Anorexia and Abuse: How A Fitness Model Turned Her Life Around

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Tiffany Lee Gaston - Carey Pena“If you don’t push yourself, you aren’t aware what you are capable of.”

Tiffany Lee Gaston is an internationally recognized fitness model, elite athlete, author and philanthropist.  She pushed herself outside of her comfort zone to document the painful experiences in her life that led to where she is today.

In her upcoming book, “From Broken To Badass” Gaston opens up about the anorexia she suffered in her early teens.

“Initially where that came from was a very poor self body image and it was hard for me to overcome.  And I’m very vocal about that now because I think women need to hear that.”

Gaston talks about eating only iceburg lettuce and drinking water for days on end, all while hiding her personal health crisis from her parents.   

Now that she has a public platform, Tiffany Lee Gaston feels a responsibility to share the story.  “I don’t want to pretend like everything is great when, in fact, someone might be suffering from something similar.   When I discovered this about myself, it opened doors for me.”

Big doors.

While her career began to flourish in the modeling and fitness world, Gaston found herself in an abusive relationship with a man who was much older.  

“I couldn’t have seen that coming from miles away,” she says tearfully.  “I was groomed into feeling like I was this man’s trophy.  I thought he was the greatest thing ever at the time.  As the course of the relationship evolved, he began to put me down.  If he mentally beat me down, eventually I would feel like no one else would want me.”  

Fights then escalated as the abuse turned from verbal to physical.  “The day came when the gun was held to my head and I said you owe it to yourself for your safety, and the safety of those around you, to get far, far away from this person,” she remembers.  

After Gaston walked out on the man who had intimidated and abused her for several years, she found the man she would later marry and have three children with.  She calls him The Silver Fox.Tiffany Lee Gaston - Carey Pena

It was a tough decision to stop and think back to the hardships she had overcome so long ago, and she wondered if she should reveal so much.  In the end, she knew writing a book was the right thing to do.  Her experiences, she says, made her the woman of strength she is today.  Allowing herself to be vulnerable in telling this story has been empowering.  

“It’s been the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done.  It’s very important that once I achieved a platform and had the ability to share my voice with people, I do it.”  One of her passions is giving back to kids in the foster care system as a board member on the Johnjay and Rich Care For Kids Foundation

Gaston also continues to share fitness and healthy eating advice on her website

Today Gaston trains with the same intensity as when she was competing.  She is committed to being her strongest self during each evolving phase of her life.  She eats a mainly paleo-based, anti-inflammatory diet free of grains, dairy, and sugar.

“I am happy with myself and with my body now.  A mom can be anything she wants to be.”

Gaston has experienced a new level of happiness as a mom.  Each of her three kids has their own unique talents, but her 12 year old daughter, Alexis has fast flourished into a singer, songwriter and guitarist.    

Gaston credits Alexis’ dedication to guitar — an instrument she took up at age 6– for helping her become a rising star around the Phoenix area.  She also credits the guidance of Nicki Park, owner of Northwest Valley Music

You could say Tiffany Lee Gaston is a badass suburban soccer mom.  A life she couldn’t imagine as a young woman trying to escape an eating disorder and an abusive relationship.   

Of her life struggles she says, “I have healed on a higher level because I’ve owned them.”

She hopes her story will inspire others to do the same.  From Broken To Badass V1 3D