As a teenager Me­gan Jayne Crabbe’s anorexia was so se­vere she was hours from death. Then she dis­cov­ered the body positive move­ment – and learned to em­brace her nat­u­ral shape

The Mail on Sunday - You - - In This Issue - Becky Long PHOTOGRAPHS

A for­mer anorexic on how, after years of di­et­ing, she learned to em­brace her shape

It was the sum­mer of 2014 and I was hav­ing a per­fectly or­di­nary day. I’d wo­ken up in the morn­ing, taken my two diet pills, washed them down with a smoothie of ap­ple, berries and kale and forced my­self to start a full body work­out. Two hours later I was slumped on the liv­ing room floor get­ting my breath back, and be­gin­ning my daily rou­tine of search­ing through In­sta­gram for pic­tures of wash­board abs and toned thighs to re­mind my­self why all the pain, sweat and ig­nored hunger pangs were worth it.

Ex­cept that day I stum­bled across some­thing dif­fer­ent: a woman wear­ing a bright red bikini and writ­ing about lov­ing her body as it was. In her own words, she was fat and dar­ing to be vis­i­bly happy in a body I never thought peo­ple were al­lowed to be happy in. There she was em­brac­ing all the parts of her­self that I’d spent my whole life hat­ing – her soft stom­ach that rolled when she sat down, the cel­lulite that cov­ered the thick­ness of her thighs, the jig­gle of her arms as she moved. I had dis­cov­ered the body positive move­ment, which cel­e­brates women’s bod­ies in all shapes and forms. As the days went by, I started to ques­tion my daily rou­tine of ex­er­cis­ing and di­et­ing more and more. Could I re­ally do this for ever? Be­cause that’s what it’s go­ing to take to get that ‘per­fect’ body that I’d been striv­ing for since I could re­mem­ber.

For six years, I had a fes­ter­ing, scary eat­ing dis­or­der. I al­ter­nated be­tween eat­ing huge quan­ti­ties of food and purg­ing through over-ex­er­cis­ing and re­strict­ing my food in­take. When I think back to that time I re­mem­ber the clichéd things: the cold­ness that starts in your bones and trav­els through you; the dizzi­ness; feel­ing my blood pres­sure plum­met when I stood up and

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