Malin Andersson admits she ‘starved herself’ as she discusses the warning signs of eating disorders – EXCLUSIVEAugust 26, 2020
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I got an eating disorder when I was 16. I think it was because of beauty pageants. It was the pressure to look like everyone else.
When I was in upper school, I had gained a bit of weight so I remember going on a diet by myself without telling anyone. It was really, really low-calorie.
Once I started to see myself lose weight, I got a bit addicted to it. At my lowest I was eating around 500-800 calories a day. I was literally starving myself but I was loving the weight loss. So I carried on, but no one really knew – I don't think – no one really said anything until I started doing the pageants and got obsessed with everything.
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Because of all the restrictions I started to binge eat. I would loose control and eat loads of food and then I'd want to sick it up.
I think that's when I started to get a bit shady and started taking loads of laxatives and drinking loads of tea, going to the toilet all the time, sicking up.
When I think of my own experience in terms of warning signs, I remember speaking a lot about food, not going out for dinner as much and always looking at the menu to calorie count.
My skin wasn't as healthy – I had a lot more spots – and I started to lose quite a lot of hair and I didn't socialise as much because I didn't want to be put in a position where I'd have to eat.
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If I did socialise, I'd mess around with the food on my plate instead of actually eating it. Sometimes I wouldn't eat at all and tell a friend that I'd already eaten – so I'd lie.
I had some trouble sleeping at night, too, so I would take Horlicks, a drink before bed. Then I would get these over-the-counter sleeping pills from the pharmacy to make myself go to sleep earlier at around eight or nine, but it would be broken sleep.
The first thing I'd do when I woke up would be weighing myself straight away. I used to pack my scales everywhere I went.
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These are all signs of an eating disorder, from my experience.
Rapid weight loss can be alarming, but so can weight stability in some instances because with bulimia you're eating to maintain your weight. You eat loads and then you sick it up, so you're not losing a lot of weight.
If you suspect a friend might have an eating disorder, you can ask them about it but they're likely to keep it to themselves until their health declines seriously.
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You have to make sure you speak to them and make them sure that they can trust you.
If I were to go back and talk to myself at the height of my eating disorder, I would tell myself that none of it is worth it. The way you look doesn't determine who you are inside.
The right people love you for who you are, you shouldn't have to change your appearance or image.
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