‘Thinspiration selfies nearly killed me’: Anorexic whose weight plunged to 6st warns others against keeping photo diaries
- Holly Temple, 17, from Woking, Surrey, took regular selfies of her shrinking frame as motivation to continue to lose more weight
- She uploaded them onto a password protected blog, which acted as a diary
- Miss Temple was hospitalised when she reached 6st and after ‘something clicked’, began eating again. She is now a healthy 8st 5lbs
- Eating disorder began at the age of 14 after she fell out with friends
- Was eventually diagnosed after confessing to her mother, Yvonne
A student who took ‘thinspiration selfies’ to track her dramatic weight loss has spoken out to warn others of the dangers.
Holly Temple, 17, took pictures of her shrinking frame as motivation to continue to lose more weight.
The teenager from Woking, Surrey, uploaded the pictures onto a password protected blog, which acted as a diary for her to monitor her progress.
Holly Temple, 17, took regular selfies (pictured left) of her shrinking frame as motivation to continue to lose weight and at her lightest, weighed just 6 stone 5lbs. After battling anorexia she is now healthy (pictured right)
The teenager from Woking, Surrey, uploaded the pictures onto a password protected blog, which acted as a diary for her to monitor her progress. She is pictured here with her parents, having regained some of the weight she lost from skipping meals
When she reached six stone, Miss Temple was on the verge of being hospitalised for the second time, but something finally ‘clicked’ and she began to regain weight. She is now a healthy 8st 5lbs.
‘It’s scary to think that by taking all those pictures I was putting my life on the line,’ she said.
‘It was just very important to me to document my weight loss – and ensure I wasn’t putting on any weight.
‘I took photos all the time at lots of different angles, and then I’d post them on a private blog to keep track of everything.
‘I’m just so glad I’m in a much better place in my life now and don’t have to do that any more, I feel really positive.’
Miss Temple first began taking photos of herself in the summer of 2011.
‘I decided that I needed a way to track my weight, and I wanted to be able to notice a difference,’ she explained.
Miss Temple’s mother, Yvonne, said: ‘Holly had always been very slim so it was a while before I realised something was wrong. It was so difficult to watch her go through it – we just couldn’t get her to eat’
‘If I saw in the picture that I was thinner, it made me feel really good, but I was very critical and I’d always think that I needed to lose more weight.
‘I even had the pictures on my phone so that I could look at them when I was away from home. It became quite important to me.’
Miss Temple first began suffering from an eating disorder at the age of 14, after she fell out with a group of friends at her school.
‘Rumours had been started about me and it took over my life very quickly,’ she said.
‘After that it got to the point where if I couldn’t control how people felt about me or what they said, the one thing I could control was my eating.’
At her lightest, she weighed just six stone.
As well as having issues with food, Miss Temple exercised compulsively. She has now gained more than 2st and is a healthy 8st 5lb (right)
Anorexia nervosa is often cited as the most lethal mental illness – with a larger ratio sufferers dying than those who have depression or psychosis.
Sufferers tend to focus on food but the illness itself stems from low self-esteem and an inability to cope safely with worries, problems and a lack of control.
Many who have anorexia lower their food intake by skipping meals and cutting down the types and amounts of food they eat; some over-exercise.
Aside from catastrophically severe weight loss, physical symptoms include difficulty sleeping, dizziness, stomach pains, constipation, feeling cold and hair loss.
Periods can stop for women and sufferers grow soft, fine hair all over their bodies in a condition called Lanugo.
Although researchers are given figures by hospitals around Britain, it is thought the real toll of sufferers could be much higher because many are reluctant to seek help.
One symptom is that sufferers shut themselves off from the world and convince themselves that what they are doing is right, even if they are dangerously underweight.
Nine out of ten people with an eating disorder are women – but NHS figures suggest there is a growing number of male sufferers.
Specialists tend to use psychological treatments such as counselling, though the most severe cases have to be treated in hospital to ensure patients regain weight safely.
Sources: BEAT / NHS
‘I began to compulsively exercise – if I didn’t I’d have trouble sleeping.
‘At my worst I began to self-harm too, it was all just so out of control.’
She reached out for help before the disorder took hold by writing a letter to her mother explaining how she was feeling.
Yvonne Temple, 54, booked her daughter a doctor’s appointment, but the doctor suggested that Holly should come back in a month, during which time her condition worsened and a school nurse noticed Miss Temple’s dramatic weight loss.
She was referred to her local CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – and was diagnosed with anorexia in December 2011.
After being hospitalised in May 2012, she was discharged but continued to lose weight.
‘By February last year I wasn’t allowed to go to school and I realised I just didn’t want to go to hospital again,’ says Miss Temple.
‘Something clicked and I realised that was no point in losing all this weight.
‘I’ve found it difficult to stay at a healthy weight – and sometimes I do have my bad days – but I’ve come a really long way,’ she added.
Her mother said: ‘Holly had always been very slim so it was a while before I realised something was wrong.
‘It was so difficult to watch her go through it – we went on holiday and it was so stressful as we couldn’t get her to eat.
‘Sometimes I couldn’t believe how sneaky she was, as she would lie to avoid eating. It changed her personality and for a short time she wasn’t my Holly anymore, but I would say that we’re even closer now than we were before.
‘I still worry about her but we’ve agreed that if she’s ever feeling unsure or anxious, that she must tell me before things get out of control.
‘I’ve never looked at the pictures she’s taken, and I don’t think I really want too. I’m just very proud of her for coming through this.