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. 

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4 thoughts on “Day 5- and why using behaviours does not make me a failure

  1. Hey MQR thanks for being so open and honest about what’s going on for you. I relate to a lot of what you write – the justifications and emotional processes – and I think you’re completely right in forgiving and accepting this slip and using it as a way to gain insight into what factors trigger and maintain the ed X recovery isn’t a straight path, you’ve got a clear sense of your overall intentions and values and it would be unfair to punish yourself for slipping up xx it takes courage and insight to get as far as you’ve got and you’re going to keep going xx I hope you can be kind to yourself, celebrate your wise response to today and then just keep going xxx sending you lots of support xx Em

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  2. The is such a difficult cycle. If ED didn’t serve a purpose, none of us would do it. I’ve struggled myself lately. And sometimes, getting stuck up in these behaviors feels like it’s exactly what we need. I do commend you for being brutally honest and conscious. I think it’s so great to try to identify how you felt immediately after and during. Keep doing and learning.

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