Voices of Body Positivity: Jessica Nelson Interview

Tell me who you are and what you do. What is your passion.


Hey everyone! My name is Jessica and I am a 18 year old equestrian and Emergency Management student at NAIT. I am super passionate about animal and human rights, equality, photography, art, and so much more! Travelling is amongst my favourite things – I’ve only been to 5 countries, but I plan to explore so much more. I currently am a swamper in Coronation, Alberta, where I work in the oil patch. My job consists of heavy haul, set up and tear down of pump jacks and other oilfield equipment, and many other fun tasks.

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How did you get into it?
As soon as I turned 18, I moved up to Coronation from Calgary to work under my Dad. At that time, he had his own oilfield contracting company.
Let’s talk mental health and body image. If you have a story to share tell our readers what inspired you to get involved, how you have struggled and how you’ve succeeded and if you are still working on yourself tell us what you do on a regular basis to combat your own demons.
I started acting and modelling when I was 14 years old. At first, it was a hobby to myself. As the months went on, I started to pay closer attention to the little details in the photos I got back and comparing them to others. Were my thighs too big? Maybe I should be slimmer? Before I knew it, I had gained an obsession with how I looked and how I wanted to look.
Glossy fashion magazines and fashion shows on TV became my motivation, as I did fasting-cardio for up to 4 hours a day. Little did I know that my mind was being consumed by anorexia, and that body dysmorphia was blocking myself from seeing how truly amazing I was.
From 2015-2017, I jumped back and forth from bulimia to anorexia multiple times. Within four months, I had dropped nearly 30 pounds and was just barely above 100. I had a journal dedicated to thinspo, keeping track of my progress, food journal, and so much more. Books that were written about eating disorders (Winter Girls, Letting Ana Go, etc.) were daily reads that I feared returning to the library, out of obsession. I had spent the past year participating in countless therapy sessions and seeing various dieticians at different health centres and hospitals. I didn’t want to listen… I wanted to be “perfect”.
In May of 2017, I was admitted into the Alberta Children’s Hospital under the Eating Disorder Clinic, as a severe case. My doctors were worried about the potential for heart failure, and my metabolism was in “starvation mode”. I couldn’t stop though… I was proud of my progress and the weight I had lost. Through my recovery process, I was supported by a 5 person team; a nurse, therapist, dietician, psychologist, and doctor for my vitals. Slowly I gained back the weight I lost (23% of my total body weight).
Mental health became an everyday task to focus on. I learned my triggers and how to treat them, and many different techniques. Today, I still struggle. I have great days, and other days I just want to go back to my old ways. A positivity journal is an excellent way I found to combat my demons. I have a relapse plan in a folder that I go to when it starts to get overwhelming. Different strategies include; going for a walk, talking to a friend, riding a horse, etc. Whatever it is, I do not satisfy the voice telling me I’m not good enough. I know better. To this day, I still cannot see how I really look when I stand in front of a mirror. I’ve gotten stronger, but still struggle to go to the mall or clothe shopping. This is something I am going to have to deal with for the rest of my life and at least 3 times a day during meal time – might as well fight it with all I’ve got.
If you could tell your teenage self one thing what would it be?
If I could tell my teenage self one thing, it would be that you’re better than the eating disorder voice in your head telling you you’re not. You are perfect the way you are and you should learn to love yourself. The body images that are portrayed by social media is completely unrealistic… don’t worry about being skinnier, or whatever you think you lack. You are you, and there is nobody like you – be proud of that.
Do you have a few favorites quotes that speak to how you feel on the topic?
“The moments where recovery feels the most painful are often the ones you are making the most progress, because it indicates that you are challenging your demons. Keep on pushing forward even when the eating disorder voices scream at you. Things tend to scream when dying.” – Amalie Lee Are you inspired by someone,

Are you inspired by someone, a business, an organization etc?

I am not particularly inspired by anyone at the moment. I relied on myself to recover and not rely on others too much. I do enjoy seeing progress recovery stories and accounts on social media. I do love following those and it’s a daily reminder that it’s ok to struggle but you’ll get through it!

Let our readers know where they can find you: (Social media, blogs, website etc)

I am mainly active on Instagram!
Instagram: @__jnelson__

Author: Bodypositive

"By sharing your story you are helping the next generation and your peers overcome their fears and issues with body image and mental health."

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