they will end and get better. Always reach out to

someone close if you can’t fight it. Because no one should fight these alone. Trust me, I tried. Look where that got

me. So trust me when I say this (yes I am not all recovered) But I can say is with the distance I have come and what I

can see ahead is worth the fight. Those moments of clarity and realization almost and always will give you that

second wind you need.

Keep fighting.

“Don’t ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not

responsible for their happiness. You are responsible for your own happiness. Anyone who wants you to live

in misery for their happiness should not be in your life to begin with.”

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