Margherita Barbieri is only 18 years old, but she's already experienced a lot of ups and downs in her short life.
Now, the Reading, England native is sharing her story via some very private photos in the hope that she can help others in the same situation.
When she was younger, Margherita dreamed of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Life was good. She was beautiful, had a lot friends, and was popular.
But unfortunately, Margherita also had a very strict dance instructor, who said that she was too curvy body to succeed in ballet.
The teacher even went so far as to specifically mention Margherita's thighs, which she said were "too fat."
The comments upset the aspiring ballerina so much that she went on a strict diet to lose weight.
Margherita wouldn't allow her body to stand in the way of her dreams, so she cut her calorie intake to a shocking 140 calories per day.
Margherita often fasted for days on end.
"My weight was perfectly fine but I didn't realise that then, I was determined to become a better dancer so I started over-exercising without eating anything at all. It made me hate my body, the body I once loved, the body I was once proud of, and instead I turned against my appearance," Margherita told the Daily Mail.
The brutal starvation had consequences, and Margherita dropped from 120 pounds (55 kg) to 55 pounds (25 kg).
For years, Margherita struggled with her anorexia, but eventually, she managed to break the vicious circle.
When she finally found the strength to change her diet, Margherita felt both healthier and more beautiful. And she got her self-confidence back.
At the beginning of her recovery, Margherita made a list.
She wrote down over 200 high-calorie foods that she was terrified of eating, like butter and chocolate.
Eventually, Margherita began to reintroduce these foods into her diet and now she weighs 120 pounds (55 kg) again.
Margherita has given up on her ballet career—and traded it for her new passion.
Margherita now aims to dance in musicals, where she can be herself in an industry that puts less focus on weight.
She is also open about her story and posts before and after photos on her Instagram to inspire others in the same situation.
"My advice to everyone is to learn to love your body and yourself, have a good relationship with food, don't let anyone put you down. I think we should all be fighting for a cure for anorexia, it is a powerful illness that is often life threatening, I am so lucky that I chose to recover," Margherita says.
I think it's very brave of Margherita to talk about how she fought back against this disease.
I really hope that Margherita can inspire others who need her help!
Please share her story if you also think that body shaming should be stopped!
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