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Yoga Helped Me Overcome Anxiety, Binge Eating and Body Dysmorphia

“At my worst moments, post-college, I think I truly hated myself. Again, to the outside eye, I was high-functioning, but I was making really poor decisions. I was cheating on my boyfriend at the time, partying for all hours, and doing anything I could to escape my reality.”

Hello! Who are you?

Hi, I’m Victoria! It’s so nice to meet you. I’m a 2x boy mama, intuitive healer, and embodiment coach who demystifies ancient energetic practices like Kundalini Yoga and the Akashic Records. I live in Atlanta, GA with my husband, Will, and our two boys, Sebastian (4), and Rocky (17 months). 

I’m super passionate about helping women uncover who they really are vs who society has told them to be. A miscarriage in 2018 sent me on the path of self-discovery, and since then, I’ve healed disordered eating, anxiety, and body dysmorphia with the somatic and energetic practices I teach my clients. 

I was always a happy person, but since diving deeper into my internal world and well-being, I’ve become the fully expressed version of myself I was always meant to be.

Victoria Nielsen

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

My anxiety started in college. I honestly wouldn’t have considered myself an overly anxious person, but often, before tests, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. My mind would continue to race with test questions, what-if scenarios, and if I was prepared enough.

Raised as an only child, it was around this time that I found out I was going to be a big sister – a 20-year-old big sister. 

This feeling of out-of-controlness started to spread beyond test time, and soon, I was binging and purging daily. Looking back, I think it was a mix of anxiety and OCD.

To me, what I ate (or didn’t eat) and put in my body was the only thing I could control. I was never formally diagnosed with either, but smoked weed daily to cope not realizing it would eventually make my anxiety worse.

On the outside, I was super high-functioning. I got good grades, and I had a lot of friends, but internally it was a roller coaster, and I felt really insecure.

How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?

At my worst moments, post-college, I think I truly hated myself. Again, to the outside eye, I was high-functioning, but I was making really poor decisions. I was cheating on my boyfriend at the time, partying for all hours, and doing anything I could to escape my reality.

I did workout regularly, and that definitely helped, but I was far away from family and everything I knew as a young adult in New York City. I was lonely, even if I wouldn’t admit that to myself. It’s a hard city to live in, and as an introverted extrovert, I didn’t really know how to take care of myself. 

I’d cycle from being out all hours of the night with tons of people to holing myself up in my room all day smoking weed and sleeping because I didn’t have the energy to do anything else. I grew really frustrated at my job when I was looked over (rightfully) for a promotion, and I felt unfulfilled. 

If you talked to me at the time you probably thought I was living the dream, but it was a really dark time for me.

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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?

My boyfriend and I at the time got into a really bad fight – probably one of our worst – and afterward I had this lightbulb moment of “this isn’t who I am.” This hateful, angry person wasn’t who I was raised to be, or who I really was at my core.

I also knew that our relationship was really and truly over. We’d kind of talked around it for a few months, but I made the decision to move back to the South after finding a new job. My boyfriend didn’t come with me. 

The weekend I flew to Birmingham, Alabama to try and find a new apartment and car at the same time was tough. I cried the whole time. I knew it was what I needed to do, though. 

Because I didn’t really know anybody, I was able to start over. I went back to Bikram Yoga – a form of hot yoga – multiple times a week, and I started to see glimpses of the real me again. 

Even though my anxiety felt like it was in check, I still carried a lot of anger. Truthfully, I don’t think I’ll ever be fully “healed,” or that anyone really is, but I’ve made peace with so many parts of myself. Healing has been a beautiful journey of uncovering myself, and although it’s hard, I’ve found it’s so worth it. 

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

Moving my body was the start of it all. I’d been a dancer when I was younger – and even through college – but I’d stopped for a long time. Rediscovering my yoga practice allowed me to find peace within myself. Even if it was just for the duration of the class. 

Soon, I was taking yoga classes online daily. I really resonated with a fast-paced style of yoga called Buti because it incorporated dancing, but I encourage you to try many styles until you find the one you like.

I often put music on and just dance around the house. There’s no way you can do that and not feel good afterward. It’s an immediate endorphin high. I love doing it with my kids, too.

Now, I’m an avid Kundalini yogi. Kundalini is the yoga of awareness, and its mix of mudra (hand placements), mantra (sound current), and movement is really what changed it all for me.

I meet myself on the mat every single morning and it’s a place to study myself and my feelings. I often journal afterward to continue to uncover whatever is moving inside of me.

You have to feel your feelings. After spending years of numbing mine with weed and booze, I realized the only way out was through. You’re going to continue to walk around with all of these swirling, low-vibration emotions until you allow them a healthy release.

It doesn’t mean I’m perfect – far from it – but I’m able to give myself a lot more compassion and grace. I grew up being told I was too much or that I was overly emotional, but now I realize they’re my superpower. Tears are medicine.

When we’re feeling emotional, it just means that energy is in motion, which is a good thing. When things get stuck energetically and physically, that’s when it can manifest into anxiety, depression, etc.

Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?

I didn’t really talk about this with anyone for a long time, but I started my own podcast last June, Flip the Script with Vic, and it’s really helped me find peace. It’s also allowed me to see how so many others are struggling with the same things.

Talking it out to a microphone has been very therapeutic and far outweighs any notions I’ve had of “what will they think of me?” I was actually most scared to tell my grandmother a lot of these stories, and she’s been so encouraging and is my number one podcast listener.

I also share a lot on Instagram (@victoriamargauxnielsen), and it’s been amazing to see how it resonates with other people when I’m authentically myself. To be witnessed in that way is incredible.

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?

You are worthy exactly as you are. And what you’re going through doesn’t define you – you get to do that. You get to choose how you move forward. 

Also, forgiveness is huge. Mainly of yourself. You did the best you could at the time, even if it doesn’t feel like it. All you can do is keep trying. Forgiveness means giving forward – you’re giving forward to your future. When you’re stuck ruminating in the past, you aren’t giving the future your full energy or attention. 

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?

May Cause Miracles by Gaby Bernstein has been my most influential book!

Where can we go to learn more about you?

You can find out more about my work here or join my beautiful community on Instagram. The Flip the Script with Vic podcast, a weekly pep talk to expand and shift your perspective, shares new episodes every Tuesday.

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

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Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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