A severely anorexic woman’s life was saved when six strangers staged an intervention at her gym.
Lauryn Lax, 27, weighed just 79lb when fellow gym goers who were concerned about her health approached her.
She suffered from anorexia since age 9, after a schoolmate asked her how much she weighed.
Now Lauryn is using her experience with an eating disorder to help others through her wellness program, THRIVE.
Lauryn, from Little Rock, Arkansas, says: ‘Honestly, I think if those strangers had not stepped in I would not have been alive today.
‘My experience with anorexia started when I was about 9 when thoughts and patterns formed where I was questioning my beauty and worth.
‘I remember feeling really insecure at the time and I felt like I weighed the most out of all the little girls standing there,’ continues Lauryn.
‘I went home that day and stood in my pantry and decided that I was going on a diet. I started learning how to read nutrition labels and started cutting out fats.’
Lauryn started eating less every day and eventually consumed nothing.
‘Before I knew it, something else took hold in my mind and I wasn’t in control – but something controlled me and that’s when the eating disorder set in.’
For years, Lauryn struggled with the eating disorder, but she reached rock bottom in August 2011.
‘I remember waking up that day at 4am and stepping on the scale as I did every morning and seeing the number 79 – a number I had not seen since I was 10.’
Lauryn decided to go about her daily routine and drive to the gym but was met by an unexpected group in the parking lot. She recalls the scene:
‘I heard a voice come up behind me saying, “Good morning Lauryn.”
‘I saw not one but several other individuals come up behind me and circle around me and one of them stepped forward and said: “Lauryn, we’re scared for you.”’
After 10 minutes of arguing, Lauryn decided to go with the strangers to the doctor to get her vitals checked.
She was transferred to a hospital where her heart rate dropped into the 30s – and doctors thought she would need a pacemaker.
After three days in the intensive care unit she spent three weeks in the cardiac unit until it steadied.
‘The doctor came to me and said, “You can stay another six to eight weeks in bed with a feeding tube or you could go into a residential treatment centre to get to the bottom of your illness,’ says Lauren.
‘I opted for the residential centre in Miami where I stayed for almost a year.
‘Going back to school was one of my new life goals and I eventually became a doctor of occupational therapy and nutrition.’
Today Lauryn lives in Austin, Texas and has one-on-one sessions with clients.
She offers fitness training classes and women’s empowerment, self-esteem, and life skill sessions to clients as young as 12.
‘I aim to transform eating disorder recovery into a more holistic approach,’ explains Lauryn.
‘THRIVE Wellness and Recovery is a recovery support system where I discuss a client’s goals and help them get through their health disorders.
‘My five-year goal is to open up a holistic healing centre in Austin, but for now I would like to reach more girls and women who desire freedom from their disorders.’