Meet Charlotte. We found Charlotte through the Aflete app, and her story stood out to us so much that we wanted to help her share it. Unlike a lot of other users who are a part of the Aflete community, Charlotte didn’t stand out because of a dramatic weight loss. Charlotte still stood out because of her incredible transformation to fit and healthy but in the opposite direction.
Charlotte shares her story with Aflete and the Aflete app community
At the age of 12, Charlotte (and her family) were going through a tough time and for her, it wasn’t nice to experience or see others going through either.
“I don’t know whether this was the cause, but this is when it began to happen. At first I started skipping breakfast, and then lunch at school telling my friends I wasn’t hungry or I already had something. My friends soon told my PE teacher who then began kept an eye on me. I came home from school one day with a headache and cough, so my mum booked me in to see a doctor. Me thinking it was for that, but really it was about my weight. I got weighed and was told my BMI was low, but not enough to be considered sick. I don’t know whether that triggered something in me that made my eating disorder worse and for me to push to be skinny”.
After this, Charlotte’s school was notified and she had to be monitored throughout the day. Stuck in a similar routine everyday, Charlotte had to eat under supervision and was no longer allowed to take part in PE.
“This was one of the hardest things in my life. I’ve always been active, playing in several teams and being part of clubs outside of school. So for such a huge part of my life to be taken away was just heart breaking. I think this pushed me in the wrong direction. I felt so lazy, so started to run outside on my own. I wasn’t allowed to, so I would get up extra early, before anyone else and go for a jog. I was running every single day for at least 40 minutes – hour, then I’d go home and do 600 reps of about 6 exercises until I couldn’t do anymore”.
Despite only eating 1 meal a day, which was no more than 600 calories, drinking hardly any water and having disrupted sleep, Charlotte would come home from college early, because she wanted to go for a run. Even though she was exhausted.
“I hardly socialised and I just wasn’t the same girl I used to be. I didn’t enjoy life and my mood caused a lot of upset between family members. If anything disrupted my daily routine I would feel out of control. When I was about 16, I started making myself sick. The one thing I had read about and thought I honestly would never do. But I did, and I hated myself more and more because of it. But it became part of my routine.
By the time I was 17 everything escalated. I had to defer my place at university a year because I was too sick and I couldn’t help think that my life was worthless. I was planning on going on holiday with my friends in the summer, but the day before I was due to go the doctors told me I wasn’t able to fly. I argued and argued with my mum and I finally got her to let me go. I knew at that point that I had broken her heart, but I didn’t care about anyone or anything but going with my friends, I didn’t want this illness to take everything I had away. To do that to my mum I can never forgive myself”.
Even though Charlotte wanted to enjoy her holiday, she found she couldn’t. She was exhausted, freezing (despite the hot temperatures of Turkey) and secluded herself away. Two days into her holiday, she flew back home early. Relieved but distraught at the same time.
“I got back and a day or two later we arranged to see my care worker from CAHMS, who offered me the opportunity to get a bed at a eating disorder facility at Chalk Hill. The holiday was a blessing in disguise really, as it made me realise that I was sick and I needed help. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks, where I had to eat 6 meals a day with a limited amount of drink and be under constant supervision. I wasn’t allowed to stand up during the day, only to walk to the dinner table, as that would be classed as exercise. It was torture and I was weighed daily. After my 2 week stay, they told me I hadn’t put on enough weight and that I should stay another week. Hearing this, I broke down in tears I just wanted to be free and to try and get better on my own. I felt like they had my life and I had nothing.Luckily, it was agreed that I could go home and just come back during the day time for the next week and then my time would be finished”.
After being discharged, things didn’t immediately improve for Charlotte. She was 5ft 7 and weighed just 40kg – her lowest weight. But one day something clicked. She realised that this illness was stopping her from being everything she wanted to be and doing all of the things she had dreamt of doing. Charlotte started to slowly change her eating habits and incorporate more calories into her diet. Wanting to recover in a way that would be manageable in the long term, Charlotte joined a gym and began to eat right, to build some muscle and gain some weight. She reduced her cardio and incorporated weights into her routine and soon started to feel more positive and alive again.
“Progress was slow but it was sure as hell happening. My energy levels increased and I started to gain some shape, I started working part time again and I was beginning to transform. I managed to get to a point where I felt ready to face uni head on too. Since being at uni I’ve only become stronger. I have been able to take control back and steer my life towards a more positive outlook. Yes, there are still bad days but that’s part of my journey. Had it not have been for the support from my family and friends I don’t know where I would be”.
After speaking with Charlotte, she tells us she wants to globalise the message of “beauty in balance” and she definitely does this through the Aflete app.
“It’s such an important message that can be applied to everything. Exercise was part of my recovery, it may sound strange because of my illness, but it’s part of what made me who I am today. I used to never eat anything considered “unhealthy” or “bad” but I’ve learnt to enjoy myself on occasion and live life and do the things I’m suppose to be doing. I just want to help anybody that needs some motivation and is finding it difficult to find balance”.
Charlotte’s story is truly inspiring and we recommend anyone already on the Aflete app to go and have a look at her page. Not only using her profile to share her progress, Charlotte’s Aflete page (@charlottes_fitness) is full of meal and workout ideas too.
Do you have an incredible story of transformation you want to share? Post your transformation, meal prep, workout motivation photos, whatever in the Aflete app now and start sharing your story with us and the rest of the Aflete community now.