Her Independence of Spirit: Veronica Lawler

Veronica Lawler is a 24 year old health and fitness blogger on her Instagram account PBnVernie and a Quest Nutrition ambassador from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Over the past 8 years, Veronica has struggled with the perils of living with anorexia and has rebuilded herself through self love, health and fitness from the ground up which she shares through her Instagram page

What has your health journey been like so far?
I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) when I was in first grade definitely took a toll on my life because when you live a life of obsession at such a young age, it becomes all you know.

When I was 16 years old, I became severely depressed and dropped a few pounds. After realizing my weight loss, I felt the first sense of happiness I had felt in a long time and wanted so badly to hold onto that happiness.

Eating no more than 500-600 calories a day combined with over excessive exercise, my weight as well as my overall health plummeted. I dropped to a weight of 96 pounds, was beginning to lose my hair, completely lost my menstrual cycle, and became severely anaemic. I started self-induced vomiting and also abused laxatives. I was soon diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa.

It wasn’t until my high school counselor made it known to me that she knew I had a problem and was willing to help me. She was the first person who made me feel worthy of recovery and, for the first time in a few months, worthy of life. She was the greatest motivation I had because I wanted nothing more than to make her proud, and in the end, I started to become proud of myself.

What is the story behind your motivation to be dedicated to improving your health?
I’ve watched so many documentaries on girls suffering from eating disorders and many of these girls’ conditions were so much worse than mine it absolutely terrified me.I knew that if I continued to go about my ways, I too would wind up just like them. I wanted to be in love with life again and more than that, I wanted to learn how to love myself more.

 

 

What inspired you to start instagramming/blogging your health and fitness journey?
I really struggled with the amount of weight I gained post-recovery and kind of fell into a slump of sadness/laziness. Later, I decided enough was enough and planned to take action on making myself happier.

I started to follow many health and fitness related blogs and took my research based on what I learned from them. The knowledge I’ve gained from the fitness community gave me so much excitement, positivity, and motivation to get started that I too wanted to start documenting my journey.

If I can inspire just one person out there to get the help they need and the motivation to work towards bettering themselves both physically and mentally, then I have far surpassed the expectations I’ve made for myself.

 

 

What do you hope your followers achieve from your content that you post?
People nowadays look up to people who post pictures of shredded bodies, salads, and sadly, they’re drawn to the amount of followers they have. Those accounts with the overly photoshopped pictures of fruit or people laughing with a salad have never phased me.

I’m drawn to REAL and raw people living a healthy and BALANCED lifestyle not just to impress others but to inspire them and because they simply love the lifestyle.

That’s what I hope people can get out of my content. I want people to learn how to eat right, how to train correctly, but more importantly, to understand that they aren’t alone in this journey. I want them to know that recovery is possible and so worth it.

What advice would you give to someone who suffers from an eating disorder?
When suffering with an eating disorder, you gain a lot of trust issues. You don’t want to believe the serving size numbers – you think they’re lying as crazy as that may seem. The pressure to be perfect completely overwhelms your entire life and as badly as you want to shake it, you just can’t.

My advice to anyone suffering with an eating disorder would be this: You probably feel as if there’s no one more depressed or sad or lonely than you. I promise you, you aren’t alone. Owe yourself the respect to find help because I promise you, you and this life are both so beautiful and worthy. I have faith in you. You aren’t alone. It gets better.  

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How would you define your independence of spirit?
Ever since I was able to find happiness again, I crave it. It is the absolutely greatest feeling in the world to finally love yourself. When you love yourself, you see the beauty in everything that surrounds you.  After years of being blinded from true happiness, I now know that ultimately, my happiness must come from within and nowhere else.

It’s been eight years of pain, struggle, tears, ups and downs, yet I don’t regret one day of this journey. I go through this battle from the second I wake up to the very moment my head hits the pillow. Although it’s not exactly what I would’ve wished for, this was the hand I was dealt and I’m learning to accept it.

If I can inspire just one person out there to get the help they need and the motivation to work towards bettering themselves both physically and mentally, then I have far surpassed the expectations I’ve made for myself.

Each day given to me is a reminder that God isn’t finished with me yet and that I am still alive for a reason. I am not my past, and I am not my disorder.

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