Julia Baessler didn't really want to share the photo on the left. She said she felt ashamed. But then she realized that if she could reach one person with an eating disorder, girl or boy, and share her story to help them, it would be worth it.
Julia captioned the above photos on her Instagram, "The picture on the left shows me at my lowest weight of 83lbs/38kg. It was taken exactly five years ago in Italy. The right one shows me today, with my current weight of 110lbs/50kg.
"Nowadays its sometimes hard for me to identify myself with this girl and I often ask myself why I didn't realise earlier how much harm I was doing to myself."
Aside from weight, Julia says, through her recovery, she gained "happiness and health" and "mental freedom." At her lowest weight her "life was consumed by thoughts of food and the number on the scale." She was eating just 200 to 500 calories a day, she rarely ate any carbs, and she "was obsessed with the fear of gaining weight." She shared, "My inner voice was too strong and kept telling me I needed to be thin to be adorable."
She's not alone in feeling like that. We get the message loud and clear from magazines, TV, and social media that thin equals beautiful. It can be detrimental to many women, especially those who are younger.
Thankfully Julia was able to change her mindset in order to change her body. She found a new passion — "going to the gym and lifting weights! 🙏🏼" She says that she loves taking care of her body, and "eating healthy, working out and staying fit is part of my daily routine nowadays."
Julia wrote, "You're not alone with your illness and it doesn't show weakness admitting you have a problem and asking for help." Seeking help shows you're strong, and Julia said, "I am proud of my transformation. 💪🏼"
She knows how hard it can be to ask for help, but she said, "Sometimes it's the only way to win the war against yourself! I know you can do this! You deserve to live your life in happiness and therefore you should fight for it! It will totally be worth it, I promise ❤️"
If you or a loved one are in need of any help, the National Eating Disorders Association has several resources.