Back on track: Inspirational recovery of anorexic nurse who was on the brink of death after weight plunged to FIVE STONE
'I was in denial. The doctor said I was weeks from death'



13:04 GMT, 12 March 2012

A nurse who was once just weeks from death after suffering from anorexia has turned her life around – and is now poised to complete the London Marathon.

Harriet Smith, 26, has struggled with the eating disorder for 12 years and at her lowest point weighed just five stone.

But now the 5ft 8″ runner has got her life back on track – in more ways than one.

Harriet Smith

Harriet Smith from Kings Lynn

Recovering: Harriet says she hopes her story of coming back from anorexia inspires others

With the help of her family and a
specialist eating disorder clinic she is now a healthy 9st 7lbs. She is
also in training to run a marathon for an animal charity and hopes her
story can provide inspiration of others recovering from eating

She said that when she was ill she ran with the prime purpose of losing weight but now she runs simply because she enjoys it.

'I never thought I'd come this far,' she told the Daily Mirror.

is the more complete I've ever felt. I hope my story can inspire other
people suffering from eating disorders. It takes time but you can

Harriet started to lose weight when she was just 14 after a healthy eating kick 'got out of hand.'

long she had lost four stone in just a few years with devastating
health consequences. Her periods stopped, she felt tired and frail and
grew a fine layer of hair over her body.

Harriet said she was in denial even after she was admitted to hospital.

'The doctor said I was weeks from death. He said my heart would just stop beating,' she recalled.

Her Body Mass Index was just 10 – someone with a BMI of below 18.5 is considered underweight.

She was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in July 2005 and spent a year in a specialist eating disorder clinic. Harriet was fed through a tube and kept under watch and gradually gained weight.

She said her mother Joanne, 63, father Graeme, 55 and two brothers gave her a huge amount of support and encouragement to overcome the psychological disorder.

 Harriet Smith

Harriet Smith

Painfully thin: Harriet said she was 'in denial' about her psychological disorder but managed to pull through with the support of her family

'Now I am 99% recovered,' she said.

'There is still a tiny bit of the anorexia in my head. I have my little struggles.'

But for now Harriet, who lives in King's Lynn in Norfolk, is delighted to be living her life to the full again. She achieved a first-class degree in nursing and has a long-term boyfriend. She hopes her marathon will raise 2,000 for the animal charity PDSA.

For more information about eating disorders or to get help please visit the beat website at

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