A 17-year-old Dublin girl has spoken out about her struggle with anorexia and how thinspiration and pro-ana websites almost killed her.
Grainne Binns said she became addicted to pro-anorexia websites after she first began dieting at the age of 15. It was only when she collapsed from exhaustion with her weight under 84 pounds that she realized she was in trouble and that her behavior was hurting her family.
The Irish teen spent ten weeks in hospital but it was only when a doctor told her she was going to die and she witnessed the look of horror on her mother’s face that she turned her life around.
She is now making a steady recovery. One of her latest achievements has been going on holidays with friends and enjoying cake and milkshakes. Something she never thought she would do “in a million years”, she told the Daily Mail.
When Grainne was 15 she bought an extra small dress. Although she weighed a healthy 120 pounds the dress was still a little tight. Despite already being a US size 2, she crash dieted and lost 5 pounds to fit into it.
She said, “I was devastated when I couldn’t fit into this beautiful dress. It was an extra small, but I felt fat when I couldn’t fit in it.
“I started dieting, and I was amazed how easy it seemed to be to lose weight. Once I’d fit into the dress, I just carried on dieting.
“I kept a fashion blog on Tumblr, and I’d often see weight loss blogs or pro-ana sites pop up, and I’d always thought they looked awful.
“But when I started Googling weight loss tips, I started looking at them in a different way.”
Within 12 months she had lost almost one third of her body weight and plummeted below 84 pounds. Her Body Mass Index (BMI) was a dangerously low 14.
She admitted, “The weight was falling off me, but I felt fat compared to the girls I saw on these sites. I wanted to look just like them.
“There was another girl in my year at school who suffered with anorexia, and I’d hear people saying how skinny she was, and I wanted them to be saying that about me.”
She became obsessed with 'pro-ana' sites that told her she was fat and would obsessively check the comments left by virtual 'friends' on her photos. They would tell her she needed to lose more weight.
Grainne said, “I used to love trawling the pro-ana websites for tips and looking at pictures of the girls with their bones jutting out.
“I thought they were beautiful, and I started up my own blog, where I posted pictures of me, for other people to judge.
“They’d say I was too fat and I just wanted to please them by losing more weight.”
Even after a ten week stay in hospital Grainne continued to diet and lose weight. She said, “I had been ill for about a year when my mum and aunt took me back to the doctors.
“The doctor looked at me and said: “Grainne, you’re going to die if you carry on like this.
“It was only when I saw the look on my mum’s face that I knew I couldn’t keep doing this to her.
“The GP wanted to send me back to hospital but I begged her to give me a week to turn things around. Amazingly she agreed, and I went home determined to get better.”
Now Grainne is on the road to recovery.
“It was a long, difficult road, but with the support of my family, I knew I could get better. I deleted my secret blog and started another one about healthy living - eating well and exercise.
She added, “I’m finally back to the weight I was before I was ill, and I’m well on the road to recovery.
“I want other people who are suffering to know that it is possible to turn your life around...I never want to go back to that place again.”
Grainne’s mother, Ann, added: 'Grainne felt the key to happiness was skinny but her skinniest was her most unhappy time of her life.
“It is heartbreaking as a parent watching your beautiful daughter self destruct.”
Ann continued, “Grainne is now living life to the full, looking forward to working hard and getting the grades to get her place alongside all her friends in university next year. We have our beautiful, very loud and vivacious daughter back.”