Teenager became bulimic after friend told her she looked ‘humongous’

Teenager who became bulimic after a family friend told her she looked ‘humongous’ lost NINE stone in just five month – and doctors warned her she had months to live

  • Caitlin Horrox, 19, battle with bulimia saw her lose nine stone in five months
  • The teenagers weight loss was triggered by a family friend who branded her fat
  • Doctor’s warned her she only had months to live if she continued to lose weight 
  • Caitlin now weighs 14 stone but has gum disease and anaemia because of it 

A makeup artist has revealed the horror of bulimia after losing nine stone in just five months when a family friend branded her ‘humongous’. 

Caitlin Horrox, 19, from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, who was a size 26 at the time, had previously struggled with body dysmorphia, but when a friend of the family called her ‘humongous’ at a Christmas party her mental health snowballed.

She admits that she ‘cried herself to sleep’ and her diet spiralled out of control – eating up to three takeaways a day while constantly making herself sick.

During the first half of this year, Caitlin dropped to a size 14 and often received compliments from pals, oblivious to the fact she was ill. 

Caitlin Horrox, 19 from Northern Ireland, went from weighing 23 stone to 14 stone in five months after she was told she looked ‘humongous’, a comment which left her crying for days

However she was stunned when doctors told her she had ‘a few months to live’ in April, which prompted her to get her condition under control.

Caitlin is now a healthy 14 stone but has been left with gum disease, anaemia, hair loss and a blood disorder and is urging others not to destroy their bodies with the disease.  

Caitlin said: ‘My bulimia was triggered at a party because a family friend had lost a lot of weight – maybe 10 stone.

‘She said “I used to be humongous like you Caitlin”. I died inside.’

The teenager from Northern Ireland now wears a dress size 14 after her battle with bulimia, but she has a string of medical conditions because of the eating disorder

 ‘That made me really sad. I balled for about four hours and cried myself to sleep. I decided then I was going to lose the weight.

‘I don’t know how much I weighed but the year before I was 23 stone, and I could have been heavier than that.

‘I’d always done diets and used to log what I’d eaten on an app.’

Caitlin’s bulimia saw her limit herself to 700 calories a day, and if she ate more she would make herself sick to purge her body of the extra meals she ate

‘When it said you’re supposed to eat 1,500 calories, I would then eat only 700 and if I ate more than that I would purge.

‘I then stopped the diet and started bingeing. It would get to the stage where I would be vomiting 10 times a day.

‘I would binge constantly, maybe two to three takeaways a day, because I was constantly starving.

‘I’d probably eat a Chinese or a pizza, and then just snack. Now I would just eat normally and have the odd takeaway now and then.’

Caitlin wept for hours and cried herself to sleep after her family friend commented on her weight, especially as the youngster had been battling with body dysmorphia for years

‘I’m still not thin, by any means, but that amount of weight to lose in such a short amount of time was scary.

‘Eating disorders don’t just affect people who are size zero. I thought only skinny people could have eating disorders, but that’s not the case.’

As Caitlin posted pictures to her 13,700 followers at the time, she began to receive hundreds of admiring comments praising her rapid weight loss, but people didn’t realise she was ill.

On Instagram, she would receive compliments from people saying ‘how can someone look so perfect?’ and ‘you look amazing, keep it up’, all while she was battling crippling bulimia.

Caitlin has been bombarded with praise from social media users who admire her rapid weight loss, although they do not realise her eating habits nearly killed her

Caitlin may have lost almost 10 stone in weight, but she now has anaemia, a blood disorder, gum disease and hair loss as a consequence of her eating disorder

Although she admits she was loving the attention, Caitlin was suffering with severe symptoms that meant she could ‘drop any minute’.

Last month, she was treated at Downe Hospital in her hometown for hypophosphatemia, which is a condition defined by low levels of phosphates in the blood.

In Caitlin’s case, this was due to repeated vomiting. Caitlin said: ‘I was loving life at this point because everyone was complimenting me.’

 Caitlin has credited her boyfriend Michael for helping her overcome bulimia, as she has insisted he was the only one to get through to her during the difficult time – not her mother or sister

Caitlin has shared messages she has received from people complimenting her on her transformation. One admitted they wanted to be bulimic to achieve the same results

Caitlin has admitted she was ‘loving life’ when she lost weight because she was being complimented by a lot of people, and constantly asked what the secret was 

‘It was really hard when people would ask me “How’ve you lost your weight?”

‘Some would even message me asking how I made myself sick. It was disgusting.

‘I think because I still look healthy, because I’m not underweight, people think it’s alright to ask, because my bones aren’t sticking out.

‘I wasn’t thinking of the negative side effects. I was just ruining my health when I look back on photos.’

The teen has been asked more explicit questions on exactly how she made herself sick during her battle with bulimia, much to her horror as she urged them not to follow in her footsteps

When Caitlin dropped to 14 stone her doctor told her she would not have long to live if she continued on the path and continued to lose weight by making herself sick

‘I now have gum disease, anaemia, hair loss and I have a blood disorder with low phosphates. I could basically drop any minute with that.

‘My mum had never seen me look worse. She would run her hand through my hair and I was losing it.

‘I’d lose handfuls of it. You can see at the sides of my hair where it has gone. I was hospitalised for it and that’s what proved to me that I needed to stop.’

Caitlin was hospitalised and given electrolytes to help replenish her body of the nutrients she lost from making her sick constantly in a bid to lose weight 

Caitlin said her mum would stroke her hair and clumps of her long locks would fall out, and she has insisted the sides of her hairline are where the hair loss is most noticable

‘The hospital did my bloods and said I had to drink water with electrolytes.

‘The doctor did actually say to me that I would have a few months to live.’

Now she is on the road to recovery after a shocking dose of reality, Caitlin plans to join the gym with her supportive boyfriend Michael, 21.


BEAT eating disorders explains the condition:

  • Bulimia is an eating disorder characterised by binge eating and purging [by self-induced vomiting and laxative abuse]
  • Symptoms may also include fear of putting on weight, fasting, mood changes, anxiety, tiredness, a sore throat, tummy pain and self-harming
  • Treatments can include therapy and medication
  • The condition typically develops during adolescence or early adulthood
  • Bulimia makes up 40 per cent of eating disorders in the UK
  • 75 per cent of those affected by eating disorders are female

She is hoping by posting frankly about her struggles, she will show others suffering with eating disorders that anyone can fall victim.

Caitlin said: ‘Day to day I’m proud of myself, but at the same time I still have tendencies and always will.

‘I’m now going to start the gym with my partner in the next few days as a positive way of staying healthy.

‘Before I couldn’t go. I was so drained because of the bulimia that I’d collapse.

‘Michael is the reason why I stopped it. He’s the one who finally got through to me.

‘No one’s ever been able to get it into my head – not my mum or my sister.

‘My message to people is that food will not hurt you, not eating will hurt you.

‘Don’t destroy your body for one you still won’t love.’



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