LIFESTYLE

Former Anorexic Man Beats Eating Disorder To Become Bodybuilder

13/01/2014 15:55 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT

An anorexic man who once weighed just six stone has transformed himself - into an 18 stone bodybuilder.

When Ollie Orchard, now 22, first stepped into a gym at 18, he weighed less than six stone.

Fast forward four years and Ollie has tripled his body weight after discovering working out and a healthy diet.

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Ollie, from Bristol, said: "I shaved my hair off, took out my piercings and started lifting weights, it was a move that saved my life."

Ollie suffered from anorexia secretly for four years, consuming minimal calories, that were barely enough to survive.

He said: "It started when I was about 14 years-old with anorexia and as it progressed it just got uglier.

"I was an Emo kid with long hair and piercings and I was going to be as skinny as I could," he said. "Not eating was part of the fashion, it's a big thing, it dictates a lifestyle."

Despite passing out from lack of eating, Ollie was able to convince himself everything was fine when actually he was putting his life in real danger.

Ollie said: "I was disgusted by food, it repulsed me.

"I picked up on the sound of people eating. If I saw people eating I would wonder how they could do it.

"For me it was all about being as small as I could. It was a form of control. It was an addiction.

"It was weird. I enjoyed it, I revelled in it. It was about pushing myself as far as I could.

"I would pass out through lack of eating but I would convince myself it was fine. Nobody could convince me otherwise."

bodybuilder

But when he was 18 Ollie, prompted by his doctor and a former girlfriend, went to the gym and found a new 'addiction' - one he could focus on without putting his life at risk.

There he met a strength coach and after initially putting some meat on his bones started to lift some weights.

Currently in the off season he now takes on board 5,000 calories a day six days a week and up to 10,000 calories on a Sunday when he treats himself to fast food.

Ollie said: "You are very alienated with anorexia and although there are people in the gym it is still very much a personal journey.

"I started by barely being able to lift 5kg because I was so small so I had to first work at putting some meat back on my bones.

"I started reading body building mags and based my diet around that so would eat things like oats and egg whites but also started eating food like ice cream.

"It was tough on my stomach because it had been so small but I was determined to put weight on."

Ollie put on 10st in that first year of training and in his first bodybuilding competition, he placed second in the junior class and went on to compete in the British finals.

Ollie said: "I'm fit and healthy and focussing on doing something to my body that does not put my life at risk.

"Eating disorders are a bigger problem than people realise and all I would say is try and find something that can give you the same control and satisfaction.

"For me it was bodybuilding because I need the focus of the training and meals but anything that helps you beat it can only be a good thing."

For support concerning eating disorders, contact UK charity B-EAT