The hard bit

I increased my meal plan and added in the carbs. Even though I don’t feel like I  should eat more or could bear gaining weight I did it. And so I gained weight, not a massive amount but a definite increase. I freaked out. 

This was the goal, this needs to happen, but it still felt terrible. I think because I didn’t feel or look  ‘underweight’ then real recovery wouldn’t involve gaining. Who was I kidding? The wasteland between underweight and anorexic is purgatory, my lovely counsellor would never let me stay there. So I trusted the process, I did it, and now I feel awful.

I understand I have to go through this bit, I’ve been here before, but I wish I could make people understand how hard it really is.i want to be a healthy weight, but I don’t want to be anything more than this. I love my life at a healthy weight, I see all the benefits, but the moment you put me on the scale I crumble. 

This is the hard bit. This is the piece people don’t recognise, going from healthy to healthier. This is the bit where I grit my teeth and hand on and hope people understand. 

I want to be recovered, I want ED out of my life, I’m going to trust the process, but right now, …well this is just the hard bit ….

Baby steps

The little things add together eventually. They feel so massive at the time, but so insignificant in the big picture, but on reflection they are what makes recovery.

I had a slice of toast before swimming today. I spread it with peanut butter that I can now keep in my cupboard.

I swam until the time I needed to get out for work, even though it was less than I wanted. 

I had lunch 20 mins early because I knew I wouldn’t have time later.

I ate 2 biscuits that weren’t planned because they are yummy and I was hungry. 

I drank wine at the theatre (semi-drunk blogging!) because it was free and I don’t care about the calories. 

I will sleep well and tomorrow I will keep to plan, because I am free to do that, and I trust the process. 

One win at a time. 

Saturday night at the supermarket

Today I’m just sharing a win with you guys. Short version: I bought a rice pot, I didn’t binge or purge,I feel like a superhero.

I was at a friend’s house for tea and cake yesterday late afternoon. It was at an awkward time so threw me a bit in terms of meal planning. I had planned on having my afternoon snack there and was going to have a slice of cake as she bakes amazing cakes and I feel safe eating her stuff. 

I had the cake and then also had quite a few candied nuts. They weren’t on the plan but I’d never tried them and once I had one the ‘danger binge coming’ switch went on. 

I rationalised with myself that I would make the cakes and nuts my dinner as one solution (hello restricting ED), but I was worried that I’d be setting myself up for a rough day tomorrow as my body does not like any restriction at the moment.

Then I thought that I was planning on going to the supermarket anyway afterwards so I could buy something quick to binge on and purge everything (oh yes hello binging ED’s twisted mind where the solution to eating too much is eating more?)

By time I got the the supermarket I hadn’t quite made up my mind what to do. It was dangerous me being there but I had run out of key foods at home and have study plans for today (Sunday) so I really didn’t want to have to go to supermarket then. 

I walked down the aisles in the supermarket contemplating what to do. I really didn’t want to binge/purge and feel rough the next day, yet I was feeling so guilty about the nuts and yet also knowing that they weren’t enough for dinner that I was exposing myself to a binge later anyway. 

Eventually I realise that I could strike a balance, I could get a ‘treat’ for tea that would satisfy the binge urges but not makes me need to purge. I picked up a fresh lentil rice pot quick meal, I would never buy these normally as I don’t buy ready meals and they are ┬ú3 for something I can make myself for far less, but I knew I wouldn’t go home and make a proper dinner so I bought it along with the other stuff I needed. It felt rebellious buying the rice pot because I’d never had one before but it was a safe meal in terms of calories and was actually nutritious food. 

It felt powerful making a good decision. I was smiling to myself thinking how far I have come, that I could now be in a supermarket with the opportunity to either restrict or binge/purge and that I am choosing neither. I was literally grinning to myself! I came home and cooked the rice pot and ate it mindfully at the table and then had some fruit for dessert and then watched some Netflix before falling into bed content with my decision making. 

This morning’s self is very grateful to last night’s self for making a good choice and setting me up well for the day. 

Recovery is one win at a time, and all the baby steps are starting to join together. Hurrah!

The carbs with every meal experiment

I had my official weigh in today and the 20 or so Nak’d bars I ate over the last few weeks have made no difference- which shows the experiment worked- the worst is not necessarily going to happen!

The challenge for the next two weeks is carbs at every meal. I’ve been managing this for the most part recently (it took a long long long time- years- but I have finally un-demonised carbs-well, most of them) but never consistently, usually 2 meals out of 3 in a day, or a run of few days but then a few blips.

The aim is to have carbs with every meal for the next two weeks, so 41 meals, 41 opportunities to show I can do it. And then at my next appointment I will see the impact on my weight. I’m not worried about portion sizes, that will come later down the line, for now just need to have carbs on my plate and then in my belly ­čÖé

This may result in some weight gain, my counsellor has prepared me for that, as I’m adding it to my meal plan on top of everything else, but the experiment is to see how much impact it really makes, and to see how I deal with this.

In between this I’m only to weigh myself once (she wanted no weighing but I’m a fierce negotiator when I want to be!)

Anyone else challenging any ED beliefs/thoughts these days?

The nak’d bar (nearly) everyday challenge

A little while ago a friend asked me what I thought would happen if I ate a nak’d bar everyday. For me, nak’d bars are a treat and I don’t deserve to eat them everyday, and if I did I would never be able to stop eating them and my life would crumble in a smooshing of fruit and nut bars.

So I thought I should test this theory, and challenged myself to eat a nak’d bar every day. Do you want to know what happened? (I’m telling you anyway, sorry!)

-After a few days I got a bit bored of nak’d bars. I went back to my other snacks a few days just because I wanted something different.

