Day 10 – more travels

Another journey today to join friends for the weekend who have flown out from Ireland. 

Another day of no behaviours- 2 meals and 3 large snacks- not ideal but not terrible either! 

Progress! 

Day 9 and the pain au chocolat

So today I ate a chocolate croissant. I have not eaten a chocolate croissant for approximately 7 years without purging. They are a binge/unsafe/terrifying concept of a foodstuff. 

But I ate it as my friend ate it. With a good coffee. By the beach. It tasted good. I ate just one and then moved on with my day. I wouldn’t feel brave enough to do it everyday or with other foods yet but I did it today and I will be weighed with my counsellor in a couple of weeks and we can assess if the sky is falling in. 

Small steps that are big steps. I am not a lesser person because I enjoyed it. I don’t care if people reading this think I’m weak or indulgent or fat or anything. I know the people that matter would not think that. I will not measure myself by a chocolate croissant. Neither should you. 

Day 8- a world bigger than ED

Day 8 and spent it walking, cycling, swimming, laughing, eating, and drinking.

The sun shone and we explored somewhere beautiful. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the grey and the tiredness of everyday life, especially when depression, eating disorders and other mental health difficulties are gettin you down. 

But every now and again when you glance up you’ll see that the world is a wonderful place of bright colours and smells and sounds. Eating disorders make the world very small, very focused on tiny numbers such as calories and grams and weights and minutes. But there is a whole wide world out there beyond this. 

I don’t want to live in a small grey world anymore. If eating a ‘normal’ diet lets me be part of the bigger world then so be it. If I have to be a bigger size to live in colour then I think I might be able to deal with that. Surely it’s worth it?

Day 7- experimenting 

Lots of us have thought processes which are not supported by evidence.

“I couldn’t cope if I had to eat that” 

“If I don’t purge now I’ll balloon”

“If I ate one more X a day I’d gain a stone in a month”

And so on and so on. 

It’s not possible to recover without challenging some of these assumptions, and for me as a scientist (of the people kind rather than the chemical kind- think social scientist) the best way to do these is to test them out.

So this week on holidays I am sticking to my structured eating and where sensible I’m eating what other people are eating. Not entirely copying but when they had breakfast I have breakfast. We then had a snack instead of lunch as breakfast was late so I did the same. Then we had dinner and an ice cream (I didn’t go that far but I did taste a spoon!). And it’s another day done with no purging. 

In some ways it feels like so much food, but then I remind myself that my friends ate the same-ish and they are not huge. Plus I swam and walked. My body needs fuel and having a holiday with a little extra fuel will not cause me to gain a zillion pounds and break the scale. I go back and forth on believing whether this is true or not or I can test it and get some actual evidence.

 When I get home I will weigh myself and see what has changed. I might have gained but I am pledging not to freak and I will then be weighed by my counsellor a week later and I can see if it settles. Depending on the outcome I can make an informed decision on how to proceed. 

I have been believing certain things for years and years about food body shape weight etc and at the end of the day I still have an eating disorder which makes me miserable.

It’s time to test out some alternative truths. Has anyone else done this (I think it is common in CBT-E)? Anyone else tempted to try?!

Day 6- A holiday without ED

Hola! I am in Spain! It’s sunny! Hurrah!

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself today. I woke up feeling bad about yesterday but had a stern talking to myself (as in I actually talked to myself in the mirror- sometimes this is necessary!) about not letting yesterday roll into today. 

So today I travelled (a bus, 2 trains, a plane, a bus and another train- I’m a dab hand with the public transport!) and yet still manages structured eating! I got up early to make breakfast snacks and lunch for travelling and then just ate out with my friend. I am stuffed-more full than I’m comfortable with but I have excused myself to go to bed and I will sleep it off.

Another day done. I’m just slowly trying to inch my way to my next counsellor appt in one piece. But for now I’m on holidays, without ED. 

Day 5- and why using behaviours does not make me a failure

Today was 80% successful. I’m working this out as I have opportunity for success with structured eating 5 times a day: at 3 meals and 2 snacks. Today I did fine with 4/5 of those, and just fell at the last hurdle by purging dinner, then having a small and purge. But although I fell, I haven’t failed. I’m going to try explain why…

I could feel the urge to purge come on early today. I had a few things to do today and was on a tight schedule. I knew it was unrealistic but I didn’t want to let anyone down, but then I ended up having to cancel on someone at late notice and that sucks as I hate when people do that to me, and also as there are times when I just cannot be social (say when my mood is just too low) I don’t like to’waste’ these times on something avoidable. So I was a bit stressed I guess, even though my tight schedule involved nice things like a run with a friend etc. I also haven’t purged in 4 days which is magic for me but I could feel it building up. Plus I’m on holidays next week staying with a friend in Spain (woo-hoo!) so I knew I would be trying really hard to not do it there. I know these seem silly reasons but I’m just trying to figure out where the urge came from.

So anyway I ate my healthy dinner, but my boyfriend was out and I had made enough for two (lesson learnt – I’m not ready for that) and after mine I decided to eat more. I did this consciously though- I waited 15 mins while I weighed up pros and cons. I could see the pros were in the minority but I decided to anyway. I then purged and this is shameful to admit but I really did feel so much better afterwards. This lasted for about an hour before I decided to go to the shop to buy something else to eat which I did and had a ‘mini binge’. This second one wasn’t as rational- the switch had definitely flipped and I felt out of control, but I figured I had used behaviours anyway today another time might not have hurt.

