My anorexia was fuelled by celebrity magazines: Victim demands ban on airbrushed photographs
Rachel Johnson weighed little more than four stone during four-year battle with eating disorder 20-year-old idolised super-slim models and celebrities from the age of 13
She is now calling on the Government to ban airbrushing in magazines and adverts
that are aimed at children

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UPDATED:

11:48 GMT, 30 April 2012

Three years ago Rachael Johnston was given just 48 hours to live after a four-year battle with anorexia left her weighing a mere 4 stone.

Her shocking decline was fuelled by an obsession with photo- graphs of super-slim celebrities in glossy magazines.

Now aged 20 and a healthy size eight, she is determined others should not go through her ordeal and is demanding a ban on airbrushed images in magazines and adverts that are aimed at children.

Rachael Johnston from Warrington, Cheshire starved herself for 4 years and became anorexic trying to look like her idols Victoria Beckham and Nicole Richie

Healthy: Rachael Johnston from Warrington, Cheshire starved herself for 4 years and became anorexic trying to look like her idols Victoria Beckham and Nicole Richie

Recovering: Rachel Johnson was put on a drip in hospital after her weight plummeted, left, but having now recovered, right, the 20-year-old is campaigning to have images of super-skinny celebrities banned

An e-petition, launched with her
mother Lynne, urges the Government to bring in a ban or, failing that,
they want health warnings on airbrushed photos, similar to those that
appear on cigarette packets.

Miss Johnston’s descent into anorexia began when, at 13, she started to idolise celebrities and obsess over their figures.

She stuck magazine cuttings inside her
school locker and compiled motivational scrapbooks which she would pore
over to prevent herself from eating when she felt hungry.

Desperate to
achieve a ‘celebrity figure’, she would survive on half an apple every
two days, and once went without food or water for ten days.

Miss Johnston of Warrington, Cheshire,
said: ‘Although airbrushed images didn’t actually cause my eating
disorder, once I was unwell I would obsess over them.

'It wasn’t until
later that I realised what an effect these images can have and how they
affected the things I did or how I felt.

‘Although these glossy magazines
aren’t actually aimed at under 16s, they still read them. If an image
has been airbrushed it should say so and which parts of the body have
been altered.

‘People should be comfortable with who they are and not be ashamed to go out in public no matter how they look.’

Rachael Johnston fought a six year battle against the illness after she became addicted to glossy magazine photos of Victoria Beckham and Nicole Ritchie.

Rachael Johnston fought a six year battle against the illness after she became addicted to glossy magazine photos of Victoria Beckham and Nicole Ritchie

Obsession: Rachel started to idolise slim stars when she was younger, including Victoria Beckham, left, and Nicole Richie, right, and began to starve herself in order the get the 'celebrity figure'

Aged 13 in January 2005, Miss Johnston
was a healthy size 10-12, weighing eight stone, but she made a New
Year’s resolution to lose weight.

/04/29/article-2136948-12D38A24000005DC-172_634x905.jpg” width=”634″ height=”905″ alt=”Campaign: Rachael and mother Lynn have started a campaign to get airbrushing banned or at least captioned in magazine images” class=”blkBorder” />

Campaign: Rachael and mother Lynn have started a campaign to get airbrushing banned or at least captioned in magazine images

‘I had them pinned up everywhere. I even took it in the hospital with me and stuck it in the wardrobe.

‘The longest I ever went without food and water was ten days. I don’t know how my body got through it.’

She was re-admitted to hospital for
five months in February 2009 after her weight plunged to 4 stone and
she could only fit into children’s age 9-10 clothing.

Three years on Miss Johnston is 5ft
4in and a healthy size eight, although she has been left with
osteoporosis as a result of malnutrition.

Miss Johnston said: ‘I’m still in
recovery, I have medication for depression and I have a very low immune
system. I do have osteoporosis in my back and knees, but it’s just a
case of getting on with it.’

Support: Rachael and mother Lynn need 100,000 signatures on their e-petition in order to get the Government to debate banning airbrushed images or at least having a health warning displayed on them

Support: Rachael and mother Lynn need 100,000 signatures on their e-petition in order to get the Government to debate banning airbrushed images or at least having a health warning displayed on them

During her recovery she worked with Beat, an eating disorder charity, and still gives talks to youngsters about her ordeal.

She added: ‘I love pizza and I love
chocolate. Even when I was really poorly it was something I still liked.
I’ve got to be in the right mood to be able to eat it. I don’t want to
feel guilty afterwards. It’s the feelings that I struggle with.’

The e-petition, which requires 100,000
signatures, calls for the Government to ‘ban airbrushing of all images
and adverts aimed at children in the UK’, stating that such images ‘give
a false representation of beauty’ and subject children to ‘completely
unattainable’ images.

 To join the petition go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31414