Stunning woman who became anorexic after breaking up with a boyfriend manages to beat illness – and is in the running to be crowned Miss England

A stunning beauty queen has revealed how she was plagued by anorexia – after she became obsessed with fitness apps after splitting up with a boyfriend.

Holly Desai, 23, from Leicester, suffered from anorexia after obsessing about calorie-counting apps on her phone, after ending a three-year relationship in 2010.

Holly at beauty pageant (L) and Holly promoting awareness of eating disorders (R)

Holly at beauty pageant (L) and Holly promoting awareness of eating disorders (R)

Incredibly, doctors told her she ‘wasn’t thin enough’ for them to help her, with one even telling her to ‘eat another sandwich’ after the 5ft 8in fitness fanatic lost more than two stone in just a few months – taking her weight down to almost seven stone.

And after developing bulimia too, she eventually found the courage to turn to her mum for help – and has not only managed to beat her demons, but is now also in the running to be crowned Miss England.

Holly said: “I look back on what I used to be like, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. When I was in the grip of an eating disorder, I didn’t see how I would ever come through it, but I’m living proof that things can get better.

Holly Desai (R) during her anorexia years

Holly Desai (R) during her anorexia years

“I was a healthy weight before I started dieting, but I’d always been into fitness. When I ended a long-term relationship, I wanted to find something to focus on, so I downloaded a calorie counting app and thought I would try to be super healthy.

“But I became obsessed with counting calories and logging my exercise. I would feel like a failure if I went over my calorie allowance for the day. It wasn’t a healthy way to live.

“When doctors told me I wasn’t thin enough for their help, I heard that as them saying I should lose more weight.

“Because I developed bulimia, I didn’t become skeletal like some people with eating disorders do, but I was still very ill. My periods stopped and I was constantly freezing cold.

Holly during her anorexic years

Holly during her anorexic years

“It was my mum who I finally opened up to, and she helped me start to have a healthy relationship with food again. I’m now a healthy nine and a half stone, just about the weight that I started at.

“I want to use my experience to help other girls going through the same thing, and being involved in Miss England and Miss Leicester has given me the opportunity to do that.

Holly’s eating disorder had become about maintaining control of her weight and she was devoted to losing more, despite being well under the healthy weight for her 5ft 8ins.

Holly said: “I remember thinking if I got to a certain weight I would be happy, but when I got to it I didn’t feel happy. I was still miserable.

Holly is now fit and healthy

Holly is now fit and healthy

“It became more than just about how I looked. It was about control.

“Feeling like I didn’t have control over certain aspects of my life meant I controlled other things, such as food and exercise.

“For me, it involved watching the scale go down. It became my entire focus.

“Work suffered and I didn’t want to go out with friends as I wanted to avoid social situations involving food.”

Holly Desai with her Beat charity T Shirt

Holly Desai with her Beat charity T Shirt

Holly’s parents became so concerned that they took her to see the doctor, but in a cruel twist of fate starving Holly was told she wasn’t ill enough to receive treatment.

Holly said: “I was told to keep a food diary and exercise a bit less. I think if someone had intervened then it might not have got worse.

“I was finding it very hard to maintain my weight as it was too low for me, so I started to make myself sick.

“I felt so out of control, even though I was doing it to be in control. But it was a vicious circle. Once I got into the habit it was really hard to break.

PIC FROM LEICESTER MERCURY / CATERS NEWS - (Miss Leicestershire Holly Desai.) A stunning beauty queen has revealed how she was plagued by anorexia - after she became obsessed with fitness apps after splitting up with a boyfriend. Holly Desai, 23, from Leicester, suffered from anorexia after obsessing about calorie-counting apps on her phone, after ending a three-year relationship in 2010. Incredibly, doctors told her she wasnt thin enough for them to help her, with one even telling her to eat another sandwich after the 5ft 8in fitness fanatic lost more than two stone in just a few months - taking her weight down to almost seven stone. And after developing bulimia too, she eventually found the courage to turn to her mum for help - and has not only managed to beat her demons, but is now also in the running to be named Miss England. Holly said: I look back on what I used to be like, I cant believe how far Ive come. When I was in the grip of an eating disorder, I didnt see how I would ever come through it, but Im living proof that things can get better. I was a healthy weight before I started dieting, but Id always been into fitness. When I ended a long-term relationship, I wanted to find something to focus on, so I downloaded a calorie counting app and thought I would try to be super healthy. SEE CATERS COPY.

Miss Leicestershire Holly Desai

“A lot of people have said that it isn’t a good idea for me to enter a Miss England competition, given my history, but it’s been really helpful to me.

“I was crowned Miss Leicester last year, and in my role, I’ve had to do loads of public speaking, meeting new people, and it’s given me so much confidence.

“It’s helped so much in my recovery and this year I hope I can be crowned overall winner!”

Holly competes in the Miss England finals that will be held this Friday.