London: A 23-year-old Indian-origin woman is all set to vie for the prestigious Miss England beauty paegent.
Holly Desai is the reigning Miss Leicestershire and will be competing in the UK-wide contest tomorrow.
She recently spoke on her battle with anorexia and bulimia, two eating disorders.
She said that her position as a beauty queen has finally helped her fully recover from the eating disorder, dating back to 2010.
“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,” Desai told the ‘Daily Mirror’.
“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,” she said.
After her parents became concerned, they took her to see a doctor but were told she wasn’t “thin enough” for medical treatment.
She recalls: “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” she said.
It was after her break up with her long-term boyfriend that Desai decided to focus her energy on health and fitness.
But she soon found herself struggling with food and would make herself throw up whatever she ate and became bulimic.
She finally opened up to her mother about how bad things had become and sought her help with re-establishing a healthy relationship with food.
“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,” she said.