These pictures capture the incredible transformation of a four stone anorexic who fought back from the brink of death – to become a champion BODYBUILDER.
Nicola King waged a six-year battle with the eating disorder but went from skeletal to toned in just 18 months after turning her focus to weightlifting.
The 24-year-old was crowned champion in the best body transformation category at Pure Elite’s UK championships last weekend.
But only a few years ago, Nicola was admitted to intensive care and doctors told her parents to say goodbye because her vital organs were shutting down.
She had starting counting calories aged 16 and fell into the deadly clutches of anorexia, which saw her refuse to eat for six weeks on end – or even drink water.
Her hair fell out, her periods stopped and she was in constant pain. At her worst she weighed just four stone, had a BMI of eight and felt “dead”.
She miraculously survived after three weeks of being heavily sedated and tube fed and was discharged from hospital six months later, in June 2012.
Over the following months she started going to the gym, but it wasn’t until she and got involved in bodybuilding at the end of 2015 that she changed her focus – and life.
Now 5ft 9ins Nicola, of Andover, Hampshire, is a muscular 8st 13lbs who has to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy and can dead-lift up to 40kg.
She said: “At my worst my weight fell to four stone. I was admitted to hospital because I hadn’t eaten for months or had any water for about three and a half weeks.
“My body was starting to shut down. On two occasions, the doctors told my parents to say goodbye. They said I wasn’t going to live.
“The illness was so strong that they were trying to tube feed me and I had wires in but I kept ripping them all out. I wanted to die and I felt physically dead.
“Going to the gym has given me focus and something I can get up for in the morning.
“It is my therapy and escape and it’s a liberating feeling to push your body to the extreme but in a positive and healthy way.
“It has been a very long road since then but for the first time, I am proud of myself.
“I never thought I would get to this point. I didn’t even think I would still be here. It’s surreal to have come this far – it’s overwhelming.
“I still struggle because as much as I have overcome the illness, it never goes away completely, but I feel like I have beaten it. It is no longer strong enough to take over.”
Nicola was naturally slim growing up but always had a healthy appetite.
In her teens, as she battled low mood and anger issues, she became more aware of her looks and began restricting food to gain a feeling of control over her life.
Previously a size 10, Nicola’s clothes became baggy and her bones began to protrude as she excessively worked out to burn off every calorie she consumed.
She said: “I was always wanting to be slimmer or a different shape or size at school. I compared myself to others and became focussed on what I saw in the mirror.
“The illness slowly crept into my head. It started out with chocolate and then I kept cutting out food and calories until I wasn’t eating anything at all.
“I wanted to eat and I would go to the fridge to get food but the illness was so strong in my head that it would physically stop me.”
Nicola was admitted to the Priory Hospital in Southampton and spent 18 months in total on treatment plans at various units.
But in the end it was her own determination to get better – and support from mum Cathy, 55 and dad Martin, 60 – that helped her beat anorexia.
Desperate to avoid being re-admitted to hospital, she knew she needed to get away so got on a plane to Mexico before flying to the US and Greece to clear her head.
She later moved to Cornwall and Ireland where she started spending more time in the gym and sought advice from professionals about bodybuilding.
Nicola, who is set to compete in another competition, Glifting Girls, this month, said: “When I look at photos from when I was ill it hurts, but I feel like I have come so far.
“If it wasn’t for my family and bodybuilding I don’t know if I would still be here.”