I occasionally include guest posts from readers/bloggers who inspire me.  I call these posts “Healthy Tipping Points” because they relate a person’s story of finding a healthy balance.  Here’s a list of the other HTP stories I’ve posted.  When Freya emailed me with her story, I realized I haven’t included a story from someone who suffered from anorexia.  


Although a very small segment of the population suffers from this type of eating disorder, I feel that it’s an important issue to discuss on healthy eating blogs because all people with self-image issues can emphasize – and unfortunately, many of us deal with those types of feelings on a daily basis.  Also, through my experiences with Operation Beautiful, I know how seriously the disease can impact a person’s physical and mental health.  


Freya’s story is a profound example of how scary it is to hit rock bottom, and how good it feels to resurface.  I hope it inspires you, too.  


Obviously, people who are not in a good place with their own eating disorder might find this triggering, so please read with caution.


Freya says:


A bit of background – growing up, like most kids probably, I lived off junk.  Crisps, chocolate, chicken nuggets.  I seriously didn’t know what a vegetable was, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to try one! I also didn’t do any exercise other than riding horses and used to drink a lot of really sugary drinks when I went out. Not the healthiest lifestyle! 


When I was 17, a combination of school pressure, troubles with my first boyfriend and some girls at school, trying to fit in with the ‘cool crowd’, being scared about the future, being lonely, and just general stress… I started to develop an eating disorder. It started with “I’ll just eat a bit healthier,” so dinner would be something like a chicken breast and salad, and that’s it.  But I think I had a proper trigger point when I saw this photo (I’m second from the left):

In reality, I know that I wasn’t fat – but I thought I looked disgusting. 


My eating changed dramatically – I became obsessed with calories, and every day, it was a challenge to eat a lower amount than the day before (my calorie obsession is why I don’t ever count now). I also began to exercise obsessively, straight after dinner, even though ‘dinner’ was 1/2 a can of low calorie soup! In the end, I got scary skinny.  I dropped down to about 100 pounds, or 30 pounds less than I was originally.  I was weak and miserable. I remember once getting out of the shower, and wrapping myself in 4 towels and then lying on the heated floor for an hour, because I was so cold and weak.


Before I was quite that bad though, I had to get through Leaver’s Day at school – it was meant to be one of the most fun days of my time in school – there was a big Leaver’s Lunch in the courtyard, with a massive buffet and games. But on that day, I ‘overate’, panicked, and drove home from school midway through lunch in floods of tears. I even pulled over on my way home and made myself sick into the bushes – that’s how bad my relationship with food was. It was one of the worst days of my life, as it ruined what should have been one of the best. 


At my school’s last summer ball, one of the nasty ‘cool’ girls actually took me aside and said that she and her friends were scared for me.  


After my mum saw pictures from the school ball, she forced me to go to the doctor.  I was sent to be treated as an outpatient at the mental health hospital, but after my first appointment, they told me that I had to stop exercising immediately as I was at risk of a heart attack, and that if I did not gain weight that week, I would be committed involuntarily to the hospital as an inpatient. I was actually told ‘you will not get better without hospital treatment.’ It was only my mum’s belief in me that bought me that extra week. 


I was being treated for the whole of the summer. I gained a few pounds, and then decided I was well enough to go to University in the autumn, so I quit treatment… but I totally wasn’t ready to be on my own.  My first year at University was the worst year of my entire life – I  lost all the weight I gained, I had no friends, and I was put on anti-depressants. I was actually on the phone to my mum every single night, crying for hours, because I so hated it there.  By the end of first semester,  so at Christmas I came back home and commuted in.


I think that was the start of a gradual change.  With my mum’s (incredible) support and understanding, I started to recover.  But it was a long process back to health.


My personal healthy tipping point came when I started reading blogs towards the start of my second year at University. I first saw Kath’s blog, which opened my eyes to how much good stuff was out there and the importance of eating real food. I found this blog next, and I was inspired by Caitlin’s balanced attitude. I wanted to run races and be fit, strong, and happy with who I was, too.


Slowly, I began to learn about nutrition and cooking and started to understand what my body needed in order to run properly. I decided that I wanted to be strong and happy more than anything, and I was not going to let me disorder control me anymore. 


I feel unstoppable! My life has done a complete U-turn since I started reading blogs and understanding that healthy does not necessarily equal skinny.  I honestly don’t know where I’d be without that inspiration.  I’ve put on a healthy amount of weight; I’ve run two half marathons for fun, not to keep my weight down; I’ve discovered a love of cooking and baking; I’m no longer obsessed and controlled by food – it is now a joy to me; and I’m now finally on the path to being properly happy, and learning to love and accept myself. I actually feel excited about life again, and all I want to do is be as fit and strong as possible. It’s a great feeling!!


