вторник, 14 марта 2017 г.
Two young women, with two very different diets, both using food as a weapon. 'We both had eating disorders'
What happened when a size-28 comfort eater swapped plates with a size-zero food phobic?
Julie Tregeagle, 21, a call-centre operator from Portsmouth, says:
"Weighing 23st 8lb and wearing size-28 clothes, I wasn't just fat, I was morbidly obese.
I had been reduced to tears by bulliesat school, as my weight marked me out as a target - and my size had continued to ruin much of my life.
I had a few friends who were all slim, wore fashionable clothes and had boyfriends, but I made excuses not to go out with them. Who'd want to see fat Julie on the dance floor?
Every night for years I would go home determined not to eat so much food, but habit took over. Mum would serve up a plate of home-made chicken curry and I'd tuck into a man-sized portion - then have seconds. Even though I'd eaten enough to feed three people, I'd still manage to devour a family-sized chocolate bar.
My family were all overweight, although I was the biggest. No one ever commented on portion sizes.
What do you think of the girls' stories?
I never looked at myself naked - my body was disgusting. Men probably saw me and either felt pity or revulsion.
Consumed by self-loathing, I was desperate to change and feel happy, but I didn't know how to do it. I'd try to crash diet, skipping breakfast and cutting out crisps and chocolate. But I needed to be shifting stones not pounds, so when the scales just registered a small weight loss, I'd lose patience.
I went to see my doctor and he said he could put together a diet plan for me, but I'd need to go back a few weeks later to collect it.
Serious about kick-starting my weight loss, I decided to apply for Channel 4's Supersize Vs Superskinny, a programme I'd seen that helped other people in my situation. Knowing that I'd have to reveal how much weight I'd lost on TV was the incentive I needed. It had to work.
After a couple of weeks, the producers contacted me to say I'd been selected. They explained I'd be moving into a house with another woman who had problems with diet and food. We'd swap diets for a week, then be sent home with a three-month plan to stick to. After that, we'd be called back to see how our weight had altered and how our lifestyles had changed.
Before I started, I was given a thorough health check, which included blood tests and body scans.
When I arrived at the house, the show's GP, Dr Christian Jessen, gave me the results - and had some shocking news. "Your liver is so unhealthy, it's almost 50 per cent fat," he explained. I shuddered. He said if I didn't change my diet, within a year I could either be waiting for a liver transplant - or be dead.
I'd always focused on what my body looked like and had never even considered what I was doing to my insides. I was sick with shame - I'd done this to myself.
Then I met Jade Potts, the woman I was going to be swapping diets with. She was tiny, living on coffee, cola and the occasional ready meal. I know some people aspire to be a size zero, but she looked unhealthy and unhappy. I'm sure she thought the same thing when she saw me. She was as dangerously thin as I was dangerously fat.
For the next week, we were to swap diets - that way we'd both see how lethal our food intake was.
On the first food-swap day, I sipped coffee as Jade was served up a huge plate of cottage pie with buttery mash. I saw fear flood her eyes at the sheer size of the portion she was expected to eat.
I realised I'd always turned to food for comfort, or if I was bored - it was a kind of eating disorder, I suppose. It was destroying me. But I wasn't going to let it any longer.
Jade and I supported each other throughout the week in the house. We were both there for the same reason - we wanted to break our habits. I finally felt motivated to make changes I would never have stuck to before. And after a week, Dr Christian gave me a diet to follow, which consisted of fruit, veg and calorie-controlled meals.
"Good luck," he encouraged as we returned home for three months to try to change our ways for good.
Instead of gorging on auto-pilot, I found myself enjoying food and savouring flavours. And, not piling food on to my plate for the first time ever, I believed I could beat my cravings for sugar and comfort.
Slowly, my weight started to go down and my confidence started to rise. And now, after years of living in jeans and baggy T-shirts, I've started dressing in fashionable clothes. Now, I actually have a waist. In 12 weeks, I've lost 2st 7lb and I've learned that I can have a little bit of what I fancy, like a small bag of low-fat crisps, and it's just as satisfying as a family-sized helping.
I'm now a size 20 on top and my target size for now is 18 - I can't wait to reach it. Friends have told me how great I'm looking and it's amazing to hear compliments on my appearance for the first time. I've even started internet dating and meeting up with men, and have enjoyed a short relationship.
Sometimes I still catch myself questioning why a guy would want to meet me. But slowly, I'm learning not to be so hard on myself. I can't wait to meet someone special. Thanks to my diet, I'll have a longer life to spend with them."
Jade Potts, 23, from Walsall, a full-time mum to Jake, two, says:
"My legs and arms were emaciated and my hip bones jutted out through my skin. Just three months ago I was 5st 9lb and resembled a sick child.
But I'd never set out to shrink to such a dangerous size. Naturally petite, I've always struggled to put on weight. I used to wear padded bras to boost my 32A chest and was desperate for a womanly figure.
Growing up, I'd always been a bit fussy with food and never liked meat or cheese. But other than that, my diet was fairly normal. I could eat what I wanted and not gain weight. Before I got pregnant, I was a small size 4 - a US size zero - and still craving curves.
Pregnancy was amazing. My boobs went up to a C-cup and I was a size 8-10. When I went back to my pre-pregnancy weight within three days of the birth, I was disappointed.
Two months after my son Jake, now two, was born, I contracted the norovirus, a vomiting bug that made me violently ill. Jake's dad Brett and my mum looked after him while I was admitted to hospital. I couldn't eat for two weeks - every time I tried, I'd throw up. After that, food scared me. Looking back, it's clear I developed a phobia of food, an eating disorder.
Instead of eating meals, I just drank coffee and cola - the caffeine became addictive. Jake had a normal diet with lots of fruit and veg, but once he'd eaten, I rarely bothered to make anything for myself. I'd drink around eight cups of coffee and two litres of cola a day. If I did eat something, I just nibbled on toast or chocolate.
I desperately wanted to gain weight, but I was so scared if I ate I'd be sick. I knew my body was struggling - I was often tired and grumpy. It was then I decided to do the show.
When I met Julie, I was shocked - she obviously ate a lot and I couldn't imagine how I'd cope with her meals.
Dr Christian gave me a fright by telling me my bone scan revealed a severe lack of calcium in my diet. He said that by the time I was 30 I could have osteoporosis - a disease that makes bones prone to fracturing. Imagining myself in pain, unable to care for Jake, was scarier than the thought of eating.
And when I was shown my weekly diet in a tube - litres of brown liquid with a few bits of food floating in it - I realised what I'd been doing to myself. Dr Christian explained it was only the calories in the sugary cola that were keeping me alive.
When I was presented with a huge plate of cottage pie, I was terrified. But I knew I had to give it a go. I couldn't quite finish it, but it was the most I'd eaten in months. I was bloated and uncomfortable, but tasting food again felt amazing.
Julie and I supported each other, and back home, the experience paid off. For the first time in nearly two years, I started eating properly, and over the next three months I gained 6lb. Now, I don't drink cola or coffee, preferring fruit juice, and I make lasagne or stew. I've got much more energy and I'm not suffering from caffeine-induced mood swings.
I'm really impressed by Julie's progress, too. We're friends on Facebook and message each other to say how we're getting on. It's thanks to her that I've beaten my eating issues."