Leann Crossno became a fast friend after we started working together. Partly because she’s freakin’ awesome, and partly because she is so open and honest with me, but mostly because of her heart. (It also doesn’t hurt that she’s in the fashion business and has helped make some of my fashion dreams come true! More on that later…) Leann is also an inspiration. – not just to me, but I feel like she has the potential to be an inspiration to many people out there.
Last year, when I wrote my blog about battling depression, I had many women reach out and say – THIS is my story and they really related to what I said. Then, even aside from depression, a lot of them felt comfortable enough with me to share their personal stories, and a lot of them came out about having eating disorders. Personally, an ED is something that I’ve never battled with, but it effects a lot of women, and I mean A LOT. Being in health and fitness, it’s something that needs to be addressed and talked about openly. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Our society has really pressured and encouraged women that “skinny” is the only way to be and that really skinny is sexy. BULLSH!T!!!! Strong, healthy, curvy, muscly, and normal is SEXY. Really, being in love with yourself and accepting how you are is SEXY. I mean look at this girl! 🙂 We call this the FBI vest….
Leann reached out to me, and came to me with a few different issues – a torn shoulder and a stress fracture in her ankle due to over exercising. Aside from her injuries, she came to me and was completely honest about her struggles with an eating disorder. I was in awe of her honesty and willingness to deal with her ED and to conquer it!! I know that her sharing her story will help many other women out there. I asked Leann some questions, and here is what she said…
How long have you battled an eating disorder?
My struggle with anorexia and exercise addiction started at age 14 as I entered high school. I had always dealt with extreme anxiety even as a child, and change such as starting high school was probably the trigger. Eating disorders are really a control issue and not just about the food. So anytime my life has felt out of control I have used restricting and exercise as my coping mechanism.
What have you done to battle and deal with it?
I have been in and out of treatment for both anorexia and anxiety since age 15. I have done in patient programs along with out patient therapy and sought help from a nutritionist.
Has working one on one with someone helped you?
When I came to Megan I was broken, both physically and mentally. I had full blown overtraining syndrome including a torn labrum, stress fracture in my right foot and neck injury all from over exercise. I was training 7 days a week intensely and 3-4 days a week I would train twice a day. I was sleeping maybe 4 hours a night bc my body was so hyped on endorphins. My body was constantly starving, I was cranky and anxious. My doctor gave me strict orders on what I could and could not do and I finally listened. I knew I had to turn my life around. I was open and honest from the get go with Megan about all my issues and she immediately helped me set boundaries with lifting, cardio, etc. She could see I wanted to push myself past the point of what I should do and helped me understand why I shouldn’t. She was also extremely helpful with my food intake making sure I was eating, texting me to check on me, supporting me with my struggles because when I had to stop exercising, it was like withdrawing from a drug. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Megan became not only my trainer but also one of my biggest supporters.
What role does health and fitness play in your life and your ED?
Through all this, health and fitness has become such an integral part of my life. Yes I do still struggle with the urge to overexercise. Sometimes when there’s a life issue that comes up the first thought is I should restrict or go exercise again but then I realize that’s just me trying to cope in an unhealthy way. Now I look forward to my daily workouts which are a combo of low impact cardio such as walking or biking, and light weight lifting. I do cardio daily and strength training about 3-4 times a week typically. I try to follow a meal plan because that works for me well. I’ve also learned the importance of self care and rest. Because my injuries still affect me daily, I have to take care of myself. I do have a lot of pain still so I have to say no to doing a lot if things I wouldn’t have in the past like going out, etc. It’s all about moderation in life all areas. And, yes I still struggle with all or nothing thinking but I’ve definitely made some significant strides bc of the support I have and have learned to accept.
What advice would you give to people out there struggle with an ED?
For anyone struggling with an eating disorder my first piece of advice would be ask for help. Seek support. I can’t say that enough. For years and years I lived in hiding that this was something to be ashamed of. It’s not. Everyone has struggles, and this is mine. Be accepting of those. I was fortunate enough to find an amazing therapist this last year who specializes in eating disorders and addiction issues and she has helped me to understand that you must get to the root of the disorder to treat it. So I’m still working with her on this and am now aware of where this all stems from. I also have a great supporter in Megan along with several close friends and an amazing boyfriend that I know are all there for me. Whether it be family, friends, or a therapist never be ashamed to ask for help. I wish I had a long time ago because I may not have had to deal with this on and off for 20 years.
There will be hills and valleys along your road to recovery. Don’t beat yourself up for one slip up. Admit it, accept it, and move forward. I don’t believe I will ever be “cured” or “fixed” but I do believe I can manage this because I have accepted the fact that it’s ok that I have this. It doesn’t define me it’s just a part of me.
What an inspiration! Leann is happy with herself, and has recently found love. When you love yourself, then you can truly love someone else… I couldn’t be happier for you, Leann. I mean, you can SEE the happy!
Thank you so much, Leann, for sharing your story and being a light in this world. This is not an easy subject to talk about openly but I believe if we open the door and start to share and talk about our struggles, we can all help each other with what we deal with. We all deal with issues personally, and finding people to share with, walk beside of, and lift us up is what is truly important. Thank you Leann, for being one of these people for me, trusting me to be one for you, and for opening the door for so many others out there.
As I mentioned above – Leann has an awesome job! I mean – a personal shopper/fashion consultant – ah-mazing. She has helped some of my fashion dreams come true on a very limited budget. Want your closet cleaned out or have a dream bag you’re looking for? She’s the one to help you! Here I am with a few of my Leann finds…
Feel free to contact her at email@example.com. Here’s more about what she does in her own words.
I graduated with a degree is fashion merchandising from the university of Tennessee at Martin. After college I had a successful career in banking and real estate but fashion has always been my true love. After a job transfer for my ex husband that resulted In me having to leave my job, I took a job at a resale boutique part time. The store realized I had an eye for designer fashion and a strong interest in high end handbags and hired me full time to work with that type of merchandise. I moved to Nashville in early 2013 to assist a longtime friend in opening a resale boutique. Since then I’ve assisted in opening 3 more boutiques. I now focus on personal shopping, the buying and selling of high end handbags and accessories, along with closet organization. I do everything from pricing merchandise for resale boutiques to finding buyers and sellers for high end goods to cleaning out closets and selling the contents for my clients. My goal is to be a full service go-to for both resale boutique owners as well as shoppers. So if you are looking for a particular bag or need your closet cleaned out for some extra cash I’m your gal! 🙂