By Rebecca Drew
THIS STUNNING British teenager has shared how she beat anorexia after she developed obsessive habits as a coping mechanism after her mum tragically died when she was seven-years-old.
After the death of her mother, shop assistant, Liv Karpinski (19) from Swindon, UK, found herself struggling to fit in at school and took on much of the cooking and cleaning at home to help her dad. When she was eight, she started to obsess over housework and would get up extra early in the morning to run in secret and would force herself to do up to 1,000 jumping jacks.
At 11, Liv was hospitalised with just two weeks to live and admitted to a psychiatric unit a year later where her anorexia ‘got worse’ and she would hide food in her knickers to avoid eating. At her lowest point, she would restrict herself to just 120-calories-a-day and weighed 5st. It wasn’t until she was transferred to a residential eating disorder unit that Liv started to turn her life around, gaining her GCSEs, AS Levels and a job she enjoys.
Now a healthy 6st 10lbs and a UK size six to eight, Liv dreams of writing a book and starting a YouTube channel to inspire others.
“At about eight I started using food and exercise as a control coping mechanism. My grades suffered as cleaning and looking after my dad’s expectations were more important. I began to become obsessed with hovering in order to over exercise and keep the house clean. OCD kicked in,” said Liv.
“Over time, my eating and health deteriorated to a point that I became hospitalised and very unwell. At eleven, I was hospitalised and given two weeks to live.
“I was discharged then admitted to a psychiatric unit at 12. My anorexia just got worse, here I learnt other unhelpful behaviours like water loading. I’d excessively use laxatives. Smuggled in from home leave.
“I’d do anything and everything to lose weight whether it meant sitting at the table refusing to eat for the whole day or hiding food in my knickers.
“Anorexia made me feel like I was in control of something and good at something. The constant hunger numbed me and stopped me from grieving for my mum. When in reality, I was killing myself, I had to be wheeled around because my blood pressure was so low.
“I now work part time at Waitrose. I’ve made friends and I’m a lot happier. I still get fortnightly support from the community in the form of weigh ins, therapy and chats.
“Seven years on and I’m finally experiencing life. I’d like to potentially write a book and start a YouTube in the hope of inspiring others.”
Liv shares her journey under the Instagram handle @nourishingliv where she has 14.7K followers. She says that being discharged and recovering has helped her relationship with her dad and has allowed her to make new friends.
“Being discharged into the community, getting a job and making new friends made me realise what life was all about. It’s been tough as the temptation to relapse is there but I’m in a better place to never want to go back,” she added.
“Recovering has strengthened mine and my dad’s relationship too. He trusts me. He’s so proud and constantly says that my mum would be proud of me and everything I’ve overcome. So is my brother too. He says it’s nice to have the old Liv back who can just have a laugh with as opposed to being miserable lost and snappy.
“Plus, I’ve learnt to drive and have my own car independence. I can enjoy food without feeling guilty or obliged to over exercise.
“To anyone who is looking to recover or doesn’t know what to do. You have to want to recover, no one can recover for you.
“Yes, by being hospitalised they can force feed you up to a healthy weight but that’s not going to be sustainable if you don’t want it.
“If you want to recover you can. You just have to persevere no matter what doubts you might have.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/nourishingliv