An anorexic woman who dropped to three-and-a-half stone after walking up to 12 hours a day has battled back to health.
Lauren Bailey’s condition sent her weight plummeting to that of an average five-year-old and nearly killed her.
The 26-year-old, who would obsessively pace the streets from 6am to 6pm, spent 18 months in hospital in a last-ditch bid to overcome her anorexia.
It has taken her more than a decade to overcome, and now the articulate young woman is speaking out about her ordeal to prove to others that they can battle back from the brink.
She said: “I have always suffered from anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder since I was a child.
“What triggered my anorexia was a combination of things. I was going through puberty at nine years old, which was very early then, and I was the only one – because of that I was bigger than the others.
“I was bullied because I was different – I was into rock music and playing my guitar.
“When it developed into anorexia, it was after someone told me I should go on a diet – at the time I was 14 and it is very young to be thinking about those things.
“It was then that my obsession with exercise started.”
Lauren began walking 12 hours a day, and when she was at home she would pace around her room. Even when not walking, she would set up puzzles on her ironing board so she could remain standing up.
She said: “I was walking the streets from 6am in the morning to 6pm at night, or going up and down any stairs I could find.
“I really don’t know how I did it, I shouldn’t have been able to walk that far. It was the anorexic adrenaline.”
Lauren only realised she was anorexic after reading a magazine article by a husband speaking about his wife’s battle with her illness.
She said: “I thought, ‘Oh my god, that’s me – I do all of those things’.
“I always thought everyone else had the problem and I was doing the right thing. Everyone is obsessed with celebrities and diets and I thought everyone wanted to be like that. I was just the same.
“It got out of control. It wasn’t about wanting to be thin, it was about wanting to disappear.”
One of Lauren’s worst points was in 2004 when she was 23 and her weight dropped to three stone.