By Rebecca Drew
THIS ANOREXIA survivor doubled her weight from just over FIVE STONE after living on sparkling water and chewing gum which left her feeling like she was dead.
Receptionist, Amanda Kristiansen (18) from Gothenburg, Sweden, was just 11 years old when she started to struggle with anorexia, hating the way that she looked, Amanda decided she should lose weight for people to notice her and want to be her friend but over time, she cut herself off from her peers and became isolated due to her eating disorder.
Amanda started training everyday and cut out sweets and carbs from her diet before eventually not eating anything other than chewing gum and sparkling water and hid food in her pockets and bra to give her family the impression she was eating. At her lowest, Amanda wore children’s clothes and weighed 5st 2lbs.
Now a fit and healthy 11st and medium dress size, Amanda has fallen in love with weight lifting and has been able to reconnect with her friends and has even made new ones.
“At that time, I was incredibly insecure, hated how I looked and how I was, I was the silent girl and barely had any friends. I had always been normal weight, but I always had a very wrong body image,” said Amanda.
“Just after summer 2010, I was very depressed and felt incredibly lonely, I felt there was something was wrong with me, so I got the idea that I should start to lose weight to change myself.
“I started training several times a week, which then became every day. I gave myself a ban on candy, which then led to not eating carbs at all and then I went so far that I did not eat at all.
“I lived on carbonated water and chewing gum to keep away the hunger feelings. I didn’t allow myself to sit at all, just when I sat in a car or when I was asleep at night, though I was not allowed to sleep for more than seven to eight hours a night.
“I hid a lot of food in my slippers, bra and pockets and I was an expert at lying.
“I had no control of my own thoughts or actions at all, for everyday that went by I was losing more and more control of myself and my disease got more and more control over me.
“When I was at my worst my family told me that it was like I was dead. And that’s the truth, I felt like I was dead, I had no control at all, I just wanted to die.
“For a period when I was at my worst, my mum watched me 24/7, when I was going to the bathroom, when I was sleeping and so on.
“At first I wanted to recover only for my family but as time went by I started to fight for myself and it wasn’t until I decided that I wanted to be free that the treatment started to work. You have to want it yourself to truly recover. For years, I didn’t want to be free, that’s why I had several relapses.
“I found my love for strength training and that was one motivation to start eating. I also started to hang out with friends again and found new friends. I wanted to be able to do everything that they did.
“I started to see the positive things in life and that did that I fought harder.”
Overcoming anorexia has changed Amanda’s life for the better and she is now happy with her body. She shared what she found the most difficult about her journey.
“I am happy about how my body looks, I wouldn’t say I love it 100% but I don’t think anybody in this world does,” she said.
“But I feel comfortable in myself most of the time and I can live my life how I want.
“I would say the hardest thing was to start sitting again or to start eating. Just because they were the things that I had done for the longest, I didn’t remember what it was like to eat normally and I couldn’t sit down without getting anxiety.
“When I was at my worst I was afraid to let my little brother touch me if he had eaten and not washed his hands. I thought that if he touched me and had a little food left on his hand it could go through my skin and make me gain weight.
“My friends and family are very proud of me and are relieved. My mum has been my angel through all years and has saved my life, she is a real fighter.”
Amanda shared her words of advice to others.
“I would say never give up, I know that maybe now it feels like you will never get better and will never live a good life but I promise you that it will, I know that you maybe don’t believe me now but I reached rock bottom,” she said.
“I almost died and for years my life felt like a hell. But I did it, I got out of it.
“I won’t lie; it’s not going to be easy. You will cry a lot, be angry and feel a lot of anxiety but for every day you go against your disease you will get a little stronger step by step.
“It’s not easy but the only thing that will help you get better is to not do what the disease tells you to do.
“Fight against it, you have to really want to recover, otherwise it will never work.
“But it will work I promise you. But it will not go over a night, it will take time but it’s not impossible.
For more information see www.instagram.com/amandakristiansen_/