Then and now. Martina Rango /

By Rebecca Drew

A STUNNING young student has revealed how she overcame the anorexia demons that saw her weight plummet to just over five-stone with a heart rate of twenty-nine beats per minute and made her forget how to live.

Martina Rango (20) from Milan, Italy, first spiralled into anorexia when she was just 12 years old after a flippant comment was made about her body shape. At first, her disorder made her feel strong and happy as she felt as though she had full control over her body where her only problem in life was food and her ‘fat’.

Then and now. Martina Rango /


In the grips of anorexia, Martina would eat just 200-calories and would walk for hours-a-day until her body was too weak to move. At her lowest, Martina weighed 5st 4lbs and she was hospitalised with a heart rate of just 29 beats per minute which made her accept life for all its flaws and start her journey to recovery.

Now a much healthier 7st 12lbs, Martina has learnt to accept herself, taking each day as it comes and says overcoming anorexia has changed her life.

“When I first developed anorexia I felt euphoric and omnipotent, like I couldn’t be touched by problems, emotions or life. My only problem was food, was my ‘fat’,” said Martina.

Then and now. Martina Rango /


“I controlled my body, so I thought I was in control of my life. As the days went by, I felt more depressed and apathetic.

“I had a lot of obsessive thoughts and no interest in anything. I was closed and alone. I had forgotten how live.

“Overcoming anorexia changed my life. Every day is a conquest, recovery is long but now I can live. I’ve a lot of friends, I’m full of health, I love sport, I love eat and I can fight against my demons without hiding behind the symptoms.

“My first recovery was at fourteen but I was forced to do it, so after two years I was worse than before. I decided to start day hospital after many years of psychotherapy and interior analysis I became aware of the problem. Anorexia is only a symptom of other problems that a person refuses to accept.

“I read that to heal you must be allowed to be happy but I don’t agree, if you want heal you have to accept that you can also be unhappy sometimes. Life is not perfect, if you pretend that you are happy and have a perfect life then you are dreaming.

“I love life, it is wonderful, but it isn’t perfect. I decided to overcome anorexia when I was ready to accept life. I was also exhausted because of my horrible quality of life.

Now and then. Martina Rango /


“I was in recovery at Niguarda, a Milan hospital, with twenty-nine heart beats per minute. The doctor there called, Giulia Manna is the best in the word, she saved me.”

For Martina, the most difficult thing about her recovery was trusting the doctors and people around her for allowing her body to change.

“At the beginning of recovery the most difficult thing was trusting doctors and following the diet, without lying and cheating. It was very difficult to see my body change, to lose that thinness that I considered to be ‘purifying’,” she added.

Now and then. Martina Rango /


“My family and friends know me and they know that with those who have suffered from anorexia, words carry more weight than normal. Often they do not say anything because they know that just by saying ‘you look well’ for those who have not yet recovered can be perceived as being called fat and can have a bad effect.

“If I’m told that now, I always smile while before I was always sad and nothing better than this can highlight my change.”

Martina doesn’t follow a regime and leads a balanced lifestyle. Being Italian, she loves nothing more than pizza and pasta. She shared her advice to others who might be suffering.

Now. Martina Rango /


“If you suffer from an eating disorder the first thing is to ask for help. The second thing is to trust those who love you,” she said.

“The third thing is, life is difficult for everyone, unfortunately. Imagine a hurricane, you are on one side, on the other there is life. You can cover your eyes, pretend the hurricane is not there and stay there forever. Or you can run in the middle and get to the other side.

“The easiest choice is not always the best choice, healing is difficult but life is wonderful.”

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