An inspirational student who overcame her battle with anorexia is sharing her transformation photos online in hope of helping others.
22-year-old Emelle Lewis said she became ill during her teens when she felt she was ‘fat and ugly’ and believed losing weight would help her ‘fit in’.
Emelle, a psychology student from Huddersfield, said her battle began with her visiting the gym more regularly, then an obsession with food which saw her surviving on Weetabix, rice cakes and salad.
I'm thankful for my past struggle. Anorexia stole everything from me and almost succeeded in taking my life. But all those years of suffering taught me some valuable lessons and made me the person I am today. I'm thankful that I experienced such a battle because now I'm stronger than ever. I'm grateful for everyday that I'm alive and I'm learning to love my body for what it is. My goal now is to help and inspire everyone else to love themselves and just love being alive. I know times get really hard sometimes and I know we all have this desire to be "perfect" but I've learnt now that life is too short to dwell on things that can't be changed. Love yourself, love your life, and love being alive #lifeisbeautiful ????#feelgoodfriday #anorexiarecovery #progressnotperfection #strongnotskinny #bodypositive #transformation #loveyourself #lovelife #gymgirl #girlswholift #determination #igotthis
When her weight dropped to just five stone, Emelle said she would dress herself in children’s clothes and tried living a ‘normal life’.
She told Mail Online:
It started in high school when I wanted to lose weight because I always felt fat growing up.
I always found it hard to fit in, and when all my friends were getting boyfriends at that time but I didn’t, I began to think it was because I was fat and ugly.
#transformationtuesday ??When nobody else believed in me, I believed in myself. I made the decision to recover and the only way I learned was by going through it on my own. Each time I fell down I rose up just that little bit stronger, because I was determined that I wouldn't be beaten. The hardest thing about my recovery was believing I was worth it, but today I can say with pride that I am bloody worth it and nothing is going to stop me now? So no matter how tough the road gets, keep going, keep believing in yourself and remember…you are worth it! ? #anorexiarecovery #strongnotskinny #believeinyourself #bodypositive #determination #igotthis ##eatforlife #eatforgains #gains #gym #gymgirl #fitness #fitnessjourney
Emelle said being so underweight meant she was constantly cold, but she refused to comply with treatment having convinced herself people were trying to ‘ruin her life’.
When I was ill, I didn’t believe there was anything really wrong with me. I genuinely believed I could maintain at that weight and still live a fairly normal life. I didn’t want to get rid of my eating disorder.
I refused to comply with treatment and was convinced that everyone was against me, lying to me and trying to ruin my life.
I didn’t really feel that weak because my body had adapted to my low weight, however the thing that got me the most was the cold. I was so cold it was painful.
Before recovery I would walk my dog for thirty-minutes twice a day. I would do yoga and abdominal workouts every morning. I wouldn’t sit down during the day until after 4pm.
#worldmentalhealthday Its ok not to be ok ? Remember that recovery IS possible no matter what your illness may be. You are worth it, you can fight it and you can live a normal life again. I promise ? #nevergiveup #recovery #anorexiarecovery #edrecovery #lifeisbeautiful #strongnotskinny #strongereveryday #keepgoing #mentalhealth
Emelle went as far as claiming to be vegan so people didn’t question why she was only eating fruit, veg and ‘clean foods’.
I ate the same exact thing every day. Weetabix, hummus and rice cakes, salad and fruit before bed.
Amazingly, the turning point for Emelle’s transformation was when she started following ‘recovery accounts’ on Instagram, and becoming inspired by other girls who had overcome eating disorders.
She said she realised she didn’t want to die and despite being ‘terrified’ of the journey ahead of her, she told her mum she wanted to start weight training as a way of recovery.
#recoverywin I've waited 7 longggg ass years for this! Finally allowing myself an advent calander ??Why would I not take full advantage of being able to eat chocolate everyday ? mums even sorted me out nicely with this Thorntons chocolate one ? you're never too old for an advent calander So if you haven't got one yet, what you waiting for?! #treatyoself happy Friday guys ??#feelgoodfriday #anorexiarecovery #strongnotskinny #winning #loveyourself #bodypositive #determination #gains #gym #gymgirl #girlswholift #fitnessjourney #fitness
Emelle now eats six balanced meals a day, amounting to 2,800 calories and lifts weights in the gym.
She’s a healthy 8st 9lbs and a UK size 8-10.
I remember lying in bed one day feeling like I was really dying and realising I had achieved nothing in my life and this is not the way my story is meant to end.
This switched something in my mind and I knew I had to start fighting and show the world who I am meant to be.
When I first decided to choose recovery I was terrified, I knew once I had made that commitment I had to stick to it so there was a huge part of me that was questioning, ‘am I really ready to let it go?’ I was also terrified because I thought, ‘what if I fail?’
I would feel embarrassed if I told everyone I was going to recover but then gave up half way.
Despite relapsing seven times, Emelle said her mum ‘always believed’ in her and was ‘willing to do everything’ to help her recover.
#recoverywin ? never have I ever had a #krispykreme donut! So I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to tackle yet another fear?? and of course I didn't just have one donut, I had three ? the new chocolate fudge brownie flavour ?reeses peanut butter, because peanut butter is life ? and of course had to try an original glaze ✨ I can see why people rave about these donuts so much, they Taste so damn good ? so so happy I managed this challenge and broke another one of anorexias stupid rules ❌?? #anorexiarecovery #strongnotskinny #strongereveryday #igotthis #determination #winning #eatforlife #bodypositive #girlswholift #gymgirl #fitnessjourney
Emelle said she still has occasional bad days towards her body image but most days she feels ‘proud’ of what she has achieved and proud of her body.
The most difficult part of recovery was going against everything I had believed for the past six years. Physically stopping myself from doing things that had become second nature to me through years of suffering with anorexia. I literally had to ignore my own mind.
Overcoming this illness has now made me such a strong person mentally, I see the world through different eyes.
I am thankful for everyday I’m alive and I try to be as positive as I can in any situation. I feel like I can achieve anything now.
Anorexia tricks you into believing that you don’t want to get better, that there is nothing really wrong with you.
The best way to overcome this illness is realising that these thoughts are not you and they are a caused by something else that is not your friend.
Find something you are passionate about, something you can work towards and focus all your time and energy towards achieving it.
Life is too short and we only live once, don’t waste your life being controlled by an eating disorder.
Love your body for what it is because one day we won’t have one.
Well done, and good luck on your journey.