WARNING: This article contains images which some readers may find distressing “I never asked for help because I never felt I needed it even when my weight dropped to just seven stone.”
Kasey McCormack, (18), from Tralee, won the Miss Kerry competition last week, and has opened up to the Sunday World on how, amazingly, Covid helped her win her brave battle.
She said, '”When I was growing up I was always comparing myself to others and my self confidence was very low, almost non existent in fact, I was never satisfied with how I looked and always felt I was overweight even though I wasn't.
“So I decided eating less was the way to go, which looking back now I accept was completely daft of me.
'When I started secondary school at the Presentation in Tralee I would regularly faint in class and even one morning at assembly I actually fainted on top of another girl, she started screaming the place down because she didn't know what was wrong with me.
"I was eating, don't get me wrong, I just wasn't eating enough or eating properly, funnily enough I would always eat a good breakfast but even though my mum, Gail, used to make me lovely lunches for school I would just throw it away.
“I did eat plenty of fruit but I wasn't taking in the amount of calories that I needed to get through the day, my mum is a nurse and was often at work when I arrived home so it was easy enough to avoid having any dinner.
“I never asked for help because I never felt I needed it even when my weight dropped to just seven stone, I thought what I was doing was normal, I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, even when I kept fainting.
'In second year at school I was admitted to hospital as nobody could figure out why I kept collapsing and when they worked it out they told mum that the reality was unless I changed, I would die.
“She didn't tell me that at the time though I only found that out later.”
Even a holiday abroad with friends saw Kasey hit the deck once more.
“We were in Benidorm and I fainted in our hotel bar, it was actually the hotel where the TV show, Benidorm was filmed, and I ended up coming home with a belter of a black eye.
“Then two years ago when Covid hit I finally saw sense, it dawned on me that if I caught it my body was too weak to fight it so I started eating properly for the first time and my life has completely turned around.”
And the new Kasey even plucked up the courage to enter for Miss Kerry.
“The guy who runs the event had been on at me for ages to enter but I was always like, 'Nah not for me', but when I started to get healthier I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and give it a go.
“Before now I would never have the confidence to do that and I was incredibly nervous for the whole event.
'My dad Declan used to do boxing so he kept encouraging me to hit the gym and that helped massively when I did it, my weight shot up to around ten stone which is healthy and right for me, I felt like I was ready for the challenge.
“There were three sections in it where you had to wear sportswear, wear your favourite clothes and wear a ball gown, I was shaking with nerves for all of them but now on August 17 in Castlebar, I'm representing Kerry in Miss Ireland.
“My advice to any young woman with the same problem is simple, you can beat it, just start to eat slowly, take it one day at a time, trust me on this it is worth it.”
If you have been affected by the issues in this article, you can contact Bodywhys helpline contact number: 01 2107906 or email any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The helpline is open Monday, Wednesday and Sunday 7.30pm-9.30pm and Saturday 10.30am-12.30pm.