Published July 14, 2017

Fitness Inspiration: Body Dysmorphic Disorder Survivor Sammi Farber


Meet Sammi.

Sammi first caught our attention with an emotionally charged and courageous post on her Instagram feed back on January 27th, 2017. She spoke of a difficult breakup that triggered a downward spiral in her life and how she recently discovered Fhitting Room, which helped her rediscover her light, her soul and her heart. We reached out to see if she’d contribute to a FHITspiration post about the emotional beneFHITs she discovered at Fhitting Room, and in return we received a truly moving account written by a woman in the midst of a serious struggle with an eating disorder who was brave enough to share her battle in an effort to help others.

Sammi is currently in rehabilitation, and as her FHITfamily, we are in her corner 100%. We are sharing her story, in her words, about her struggle during her battle, not after recovery. Sammi specifically asked for her story to be shared now while she seeks recovery.

Our goal in sharing Sammi's own words during this difficult time is to help anyone else who may have issues. In that spirit, Sammi provided us with the names of two incredible organizations that offer resources for anyone facing similar challenges, and while we love our frequent FHIXers, we do not recommend 100 FHIXes in under 100 days for anyone.


Sammi’s Story (in her words):

I have spent pretty much my whole life battling with something called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. When people ask what that means, I tell them it’s like living in a fun house, like the ones at amusement parks, where every mirror gives you a warped image of yourself. That’s what I see every time I look at a mirror, photo or video of myself. Though I wish I could say I see the image that makes you super tall and slim, that’s not the case. The topic of eating disorders tends to be unspoken until after recovery. I guess people want to hear the happy ending or the “success story,” rather than the process, before knowing the outcome. It’s kind of like jumping on a diet that’s advertised everywhere. You’re much more likely to sign up when you see a before and after photo rather than just the before. But, to me, the process and the struggle, is what’s most relatable and where I’m at currently. The process doesn’t have to be a dark and twisted journey full of shame. I look at my struggle as a positive journey to finding the best person I can be. Everyone’s journey is unique, and this is just a small glimpse into mine and how Fhitting Room has been so much more than just a boutique work out class; Fhitting Room has been a support system and has played a very important role in starting my road to recovery. 

Last year, during my final year studying at The Culinary Institute of America, I went through a horrible break up. It felt like the end of the world, which I’m sure many have experienced, and if you haven’t, well, you haven’t lived, but anyway, this sent me on a downward spiral. My self-worth was questionable before, but now it was really non-existent. I began to feel out of control, and the only thing I could control was my diet and exercise routine. I began to work out like a maniac, going to the school gym three times a day, doing strictly cardio for hours. I also started a diet, which eliminated processed foods, but when I saw how easy it was to eliminate certain food groups, I eventually restricted myself from many foods. As you can imagine, going to CIA, food was my life and now it turned into my enemy. Everything was “bad” and would make me “fat” through my lens. Some days I would stick to my restrictions and other days I would binge. My weight was a constant yo-yo, along with my diet. This eventually led me to develop an eating disorder called Orthorexia. The general definition for this is someone who shows symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet, which is exactly what I did. I eliminated just about everything, which lead me to a diet that consisted solely of raw fruits and vegetables, and I forced myself to workout after just about every meal.

After graduation last July, I jumped into my new career as food and beverage manager at the Waldorf Astoria, which lead me to my life in the city. I had a job that consumed 12-14 hours of every day. Work took over and my scale went up. This brought me to December 3rd, my birthday, and my worst binge experience which made me realize how badly I needed to get myself together, and there I was back at square one. I jumped back into a raw plant based diet knowing restriction “worked” for me, but for some reason the weight wasn’t coming off as quickly as it had before. Knowing my current #cardiolife wasn’t helping me achieve my goal, I was desperate to find a new workout routine. I needed something with structure that would hold me accountable. I tried a personal trainer and various studios for about two weeks, but nothing stuck, or I should say nothing “fhit." I joined a fitness group on Facebook one morning and wrote a post asking for recommendations on classes in the city, thinking someone had to know something that I didn’t. About an hour later a girl messaged me telling me I had to try a place called the Fhitting Room. I did a quick Google search, saw a video of people doing all these crazy moves like box jumps, jungle gym mountain climbers and burpees and thought I would die, so naturally I booked class for later that day.

