My Eating Disorder Story


This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and as someone who struggled with bulimia for 9 years, this is a campaign which is very close to my heart and one I feel deeply passionate about. I genuinely wish that I could stop each & every person who is on the verge of developing an eating disorder from taking that step down a dark path I never want to return to but I realise that is probably impossible. However if my story can help even one person to choose self-love over a stupid diet, or recover from an eating disorder that they are already suffering with then I will have done my job. 

I have spoken about this topic quite a few times on my channel before but for those of you who maybe don't know, here is a bit of background on my story. My disordered eating started around age 16 but I had already been uncomfortable and unhappy with my body image from age 12. Now as a mum (especially of two girls, though I know boys can be affected too) this terrifies me. The older I get, the smaller these numbers seem and I realise just how young I was when I first experienced that awful feeling of self-loathing, inadequacy and negativity towards my body. During my mid teens was when I started dieting to lose weight. By my late teens these unsuccessful diets had developed into full-blown bulimia. I had no idea the first time I stuck my fingers down my throat to make myself sick that this "one time occurrence" was going to take over my life for the next 9 years. 


During that time period, things were very dark but it wasn't all bad. I met and married my best friend Jonathan who somehow managed to see past my "shameful secret" and loved me anyway. To this day I still don't understand how he stayed with me because believe me when I say it got really hard and bulimia ruined almost everything else in my life aside from us. Then when I was 24 I found out I was pregnant with our first baby and this was when everything changed. From a relatively young age up until this point in my life with the help of my eating disorder I had convinced myself that I was worthless, useless, disgusting, ugly & good for nothing. My self-esteem was so low and I hated myself so much but when I got that positive pregnancy test, for the first time in the whole of my adult life I actually loved something about myself. It wasn't really me who I loved, it was my baby I was carrying (who turned out to be my gorgeous Emilia) but at that point she was part of me and that was enough to send my bulimia into a dormant state until after the pregnancy was over. 

Unfortunately though, my love for my baby wasn't enough to "cure" my eating disorder because as we all know, a pregnancy only lasts 9 months and once I popped Emilia out bulimia reared its ugly head once again. Luckily for me, I found out I was pregnant again at 10 months postpartum and history repeated itself. Once again I loved my baby too much to harm my body the way I normally did and I tried my best to make it the safest home for him during those next 9 months (this time it was Eduardo!). I have to say I absolutely loved being pregnant because I felt like it was the one thing after years of failures and feeling rubbish about myself that I was actually good at. It gave me a sense of purpose and I felt beautiful because I was giving life to my babies. I loved that my eating disorder seemed to leave me in peace for a while and in a way I feel like my babies saved my life. 


After having Eduardo I slipped back into my old disordered habits when pressure to lose the baby weight mounted and I no longer felt like there was any part of me to love. I tried to recover on my own but failed every time, mostly because I was still clinging to the idea that I needed to be thin to be liked & accepted. Since I was 12 I had been called fat, chubby and picked apart for what I look like so without bulimia I didn't know how to exist without the crutch which I believed was the only thing keeping me thin. Yes, it did make me thinner because I was starving myself and throwing up when I over-ate. But it was also ruining my life and making me hate myself more than ever. I finally made the decision to get professional help from a psychologist and we worked for about a year and a half towards my full recovery. 

During that time I did gain weight, and yes some people were cruel about it. I got called obese and I was torn apart from head to toe in any picture I posted of myself online. Whether it was fat legs, huge gut, chubby arms, you name it...I got hurled a ton of abuse when no-one even knew what I was going through. Recovery was not easy and I went through many ups & downs during my journey. There were times when it got so hard I wanted to quit. But I kept going because I knew in the back of my mind that I would rather be called fat than go back to the horrible existence of life with bulimia. So I continued with the daily struggle and slogged through it until I finally got out in one piece. To my surprise recovery didn't make me overweight, despite the stupid comments I received. My weight stabilised after I broke the starve/binge/purge cycle and I basically went back to what I was before I embarked on my first ever effort to lose weight as a teenager which taught me what a huge waste of time diets are. 


