Weighing in at just 56 pounds, a deeply sick anorexic woman who has been described as the "world's thinnest woman," has expressed her horror over being portrayed by some as a role model for young girls striving to be skinny.
Valeria Levitin, 39, who is originally from Russia but now lives in Monaco, suffers from such an extreme form of the eating disorder that she appears to be nothing but leathery skin draped over a skeleton.
After struggling with the potentially deadly disease that is literally wasting her body away, the 5'8" brunette is now campaigning against the devastating disorder in the hope of saving the lives of others.
"I am not going to teach them how to die. It is not a game, it is not a joke, it is your life," she said, reported the HuffPo UK. "I want to share my story to help sufferers and their families from repeating my fate."
When you look at photos, it is hard to believe that the pretty, curvy 19-year-old basking in the sun in Mexico 20 years ago is the same person that is now wasting away day by day with a bikini barely clinging to her bones.
"Anorexia has made me lonely, unattractive and repulsive for the people around me," she revealed.
"My eating disorder has robbed me of so much. People don't want to be around someone who is not in a good mood or not upbeat."
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While Valeria hopes to deter other potential victims from following down the same deadly path, a spokesperson for the eating disorder charity Beat warns that no matter how startling the emaciated images are, they will not save any lives. "Shock is not a cure, but what it does do is make me feel as if I am 'not really anorexic.'"
In fact, such graphic images can actually "trigger" anorexia by bringing out the "competitive" side of sufferers, urging them to eat even less, the spokesperson warned.
"The certain knowledge that you could die tomorrow is not more terrifying than the thought of eating today’s meagre lunch," the Beat representative told the Huffington Post. "You can't be shocked out of it, you can only be further drawn into it by trying to compete with anyone you think is thinner than you, better at it than you.
"It's a horrible, painful, dreadful illness, no picture, no matter how 'shocking' can capture the agony of having anorexia."
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