King’s Lynn nurse gearing up to take part in London Marathon after years of battling anorexia

She was once just weeks from death after suffering from anorexia for more than a decade but now Harriet Smith is on the road to recovery and gearing up to complete the London Marathon.

The 26-year-old hopes taking part in the world-famous event will kick start a new chapter in her life after struggling with the eating disorder for 12 years.

At one stage the King's Lynn resident weighed just five stone but, with the help of her family and a specialist eating disorder clinic, she is now a healthy 9st 7lbs.

'At my lowest point I had lost about four and a half stone from what I originally was,' she said.

'I look at the photos now and I can't remember being like that. It was like my mind was just a blur.'

The nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital started to lose weight when she was just 14 but admits her healthy eating drive soon got out of hand.

Before long her periods stopped, she felt tired and frail and grew a fine layer of hair over her body.

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'I could see what I was doing to myself and I knew the dangers of it and everything,' she continued.

'When the doctor said I had only weeks to live and that my heart could stop and I'd go into cardiac arrest, I knew that but the anorexia in my head was so strong - it just had an answer for everything.'

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

She continued: 'It just got to the point where I though I didn't want to be like this any more.

'I just thought if I stay ill for the rest of my life then I couldn't continue to do my nursing, I had already stopped driving and I didn't go out to see my friends. I just thought it was not worth it.'

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

But she continued: 'I am 99 per cent recovered. There is still a tiny bit of the anorexia in my head. I have my little struggles.'

The 5ft 8ins runner is hoping to raise �2,000 for an animal charity PDSA by running the marathon and hopes her story can provide inspiration of others recovering from eating disorders.

She added: 'This marathon is really putting an end to the last 12 years and the start of my chapter in my life really.

'I have missed out on so much, I don't want to waste any more time and try to get on with my life.'

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