Former anorexic ballerina reveals how pressure to be thin plunged her into anorexia… and weighed herself 30 times a day

Demi Rawling, from Perth, Australia, was just 15 when she decided to go on a diet – in the hope it would improve her performance.

But within a few short months the now 19-year-old's 5ft 10ins frame was so skeletal that she could no longer dance – and struggled to even walk sometimes.

“I still went to ballet when I could, but I’d feel like I was about to have a heart attack,” the make-up artist said.

“It was really scary – I would have to stop and sit down because I was so underweight.

“Doing even the smallest amount of exercise would put my body under too much pressure. There were times I couldn’t even walk.”

Throw back Friday? 💃

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Throw back Friday? 💃

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When friends commented on how thin she'd got, Demi lied and told them she had glandular fever.

But, after three years of battling anorexia, she quit dancing in an attempt to turn her life around.

Demi said: “I have done ballet since I was a little girl and a huge part of my eating disorder came from that.

“At about 15, I started to realise that a lot of dancers are very, very thin. I felt they got a lot further and got a lot more attention.

“I was so passionate about ballet, I’d have done anything to get where I wanted to be.”

Demi weighed 9 1/2 stone when she started dieting – and was a size 8 on top and a size 10-12 in trousers.

But, at her lowest, the then 16-year-old's clothes were hanging off her and she weighed just 7st.

She said: “When I first lost weight, I received compliments and was getting noticed a little bit more.

“I think I started to get addicted to the compliments, the weight loss and looking at the numbers on the scale.

“I was getting more and more pulled into it… I started taking photos and checking my body all the time.

“My eating disorder was based on a number on a scale. I would weigh myself 30 times a day.”

When she first lost weight, Demi's dancing did improve – but soon she was skipping classes because of the condition.

She said: “After about six months, I started to get lots of concerned messages saying I was too thin.

“I told people I had glandular fever, because I was totally in denial about this being a problem.

“My mum, Colette, and my teacher tried to bring it up and tried to get me help.

“But I would flip out and get really angry. I didn’t want anyone to speak to me about it.

“It was like there was another person in my head, who was always telling me what to do.

“It’s like a lion versus a mouse – you can’t stop the lion taking over.”

Not wanting to upset her mum, Demi agreed to see a dietitian, but would drink litres of water to make it look like she was putting on weight.

She added: “The dietician made me a meal plan and told me to try to gain at least 1kg a week, or I might have to go into hospital.

“I attempted to eat a little bit more, but I would do anything to fake putting on weight, to avoid hospital.

“An hour before the appointment, I would drink litres and litres of water, so it seemed like I had put on weight.

“I know now how crazy that is, but at the time, it was what I thought I had to do.”


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A post shared by D E M I • 19 • ♋️ (@demi.rawling) on

Demi hit her lowest weight of 7st in 2015. She said: “It got to the point where I would look in the mirror and I was unrecognisable.

“I was stepping on the scales and realising just how low the numbers were.”

She put on half a stone and convinced herself she had recovered, but was still desperately thin.

Anorexia stopped sociable Demi going out with friends, and soon she was only interacting with people through YouTube make-up tutorials.

She said: “I felt like they were like friends, because I was so isolated.

“It was the only time I wasn’t consumed by my eating disorder. I wanted to make videos and work as a make-up artist.

“But, at 18, something just snapped and I realised that if I wanted the life I was envisioning, I couldn’t do it if I was sick, or if I had to spend all day in bed – too thin or depressed to do anything.

“I felt like I was wasting my life.”

After quitting ballet, Demi went vegan – but insists she now has a healthy relationship with food.

She said: “I don’t know what weight I am now, as I don’t weigh myself any more.”

Demi, who lives with her mum, now works as a make-up artist and produces YouTube videos.

She added: “Anorexia is such an all-consuming disorder, it doesn’t matter how concerned the people you love are, you can’t get better until you want to yourself.

“When it clicked for me that I was wasting my life, I finally wanted to change.

“Now I am in such a happy and healthy place  and I hope that my story can show other people going through this that there is hope.”

In related news, new Love Island contestant Kendall Rae-Knight has claimed she was pressured into having cosmetic surgery before entering the villa.

While this mum spends more than £13,000 on pageants, dresses and make-up to turn her shy daughter into a beauty queen.

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