Catherine Pawley, a chemistry finalist at the University of Warwick, begins her talk on anorexia by giving her audience a little background on eating disorders, and dispels the idea that such disorders are reserved for young girls who are desperate to look like models.
She continues by considering how deeply a disorder like anorexia can affect someone, and the sense of control it can give to those who are suffering with it. For Pawley, this obsession with eating rules started when she went into university. She began with rules such as "don't eat unless you're starving," "never eat more than the person you're with," and "don't snack in between meals." When she became more stressed with school, she reacted by coming up with more rules for herself, so that she could feel like she was maintaining an element of control in her life.
Eventually, her family noticed her extreme weight loss and took her to a specialist. As Pawley's disorder worsened, she was admitted into hospitals where her she was constantly monitored. By relaying her experiences to her audience, Pawley shows how insidious eating disorders can be, and that they're not something that people make the choice to have. In addition, she explains how difficult it can be for someone to accept recovery, as it can feel like defeat. In order to recover, Pawley says that she ripped up the rule book that she stuck to for so long, and made an effort to break each rule one by one.
She concludes by encouraging her audience to seek out resources that may help them if they are dealing with similar issues or know someone who is, and states that everyone is deserving of recovery.