It’s like I’ve been given a second chance at life, and I’m going to seize every moment and opportunity I get.  I REFUSE to ever go back to how I was.


A Note from Caitlin:


If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, please get help!

NEDA Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

For more information about eating disorders, check out the Warning Signs of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder.



  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs May 31, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Oh wow – thankyou so much Caitlin! It’s kinda scary to re-read it all again…I’m so glad things have changed, I can’t even express it.

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) May 31, 2010, 1:59 pm

    Freya, now I see how much we relate to each other. I went through the exact same thing during my first year of college and my mum was also my main supporter.
    You are so strong, beautiful, and also an inspiration. Why go back knowing what you know now? 🙂

    • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs May 31, 2010, 2:08 pm

      That’s so true – life is NOT worth living if that’s what it involves – but sometimes you have to come out the other side before you realize it!

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter May 31, 2010, 2:04 pm

    I really loved reading this story. I am so sorry to hear about your ED and all of the struggles you went through, but I’m glad you have found your Healthy Tipping Point 🙂

  • Hedda May 31, 2010, 2:07 pm

    I am so very proud of you Freya.
    I guess you do not mind me telling that you were the first one I contacted after discovering Caitlins page. I read your story, and it just hit me so hard. Look at this amazing girl, she has managed to turn her life around. In you I saw possibility, hope, beauty, I saw life.
    The mails you replied to were very important for me, to nourish this hope that started to grow once I read your blog.
    You are so amazing Freya. So strong, and so beautiful person.
    Always know that you have helped me.

    • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs May 31, 2010, 2:10 pm

      Thankyou so much Hedda, I really mean it!! I’m glad you’re on the road; don’t look back!

      • Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 31, 2010, 2:43 pm

        I agree with Freya!! Hedda, you are beautiful, inside and out!!! And every day is a new opportunity to take your life back and be happy 🙂

        • Hedda May 31, 2010, 4:10 pm

          Thank you Freya and Jessica. You both have a place in my heart, you have beautiful spirits.
          You are so right Jessica, every day brings with it new opportunities, and every day my ability to make the right decicisions improve. Simply wonderful ^^

  • Heather (runningwithsass.com) May 31, 2010, 2:09 pm

    what a great story, thanks for sharing! Strong and healthy = beautiful!

  • Heather ODonnell May 31, 2010, 2:12 pm

    Freya’s story reminds me so much of mine. I love hearing recovery stories from women who have put the horrors of an eating disorder behind them. Congrats Freya! Keep up the good work.

  • ~Jessica~ May 31, 2010, 2:16 pm

    So happy to see you featured on the blog Freya 🙂

    My own problems with eating were exacerbated by the comments of the ‘cool’ girls at school so I can definitely relate to that. I had been wondering why you hadn’t told your full recovery story on the blog and now I know why…you’re a celebrity now!

    Congrats to you for all of your courage both in your recovery and in sharing it with the world.


  • Chris H. May 31, 2010, 2:20 pm

    As a recovering anorexic and having just relapsed, I found this post so inspirational! Even though I am a guy, I can definitely relate to all that you said and felt. Thank you and I hope that one day I will be as comfortable with eating, food, and my body as you are.

  • runnerforever May 31, 2010, 2:23 pm

    Thank you so much for featuring Freya. I think many girls can relate to what she has gone through and will be inspired by how much more she is loving life now that she is healthy.

  • Sarah May 31, 2010, 2:26 pm

    Freya & Caitlin,

    Thanks for posting this. When I was in college I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and started to attended therapy sessions twice a week. My therapist encouraged me to slowly change my lifestyle – to drink less coffee, more water, eat healthier and “run out my anxiety” at night when it was at its worst.

    In doing so, I started to drop a little bit of weight. It wasn’t intended, but it was a welcome side effect! I had about 15 pounds to lose anyway. But once I started losing, it became an unhealthy game. I counted calories everywhere – in eating and on the treadmill. I started to spend less time with my friends because I was planning my life around my exercising schedule. At one point I was 119 pounds – and on a muscular 5’5 frame, that’s not enough!

    I was never diagnosed with anorexia and to this day I do not think that I was. But I do think that I was playing a dangerous game with numbers and I had an unhealthy relationship with food. I quickly gained back a lot of the weight that I lost and then at some point over the last two years I managed to even out. I eat what looks good, try to be healthy, always drink tons of water and exercise to help my body feel strong.

    Most importantly, I don’t look at numbers. I refuse to weigh myself and when I’m at the doctor’s office and have to step on a scale I look away and ask them not to say the number out loud.