Now it’s all done and dusted a few hours later I can reflect on how I feel. Do I wish I hadn’t done it? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes. That’s where my problem lies- I need to stop seeing it as a pleasurable experience. I feel sick now, my insides are definitely not happy. I spent £3.50 on food I just then threw up- money that could have been spent on coffee with a friend. I felt sneaky doing it while boyfriend was out- I had option of going to meet him but chose not to- I shouldn’t be choosing ED over him. On the other hand I feel a definite sense of emptiness in my stomach which I haven’t had all week, and I feel calmer and ready to enjoy my holiday now. No wonder it’s hard to give it up if I feel it still has a helpful role in my life. 

Usually I would just have switched off my brain and my emotions at this point, but I’m trying to turn it around by taking time to reflect. I’m also going to work extra hard tomorrow to not let this de-rail me. Structured eating is still the aim for tomorrow and I have a plan in place for travelling. 

80% is still pretty good going, so yes I’m disappointed in myself but still have two feet firmly on the path to recovery, this was just one teensy stumble along the way. 

Structured eating day 4

All okay so far but in a bit of a danger zone now as heading home after being out all day while boyfriend is staying out. 

If any other day I would purge as soon as I was in the door. I’d be trying to undo the dinner I ate 3 hours ago. But today is different as I’m trying to be honest and accountable.

Short term purging would make me feel better.  Long term it feeds into a world where I don’t finish my PhD, I can’t have children, my boyfriend despairs at me, I don’t socialise, I miss out. 

I want to purge, but I want a life without an eating disorder more. Action expresses priority, so I am going to try my best to hang on. 

Structured eating reflection -day 2

Breakfast- easiest meal of the day-no dramas

Got into work and immediately moved the biscuits and put my lunch bag in the staff room. It took only 5 minutes, such a simple action but so important for keeping on track.

Morning snack- Ate what I had planned and at scheduled time. Feels like a large amount of food for a snack but I need to readjust on this one and instead enjoy that it leaves me satisfied rather than feeling guilty for that.

Unscheduled cake bites- at meeting, they were small and homemade by a healthy friend so felt safe- and they were yummy!

Lunch- Was later than planned as I had a meeting. Wasn’t starving for it (probably due to snack) but this is probably a good thing- eating before I get to this point, even though it makes me feel week. Didn’t eat the dessert I had planned for it but I genuinely was too full, decided instead to add it to my afternoon snack.

Afternoon snack- ate as scheduled. Substituted my dessert from lunch for part of it, then ate the other bit of it later as I stayed in work late.

Dinner- home alone with no plan as what to have. Went for little walk before going in to think it through- thought going to shops to pick something up would be too dangerous so instead came up with something (albeit a bit random) from the stuff we had at home. Was tasty- I dished out my portion and ate just that. I’m now having a cup of tea and waiting for the boy to get home so my options for purging are reduced (I could still if I wanted to but I don’t!). I have scope for some dessert after dinner but I’m not sure if I a) need it b) want it c) could eat it without consequential behaviours.

If I can hang on for another couple of hours it will have been another successful day! I didn’t really have any urges to binge and purge so that made it easier. I feel huge as I haven’t done any exercise since I was sick- but will get back to it tomorrow. Trying not to think about that and distracting with study instead.

Hope you all had lovely days too.

Edited 22.40 to add that I ate dessert once my boyfriend got home and then got on with some work and have now finished some work that is due in tomorrow. Never would have happened if I’d spent the time binge/purging. Wishing I could be so sensible everyday, but thinking like that doesn’t help. One day at a time…

Structured eating reflection- day 1

I’m not sure if this will work or not – I may abandon this after a day or two- but I’m going to try and blog my 3 week structured eating mission. I have 3 weeks until my next counsellor appointment and I am committed (at least for now- wait until ED gets a wind of this plan!) to trying my hardest at my goals of structured eating. I’m not overly concerned with what I’m eating at the moment, just the regularity of it. I’m not going to post what I actually eat as I don’t want to be giving any readers’ ED gremlins comparison ammunition; I’ll just more be reflecting on how it went and identify challenges and successes.  It will probably be boring for others to read, but if it has the potential to help me I’ll give anything a go

Breakfast- awesome, go me

Morning snack- was late as was at a work thing and didn’t want to eat my snack in front of people (something to work on but not for now). Felt okay about amount etc. though.

Lunch- ate this 40 mins ahead of schedule, so it was a bit too soon to snack. I wasn’t really hungry, I was just bored at my desk I think and wanted some distraction. I was meant to be working on something but I’d left it at home so was annoyed at myself. I think if my lunch bag had been in the fridge and not in my office I would have waited so tomorrow need to put lunch bag in fridge when I get in. Went for short gentle walk after lunch to distract myself from feeling full.

Afternoon snack- half an hour early but in line with lunch. Not particularly hungry, again a bit bored.

Unscheduled biscuits- they were in my drawer as they were leftover from a social  event. I shouldn’t have them in my office and need to remove them. Not even sure why I ate them, don’t think I was hungry. Could definitely feel a binge coming on but stopped myself after 3 and then packed up to go home as hoped change of scenery would help and I knew I could’t binge as boyfriend at home. Went to shops on way home and bought stuff for dinner. Urge to binge had gone at this point- was a quick one amazingly- need to remember the urges do pass and to not get caught up in thinking a few biscuits is a binge.

Dinner- made a new recipe and it was yum even if I say so myself! Ate at table with boyfriend and packed us both a lunch for tomorrow with the leftovers. Had some dessert and now feel too full – need to leave some time between dinner and dessert to suss out how hungry I actually am. Could easily purge now, and am very tempted, but after being so sick on Monday I think my body would be taking a battering-plus I know I haven’t eaten ‘too much’ so I am blogging instead and going to distract myself with some study now.

All in all- things to work on but not a bad start!