This girl used to be anorexic but has made a stunning transformation into a weight lifter
Can you imagine not eating one of your mother's homecooked meals for 7 years? None of those delicious Sunday roasts, nor her signature pasta dish or her cute "Oh I knew you were coming over so I whipped it up!" baked goods.
Well, for Emelle Lewis, that was just one of the things her anorexia told her she couldn't have. At the age of 15, the British student developed the eating disorder that had her convinced her own mother was trying to make her fat, meaning she refused to eat anything she cooked. Lewis didn't trust anyone to prepare food for her and followed an obsessively restricted diet for seven years from then on.
"I claimed to be 'vegan' at the time so I could only eat fruit and veg and clean foods," she told the Daily Mail. "I ate the same exact thing every day. Weetabix, hummus and rice cakes, salad and fruit before bed."
Now 22 and a psychology student, Lewis spoke about the pressures of high school that heightened existing insecurities about her body.
"I always found it hard to fit in, and when all my friends were getting boyfriends at that time but I didn't, I began to think it was because I was fat and ugly," she said.
This is how the disorder started. The teenager's weight plummeted all the way down to a frightening 70 pounds (32 kilos), but to her, this was fine. "Anorexia tricks you into believing that you don't want to get better, that there is nothing really wrong with you," she said. Lewis said she started dressing in kid's clothes and was determined to keep going on with life as it was.
"When I was ill, I didn't believe there was anything really wrong with me. I genuinely believed I could maintain at that weight and still live a fairly normal life. I didn't want to get rid of my eating disorder.
Although people close to Lewis told her she needed to confront her problem and seek help, she said the illness fed her irrational thoughts about their intentions:
"I refused to comply with treatment and was convinced that everyone was against me, lying to me and trying to ruin my life.
"The best way to overcome this illness is realising that these thoughts are not you and they are a caused by something else that is not your friend."
But then one day, something "switched" in her mind after she felt particularly weak one day and realised she didn't want to have her life end yet before she'd achieved something.
"This switched something in my mind and I knew I had to start fighting and show the world who I am meant to be.
"I told my mum first that I wanted to start weight training to help me recover and she believed in me one hundred percent. That day she made so many phone calls to different personal trainers to see if someone would work with me."
Even though she was admitted to hospital seven times after relapsing, it was her determination to train with weights at the gym – just like the many recovery accounts on Instagram that inspired her to change herself – that helped her overcome the illness.
Now, the 22-year-old looks amazing, having put on a healthy amount of weight and toned up with some seriously impressive muscles to reach a weight of 121 pounds (55 kilos). She wears normal women's clothes again, hits the gym daily, and eats six balanced meals a day – including those from her mother again.
She attributes the change to others sharing their recovery journey on Instagram, saying "Instagram saved my life". it motived her to start her own account, where she shares comparison pictures, personal stories, and progress photos that show how her muscles are growing from her gym training.
Her advice to anyone else going through the same thing is: "Find something you are passionate about, something you can work towards and focus all your time and energy towards achieving it."