Not Greedy. Just Hungry.

My nurse said something really powerful to me this week. When talking about how anxious and guilty I feel around eating, and how anytime I want to eat beyond my set food for the day I have the ‘you’re weak and greedy with no willpower’ record playing, she said to me ‘you’re not greedy, you’re just hungry’. 

Such a simple statement yet it got to my core. For me hungry=greedy. There is no distinction between these. I get that food is necessary to live but I have got this entrenched belief that anything beyond my rigid meals and snacks is pure greed and representative of how gluttonous, weak and failing I am. But I’m wrong about this. Hunger is not a sign of anything to do with my value on this earth- it’s simply a (useful) physiologic function that keeps us alive. Ignoring hunger doesn’t make anyone a better, stronger person- eating so that you have enough energy to do real life things demonstrates far more- strength is shown through things like working, studying, socialising, volunteering, reading, laughing, running, swimming, living. Starving is not a admirable skill.

Of course I did argue that sometimes I eat when I’m not hungry and that surely this is jut greed. My nurse had two sensible responses to this: firstly going through my food diaries I’m still not eating enough at meals and therefore I am actually Just Hungry. Secondly, I have had my eating disorder for 20+years now so my body has had a long time in semi-starvation. As a result it’s going to take time for my body to adjust to getting enough food and to not send signals to overeat incase there’s another period of under eating coming up. I need to be patient with this. This is not greed: this is a physiological response that does not say anything about my willpower. I can’t really explain how comforting it felt to have someone fight that negative voice for me and to not judge me for my desire to eat. 

So my actions are to increase my intake and to catch my negative thoughts. Not Greedy. Just Hungry.

Intentions for the week ahead

Monday morning and a whole week lies ahead of me. It’s a clean slate and a nice starting point for me to make good decisions. So my intentions for this week are:

  • Go to yoga once and my mindfulness session once
  • Write up my thoughts diary for my ED session tomorrow (meant to be done all week but I have a total block about doing this :/ )
  • Finish my application for an extension of my job contract
  • Go running with my club twice
  • Cook a new recipe for a friend coming round for dinner
  • Do my ironing 
  • Start making a photo book for a friend’s present

These are the intentions that are worth setting (well I’m not sure about ironing but it does need doing!). Usually my lists involve things like no junk food, stay under X calories, purge any broken rules etc. but those types of lists don’t get me anywhere and I really need to challenge those thoughts. There are far more important things in life!

What is everyone else up to this week?

Hello Sunday Morning

Hello Sunday Morning is a campaign that I stumbled across last year. The aim is to encourage people to rethink their relationship with alcohol and to promote a better drinking culture. When I first came across it I liked the idea of hangover free Sundays and looking at pictures of all the great things people do in life that don’t involve alcohol (the campaign started in Australia so there are typically lots of nice sunny pictures of people doing a variety of cool outdoorsy things! – see website here )

I have a funny relationship with alcohol. It is a massive part of my family life and culture but I am typically the one in my family who drinks the least, is happy to drive, can’t really drink too much anyway, and if I’m honest I’ve always been very nervous of the calories. So, when I talk about giving up alcohol people fin it strange as they don’t really see me as a drinker anyway. But while I may not drink very often, when I do I always feel a little out of control around it. I LOVE a glass of wine at certain times, but it’s very easy for this to turn into three or four glasses of wine which results in drunk me. Given that alcohol is a depressant this tends to not have a good effect on me; I start feeling a bit dull  and it’s very easy for it to end with me wanting to me on my own and crying myself to sleep. Alternatively, it gets me a bit hyper and then I spend the next few days with ‘the fear’ about what I said, what people were thinking about me etc. Like a lot of parts of my life I have never really mastered the grey in between, it tends to be black and white ‘not drinking’ or ‘too drunk’.

After a recent night out resulting in a hangover and a sad mood for a few days after I realised I needed another stretch at giving up completely, to remind myself that I can have lots of fun when not drinking and that it is a relatively simple action I can take which will have a positive impact on my life. Eliminating purging seems impossible at the moment but I am lucky that I feel I can eliminate alcohol in my life (lucky as I’m well aware this would be extremely challenging for some people).

So I am two weeks into my HelloSundayMorning challenge and last night had an absolute ball out with my friends: we chatted and danced and laughed and they commented that it was lovely to see me out (I’ve been avoiding social nights out recently and it’s been too long since I’ve been out with these guys) and that they were impressed I was confident enough to give it socks on the dance floor while sober. I had the nice realisation that when I don’t put alcohol in the mix actually I find it easier to be out with people and while was still doing lots of comparing of my body to others and worrying about how I looked, it wasn’t in such a sad negative way as it is when I’m out and having a drink or two. I woke up this morning with the confidence that I hadn’t said or done anything I regretted and while I’ve been tired all day (I did b/p once this morning so that’s probably the reason) I’ve been feeling quite calm and in a relatively good mood. It’s makes a welcome change! So, a lovely Sunday morning to wrap up my week and a nice positive mood to bring into the week ahead.

