A young woman with a life-threatening eating disorder has told how her life was saved – by CHOCOLATE.
Anorexic Annie Windley’s weight plummeted to just four and a half stone (29kg) as she survived on a meagre diet one piece of toast and jam a day for five years.
The 21-year-old was even hospitalised five times as her nutrition-starved body brought her to the brink death.
However, amazingly she managed to beat the disorder after eating a single Lindt chocolate ball she had been craving one evening.
When she discovered that she hadn’t put any weight on after, she lost a bit of her fear about eating and after a few years began eating normally again.
Now Annie, who now weighs seven stone (45kg), has spoken for the first time about her battle with anorexia.
It started when she was aged 15 and would count calories before eating.
She avoided carbohydrates, meat or dairy because she wanted to stay skinny and said, being in the same room as a plate of lasagne would cause her to sweat and shake.
She said: “It was crazy to think by eating one part of chocolate I’d instantly gain weight but that day was when I realised eating was not as frightening as I’d made it out to be.
“I used to refuse to eat meals, if you put lasagne in front of me I would physically shake, swear and become agitated, I could not be in the same room as food.
“Something so small was a big deal to me, I could not be near food, if I was going to eat I’d have toast with jam or low fat ready meals to avoid gaining any weight.
“It got so bad, one time I was sectioned I would scream and bang my head on the wall, I just wanted to leave and not be around food.
“I was even told I was at risk of a heart attack because I was so small.
“I could barely stand up without blacking out, looking back at the pictures I took, I was scary to look at but I just wanted to be smaller and smaller each day.”
Annie from Derbyshire, East Mids., was first diagnosed with the eating disorder in 2012 after dieting led her to have anorexia.
She attended Monkton Combe boarding school in Bath, south West, where she got bullied by other girls for her weight and a difficult relationship with her mother and father.
Although she completed her GCSEs, her weight loss affected her performance at school and led her to be withdrawn from her sports teams instead she was monitored by school nurses who were concerned about her health.
She said: “I used to be very active, I was involved in athletics, hockey, tennis, javelin and netball, I absolutely loved it.
“Once I started to lose a lot of weight the nurses got so concerned I got pulled off the teams because I didn’t have any more weight to physically lose.
“I started to diet slowly and people would say I looked great when I first started so I just kept dieting, my weight was the only thing I had control over.
“When things were bad at home I lost more weight and I just lost a lot of weight then I started getting bullied at school for being so thin.
“My granddad would say eat a chocolate cake and you’ll be out of there in no time but it’s hard to explain just what you’re going through.
“I was not looking up to anyone or anything, I was doing it purely for myself because I just wanted to be smaller.”
Annie said the road to recovery has not been easy but is doing her best to live as normal life as possible.
In October 2017, she pushed herself to fight against her eating disorder, she began to exercise again and have regular healthy balanced meals.
When she finished school, Annie moved back to Derbyshire, East Mids., where she would receive support from her uncle who helped her conquer her fear of gaining weight.
She changed her diet and now has healthy meals.
Her typical diet includes two crumpets and a cup of tea for breakfast.
Smashed avocado on toast with hummus, a poached egg and cherry tomatoes or a pasta salad or jacket potato with tuna and salad for lunch.
As a snack, she has a protein bar and for dinner salmon, potatoes and vegetables, chicken risotto or sweet chilli noodles.
Annie says she regrets avoiding help for years because she has lost out on education and missed out on opportunities to travel around the world.
She said: “I wish I could tell my younger self to stop, it makes me sad thinking how much time I have wasted.
“I left school with 5As and 5*s, I was very smart but I haven’t been able to go to college or university, trying to get back into education is proving very difficult.
“I feel better now, however, it’s something that does affect me mentally.
“I have a boyfriend and new friends now who has helped me so I am not as lonely as I used to be.
“People think it’s about attention seeking but it’s not, it’s hard to explain what you’re going through to someone who does not understand.”
She documents her journey on her instagram page: tinyrecovery.