The year is early 2005 and I spend most weekdays taking class in midtown Manhattan studying Fashion Merchandising at Fashion College. I am utilizing my free time by venturing to the hottest parties and making as many contacts as possible to land event planning gigs, and internships at top-tier industries related to Fashion; namely Public Relations.
My roommate, our clique of friends and I unexpectedly scored the deal of the Millennia; production of an Ed Hardy Fashion Show. I was thrilled and super excited until, as we searched out professional models, they suggested I also be in the show.
Immediately, I said “NO!” as, Anxiety, with a Capital A, kicked in. Side note: In the early 2000’s mental health wasn’t being as openly discussed and I had no idea what anxiety even was. Only that I felt nearly light-headed with worry.
Fast-forward to several weeks later, there was pressure mounting for us to put the Fashion Show together, me to keep up with my college courses, the potential of a reality-TV Show for us all in the works, and my deep apprehension to being a model in this show gone unnoticed. I did not like the way my body looked during the fittings, and I grew so uneasy, seeing my curvy hips, I started to feel I was having an out-of-body experience (Hello, Anxiety). My body did not look like the “professional” models we had hired. The differences were making me sick.
I couldn’t take the pressure anymore. My way of dealing with it became a deep secret that I never told anyone. I began developing a binge and purge routine. About 1-2 times a day I would venture off to the store to find whatever junk food I desired, load up, then go back to my dorm to binge and purge. It became a habitual way of coping that lasted long after the fashion show ended.
Over time I became more afraid of being found out about this new habit I had acquired, but my anxiety over how I looked remained. My relationship to food was a continuous struggle. I switched from what was now the occasional binge and purge, to restricting my intake of food. I also learned Pilates and other basic aspects of fitness; I genuinely enjoyed working out and didn’t use it as a punishment. However, I wasn’t eating in a healthy way.
My entire lifestyle changed in 2012 when I got a job working at a local Yoga studio. With this job came free yoga classes and the most kind-hearted, caring instructors who instilled deep spiritual values such as Gratitude, Ahimsa (the practice of Non-violence to oneself and others) and choosing Peace regardless of circumstances. I went through a dramatic Spiritual Transformation, making yoga and the yoga studio a huge part of my life and my evolution. I became a Yoga Teacher. I started to work on healing myself, my relationship to my health, my anxiety, and food.
It took many years with some bumps in the road but I finally arrived at a place of true happiness inside and out. I love teaching my students the miraculous yoga and meditation practices that have helped me to evolve.
It’s been over 10 years since that time in my life and I felt it was time to share my story. I believe I am fully recovered due to my devotion to honoring and loving myself. I have become an expert in intuitive eating and I no longer restrict my diet.
I deeply encourage anyone suffering from an Eating Disorder to get help from a professional as well as to look into trying Yoga, Breath-Work, Meditation and Reiki to assist with dealing with mental, emotional or physical imbalances. Reconnection to Spirit and remembering my worthiness led me to where I am now. Through teaching Yoga daily, my soul is content, contributing to the greater good of the collective humanity by helping those who come to the mat to find calm and peace, especially in the dire times we currently face.
I know that my story is relatable to so many who secretly suffer with unhealthy relationships to food, body insecurities and anxiety. My hope is for those who seek help and healing find it through not just health professionals, but also from the holistic and spiritual realms of transformation and connection to one’s Higher-Self.
Kristen McIntyre has been teaching Yoga since 2015. Her enthusiasm for living a balanced, healthy lifestyle, combined with her knowledge of asana (poses) and anatomy allows her to artfully craft multi-level Vinyasa Flow Classes as well as work one-on-one with those looking to begin or strengthen their Self-Growth through Yoga. Continuously learning, developing and living her Yoga allows her to incorporate a wide array of spiritual tools (postures, breathing, toning, dynamic movement, mantra & guided meditation) that help students of all levels ease through challenges both on and off the mat. She currently resides in Central New Jersey and teaches Vinyasa and Kundalini Yoga Classes on a daily basis. You can also catch her on Instagram, @KayJem