Climbing out of an eating disorder

My eating disorder started in Secondary school.

I was very active and sporty, tall and thin, but the pressure and expectations were very high at both school and at a dance company I had joined.

One day after dance practice, I overheard one of the teachers saying I should lose more weight. Some of my friends heard this too, and they all came to talk to me and advised against it.

But I was the new one and the youngest. I also knew we were all competing for places, and eventually for jobs.

I started eating less and less, and even the little food I had in my tummy was still making me nervous so I made myself sick.

I noticed in PE classes that I was getting weaker and couldn’t perform at school either.

After about 6 months my parents noticed my weight loss, they thought it was due to my busy school and after-school schedule.

It got to the point that my dad had to carry me to the GP, where I had to face the brutal truth: if I didn’t start eating and kept it in, I was going to die.

There wasn’t a group or a skilled person to talk about my eating disorder so we did what the doctor said – focus on eating my favourite food, small but more portions each day.

I got a Kcal scale and had to measure everything I ate, to make sure I ate between 1500-1800 then 2000kcal later.

Slowly, I got better.

I don’t think my body has fully recovered yet, but I am much stronger in mind.

Photography and mountaineering are my greatest passions now, and I’ve been a professional photographer since 2011. The morning I spent on the top of Gokyo Ri in the Himalayas, capturing the sun emerging behind the tallest mountain in the world, was the best moment of my life.

I’m so glad I recovered from my eating disorders enough to be able to see it, and many other beautiful things too.

Now it’s my turn to help others.

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Alexandra is now already more than halfway through her challenge to climb the Seven Summits – the highest mountains of the seven continents – within two years, to promote health and wellbeing, and to reach out to young people with eating disorders.

A UK and a Hungarian-based eating disorders charity will receive 10% from each photograph sold by Alexandra at exhibitions after her climbs.

Only 350 people have ever managed it, and of those only there were British women.

To see some of Alexandra’s work, and to contact her about the climb, please see http://www.alexfineartphotography.com

For more information and support about eating disorders, go to http://www.b-eat.co.uk

(headline photo credit: Alan Kearney/Getty Images)

anorexia, confidenceLiz Fraser