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20 Year Old Woman Overcomes Anorexia and Reaches out to Others through Project HEAL

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A 20-year-old woman from Queens has turned her life around after battling anorexia nervosa for 10 years, and she now uses her insight and experience to reach out to others suffering from the devastating eating disorder.

Kristina Saffran was first diagnosed with anorexia when she was just 10 years old. She admits that her eating disorder began innocently enough as a way of losing a couple of pounds in order to look good. However, her good intentions quickly spiralled out of control, and Kristina found herself controlled by the need to lose weight.

Damaging psychological consequences of anorexia

Kristina reports that not only was her eating disorder harmful physically, but also that she suffered from severe psychological consequences due to her self-imposed starvation. She remembers withdrawing socially and becoming extremely anxious and isolated. She was constantly fatigued and her life revolved around the needs of her eating disorder, to the exclusion of everything else.

Kristina is now entering her junior year at Harvard University, where she plans to study psychology. Thanks to therapy, she is now in recovery and is reaching out to others suffering from devastating eating disorders such as anorexia. Having experienced the illness first hand, Kristina truly understands what fellow sufferers are going through. She also appreciates how important treatment is and the difference it can make to the lives of persons with anorexia.

Financial and emotional support through Project HEAL

Kristina has already done a lot to support individuals with eating disorders. Four years ago, she co-founded Project HEAL with Liana Rosenman, an anorexia sufferer she met while in treatment. There are now six chapters in the U.S. and one in Canada. Over $170,000 has been raised over the past four years, and seven scholarships awarded to assist persons with eating disorders in affording treatment.

Kristina was honored recently with one of three $1,000 awards offered to exceptional women committed to giving to their communities. The award was hosted by Godiva Chocolatier, and the finalists were chosen through social media votes.