2 months ago

Mum with eating disorder got healthy again after doctors warned she was "digging her own grave"

A mum who developed an eating disorder after losing "baby weight" for her wedding got healthy again when doctors warned she was "digging her own grave".

Ailsa Gardiner, 29, chose a wedding dress which was fractionally small because she was only six months postpartum.

But by the time she got married she'd started to develop anorexia, and her dress had to be taken in.

The stay-at-home mum battled the eating disorder for two years - eating just one meal a day and walking as many steps as possible.

The mum-of-two wore baggy clothes to cover up her weight loss, and weighed herself three times a day.

But after she collapsed while queueing to buy a coffee with her mother and two children, she asked her husband Richard, 36, for help, and turned her life around.

Doctors warned she was "digging her own grave" and Ailsa realised she "wasn't prepared to not see my children grow up".

Now in recovery, Ailsa from Balloch, Inverness, is happy and healthy.

She eats the recommended amount of meals and says she never even checks the calories on foods.

Ailsa, mum to Lucas, five, and Vanessa, four, said: "I was so unwell, but at the time I didn't see the severity of it.

"Until the day I collapsed - that was when I first realised things had got out of control.

"The night I told Richard about what was happening, I hit rock-bottom.

"Calling the ambulance was a wake-up call - I wasn't prepared not to see my children to grow up.

"The doctors told me if I didn't accept help, I'd have weeks to live.

"My recovery wasn't all plain sailing and there were bumps in the road - it was exceptionally hard work.

"I don't really think about calories now - but if I ever feel guilty about what I've eaten, I just remember how good it feels to finally be free and happy.

"I've got my personality and my life back and that means more to me than anything."

In January 2020, six months after giving birth to her second child, Ailsa went wedding dress shopping.

When lockdown came around, the mum-of-two was furloughed from her job as a wedding and events coordinator - so put more attention on weight loss than before.

She said: "I started going out walking religiously because I wanted to fit into the dress.

"But it started to spiral out of control - by the time the wedding came around, I'd lost so much weight I had to actually get the dress taken in."

At her wedding, she was still what is considered a healthy weight by the NHS, but was exercising excessively and restricting her food intake.

Soon she was eating dangerously few calories and eventually weighed very little for an adult.

She managed to hide the severity of her situation from her family, until in February 2022, when she collapsed while queueing for a coffee in Costa.

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