An ED free Christmas day

I’m tucked up in bed about to go to sleep but I’m taking a quick moment to congratulate myself for my first ED free Christmas in a very long time. I ate what other people ate (well, a vegetarian version), I indulged (but didn’t binge), I didn’t purge, I didn’t sneak off to exercise (I had a swim this morning but that doesn’t count as it’s a tradition! It was freezing but refreshing!), I didn’t cry or feel bad about myself.

I enjoyed myself, and enjoyed spending time with my family and those that I love without having to keep ED happy for the day. I can’t quite believe I managed it. Merry Christmas!

Things I need to remember

I can’t recover and try to lose weight. Recovery first, then I’ll decide whether losing weight is worth it.

Bulimia is a cr*ppy weight loss strategy.

I never regret NOT binging/purging

I can tell people “I’m sick I need help” without needing to get thin enough so they see it.

I love my boyfriend and my job. Bulimia is not compatible with them.

I’m trying to play these on repeat in my head to drill them in! Any others I should add?

ED doesn’t fit

Today was busy, but busy in a lovely fulfilled life kind of way. I had a Christmas event in work this morning which involved doing arts and crafts and singing songs with children, then I had lunch with a friend and her kid, then back to work for the afternoon, straight to running, shower at the gym, leftovers in the car, then I finally braved the shopping centre to do my Christmas shopping (pretty quiet from 9pm-11pm as it turns out-phew!) before coming home and now I’m tucked up in bed with 14 minutes left of a very productive and nice day. No food/weight/purging/eating/body dramas- just regular everyday living. It feels good. ED no longer fits in my life, and I will keep trying everyday to make sure it is not welcome.

And again and again

I don’t want to have to write this but part of me starting this blog was so that I would be honest with myself and face up to my behaviours and my thoughts.

I had a shower, I made my lunch and got my stuff ready for tomorrow and then I decided to make crumble to bring over to my boyfriend’s. I fancied something sweet so I thought for safety I would make it and bring it over so I would just eat a normal portion. But then there was crumble topping left over and I couldn’t help myself- I started eating it from the bowl and I knew after a few spoons I would want to purge so I kept going. So I ate the remainder (probably enough for an entire other crumble, bleurgh) and then got sick.

I’m feeling fairly crap now. I regret it and I wish I had just thrown the extra topping away (so wasteful- because eating and purging isn’t wasteful???!!!) or had stopped myself soon enough that I didn’t feel like I needed to be sick. I probably shouldn’t have made crumble at all to be honest, but at least I thought about bringing it to my boyfriend to be safe so I was trying! And I didn’t let the crumble eating turn into a large binge. So there are lessons learnt.

This isn’t going to be a straight journey. Falling off is part of it, as long as I keep getting back on I’m doing okay. Giving in is not an option. I’m drafting up a plan for the next few nights so I can make sure I know what I need to do.

Now, off to my boyfriend’s with the crumble!

Getting back on track

After giving into the crazies yesterday I’m now sitting here trying to resist the urge to overeat. I not hungry and it isn’t that there’s something I particularly want to eat, I’m just very used to this being my pattern and doing it yesterday has made it very easy for me to slip back into thinking it’s okay. But I’m going to write this and then have a shower to warm myself up then make my lunch for tomorrow and head over to my boyfriends. That seems like a far more sensible and nice use of my time.

It’s hard after a blip, but that’s another reason why it’s worth doing everything I can to make sure they don’t happen too often. Onwards, upwards.

Lapses and lessons

Well that was some week. Full schedule at work along with a Christmas event every night, followed by a visit to the boyfriend’s family for the weekend. Lots of fun but wow, lots of food and lots of conflicting confusing thoughts (eat this, don’t eat this, purge, don’t purge, you’re fat, you’re not that fat, run it off, don’t tire yourself out….). Christmas is certainly a challenging time for ED recovery!

I really dug in this week and I really tried to stay on track but I ended up having three little ‘lapses’. On Friday I was just exhausted after the week and really just needed some quiet time at home to regroup but I had just 30 mins to pack for the weekend and just felt a but overwhelmed. So clearly a good antidote was for me to waste this time eating cereal and purging. Aaaarrrgggghh, it was a silly mistake, I knew what I was doing and I think I knew it was going to happen but I seemed powerless to stop it. However, I have identified that the times when I need some ‘stop the world time’ and I can’t have it for some reason are when I am really vulnerable to b/p-ing. It was just unfortunate that I needed to be somewhere on Friday so I couldn’t just stop the world. It’s all well and good knowing that I need time, but the world doesn’t revolve around me so…..the lesson? Need to think about what an appropriate coping strategy could be in the situations when I want to stop the world but I can’t.

Then today I had another lapse. Kind of for the same reason I think, I was just trying to quieten my head after a busy weekend. Cereal again- clearly I am nowhere near ready having cereal in the house (lesson 2 I guess!). I was on autopilot and I knew two bowls in I was going to purge so I had some toast as well. I stopped after that though so far less of a binge than previously so I will take that as a kind of win (it’s all relative). I then made a proper dinner later to prevent a continuous snack/ purge scenario which was a good move I reckon, except the old black and white thinking came in and I ended up purging that too. And I have now just mindlessly eaten a load of crackers but I know this is because my body is craving food as it doesn’t know what happened to the previous meal and I am determined to keep it down. I don’t want to let myself get sucked back into thinking it’s a routine again. Because it’s not: they were only lapses and I feel crappy now so I am very determined not let lapses develop into a relapse (can it be a relapse after only 10 days of ‘recovery’?).

