Woman free from eating disorders

Hayley Goddard, SOUND TELEGRAPHSound Telegraph

Copping constant insults from her father and boyfriend about body image as a 17-year-old sparked a Secret Harbour woman's more than 30-year-long eating disorder.

A year after kicking the disorder, 53-year-old Katy Hebron can speak about living with anorexia and bulimia as a warning to young girls.

At 17, Mrs Hebron's boyfriend told her she was too fat and instructed her to lose 4.5kg.

She stopped eating and lost 18kg, dropping to just 33kg.

"I was totally anorexic for a year," she said.

"When I was 19, a good friend of mine, who probably thought she was giving me some good advice, told me to eat what I wanted, drink a pint of water and then stick my fingers down my throat, and that's how the bulimia started."

Mrs Hebron moved to Australia from Zimbabwe in 1989 and worked as a nurse in dementia wards.

She said despite the bulimia, she worked, exercised and sometimes went 10 weeks without food. "There was no other way, it was my path in life sadly," she said.

Beating the disorder began after Mrs Hebron fell and broke both her shoulders in September last year.

The injuries sustained made it almost impossible for her to vomit, and with help of nurses, she was able to keep meals down.

"I don't want to do this anymore," she said.

"When I was in hospital there was so many anorexic girls, I just felt like saying to them 'stop now, you're only 17 and 18, stop now because I'm 53 and I've only just stopped'.

"It doesn't achieve anything.

"Initially it was to do with appearance and you think skinny is beautiful, but now it's nothing to do with looks.

"I never could have children because of anorexia, I did want to … but it was not to be."

Mrs Hebron said as a result of malnutrition, she has osteoporosis, takes potassium supplements, and nausea and reflux tablets.

She said she hated winter because she felt "freezing" and would have to wear layers of jumpers.

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