Walking into my first class I had no idea what to actually expect, sure I had seen the video but I remember looking at the board and feeling like it might as well have been a foreign language. My first class was with Daury and Simon. I don’t remember much from the class itself, but one thing that stuck with me was when the class ended, Daury came up to me and asked me how I felt and told me I did a great job. That’s something I love about Fhitting Room classes.  First timers get reassured that everyone starts somewhere. The FHITpros are there and aware if it’s your first time, and they make you as comfortable as possible, keep you safe and motivate you. Something must have clicked because I was back for round two the next day. One thing I do remember from that first class was telling Daury I had a problem with burpees because of my wrist and couldn’t do them; confession time, the only problem I had was that I hated burpees (sorry D), but I’m pretty sure he caught on because the next week when I was still doing squat thrusts he said, “you’re doing burpees today, no more excuses.” I think that’s one of the craziest parts of progress, a single burpee used to be my worst nightmare, now I can do 60 during a FHIX and don’t think twice about it because of the strength I’ve built.

In the past, I never really stuck to a workout routine for long. I was always looking for the newest “belly blaster” or “beach bod in 30 days” type of quick fix. Over 200 classes later, I now know that it’s not about a “quick fix.” Fhitting Room has helped me realize that. I completed my first hundred classes in under a hundred days, and I decided that was going to be my “thing.” I respond well to goal setting and decided I would set a goal for myself to complete every hundred classes in under a hundred days. I know this sounds a little crazy to some people, but to me, coming to Fhitting Room is not just an insane workout. I’m not going to lie, up until recently, I would say 95% of the reason I would double-up was because I felt I ate too much that day; my workouts used to be all about the calories I felt I needed to burn. But now, it’s a little different. I still have a long road ahead of me, but this place has become like a sanctuary for me. I go to all three studios and have taken class with just about every FHITpro. I truly believe I speak for just about every Fhitting Room go-er when I say the FHITpros keep us coming back. And for me, honestly, it’s not just the FHITpros who I come to see, it’s every single person. It’s the trainers, the managers, the faces that greet me when I walk in and most importantly the people I take class with. Other FHIXers are a constant source of motivation throughout class. The people who work at Fhitting Room are some of the most genuine, funny, welcoming people I have ever encountered. Now, I would say 95% of the reason I go to Fhitting Room is the people, but I’d being doing a disservice if I didn’t recognize the results the workout produces. For someone who suffers from body dysmorphia, I don’t really see much of a change when I look in the mirror; however, looking at pictures and comparing myself from the day before I started class to now is mind boggling. I obviously fixate on weight and the number I see on my scale, that’s something I battle every day, but at least now I am building muscle that I never had before, which is an indescribable feeling. I know I am so much stronger now than I was in December, but my results are not just physical. I am a much stronger person in general. Even though I still struggle with thoughts of numbers on my scale, I can confidently say, going to Fhitting Room is part of my daily routine because it makes me genuinely happy. I used to wake up and jump on a treadmill and hate life for hours; now I can’t tell you the last time I was on one of those - my guess is somewhere around 200 days ago. 

Fhitting Room genuinely changed, and is still in the process of changing, my life. When people get to know me they are sometimes taken back by how open I am about body dysmorphia and my eating disorder. I used to keep it to myself and was ashamed of it like so many others, but with the support of so many at Fhitting Room, I have come to the realization that there isn’t enough light shed on the subject, especially in the fitness industry. Usually when you hear someone’s story, it’s their recovery story, after the fact, and they have overcome all the obstacles. Well that’s not the case with me, I am not recovered, I am on the road to recovery and a major part of the reason I have taken so many steps forward is solely because of this place and these people. Some of my instructors know what I am going through and others have no idea, but that’s the best part, I feel the same love, acceptance and support from each one of them. I know that every day, especially if it’s a bad day, I get to spend at least an hour at this place that brings me so much happiness with crazy instructors bouncing off the walls to music blasting, distracting me just enough so I don’t realize just how intense this workout is until it’s over and I’m lying on the floor counting my blessings that I made it. That’s when I walk out of class and the endorphins kick in and I’m reminded why I’ll be back for my next FHIX soon. I often joke with people and say I am in an exclusive relationship with Fhitting Room, but it isn’t much of a joke at all when I think about it. This place has my heart and is helping me get my life back and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. #foreverliveFHIT.