A teenage girl's quest for her perfect body caused her to lose FIVE STONE and almost cost her life.
Emma Walker, 15, became so obsessed with losing weight that she was eating just 200 calories a day.
Her lack of nutrition shattered her immune system and resulted in her being admitted to hospital twice with extreme anorexia.
Emma, from Blaby, Leicestershire, told how her nightmare began when, at 5ft 5in tall, she wanted to lose one and a half stone and hit her target weight of eight stone.
However, when she didn't meet her weight loss goals, she decided to eat less and less while increasing the time she spent at the gym.
As her addiction took hold, she started trawling the internet for 'thinspos' – people who post 'inspirational' skinny pictures.
Emma said: "I wanted to lose more weight. My body image changed but I still thought I was big."
By the time she went back to school in September, Emma was barely eating anything and her weight plummeted to five-and-a-half stone.
She dropped to a size four, but was still desperate to be smaller.
She said: "When I first started, people were complimenting me. I wanted to keep going, it was addictive."
Emma became obsessed with exercising, doing 'anything to burn the calories'.
She would often spend an hour and a half in the gym each day, going to 'hardcore classes' or doing cardio vascular exercises.
This caused her to become exhausted and weakened her immune system and she would constantly get colds.
She said a thin layer of hair grew all over her body in an attempt to keep her warm.
She said: "Worst of all, my periods had stopped. Now, looking back, that's one of the major warning signs - when you're body isn't healthy enough to carry a baby."
During the October half-term she was admitted to the hospital for the first time.
She was there for two weeks, but she wasn't getting better or putting on weight.
She said: "I was living in a false recovery."
Emma tried to trick people into thinking she had gained weight, by hiding food in her dressing gown.
She said: "I would fool myself and other people, to make them think I was happy."
But she got angry if anybody mentioned eating or exercise.
She explained: "I thought everyone was attacking me.
Her relationship with her mother Kim became strained, and she was readmitted to hospital in January. This time she stayed for a month.
Since then, Emma has started seeing a new counsellor who is helping her to recover.
She said: "My whole life revolved around my weight I felt trapped and I couldn't find a way out. Counselling has made me see things so differently. I feel like I'm back in control of my body now. I'm a lot happier."
Emma now weighs eight stone and is a size eight.
Emma said she still has bad days but that she now wants to act as an inspiration to others.
She said: "Everyone has bad days when they get up and don't like the way they look, and I'm no different.
"But people need to know that if you want to get yourself out of anorexia enough, it can be done.
If my story can stop someone feeling as low as I did, I will be really happy."
More on Parentdish: The warning signs of anorexia
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