I did it!

I had the chance to binge and purge and I didn’t! I stayed in work to get some things done, I had a snack when I got home then I cooked for my boyfriend and we just shared a yummy stir fry dinner. Do I feel better for not purging? Yes yes yes.

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Working on the ‘just once’ strategy

I’m working with my nurse at the moment about trying to catch myself the moment before I make a choice that might (generally does) lead to b/p-ing. We tried ‘surfing the wave’ once I’ve overeaten to stop the purging but I made zero progress with that- it’s just too hard. I cannot seem to stop myself when I feel too full- it’s like I lose all power to make a rationale decision, I cannot bear the feeling. On top of that I have completely messed up my stomach/reflexes etc. so I generally vomit whether I want to or not.

So, we’re focusing on trying to stop the overeating before it happens so that the urge to purge is less. I have managed this before, but only by sticking to safe foods and being rigid in my eating, which leads to restriction and weight loss which when I then tackle this, it leads me right back to bulimia in a perfectly vicious ED cycle. So this time I’m trying to overcome it while still eating a ‘typical’ amount of calories, eating regular meals and making sure I have variety of foods, including those I see as ‘bad’ or that might be binge foods. I think the nurse and I both felt that if I managed to get my weight into a healthy range for me, and eat enough on a regular schedule without restricting any foods, that the purging might resolves itself and just fade out.

Unfortunately that has not been the case. I’m binging far less as I don’t have cravings for foods because I’m allowing myself them (yay me- massive step) but I am still overeating to some extent which is then leading to purging about 5 times a week, and sometimes multiple times a day. As soon as I am on my own in a position to purge before I know it I’m doing it. This has started to creep back into public places too (restaurants etc.) which I haven’t done for a long time and makes me so ashamed.

I’ve discussed with my nurse that I feel I have no control over the purging but there is a moment before I eat something where I know this could lead to overeating and then needing to purge. For example, I could have cereal instead of porridge for breakfast thinking I will fine with it- but then I’ll eat it and regret it so then eat 3 more bowls just so I can purge. Completely irrational. It’s not about the calories anymore (I know eating more and purging is worse than just eating 1 bowl) it’s a voice that starts screaming in my head to keep eating. Another example is that I’ll pop into the shops of the way home, promising myself I will just get what we need in the house, but if I know my boyfriend will be home later than me I’ll end up buying something just so I can eat and purge before he gets back. It’s not even that I want forbidden foods- it might just be a smoothie, but again, the voice goes off and suddenly I’m at home in the bathroom and we all know what happens.

So my goal for the next fortnight is to JUST ONCE make a different decision and not eat what it is that I was going to that might result in purging. JUST ONCE I need to leave the shop even if I don’t buy the stuff we need, or I need to not go home if I’m going to be alone, or I need to get rid of the food that I’m obsessing over. It seems like such a small goal but managing for me it’s stupidly hard- I’ve failed on 2/2 days so far but I am determined to make it happen. My nurse reckons if I can do this even once then I can try it again the following fortnight and then again eventually building up the strength to do it more than I give in. That’s in the future though, for now I need to focus on:

JUST ONCE MAKE A DECISION THAT LEADS TO RECOVERY NOT PURGING.

I’ll let you know how I get on!

PS: such a long rambly post- well done anyone that gets this far 🙂

Me vs. changing rooms

I’ve always been a pretty average clothes shopper. I enjoy when I’m lucky enough to have the chance to buy new clothes but I can generally only tolerate an hour or so before I get bored and a bit fed up. I find it easier if I’m not looking for something specific, but I generally don’t go shopping unless it’s necessary.

Due to my ‘changing body’ (ie weight gain- bleurgh) I have needed new clothes recently. I’ve very little spring/summer work pieces that fit properly. I have a bundle of ‘used to fit’ stuff on top of my wardrobe (which I know I should throw out so it stops haunting me and making me think ‘maybe I could just lose weight for the summer’) but only a few items that I feel comfortable in and actually like.

Cue shopping. I went into town after work determined not to leave empty handed but after one shop and trying on eight garments I couldn’t do anymore. I can’t bear to look in the mirror, I hate the flabbiness and the jiggliness. I’m wobbly and pale and scarred and it honestly hurts to look at my horrible body.

I have been this size before and not felt like this, but after being a size or two smaller for the last year I’m finding it really hard to readjust. I’m clearly not ready for shopping yet. In the battle of me vs. changing rooms, the changing rooms are definitely winning-sigh.

