PEOPLE USED TO LAUGH AT ME: BUT NOT ANYMORE
WOMAN'S OWN|May 11, 2021
Alida Dreyer, 28, was caught in a binge-eating trap she thought she’d never be free from
FRANCES LEATE, LUCY BRYANT.

Pounding up the stairs, I crept into my room and closed my door quietly, checking for any sounds of my parents on the landing. Slowly zipping open my school bag and pulling out a multipack of crisps and two chocolate bars, I pulled up my mattress and stuffed them underneath, ready to gorge on later.

It was April 2008 and aged 15, that was my after-school routine spending my pocket money on treats from the local shop or supermarket then hiding them in my bedroom before eating everything I’d bought after dinner.

Mum had no idea about my nightly picnics, but she must have suspected something was up because I was already a size 16-18, and weighed around 17th. I was so overweight that my school uniform had to be specially made and Mum would sometimes ask what I’d eaten that day for lunch or suggest I join her for a walk. ‘No thanks,’ I’d smile, heading to my room, excited about eating my evening snacks.

I didn’t like being big, but eating was a way to comfort myself. At school, the girls would make fun of me behind my back, and the boys pretended they fancied me for a dare. ‘As if I’d want to go out with you,’ they’d laugh later as I’d try to hide my bright red cheeks, mortified.

STRUGGLING

Leaving school, I got a job as a nanny and because I’d always loved children and dreamt about one day being a mum myself, I enjoyed every minute of it. Only, it gave me more disposable income, and after work I’d order a huge pizza, garlic bread and a whole cheesecake for myself. By the time I reached my 21st birthday in February 2013, I had no idea how much I weighed or what size I was, but I was struggling to nd clothes that fitted me, even in plus-size shops.

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