Dating nightmare stories

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When I told friends and family about the experiment they were shocked.

Typical reactions were "What are you doing that for?

Scroll down for more The women who are doing it are already only size 10 or 12 (much thinner than the average British size 16) and some are upsettingly young.

I thought – perhaps naively – that I could help these people by getting across the message that it's not healthy.

From day one, I cut out sugar, caffeine, dairy and alcohol completely, and carbs after breakfast.

I was also getting up at 6am, when it was dark and cold, to exercise for an hour.

Lunch and dinner were restricted to a palm-size portion of protein and twice that in vegetables or salad.

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At something ridiculous like 150 calories a bowl, it didn't give me enough energy for my planned hour-a-day cardiovascular workout (some mornings I was too tired to lift my arms up to wash my hair or pull on my boots) so I reduced my exercise routine to a brisk 30-minute walk. My writing was not up to scratch, but I didn't have the energy to think and make it better. People said I was constantly frowning, as if something was wrong. My editor commented that she'd never employ someone in my state because she couldn't depend on me to carry out tasks independently. The only thing that made it excusable – just – was that everyone in the office knew what I was doing and why. Each time I saw the production company's doctor for my weekly checkup (he was also on call 24 hours a day if I needed him), he expressed surprise that I wasn't showing any major physical side effects – while in the same breath explaining how the body is fantastic at adapting itself.

Yet still some women (and some girls as young as six) are dieting to the extreme and seeing these famous stick insects as role models.

Not only does it scare and sadden me, but I'm also angry that women feel the need to punish their bodies in this way.

She dropped a stone in weight, but her life became a nightmare.

Here she relives her 'super skinny' experience and says why she would never go through it again We are constantly confronted with sensational images of super-skinny celebs and skeletal catwalk models.

Which is why, in January, I took part in a controversial diet experiment for a TV documentary, Super Skinny Me, to highlight the dangers of super-strict dieting and exercise regimes.

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