A reporter who lost almost 7st after giving up food for 200 days has told how she found beginning to eat again even harder.
Ipswich Evening Star reporter Rebecca Lefort had been looking forward to sitting in front of a plate of dinner, with her knife and fork poised, after undergoing an extreme diet which saw her consume less than 500 calories a day by following a special plan that replaced food with nutrient shakes or soups.
But when that diet ended last month her worst fears were confirmed and she discovered that learning how to eat again was not going be easy.
The 23-year-old began binging on food and, after reaching her target weight of 11st 5lbs, she put on 11lbs in two weeks.
Rebecca – who has written an online blog about her diet throughout – said: “I’d been on such a high from being at my target weight, feeling so slim. When the time came to start eating again I came down to earth with a bump.
“It was awful really. When I was told I could start eating again I had all these great ideas, and I wanted to stick to the programme to reintroduce food gradually, because I liked being told what to do.
“I went off the rails and ate anything I could get my hands on. I did eat bread, which I wasn’t supposed to touch for months while my digestion started working again. I ate anything apart from the stuff that was healthy. I even had alcohol.”
Rebecca had followed the ‘Lighter Life’ diet since May, starting out at 18st, and had attended counselling sessions to look at the resons why she overate.
But she found the first two weeks of eating food again quite difficult, which she put partly down to the stress of moving house.
She said: “I feel like I let everyone down and myself as well. A lot of people said this would happen and I’ve proved them right. I was so happy during the months when I wasn’t eating, and as soon as I started eating again I was unhappy. I felt out of control.
“There was this voice inside my head which was so loud. Every day it said ‘you can be good tomorrow’ so I had this twisted logic that if I was going to cheat I might as well really cheat.”
It was only after a couple of weeks that she managed to turn the downward spiral around, and get her binge eating under control.
She said: “I’d moved home and had calmed down a bit. I was less stressed so I felt less hungry – which just proves it was a mental thing and I wasn’t physically hungry.”
Rebecca’s daily diet now consists of lots of fruit, some nutrient packs, and an evening meal of fish or lamb chops with salad. She can’t yet eat cooked vegetables, or carbohydrates.
Rebecca said: “I love fruit. I find it’s really filling and takes a while to eat which is a good thing. I’m also trying out ways to make salads more exciting, and I write notes to myself to put on the fridge door, saying things like ‘Taste life, not food’.
“When I want food I find something else to do to distract myself. I feel in control again.
“Maybe my slip-up was always going to happen, and I’ve learned that food is not the answer to anything. I need to learn how to eat sensibly and as long as I can stay on track now I will be okay.”
While moving house she found an old pair of her trousers, which at size 24 were the biggest she ever owned. Now she is a size 12-14.
She said: “I just held them up and I couldn’t believe it. When I wore them I never realised how big I was.
“I do feel proud at what I’ve achieved.”