By Rebecca Drew
THIS stunning young Welsh woman has finally overcome her anorexia demons that saw her hair fall out and run for more than an hour a day on the treadmill she bought for her room at university.
Paralegal, Danielle Pinocci (25), from Blaina, South Wales suffered with issues concerning her weight from a young age, thinking she was fat when she wasn’t. It wasn’t until Danielle was in her second year of university that her eating disorder took hold and she would obsess over training and would eat less than 500-calories a day which saw her weight drop to just 7st 12lbs. This lead to Danielle’s hair falling out, nails breaking and she started growing cysts on her ovaries.
Despite this, Danielle still didn’t think she was skinny enough. It wasn’t until she was hospitalised for fainting on work experience and seeing how upset her family were that she decided to turn her life around and started a food diary on Instagram to track her progress. Now at a healthy 10-stone, Danielle doesn’t track calories or macros and rarely weighs herself and has learnt to love food again.
“I think I have always suffered with my weight even at a young age, I used to think I was fat when I wasn’t. My mother would dread me going out with my friends because I would always have a tantrum about how I looked in certain things,” she said.
“It’s funny because not once in my life have I been called fat or bullied for it, it was always in my own head. My eating disorder came to light more in my second year of university when I became obsessed with training and losing weight, from then on it just spiralled out of control.
“Before my recovery, I would eat less than five-hundred-calories a day, I did those stupid juice diets every other week. I bought a treadmill for my room in university and I would go on it for over an hour every single day.
“I didn’t see what the problem was, it took me a while to admit I was suffering with it. I would just carry on saying I’m fine and that everyone else was being stupid.
“I would stay in bed and sleep all day rather than go to my lectures, I just thought I was being a typical student. My hair fell out, my nails would break, I lost so much weight I started to grow cysts on my ovaries, I was also unable to give blood, something which was close to my heart but those things didn’t matter to me.
“I was hospitalised for fainting whilst on work experience because I hadn’t eaten, this was a wakeup call for me, I didn’t realise how much damage I was doing to my body and I didn’t realise how much I was hurting the people around me.”
Danielle shared her recovery on her Instagram page, @thelawfoodie and has since clocked up 28.7K followers. Her family are proud of the progress she’s made but Danielle said that realising that food isn’t the enemy was the most difficult thing to overcome and advises others who might be recovering to stay patient.
“The most difficult thing was trying to change my mindset from food being the enemy to enjoying it again. It took baby steps and once I realised that food gives you energy and that I was no longer tired and staying in bed all the time that’s when I started to enjoy my food more,” she added.
“I have a big Italian family and they helped me enjoy pizzas and pastas again. Food is not the enemy, it’s all about moderation and that’s what is the hardest thing to realise.
“My diet is completely intuitive eating, I don’t count calories, macros, I don’t weigh myself – I go off what my body wants. If I’m low on energy ill have more carbs, if I fancy something sweet, I’ll have chocolate.
“I never diet, I just live a healthy lifestyle, no food should be considered ‘bad’ because it makes you crave it more. It has taken me a long time to get to the stage where I can enjoy food again without the guilt.
“The advice I would give is to have patience, you don’t get over something like that in a day, it takes time.
“Some days you get frustrated and have setbacks but you just need to trust the process, trust the people around you and confined in them when you need to because my family and friends got me through the hardest times.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/thelawfoodie