About Abigail Natenshon
Over 35 Years of Eating Disorder Specialty Practice
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Eating Disorder Specialist

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In Alyson's own words...

Overcoming Anorexia

My story 

By Alyson Boim

When you learn about eating disorders in Jr. High or in health class you learn that they are life threatening and that you can "never recover." I would like to emphasize that, while the former can be quite true, the latter is not! I don't know if I realized that as I suffered from it myself, but I must've known somehow, as I kept trying. If you have a disease like an eating disorder, there may not be pills to cure you, but within your own personal desire and hard work, and along with the people around you, lies your cure; recovery may not be cut and dry, but it is possible. You can fully recover from an eating disorder.

I was in and out of the hospital with different ailments

Can you imagine having a disease that has no cure, from which you will suffer for the rest of your life? one which affects you both physically and emotionally and affects everything you do and everyone with whom you interact? What a terrible prognosis! Again, you can fully recover from an eating disorder. This is the message I bring to people who have an eating disorder and those who have concerns about them. Even when the inner battle seems too difficult and an end doesn't even appear, it will.

Low immunity

When I was in and out of the hospital with different ailments that were the result of a very low immune system, when my 85 pounds could not support my 5'6" frame, it seemed that an end might not be possible. Even at twice that weight, though, I wasn't going to die of heart failure, I still felt failure within. When I faced numerous therapists and even eating disorder group therapies, I still could not envision hope or help. It wasn't until I found the right kind of therapy that I realized that the girls who did not want to recover whom I had encountered in those eating disorder groups were not what I wanted to be. Something turned around inside of me—not all at once, but in slow and gradual steps.

Now, when I think back to who I was (and it wasn't the person I am now, by any means) I am thankful to my friends who stuck by me, my family, and to Abbie. I am incredibly proud of who I am and what I've become, of the progress I've made, and of how I've left those eating disordered months and years so far behind. The eating disordered ways, the behaviors and the thinking never linger, not even for a fleeting thought or a moment.

Finding balance

Before and during the eating disorder, I had been a competitive runner, a prize winner for my school and renown in my state. I had to leave my running behind for many years during and following my recovery. As long as it was part of the eating disorder, I had to keep the sport I loved at bay. At times, I tried to go back to it and could not, recognizing that I couldn't run and be healthy. Finally, as I grew healthier, I learned to be able to balance it all. I have completed 3 marathons lately and, while I would not have done it if I felt the pernicious control of the eating disorder creeping back, I was finally able to run them in a healthy way, to go back to the sport I love in a new way, completely apart from the eating disorder. I think this is how I really knew that I was fully recovered.

I want to shout out and tell the world that you can recover. Please, please remember: You can fully recover from an eating disorder! Don't lose sight of that.

Thanks for the Support

Thank you Abbie, Mom, Jimmy and Ben, Nana and Kristin- my biggest supporters throughout. And thank you to those who stayed around to support me throughout. When Abbie said, early on, that someone with an eating disorder isn't capable of giving love to anyone else because of being consumed emotionally by the disorder and the depression and obsessions that go with it, I knew I wanted out. I have too much love to give to be someone who cannot give it. Though I lost some wonderful people along the way, I also gained closer relationships with those who stayed by me throughout the recovery. Best of all, I re-found myself. I know who I am and I love whom I have become. I have my life back. Thank you so much to them all! 

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