An anorexic whose weight plummeted to four stone after she got addicted to diet pills has spoken out about the dangers following the death of tragic student Ella Parry.
Amber Girling, 20, was a healthy nine stone when girls at her school started picking on her curvy figure when she was aged 17.
She started dieting and exercising three days a week but when she didn’t lose weight fast enough she turned to slimming pills.
Within months she had ramped up her gym sessions to seven days a week and was eventually consuming just 200 calories a day – eating cotton balls soaked in orange juice and ice.
Pretty Amber was soon necking up to 90 pills a WEEK – a concoction of four different types bought online and in High Street shops.
She was suffering excruciating stomach pains while her skin was telling yellow.
Her worried sister Demi, 22, eventually confronted Amber and drove her to hospital where she forced her to confront her eating disorder and addiction.
After a five month stay at a specialist clinic healthy Amber was discharged weighing eight stone and hasn’t touched the pills since.
She has spoken out following the death of Ella Parry, 21, who “burned up from the inside” after swallowing highly-toxic diet pills bought off the internet.
Amber, from Chatham, Kent, said: “I wanted to lose weight fast, so I began searching for a quick fix.
“All these dieting pills came up on the internet search results and promised fast results by suppressing your appetite and speeding up your metabolism.
“They seemed like the answer to all my problems.
“I want to make people aware of the dangers.
“You can go buy them on the high street like sweets, it’s so easy, they seem like the answer you’re looking for.
“But they’re not – I nearly lost my life – I want people to think twice before resorting to slimming pills.”
Shop assistant Amber wasn’t worried about her weight until girls at school started to make comments about her looks and what she was eating.
Amber recalled: “I’d never really watched what I ate, until a group of girls started picking on me in college.
“Whenever I went to the canteen, they’d follow me and watch what I ate.
“I’d have a plate of pasta in front of me, and they’d say ‘oooh, wouldn’t be eating that if I were you’.
“When I walked past them, I’d overhear them saying I was fat.
“At first I tried to ignore them, but it hurt.
“I began dieting and going to the gym three times a week but nothing was happening – I didn’t seem to be slimming down.”
Amber ordered capsules from online shops as well as high street chemists, unaware of the dangers.
“It didn’t cross my mind that they weren’t safe because after all I was shopping on a reputable website,” she said.
She started taking just a couple a day, but quickly began taking more, increasing her gym sessions to seven days a week until she became too tired to exercise.
She said: “I hardly had any energy.
“All I was eating a day was some cotton balls soaked in orange juice and on days when even that was too much, I resorted to sucking an ice cube.”
Despite throwing up on a daily basis, suffering from excruciating stomach pains and watching her skin turn yellow, Amber denied her addiction.
She said: “Mum noticed I was being sick and took me to the GP, but I couldn’t bear the thought of them taking away the tablets so I kept it a secret.”
Amber’s weight dropped to four stone and after she refused to eat a home cooked meal, her sister Demi drove her to accident and emergency.
She was admitted to an eating disorder unit for treatment in May last year and was discharged five months later.
“I’d relied on them for so long – they were like my little friends – but I reminded myself how much I was hurting my family,” said Amber.
“Even though the slimming tablets are so easily available on the high street I haven’t been near them again.
“They might seem like a quick fix, but they’re not the answer.”