As a top fashion model, Carre Otis made her living on looking thin and beautiful.
But now she is sharing the ugly truth about the weight-loss strategies she subjected herself to and the dire health consequences
“I had been on this insane diet for almost
17 years to maintain the weight that was demanded of me when I was modeling,” Otis says. “My diet was really starvation.
I am not naturally that thin so I had to go through everything from using drugs to diet pills to laxatives to fasting. Those
were my main ways of controlling my weight.”
But these strategies ultimately backfired four
“I had my first seizure and I had to go
in for heart surgery,” says Otis, who at 5’10 occasionally weighed as little as 100 pounds. “My doctor felt
that the main contributing factor was so many years of malnutrition, especially during my formative years even before I got
“The starvation weakened my heart,”
Otis adds. “Many women who have anorexia put their hearts in a compromised situation – it not unusual for women
with anorexia to suffer heart attacks. I had also taken something called ipecac -- which is a syrup that makes you throw up
– I took it when I was young as my way to control my eating. It’s been shown to bore holes in the heart.
As a result I needed a minimally-invasive procedure that cauterized three holes in my heart – had it been a few years
earlier they would have had to open my chest.”
Because of her experience, Otis is passionate
about helping other people with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa (AN) -- an eating disorder characterized by self-starvation
and excessive weight loss.