A make-up artist has revealed the trauma of bulimia after losing nine stone in little more than five months when she was cruelly branded "humongous".
Caitlin Horrox, 19, from Downpatrick, in Northern Ireland, was a size 26 at the time, and had previously struggled with body dysmorphia.
When a family friend insulted her at a Christmas party, she said she "died inside", she said.
Caitlin's mental health quickly deteriorated, and she became bulimic.
Bulimia nervosa, also known as simply bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging – either by vomiting or by taking laxitives.
She said that she "cried herself to sleep", and her eating habits spiralled out of control – consuming as many as three takeaways a day, while also constantly making herself sick.
During the first half of this year, Caitlin dropped to a size 14 and often received compliments from pals, oblivious to the fact she was ill, the Daily Mail reports.
When doctors told her she had just "a few months to live" in April, she was scared into taking action to beat her eating disorder.
Caitlin is now content with weighing 14 stone, but has been left with a series of long-term conditions.
She suffers with gum disease, anaemia, hair loss and a blood disorder.
It has seen her determined to urge others not to destroy their bodies with the bulimia.
Caitlin said: "It would get to the stage where I would be vomiting 10 times a day. I would binge constantly… because I was constantly starving.
"I'm still not thin, by any means, but that amount of weight to lose in such a short amount of time was scary.
"Eating disorders don't just affect people who are size zero. I thought only skinny people could have eating disorders, but that's not the case."
As Caitlin posted pictures to her 13,700 followers, she began to receive hundreds of admiring comments praising her rapid weight loss.
But, tragically, they did not seem to realise that she was ill.
While she admits that she enjoyed the constant attention, Caitlin was suffering with severe symptoms that meant she could "drop any minute".
Last month, she was treated at Downe Hospital in her hometown for hypophosphatemia, which is triggered low levels of phosphates in the blood.
In Caitlin's case, this was due to repeated vomiting.
She confessed that she failed to consider the dangerous side-effects, even though her mother "had never seen me look worse".
Now Caitlin is firmly on the road to recovery, as she plans to join the gym alongside her supportive boyfriend, 21-year-old Michael.
She added that her new squeeze has given her the impetus to beat bulimia, and warned others with eating disorders against "destroying your body for one you still won't love".
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