Penny Rankin

Dreaming of Doughnuts

(Eating Disorders: From Illness to Recovery)

NHS England statistics show an increasing number of young people being admitted to hospital for an eating disorder. While statistics tell one side of the story hearing from someone with lived experience really brings it home to others the impact that eating disorders can have on the individual.

From the age of 14 Penny suffered with an eating disorder which saw her severely restricting her food intake, obsessing about her body size and shape, and over exercising. The illness escalated on going to university as Penny employed increasingly more severe methods of controlling her low weight, and the visible signs of anorexia became impossible to hide. 

Following a complete breakdown in her physical and mental health, estrangement from family and friends, job loss and near homelessness, Penny entered rehab for anorexia and bulimia in 2007. After treatment she began prioritising her own recovery. Since then she has been free from her eating disorder which has afforded her the opportunity to rebuild her life unencumbered by food, weight, exercise and body obsession.

In educating young people through sharing her story, she hopes to raise awareness of these issues and prevent others experiencing the loneliness; judgements and marginalization that are all too often a feature of eating disorders. In doing so she will provide her audience with a message of strength and hope that recovery is achievable.

As an international Recovery Coach* she now offers support to individuals in early recovery. She feels passionately about helping others to lead healthy, happy lives free from eating disorders.

*Recovery coaches are people who can specifically help those with behavioural and/or addiction issues to improve their mental health and facilitate their recovery plans. Recovery coaches assist individuals in settling back into life after they have returned from intensive treatment or can be used to help someone understand their need for in-patient care. A recovery coach can help provide structure and accountability as well as give family members peace of mind knowing someone is supporting their loved one.

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