So, not an ideal ending to the week but rather than focus on the lapses I am going to focus on all the positive steps I took towards recovery this week:

  1. I ate Chinese for the first time in 9 years, and enjoyed it!
  2. I texted my friend to let her know I purged to be honest and accountable even thought it’s shameful.
  3. I went to the doctor and made an appointment with ED nurse.
  4. I told my boyfriend twice that I would need to eat when he hadn’t suggested it, in order to not be too hungry by the time dinner came around.
  5. I have not weighed myself at all (honestly, this is because I’m too afraid to, feeling ‘fat’ after week of socialising and eating)
  6. I went to all my regular training sessions and raced today, but did not do any extra exercise to make up for the food.

Things are hard but I keep telling myself it will be worth it so I shall sleep today off and be grateful that I have the chance to try again tomorrow.

A nicer kind of relaxing

One of the things that the hateful food diaries I completed while seeing ED nurse showed was that when I needed/wanted to have a break from the world and relax I had a tendency to hide in my room, eat in bed, watch mindless TV on laptop and then purge, and sometimes repeat this process more than once.

At some point maybe this did work for me but certainly for the last year or so all it has really done is drain me. I would feel physically rough and mentally beaten, just waiting for sleep and a new day to put distance between me and my failings.

So today when I was tired and feeling a bit sorry for myself I knew I needed to try something different. It still involved indulgent TV but it was on the sofa with a blanket, a proper meal (veggie sausage pitta and veggies), a great chat with a friend abroad and working out some dates for different stuff next year. It was a really nice relaxing evening where I also managed to do things I’d been meaning to do for a while.

I had some seriously STRONG sugar cravings for a good hour or so and I was really tempted to pop to the shops but I knew it would only end in a binge, so instead i made some stewed apple and rhubarb with porridge oats crumble. I had a massive portion as I really wanted that feeling of full-ness (yes, the same feeling I dread- this makes no sense to me either!) but actually once I eliminate purging as an option in my head then overeating doesn’t have the same kick. I just felt a bit bleurgh after it to be honest and now I’m wide awake at 1,30am.

But I do feel relaxed and the best bit is that when I wake up tomorrow I will get to feel proud of myself rather than have to suffer the post b/p hangover. Need to store this positive outcome in my brain for next time!

Personal bests

Today I beat my 10 km PB by 55 seconds: I came in at 49.32 on a very blustery day. I didn’t think sub 50 was possible, and certainly not on the back of a slow marathon and a difficult week. But I did it, I reached my goal, even though it was hard and felt out of reach, I did it.

If I could manage to apply the same determination to recovery then a recovered life could actually be within my reach. Maybe this could actually be the time I get better.

We had a fun time out celebrating with the club, I drank and then we went for Chinese. I think the last time I had Chinese was in 2005, but that wasn’t the point tonight, it was about re-fuelling with my running club, about laughing so hard until my sides hurt, taking photos and being part of the gang. That’s what Chinese food brought me: not calories/fat content/MSG…but a lovely time with my friends. Yes okay if I’m honest I want to be sick now, but I can sleep it off and tomorrow I will feel okay. Because tomorrow always comes, and this time I will have the memories of why I’m glad of that.

Every day is a victory xxx

A reminder of why it’s worth it

My ED nurse and my previous counsellor were big fans of pro/cons to recovery lists. They believed that there has to be something motivating enough to fight for, as if not recovery will just seem too hard to be worth it. I get their point! I fill out a pro/con quadrant every now and again to remind myself of why I bother, and it’s interesting to see how it has changed over the years since I first completed one. This is what my current one looks like:

Pros of staying the same

Less effort, nice illusion that I can eat what I want and not gain weight

Cons of staying the same

I’m miserable, the secrecy, feeling stuck, digestive problems, teeth damage, bad skin, poor sleep, waste of money, waste of time, being a poor role model, not wanting to live with boyfriend while purging, guilt, shame, embarrassment.

Pros of making a change

Better sleep, better skin, easier relationships, can move in with boy, more time to do things that I enjoy and that matter,  better for my running / training, less shame, reduce teeth damage, improve digestion, money for other things, being able to eat socially without panic, being able to be near food and not lose control, be able to enjoy food, be able to get pregnant and carry a baby (this is a MASSIVE pro but I don’t like to think about it too much in case I’ve already ruined my chance, and because it’s not immediate it’s hard to focus on it)

Cons of making a change

Hard work, feeling exposed, loss of ED identity, ED no longer an excuse for not being good enough for my overly high standards (e.g. I’d be a better runner if I didn’t have an ED/ my research would be better if I had more energy) etc.

It’s quite interesting for me to see that none of my pros and cons really refer to weight anymore. When I’m in an anorexic mindset the biggest pro of ED is losing weight and the biggest con of change is gaining weight. But in bulimia, I hate it so much that the weight is not the biggest issue: plus I know that it is a very ineffective weight loss strategy so it shouldn’t even be related.

What’s easy to see though is that the reasons for changing far outweigh the reasons for staying the same, and that is what I need to call upon every time I’m having a wobble or a blip.

If you’d like to try this quadrant, or haven’t done one in a while, great ED resources can be found here: http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=48