A recovering anorexic who nearly died as a result of her horrific eating disorder has opened up about her lengthy road to recovery – while revealing she is now attacked on Instagram by trolls who make cruel comments about her weight.
The nanny revealed that she would refuse to eat for days at a time in the hopes that it would help her get thin, and admits to exercising so much that she would pass out.
But despite dropping weight at a worrying speed, Shae says she would cry every night while looking at herself in the mirror, explaining that she still believed she was ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’, no matter how thin she became.
She managed to keep the severity of her eating disorder hidden from her parents, Karen, 51, and Travis, 52, by eating with them and then purging the food later on, allowing her to maintain her dangerous habits in secret.
Journey: A recovering anorexic who nearly died as a result of her years-long eating disorder has opened up about her struggle to get healthy again
Heartbreaking: Shae Taylor, now 19, from California, was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia at age 14, and her eating disorder became so severe, she had to be hospitalized in 2019
Health: The nanny (pictured recently) was given just three days to live by doctors and says that this shocking diagnosis prompted her to finally commit to her recovery
‘I was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia when I was just fourteen-years-old. I would refuse to eat for days and when I did eat, I would only have small amounts of food,’ Shae said.
‘I would work out until I passed out and purge most of the food that I would consume – but despite the amount of weight I was losing, I would still look at myself in the mirror and cry because I thought I looked ‘fat’ and ugly’ where I felt completely unlovable.
‘At the time, my parents didn’t fully understand what I was going through as I was so secretive with my eating habits where I would eat in front of them, but then purge it all out later.
‘However, they began getting concerned when my friend, Jude, and my therapist pointed out my weight and bad eating habits in 2017.’
It was then that Shae’s parents realized the severity of their daughter’s condition, and she was admitted to an eating disorder treatment center, where she remained for a full year, going through a variety of different programs, including partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient care.
However none of the treatment plans worked and Shae’s eating disorder continued for more than a year, eventually reaching the point where she was unable to even stand without feeling faint.
Shae became so sick that she had to be hospitalized in May 2019, when doctors gave her just three days to live – revealing that her anorexia had taken a severe toll on her heart rate and blood pressure.
She also developed bradycardia – a heart condition – which she still has to deal with today, as well as refeeding syndrome – which can cause the body to get overwhelmed and give out when it is given a normal amount of food.
While in hospital, Shae had to be fed via a tube, which ensured that she got the nutrition her body needed while she recovered enough to begin eating a more normal diet.
‘As a direct result of my eating disorders, I became extremely sick,’ Shae explained. ‘I was losing weight at a rapid pace which caused my heart and blood rate to become very weak and I was also diagnosed with bradycardia – a heart condition – which I still deal with today.
‘I was also diagnosed with refeeding syndrome which means that because my body hadn’t consumed food in so long, it would give out if I was given a normal amount of food and due to this, I had to be fed through a tube.
‘My body was in a state of starvation and I could barely stand without passing out at this point, which was when I knew something needed to change.’
Six weeks after Shae was admitted to hospital, doctors told her about the grim diagnosis she was given upon her arrival, and she says that this reality check – although devastating – served as the motivation she needed to finally focus on her recovery.
‘My doctor informed me after 40 days of being in hospital, that I was given three days to live when I was admitted,’ she recalled. ‘These words changed my life as I began thinking back over all the years of pain my eating disorders had caused.
‘I became overwhelmed with sadness and came to the conclusion that my disorder could have caused the end of my life and that my eating disorder and losing weight was no longer worth it, as the cost of my life was too great.
‘I started to realize that there was much more to life than calories and losing weight, so I began changing my habits there and then, bit by bit.
Ongoing: As a result of her anorexia, Shae developed bradycardia – a heart condition – which she still has to deal with today
Hurdle: Shae was also diagnosed with refeeding syndrome, which causes the body to get overwhelmed and give out when it is given a normal amount of food
Sick: She had to be fed through a tube while in hospital, in order to ensure that her body got enough nutrition while doctors worked on getting her healthy again
After leaving the hospital, she was admitted into a residential center where her eating habits changed as she was required to eat foods that she was terrified of, such as ice cream and pasta.
Shae believes that recovery has saved her life and she is grateful that she continued fighting and didn’t let her eating disorder consume her. She is now going on to attend college in September 2021 and is also moving into her first apartment in a few months.
Shae believes gaining weight was the hardest part of her journey, as she was doing the opposite of what she had been telling herself her whole life – and still struggles some days with eating now.
