A London teenager’s battle with anorexia included following an extreme exercise routine of jogging to the point of passing out.
In 2017 Hamna Amira was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa – an eating disorder causing people to obsess about weight and what they eat, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The 18-year-old’s weight plummeted to just 38kg, and she managed to hide her eating disorder from friends and family.
“Whenever I felt the guiltiest about eating, I’d wake up in the middle of the night when my family was asleep and jog on my pillow, to not make any noise so nobody would notice. I’d jog and jog until I’d pass out,” Hamna says.
“I felt like I didn’t deserve those calories and I had to get rid of them. I tried purging [vomiting], but it didn’t work for me. So my only solutions were to restrict and over-exercise, both of which were extremely unhealthy and dangerous.”
The student was in denial for a month following her diagnosis – a common reaction in people suffering from eating disorders.
“My mum and a few of my close friends had noticed changes in my eating patterns and my behaviours, and some fluctuations in my weight. But nobody suspected that I would be diagnosed with anorexia.
“In fact, it took me several weeks, maybe even a month or two to accept and acknowledge it even after the diagnosis. I came to learn that this isn’t unusual for people with eating disorders. It’s hard to accept and understand what you’re going through and feeling,” she says.
But Hamna’s wake-up call came when doctors told her that if she lost one more kilogram, she would have to be hospitalised and miss school on a regular basis.
“I was getting to a point where I was being told that losing even a kilogram more of weight would lead to hospitalisation, which would ultimately mean I would no longer be able to attend school on a regular basis and finish it in order to receive a qualification and go to university.
“I’ve always wanted to go to university and with a conditional offer to study business management and psychology at the University of Aberdeen [in Scotland], I was absolutely determined to reach my goals in life.
“Anorexia was the only thing stopping me and I knew that I had to fight it. I had to fight the voice in my head telling me I couldn’t or that I was fat or a failure, the voice that made every inch of me drown in regret and self-hatred with every bite of food,” the teen says.
That’s when the brunette decided to turn her life around. She started eating and exercising normally and has since gained more than 6kg. She went from severely restricting her calorie intake and jogging to the point of fainting, to having three healthy meals a day.
“The first step was to learn not to count calories as obsessively and eat enough to keep me stable, eat enough to not black out or feel weak or exhausted,” she says.
“I now try to have a healthy breakfast, snacks in-between meal times and ensure that I’m eating enough to keep my body running. Your body needs food – without it, it’s impossible to function.
“Following my recovery, I was no longer physically drained, I wasn’t suffering from malnutrition, and my body was no longer in constant starvation mode.”
The teenager hopes that her battle with anorexia inspires others who find themselves in the same situation to open up about their experiences.
“My biggest piece of advice would be to speak to someone. I gathered the courage to trust someone enough to open up.
“I learned that it’s okay to talk about our feelings, thoughts, and emotions. I spoke up – and I promise, it was the best decision I made.”
Source: Magazine Features