A RECOVERING anorexic has credited an eat-all-you-want restaurant for helping her in her fight against the eating disorder.
Twenty-one-year-old Talia Sinnott, from Shropshire, says that visiting the COSMO world banqueting restaurant - which has branches across the UK including Wolverhampton, Derby and Manchester, gave her a sense of control over the food which she was consuming.
Talia has battled with anorexia for six-and-a-half years and has turned her experiences into a blog followed by thousands of people on Instagram. Her first visit to COSMO was when she went with family to the Wolverhampton branch.
"I was having a difficult time both at home and school when I was 15-years-old,” she said, “I was being bullied and I took it personally; I thought that there must be something wrong with me as a person – maybe I was a rubbish friend and daughter?
“I thought that, if I lost a bit of weight, I would be liked more and I turned to food as a control mechanism. Things seemed to happening around me that I couldn’t control – but food was something that I could control.
“The reason COSMO worked so well for me was that I could put small amounts of food on my plate and then go back for another and another – rather than being over-faced with a big plateful of food which would stop me from eating anything.”
Talia spent most of her teenage years in and out of hospital. She was admitted to specialised eating disorder clinics on five occasions for treatment and, in 2016, things got worse when Talia was diagnosed with pneumonia and her organs started to fail.
Talia found some comfort during her darker days by documenting her journey on social media platform Instagram. On some days, she would post a picture of a solitary cup of green tea to show her followers what she was consuming that day.
“Looking back, it seems ridiculous,” she said. “I used to document every mere morsel that was passing my mouth – I felt like I had to share it with someone.
“As I started to get better, though, and my relationship with food began to improve and become more positive, I began posting more exciting pictures of food – with lots of pictures of cake! I have a really sweet tooth.
“COSMO has helped me to conquer my fear of eating out. The fact that I can control how much I can eat is a big plus for me.
“I have a routine when I visit COSMO; I always head to the Indian section first for chick pea curry and Bombay potatoes. And I LOVE the fresh naan bread there.
“Then I’ll head to the Chinese section for noodles and oyster mushrooms before finishing off with dessert. I love pudding – it’s my favourite part of eating out.”
Talia’s recovery is ongoing and she is currently in the process of weight restoration as she aims to get back to a healthy weight.
But she has been overwhelmed by the support of her followers on Instagram, in particular 21-year-old Lottie Hall – a fellow recovering anorexic - from Manchester.
The pair had an instant bond and, in August, they arranged to meet in person. Talia is taking Lottie to the COSMO restaurant in Manchester next week to celebrate her 22nd birthday.
“Lottie has been brilliant for me; she’s so encouraging,” said Talia. “We have both documented our journey on social media and I was excited to meet her last year.
“I’m hoping that Lottie enjoys the COSMO experience as much as I do. I’m really looking forward to spoiling her for helping me.”
Talia is a student at the University of York, although she has taken a break from her studies to concentrate on her health.
“Every so often, I will have a little wobble,” she said. “I ordered takeaway a few weeks ago and felt overwhelmed when it arrived. I just couldn’t eat it.
“But I’m more relaxed than I used to be. In the past, I would study the menu before eating out anywhere. I’m more spontaneous now.”
COSMO director Kan Koo said: “It is extremely well known how devastating the effects of anorexia can be and anything that aids the recovery of this terrible condition is most welcome.
“We are pleased for Talia that the way we present our food was useful to her in her recovery and we wish her all the very best in her recovery.”
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