I got pregnant again (with my third baby, Alessia) and experienced my first ever pregnancy without an eating disorder lurking in the background. It was a wonderful freeing feeling especially to go through postpartum without worrying about losing weight or struggling to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. For the first time I left it all up to my own body to do what it naturally wanted to do and it took about 8 months for it go back to normal with no dieting or exercise. Now I'm pregnant again with my fourth baby and I'm in such a completely different place to where I was six years ago. Having three babies has changed my body, some might say for the worst but I think the opposite. I have stretch marks around my bellybutton, cellulite on the backs of my thighs and people still call me fat on the daily but I could care less anymore. I'm a UK size 10, I'll never be a size 8 again and I'm okay with that because that's not how my body is supposed to look. I actually love my body a lot whether it's got a gorgeous baby inside it or not, and that is something I had to work really hard on. I do think that birthing and breastfeeding three children has given me a huge amount of confidence and respect for what my body is capable of and when I look at myself I see all of what it's been through and I'm proud. 

In some ways I wish I could go back and reclaim that time in my life that I feel like I lost to an eating disorder. But then I remember that as horrible as the whole experience was, it has shaped me into who I am today and I have learned so much from my journey. Coming out the other side of recovery has made me even more passionate about helping other people who are struggling and it has also opened my eyes to how big of an epidemic this is. Before speaking about it out loud, I had no idea how many people are affected by some sort of disordered eating. Whether you are a mum like me or not, anybody can be affected by an eating disorder. If you are struggling, please know that you are not alone and if I can recover then anyone can. I hope my story has inspired at least one person if not some of you reading it.
 

If you'd like to know a bit more about my story (not like this post wasn't long enough!) here's a video I filmed with Cat Meffan at Glamour UK for #NEDAwarenessWeek where we both talk about our personal struggles with an eating disorder and throughout our recovery. Below are some links which helped me when I was going through my recovery journey and which I wish I had found sooner! 



Helpful Links: 


73 comments

  1. Hi Anna I'm sorry that you had to go through this please reply I love you and your kids so much all I know experienced really bad mental health and I was because of bullying everytime someone did something to me a felt like a clump of hair fell out I love you anna congratulations on your baby boy xxx

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  2. You are so incredibly BRAVE!!! Your kids have such a strong beautiful Mom!!!
    Thank you for sharing your story, we get bombed everyday with images of what’s supposed to be beautiful, there’s a whole Industry telling us “you need to look like this to be happy” and that’s not true, we are all different and that’s the beauty in it. We deserve to be free, healthy and happy <3

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  3. A couple of months ago I started watching your vlogs again after around 2 years of not watching them. I was amazed to see how much happier you seem to be now, and I can't wait to watch you continue on this journey. :)

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  4. Inspiring story Anna! Thank you for taking the time to share your story it just goes to show how much strength you have and that in some way you are adding your little grain of rice to the fight of a horrible illness. I do not suffer from this, but I will remember your story. xo

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  5. Thank you so much Anna. This post is so incredible and inspiring and I have so much respect for you. X

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  6. Thanks for your honesty! You are such a courageous woman and a true role model - a very beautiful one <3 How good you finally solved your deating disorder with the help of the psychologist, kudos to you that you allowed yourself to get help. All the best to you and your wonderful family!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  7. Thank you for this Anna. ๐Ÿ’— You're so strong for overcoming an ed.

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  8. Thank you Anna. You're so beautiful and sweet!

