A BRADFORD lass building a name for herself in the boxing world has told how she overcame her eating disorder through sport as she celebrates another year of recovery.

Heaton's Saffiyah Syeed, otherwise known as the Hijabi Boxer, hid her struggle with anorexia and bulimia for years until entering the sport forced her to come to terms with her health and diet.

It is estimated that around 1.25million people in the UK have an eating disorder, according to charity Beat.

And the sportswoman hopes to reach out as a rolemodel and sign of hope for anyone dealing with the dangerous and life-threatening conditions.

With more than 24,000 followers on Instagram, the 20-year-old marked another anniversary of recovery and told her followers: "Health is definitely wealth".

"A few years down the line I'm so happy I can talk about it openly. It helps knowing other people out there are seeing if I can do that 'so can I'," she told the Telegraph & Argus.

Reflecting on her illness, Safiyyah said: "It's not like looking in the mirror, I didn't go up and think 'I want to be thin'.

"I've never been a talkative person. Everyone deals with things in different ways."

Safiyyah believes her disorders started when she recovered from a long term illness which had made her throw up regularly for two and a half years.

Once she regained her health, she began to fall into unhealthy and unsustainable eating patterns and eventually became so unwell she could not stomach more than a few chips on a plate before vomiting.

"Once I recovered I started a nursing apprenticeship and I was boxing as well. I wasn't used to having meals so when I started working and training I was getting hungry quite a lot.

"I had anorexia and bulimia.

"We've got a big family so if there's any excuse to celebrate anything, it's someone's birthday every week. I remember we used to go to restaurants and I always used to make excuses. When you're younger there used to be people going to Nando's or go to the cinema, I never went to do stuff like that because you'd go out to eat."

Her family became concerned that it was her illness returning and admitted her to the hospital.

She continued: "I saw the same consultant. He came to me and said, 'You've lost quite a bit of weight and you look really malnourished, you're active, you're working. Something's changed. I said nothing's changed but he knew very well. I was in denial. I got admitted again and again after that. He said, 'There's something going on here because you're even worse'. I was down that dark road.

"I remember one of my coaches was like, 'You need to come a bit more to the gym'. I started getting into my boxing, watching boxing and it was for my love of boxing. I thought I can keep going down this road or I can fight for boxing. I got referred to the mental health clinics. I got told if I don't eat I'm going to get sectioned.

"Everytime I talk about it I advise people to take the help. I feel like I wouldn't have wasted another few years to recover and it could have been a quicker process if I had more support.

"I started loving training. Before I started fighting I started feeling really hungry and I'd come home and be like, 'I really want steak today'. When I started boxing and taking that seriously, boxing has saved me from my eating disorder.

"When I was in fight mode I'd meal prep. My diet changed. From there until today when I do have days I'm not really busy I only have one or two meals I can really feel it and I'm like, no, I need to make sure I have something.

"I have really good friends and family. My mum rings me saying, 'Have you eaten today? Have you had breakfast?'.

"The message I'd like to get out there is if anyone's in this place I was a few years ago, it gets better but only you can get yourself out of it. Everyone around you loves you and they support you but only you can get yourself out of that dark place. I always say find what you love doing and work every single day for it."