Doctors described Emma O'Neil as the worst case of the eating disorder they had ever seen.
But the 22-year-old, from Dowanhill, in Glasgow's West End, has now joined forces with friend Catherine Moran to set up The Only Way Is Up Foundation.
They aim to provide support to other people living with eating disorders – and Emma hopes her story will inspire others to get better.
Emma was 13 when anorexia began to take a hold and, within two years, she was gripped by the illness.
Emma recalled: "One day my mum caught me being sick after eating and she was so upset she burst into tears.
"I had always thought of my mum as this superwoman, so to see her cry really shocked me.
"She said, 'I can't watch you eat if that is what you are going to do'. So I thought, 'I just won't eat then'."
By the age of 17 Emma was so ill she was taken to Gartnavel Hospital, where she was sectioned. A feeding tube was put in her nose, but she continually ripped it out.
At one point Emma said it took four people to hold her down and force-feed her.
She said: "Emma was lost by this point. She was gone.
"I wanted to push anorexia to the brink and get to a point where I couldn't take it any more. I was going to push anorexia to the brink if it killed me."
For the next three years she had spells in Gartnavel and a private clinic, where the cycle of starving herself and punishing exercise regimes continued.
Aged 19, she was back in Gartnavel, where she spent five days without food or water.
Emma said: "One of the doctors said I was attention-seeking, so to try to make me eat they put me in a private room and took away all my possessions.
"They said I couldn't have anything back until I ate something. I was lying in this bed going in and out of consciousness – I was going into a coma."
When Emma came out of the two-day coma her weight had dropped even further and even lying on a normal hospital bed caused her pain.
The NHS out-patient eating disorder team had been contacted to try and give her some support.
She said: "Lying on a normal bed was excruciating. My bones were like razor blades through my skin and I was covered in bruises.
"The out-patient team demanded an air mattress for me, but even that was too rough, so they put me in my dressing gown and wrapped me in layers of soft sheepskin blankets."
Hospital staff urgently needed to get food into Emma to try to build up her weight so they attached her to a machine that pumped food into her 24 hours a day.
But the food bottles had the fat and calories written on the side and Emma could not bear to see the liquid food going into her body.
So she developed ways of tricking the doctors by taking the feeding tube out and draining food down the sink.
Eventually, Emma and her doctors agreed she could leave hospital if she reached and maintained 4½st.
Her diet was:
l One dry Weetabix for breakfast.
l Two dry slices of bread for lunch.
l One dry slice of bread and a fat-free yoghurt for dinner.
Allowed home, she ended up back in hospital twice, once after collapsing during an anxiety attack and breaking her cheekbone and once with pneumonia.
Her 10-year-old brother Reece came to visit and was so shocked that afterwards he told Emma's mother he would rather never see her again than see her look so ill.
Eventually, Emma's parents said they could not cope with her any more.
She said: "I could see the devastating effect this was having on my parents and I didn't know how to help them, but I thought, 'I can't lose my family, they mean everything to me'."
It was at this point Emma promised to get better and eat enough to put on weight and be healthy – but the road to recovery was not easy.
She added: "As I put weight on all I saw was this monster. I was frightened of people seeing me.
"I was this carcass, this body. It was the most disgusting feeling I have had in my life.
"A girl had come to The Priory and told us about how to deflect attention away from your disease by having a new haircut or good clothes, so I was always into fashion and had crazy hair.
"I also bought this crazy little sports car that became the talking point."
As well as gaining weight Emma also had to decide on a career path and slowly she got in touch with family and friends.
Emma said: "Only in the last year have I been at semi-peace with myself – I have realised the most important things are having a baby, having a career and having a healthy body to carry me through life.
"I have realised your body is there to carry your mind – your mind and your character are so important.
"Watching people outside the hospital I just wanted to be like them, I wanted to be normal and now I am getting there."
Eventually, she even gained the confidence to take part in the Miss Glasgow beauty pageant.
Emma said: "I was never going to win. Prizes belong to the leggy blondes of the world. But I walked taller and held my head proudly.
"I will never look in the mirror and love myself, but I do look in the mirror and think 'I'm really glad to be here'."
Emma has founded The Only Way Is Up Foundation with Catherine, 34, who also suffered from anorexia.
The two businesswomen, who have help from third foundation director Susan Parker, believe passionately that people can recover from the disease with the right help.
They aim to provide support for people with the illness by funding anything that person feels they need to move on from the disease, from business start-up costs to college fees.
l For more information about the foundation and about forthcoming fundraising events, including a skydive on October 28, see www.theonlywayisupfoundation.com