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 learn 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 challenge 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 😉 

Learning the difference between can’t and won’t

I had a really challenging session with my counsellor a couple of weeks ago. She asked me how my motivation levels are, which she always starts with I guess to gauge where I’m at. I’d had a rough couple of weeks and there had been some discussion of discharge to give me a break as I was struggling mood-wise. At this session though I was ready to keep fighting and told her that I was committed, that I trusted her and I would do what was necessary to make the most of this opportunity with her.

She asked me how often I had been weighing myself. I said, sheepishly, a few times a day. She said that I needed to get rid of the scales or limit that to once a week. I moaned but I can’t” and started to launch into all the reasons why. She stopped me though and said you can it will just be hard so you won’t”. Harsh, but true. There is no real reason why I can’t do that except that it will make me feel anxious and terrified, and the fact is that I can’t recover without going through a period of feeling anxious and terrified.

We then moved onto meal planning and that I need to be following the meal snack meal snack meal structure with no excuses and need to be planning it the night before. Again, I said “I can’t” and gave my reasons why. She interrupted me though, as she has heard all these excuses before and told me “you can, and this is the only way you will recover, so if you’re deciding you won’t then you need to think about the choice you are making”. Again, harsh but true. I’ll say at this point that my counsellor knows her sh*t and she has been very tolerant and understanding, and will offer whatever support I need for recovery, but she is very clear that she won’t collude with my eating disorder as her job is to help me recover. This is exactly the type of person you need by your side in recovery.

She was was right of course, I can meal plan. I can take 30 mins of everyday to sit down and write out my meals for the next day. I can choose going to the supermarket over watching netflix. I can run less so I’m not too exhausted to cook. I can add carbohydrates to each meal. All of this is within my control, but it involves acknowledging that sometimes I just won’t. 

Eating disorders are a b**ch of an illness. It is not fair that I have one and it is not fair that I have to fight through the terror to get better. But it is a fact that I have to go through that terror if I want to come out the other side, and I do want that. I want a life free from ED. So I am learning the difference between can’t and won’t, and being firm but gentle with myself as I do that.

Oh scales, how I shall miss you

I am currently only be meant to be weighing myself once a week. Well ideally, not outside of counselling appointments at all, but because of the gaps between them (and my inability to wait that long!) we’ve settled on once a week.

Currently I’m weighing myself about 4/5 times a day. I’m not particularly bothered by the number, but it’s this weird curiosity about needing to know. I get that my weight fluctuates, but there’s something reassuring about knowing it at various points of the day. However my counsellor thinks this is just ED making excuses and I need to ignore it. I had managed to reduce it to a few times a week, or even less, over the past year but since I’ve been living on my own it has creeped back up. 

My counsellor is adamant I need to take this step to show that I am committed to the process she is engaging me in. So, after two checks this morning I packaged up my scale and have tucked it away under the stairs. 

I’m now getting into bed and automatically went to step in the scales, only to find them gone. Argh! I’m really bloated and really think I would feel better by checking my weight. I really want to dig them out, but I also want to show I can manage one day without them. I trust my counsellor and maybe if I’m struggling with even one day, just maybe she has a point? 

So the scales and are taking a break until next Tuesday. I’ll miss you scales!’

What would happen?

Today I got asked what I thought would happen if I ate a Nak’d bar everyday? (Nak’d bars are ‘smooshed’ fruit and nut bars). A random question to most people but it was in the context of me potentially expanding my snack choices. I don’t think my friend realised what a profound question she was asking me, but I now want to pass it on. Think of some food item you love and could happily eat everyday – but don’t allow yourself too. What are the reasons? What do you think would happen?

For me and Nak’d bars my first reason is that they are expensive and that I should just make my own. But the fact is I won’t do this, I’d like to, but I won’t. I also like knowing the calories which would be harder homemade (stupid, but true for me). 

If I get past this excuse- which I easily can seeing as I have definitely spent money on other food just the throw it up, the next reason is that I’m afraid if I have them in the house I will binge on them. It’s an expensive binge! Plus, once a food becomes a binge food I then eliminate it from my regular food and have to work hard to introduce it back in. I’m aware a response will probably be that if I ate one everyday then I wouldn’t want to binge on them, but it doesn’t always work like that. I’ve eaten oats for thousands of breakfasts but if I want to binge then I’d go for them, so I am scared to have them in the cupboard. However I don’t have to bulk buy, I could just have a box of 4 at a time. 

So, say if I get past the reasons why I couldn’t eat on everyday, what do I think would happen if I did eat one everyday?

I would feel greedy. I would feel weak for eating something deemed as a ‘treat’ everyday. I would feel that I should show better willpower. I know I’d enjoy them so then would be afraid that I’d want them. And that’s not allowed. It’s not that I think I’m undeserving, I’m just under the impression that I shouldn’t be eating things that I like too much as it shows no self-control. Even if I were told to eat them, there would be a bit of me that feels relieved to be allowed to, and I hate that bit of me, or more accurately, ED hates that bit of me. I’d also be worried that I’d still feel hungry after one as a snack, therefore better to eat none at all, because that want just shows how gluttonous I really am deep down (‘or hungry?’ pipes up my rational brain). 

It’s not that I think I’ll gain weight or go over calories or anything, it’s different to that, which is hard to get people to understand as they’re typically classed as a ‘healthy snack’. It’s not food itself, it’s wanting the food.  This is when eating disorders show their mental illness side, and it’s not about food but it is about food. 

Does this make any sense to anyone?! I’m intrigued if anyone else gets thoughts like this?

Ps: after writing this the crazy demon voice is now suggesting that as I quite like porridge now maybe I need to stop having it for a while and have just fruit instead. I will ignore it, but this is the kind of s**t I have to negotiate in my twisted little brain!

A day to myself

Yesterday was the first day in months that I had no plans. I had to be home to wait for a delivery and it forced me to arrange my day to be at home. 

It was bliss! I woke up early but lay in bed reading. I did some epic spring cleaning- I washed two sets of curtains, I cleaned the grouting in the bathroom tiles, I washed the windows, I sorted out cupboards, I cleaned my cross country shoes, I had washed clothes that had been building up. In between this I had two naps and watched two movies! 

It might sound like a horrible day to others but cleaning really does soothe me, and it was great to get things checked off my to-do list, and to wake up this morning to a sparkling house! 

Eating wise it wasn’t great, despite being relaxed and having a lovely day I purged three times and binged/purged in the evening. Bulimia is back with an avengance but I’m aware of this and prioritising my recovery, I took out my self-help manual and have started the first module again, and wrote out my pros and cons for recovery and am going to food shop today to get me started for the week. 

I’m away again the next two weekends and can already feel the anxiety building up, but this is a lesson that I need more days like this as they really do help. In fact I’m going to schedule some in the diary right now! 

Hope you all had lovely Saturdays too.