Eating disorders are one of the most common mental health problems among teens today. They’re also one of the most dangerous. But as the stories in these slides show, there’s always a way to get help. Read these amazing stories of young women who overcame their eating disorders and see what they look like now — the transformation in #4 will leave you in tears.
10. She Could Barely Walk, Now She’s On The Runway
At the lowest point of her two-year battle with anorexia, Kaitlyn Davidson weighed just 82 pounds. Her hair started falling out and even walking caused her pain. Now, she’s bounced back up to a healthy weight and competes in the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion competition as a swimsuit model.
9. “Weightlifting Saved My Life”
Linn Stromberg of Sweden started out just wanting to lose a little bit of weight. But once she started, she couldn’t stop. She often ate less than 400 calories a day — until weightlifting entered her life. “You can’t build muscle if you don’t give your body the energy to do so,” she said, and that’s what got her eating healthy again.
8. A Strong Ballerina Who Was Body-Shamed
Margherita Barbieri was 18 years old and a promising young dancer when someone in her ballet class called her “thunder thighs.” It spiraled her into a state of anorexia where she would go days without eating at all, until she reached a point where she didn’t have the physical ability to dance at all. She turned herself back around, and like the young woman in slide #6, she looks fit and fabulous.
7. From Malnourished To Motherhood
It’s hard to look at Hayley Wilde now and see anything but a healthy new mother. But her battle with eating disorders started when she was just 11 years old. By 15, she was so malnourished that doctors told her that they didn’t think she’d survive. Now she has a son, Michael, and a healthy weight.
6. Anything To Become An Angel
As a teenager, Christie Swadling wanted nothing more than to look like the models of Victoria’s Secret. She became obsessed with dieting and exercise, but became so thin and weak that she spent her 17th birthday in the hospital. That was the turning point for her: she found support groups and yoga and is now a beacon of health.
5. From Frail To Fit
When she started college in 2012, Abby Pollock was underweight and struggling with bulimia. She got so weak that she finally enlisted the help of a holistic nutritionist and personal trainer. Now, she’s an aspiring fitness instructor and loves to show off her curves — especially that booty! Like the girl in slide #2, she hopes to help others who are also struggling with body image.
4. She Couldn’t Understand The Point Of Eating
Laura Bardsley was on a path of self-destruction and starvation until her boyfriend introduced her to bodybuilding. “Once I understood why our bodies need carbohydrates and fats and why we need to refuel our muscles after exercise, I began to realize that food really wasn’t the devil that I believed it was,” she said.
3. She Was Saved By A Job At McDonald’s
When she was a preteen, Jo Thompson shrank herself down to 56 pounds. She was forced onto a feeding tube at a hospital, where doctors gave her only 48 hours to live. She survived, but only just. Jo got a new lease on life when she got a job at McDonald’s, of all places, and fell in love with her boss.
2. Some Day This Doctor Will Help Others Like Her
Alice Clarke is now 18 years old and studying to become a doctor. But four years ago, she was battling against her body. “I feel relieved now, I used to be afraid that I would never recover from my eating disorder and that I had wasted my life,” she said. “I feel like there are so many possibilities now, I have my whole life ahead of me and I can do whatever I want.”
1. After Years Of Struggle She’s Now Tougher Than Ever
Izzy Mulkerrins subsisted on only cereal, tea, and apples for years while she battled anorexia. After being hospitalized and starting treatment, she slowly began to recover and come to terms with what a healthy body looks and feels like. She’s now 19 and running half-marathons, as well as her blog Life Without Anorexia.
Eating disorders remain a huge problem among people everywhere, but as these stories show, there’s always hope, too. Take it from Jo Thompson, the girl who overcame her battle with anorexia by falling in love at a McDonald’s: “Anyone can become anorexic — it’s not a choice girls make. But my story shows there can be a happy ending.”