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  9. This was a lovely read, made me feel as though there may be hope for me yet, congratulations Anna, you are a beautiful woman inside and out, them wee beans are lucky to have you as a mother, stay positive chick ❤️

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  10. You are such a strong women, I admire you speaking out about this period of your life,I adore watching your vlogs and reading your blogs. Thank you for sharing this xxx

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  11. Wow Anna what an amazing blog post. It is so amazing what a recovery you've made and you deserve it so much. You mentioned before that you also watch the youtuber HeyKayli and in the past she's said that being pregnant is what helped her overcome her eating disorder. I feel like your message is so great even for people who don't have an eating disorder because almost all of us carry a bit of that "not good enough" mindset.

    Also I'm from Galway and have by a weird coincidence seen you guys from afar the last two times you were there (I must live near your granny or something?) but didn't want to intrude, you are honestly as stunning in real life as you are on instagram! Hope you can maintain your great mindset for the rest of your life and pass it on to your kids.

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  12. This is such an inspirational post - thank you.
    I am currently struggling with my body image whilst pregnant with my first child, and worrying a lot already about how to lose the weight post partum.
    I have always been a bigger lady, wether that has been due to too much pasta (and the rest) or family genetics, and no amount of dieting has really helped. I have been very lucky that in the just short of 9 months I've been pregnant, I have only put on 15lbs - but I'm conscious of the way my body has changed.
    Reading this post has really made me realise how amazing my body is that it has grown and changed to make room for and nurture my beautiful little baby and has given me a lot of "food for thought" for after the birth and how to possibly navigate my thought process so to not head down an unhealthy path.
    Thank you for sharing your story Anna :)
    Siobhan xx

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  13. Amazing recovery with 3 beautiful children. You should be endlessly proud of yourself, Anna. You’re the type of mother your children will look up to. X

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  14. Thank you Anna, I can't tell you how much it means to see someone who lives their life on social media sharing this kind of story. You are such an inspiration. I struggled with disordered eating myself for a couple of years, but thankfully I managed to climb my way out of the ever-deepening black hole through unfollowing "fitspo" accounts on social media and embracing the wonderful, empowering body positive community instead. Social media can be used for such evil things sometimes but this has reminded me that it can also be used for good! Thank you.

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  15. Dear Anna. Thank you for sharing your story. You are so extremely brave and your children are so blessed to have a mum like you to guide them through a positive journey. As a Psychologist myself, I see how eating disorders can rule and ruin people’s lives. This discourse around this topic is surrounded by a lot of stigma, however with brave souls like you, the discourse around eating disorders can be changed to become a more acceptable topic. In doing so, more people who may be suffering will be more comfortable to speak up and seek professional help.

    As a mental health practitioner, I thank you for being honest and brave. You have no idea how many people this post will help.

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  17. Congratulations on sharing your story. You are such a strong woman and you should be very proud of you. You are beautiful in every single way ❤️ True role model. Love from France

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  18. So happy more people are speaking out

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  19. Hi Anna, I’ve bee folllowing you even before you got married and I remmeber one time you saying you put exactly 10 blueberries in your oatmeal and it always made me wonder if you had an eating disorder but I never said anything. I’m in therapy too and it helps with so much. I’m glad it works for you and you seem so much happier now than when I first started following you. ❤️

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  20. inspirational! Your a sting women Anna.

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  21. You are georgeous inside out! ❤

    I've been wanting to send you a message for a while now. You are actually the reason why I realized that I wanted and needed recovery. That was way back when you hadn't even talked about your eating disorder. But, you and your channel helped me so much! Especially when you got Emilia, since having children has always been my biggest dream. I realized that I might not be able to have children if I didn't stop my eating disorder. That was about 4 years ago and I'm much better now.

    I just wanted to thank you for being such an inspiration and I hope you continue to spread the important message of body positivity!

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  22. Dear Anna, it would mean the world to me if you agreed to answer a couple of questions abou the good influence that you have on your audience in so many aspects. I need this for my master's degree thesis so you would be supporting higher education as well :) So, would you spare a few minutes of your time?

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  23. This was so beautiful Anna ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

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  24. I never really comment on posts like this but I just want to say how brave you are to speak out about it.

