A woman who began dieting when she was 10 and exercised for 12 hours a day had a heart attack at age 17 due to anorexia.
Jeanette Suros was just 10 years old when she began dieting after being bullied in school and comparing herself to other girls.
“I forced myself to like black coffee because I read it would suppress my appetite,” the 5-foot-2 woman said, according to the Mirror. “My parents thought it was a bit weird but I just told them I liked the taste.”
As she got older, Suros’ diet began to get more extreme, The Daily Mail reports.
“I’d do juice cleanses, only drinking juice for a week and not eating,” she said. “I wouldn’t tell anyone that’s what I was doing. I wouldn’t eat lunch at school then I’d go to gymnastics and tell my parents that they served snacks there so I didn’t have to eat dinner. Then I started waking up at 4am and going for a three-mile run before school. Then I’d have gymnastics or cheerleader practice. I would never have breakfast or lunch.”
When she was 16 years old, Suros’ weight shrunk to just 56 pounds. Teachers at school, she said, began to worry.
“They were very concerned about me. I was so thin I would wear children’s clothes aged 8 to ten. Even the smallest adult size wouldn’t fit me,” she said. “I was always thinking just ten pounds less and I’ll be happier. Then it would keep going, just another ten more.”
She was subsequently diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, which is an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, as well as an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted view of body weight. Those who suffer from anorexia nervosa will go to extreme measures to control their weight and shape, which often interfere with activities in their lives.
Word of Suros' diagnosis quickly spread throughout her high school and students almost immediately began to bully her.
“The popular kids would throw food at me at lunchtime and tell me I was getting fat. It was really hard to deal with,” she said. “Over that summer holiday I would exercise from 5am to 5pm. I had to keep going or I’d get bigger. I was running 12 miles a day and just drinking black coffee. Any food I was given I would throw in the bin or just hide around the house.”
The anorexia worsened, and at age 17 things took a turn for the worst.
“I was on my way to the eating disorder unit after my parents forced me to have treatment and I had a heart attack,” Suros said. “I woke up in intensive care. My parents were told it was likely I wouldn’t make it. My organs were so shot. But through some miracle I made it through. My heart started to recover and after two weeks in hospital I was transferred to an eating disorders unit. I was drip fed and couldn’t even go outside as they were concerned I’d exercise.”
After struggling for years to overcome her anorexia on her own, she finally went to a dedicated eating disorder center in 2012. She’s now 24 years old and has been in recovery ever since, remaining at a healthy weight.
“I’ve slowly been getting better and I’m now able to fit into a size 8,” she said. “I’m seven and a half stone [105 pounds] now; a healthy size for my height. I have friends who keep me on track and now I’m able to stop myself from getting trapped in my anorexia again.”