    My point in saying all of this is that once I realized what had happened, I started talking to my friends about it. And I was shocked at how many of them had gone through something similar. We have all at one point in our lives teetered on the edge of unhealthy relationships with food and our bodies and try to be intentional with our younger family members and church members about instilling positive thoughts about body image and living healthy. I think more girls/women go through something like this than anyone realizes it – it’s just not something people usually want to talk about.

    Thanks for your honestly and your humility. Best of luck in your future!

    • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs May 31, 2010, 2:38 pm

      Thankyou so much – and I’m glad that you’ve learnt to find a balance.I agree – Soo many women struggle with this kind of thing every day, I wish people were more open so they could get help.

  • Cassie May 31, 2010, 2:37 pm

    I’m so happy you pulled through, Freya. : ) you like a beautiful and amazing person!
    I was like that too , even at the start of this year; OBSESSED with calories/fat/exercising. I too “recovered” (I never really developed a full blown eating disorder) by discovering food blogs.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 31, 2010, 2:41 pm

    BEAUTIFUL post, Freya love! You are so encouraging and inspirational. You have no idea how many lives you may change through this post… no one should have to go through the horrible life that comes with anorexia, or any eating disorder for that matter. I admire you SO much for sharing your story!

  • Little Bookworm May 31, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Such a great post Freya! You are inspirational! 🙂

  • Helen May 31, 2010, 3:21 pm

    Freya I’m so glad you shared your story with us. I can’t believe how low you became. The part where you wrapped yourself in 4 towels actually brought tears to my eyes. I read your blog everyday and it is fantastic to see that you are definitely living a healthy and, more importantly, balanced lifestyle.
    I too struggled with food, but never slipped into the darkness of anorexia. Your mum sounds absolutely amazing and her support (and the support of your whole family) is crutial to your recovery. You are so inspirational and I’m glad that you have beaten this horrible illness. Look to the future, you are amazing!

  • Jessica May 31, 2010, 3:22 pm

    What an inspiring story! I am so happy for you for getting through that and ending up with such a fantastic outlook on food, health, and life! Congratulations!

  • Ashley May 31, 2010, 3:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Freya! I’ve never struggled with ED, but I am struggling to change my lifestyle and lose weight, and your post is a good reminder that the end goal of this is to be a fitter, healthier, stronger me, not just a skinnier me. Thank you for the inspiration!

    (And thank you Caitlin for sharing reader stories–I love reading them!)

    • Hedda May 31, 2010, 4:17 pm

      you are so right about that. We should loose/maintain/gain weight not just to become a certain size, as there are no such thing as a standard magic size. The magic size is individual for each one of us, and is when our body feels at its best. When it is loved and respected. Health is not just a size, it is a feeling of positivity and life.

  • Danielle (Runs on Green) May 31, 2010, 3:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story Freya 🙂 I don’t think people really know *how* inspirational the blog world can be! You’re a beautiful, strong person inside & out

  • Amy @ Running in Pink May 31, 2010, 3:47 pm

    Well done Freya for being so honest and telling your inspiring story. I have been reading your blog since you started writing it (us UK bloggers have to stick together – right? LOL) and am so proud of your maturity to dealing with an ED – i am sure your story will help a lot of people who read it x

  • Sara May 31, 2010, 4:14 pm

    thank you…congratulations Freya..
    i’ve been in treatment centers with people dual diagnosed for ED and CD and they say that the ED is by far the hardest
    thing they’ve ever had to deal with..you are inspiring
    and lucky to have such an awesome mom too =)

  • Jes (Self Motivation) May 31, 2010, 4:15 pm

    That was a wonderful post! Freya, thank so much for sharing your story. I am so glad that you have found a happy place in your life, and I hope that every day continues to be wonderful.

  • Karla May 31, 2010, 4:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing Freya–I am SO happy for you. And thank you Caitlin for sharing Freya’s story with us all.

    My struggle with anorexia was quite similar to yours Freya: started in high school, threatened with hospitalization, struggled back at college, etc. But I’m so glad to say that we’re both feeling well now sharing our stories with others to try to “break the stigma” a bit! You’ve no doubt inspired so many by spreading the word. “Normal” people can, and occasionally do, struggle with eating disorders, but they can win the battle. I’m so happy for you! The line about your “second chance” is AWESOME.

    (Just in case you’re interested, here’s a clip from a radio show I’m sometimes a guest on talking about my ED experience: http://drfitnessblog.com/2009/10/28/college-student-karla-walsh-shares-her-struggle-with-an-eating-disorder/)

    Congratulations Freya!!

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth) May 31, 2010, 4:36 pm

    Wow, Freya, this is so inspiring. Switching my mentality to “strong and healthy” as the end result rather than “skinny” has helped me so much. It’s hard, but stories like this show us that it can be done. Thank you Freya and Caitlin for sharing!!

  • Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind May 31, 2010, 4:40 pm

    Caitlin, thanks so much for featuring this story, and FREYA, thanks so much for sharing it! One of the things I’ve told myself throughout my own recovery is “Strong feels (and looks!) better than skinny.” This post is a shining example! 🙂

  • Steph May 31, 2010, 4:48 pm

    Caitlin, thank you for sharing. Freya, thank you for your story. I have suffered with anorexia the past year and my story sounds very similar to yours. I am now a huge fan of your blog just so I can see that things will get better 🙂


  • Flowyogilates May 31, 2010, 5:31 pm

    Thank your Freya for being so open and sharing your story. Caitlin I love your blog and I think it is so important to encourage women to live healthy and to convince them that being healthy and fit doesn´t means to restrict or to crucify oneself but rather to listen to your needs and your intuition

  • Lisa May 31, 2010, 6:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Freya. I think eating healthy/calorie counting is healthy unless it becomes an obsession. I’ve struggled with the obsession of calories and the scale in the past. What helped me was seeing food as FUEL my body needs to survive/workout. That changed my thinking a lot!

  • lauren @ Eater not a runner May 31, 2010, 6:56 pm

    Well I love Freya and her blog, she is inspirational!

  • Erin May 31, 2010, 6:57 pm

    I am so inspired by this story. Thank you for being brave enough to share your life with us. Hopefully at least one person will see this that needs hope and motivation to get healthy.

  • Veggie Sweet May 31, 2010, 7:24 pm

    What a moving and inspirational story. Thank you, Caitlin, for allowing Freya to share it!

  • Wei-Wei May 31, 2010, 7:46 pm

    Freya – you’re awesome. No other words for you, except for maybe strong, inspirational, open, eloquent, moving, touching, beautiful, and did I mention AWESOME?!

    Being in recovery from anorexia, this post hit me really hard. It wasn’t triggering, exactly, but I could definitely feel some big emotions welling up inside me. It just breaks my heart to see anyone else go through/going through/been through what I have been through, and right now if I could help anybody with and eating disorder, I would. You’ve all helped me so much – Freya, thank you for posting this. You’re amazing, girl.


    • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 1, 2010, 7:52 am

      Awh thankyou so much, what a lovely comment! I’m so glafd you’re recovering yourself 🙂 All the best to you, you deserve it!!

  • Katherine May 31, 2010, 7:54 pm

    Thank you Freya,
    It’s funny because I’ve suffered with EDs in the under-eating category and when you mention ‘tipping point’ that is all I can think of. I guess we all have our own struggles and it is amazing how too much or too little have so much in common. I’d be careful about saying that anorexia only touches a small segment of the population; it affects a lot more than you realize.

  • Anne P May 31, 2010, 8:10 pm

    Amazing story! Very inspirational and I can only hope that your story might help others that are dealing with the same thing.

  • Kath May 31, 2010, 8:45 pm

    Go Freya !

  • M May 31, 2010, 9:45 pm

    This is a great, uplifting story. Thank you for your courage!

    Caitlin, do you include the numerical references in the story (i.e., 100 lbs, 30 lbs) intentionally? I know you put the disclaimer at the front, which I appreciate, but numbers like these can be super triggering to even recovered individuals (ie thinking, i don’t deserve to get help until *i* am 100 lbs and deathly skinny). I know the number underscores the severity of Freya’s health, but maybe that could have been qualified instead? Just an idea.. thank you for everything you do with your blog to promote this awareness.

    • caitlin May 31, 2010, 9:51 pm

      Freya sent me pictures of her at her lowest weight, and I purposefully did not include them because I found them to be too much. I agree with you 100% that ‘thinispiration’ is triggering. BUT I left in the numbers because I think numbers can also really educate people to how serious the disease is. It’s part of the story. I really hoped including the warning at the beginning would stop people who weren’t ready yet from reading.


      • M May 31, 2010, 10:05 pm

        Quick reply! 🙂 I think it’s a slippery slope. As a blogger, I imagine you can’t please everyone. While people who are recovering from an ed might find the numbers triggering, it is their own responsibility to take ownership of their health and not read blogs that consistently trigger them. And on the flip side, it’s (in my opinion) the responsibility of the blogger to not be reckless with the content they post and take moderate precautions because their readers are much more likely to have a history of these behaviors than a typical blog. I’ve had to moderate my readership of certain blogs because they were too triggering. In your case, it was not posting the pictures, which I (personally) think was probably a good idea.