Finding a new ‘private me thing’ to replace ED

I met with my ED nurse today and we were discussing managing relationships. I had drawn a ‘relationship map’ of all my relationships. family, friends etc. and how strong they are, how much give and take there is etc. When I produced it she laughed (in a nice way!) as it was so busy and so complex. I have a LOT of family and friends- this isn’t bragging or anything like that it’s just I’ve been lucky to lead a varied life and therefore have collected many wonderful people along the way. I also wasn’t born in the UK so I have a UK and Irish side of my map (and some other countries thrown in there too!). I feel blessed to have my relationships and I cherish them all dearly but sometimes it can be a lot of pressure to keep up with everyone and to make sure I’m being a good friend in return. I often experience a lot of guilt about this because it can be exhausting just managing myself in terms of work, study, recovery, running etc. let alone trying to be the type of friend that I feel I should be.

Anyway, my nurse asked me a really interesting question once we had looked at my map. She wanted to know where my ED fit into all of this. Initially I said right in the middle with me, but then when I thought about it I realised that actually me and my ED have our own thing going far away from any of these other relationships;  ED is my thing, my little (big!) private hobby almost that I indulge in when I have a chance to be alone, inherently tied to my ‘me time’. It’s always been my comfort, my safety net, my feeling of home.

My nurse wondered if I needed things to be this way and therefore ED serves quite a useful purpose (which is why I continue to binge/purge even though I hate it and I’m motivated to recover and I’m eating regularly and enough at other times). She suggested that if I could find something else that could be my private thing- something that doesn’t involve others, doesn’t need others’ approval/opinions, something that I look forward to doing more than B/Ping then maybe it would it would lessen the hold I feel my urges have on me. I’ve been doing really well in resisting restricting urges (well, mostly!) and eating a wider variety but I am very stuck with the purging. Replacing ED with a different ‘private me thing’ might be the key here.

BUT….I have no idea what this private me thing could be! It needs to be something I could do at home as while getting out of the house is generally the best strategy I do need to be able to be home alone at some point. I’m not particularly musical so learning an instrument isn’t an option (this was her first suggestion!), I’m not very creative so that rules things like drawing out. I tried and failed at knitting. I don’t really want anything that will make me feel crap about myself for not being good at it. I like to bake/cook but that is not a good idea at the moment. I’ve tried yoga/ mindfulness at home but I’m generally not motivated enough to do this myself and I don’t think it would be enough to distract me from my urges- I have been known to get into my yoga gear, do a few poses then just binge in my lycra on my yoga mat- not exactly the atmosphere intended!

I’m struggling to think about what I actually like/ am interested in but I’m viewing this a good challenge to come up with something!

What about you guys? How do you spend your free time?

Are these my thoughts or ED thoughts?

I am chasing a sub4 marathon. I’m just a few minutes off- so close and yet so far.  I’m toying with the idea of signing up for an event in September but I’m having trouble figuring out if it’s a good idea or not. 

Some back story first.. I ran two marathons last year, one in Spring which I entered as a group of us were doing it and one in Autumn as it was an international race which coincided with a holiday abroad. 

The training for the Spring Marathon went fine until I descended into anorexia relapse and then (kind of) fainted during the race. I finished it though and once I realised I wasn’t going to PB actually had a really fun time. I worked my socks off for the Autumn race and came agonising close to my PB, but I didn’t fuel enough and ran out of steam at mile 23. My other race times (including a 10k pb set today!) suggest I have a sub4 within me, I just need to be disciplined enough to make it happen. I also need to stay well enough to make it happen- and this is where the confusion of my ED comes in.

The Autumn race last year was really good motivation to stop/reduce purging, I was sick and tired of regretting every purge as soon as I started to run. Running and purging do not mix. However, the purging is back with quite a frequency so perhaps signing up for another marathon would be good in that respect?

I also find I’m more motivated to run when I’m training for something specific, and a specific time. Regular running is incredible for my mood (hello endorphins!) so maybe signing up would get me out more?

My body image is always better when I’m running regularly, and it makes eating an awful lot easier.

Plus  I really want to run sub4 so that sways me towards entering too!
However, this is the rub….

I’m afraid another marathon is too much pressure and I don’t need that now

I need to learn to eat and cope with stress without running marathons

The training will be a big commitment, will that replace recovery as my priority?
I’ll be really frustrated if I don’t get sub4.

It’s hard to do what is best to do, and to figure out what are my thoughts and what is an ED trap. 

I’m leaning towards doing it but just hoping it’s not a terrible idea! Argh!