19 September 2017

Why I'm jealous of dieters 

I try to protest that I'm not influenced by society that much when it comes to diets and weight loss talk going on around me, but I am starting to realise how much I probably am affected.

It REALLY annoys me that it affects me though, because the same old advise seems so easy to dish out...."Don't compare yourself...", "Ignore it..." and the worst..."But you don't need to lose weight so why does it bother you..."

It bothers me because I remember how good losing weight made me feel, how eurphoic it left me, how proud I was of the numbers going down, my body reducing and my ability to survive on as little food as possible. It was something I became good at.

When people talk about 'good and bad' foods and being 'good and bad' with eating and exercise. When they talk numbers and goal weights, as wave of thoughts and jealous comes over me and I'm overwhelmed with what I feel and what I think I shouldn't or should feel instead. 

Some of it is because I see my body and just think a few less calories a day and a few pounds lighter would improve me. Some of it is competitiveness at wanting to be the woman who can shed the most and then there are the pangs of wishing I had weight to lose to 'join in'. 

I think one of the most misunderstood bits of anorexia recovery for me is how much having my issues with food and body isolates me from so many conversations people have in everyday life. I don't think people realise it's like talking about booze and drinking reaptedly in the company of a recovering alcoholic, but that's what it is.

It feeds the illness, the addiction to calories, food and diets. It is painful and confusing, but the thing is, if I speak up about how it affects me (and I am guessing so many other people) I'll be told that I am in the minority and to just 'ignore' the 'diet and weight loss chat' but it's not that easy, In fact it's really fucking hard. 

11 September 2017

When anorexia takes over afterthoughts

*trigger warning, I talk about calories, please look after your own recovery*

So, last week I pushed myself and my anxieties and produced an international broadcast for work, high pressure, all my planning and with my own standards to hit. I am proud of our coverage and I don't often say that, but I am. I could pick at the bits that could have gone better, but I'm doing the positive thing and learning from them. You wonder where the negatives are coming from then, right?

Well. Me. Food and body. Calories.

Being on the road, in a hotel and eating in restaurants for most of the week means my head is going round and round about how much I have over eaten in the last 7 days. This is where the negatives begin.

Artichoke and Olive Salad in Folkstone.

Tomato soup and bread

Beligum Goats Cheese, Apple and Olive Salad

It's probably the most I've eaten out consecutively in about 7 years, the least control I've had in the last 7 years, the most causal evening drinks I've had and although I estimated calories each meal and day and kept my usual 'tabs' on myself. I just feel grosse.

I feel like I have ballooned. I am the stereotypical 'been away and gained a stone' woman and I hate every inch of it. Really I do.

In reality I'm guessing I ate around 2000 calories each day. And yes, I was busy, travelling, broadcasting and had long days. Around these meals it was porridge pots for breakfast, fruit and M&S salads for lunch or dinner...Regarless, that all feels excessive for me. It does. I know that's the RDA for a 32 year old woman. But I do usually have around 1500 on a daily basis. And no I don't lose weight on that.

It was hard eating abroad and I did challenge myself to order things and pick at bread and sides. I had salads where I could, soup one evening and no, I was in Belgium and didn't have waffles or more than a sample of chocolate. But I feel crap about my orders in some restaurants which were higher calories than what other people ordered. And even 6 days on, I still feel that sense of regret for consuming more calories than I 'needed' to.

That happened yesterday when I went for Sunday Lunch for a friend's mini hen meal, I had a veggie Pattie with the brioche bun and swapped chips for salad and scrapped the onion rings. But I checked the calories AFTERWARDS and it was 1200 for the meal and trimmings. And I wish I'd ordered a salad. I enjoyed the burger but just got that regrets and the 'maths' afterward today working out what the meal i consumed was. It feels like I made the wrong choice.

I am on leave from work this week and although I want to make the most of the down time and rest and visit people the idea of not having my standard food/meals Is bothering me. I feel the GREED needs to stop.

I don't know if I said. But I weighed myself the other week on my neighbour's scales and my weight was pretty stable. Up slightly. Still under 60kg (my original target when at EDU) and no. I'm still not having periods. But my god. I just see the barrel in the Mirror and feel like in need to cover up my body. Don't even talk to me about the formal dresses I need to buy for a few occasions coming up.

It's almost harder that I know this all so logically now and I don't get highly anxious about ordering or eating food, but that doesn't mean anorexia isn't still there. It is. She is.

21 August 2017

Was it something I said?

A passing thought for many from time to time, but possibly one of the consuming thoughts I have on a daily, maybe even hourly basis. It's either something I said, did or didn't do or something I am likely to do or say, because, well I always mess it up.

It's not just a thought or two from time to time though. It's everything and more often or not I just can't let it go. I think I must have annoyed someone about something. I don't stop there though, I then go into overdrive thinking about how I can make up for it, or apologise for myself. 

I don't remember not thinking like this though, like I have 'messed up' or done something wrong, worried that it's likely to have annoyed or inconvenienced other people. These are old school thoughts. Of course they've evolved over time. From worrying about friends, family or colleagues, the basis is the same. It's my fault. 

What I do know and feel still is how anorexia will try and try to convince me this is just the way I am. A woman full of mistakes, a woman likely to make mistakes and make other people think as badly of me as she does.

It's the same fault I feel my body is, the same mistakes I worry about when it comes to eating or just being or running. The same way I look for ways to ease the mistakes or fix them. Undo the wrong I have done. The way I look, dress or act in any given situation or environment. That it's not up to standard. Was I too loud? Did I react quickly enough at work, should I have invited other people or could I have done more to help. 

One of my favourite quotes cut out of The Sunday Times for me by my former therapist is an Eleanor Roosevelt one "You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realised how seldom they do..." Which I can logically get to. Sometimes people's behaviour, moods, actions, conversations, looks or emails are less about ME and more about them, scrap that. They are mostly always about them, not me. But try telling my brain that. Nah-na. 

It's hard to explain the impact this has one me. I know I can't expect perfection, to never say anything or do anything wrong. I can't be firing on all cylinders, keeping everyone happy all the time. It's not even a people pleasing things, like for some. It's like I just don't want people to hate me or have reason to (what my teenage self would say) "slag me off.." or moan about me. 

But the biggest slagger-offer is mysef. And that is painful, because it actually IS something I said, to myself. 

14 August 2017

Oh, it's different now, okay?

One thing I find 'this side' of treatment, and by that I mean I'm no longer in treatment, Is it is much harder to express how I feel and how I get on with life. It's actually now six year since I was referred and labelled with this anorexia nervosa thing.

I'm not going to try and kid anybody that I get on with life without any issues. Quite clearly I do have many. In the same way I have never called myself recovered, like some people have when clearly they're not. But nor do I identify with 'being anorexic' any more. I feel like that chapter has gone. Although, do I actively anorexic behaviours? