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Anorexic who hid stones in her trousers to hide weight loss said exercise saved her life

A student whose anorexia was so bad she would smuggle stones in her trousers to hide her dramatic weight loss from doctors claims exercise ‘saved her life’.

Talia Bentley, now 23, from Lancaster, was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa aged 16 and spent four years restricting her calorie intake to as little as 500 a day – meaning even ‘the smallest’ clothes in shops didn’t fit.

She plummeted to six stone and doctors told her she was ‘killing herself’.

But it was suffering hypoglycemia as a diabetic that gave Talia the wake up call she needed.

Talia Bentley, now 23, was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa aged 16 and spent four years restricting her calorie intake to as little as 500 a day – meaning even ‘the smallest’ clothes in shops didn’t fit. She is pictured now happy and healthy 

Talia plummeted to six stone and doctors told her she was 'killing herself', but it was suffering hypoglycemia as a diabetic that gave Talia, from Lancaster, the wake up call she needed. She is pictured in 2016 weighing just six stone

Talia is pictured on holiday in 2016 weighing just six stone

Talia plummeted to six stone and doctors told her she was ‘killing herself’, but it was suffering hypoglycemia as a diabetic that gave Talia, from Lancaster, the wake up call she needed. She is pictured in 2016 weighing just six stone

The student credits studying sports and exercise science at university for introducing her to weight lifting, which she believes ‘saved her life’.

Now a healthy nine stone, Talia hopes to use her work as a fitness coach to inspire others to overcome similar conditions.

Talia frequently shares transformation pictures with her 42,600 Instagram followers – but her most recent Twitter post celebrating four years since she began her recovery has gone viral with 60,000 likes.

She said: ‘I think it was my parents who picked up on it first – I didn’t want to eat out or in front of people.

The student credits studying sports and exercise science at university for introducing her to weight lifting, which she believes 'saved her life'. She is pictured now weighing a healthy nine stone

The student credits studying sports and exercise science at university for introducing her to weight lifting, which she believes ‘saved her life’. She is pictured now weighing a healthy nine stone

Now a healthy nine stone, Talia hopes to use her work as a fitness coach to inspire others to overcome similar conditions

Now a healthy nine stone, Talia hopes to use her work as a fitness coach to inspire others to overcome similar conditions

‘I’d take my food to my room and flush it down the toilet or hide it in the bin.

‘I was having a weigh-in at a diabetic clinic and my dietician picked up on it – and then I had to go for weigh-ins very frequently.

‘I’d put stones in my trousers to try to look like I was maintaining weight when I was still losing it.

‘You get so good at manipulating people that you’re eating – you’d push food around your plate to make it look like you’d eaten some of it.’

Talia is pictured now after weigh lifting and exercise help her to gain muscle

You get so good at manipulating people that you're eating - you'd push food around your plate to make it look like you'd eaten some of it.' Talia explained. She is pictured left while battling anorexia

‘I’d put stones in my trousers to try to look like I was maintaining weight when I was still losing it. ‘You get so good at manipulating people that you’re eating – you’d push food around your plate to make it look like you’d eaten some of it.’ Talia explained. She is pictured left while battling anorexia

Talia believes her illness stemmed from being careful around her diet due to her diabetes and her lack of control over the serious condition.

Talia believes her illness stemmed from being careful around her diet due to her diabetes and her lack of control over the serious condition.

She believes her illness stemmed from being careful around her diet due to her diabetes and her lack of control over the serious condition.

Talia said: ‘I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 14, so since that age I’d always had to be conscious of carbohydrates and calories.

‘I’ve got quite an addictive personality, so for someone with that trait it can be quite a slippery slope. I had an obsession with knowing exactly how much and what I was eating.

‘I also think it came from a control point because diabetes is something that’s quite hard to control.

Talia explained that her issues started young. 'I used to dance when I was growing up and that's a toxic environment in terms of body image - everyone wants to be thin and dance teachers put pressure on you for it. She is pictured now

Talia explained that her issues started young. ‘I used to dance when I was growing up and that’s a toxic environment in terms of body image – everyone wants to be thin and dance teachers put pressure on you for it. She is pictured now

Talia said she missed out on a lot during her late teens as she would avoid any event where food was served. She is pictured now

Talia said she missed out on a lot during her late teens as she would avoid any event where food was served. She is pictured now

‘I used to dance when I was growing up and that’s a toxic environment in terms of body image – everyone wants to be thin and dance teachers put pressure on you for it.

‘I got injured and thought if I wasn’t dancing, I wasn’t going to be burning as many calories and I’d have to cut back on my food a little bit – and it spiralled from there.’

The accumulation of these factors during Talia’s teenage years meant that when she was 16 she began heavily restricting her calories to just 500 a day.

Talia was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa the same year and her condition took its toll on her physically, mentally and socially.

She said: ‘I didn’t attend anything social because they mostly involved food. In a way I missed out on my 16-19-year-old life – but I learnt so much from it.

