A dangerous obsession with Cheryl Cole resulted in a teenager developing anorexia nervosa. Charlotte O’Neill, then aged 15 wanted to be as slim as the popular X Factor judge, after Cheryl became a judge on the show in 2008, which resulted in Charlotte losing three stone.
The teenager weighed 8st 7lb originally, at height 5ft 7in. After initially cutting out breakfast, chocolate and sweets and reducing her food portions, Charlotte lost half a stone within two weeks. Charlotte admits that although she felt hungry and weak, she continued as she knew she was getting closer to her ‘Goal Cole’. Eventually she reached seven stone, which was her target weight. However, the weight loss continued, eventually dropping to six stone which alerted her Physical Education teacher to take action.
Charlotte was admitted to hospital and given a strict meal plan after doctors warned her of the damage she was doing to her vital organs, including her heart. After being diagnosed with chronic anorexia nervosa, Charlotte spent nine months in a centre which specialises in eating disorders, managing to put weight on to become 7st 12lb.
The obsession resurfaced after watching the X Factor judge on television, with her weight again plummeting, this time to 5st 7lb. During a holiday with her mum to Tenerife, thankfully Charlotte had a “light bulb moment” while being taken to a café for breakfast one morning. During an interview with Love It! Magazine, Charlotte said:
A strange feeling came over me.
This was followed by eating a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, mushrooms and tomatoes. Since that day, 18 year old Charlotte has continued to gain weight steadily, although admits she is still struggling. Despite admitting that she realises that Cheryl Cole isn’t anorexic, and that the star would be ‘appalled’ at being inspiration for a teenager to starve herself, she is still relieved that Cheryl isn’t a judge this year.