Schoolgirl who entered Slimmer of the Year contest becomes anorexic after getting hooked on losing weight
Lucy Hemms, 18, from Blackwood, Wales became addicted to dieting after shedding puppy fatFormerly 14st, Lucy dropped to 7st 12lbs after restricting herself to 200 calories a day
15:57 GMT, 18 July 2012
A champion schoolgirl slimmer was left seriously ill – because she couldn’t stop dieting.
Lucy Hemms, 18, was delighted to reach the semi-finals of Young Slimmer of the Year after shedding her teenage puppy fat.
But the teenager became addicted to dieting and restricted herself to just 200 calories a day – the equivalent of two bananas.
Lucy today told how her hair dropped out, she started suffering from arthritis and she developed 'old people’s' skin.
Lucy Hemms, 18, became obsessed with losing weight after reaching the semi-finals of Young Slimmer of the Year. Her weight plummeted to 7st 12lbs giving her a Body Mass Index of 15.7 – classified as 'severe health risk'
Lucy said: 'I was weighing myself six times a day – I started dieting and couldn’t stop.
'People were saying I looked terrible but when I looked in the mirror I still thought I was fat.'
Lucy started dieting at 15 after being bullied about being 14 stone while she was studying for her GCSE examinations.
She joined Slimming World with her mum Jillian and lost 3st 5lb in just six months.
Lucy was nominated for the weight loss club’s Young Slimmer of the Year award and reached the national semi-finals.
Lucy was bullied for her weight growing up – and became hooked on the idea of losing weight when the pounds dropped off
She was praised by the slimming company for her 'healthy weight loss'.
But keen operatic singer Lucy returned home to Blackwood, South Wales, where she carried on cutting her daily calorie intake.
went down to 7st 12lbs which, because of her height, gave her a Body
Mass Index of 15.7 – classified as a 'severe health risk'.
Lucy said: 'I was eating just 200 calories a day for for about a year.
'My skin was bad like a much older person and I got arthritis in my ankles.
'My hair fell out and I had to wear a wig for a long time.
'My mum’s a hairdresser and learned how to put hair extensions in, but that wasn’t possible because I had too little hair.'
Her worried family took her to the doctor who diagnosed Lucy with potentially fatal anorexia nervosa.
Lucy has been battling the illness since for the last three years and has come close to being admitted to hospital.
She has been banned from weighing herself and given counselling to help her overcome the eating disorder.
Lucy was given liquid nutrition, normally for elderly malnourished people, and her weight
slowly started to increase
is now studying music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in
Cardiff, and has been inspired by her heroine Welsh mezzo soprano
Lucy said: 'It has been a terrible time – I went from being so big that I was being bullied to so thin I could have died.
'I was very proud to lose so much weight but I just couldn’t stop dieting.
'Every time I weighed and saw I’d lost a pound it felt like a success.
'I couldn’t see how thin I was getting and how ill I was becoming.'
Lucy, who at one stage admits to taking laxatives to stay thin, says today that battling the illness was a 'terrible time'
Lucy believes teenagers are pressurised into being thin by images of models in magazines and on TV.
And she is backing calls for child and adolescent eating disorder services to be funded to the same level as that for adults.
She said: 'I think it’s just as important, if not more important, to support children and adolescents.
'If they have not fully developed into an adult the effects of an eating disorder on their body can influence their whole lives.'
Mother Jillian, 48, said: 'I thought I was going to lose my daughter. She was seven-and-a-half stone and five foot ten – she looked so fragile.
'She was taking laxatives to keep herself thin and some days she would not eat at all. I was buying her clothes for 11 to 12 year old children.
'She sank into a deep depression and would spend hours in bed under her quilt. All she thought about was weighing herself. If she put on even a pound she would be besides herself.'
'Anorexia is such a cruel disease and there is no support for children under 18 really.
'It was the worst time of my life too – I just couldn’t pull her out of her obsession. I really thought she might die.
'She is now on the road to recovery and I have my daughter back.'
For information or help with any aspects of anorexia or other eating disorders visit www.b-eat.co.uk