She weighed 60 pounds – After a 5-year-long battle with anorexia, this is what she looks like today

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Annie Windley, a young woman from Derbyshire, East Midlands, faced a life-threatening battle with anorexia, leaving her barely able to stand. Enduring a meager diet of only one piece of toast and jam per day for five years, her weight plummeted to a mere 63.93 pounds.

Remarkably, amidst her struggle with anorexia, Annie found solace in an unexpected source: chocolate. Despite being hospitalized five times due to severe malnutrition, the 21-year-old credits chocolate as her savior. It was a single Lindt Lindor chocolate she indulged in one evening that marked a turning point. Surprisingly, consuming it didn’t lead to weight gain, alleviating her fears about eating. Gradually, she reclaimed her normal eating habits and overcame her battle with anorexia.

Now 21 years old and weighing 99 pounds, Annie bravely shares her journey publicly. Her struggle with anorexia began at the age of 15, where she meticulously counted calories and avoided carbohydrates, meat, and dairy to maintain a slim figure. The mere sight of certain foods, like lasagne, would induce sweating and shaking.

Image Credit: Daily Mail UK

Overcoming the fear of eating is undeniably daunting.

“It was crazy to think that by eating just a piece of chocolate, I’d instantly gain weight. But that day marked a significant realization for me: eating wasn’t as terrifying as I had made it out to be. I used to refuse meals altogether. The mere presence of certain foods, like lasagne, would trigger physical reactions – shaking, sweating, and agitation. I couldn’t even be in the same room as food,” she recalled.

“Something as seemingly small as that Lindt Lindor chocolate was a major breakthrough for me. I had restricted myself to toast with jam or low-fat ready meals, solely to avoid gaining any weight. It got to a point where, during one of my hospitalizations, I would scream and bang my head against the wall. All I wanted was to escape and be away from food,” she continued.

Image Credit: The Sun

Annie continued, “I was even warned that I was at risk of a heart attack because of my dangerously low weight. I struggled to remain upright without blacking out. When I look back at the pictures from that time, it’s terrifying to see, but all I wanted was to shrink further and further each day.”

Her battle with anorexia began to surface in 2012.

In 2012, Annie’s struggle with anorexia was formally diagnosed, stemming from her relentless dieting habits. She attended Monkton Combe boarding school in Bath, UK, where she endured bullying from peers regarding her weight and experienced strained relationships with her parents.

Despite managing to complete her GCSEs, Annie’s drastic weight loss took its toll on her academic performance and forced her to withdraw from her sports teams. Instead of participating in athletics, hockey, tennis, and javelin as she once did, she found herself under the close supervision of school nurses, who were increasingly concerned about her deteriorating health.

Image Credit: Daily Mail UK

“Once I started losing a significant amount of weight, the nurses became increasingly concerned and pulled me off the sports teams because I had no more weight to lose. Initially, people would compliment me on my appearance when I first started dieting, so I continued down that path. My weight became the only thing I felt I had control over,” Annie reflected.

“During difficult times at home, I found myself losing even more weight, and eventually, I began to face bullying at school due to my thinness. Despite well-meaning advice from my granddad to simply eat a chocolate cake and everything would be fine, it’s hard to explain the depth of what you’re going through. I wasn’t aspiring to be like anyone or anything; I was solely driven by my desire to be smaller,” she added, reflecting on her past.

The road to recovery is fraught with challenges, even for the most courageous.

Despite the hardships, Annie is determined to lead as normal a life as possible on her journey to recovery. In October 2017, she made the decision to confront her eating disorder head-on, reintroducing exercise into her routine while incorporating regular, healthy, and balanced meals.

Upon completing school, she returned to Derbyshire, where her uncle provided crucial support in overcoming her fear of weight gain. She adjusted her diet and now enjoys nutritious meals, such as two crumpets and a cup of tea for breakfast, and options like smashed avocado on toast with hummus, a poached egg, and cherry tomatoes, or a pasta salad or jacket potato with tuna and salad for lunch.

Annie’s snack of choice is a protein bar, and for dinner, she savors meals such as salmon with potatoes and vegetables, chicken risotto, or sweet chili noodles. Reflecting on her journey, Annie expresses regret for not seeking help earlier, as it has impacted her education and prevented her from experiencing opportunities to travel the world.

Annie’s word of advice to those who are too afraid to speak up

I wish I could tell my younger self to stop, it makes me sad thinking how much time I have wasted. I left school with 5As and 5*s, I was very smart but I haven’t been able to go to college or university, trying to get back into education is proving very difficult.” She said.

I feel better now, however, it’s something that does affect me mentally. I have a boyfriend and new friends now who have helped me so I am not as lonely as I used to be. People think it’s about attention seeking but it’s not, it’s hard to explain what you’re going through to someone who does not understand.” Annie finished off.


  1. Former anorexic who could barely stand after plummeting to just over FOUR STONE claims a single ball of Lindor chocolate was the key to her recovery.” Daily Mail UK. Martha Cliff. January 29, 2019
  2. INSTA-SHAME Instagram ‘fuelled’ my anorexia, I just ate 20 calories a day after trawling through ‘graphic pictures of skin & bones’” The Sun. Martha Cliff. October 12, 2022.

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