Asset 19 angle-down-bold angle-left-bold angle-right-bold angle-up-bold Asset 10 certifications Asset 14 close-bold close Asset 8 Asset 12 menu Asset 18 Asset 17 Asset 6 Asset 16 Asset 9 Asset 15 Asset 11 Asset 13

Yvette Salva

ACE Personal Trainer, Health Coach

marlboro, NJ

My name is Yvette. I want to share my story of recovery with you, in hopes that it may help someone reading this today.

Since the age of fifteen, I have been dealing with anorexia/bulimia, alcoholism and drug abuse. When I first started with anorexia, I thought I was in complete control. After some time I was no longer able to restrict my calories, so I turned to bulimia. Over time, the eating/purging and alcohol took complete control of every aspect of my life. Drugs came into play in my late twenties. I was using drinking and eating to buffer myself from all the thoughts and feelings I didn’t want to deal with. Not thinking and feeling made it easier to get through the day, or so I thought. I ended up in five rehabs and I was still drinking, drugging and purging. My longest period of abstinence was only 29 days.

Despite the fact that I was an addict, I was functioning. I had been exercising for 20 years and teaching personal training and teaching group fitness classes. One morning I showed up at my gym to train my 5 a.m. client and she just knew something was not right … I’m not sure what gave it away-- whether it was the alcohol on my breath, the blood shot eyes or the fact that I had not been to bed yet. This woman was in recovery and introduced me to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I did not get sober at that time, however the seed was planted.

In 2000, I woke up after a three-day drinking/eating binge knowing I could not stand to live that way any longer. I had reached rock bottom where I knew I would either end up in jail, in an institution or die. I went to an outpatient program and finally started to embrace recovery! 

I am now 44 years old, in control and sober. I know that eating disorders and alcoholism will always be part of my life but I continue to stay active in my recovery to fight off the demons. What has worked for me personally is going to meetings and helping others. I also have a sponsor and am active in the fellowship. Having a support network is key, because once you change your surroundings and lifestyle, you can feel very alone and it is crucial to develop a new set of friends. I also have an unbelievable husband who supported me from day one. He supports me so much that he no longer drinks.

Even in my job today as a personal trainer, I find many women who suffer from addictions in silence – be it food, alcohol or pills. It is so rewarding when they do come to me and they can talk to me about what they are going through. I feel that keeping my focus on helping somebody else is what has helped me maintain my sobriety. I love what I do every day in helping other women get fit! I have a beautiful husband and daughter. And most importantly, I have my health!

Just a few last words – eating disorders, alcoholism or any addictions are no way to live. I never thought I would be in control of my life again and I am. I know my disease is doing pushups when I am not active in my recovery. I have to do something towards my recovery on a daily basis whether it’s reading literature, connecting with another person in recovery, or going to a meeting.

Never give up as long as you are breathing. Recovery is POSSIBLE!


Learn More About Yvette Salva »

  • Boe Glasschild


    My connection to the fitness world began at an early age. I was born a severely asthmatic child. Until about the age of 11 or 12, I spent the majority of my life on our sofa reading books throughou...

    See More »
  • Sara Hauber


    With metal bars attached to my spine, from T1 to L4, I never thought I'd be a fitness pro or a yoga teacher. In fact, for years I told myself I couldn't be a yoga teacher because I can't do a back ...

    See More »
  • Cortney Raubenstine


    Growing up I was always thin and even had a hard time gaining weight. Since I was thin already, I never put much thought into exercise or being healthy. That is until I went off to college. The fir...

    See More »

ACE Recommends

Check out related ACE articles designed to help you on your journey to health and fitness.

Down 100 Pounds and Helping Others Do the Same

Down 100 Pounds and Helping Others Do the Same

The first time Ryan Vivar changed his life, he lost nearly 100 pounds. It wasn’t long before he changed his life again by bec... continue »

Triceps Exercises: Body-weight Bench Dips vs. Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks

Triceps Exercises: Body-weight Bench Dips vs. Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks

When it comes to building strong, well-defined triceps muscles, which exercise is more effective: body-weight bench dips or d... continue »

How Many Calories Do We Really Need?

How Many Calories Do We Really Need?

Do you know how many calories you need to maintain or lose weight? Knowing the answer to this question can be key to achievin... continue »

Get More from ACE

Sign up to receive fitness tips, workouts, healthy recipes and other wellness resources.