A woman has undergone an incredible transformation after battling anorexia

·4-min read

A woman who ate almost nothing but lettuce, tomatoes and apples for two years won her battle against anorexia after being told she looked "too weak" to get a job. 

Mai Kerivel, a 25-year-old French teacher, starved herself down to just 73 pounds (33kg) but is now at a healthy weight of 120 pounds (54kg). 

At her thinnest she was weak and emaciated. 

"I ate no protein and drank a lot of water. My diet was very extreme" recalled Mai, who is 5' 4" inches tall. 

"On an average day, I'd eat some lettuce, maybe some tomatoes and apples. 

"I was weighing everything. I weighed my lettuce and tomatoes.

"I was even freaked out about eating tomatoes because of the sugar." 

She began to dramatically reduce her food intake at age 17, when her family moved to Vietnam from France. 

"In Vietnam girls are pretty skinny. It's just in their genes," said Mai, who who currently lives Ho Chi Minh City. 

"I was feeling really fat compared to everyone. 

"When you're 17 years old it's really easy to get into the mindset of wanting to be skinnier and skinnier.

"But when I got there I was already skinny. I was around 95 pounds. 

"In less than six months I lost 22 pounds but I still saw myself as fat compared to everyone else." 

In 2014 Mai left Vietnam to live in Melbourne, Australia for a year. The experience changed her body image dramatically. 

"In Australia, people aren't so naturally skinny," she said. 

"That's when I realized I was not at a healthy weight.

"I couldn't find a job because no one would hire me because of my weight.

"I was applying in coffee shops and bakeries and restaurants.

"They'd tell me I looked too weak for the job or that I should come back when I gain some weight.

"I don't blame them. I looked sick." 

After failing to find work, Mai knew it was time for a change and within six months she had completely reversed her diet.

"I started eating normally again when I was in Australia. 

"Anorexic girls, when we start to eat again, we will gain a lot of weight. 

"I gained weight quickly and in about eight months I weighed around 120 pounds.

"The weight all went to my face and my belly. The weight doesn't go where you want it to of course. 

"In order to combat this, I started boxing classes and I lost five pounds of fat very quickly.

In the last three years Mai has been going to the gym almost everyday,  lifting weights and doing cardio to stay fit. 

"I eat more than my friends and I go to the gym more than most of them.

"I don't eat meat, but for breakfast I'll eat egg whites and sweet potatoes. 

"For lunch it'll be something like pho and dinner will usually be stir fry veggies." 

Despite her miraculous recovery Mai is still dealing with health issues related to her anorexia.

"When you're very skinny, you destroy your metabolism. 

"Your metabolism won't come back to normal even if you get healthy.

"It's very easy for me to gain weight. 

"My hair doesn't look the same as it did before because it was falling out when I was anorexic. 

"Menstruation also stops when you're anorexic.

"It comes back, but It'd be very hard for me to get pregnant. I didn't menstruate for three years." 

Mai now feels like she has finally put her anorexia behind her. 

"When I was very skinny my dating life was zero," she said. 

"I didn't date anyone at all when I was anorexic. Now I have a boyfriend. 

"We've been together since I recovered. 

"He's a personal trainer so it's very convenient." 

Her advice to anyone suffering with anorexia is: "No one is perfect and being skinny isn't something that will make you perfect.

"They should detach themselves from how people see them. 

"They should stop living for people's opinion and stop controlling themselves.

"Also, eating one real meal won't make you obese. Recovery is all about taking small steps every day."