By Liana Jacob
MEET the British cheerleader who became so obsessed with being skinny she starved herself by feeding her meals to her dog so that her family wouldn’t notice and has since recovered from her body dysmorphia by gaining an impressive three-stone two pounds in three-years.
Winchester university student, Emilia House (20), from Surrey, UK, has always been brought up in an active environment.
Her obsession with being skinny led her to abstain from eating, especially in front of other people, consuming at most 600 calories a day, and working hard on cardio exercising which resulted in her lowest weight of 6st 4Ibs, unable to fit into the smallest size of clothes.
Her obsession mixed with anxiety caused her to receive some comments that upset her mother and after her nan discovered that her biggest problem was being watched, she began to turn her head away from her while she ate, making it more comfortable for her.
Her revelation led her to eat little but often, consuming 2,600 calories a day, while incorporating weight lifting to her exercise routine, helping her reach a healthy and curvy 9st 6Ibs and a UK size eight to 10.
“Some days I didn’t eat at all as I would feed my food that my parents cooked me to my dog to get away with it or throw it in the bin when everyone had left the table to leave me eat,” Emilia said.
“I was scared of people looking at me while I ate, as it made me seriously uncomfortable and nervous.
“The worst thing was if someone sat with me and tried to force me to eat because they were worried about me.
“If I were to eat, it would be when I was home alone or if it was obvious someone wasn’t watching me. I had severe acne during this time too which, I think, was why my anxiety was so bad when people looked at me, let alone when I was eating.
“I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror but when I did, I would obsess over how to look skinnier. I would think I looked the same as everyone, which is why it annoyed me so much when people told me I was skinny.
“I didn’t really decide to make this change, I just recognised the problem and was then able to eat little and often until I was up to the calories my body needed in order to function each day.
“My nan realised that the big issue was people watching me eat, so when I used to go to her house, she would cook me lots of food and then turn her back to me and watched the TV while I ate.
“I would then eat as I was in a comfortable environment without anyone watching me. I started eating little and often because then I didn’t feel sick or too bloated.
“This is still how I eat to this day and it’s better for your digestive system. The huge weight jump came from realising that spending forty-five minutes sprinting on the treadmill was not good for me and was doing damage to my body.
“When I was up to a healthy weight, I used weight lifting to further increase my weight up to a weight I can now maintain.
“Possible social media influences made me want to achieve my current physique. I’m always improving every day.
“I feel more confident with people in general now; I feel independent and strong. I feel positive about everything.
“I still have anxiety, but I now have a good mindset where I can eat what I want and when I want. I keep track and go to the gym as part of my routine.
“I feel closer to my family as I understand all they want for me is the best. I love my life now.”
The process of changing her perception was difficult for Emilia, particularly concerning everyone else in her life.
“My stress and anxiety for what everyone thought about me was the hardest part of this process,” she said.
“I felt like a burden to everyone, especially my parents for having to worry about me and causing arguments for not eating.
“People say I’m an inspiration to many of them and that I prove that it can be done. I think my parents are surprised that I now love food to be honest, as I always hated it.
“They are more relieved if anything as I think it caused them a lot of stress having to worry about whether I was going to eat or not that day.
“If you feel like you can’t control these feelings and are seriously underweight or overweight, please get help and do not be ashamed of doing so. Luckily, I was able to turn it around before it became really serious.”
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