Shae recalls her eating disorder consuming her emotionally, where her relationships with family, friends and her boyfriend, David, were impacted significantly. She remembers being angry and sad most of the time, where she would act distant towards them and as a result, her relationships were strained.
However, due to her recovery, her relationships are now better than ever as her family have grown closer together due to them learning how to communicate better with each other, as well as accepting Shae’s triggers and low moods.
Shae’s and David’s romantic relationship is also stronger, as his patience and willingness to learn about her eating disorder, as well as constant encouragement throughout her recovery has meant that the two are in a healthy place.
Shae decided to start posting about her journey on Instagram in 2017, in an attempt to help break the stigma surrounding weight gain and eating disorders.
Despite receiving comments of support from her followers, she has also had to face negative criticism such as, ‘I bet you could crush your boyfriend with those thunder thighs’ and ‘You went from anorexic to overweight – find the middle ground fatty’ which has made her feel sad at times, but she has learned to rise above these comments as she is the healthiest she’s ever been.
Inspiration: Shae began documenting her recovery on Instagram in the hopes of helping other people struggling with eating disorders
Upset: Despite Shae being proud of her recovery, she says that she is now facing cruel insults from trolls who have called her a ‘fatty’ and mocked her ‘thunder thighs’
Struggle: ‘Gaining weight has been by far one of the hardest parts of my recovery journey,’ Shae admitted – making the cruel comments from Instagram trolls all the harder to deal with
‘I used to receive lots of comments on my weight from fellow classmates such as, “Wow, you’re so healthy,” when I would bring in a single lettuce leaf and granola bar for lunch. As well as this, a boy in the playground once said, “You’re the skinniest girl in school – you’re like a zombie.”
‘I know this should have hurt, but my eating disorder thrived off these comments as I took their words as proof that my eating and exercise habits were working.
‘Just goes to show that you should never comment on someone’s weight or eating habits, because you never know what they are going through or how it will affect them.’
‘After I was discharged from the hospital, I was admitted into a residential treatment center for a further two months, which was a super long process – but as I was required to eat food that I was terrified of, I realized that the world didn’t end just because I ate something and that the food wasn’t unhealthy – my attitude towards food was.
‘Gaining weight has been by far one of the hardest parts of my recovery journey. I believe as we live in a society obsessed with diets and weight loss, we are taught from a young age that losing weight is the only way to be accepted and healthy.
‘During my recovery, I was doing the complete opposite of what I had been told my whole life, which was so scary as I was afraid of ‘letting myself go’ by gaining weight – but in reality, I was just doing what was best for my body and health.’
Shae believes that although she has gained weight and is now healthy, that she is still in the process of recovery as some days she doesn’t even think about her eating disorder at all, whereas others, she struggles to just eat an apple.
‘I’m still healing, but I’ve come a long way. If I could talk to my younger self now, I would say that recovery will give you everything your eating disorder is promising you,’ Shae said.
Bond: Despite facing hatred online, Shae says that her recovery has been the best thing to ever happen to her, and has improved her relationships with her loved ones, including her boyfriend
Goals: ‘I wanted to show people that they are worthy of love no matter what their size and I thought it was important to show my real, unedited body to others,’ Shae said of her Instagram
‘Gaining weight has changed my life for the better, as I used to be so weak, self-conscious and deeply depressed.
‘Many people have commented on my weight gain in a positive light, saying that they are happy to see me healthy and thriving. One of the best comments I’ve received came from a friend who saw me for the first time since leaving the hospital who commented, ‘You are glowing – it’s nice to see the life in your eyes again.’
‘I decided to start posting about my recovery journey in 2017, as I wanted to help break the stigma surrounding weight gain and eating disorders. I wanted to show people that they are worthy of love no matter what their size and I thought it was important to show my real, unedited body to others.
‘My main goal is and always will be, to be the person on social media that I needed when I was younger.
‘However, I have had some negative comments from people on Instagram who have said, “I bet you crush your boyfriend with those thunder thighs” and, “You went from anorexic to overweight – find the middle ground fatty” – which does strike a nerve, but I try not to take it personally.
‘I’m out here living my best life and I feel sorry for the people who feel the need to try and take people down like that – but I always like to remind them that unless they are a medical professional, they have no right to diagnose me.
‘I believe that everybody is beautiful in their own way, regardless of what your body looks like or what stage of recovery you may be in.
‘My advice to anyone struggling with an eating disorder, is to take your recovery one day at a time.
‘Recovery can be overwhelming and scary – but one day you will look back on all of this and be proud you didn’t give up.
‘Yes I’ve gained weight, but I’ve also gained my life, strength and confidence back and that’s more important than what my body looks like.’