”The figure looking back at me was little more than a skeleton with just a thin layer of tissue paper for skin, drawn over the stick-like bones. I stood staring for a good couple of minutes, considering what I'd become. And my verdict? Brilliant, I thought. It's been worth every moment of all that hard work.”
Say the name Nikki Grahame and most people will remember the bubbly, highly strung and hugely entertaining Big Brother 7 contestant. Since leaving the Big Brother house, she has forged a successful career for herself in presenting and writing. Yet Nikki isn't just another reality television contestant and her life story is not like any other you will ever read.
From the age of eight until she was nineteen, Nikki battled anorexia nervosa but few cases have been quite as extreme as hers. Aged just eight and weighing just under three stone, Nikki was diagnosed as anorexic.
For the next eight years, she was in and out of institutions - seven in total - during which time she attempted suicide twice and had to be sedated up to four times a day so that she could be force-fed. At one point, she was sedated for fourteen days while doctors sewed a tube into her stomach, through which she was fed in order to get her weight out of the critical range. The lengths that she went to avoid eating and find ways to exercise excessively shocked doctors who have worked in the field for years. As Nikki says, “I've always wanted to be the best at everything I do, so I had to be the best anorexic - and I was.”
This compelling book tells the story of an incredible journey.