    I too had a time in my life that I'm not proud of - I got called fat by one person and it stuck with me, so much so that I used to skip meals and spend 2hrs plus in the gym just trying to lose weight. It happened and I went from 11st to 8 1/2 stone in a matter of months.

    I was never happy as I couldn't enjoy the things that used to make me happy as the gym pretty much took over my life. I couldn't see at the time that what I was doing was wrong, even though my mum would worry about me so much. It took one day when I was doing some shopping. One moment I was stood at the checkout, the next I was on the floor passed out.

    After this I went to hospital and the realisation of what I'd done to my body finally hit home and I slowly started to get back to my old self.

    I'm glad you're finally at a place where you can accept yourself for who you are rather than what people want you to be like - They have such unrealistic expectations. I guess it's 100 times harder when you are constantly in the public eye but you are doing an amazing job.

    x

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  25. Wow this is so inspirational to me. I don’t get called fat but the opposite, flat and skinny and am constantly told to ‘put on weight’ and ‘am I eating enough?’ What my relatives and even my best friends don’t realised is that this makes me feel just as bad as it does to be called fat. I was just wondering, Anna,if you had any advice about how I can explain to my friends that being told I am ‘flat’ with ‘no boobs or bum’ is extremely hurtful. It would mean so much to me if you could reply and help me. Megan xxx

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  26. Thank you Anna. Thank you for saying all of this

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  27. All I can say is thank you so much for this. I love that more awareness is happening surrounding this topic because so many people deal with it. I love you Anna and everything you stand for. I love this video with Cat, you both are amazing!

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  28. Great blog Anna! You look amazing btw ♥♥♥

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  29. Just beautiful Anna, and I love reading your blogs! You are an amazing writer!

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  30. Anna, you are such an inspiration. You are beautiful inside and out and your children are fortunate to have you (and Jonathan) as their role model. You are a strong and powerful woman!

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  31. You are beautiful, Anna! ❤️

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  32. Your journey is inspiring, you are the type of woman I want my children to look up to as a role-model. Keep being you, you're amazing.

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  33. Well Done for speaking out Anna! You are beautiful, takes guts to post something like this! So sick of seeing ‘perfect’ images online so it’s so lovely and refreshing to see a real woman on my social media!๐Ÿ’–⭐️

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  34. Sharing such a personal story can be really hard, but I find that it can also be very beneficial to other having such a problem! Thank you for sharing your story, I'm sure you've helped so many girls that have red it!

    Love,
    Olga from Myme

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  35. Thank you Anna for sharing this, it is so inspirational and amazing how you got out of that frame of mind. Thank you ❤️

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  36. You are one of the most beautiful people I know, actually you and Kendall Rae are two curvy YouTubers I love and just always think “Damn, they are GLOWING and look so healthy and pretty all the time!” I have gained a bit of weight since starting uni, mainly on my hips and butt, so I dont fit into pants like I used to. I was always a “stick” skinny child with a high metabolism who could eat anything and was always told how lucky and skinny I was. So seeing a physical difference in my body and the scale actually go up has honestly been so bizzare for me. I have new fears regarding my body weight gain that I know I need to monitor carefully, but I am starting to accept my new curves and little tummy, as long as I strive to eat healthily and move a bit more (school work makes that very difficult). I know I am not obese and it’s okay for my body to shift again. I love you Anna, thank you for sharing! ❤️❤️❤️ -Mia Morgan, New Brunswick & Louisiana

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  37. What an absolutely lovely post! You are so incredibly strong and brave and you have no idea how much this one has touched my heart. Thank you so much for sharing.
    xx J

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  38. I absolutely love this post! It’s so pure and not made more ‘fabulous’ than it is. Because an eating disorder is not! Your blog post and videos give me even more motivation to beat my ED and fight even harder to like my body, because I want to. Thank you Anna! ❤️

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  39. This is such an inspiring post, I used to be a size 6-8 but am now a size 10 and have accepted the fact I will never go back to the smaller size again. It got to the point where I got rid of all my 6-8 clothes as it was making me feel like crap keep looking at them and knowing I can't wear them now. I still have days now where I wont go near a mirror because I don't always like what I see looking back.
    So just want to say Thankyou Anna for doing this blog post and sharing your story, big inspiration!

