Sophie’s in the running to help tackle eating disorders

March 04 2019
Sophie’s in the running to help tackle eating disorders

Sophie Mitchell battled with anorexia throughout all her teenage life. In 2016, she was given an ultimatum to make drastic changes otherwise face not reaching her 20th birthday.

by Rebecca Day
Sophie Mitchell battled with anorexia throughout all her teenage life. In 2016, she was given an ultimatum to make drastic changes otherwise face not reaching her 20th birthday.
Now, the 22-year-old from Filton is living a healthy and happy life, and raising thousands of pounds for eating disorder charity Beat.
Sophie’s next big challenge is running the Edinburgh Marathon, for which she is aiming to raise £600, and she is calling on Filton folk for their support.
As part of her fundraising, she also wants to raise more awareness of the illness, which can be fatal, and hopes to inspire others that recovery is possible.
Sophie's previous fundraising initiatives have included a sponsored head shave, a 15,000ft skydive and a bungee jump. To date, she has raised an astounding £3,597.88 for Beat.
 Sophie said: “I want to show those who are suffering with eating disorders that recovery isn't as scary as it seems and that you can live a happy, healthy life and achieve the unthinkable.
"I want to raise awareness about how powerful an illness anorexia is and the importance of seeking help straight away. I don't want anyone to go through what I did.
“Having anorexia affected everything - I used to play lots of sports and had to stop all of that. It impacted on my GCSEs and I had to drop out of college numerous times. I also celebrated my 16th birthday in hospital.
“My self-esteem was rock bottom, my motivation was non-existent and genuinely felt that I didn’t deserve to be happy. But this is just not the case – everyone deserves to be just that.”
Anorexia is a serious mental illness, where sufferers - through fear of weight gain - try to keep their weight as low as possible through restricting food or exercising excessively.
The disorder can affect anyone, at any age, with sufferers often having a distorted view of their bodies.
Sophie explained that she never saw a way out of the eating disorder – she had numerous wake-up calls, including losing a friend to the illness, but she was firmly in its grips.
But in 2016, Sophie met personal trainer, Joanna Nowak, who helped her on the road to recovery. Three years on, Sophie says that Joanna has not only saved her life, but has given her a life she never thought existed.
Sophie said: “It’s been a long hard journey but because of Joanna, I have my confidence, happiness, health and motivation back. In the first eight months, Joanna got me focusing on the nutrition in food rather than the calories and slowly started adding food into my diet, which was very hard. But she is so positive, empathetic, calm and approachable, which is what kept me going.
"After a while, those nutrients went into my body, into my mind and it was then I started to really believe for the first time ever that I can beat this.
“It was when I went out for a meal after passing my driving test that I realised I was getting better – I challenged myself to eat a number of things off the menu. I was expecting to feel awful about it, but when I got home, I realised that I didn’t have any of those intrusive thoughts that I’d be having for all those years. It was awesome.”
Sophie will be running the Edinburgh Marathon on May 26. To support Sophie in crossing the line, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sophie-Mitchell25
Sophie also runs a Facebook page, ‘Sophie Mitchell – Anorexia Survivor & Fundraiser for Beat’, to inspire and motivate others who may be suffering.
For more information about Beat, visit: www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk.