By Mollie Mansfield
A skeletal student has ditched her nine hour daily gym routine in a desperate bid to save her own life.
Leyla Under, 22, weighed just 6st 2 lbs when she restricted herself to a diet of only grapefruits whilst enduring nine hours of cardio per day.
From the age of 16, Leyla became determined to lose as much weight as possible by restricting her portion sizes.
However after being faced with the prospect of being hospitalised for her condition, Leyla forced herself to get her life back on track so that she wouldn’t have to.
Now, Leyla has now ditched her deadly nine-hour daily gym routine to become an advocate for healthy eating and moderate exercise.
Leyla, from Canterbury, Kent, said: “I had a genuine phobia of food and I would do anything I could to not eat anything.
“If I had to eat I would only be able to stomach a spoonful of a meal – and that would only be plain salad or grapefruit.
“Even though I could see all of the bones in my body clearly, I thought I looked really fat – I was a prisoner inside my own body.
“That’s why I would exercise for nine hours a day, because I was so deep into the anorexia that I could only see myself as fat.
“Thankfully the thought of having to be hospitalised for my eating disorder made me realise I needed to stop slowly killing myself and now I’m happy and healthy.”
Despite weighing in at a tiny six stone, Leyla’s obsession with exercise caused her to continue to lose weight.
However it wasn’t until she was soon to be hospitalised that Leyla started turning her lifestyle habits around.
She said: “I was very close to becoming hospitalised, but the thought of being stuck in a hospital bed and being unable to exercise scared me.
“After exercising for nine hours a day, the idea of being unable to move terrified me and I knew if I carried on I’d become too frail to exercise.
“I slowly started to increase the amount of food I was eating and worked out the healthiest diet for me – giving me the correct nutrients, but not finding ‘bad’ food scary anymore.
“It was no longer a case of lying to my parents and saying I’d already eaten dinner, when I wouldn’t have eaten in days, and I was happy to eat again.
“I have also banned myself from weighing myself as I don’t want to obsess over the numbers anymore.”
Now, Leyla wears a healthy size 10 and is no longer obsessed with exercising for such a dramatic amount of time per day.
She is now trying to use her story to inspire others and prove that there is a way to overcome the eating disorder.
She said: “Recovery has made me see the world in a different way, it has made me a better person and made me want to help people in the situation I was in.
“Looking back I can’t believe how skeletal I was and that I ever got so bad – but also I am so proud I was able to come out the other end.
“I used to be exercising and on my feet from sun rise to sunset and I would never let myself enjoy life or do anything because I was always exercising.
“But now I weight train and exercise a normal amount and have a few days off every week to spend time with the people I love.
“I am also very grateful to my parents as they were one of the main driving forces to help me recover and they have motivated me to want to help others.
“I still have internal battles that I am working on myself, but I know I have overcome the biggest one and I want my story to prove to others that they can too.”