The reality of eating disorder recovery

Hello flowers,

I am ever so sorry for my recent absence. I realise that I haven’t posted in a little while and before that I only posted recipes! I guess I will tell you a little bit about my past week. Things have been up and down. Mainly down unfortunately but it is imperative that I keep that positive mindset going. Food has been the best it has for years and years. I cook for my family twice a week, we have roast dinners every Sunday, I bake and eat my baking, I eat pizza, pudding every single day of ice cream or a sponge pudding and I have lunch out with my mum at least once every two weeks. These are things I would NEVER have dreamed of doing only five months ago. Five months ago I was in hospital and I woke up every day feeling dread, hatred and self loathing.

This is where the downside comes in. I see many many people who go through recovery and they eat and suddenly their whole life falls into place. They have a job, friends, they go out have generally have FUN. I always wanted to be that person, I always wanted to recover just like that. I think the reality is what I described above is very rare. The more common type of recovery is that one eats and engages in anorexia recovery 100% (me) but then then their mood plummets, they feel more depressed than ever, they are tired, they don’t want to do anything like go shopping, horse riding or the things we love. We think we hang on a second,we were told me all of these professionals and all of our loved ones that if we eat then things will get better. Our mood will increase, we will have energy etc etc.

This is NOT (always) the case. I know exactly what has happened with me and I wanted to tell you all because I don’t have a solution to this problem but it helps knowing what the problem is. Because when you are just sitting there with the worst thoughts ever, it is so frustrating because you don’t know WHY. And I hope that this will help some of you understand a little bit more. When we starve our bodies of the most important source that it needs to function, generally everything goes to pot. We feel physically unwell as well as mentally unwell. Our mood decreases but also something quite interesting happens to our mood. Our brains can’t function properly and when you are eating so little this is even more the case. Your body starts to shut down and when you have NO energy supplies, the body desperately tries to get energy from your muscles to keep your body working.

This is why when our body and brain is malnourished then if a situation happens, it will go over the top of you. You might care about it but you don’t have the time and energy to think about it. You don’t have the energy to make up a thought process of I am feeling happy/angry/sad because… So because of this when you do start eating again your brain CAN function properly. You have thoughts and feelings that are so loud you can’t switch them off. The fact is your thoughts never went, they were always the same but malnourishment caused them to be buried. And this brings me around into a full circle of why you developed anorexia in the first place. Maybe (like me) you had extremely low mood to begin with and of course the anorexia (or other eating disorder) hid that away because you are so consumed on food that you can’t think about anything else. And if this is the case then you know that your low mood that you are experiencing now, it’s just the same as before. It may feel like your mood has gotten a lot worse than when you were buried in anorexia but the truth it is no no worse than before you developed anorexia.

You have come around full circle. Anorexia never got rid of your low mood, anorexia never got rid of the situation as to why you became ill in the first place. It covered everything up so you wouldn’t have to think about it and now here you are faced with the problem again. Like I said above, I do not have a solution to this problem. It is difficult for me to talk about why I became ill in the first place. I don’t 100% know why actually. But the thing I want to improve now that my brain is functioning well is that I want to practice self love. I want to banish all of the awful thoughts I have about myself. I don’t like talking about me being bullied at school, it was an extremely difficult time for me. I now have the thoughts every single day that everyone hates me. Everyone hates me and they would be better of without me. THIS is what anorexia covered up and THIS is why I feel low. Anorexia didn’t just cover that up. It covered up way more than that but the point is I know what I need to improve on. I need to learn to love myself and I think that your first step could be learning to love yourself as well. You don’t have to know why you got poorly. You just have to know the catalyst. (low mood, low self worth etc.)

I really do hope that this helps a few of you. This is where I am at right now and it’s painful so painful but I know if I went back to anorexia I would have no chance of a peaceful life. I would be forever battling with my mind. It is just baby steps like it has been my whole recovery, one foot in front of the other.

Yesterday lunch

Hello everyone,

I shall be posting a recipe later on today but first I wanted to do a little post about my lunch that I had yesterday. Me and my mum love going out for lunch so we decided to make it a regular occurrence and we usually go once a week depending on how busy we both are. It’s lovely to spend some time with my mum and also I sometimes meet her before/after therapy so it puts me in a good mood. We have two favourite cafes now but we want to find new places to go because it’s always nice to go somewhere different!

The place I went to yesterday was actually a shop and they have a cafe on the top floor. I think lots of places do that now actually and I like going there because then I can look at all of the kitchen/craft stuff when I am finished 😉 Yesterday I felt like a toasted sandwich and I hadn’t actually seen them do toasted sandwiches before but maybe that is because I wasn’t looking? I chose a cheese and tomato toastie and it was delish.

Cheese and tomato toastie

And then for pudding we both got a cake and I got the coffee and walnut cake which is one of my favourite ever flavours. I have also had the chocolate brownie there before as well. I think I like my chocolate things 😉 I shall have to try the chocolate cake next time I go. I have always been eyeing it up but I think that saying you eat with your eyes is true. Because once my dad bought a cake slice and I just wouldn’t have chosen to eat it because it looked just a bit boring but I had it and it was actually very tasty. I don’t know I think that I do usually make such a fuss if my food doesn’t look tasty I think that is definitely something I need to work on! But I don’t think it is a specific eating disorder thing. I think it is a me being silly thing! Ramble over… Here was my cake.

