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Norfolk model's stark warning after bulimia caused hernia

PUBLISHED: 12:06 08 March 2011 | UPDATED: 12:25 08 March 2011

Polly Guy wants to raise awareness of long-term problems relating to bulimia. She is recovering from a hernia operation.

Polly Guy wants to raise awareness of long-term problems relating to bulimia. She is recovering from a hernia operation.

Archant © 2011

A model has sent a stark warning to young girls battling bulimia after years of retching led to her tearing her stomach muscles.

"“At times I was puking up four or five times a day, from the age of 14 to 20. It started as anorexia and I went to the Phoenix Centre in Cambridge.
“But when I came out it developed into bulimia. For a long while I thought I was being quite crafty and it got to the point where I could very easily regurgitate.
“I was able to eat and drink and do whatever I wanted to do. It made me feel like I was in control, but I wasn’t, I was totally out of control.”"

Polly Guy

Polly Guy’s teenage life was blighted by the eating disorder. Now 28, she wants to raise awareness of how, even years later, it can lead to serious consequences and even a hernia.

The former City College Norwich student said: “At times I was puking up four or five times a day, from the age of 14 to 20. It started as anorexia and I went to the Phoenix Centre in Cambridge.

“But when I came out it developed into bulimia. For a long while I thought I was being quite crafty and it got to the point where I could very easily regurgitate.

“I was able to eat and drink and do whatever I wanted to do. It made me feel like I was in control, but I wasn’t, I was totally out of control.”

Miss Guy, who was adopted when she was four, says she could not pinpoint one particular reason why she first developed an eating disorder, but thinks she may have a genetic predisposition and that it may have been contributed to by peer pressure.

She said: “I really don’t know why, but I know my birth mum had anorexia, but I didn’t know that at the time.

“My family who adopted me have given me an incredibly stable and happy childhood but my early childhood was terrible and most abusive, and you just don’t know how that might have shaped me.”

Miss Guy says she stopped being regularly sick when she was 20, but admits that since she started modelling in her mid-20s there were a few occasions when she returned to old habits out of pressure to look good.

But it was only when Miss Guy recently fell ill with a bug that the stomach muscles weakened by years of retching finally gave way and she was left in agony from a three- to four-centimeter
para-umbilical hernia.

The former Hobart High School pupil said: “I have probably spent more years abusing my body than being healthy. I never in a million years thought I could rip my stomach apart from puking up.”

Miss Guy has now had keyhole surgery to repair the hernia and is recuperating at the family home in Bergh Apton.

She said: “I want people, expecially young girls and boys, to realise that you can’t spend years getting away with it.

“Young people want to look like people they see in the media, but they need to know that so much of it is false advertising, because how are they looking like that?”

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk.

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