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Friday, May 24, 2024

Yorktown Woman Focuses on Eating Disorder Awareness through ‘Her Best Self’ Company

Lindsey Nichol launched Her Best Self Co. to help combat eating disorders in women. (Lindsey Nichol)

YORKTOWN — Lindsey Nichol still remembers being eight years old and having a poor relationship with food.

Growing up as a competitive dancer and figure skater, Nichol always had it in her head that if she was skinnier, she’d perform better. She wanted nothing more than to chase perfection.

“I became relatively competitive very early. I was a ballerina, a dancer, and then I turned to skating full-time. The biggest shift was as an athlete, you are so used to training to build muscle and endurance. I did that for a while and then I remember always getting sized for costumes and gear, it became very apparent to me that the smaller you were or the frame that you had was going to determine how good you were in the sport,” Nichol said.

In Nichol’s mind, her weight equaled how successful she’d be on the ice. Wanting to do anything she could to control her weight, she counted every piece of food that went into her mouth.

“Everything I did was to be better at skating. As an only child, my parents poured all they could into me. Through it all, I became more obsessed with being perfect and being first,” Nichol said.

Things began to spiral for Nichol when she auditioned for an international skating company. After being told to come back after losing ten pounds, her obsession with counting calories began to ramp up.

“They told me, you are amazing, but come back when you’ve lost ten pounds. I thought I was at a healthy weight, I was solid, there was nothing to lose. I just had a mission at that point to drop ten pounds and it became super obsessive. I lost a lot of weight really quickly and got very small. After that I was determined to prove that I would be worth it,” Nichol said.

It was only after a routine doctor’s visit, where she was told that her organs were failing, that she started thinking about getting serious help.

Lindsey Nichols is a former competitive figure skater who battled an eating disorder. She’s now working to help other women on their recovery journey. (Lindsey Nichol)

“The doctor said, ‘Lindsey, your organs are failing’ and I remember thinking ‘I’m still functioning, everything is fine’ until she said that. That’s when it clicked in me that I wasn’t fine. Part of my brain liked that I was small, but quite honestly, it wouldn’t have ever been enough. I enjoyed, very sadly, the attention of people saying ‘Oh my gosh, you lost so much weight’, ‘look at how skinny you are’, ‘what do you do to stay so small?’. It really led to this perfection-type superiority struggle of having the willpower. It really fueled the disorder because I loved those compliments,” Nichol said.

Nichol grew serious about recovery and ultimately re-established her relationship with religion to find some guidance on how best to get there.

“I remember being on the bathroom floor and just saying ‘God, if you are there and you care, save me from me.’ I knew I needed to get better because my whole life was going to change,” Nichol said.

During the early days of her recovery, Nichol struggled. One thing she is grateful for, however, is that she kept a journal throughout the entire process.

“Recovery is not linear. There are ups and downs. I journaled throughout my entire recovery process, which I’m so thankful that I did. I get to look back on that time and that helps me speak to other women about it. It also brings the awareness that I had so much growth and the realization that I was dying and I have a life now that is healed and whole,” Nichol said.

Through her recovery, she launched Her Best Self Co. Nichol serves as a coach for women who are working through their unhealthy relationships with food. She also openly speaks about her recovery journey on the Her Best Self podcast. She became a certified health coach and eating disorder recovery coach. She even earned her master’s degree from Boston University in health communications.

“The core pillars of the company are wrapped up in ‘BEST.’ ‘B’ is for body, ‘E’ is for emotion, ‘S’ is for soul and ‘T’ is for thought. These are all different important parts of the way that I healed my life. In my recovery, I always just wanted to be the best person I could be, I just wanted to be the best version of me. Stepping into that version required a healed and renewed version of me,” Nichol said.

Through all of her efforts, she is working to ensure that eating disorders remain a forefront discussion point in the field of mental health.

“In the mental health space, eating disorders are not talked about as much as they should be. Mental health is huge and we are nowhere near conquering it. Eating disorders are the number one killer in terms of mental health. It’s super important to really think what the data is telling us and showing us,” Nichol said.

Nichol hopes to grow the company and would love to open her own residential treatment facility, pen a book about her experiences with the disease, and more.

“The whole time I was battling this, I thought my perfection was driving me to be a better person. But really, the purpose behind this battle is to touch others’ lives. It has nothing to do with me. If I can share that I was the worst of the worst-case scenario and now I don’t have an unhealthy relationship with food, that gives someone hope. If I help one person, I’ve done my job and that’s truly what keeps me going,” Nichol said.

For more information on Her Best Self Co, visit herbestself.co.

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