By Jack Williams
A brave woman who lost more than half her body weight has relearned to love her body after coming to terms with an alleged sexual assault during her teenage years.
Christina Baker, 21, from Summerville, South Carolina, USA, struggled for years to admit the reasons behind her ever-increasing weight, which, at 18-years-old, saw her weigh a shocking 280lbs.
She claims an alleged sexual assault happened when she was 13, and over the years that followed, gained more than 140 pounds – a mechanism to ensure boys didn’t look at her the way they once had.
During that time, Christina also gave up cheerleading, which previously kept her slim, in favor of comfort eating.
The nightmares of her ordeal kept her withdrawn from the world, abandoning her school friends and her hobbies also.
Three years after the alleged incident, at 16-years-old, Christina decided to tell her mother the true reasons behind her eating disorder through text during a ceramics class.
Taking a while to respond, Christina said that she felt her mother then blamed herself for the events of the past.
She said: “When I first told my mom, I felt immediate guilt and regret.
“It had been my secret for so long, and to finally share it with my her was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
“I felt like it was happening all over again, but this time I wasn’t the only one getting hurt.”
Christina’s mother, who did not wish to be named, asked her daughter to promise not to tell her father for the time being.
A tough decision, she would eventually face her father on the issue years later, along with her brother discovering about her past.
During the years that followed coming clean to her mother, Christina admits to self-harming and attempting suicide as well as continuing to battle her weight.
But in February 2015, having then explained to her father the reasons behind her appearance, Christina decided to change her outlook, focusing her efforts on weight loss.
Christina began with a three-day fast, which initially gave her a boost.
She said: “I got a rush of excitement and I chased that rapid weight loss.
“After those three days, I tried to eat a meal and felt gross; I didn’t like the full feeling anymore.
“I felt no immediate comfort the way I had just three days before, so I stopped eating.”
As her focus shifted to purely thinking, ‘I must lose weight,’ Christina began to stop eating altogether.
This approach resulted in her needing to spend months in hospital, having been diagnosed with malnourishment, dehydration, and at times being unable to walk.
Her approach would cost her parents thousands in medical bills, she said, and during these troubling times of extreme weight loss attempts – between February 2015 and October 2015 – Christina went from being 280 pounds to just 101 pounds.
From starting the weight loss that February, Christina said she did not willingly leave the house for eight months.
She says her family and her boyfriend, Kyle Adams, were her ‘rock’ through this period, offering her 24/7 support as at times she only drank water all day and was in and out of hospital.
During this traumatic time, she had not admitted that it was her lack of eating that was causing such a drastic weight loss.
Christina said: “We made no comments on the weight loss – it was an unspoken truth.
“I’m sure they talked about it when I wasn’t around.
“I could see how worried they were.”
It wasn’t until the middle of 2017 that Christina felt comfortable in her body one again.
By that point, she had fully come to terms with her alleged sexual assault, the emotional strain she had put on her family, and feeling comfortable in front of Kyle, 21.
Though she admits there is a long road ahead, she has since returned to schooling and is hoping to work with animals.
Christina, an coffee shop assistant manager, added: “I am happy with my life right now.
“I feel like I am exactly where I need to be.
“I’m bettering myself every day – some days are better than others, but overall I’m thankful I’m alive right now and wouldn’t ask for anything else.
“I want to add that my hopes in telling my story is that it helps at least one person.
“I know I’m not alone in this, and I feel that we all deserve a chance at happiness.”