        In my opinion, what’s less important than whether a blogger posts certain numbers in a given blog post, is that they portray the complete picture of an eating disorder over time (which I believe you already do). It’s not just getting to a super scary weight, it’s so many other factors. As I know you know — you don’t have to be underweight to warrant help and I think it’s important to reinforce that. Maybe a HTP story about someone who was a normal weight?

        Okay, I’m totally just rambling now. I don’t normally comment so I must be making up for that now. LOL! Again, I think you do a great job with these issues on your sites so keep it up. 🙂

        • caitlin May 31, 2010, 10:12 pm

          Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I definitely really consider issues like this important and love to see what other people think.

  • eatmovelove May 31, 2010, 9:49 pm

    I am glad you are happier now Freya and wish you true happiness and success in life. I think blogs can have good aspects…but can also be bad…triggering or too comparative for people who are “obsessed” or have no self-confidence,etc…

    You are blessed to have your Mom it seems gal! Oh, and cute hat 🙂

  • Katie May 31, 2010, 10:53 pm

    Very inspiring as someone with no support system really it is HARD. I know I am in the middle of a more relapse I’m 13% body fat which is fine just a bit low. My family denies it due to the fact that I never had any real physical symptoms. The tendencies are there though to restrict so I don’t classify myself as anorexic just someone with disordered eating tendencies and a bad relationship with food. I think counseling is great if I had the money and freedom to do so I honestly think I would have done it. I despise crying at night over a cookie or being hungry during the day. I hate the runs I’ve tanked because I couldn’t force myself to eat. It’s rough, but I know those days of happiness are worth it. Good luck and I’m so glad you found a happy place! Blogs can be triggering but they have helped me face it head on and identify my emotions that i couldn’t give a name to.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople May 31, 2010, 11:34 pm

    I think it takes an amazing strength to share one’s story. You are amazingly beautiful Freya!

  • Claire June 1, 2010, 1:55 am

    What a great guest post from Freya! I can definitely relate to being at college and not taking care of myself. I let myself become that way freshman year and it took me a few to make my way back to my old, yet a little more health conscious, self. Thanks for writing this Freya and sharing it with us Caitlin!

  • Marieke June 1, 2010, 6:15 am

    This was amazing to read, and I think Freya is right: it is important for people to be more open to get help as she commented. This story is an inspiration for everyone who has ever suffered from weight related disorders, whether it is anorexia, bulimia, obesity etc. It proves that you can make a change! Well done Freya!

  • Natalie of (Nat Attacks a Balanced Life) June 1, 2010, 6:26 am

    Freya and Caitlin,

    It was very rewarding readng your story. It very much mirrors my own however my firs blog was Jenna’s ‘Eat, Live, Run’ Caitlin, I know your a very good friend.

    I am also running my first half marathon this weekend. I am very nervous about but have came a very long way and have worked very hard towards a healthy an happy future.

    All the best.

  • Maria June 1, 2010, 10:52 am

    I’m in tears. This has been a massive wake-up call for me.
    Lately I’ve become obsessed with calories, weight and exercise.
    I was cutting down on meals, and only eating one meal a day.
    Thank you for this post, I think it’s come at the right time for me.
    Freya you are an inspiration for over coming this.

    • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 1, 2010, 1:33 pm

      Oh girl – I really hope this has helped. Believe me, you do not want to continue as you are, things will only get worse. You CAN overcome what you’re going through – seek some help, and don’t look back. Channel all that nasty ED energy into getting HEALTHY energy and you will be onto a winner!!
      I really hope you’re OK xx

  • Maria June 1, 2010, 1:56 pm

    Just told my best friend, she’s freaked out but said she’ll help me get through this.
    I think I might be okay.
    Going to learn how to cook, maybe that’ll help.
    Thank you so much 🙂

    • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 1, 2010, 2:54 pm

      I’m glad – a support network is very important! All the best with it, you deserve to be happy and healthy 🙂

      • caitlin June 1, 2010, 9:55 pm

        yes, support is great. 🙂 i wish you the best!

  • Amanda Adams June 3, 2010, 11:27 am

    That’s such an inspiring story. I’m so happy for you, Freya.


  • Jessie June 6, 2010, 9:23 pm

    Wow…reading this story, the entire time was literally like I was reading a story about myself. I started out at 120, and cut down to 90 though. I was never put in treatment but my mom did make me go to the doctors. I hated the way I looked but couldnt make myself gain, I dont know if I was afraid if being too “fat” or what. I’m at 115 though and feel incredible. Thank you for sharing your story =)

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