If anyone else is doing HSM or has looked at it do let me know! x

Freedom to hang out with ED

I moved in with my boyfriend this year. It’s been fantastic and I love that we’ve taken this step and made this commitment to each other. But…I have to admit it is hard work food-wise sometimes. He’s currently in the kitchen making dinner but all I really want to do is overeat chocolate and purge. I’m ashamed of myself that I’d prefer him to go out so I could left alone with ED.

I don’t know why this is and I’m feeling overwhelmed by the urges. I ate enough today so it’s not that. I did have to give someone some bad news so that’s bothering me a little and I’m tired which doesn’t help. I know riding out the urge will reduce their power and strengthen my ability to manage them in the future, but knowing that doesn’t make me feel any better about the urges right now.

I’m a bit grumpy about it all aren’t I?! I have a nice weekend ahead so just need to hold on through tonight and have faith in feeling better tomorrow. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to lose if I keep choosing ED, so I will keep on keeping on and go enjoy a pleasant evening with the boy.

Why will I not give up on my eating disorder?

I hate having an eating disorder. I hate the secrecy. I hate feeling out of control around food. I hate the fear of being caught purging. I hate the feeling after purging. I hate binging. I hate the urge to binge. I hate exercising when I’m tired. I hate the acid reflux. I hate my bowel problems. I hate the looks and the suspicion. I hate the feeling of certain numbers on the scale. I hate the continuous thoughts of calories. I hate the comparing I do with other people’s bodies and eating habits. I hate the fear about not being able to have children. I hate the damage I have to done to my body that has not yet shown itself. I hate depression. I hate being tearful. I hate my self harm scars. I hate the feeling of fat on my body. I hate my rolls of flab. I hate the bloodshot eyes. I hate the feeling of realising there is vomit on your shoes. I hate that the only time I feel good about myself is when I restrict. I hate the lying. I hate putting my eating disorder ahead of all of the wonderful people and parts of my life.

If all is this is true then why do I keep going with it? Why do I not put every ounce of my being into getting rid of it and staying rid of it? Why is that feeling of losing weight worth all the above horrors? Why is the fear of gaining weight worse than the fear of dying? How can I see so clearly that my eating disorder is trying to destroy my life and yet not use any of the knowledge and techniques I have to fight it? How can I sit here and write all of this knowing I am about to go purge my dinner?

I wish I knew. I really wish I could figure this one out.

Choosing ED over life

Today I chose to binge and purge twice which resulted in me feeling so rotten by the time evening rolled around that I couldn’t face going out with my friends as planned so I bailed.

I know my boyfriend is annoyed at me for doing so and I know I will have to deal with that tomorrow but at the time I couldn’t make myself get up and go. I couldn’t put on a happy face and pretend everything was okay when my stomach was cramping, I had wind, my eyes were bloodshot (oh, the glamorous side effects of bulimia!) and I felt huge.

In know I’ve been slipping in terms of purging but I think this is the first time since I started using behaviours again that it’s had such a direct impact on my life. My real life- the one in which I have a job and a boyfriend and friends and hobbies, not the secret underground life of bulimia. I thought I could just keep ‘a little’ of my ED- that purging a couple of times a week would be okay and wouldn’t have much impact, but it doesn’t work like that. It starts to seep into everything and I know how that story goes. I don’t want that version, so I know I need to get a grip on things.

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’

I will do better tomorrow.

The heaviest weight

I am at my heaviest weight ever.

Based on facts, I’m probably at my set point as I’ve been this weight for a while now. I’m in the ‘normal range’ BMI-wise and I’m a size of clothing that means I can fit in most of my regular clothes but have had to donate my ‘thin’ wardrobe.

Emotionally wise though, I am a mess. I can feel every kilo I’m carrying that is above my maximum safe weight. I can’t bear to look in the mirror, I won’t change in front of people (including my boyfriend), I’m pinching my fat and I self harmed yesterday on my ‘flabby bits’ and I generally hate my body. I’m thinking about my body and food consumption more than I ever did when I was lighter and it’s starting to interfere with me getting on wit my daily life.

I’ve started restricting and have purged a few meals recently which unsurprisingly led to a binge last night.  I was trying to be more flexible with exercise but I think getting back to a regular routine will help so I’ve been doing that this week.

I feel like I’m back to square one, but this time I’m fat with it. If I’m going to feel so miserable and be engaging in behaviours I might as well be at a safe weight doing it so that I don’t want to cry every time I think about my body.

I thought if I put on the weight and stayed there for a while I would get used to it and learn to live with it. I was clearly kidding myself. This is really really hard.