Margherita Barbieri is only 18 years old, but she has already lived through quite a few ups and downs. Thankfully she is willing to share her experience in hopes that she might help others who find themselves in similar situations.
Margherita, originally from Reading, England, aspired to be a ballet dancer. However, her strict dance instructors told her they thought her curvy body was unsuitable for ballet. They commented that she had "thick thighs." Margherita was upset and embarrassed by their comments, so she began a restrictive diet to lose some weight.
Margherita didn't want her body to get in the way of her dreams, so she cut back on eating until she was only consuming 140 calories a day. She also regularly fasted, not eating anything at all for days. Her body responded and she lost half her entire body weight in just 12 months, dropping from 110 to 55 lbs. She admitted that her teacher's comments made her hate her body, "My weight was perfectly fine, but I didn't realize it then, I was determined to become a better dancer so I started over-exercising without eating anything at all. I began to enjoy punishing my body and I fell in love with hating myself."
Margherita struggled for years with the eating disorder anorexia until she finally found a way to break the cycle. As her eating habits improved so too did her appearance and overall health. She made a list of 200 foods that she was "scared of" due to their high number of calories; both butter and chocolate made the list. Little by little she introduced each of them into her diet, crossing out those foods she was able to allow herself to eat again. Her weight rose steadily until she returned to her more natural weight of 110 lbs.
Margherita now feels healthier and more beautiful than ever. She has quit ballet in the meantime, realizing it was unhealthy for her body. Her passion is now dancing in musicals, where she feels much more at ease. Margherita also has quite a presence on social media and advises all those who follow her to "learn to love your body and yourself, have a good relationship with food. Anorexia is a powerful illness that is often life threatening, I am so lucky that I chose to recover in time.”
Unfortunate comments about her body triggered a nightmare that tormented Margherita for years, but luckily she managed to overcome the disorder and regain control of her life. This story of overcoming voices of criticism is a great reminder to never let anyone else define you.