Fitness + Well-being

Anorexia survivor says alter ego 'Glitter Girl' helped her recover

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Alex Koszeghy battled anorexia for years, but she never guessed spreading her body with glitter paint would help her get healthy again.

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As a “Glitter Girl” for football and basketball games at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the 23-year-old has been able to face her eating disorder head on and embrace her uniqueness, Koszeghy told PEOPLE.

“The Glitter Girl persona is kind of an extension of my own personality, but it gives me more confidence when I’m in glitter because it’s almost like I’m more free to be me and can be a little weirder, Koszeghy, a psychology major at UNC, told PEOPLE. “Sometimes I have insecurities about my body as Alex, but as Glitter Girl I can be more confident.”

People with anorexia, which is a mental disorder, usually weigh themselves frequently, restrict their eating, and eat only certain foods, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These individuals also usually see themselves as overweight even when they are life-threateningly underweight. According to the NIH, anorexia patients are more at risk of suicide than people with most other mental illnesses.

I think people have a tendency to think what a strong person I am after hearing my story. And while it is true that it took a lot of strength to beat anorexia, I'm afraid that I'm doing a poor job sharing my story if this is the only impression that people get when they hear my story. Because my story is not about how strong I am, but just the opposite. It's about how weak I am. I tried to overcome anorexia on my own strength and failed greatly. I did not have the power to overcome the enemy's voice, but I found someone who did have the power...my rock and my Savior Jesus Christ. My story is about how strong and how incredible He is. Without him I am nothing. He is my rock and my strength and may He have all the glory for my recovery. So please don't look at my story and see my strength, but see my Saviors strength. When I am weak, He is strong. 💙🙏🏼💪🏼 2 Corinthians 12:9

A post shared by GLITTER GIRL 🤙🏼 (@alexkosz) on

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PEOPLE reported that 23-year-old Koszeghy had struggled with the eating disorder since she was 16 and didn’t find relief until she received faith-based counseling at age 20. Since she began painting up for UNC games, she’s gained the body confidence she fought for years to achieve.

“For the last home game I wanted to do full body glitter and just wear a jog bra. It was super scary because I felt like everybody could see my stomach, but I like my facing my fears,” she told PEOPLE. “I did it and I remember thinking, ‘Nobody’s even looking at my stomach. Everybody’s just focused on the glitter.’ That was a big step.”

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