& # 39; My bulimia was hidden by my normal weight & # 39;


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Media LegendLee Donald Says Fitness Has Changed His Life

Lee Donald did not think she would see her 21st birthday.

She had been struggling with an eating disorder since she was 13 years old and, at her lowest point, fell ill more than 10 times a day.

But she managed to hide the problem throughout her teens because her weight was considered normal.

She explains, "I've maintained a normal weight for years and this is very common in bulimics in particular in order to maintain normal weight."

Now 37, Lee believes that many eating disorders go unnoticed because they are so commonly associated with low weight.

"There is no definitive weight for the eating disorder," she says, adding that for her, the disease "is not really overweight."

Instead, it was "a lot more about control and self-harm".

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Lee Donald

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Lee now lives with his wife, daughter and newborn son in Aberdeen

Compulsive eating and bulimia are the most common types of eating disorders in the UK, with studies showing that 80-85% of people with eating disorders are not underweight.

Despite this, two out of three adults are more likely to say they are skinny as a sign of eating disorder, according to a research study of the Beat charity.

Beat's Rebecca Willgress says, "It's important to challenge stigmas and stereotypes, educate that eating disorders are serious, non-physical mental illnesses, can affect people of all ages, genders and backgrounds, and that you can not identify an eating disorder simply looking at someone.

"The sooner someone gets treatment for an eating disorder, the better the chances of a speedy recovery, and it's essential that no one is denied care, because they're considered" not lean enough. "

& # 39; Bulimia cost me my job & # 39;

For Lee, it was not until she declined significantly within a year for friends to realize that something was wrong.

She was 19 at the time and worked as a water sports instructor in France.

Lee recalls, "I was thinking that I was being sneakily getting sick after meals, but actually my friends who were worried about me followed me and realized I was getting sick.

"They told the manager of the center and I was sent home. It was the worst thing that could happen.

"I was not considered safe in case I pass out when I have children doing water sports."

But Lee continued to deny his bulimia despite the shock of losing his job.

She was unable to control the eating disorder until she was 29.

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Lee Donald

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Lee Donald believed that his "normal weight" helped her disguise the fact that she was bulimic.

When her health began to deteriorate, she realized that she needed to solve the problem. She was always a physically active person, but she started struggling to maintain that.

"My energy was very low.I found it very difficult to feel full – if I had food in my stomach and felt complete, I really, really struggled with it.I had to be sick."

She describes starting to feel faint regularly and not being able to think of anything other than getting sick, which also led her to lose four front teeth.

"I was so tired of being sick."

But getting better was a more difficult task than she thought: "I remember talking to my sister, she was one of the first people to know, and she asked," How many days have you got now? " I would count the days.

"I'd say" I did not get sick for five days "," I did not get sick for six days, "and then I'd get sick again."

Lee sought help from counselors, psychiatrists, life coaches, as well as being an outpatient and attending group meetings.

But it was not until she qualified as a personal trainer that she was able to get her life back on track.

Lee, who is married and has two children, uses her experience to help others overcome their eating disorders.

She says, "If people are overweight, others just seem to think" you're eating too much, "whereas in fact they may actually be struggling with an eating disorder. In essence regardless of whether someone is above of weight or obese, is a problem. " disorder at the same time.

She adds, "People who have problems with compulsive eating and getting sick, it's totally normal for them to have a healthy weight. That's not to say they do not have an eating disorder and they are not having a lot of problems."

If you need help or support for any of the issues raised in this article, you can take a look at the BBC Advice pages or talk to Beat – a charity that helps people with eating disorders – on their hotline at 0808 801 0677.


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