Lexi’s story

Lexi, 31, Brisbane

Lexi, 31, Clinical nutritionist who endured more than 25 hospitalisations with anorexia nervosa over 18 years, BRISBANE

Clinical nutritionist, Lexi, 31, Brisbane, first began to show signs of an eating disorder at seven years of age. It wasn’t until she turned 14, that her dad, a doctor, noticed her severe decline in weight and sought professional help.

He accompanied Lexi to a GP, who immediately referred her to a psychiatrist, which led to a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa.

 Lexi’s arduous, 18-year-long journey to recovery from this potentially devastating illness has involved multiple relapses, including more than 25 hospitalisations.

 Today Lexi is a strong advocate for reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders. She aims to heighten community awareness of, and ignite conversations about eating disorders, and their indiscriminate nature.

This is Lexi’s story.

At seven years of age Lexi was teased by older children about her weight – something which to this day, she believes played a minor role in her development of a potentially devastating eating disorder.

Seven years later, Lexi was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. At 17 years of age she was admitted to hospital for the first time post-diagnosis.

“There were many occasions when my weight was so low, I was unable to physically walk.

“I couldn’t complete high school. I had to leave in year 12 because my illness had completely overtaken my life. Ongoing hospitalisations and periods of bed rest meant I couldn’t socialise with friends, hold down a job, finish school, or go to university,” said Lexi.

Lexi describes anorexia nervosa as “a very complex issue” and attributes genetics as the most likely contributor to her development of the illness.

“Other members of my family have experienced a similar predisposition, struggling with dieting and their relationship with food,” said Lexi.

Throughout her 18-year-long battle with anorexia nervosa, Lexi has undergone “conventional” treatment for her illness, and attended a myriad of medical, psychiatric and dietetic appointments. She attributes the biggest breakthrough in her journey toward recovery however, to a lifestyle change involving yoga and nutritional medicine.

Lexi is excited to be contributing to the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) – the world’s largest genetic investigation of eating disorders ever performed. The study is aiming to identify the hundreds of genes that influence a person’s risk of developing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder to improve treatment, and, ultimately, save lives.

She views the study as an opportunity to help curb the stigma currently associated with the mental illness.

“I believe there a strong biochemical and genetic aspect to eating disorders that is currently undermined and under-acknowledged. Regardless of the bullying I endured as a child due to my weight, I believe I was pre-determined to go down the path of anorexia nervosa.

“Many people often ask those who are living with anorexia nervosa why they can’t just eat. Hopefully this study and further research will serve to provide much-needed answers to this question,” Lexi said.

Should you suspect that you, or a loved one, may be living with an eating disorder, speak to your local healthcare professional without delay, or head to www.insideoutinstitute.org.au to complete their screener and assessment, and to access more information and professional support.

Australian professional patient support services offering 24/7 helpline services include:

  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
  • LifeLine: 13 11 14
  • Men’s Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78
  • Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800. 

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