"For as long as I can remember I have compared the way I look to other people as I have always felt I was never good enough for society and those closest to me. It wasn't until my later teenage years that this transpired to comparing the way my body looks. I have never compared myself to celebrities, it has always been the average person and I believe social media has heightened the ability to allow myself and others to do this. Online apps such as Instagram and Facebook are full of images of individuals flaunting themselves for approvals via likes and comments - and the more of these an individual receives the more "acceptable" their image is perceived to be. In the past I have often scanned for hours through images like this hoping that one day I would look like these girls or have this "perfect figure" that many people would comment on.
I would become more upset and disappointed when the image staring back at me in the mirror did not reflect this.
At my worst this certainly helped fuel my anorexic thoughts as I could not see past anything other than not looking "perfect" and it made me tear myself apart even more than I was already doing."
She went from 124 pounds to 77 pounds over the course of 2 years. Hooton didn't just restrict her calories, she also began exercising to excess in the hopes of burning more calories. She started out with 2-3 cardio work outs a day!
Despite her family and friends expressing concern for her health, she didn't realize she had a problem.
Hooton says that no matter how much weight she lost, all she could see when she looked in the mirror was an overweight woman.
"This would be what would keep the anorexic voices motivated and keep a strong hold over me, causing me to continue with the horrible downward spiral I was experiencing," she said.
It wasn't long before her weight loss began to impact her health. She says that because she had such little body fat, she always felt cold. She was also prone to illness.
"I would try and get out of bed every morning and have to return due to fainting as soon as I stepped foot out of my room. I was having panic attacks numerous times a day, turning blue. Every move I made was agony and I was having to carry two hot water bottles with me everywhere due to being unable to get warm," she said.
Hooton made an appointment with her GP to treat a sinus infection. He prescribed antibiotics and told her to make a follow up so he could check if the meds were working. When she returned, he confessed that he had brought her back because he believed she had an eating disorder. She confessed her troubles and he referred her to an eating disorders support centre and it was there that she was able to break free.
"It is not until I have got further into my recovery that I have realized just how severe things became and the impact my illness had on my body," she said.
Now, Hooton is back to a healthier 112 pounds. She's also learned the importance of being strong and the significance of healthy eating. She has overcome her fear of food and doesn't mind including fats, proteins and carbs. She knows she has to be balanced and fuel her body properly to build her muscles back after the years of abuse.
She now approaches exercise in a completely different way.
She explains, "I thrive for my days at the gym however I also allow myself and schedule rest days to ensure I look after my body as best as I can and also allow my muscles to recover. Cardio workouts are a very minimal aspect of my training regime and I undergo a couple of 20 minute HIIT style sessions a week just to maintain cardiovascular health.... I don't choose to push myself to exercise if I'm feeling exhausted or rundown, I now give myself additional rest days and accept that this is more than acceptable as my body is showing signs of needing the extra rest."
Her goals now are for a fit, strong body instead of a thin, weak one. And most importantly, she hopes her story will help other people who are fighting anorexia.
She said, "It is my biggest aim now to use my experiences with anorexia to promote well-being and positivity to anyone who may be experiencing negative feelings or who are battling with an eating disorder or mental illness. I would advise them to push for help as soon as possible as I do believe earlier intervention can lead to more people successfully recovering and overcoming these demons. There is no shame in admitting they need help and even if they are initially turned away by their GP, continue to go back until they are listened to. Never take no for an answer."
Good for you, Kerry. You are an inspiration. Do you have an inspiring tale? Share it with us.
Source: Daily Mail
All Images: Kerry Hooton