Sarah
       
     
Ellie
       
     
Colleen
       
     
Victoria
       
     
Mclain
       
     
Victoria
       
     
Lisa
       
     
Ashley
       
     
Sapphire
       
     
Sarah
       
     
Sarah

"Recovery is the hardest thing I have ever done, but the biggest and most worthwhile investment I've ever made in myself.  This is something I say over and over again every time I talk to someone who is struggling or when I give a talk.  It is something you have to choose for yourself every minute of every day, every day of every week, every week of every year.  It is exhausting.  It is often overwhelming.  But it is liberating.  It is glimpses of freedom that come more and more frequently.  It is riding on the bus and feeling my body move and shake and feeling contentment and not disgust.  It is rooting my identity in the wonderful person that I am, and all the wonderful things I will do in my life, rather than my sickness.  There's no finish line you reach in recovery.  There's no trophy you get.  You might not ever get a laurel wreath or take a victory lap--instead you win over and over again, a thousand times, on the journey itself."

Ellie
       
     
Ellie

"Recovery feels like when you're seven years old and you finally reach the other side of the swimming pool when you've been under longer than you anticipated.  Recovery feels like when you're 11 and have a nightmare and ask your mom to come rub your back until you fall asleep again.  Recovery feels like when you're 15 and you're going on your first date.  Recovery feels like when you're 18 and you've finally been released from the hospital and your friends and family throw a welcome home party for you.  It feels freeing and exciting and terrifying and powerful all in the same deep breath."

Colleen
       
     
Colleen

"Recovery is freedom. Recovery is allowing my life be run by my desires and dreams for the world rather than debilitating fear that by not letting it be run on a treadmill I am condemning myself to failure. Recovery is knowing that I am inherently and innately worthy — simply for being.  I have always found beauty in movement — running in the woods with my dad, playing sports, dancing with friends. I found no greater joy than in engaging with the world around me. In the worst days of my disorder, I lost that passion. I valued exercise for how many calories it burned or how much it satiated my anxiety. I had to work hard to rebuild my relationship with exercise, and rekindle that passion. Recovery taught me that I am a fighter in body and mind. When I found mixed martial arts, I found home. I love the way my body feels when I hit the bag. I love the camaraderie and respect that comes in a sparring match. I love feeling powerful in my body. I love the peace of mind that comes from being fully present in the moment, for living in and through movement. I choose recovery every day. Recovery isn’t linear, and sometimes I stumble. I am so fortunate to have a community that loves and supports me in those moments of struggle and celebrates with me in overcoming them. I hope that I can share that gift with others through my relationships with people and in advocating for integrating body positivity into fitness."

Victoria
       
     
Victoria

"Recovery feels like the longest roller coaster I've ever been on, like this constant cycle of up and down.  The process is liberating in a way, but it would be a lie to say I'm past the fear of it all.  Every bite of food I take and mirror I pass and article of clothing I put on is both a point of tension and an opportunity to be mindful and intentional about recovering.  I'm just trying to take it day by day and appreciate the emotional complexity of the process."

Mclain
       
     
Mclain

"Recovery doesn't feel like this huge life moment, it's just a part of me.  It's become who I am. I love it and embrace it.  I don't feel like a hero and I certainly don't feel like I should be glorified.  It's all about loving your imperfections. The only thing I've done is learn to healthily live with the demon that is within myself.  We all have our demons, that's what makes us human, after all.  I've been four years recovered, so it's been a while.  But what I'm continuing to look forward to is the journey to self love.  Sure it's been a while since I've physically recovered, but it is still difficult to accept the way my body has changed since then.  I'm excited to work on self acceptance and see myself grow as a confident woman."

Victoria
       
     
Victoria

"For me, recovery has meant reconnecting with my true self.  As a little girl I was always so confident, so bold and brave; my eating disorder took all of that away from me.  It made me feel unworthy, to the point where I felt I had to shrink myself to simply be enough.  Being in recovery I have been able to find peace with my body, and even with myself as a person. I know I'm not perfect, I know I make mistakes.  But recovery has led me to embrace all of those things, and realize I'm better for them.  I wouldn't be me without them, and thinking in this newfound perspective has allowed me to feel confident and whole at times--not simply when I'm 'thinner.'"

Lisa
       
     
Lisa

"I've always measured myself and my successes in pounds.  The number on the scale has always defined my experiences.  It was something I could control, and in my high stress, unpredictable career choice it was a familiar comfort.  So much so, I found myself relapsing without realizing it.  I know I'm in recovery when I'm not defined by the number on the scale, when I don't have to start and end my day with knowing what that number is, and when I'm not consistently counting the calories I've consumed.  I feel the most empowered when I'm designing.  In those moments I get to make my daydreams into reality through a garment."

Ashley
       
     
Ashley

"Recovery is like growing a flower: you have to pay attention, you have to give love to what you’re growing, you have to nourish it and give it light. But then all that work and all that time grows into this beautiful flower that shows you how precious natural things can be and how they deserve more time and thought than they’re often given. Sometimes you’ll forget to water them. Sometimes the sun doesn’t come out. But life goes on, and so do you. And the bright yellows and pinks show you why you started growing the flower in the first place.  There’s nothing like climbing or dancing that shows me how amazing a body is and all it can do when you treat it right. It’s like this whole new version of living you realize is out there for you. It’s being able to live a full life and help guide others on their path.  I can’t wait to truly embrace and appreciate my body more days than not. To not care about the mirror, the numbers, the comparison. I look forward to days filled with advocacy and hope and true radiancy that no rainy day can derail."

Sapphire
       
     
Sapphire

"[Recovery] is scary because with my recent weight gain, I really want to revert back to an unhealthy eating lifestyle. I feel my best when I do something that I can be proud of.  Moving out into my own apartment has been the latest accomplishment.  Physically, I feel my best when I'm at a nice healthy weight.  [I'm looking forward to] making memories that are positive on the inside as well as the outside.  A lot of my memories are gilded, and I really would love to make memories with new and old friends.  Doing this shoot was inspiring to say the least."