    Claire
    www.nailbeautylife.co.uk

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  40. Anna, you are such an inspiration and so incredibly brave. I have not struggled with an eating disorder, but I am working through a lot of mental health challenges of my own. I'm inspired by your ability to find strength in yourself to fight and conquer your demons, and bravery to ask for help when you realized you needed it. I have been contemplating going to therapy to work through my own issues, and being reminded of your experience and how a therapist helped you tackle your eating disorder, I feel more motivated to book a session in. Thank you for your strength, bravery, and tenacity. You really are touching more lives than you know. <3

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  41. Thank you Anna for sharing your story, you are incredibly strong and brave. Don't listen to anyone who is remotely attacking you or saying anything negative about this. Sharing ED stories or any highly personal stories helps so many people out there. So thank you!
    ♥ Mae | maepolzine.com

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  42. Great post! i admire you for speaking about this, i can also relate to your story having struggled with eating disorders for most of my life, it feels amazing to now be recovered!
    www.libertylife.me

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  43. A lovely blog post Anna thank you for sharing it Anna is very pretty :):) :):)

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  44. You look gorgeous and your so brave to post those pictures it just goes to show how far you have come in your journey. I have been watching both you and Jonathan since you were in Ireland and never seen an ounce of fat on you, Jonathan is an amazing husband one that you deserve i am glad he has given you the support you have needed thoughtout your struggles. I just had my second baby 5 months ago and I have really been hating my body (even more so than before) the video you posted about loving your body touched me and actually made me teary. I think this is a huge problem my work place is full of women that are pretty and slim but are constantly on diets and complaining how fat they are are and i sit there thinking wow I am a size 16 why on earth are they complaing and dieting i would love to have their figure and its society making us think we hace to look a certain way to be accepted. It's tiring watching what I eat all day and feeling guilty if I eat something unhealthy so so tiring wondering what to do about myself. On a positive note my 5 month baby loves to sit with me watching your main channel vlogs I think she likes seeing the kids and the music. Take care and congratulations on your pregnancy x

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  45. You are seriously so strong & amazingly beautiful inside & out! Thank you for sharing.

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  46. You are beautiful inside and out. I Suffer with body dysmorphia so body image is something I struggle with. Even though I'm only a size 8 I see,myself as fat. I am getting help but I doubt know if I will ever get to a point of liking myself. But your amazing if only I could be more like you

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  47. Your beautiful inside and out. I suffer with body dysmorphia so body confidence is something that I do not have. Even though I'm only a size 8 I see myself as fat certain people also don't help with hurtful comments. I am currently getting help and hope on day that I will get there. But I do worry that o will always hate myself, always see myself as fat. But your an inspiration one amazing person.

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  48. Anna, I'm feeling so emotional! I've followed you for such a long time already and never had an idea how terribly you felt about yourself! I always thought you were looking so beautiful and I cannot believe what some people think is okay to tell others.

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  49. Hi Anna, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s is really helpful. Since I was young I always hated my legs because I thought they were so big. After years and years of trying diets that would only last a couple of months before I went back to my old eating habits, I realized there is no point on dieting. I started a “healthy” journey, choosing to cook healthy but yummy recipes that would actually feed my body the way it’s needed to. People like you inspire me to look at myself and see the pretty in me, which to me is being healthy. Thank you very much !! Love you, Valeria from Uruguay :)

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  50. You are so inspiring for sharing this and I am sure it will help a lot of women and young girls. Stunning photos!

