Dawn Porter cut a curvy - not to say, healthy - size 12 figure before she went on a crash "size zero" diet in a bid to understand the craze for skinniness among many young women. Here she charts her mood swings, loss of sex drive and ceaseless hunger, in a diary of her weight loss.
DAY ONE, 10 NOVEMBER 2006
I started to cut down a bit over the past few days, but today is officially "Day One" and already I am regretting starting this. I am on a plane to LA, where we intend to investigate the size zero phenomena.
I have been awake for 10 hours and all I have eaten is a banana, two rice cakes, a few slices of red pepper and four tiny pieces of chicken that I fished out of the casserole they gave me, and which I wiped on a serviette to get off all the sauce.
I feel utterly miserable. So starving and I can't sleep. I feel like everyone is watching me because I sponged my chicken and I want to batter the woman sitting across from me who has been eating Kettle Chips since we left London. Starting to realise what I have let myself in for and feel very scared. This is bad, and this is just the beginning.
Up at 6.30am, working out what I can eat today on caloriescounter.com. I dreamt about food all night, and woke up feeling horribly guilty.
I ordered breakfast - a coffee, melon and a yogurt. Ate a spoonful of yogurt and half the half of melon. I am sure I can feel it banging around in my stomach. So empty, feel so moody, very pre menstrual but don't usually get PMT. Finding it really tough to focus and be upbeat. I find my concentration just goes and that I want to yawn all the time. I am really scared about how I am physically going to get through the next few months.
Lunch was a tuna salad - I had a few salad leaves and about two mouthfuls of tuna. This is ridiculous. Getting addicted to coffee as well. It suppresses my hunger, for about 5 minutes.
Went to a really nice sushi place for dinner. It was hell. Sushi is my favourite food but I couldn't over do it. Edamame is a high calorie veg, fish is oily, rice is bad. So I just had a few cucumber rolls, a couple of pieces of sashimi and a plain bowl of seaweed. So boring!
Back from LA, thank God. Menus were driving me insane. I just wanted to be home so that I could be in control of what I eat. Breakfast was three teaspoons of yogurt with eight blueberries. I added a small teaspoon of linseed because I am so constipated. I look like I am eight months pregnant. I haven't weighed myself but I imagine I am getting close to ten stone, despite my massive belly. I noticed my shoulders look more angular this morning when I got out the shower. I quite like it. I just look a little more defined. Ten stone has always been my ideal weight.
Lunch was a tiny baked sweet potato with a teaspoon of reduced fat hummus. I also had a couple of slices of cucumber. I had some writing to do today but I kept having to have little naps, just so sleepy all the time. I have no idea how people do this and hold down jobs.
The inside of my mouth is all sore. I have been chewing it. I know I need to exercise but I just cant find the energy. I went for a walk but kept having to sit down as I felt so dizzy. I put my bike away for the winter, far too scared to ride it.
Dinner was a small piece of baked cod, with alfalfa sprouts, no dressing.
Came to bed at about 10.30 because I was so tired. It is now 3am and I am still wide awake. This insomnia is killing me.
Up most of the night, today I had to get up to go see the doctor. She thought I had terrible concentration and seemed edgy. I showed her the inside of my mouth. It is full of ulcers. I caught myself chewing it - my body is trying to eat itself!
She took my blood pressure, and it worried her. She also took blood and I have worryingly low magnesium and potassium levels. Oh joy, the illness is starting to kick in. But at least I am getting skinny.
I had a couple of rice cakes for lunch and then a personal training session. I was dreading it. I have been working out most days but it is getting harder. My ears pop, like I have just got off a plane - apparently that is because of my low blood pressure. It makes me fall over and scares the hell out of my trainer.
I am used to being so fit and really going for it when I work out. This is just frustrating and makes me feel really depressed afterwards.
Breakfast was yogurt and blueberries, probably about 110 calories. I went back to bed because I physically couldn't stay awake. At 1pm I had half a small tin of beans and two Ryvita.
I spent loads of time looking in the mirror today. Could do with toning up, but size wise, I really like it. I want to stop here and maintain this, but I cant. I have to keep going. Losing more weight is starting to hurt. My body just doesn't want to. My boobs are quite a lot smaller and not so full.
I am in bed really analysing why people want to be so thin. I can't find logic in it. It is absolutely ridiculous that it is so important!
I had a date with a guy I date a lot and we always have an amazing time. But not last night.
I came straight from the gym so was really shaky, as I had only eaten a few salady bits all day. I wasn't drinking and he was, so I had a coffee. But that made me really tetchy.
I insisted we went for dinner, where I ordered some chicken and some lettuce leaves - of which I ate very little. He told me after we had eaten that he was a bit scared. I had been snapping at him all night and been really quite aggressive. He said all I talked about was food and calories and that I was a totally different person.
I feel really upset that I am like this, but I can't help it. I am not in control of my mood swings and attitude and I feel like I am always upsetting people. He came back to mine. It would appear that my sex drive has run away with my personality as well. I feel so unhappy! Whose body am I in?
DAY 40 - CHRISTMAS DAY
Woke up about 8am, the house stank of food. Aunty was preparing half a pig and toast for breakfast. I shoved past and got some melon out of the fruit bowl.
I had to sort my attitude out - I didn't want to be so moody and horrible but I just couldn't help it.
We opened presents and I worked hard to ignore all the smoked salmon and champagne that was floating around. I hated every second of it.
At lunch time I had a small slice of turkey and some steamed veg. It was rubbish. When everyone else made their way through cheese, pudding, coffee, chocolate, I sat in front of the telly on my own feeling like life was pointless. I was so down, I just wanted Christmas to be over.
I have hated the last few weeks. Everyone is so bloody happy and I feel the worst of my life. From my view point every body is being hysterical and needs to calm down.
The end is in sight, thank Goodness. I think I am dying. I walked to my training session at 8.30am but I was so exhausted my trainer (who has struggled with this project from the start) refused to make me work out. So we sat and had a coffee.
My body is so weak it won't let me exercise anymore. Any energy it is getting must be just enough to keep it going. I am always so cold, even when other people are boiling hot. My skin looks all purple and I just shiver all the time.
Still so hungry. Why hasn't that gone away? The hunger hurts, it keeps me up at night and is embarrassing because it groans so loudly. I feel like my body is giving up on me, and I am so frustrated because I cant do any of the things I usually do. I keep calling my sister and just crying.
I am trying to be logical, I know it will be over soon, but I just feel such a deep sadness. I weigh about nine and a quarter stone. I look in the mirror and know I probably look good, but I feel so horrid that I don't care. I want my tummy, boobs and life back.
The final day has come. I am petrified. I haven't weighted myself in weeks. So much depends on the result of this final weigh in, for the sake of the film alone it needs to be dramatic. And for the sake of my sanity - to prove to myself that I have succeeded.
Just left the doctors. I lost 17Ibs and 50% of my body fat. I have gone from a healthy BMI of 22, to an unhealthy 19.
Just half a stone lighter and I would be banned from the catwalk in Madrid. But still, I was disappointed. Seventeen pounds just seemed so rubbish. However my doctor reassured me. My body didn't want or need to lose weight. I forced it to. It took me a while but then I felt better.
The fact that I was so ill and weak proved enough of a point. It is over. I can eat. Oh my god I can eat! I am having a dinner party tonight for my friends, cooking cottage pie and loads of other stuff. I have got hummus to start and cake for dessert and I am going to eat the lot. I don't care if I get fat for a bit - I deserve it!
Super Slim Me: A Mischief Special is on BBC Three, Wednesday, 7 February at 2100 GMT.