-I’ve binged on them once. I ate 4 bars in a row, but I had 12 more bars I could have eaten but I didn’t. I would’ve binged on anything at that point, so actually an amazement that I realised I didn’t actually want to keep going.

-I stocked up in the beginning and have had nak’d bars in my cupboard since then, but the binging was an isolated incident.

-I realised I liked some flavours better than others. Peanut can stay in my life forever but I gave the lemon drizzle away after 2 bars.

-I gained NO weight. I added these on to my meal plan for the first week, eating fruit and a nak’d bar rather than just a nak’d bar. Did the calories make any difference? Nope!

Sometimes it’s worth challenging things and trusting the process. I feel empowered by my ability to get rid of my nak’d bar fear. What can I face next I wonder?

* and no this post isn’t sponsored

*and yes I am eating one as I write this!


Late to the podcast party

I have just discovered podcasts. I know I know, I’m so behind the times, but I just never really got what they were all about until fairly recently. My mum had been recommending some but I was like ‘argh I don’t know how it works on my phone’ and mum quite rightly said ‘if I can do it you can’ – which is so true as my Mum is so lazy about getting on with technology stuff!

I’ve discovered some really good ones mental health-wise and I really feel they have shifted some of my views and beliefs and have been really positive for me, so I thought I would recommend some here and hopefully┬álearn about some new ones from any of you reading!

I’m loving ‘Don’t salt my game’ by Laura Thomas. She a registered nutritionist but her podcast are not just focused on food, she interviews a variety of guests and there generally fun episodes, but also quite informative about a range of topics e.g. anxiety, body positivity, exercise, feminism, health at every size. She’s really passionate about calling society (esp. social media) out on its BS and promotes scientific evidence, so she’s never going to talk about some crazy fad or money-making health scaremongering. For those of you in the UK who watched ‘mind over marathon’ she was the nutritionist associated with this programme. These podcasts have really inspired me to┬áchallenge some of my ED beliefs and I can feel myself getting angry at an illness and society that tells me I have to be thin, that thinness is superior, that restricting food is a strength or a talent. Our bodies are our bodies, they are superb machines that know what they need to stay well, and will do a good job of that if we stop fighting them. I’m trying to learn how to #embracethesquish as a result of some of the discussions on this podcast.

The other one I’m enjoying is ‘Eating disorder recovery podcast’ by Tabitha Farrar. I started listening to this one around Eating Disorder Awareness week when she did some great episodes for adults with eating disorders e.g. relationships and sex, money, loneliness. These are issues that don’t often get addressed in eating disorder sites, blogs literature etc so it was interesting and relevant to me as a 30-something year old. She recovered (fully) from a restrictive eating disorder so there is a definite bias towards this in terms of discussion/ focus, but as restriction often plays a part in bulimia/ EDNOS it is relevant to those disorders also. She advocates that full recovery is possible but it’s bloody hard work and can’t be achieved without eating and gaining weight. This is so true so a very important message to be putting out there, but she recognises that the process of doing that is horrendous, so she’s realistic about things.

One more I have gotten into is ‘Bryony Gordon’s it’s a mad world’ which is focused on mental health more generally. She started off the podcast with an interview with Prince Harry which is pretty cool, and then the second episode she talks to a director of NHS mental healthcare services, who then became a patient in the mental health system herself which was fascinating.

I feel like I’ve learnt a lot over the past few weeks with my new podcast obsession, I play them when I’m doing chores, in the bath or as distraction during mealtimes, at night, basically whenever! I went through an intense reading phase at the beginning of the year and now have replaced that with podcasts it seems! I’d love to get some recommendations from you guys for other ones I could try- mental health wise or more generally!

PS: I’m also listening to ‘my dad wrote a porno’ and it is a sure thing to make me laugh out loud – it sounds random but worth looking it up!

Why am I running? What are my reasons to run?

So today I ran a marathon. Eek. I’m a bit worried about announcing that to the world (or WordPress!) as most of you know that marathons and EDs don’t mix.

But I have to explain. This time last year my friend asked me to pace her around Belfast.  I had just had my not-a-marathon experience and was unsure if I’d ever reach the distance again but said if I was well I would. I was well before Christmas, then the break up stuff happened and ED stuff got harder but my running remained slow but consistent so I agreed. I said I would help get her to the start line, and to half way and we’d see after that.

What happened was that we ran strong together until mile 22 and then i started to struggle. She said she’d wait for me but I was very clear- this was her run, her goal was to do her best, my goal was to help her do her best. I let her go saying I would catch up but after a little while I realised I really wasn’t well enough for it. For a mile I agonised over knowing I was going to miss an hour marker, but then I just felt so sick I had to stop, and I thought to myself, why am I running? What are my reasons to run? 

No. 1 was to get my friend to the start line, to the half way and to mile 20. I did that.

No2. was to enjoy the training and to not let it make me feel bad. I did that.

No. 3 i couldn’t think of a number 3. Those were my reasons why and they were great reasons. I had met my goals, and now needed to show off what I have learnt about being kind to myself, about being okay with not meeting my ridiculous expectations, about being able to enjoy the moment. 

So I slowed down, and finished 13 minutes slower than my friend, and 3 minutes slower than I would have liked. But I crossed the finish line thinking, who cares? I did good today. People can think I’m making excuses all I like, but it was better for me that I slowed down than I pushed through. I have shown I can learn. 

Yes this journey through ED is taking me far longer than I would have liked. Yes I feel like I’m taking all the detours. Yes I doubt that I will get there. But I will keep on trying and I feel damn good about that. Today I ran a marathon, not ED, not self-hate, not self criticism, just me and my feeling great about me self! 

Recovery after so many years is a long and winding road, but as long as I’m still on it and facing the right direction I figure I have got this. 

I have got this.

And now sleep! Zzzzzz ­čśë