an Oh Myyy Property

Drastically thin and eating just a fifth of the daily calories recommended by the National Health Service (NHS), an IT consultant who was consumed by the slimming disease anorexia nervosa said being told she may never have children finally jolted her out of her terrifying addiction.


Putting herself under immense pressure to succeed after moving to London in 2008, Donna Grenfell, now 32, convinced herself that only “skinny and beautiful" people were high achievers – and in 2009 she started skipping meals.

By 2011, she had fallen from 10st to just 7st 6lb which, at 5ft 6in, made her body mass index (BMI) 16.8 – with the NHS advising that anything below 17.5 is an indicator of anorexia.

Donna when she was younger PA Real Life/Collect

Then, in 2014, when her hair started falling out, she saw her GP, who said her fertility was also being seriously threatened by her plummeting weight.

Realizing the pressure of living in the capital had triggered her slimming addiction, Donna moved to Manchester, where she found love, gained weight and on August 15, 2018, gave birth to the baby boy she had feared she would never have.

She said:

“After moving to London I started to believe that the only way to be successful was to be stick thin and weigh next to nothing."

Donna embraced eating for two when she fell pregnant with AlfiePA Real Life/Collect

“Before I knew it was having one meal a day, or none at all if I knew I would be eating out with friends or colleagues the same week," she added.

“But, when I finally saw a doctor about my hair loss and she sat me down and told me I was malnourished and that it wasn't just my hair that was feeling the results of it – my fertility would be too, it was the reality check I needed."
“I'd always wanted to be a mum and I knew after that I couldn't carry on as I was – I needed to find a new job and move out of London."

Now a proud mum to Alfie Chicot, Donna insisted she never set out to be anorexic but, as her anxiety over succeeding increased, she became increasingly hooked on slimming.

She said:

“It started out as a lifestyle overhaul. I got into running every other morning and was eating healthier than ever."
“But as more and more people complimented me on my weight loss, the thinner I got."

Donna when she was youngerPA Real Life/Collect

As well as running 10km each day, she started calorie counting – beginning with 1,000 calories a day – half the 2,000 recommended for woman to maintain a healthy weight by the NHS.

But, by 2011, she was restricting herself to just 400 calories a day and her weight dropped drastically to 7st 6lb.

Explaining how she motivated herself not to eat, she said:

“I trained myself to get satisfaction from hunger pangs."

Donna has a much healthier relationship with food nowPA Real Life/Collect

“I would feel my under my ribs and my collarbone and it spurred me on to keep it up."

When friends and family expressed concern over her weight loss, Donna simply pushed them away.

“It seemed like no one understood about mental health back then, people just assumed I was being self-absorbed," she said.

Donna added:

“I couldn't control what other people thought about but I did have control over my weight – so I latched onto that."
“I honestly felt that it didn't matter if I lost friends and family along the way. If I kept the weight off, I felt like I was achieving something."

But years of starving herself started to wreak havoc on Donna's system and she saw a doctor when her hair began to fall out.

Donna when she was youngerPA Real Life/Collect

To her horror, she was told that if she did not start to put weight back on, her hair would continue to fall out and she risked seriously damaging her chances of having children.

“It was a real wake up call," she said.

“If I didn't change my relationship with food, I could end up feeling the repercussions for the rest of my life."

Realising the pressure and loneliness she had felt living in London had triggered what she now knew was anorexia after talking to a friend, in mid- 2014, she moved back to Manchester, saying she has “never looked back."

Donna and her son, AlfiePA Real Life/Collect

She said:

“Just before I moved away from London, I told my housemate at the time about my eating disorder, and that was the first step admitting I had a problem – I wasn't just a skinny girl – I had anorexia."

Then, after she began seeing Darren Chicot, 53, an IT consultant, who she met through mutual friends, in December 2015, they started dating and his love and support banished her anorexic feelings for good.

Donna said:

“Meeting Darren was the real turning point for me."

She continued:

“Knowing I was appreciated for who I was started to rub off on me and really boosted my self-worth."

As their love grew over the next two years, Donna steadily gained weight, as she increased her food intake to a healthier 1800 calories a day.

As she reached 9st 6lb – the heaviest she had been in years – she was thrilled to discover she was pregnant.

Donna embraced eating for two when she fell pregnant with AlfiePA Real Life/Collect

“On Darren's birthday, December 9, I'd felt ill all evening," she said.

“That's when I clocked that my period was a few days late, so I ran straight to the pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test – which was positive."
“We were both absolutely shocked that it had happened so quickly, it did seem like an extra special birthday gift… but it also didn't seem real."
“Darren definitely didn't believe it until the 15-week scan when we actually saw the foetus on the screen, after that we went back to our place and celebrated properly."

Donna and her partner, DarrenPA Real Life/Collect

She continued:

“After being told I might never be able to have children, it was music to my ears."

Initially concerned that putting on weight during her pregnancy might cause a relapse of her anorexia, Donna informed her doctor and midwife, and was given regular mental health check-ups in person and over the phone.

Luckily, Donna found the pregnancy had a positive impact on her relationship with food.

“I knew that the most important thing was eating healthily for the life growing inside me," she added.

Giving birth to Alfie on August 15 at Manchester Royal Infirmary, weighing 8lb 6oz, after a natural labour, Donna was discharged the very next day with her new baby.

After settling into life as a mum, still weighing 12st 6lb when Alfie was three months old, Donna wanted to lose her baby weight healthily.

Donna and her partner, DarrenPA Real Life/Collect

So, in November 2018, she joined the personal training programme, Ultimate Performance, a gym that specializes in strength and conditioning training, and set up a personal regime involving three weekly hour-long workout sessions.

She said:

“I feel like my attitude to food and exercise has been rebuilt from the ground up."
“I want to fuel my body to keep up with the increase in my fitness and to do that I'm eating at least 1,800 calories a day."

Donna and her partner, Darren (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added:

“My goal has been to lose weight and gain muscle and I can really see the benefits when I look in the mirror."

Now, with Alfie's first birthday approaching, Donna is grateful to have been given a second chance and hopes her story will encourage other people struggling with eating disorders to seek help.

“My main advice to anyone struggling with anorexia – or any other eating disorder – would be to tell someone you trust," she said.

Donna and her son, AlfiePA Real Life/Collect

“Eating disorders are about control and keeping them a secret helps the entire problem spiral out of control," Donna concluded.

“To anyone who thinks eating disorders are for life, I'm proof that you can turn it around, and have a normal relationship with food."
“It's hard work but it's possible."

We're all self-conscious about something, and it doesn't help when our faults get thrown in our faces. You don't want doctors hinting that something is "weird down there," nor do you want someone to tell you you're balding. WE KNOW.

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel

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Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.

calypsodweller

We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.

cookiearthquake

A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest

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Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.

FrankDrakman

Damn! That's smart. Wow.

fangxx456

Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.

DankeyKang11

The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.

oddstodd

Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.

Subwoofy

I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed

draculacletus

Sleeping Beauty

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I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.

DrMethusael

Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.

All-Seeing_Elon

I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.

smerter

A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.

Augumenti

This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.

blackbird77

Put This To The Taste

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My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.

turkeypr0

So what was the candy?

Poster_Main

Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."

turkeypr0

This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.

GodOfTheThunder

The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"

NO!

"Does it go on my head?"

NO! IT GOES ON ME!

"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"

NO!

"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"

NO!

[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.

insertcaffeine

Some Foot For Thought.

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My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.

Splittsky

That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.

PJQueen

Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.

SheaRVA

I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.

laik72

This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.

Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.

AppealToReason16

The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'

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I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.

pedanticProgramer

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