Eating Disorder Sufferer Urges Others To Get Help
8:07am 24th February 2014
(Updated 10:47am 24th February 2014)
A woman from Dorchester, who used to live on one can of soup a week, is warning parents and young people about the dangers of eating disorders.
20-year-old Tasha Stewart has been in and out of hospital the past 2 years fighting to get back to health, after her weight plummeted down to 5 stone.
At the age of 18 she made the new years resolution to lose weight in preparation for a girls holiday. When she started seeing results what started out as a plan to lose a few pounds turned into an unhealthy obsession;
“I had really low self confidence and I had my a-levels, I was just really stressed. When I started seeing results it just escalated and I started missing meals and school to go to the gym. I lied to everyone about where I was and what I was eating. In the end I completely isolated myself from everyone from me and my illness. I thought it was normal”.
In a candid interview to raise awareness during Eating Disorder Week, which starts today (Monday 24th February), Tasha told Wessex FM's Luke de Costa about her ordeal;
“I was very confused and I knew that I had a problem, but I thought I felt like I was in control of it, I just pushed everyone away who tried to intervene or help me. All I thought about was food and I constantly thought I need to get this sorted I need to get help. I thought that I wasn't poorly enough, or that it didn't really matter because I was in control and thought I would be fine.”
NHS Health experts say anorexia is a mental health condition and one that can be life threatening. Charity B-Eat say 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders and they claim more lives than any other mental illness, but are treatable and recovery is possible.
At her worst Tasha was half the average body weight of a girl of her age and height, and she was wearing clothes designed to fit 6-7 year olds. But she couldn't bring herself to eat, even though she was hungry;
"It was horrible, I wanted food so much but I couldn't allow myself to eat. I'd stare at the food and want it or I'd see new chocolate bars that were released, buy it, and make myself throw it away to make myself feel powerful, like I had the willpower not to eat. Or I'd buy my friends loads of food to make myself feel better."