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As a teenager, Christie Swadling had an obsession with fellow Australian Miranda Kerr; so much so that she developed an eating disorder in an attempt to resemble the Victoria’s Secret Angel.
“Photoshopped adverts of models like Miranda Kerr definitely started off my body image issues,” she told the Daily Mail, “because you think that’s how you’re meant to be.”
The now-18-year-old says she struggled with body images since she was a child, enduring constant bullying from classmates who called her chubby. But once in high school, she began engaging in sports, becoming a competitive sprinter for her high school’s track team. But her obsession with getting skinny was taken to a whole new level. It was no longer about emulating Kerr’s figure, but more about seeing the scale go down.
“I became skinnier than those models and because of my disease, stopped thinking about the models altogether and became obsessed with just losing more and more weight,” she said.
She became addicted to exercise and counting calories, eventually dropping to a shocking 66 pounds. And although she had been admitted to the hospital multiple times, it wasn’t until she passed out from malnutrition that she decided it was time for a change.
“I looked in the mirror and felt disgusted at what I saw and became aware that I was slowly killing myself,” she says.
For the past year, Swadling has been using social media to promote a healthy lifestyle among young girls. Her “Anorexia Nervosa nearly killed me” video on YouTube has over 630,000 views, and her Instagram account has racked in more than 8,000 followers. She says she wants to inspire women and girls to love themselves and lose weight in a healthy way: through exercise and eating right. Swadling now follows a raw food diet and stays in shape through yoga and Pilates. Her brave journey is documented through her social media accounts, and is said to have inspired many girls to re-evaluate their life decisions.
"I've had plenty of young girls tell me that I'm saving their lives," Swadling said. "I've helped so many already and I know that if I put my mind to this I could help so many more."
[via NY Post]