Coffee and walnut cake

I did enjoy it but it was very very dense. It wasn’t light and fluffy and my mum said that my homemade cakes are 1000x better. I think a bake session is in order this weekend 😉 Something different will be happening next week. Something different and scary. On Tuesday I am going out for lunch but I am not going with my mum, I am going with my dad. Me and my dad have a difficult relationship and my illness has made it worse. The other day I was just talking with my dad and suddenly I asked him out for lunch. I am not one to be so forward but I did it and I am actually very proud. Me and my dad don’t really do anything together and if we do then my mum is always there. So I hope that this will be a good time to bond and also it will be out of the house and at my favourite cafe so I think (I hope) that I will feel relaxed because most times I don’t feel relaxed at home and that’s when the conflict starts.

I think I am making important steps and I am quite proud of myself which one day I won’t be ashamed of saying! Eating lunch out is getting a little bit easier each week and I think it just proves that if you try then you will succeed. I am aware that most people might not go out for lunch once a week but I think for me it is helping challenging myself and it helps putting an hour aside each week so me and my mum can have a good chat in a calm and relaxed environment which unfortunately is not home at the moment but it will be. Just take each day as it comes.

Food never has and never will be the enemy (the mental health project 2)

Hello 🙂

I have started a series on my blog and I am not really sure how well this is going to go down BUT I want to help people so once a week I will be talking about subjects that are all mental health illness related because I want to share my experiences and hopefully if you are really struggling a lot at this current moment then I want to tell you what I know and hopefully help. You can read more about my project here.

So I guess I shall get started on today’s topic. I think everyone with an eating disorder no matter what it is has grown to fear food. Maybe use it to control their emotions or to make themselves feel numb to anything. An eating disorder is a hugely powerful thing and it makes you believe that if you eat xxx then something terrible WILL happen to you. It’s not as simple as someone saying to you don’t eat that, that’s bad for you. You have an eating disorder because of something powerful but that’s okay because it IS possible to break free from that horribly strong grip. If you are anything like me then you would know all there is to know about nutrition, calories, the lot really. I find it helpful to take a moment to stand back and say to myself that eating is NOT the bad thing. This eating disorder wants to kill you. It doesn’t want anything good for you and it will poison your head with lies until it’s completely taken over and there is no “you” left.

What if you could tell yourself that all food is, well… food. It’s just something you need, it’s like air and water. I don’t know anyone that deprives themselves of oxygen. You can say it’s not the same thing but I think it is. You are depriving yourself of one of the essential components needed to live. If you had the choice to eat WHATEVER you wanted then would you take it? You do have the choice. You have the choice to stand up to the bully in your head. You have the chance to say YES when someone asks you out for a meal or YES when your friends invite you out. You have the power to say no to this eating disorder but it is all up to YOU.

Moving on to the types of food you eat, I believe that you need ALL foods to make a BALANCED diet. Chocolate, fruit, cereal, pasta, pizza, whole grains, cake etc. etc. You need all the food groups for your body to function at it’s best. I do understand that some people might genuinely like eating only fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But I don’t want people to on purposely deprive themselves of food just because their head has bullied them into it. My diet used to be very different from what it is now. It was very wholesome with not much variety in it at all. I wasn’t happy, I rigidly counted calories, I would refuse to go out for family meals yet I was convinced I was beating my eating disorder because my weight was higher than previously.

If you feel “comfortable with where you are at now then there is a good chance you are pleasing your eating disorder. I’m not telling you it’s easy and I am not telling you to do something which would make you go back again. I just want you to think, do you really want to please your eating disorder and remain in it’s grip for the rest of your life? Recovery is never ever going to be easy but I do believe it will be worth it.

Because in recovery I can eat meals my family have prepared, I can eat crisps, cake, chocolate, fruit, cereal, carbohydrates without a second thought, I can forget about numbers and think this TASTES good, I can go out to lunch with my mum and not bat an eyelid at the options. I have a long way to go, I accept that and I am up for the challenge. Because it is a long way up from here but it is even longer back down. If there is only one thing you do then that is have faith that things WILL get better.

Challenges.

Hi 🙂

So I challenged myself big time last night and I have finally got the time to sit down and tell you guys all about it. Im struggling with eating enough and last night I was quite hungry for my evening snack so I went against what I had planned and had something different! I really didn’t have much more as I had a nutri-grain ginger bake instead of two nairns stem ginger oat biscuits. But it was a challenge for me and it took all of my strength and effort to ignore what ed was screaming at me.

I do feel very guilty today and I even planned on restricting. I haven’t restricted anymore than I usually have though and for my afternoon snack I had a bigger one than what I had planned again! My afternoon snack was so hard today because my mum and I went out together and got home at 4:20 which is twenty minutes past my snack time. I know this sounds rediculous but I was panicking because I wanted my snack and didn’t know what to have because my mum will be serving me my dinner in less than two hours. In the end I decided on another ginger bake and that has satisfied me. I was just going to have an apple but I really am trying now to increase my calories.

It can’t be good eating the amount I am and it’s all healthy food anyway so a little more surely won’t do any harm, right? And my mum is cooking my dinner for me today because I was panicking last night about what I should have and I couldn’t decide and then I couldn’t get out of bed this morning because I was so anxious about food.

I haven’t felt like this in a loooong time and it’s really scary. My whole mind is consumed with negative food thoughts and im so tired all the time from all this worrying. It’s times like these when I feel like I am never going to get better 😦 I was doing really well but then out of no where I am struggling again.