An anorexia survivor, whose heart was so weak it beat just 32 times a minute, has finally been given the all clear from doctors.
When the pandemic hit the UK, Charlotte Foster, 21, from Workington, Cumbria, saw her eating habits spiral out of control when she restricted her diet to just lettuce, carrots and Coke Zero.
Charlotte who consumed less than 600 calories per day claims she would have ‘rather died than gain weight’ and was just 6st 3lbs at her lowest.
The project controller would receive 11-12 alerts from her Apple watch during the night warning that her BPM rate had dropped even further than her dangerously low resting heart rate of 40bmp.
But after she was rushed to A&E in October 2020 over concerns about her heart, Charlotte realised she needed to turn her life around in January this year and has since regained two stone to become a healthy weight of 8st 9lbs.
When the pandemic hit the UK, Charlotte Foster, 21, from Workington, Cumbria, saw her eating habits spiral out of control when she restricted her diet to just lettuce, carrots and Coke Zero. Her weight plummeted to 6st 3lbs, pictured
She said: ‘I started out with a really restrictive diet at the beginning of lockdown because I felt really bad about myself.
‘There were a few factors that caused it, including having nothing to focus on in lockdown.
‘My eating habits just got out of hand, the diet spiralled out of control.
‘It got to a point where I’d be weighing out a Diet Coke or energy drink, because if it was one calorie over, I wouldn’t touch it.
After being hospitalised in October 2020, Charlotte realised she needed to turn her life around. She’s now gained two stone and is at a healthy weight of 8st 9lbs, pictured
The 21-year-old project controller, pictured, said she felt she’d ‘rather die than gain weight’ at the height of her eating disorder
‘On top of the diet, I’d be doing daily exercises from home.
‘When the gyms reopened, I’d spend an hour there before work doing non-stop cardio and basically lose as many calories as I was going to eat that day.
‘I got scared to eat and being fat was my worst fear. I felt as though I’d rather die than be fat.’
Before lockdown Charlotte weighed 8st 5lbs and wore a size 8, but in the grip of her illness she dropped below a size four and was forced to buy belts to stop her clothes from falling off.
Charlotte said she started a restrictive diet in 2020 during lockdown because she didn’t like the way she looked. But her weight soon spiralled out of control, pictured
Charlotte, pictured before, said her family and friends started to raise concern following her dramatic weight loss
Anorexia, the eating disorder that sees people keep their weight as low as possible
Anorexia is an eating disorder and a mental health condition.
People diagnosed with it try to keep their weight as low as possible by eating little or excessive exercise.
Men and women can develop the illness, however it typically starts in the mid-teens.
Those with anorexia can have a distorted image of their bodies, thinking they’re fat when in fact they are severely underweight.
Causes of the condition are unknown, but those with it have either low self-esteem, have a family history of eating disorders or feel pressured from society or place of work.
Long term health complications can include muscle and bone problems, loss of sex drive, kidney or bowel problems or having a weakened immune system.
Treatment for anorexia can include cognitive behavioural therapy.
A few months into her dangerous regime, family and friends started to raise their concerns about her eating habits and advised her to seek help from her doctor.
But 10 months later, she has transformed her life having been discharged from therapy in September and has even purchased her own home
Charlotte said: ‘I was so poorly; I could barely get out of bed.
‘My mum came into my room one day and said something like ‘I’m worried for you, I feel like I’m going to lose you.’
‘It got to a point where I wasn’t doing anything socially and I wasn’t getting any joy out of life.
‘I never thought that I’d get better, and putting weight on would be impossible, especially if I couldn’t improve my relationship with food.
‘I was quite embarrassed, but the doctors ran some tests and referred me to an eating disorder team.
‘The clinician was really worried for my health and kept tabs on me to keep an eye on my progress.
‘I got told to trust in myself and that I would get better. ‘
Charlotte was prescribed iron tablets due to the severe iron deficiency her fight with anorexia had caused.
The anorexia survivor said she felt so poorly she could hardly get out of bed, left, but she’s now purchased a home and is looking to a brighter future, right
Charlotte, pictured before, said she used to think she’d never get better and that putting on weight would be impossible
The 21-year-old lost a dramatic amount of weight in 2020, and had a resting heart rate of just 40bpm, pictured,
At the height of her eating disorder, Charlotte was terrified of gaining weight and would eat such a little amount of food that her bones showed, pictured
Charlotte was admitted to hospital in October 2020 for ECG tests, pictured, after being rushed to the A&E due to concerns about her heart rate
After being referred to a dietician, Charlotte started to increase her calorie intake eating high calorie snacks such as ice cream and chocolate to reach a healthy weight goal.
She said: ‘It was always the psychological side of my anorexia that I really struggled with.
‘My self-image was a mess, and I felt as though I needed to improve upon that and just stop being so hard on myself.
On top of eating very little food, Charlotte used to exercise daily, left. She’s now regained a healthy weight, right
Charlotte, pictured before, said she’s had her final therapy session a month ago and that her care-coordinator told her she should be proud of the progress she’s made
‘My final therapy session was over a month ago now, and the care coordinator told me that I’d made so much progress and that I should be proud of myself.
‘I’ve come so far, farther than I thought I could especially with the support of my family, friends and my boyfriend Kelvin, 21.
‘It’s taken me over 10 months to realise that having a bit of weight on you isn’t the end of the world.
‘Just letting myself be healthy has improved my outlook on life so much.
‘I chose to get better, and because of that, all aspects of my life have gotten better.’
The 21-year-old said she had an iron deficiency due to her anorexia and had to take tablets. Pictured at the height of her eating disorder
Charlotte said she was able to get better thanks to the support of her family and her boyfriend Kelvin, 21, pictured
Left: Charlotte at a festival at her normal weight. She said she is now able to look to the future after ‘allowing [herself] to be healthy’
Source: Daily Mail | Health News