Talia spent a long time 'in denial' about her eating disorder, but suffering from hypoglycemia was a major wake up call. She is pictured now

Talia spent a long time ‘in denial’ about her eating disorder, but suffering from hypoglycemia was a major wake up call. She is pictured now

Talia said said: 'I couldn't physically eat anything and I cried and cried - if you don't eat with a hypo, you can faint or go into a coma' she is pictured at a lower weight

Talia said said: ‘I couldn’t physically eat anything and I cried and cried – if you don’t eat with a hypo, you can faint or go into a coma’ she is pictured at a lower weight

‘Your friends can help you to a point until they feel like they’re hitting their head against a brick wall.

‘You don’t want to feel like you’re a burden to anyone – I pushed a lot of people out of my life.

‘I used to have really thick hair and it went so thin and bristly, and I lost a lot of it.’

Talia spent a long time ‘in denial’ about her eating disorder, but suffering from hypoglycemia was a major wake up call.

She said: ‘I couldn’t physically eat anything and I cried and cried – if you don’t eat with a hypo, you can faint or go into a coma.

Talia, pictured now, said 'Doctors, dietitians, my parents, friends and family tell you you're really killing yourself, but unless you're ready and want to do it - you really won't.

Talia, pictured now, said ‘Doctors, dietitians, my parents, friends and family tell you you’re really killing yourself, but unless you’re ready and want to do it – you really won’t.

Talia, pictured while she was battling anorexia, said: 'Exercise probably saved my life - it gave me something to focus on that was away from restricting calories.

Talia, pictured while she was battling anorexia, said: ‘Exercise probably saved my life – it gave me something to focus on that was away from restricting calories.

‘That was the point I remember thinking – I need to fix this for myself and the people around me.

‘That’s when I spoke to my parents for the first time properly – they already knew but that’s when I admitted it to myself and everyone else.

‘Doctors, dietitians, my parents, friends and family tell you you’re really killing yourself, but unless you’re ready and want to do it – you really won’t.

‘You have to make yourself feel so uncomfortable to then end up eventually feeling comfortable around food.

Talia is pictured in fancy dress as Lara Croft

Studying sport and exercise science at university introduced Talia to weight lifting and how to properly train and nourish her body - which became her saving grace. She is pictured now

Studying sport and exercise science at university introduced Talia to weight lifting and how to properly train and nourish her body – which became her saving grace. She is pictured now

Talia chose a career which would enable her to help others overcome similar disorders - and her most recent transformation snap has gone viral and she's been inundated with messages of support

Talia chose a career which would enable her to help others overcome similar disorders – and her most recent transformation snap has gone viral and she’s been inundated with messages of support

‘You have to tell yourself that you can do it and you’re better than your eating disorder, and your life will be so much better when you come out of the other side.’

Studying sport and exercise science at university introduced Talia to weight lifting and how to properly train and nourish her body – which became her saving grace.

Talia said: ‘Exercise probably saved my life – it gave me something to focus on that was away from restricting calories.

‘There was this whole new focus on social media of people being strong and muscly, whereas before it was thigh gaps and having really tiny waists.

'I can go out for meals with friends and not even think twice about it, and have a burger and chips with my dad and it not make me cry' she said

‘I can go out for meals with friends and not even think twice about it, and have a burger and chips with my dad and it not make me cry’ she said

‘It completely changed everything – I was following athletes, bodybuilders and professional runners – it gave me something to aspire to.

‘Now I see the positives of being able to build a really healthy relationship with food.

‘I can go out for meals with friends and not even think twice about it, and have a burger and chips with my dad and it not make me cry.

‘I’ve found my passion – I feel better and more confident than I’ve ever felt in my whole life.

‘I would encourage anyone who’s struggling to try something that’s a relief for them – there’s something out there for everyone to keep you active and healthy.’

Talia said: ''I would encourage anyone who's struggling to try something that's a relief for them - there's something out there for everyone to keep you active and healthy.'

Talia said: ”I would encourage anyone who’s struggling to try something that’s a relief for them – there’s something out there for everyone to keep you active and healthy.’

Talia now has a healthy relationship with food and is able to enjoy eating and exercisr

Talia now has a healthy relationship with food and is able to enjoy eating and exercisr

Talia chose a career which would enable her to help others overcome similar disorders – and her most recent transformation snap has gone viral and she’s been inundated with messages of support.

‘I think it’s really showing that you can do anything when you get in the right frame of mind.

‘When I was in that place, I needed to see people who had come out the other end.

Talia's thick long hair returned after she recovered from anorexia

Talia’s thick long hair returned after she recovered from anorexia 

‘I just hope that even if it helps one person to see that there’s a way out, then it’s had the impact I want it to.’ 

‘It’s a relief standing in your bikini and feeling confident, happy and empowered, knowing that you’ve beaten something so horrible.

‘I didn’t care if people caught me at a bad angle, if I had rolls when I bent over, cellulite, or stretch marks – I embrace it all now and I feel lucky to have that.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk