Welcome to another Freedom Friday Interview! To read more about Freedom Friday Interviews, please click here.
This week we’re welcoming one of my fellow eating disorder survivors to share her story of how she embraces freedom on a daily basis. If you find Andrea’s message inspiring, which I am sure you will. and want to hear more, I highly encourage you to listen to her interview on our podcast! Listen to Andrea’s interview here.
My name is Andrea Hollander and I currently live in Denver Colorado and I work as a personal trainer. I was born in raised in New Jersey and move to Denver for College where I attended the University of Denver. A majority of my life was spent battling and eating disorder and my future will be spent advocating, education, and living life free of an eating disorder.
2. What does “freedom” mean to you?
Freedom to me is the ability to dwell in possibilities.
3. Share about the time in your life when you lacked freedom. What was your struggle?
I fought for freedom of my own thoughts and actions for 10 years. My eating disorder took away a lot of possibilities and joy. I was trapped by my own thoughts, thoughts that took on a life of their own. I was suffocating for years.
4. What was your turning point? When did you realize that you needed to embrace freedom?
In 2011 I lost my fight to my eating disorder. I ended up having cardiac arrest and was put into an induced a coma for a week. After my near death experience I made the decision to fight. The feeling of freedom did not come overnight. Everyday I would get little glimpses of what freedom felt like. Five years later I still make the choice to live a life free of negative thoughts.
5. How do you allow freedom into your life on a daily basis?
For me freedom is presents itself in many ways. I feel free when I eat a burger and don’t feel guilty about. I am free when I get to be in the middle of nature with no thoughts. I am free when I get to move my body through fitness, dancing, and yoga. I am free when I get to laugh so hard that I start to cry. I am free when I speak my truth. I am free when I face the dark thoughts and shut them down.
6. I believe our journey towards freedom never truly ends, it just continues to progress to more and more freedom. How have you challenged yourself recently to embrace more freedom into your life?
I currently have been trying to find my balance with fitness. I used to compete in CrossFit and now due to an injury I am no longer able to compete. The transition of doing fitness just to be healthy and happy has been challenging. I challenge myself with allowing myself to take more rest days in a week, lift lighter weight, and practicing more yoga. I still feel sad when I can’t lift what I used to and sometimes I still feel guilty when I take a few days off. But its okay for me to feel those things as long as I know that the more I fight these challenges the closer I will be to feeling free of them.
7. What is one golden nugget of wisdom you can provide to those who are currently struggling with embracing freedom today?
I always as myself “why I am doing this.” What is the purpose of me giving into this action or thought, will it make me happier, is it for my best interest? By asking yourself these questions you can start to recognize when you are holding onto something that is not serving you.
If you cannot let go of the thought or feeling I normally go and talk about whatever it is to my husband or a close friend. Talking to someone who understands you and your struggles is always helpful.
8. And before we say good bye, how can we stay connect with you over social media?
I am currently in the works for getting my website up so look for it in the next few month. But in the meantime you can find me on instagram at @iluvmyquads