    Steph x
    www.wanderlustpulse.com

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  51. You are so brave and inspirational, you can be proud of yourself and of your beautiful family! Love you all you are amazing ♡

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  52. You are so brave and inspirational... thank you for sharing your story ! You can be proud of you, of what you have achieved and of your amazing family #familygoal ♡

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  53. Thank you for being so open and honest about your experiences. You are helping so many people <3

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  54. I had no ide anna! You are so brave to talk about this and are beautiful... both during and after pregnancy. Praying you continue to love yourself and your amazing body

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  55. Anna, I don't have much else to say other than what a powerful read and thank you so much for sharing.

    https://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

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  56. I love how you are able to share your story Anna! its such a hard topic to talk about. I have personally never gone through this but I have seen a few people in my life go through this and its a harrowing experience to view and you feel helpless because you so badly want to help! I am a fashion student and I have used the stories of peoples eating disorders to influence my designs and i hope to raise awareness through this!
    And hopefully you get a change to read this message as I would love if you could see what I end up creating!

    Thank you for sharing your story<3
    https://mollygoole.blogspot.co.uk

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  57. I've never suffered from an eating disorder, but MAN do I struggle with body confidence, feeling comfortable in my skin, and loving myself. Thank you for being a voice for anyone struggling with this - you are a rockstar of a woman. <3

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  58. Thank you, Anna. I could have written almost this exact same post myself! I hated myself and my body from a very young age and started struggling with an eating disorder, excessive exercise and laxative abuse from the age of 18 until I found out I was pregnant with my first child at 31. The day before I got a the positive test I fainted while running and nearly fell into the path of an oncoming car. Knowing I could have harmed the baby I had always longed for made me feel sick. My eldest is now 3 and a half and I am currently 38 weeks pregnant with my third baby. My children have absolutely saved my life and I am determined never to go back to my past habits as I don't want them to ever be affected by disordered eating in any way. I want to be the best role model I possibly can for them. You inspire me to stay healthy and I'm so glad to hear you are fully recovered too! :) x

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  59. I love your honesty, I struggle with body image and have never been confident. I have those self hate thoughts, I look in the mirror and think how disgusting I look and I rip myself to shreds. I'm trying to accept that this is me and I'm okay. I have had 2 c sections so I'm never going to be perfect but I have my children and feel blessed. Wishing you lots of luck with your 4th pregnancy x

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  60. thank you for sharing your story Anna, so many people deal with this issue. I have had some food struggles in the past but thankfully, like you am over them now. Enjoy pregnancy 4.xx

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  61. Hey Anna, I just came across your blog today and felt the need to share/ask for support. I'm currently 11 weeks and a bit, and I have had an eating disorder for a long time as well, 6 years I think. It's became clear it was back to anorexia last year already though... Anyways, I'm underweight, and I'm finding it hard to bring myself to eat. I go some days on 400-500 kcal and I don't even notice until I've gone to bed and count it all up in my head. I don't know what to do, as I don't feel able to let myself eat, no matter what consequences it has...

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  62. Hello Anna. I want ro thank you to post that. I just read your story. I will make it short- thank you! I wish I read it before. You can be proud of yourself- you just saved my life! Thank you!

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  63. Hey Anna I absolutely loved how u became a strong lady n have 3 beautiful children n a wonderful husband wish I could meet u all as I'm your biggest fan

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  64. Hey Anna I absolutely loved how u became a strong lady n have 3 beautiful children n a wonderful husband wish I could meet u all as I'm your biggest fan

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  65. Love ur little family 5 n soon to be 6

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  66. Hey Anna love how strong u have became u have a beautiful little family n husband I wish I could meet u guys as I'm ur biggest fan of all time I watch URS n Johnathan vlogs everyday keep up the good work

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  67. Hi Anna, firstly I want to say I feel so sorry about your struggle, I know how hard is it,I wish I could know you and give you a huge hugh, you're a very brave woman and I admire you so much, blessings to you and your family ๐Ÿ’–

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