Stephanie Velings, “Keep It Simple”
Interviewer: Magadaline Delany
Stephanie Velings is quite a success story! After years of struggling with the debilitating eating disorder bulimia, a psychological disorder that goes beyond out-of-control dieting. It is characterized by cycles of overeating followed by inappropriate methods of weight control, such as self-induced vomiting (purging), abuse of laxatives and diuretics, or excessive exercise. Stephanie decided she would no longer be controlled by this horrible disease. She decided to heal herself at the young age of 17. Now, Stephanie is dedicating her time to inspiring and motivating millions of others to keep it simple, stop over dieting and discover the wonderful things that life has to offer.
After her healing process, Stephanie wrote the book: Keep it Simple, Stop Dieting, Start Living, a truly inspirational story! An autobiographical guide to creating a healthier and happier lifestyle. Stephanie wrote "Keep it Simple! Stop Dieting, Start Living" out of her desire to share her amazing story of triumph over Bulimia by living a healthier lifestyle. She creatively takes her readers through her journey of overcoming several trials, challenges and subsequently achieving her goals. She also provides a guide to her readers on how they can replicate her success.
EPN recently interviewed Stephanie. She is truly beautiful inside and out.
Who is your biggest role model or inspiration? Why?
My biggest and first role model ever, is actress Megan Fox. I got to know Megan a few weeks before I made the decision to recover from my eating disorder. Her incredibly gorgeous body inspired me to start weight training and jogging. These forms of exercise helped me recover very quickly because they made everything else much easier. During this time I used Megan as a source of strength, motivation and inspiration. By the time I had fully recovered, I found out that this woman had grown very close to my heart and that she could inspire me in different areas of my life. A year after I made the decision to get better, I spoiled myself with my very first tattoo; which is a portrait of Megan. I wanted to honor her and never forget that she plays such an important role in my life.
Many people suffer from a disorder but are usually in denial, were you ever in denial about suffering from bulimia? How did it impact you?
I was never in denial about having bulimia. When I was still living with my parents in Aruba, I did whatever I wanted. I can be very determined and stubborn. Usually it doesn't turn out well if combined with an eating disorder. I didn't really hide it at all. At the age of 17 I was sent back to Holland to get help. During that time, I lived on my own; I didn't have to hide it at all. This resulted in even more extreme forms of eating, fasting and behavior.
When did you finally decide that you had to do something about the disorder?
At the age of 24 I fell into a deep depression which lasted for about 4 months. I had never been that depressed for such a long time and it was horrible. I was dating someone at the time, but I kept putting off our dates because I felt so bad and had gained a lot of weight. He eventually dumped me. It came as a complete surprise and it hit me hard. Now I didn't have anything at all to look forward to. The thought of continuing to be sick and waste away more years had never scared me that much before. I asked myself over and over again; am I going to stay ill or am I going to recover now? And then I made the decision to recover. I made that decision on a weekend and started my recovery on that following Monday.
What message do you have for the countless number of people suffering from bulimia worldwide?
There is so much I want to say. Everyone suffering from bulimia knows that it is a very chaotic disorder. Therefore, when I recovered, I added structure and planning to my everyday life. This way I didn't have to think or obsess, I just had to follow my schedule. My strict structured schedule allowed me to recover faster, and as I healed more and more, I would loosen the structure a bit.
Bulimia is a form of hiding from the world, and hiding from responsibilities. Someone suffering from this disorder usually doesn't want to think about the future because of their fear. At least, that's how I felt. Deciding what you really want to do with your life and setting clear goals, is something that I really missed during therapy groups that I joined. I really recommend sitting down and brainstorming about your goals and ambitions (ignore the degrading voices!)
Moreover, the most important tip I can give is to start focusing on other things. Someone with bulimia is obsessed with food and losing weight; she/he is focusing on this all the time. I would advise you to shift that focus, as I did during my recovery. Start paying attention to everything that makes you happy, your future plans, your family, and friends. Find out what your biggest passions are and do something with it.
So create structure into your everyday life and at the same time; keep your mind busy with things that matter and help you grow as a person.
How did you come up with the idea to write a book?
Writing this book wasn't really a choice; I had to write it. I had had so many wake-up calls since I started recovering and I had to share these with as many people as I could. It was published very quickly in Holland due to a very enthusiastic publisher. But that wasn't enough for me. I had to reach more people. Megan then actually inspired me again and gave me the idea to publish my book in America as well. Publishing “Keep It Simple”, in America could really make a difference.
Tell us about the book
My book discusses two of my biggest wake-up calls.
One of the biggest ways I healed myself, was learned as a weight consultant. It has made me realize that everything is being overcomplicated. Vulnerable people who desperately want to lose weight pay the price for this by continuously going on different diets. This makes me very frustrated, to say the least, because I now know that it is actually much simpler.
Another huge wake-up call that I had was about our capabilities as human beings. I realized that we're mostly being put into boxes and are expected to live a certain life. However, there is a bigger world of opportunities, achievements and ambitions out there. I realized that all of the things we want are out there and we can achieve them if we really want to. This discovery changed the course of my life.
What is your target audience?
I would love to say everyone, because I don't want to exclude any group of people. I really believe there are parts to the book that are relatable to any group. However, the biggest target audiences are adults who have been dieting for years and teens who are struggling with obsessive behavior. In Holland my book is also very popular in the business world, because I also discuss goal setting, ambitions, determination and focus.
What other projects are you currently working on?
At the moment I am preparing for readings and trainings that I will be giving in the coming months, in Holland. It is good practice and it makes sure that I grow more as a person and expand my talents as a speaker.
I'm working hard to promote my book in Holland, along with a dear friend who is helping me plan, brainstorm and promote. Next month, I will be making a more clear business plan for my future in America.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Even though I feel that I am probably one of the most determined persons ever, I still grin a little with insecurity when I answer a question like this.
In 5 years I want to be living in America. I want to have spent the years learning from successful people, studying certain subjects and know lots of great, influential people. I want to be giving readings/seminars regularly and really help and inspire people. I want to have written at least 4 more books, the first one up will be a sequel to "Keep it simple". I would definitely like to have met Megan Fox, Anthony Robbins and Will Smith, for they are my biggest inspirations.
I want to have a fund set up. With these funds I will use to guide, support and invest in upcoming leaders, talents, teachers or people who are also ambitious. I believe they greatly contribute to this world. I want to do this because it is my biggest passion to help others achieve their dreams as well. I believe that there should be more leaders in the world who have an honest and loving purpose. This will benefit other people on a bigger scale. These are my biggest goals for the next 5 years, but I already have more goals I plan on achieving. I am also very open to other career opportunities so I'm sure this list will greatly expand once living in America. I plan on moving as soon as it is possible financially and/or have good prospects or open doors.