By Liana Jacob
MEET the British receptionist and anorexia fighter who conquered her battle with the condition she suffered from since she was fourteen years old after suffering a physical and mental breakdown on the street but is now happier than ever after achieving her ideal curvy body.
Tinker Taylor (22), from Newcastle, UK, experienced a tough childhood; never feeling like she could fit into any friendship groups and feeling like a ‘reject’ took its toll leading to an eating disorder she has suffered with for eight years since she was 14 years old.
The five-foot-six receptionist came from an active background, being part of many teams; hockey, gymnastics, athletics, dance, with netball has always been her main focus.
However, since she has always loved to please others and make them happy, the struggle to adjust in school and mix with her peers had a profound effect on her confidence.
While she couldn’t control how other people treated her, she decided the only thing she could control was the way she ate and her body, this led to her eating disorder.
After her diagnosis and with the help of her family and friends, she now weighs 10st 10Ibs after changing her lifestyle and eating habits and began adding weight-lifting to her exercise routine.
Her illness made her feel tired, frustrated, ill, depressed, worried and anxious leading her to have panic attacks, nightmares and aches all over her body.
Her ultimate low came as she walked down a street with road works and a nematic machine started drilling the floor about 200 meters in front of her causing her entire body to go into shock.
“I was screaming, shaking, sweating, vomiting, I couldn’t breathe and then my memory blacked out. I have never experienced anything like that in my life and hope I never do again,” Tinker said.
“It was the most terrifying feeling, I honestly felt like I was going to die there and then. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone – not even the devil.
“I was sick of being controlled by the illness. I remember trying to resolve things with my boyfriend and going out for dinner on weekends or the cinema but I had severe anxiety attacks whenever I had to choose food or eat.
“I felt like a reject and this, I think, was when it all started,” Tinker said.
“In the first year of high school I had lots of friends from middle school and new friends from new schools, but then I remember in year eight things changed.
“I care a lot about people’s feelings and what people think of me so when I felt that people didn’t like me, it had a profound effect.
“No matter what I tried or how hard I tried I couldn’t seem to change this persona I had been labelled with.
“I felt left out, different, picked on, stupid and like I was letting everyone down. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I thought it was all my fault; like I brought it all on myself.
“But no matter what I tried; being nice, sticking up for myself, making an effort – nothing worked. I had a lot of things going on in my personal life too, so I probably acted on emotions a lot of the time – which wouldn’t have helped.
“I found myself controlling what I was eating because it was the only thing in my life that I could control. I was really depressed at such a young age, and couldn’t find happiness anywhere other than the netball court.
“I started eating lunch in the locker rooms by myself when I was 14 and 15 because I was too scared to sit with anyone in the lunch hall and this continued until I left school.
“I remember when I was 16, a friend of mine was diagnosed with an eating disorder and people started to find out. They were so lovely to her and I remember thinking, if they knew I had the same problem, they’d be nice to me too. But no one ever noticed or showed me they knew.
“My wide shoulders, clothes choice and large breasts meant that no one noticed. People used to mention when I was 17 and in sixth form that I looked skinny, but no one ever seemed concerned.
“At this point, I quit netball because I didn’t have the energy and my life got worse. Without netball as my source of happiness; I spiralled down-hill.
“I didn’t look small, but I wore baggy tracksuits to school and hoodies, so no one would see, but at this point, my body mass index (BMI) was unhealthily low and my periods had stopped.
“When I went to university, it all changed. I had a great group of friends on the cheerleading team and I was away from yet another unhealthy relationship.
As long as the process has been for Tinker, the mere thought of changing her perception of eating was her most difficult part of the journey.
“The first step – eating. I was petrified of food, I loved the way my body looked but my face looked ill and lifeless. I felt sick at the thought, sight or smell,” Tinker said.
“Going to professionals wasn’t the biggest hurdle, I knew they would help me, I knew the way my mind was working wasn’t normal.
“Physically eating, overcoming my mind telling me not to was the hardest battle I have ever had to face.
“I still, to this day, remember for the first week, feeling fat, ugly, worthless, unattractive just because I was feeding myself, giving my body the nourishment it needed to recover.
“After that week, I felt amazing. My energy levels were incredible, my positivity soared, my body and mind were starting to feel healthy again.
“My mum tells me most days how proud she is of me, my sister is an emotional person so we don’t really talk about it because it makes her sad, but she is also very proud.
“The first thing I would suggest, to anyone in this situation; whether they struggle to eat or struggle to not eat, is to seek professional medical help.
“This is daunting but also very easy. I knew I would back out, so I told my best friend and she made sure I went.
“When I went quiet to my doctor she stepped in, and they referred me to a councillor. This councillor changed my life.
“I felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders and just from this, my eating restrictions disappeared. I did have to fight the urges to restrict and still sometimes do, but it is a lot easier now.”
“In second year, my eating problems seemed to have completely subsided and my periods came back. Third year came and I started a full-time job as an intern.
“No matter how long I worked there, I couldn’t seem to get the work done. I wanted nothing more than to impress my new boss and make life easier for my new team, but I really struggled and the restrictions started again.
“Now I feel free, strong happy and proud. I can socialise again, go out for food with friends and I’m not bothered about being around food with people.
“I love who I am – I know I have weaknesses I want to work on, but I am proud of where I have come, what I overcame and everything that has been put in my path.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/_tinkertaylor/