Karin Lewis has lost a parent. She’s been a graduate student. She has suffered serious injuries and the death of a friend when a fourth-floor balcony collapsed. But she says the toughest thing she ever did was overcome anorexia nervosa.
“The thing I’m the proudest of is recovering from anorexia. I wear it like a badge,” she said, noting she’s had no issues with eating healthy for the past 17 years.
Lewis, a 1987 graduate of Andover High School and therapist, has returned to the area and opened the Eating Disorder Center of Andover, with co-owner and nutritionist Rhys Wyman. The center is at 68 Main St., above CVS.
“I think people have a misconception that once you have it, you always have it. That’s a crock. You can fully recover,” Lewis said. “I’ve been through the loss of a parent and I never returned to my eating disorder to get through it. People need to know they can get through [difficult patches] and not use an eating disorder.”
Lewis’ own personal story is this: After her years at Sanborn Elementary, West Junior High and Andover High, she went off to Emerson College to be a writer. While she believes she looked confident on the outside, she said she had issues with growing up, with her looks and with feeling that she did not belong. At 20, she decided she would make a real effort to lose about 10 pounds.
“I started losing weight and people noticed and started saying how great I looked. I was like, ‘Really?’ because I felt horrible inside,” she said. Soon she was turning away food and over-exercising.
“I never felt like I was good enough. Then I got to college and became the best [at losing weight], until I abused it and it became an eating disorder,” she said. “Other things were too difficult for me to look at. I thought I was very good at this and obviously went too far.”