Soul Story: Alex Tritto
December 2, 2015
During her sophomore year of college, ALEX TRITTO began struggling with an eating disorder that left her feeling lost and miserable. With the support of the SoulCycle community, she began her recovery — and discovered strength and perseverance she didn’t know she had. Now this rockstar shares her inspiring Soul Story…
I have been overweight for all of the 21 years I’ve been on this earth. All throughout my childhood and adolescence, the extra weight took its toll on me. It was a lot to carry (physically and figuratively). It robbed me of any confidence and self-esteem I may have had. I never knew how to love myself. I always thought, how can I possibly love myself in this body?
The summer before I went to college, I joined Weight Watchers and lost around 20 pounds. I was ecstatic; it was the first time in my life I had actually succeeded in losing weight. When I got to college, though, I didn’t realize how hard it’d be to keep up with it. Upon returning home for the summer, I learned I had gained all but five pounds back. I was crushed.
That was the summer I took my first SoulCycle class: July 4, 2013. I went to Tomas’s morning class with my mom; I remember it so clearly. I had no idea what I was doing, but between the community vibes, Tomas’s words of encouragement, and the awesome music, I knew I had to come back. I also knew, though, that if I didn’t sign up for classes immediately, I’d never end up going.
So I went home after that class and signed up for a bunch of classes. This was the first time I had found an exercise activity I truly enjoyed. While I had belonged to a gym for some years, I no longer felt like I was punishing my body. Instead, I was rewarding it —rewarding it for being healthy, for working, for supporting me. I began to develop some self-respect. At the same time, I re-joined Weight Watchers. Watching my intake, combined with SoulCycle, helped me lose a decent amount of weight that summer.
Come August, though, I had to return to school. Afraid to repeat what had happened last year and gain all the weight back, I started the year off strong… or so I thought. I was too afraid to eat things I couldn’t track on my Weight Watchers app, so I pretty much stuck to the salad bar, piling on the lettuce, carrots and hummus onto my plate.
I was also too afraid not to exercise, so I woke up every morning at 6:40 AM and went to the gym for two hours before my full day of classes, homework and meetings. I did this seven days a week for a year straight. When I would come home for breaks, everyone would praise me, reminding me of how much weight I had lost and telling me how great I looked. And yet, I was miserable. I didn’t understand. I was finally losing weight, and lots of it, so why was I unhappy?
In December of 2013, I went to my doctor’s office for what I thought was a check-up. Much to my surprise, both of my parents and therapist (who I had been seeing since high school for clinical depression) were sitting there.
“We’re worried about you, Alex. We think you have an eating disorder.” My mouth dropped. An eating disorder? Me? The fat girl? I always used to tell myself I’d never have the “willpower” to have an eating disorder. I was told I had to meet with a nutritionist, gain some of the weight back, and limit my exercise. I nodded along, not really listening to what was being said to me. I left the doctor’s office that day with no intention of stopping my methods to lose weight. In fact, I still had some pounds to drop in my head.
It wasn’t until I met with Tomas Mikuzis, SoulCycle instructor, my personal trainer, and close friend, that I realized I had to change my habits. “You have to start nourishing yourself and taking care of yourself or else we can’t work together,” he told me. This felt like an ultimatum; I didn’t want to give up my eating disorder, but I also didn’t want to lose SoulCycle and the friendships I had created through the amazing community.
I’m coming up on my two year anniversary of being diagnosed with an eating disorder, and I must admit, the journey to recovery has not been easy. I still struggle some days. But I can also say I am doing a lot better than I once was.
And while of course I owe that, in part, to my team and my support system, I also owe my recovery largely to SoulCycle. It has sparked values in me I never knew I had: hard work, strength, perseverance, just to name a few. I’ve met so many great people through it that I could never go without. It’s given me a place to call my own, to take care of myself. I used to drag myself out of bed to kill myself at the gym for two plus hours daily. I didn’t enjoy it. I did it, because I felt I had to. Now? I never feel like I “have” to go to Soul. Instead, I choose to go, to honor both my body and my mind. Each time I clip in, I make that decision: the decision to work hard, to listen to my body, and to push past the false limits my mind has convinced me of.
I could have never gotten to the place I am currently at in my recovery without the love and support of instructors Tomas Mikuzis, Amanda Max, and Gunner. To them, to the amazing staff at all the locations I ride at, and to the beautiful friends I’ve met, thank you. You saved me from myself. Perhaps most importantly, you’ve all taught me that I am enough as is. No changes needed. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
Do you have a Soul Story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org! Want to ride at SOUL? To book a bike, grab a series HERE then book a bike!
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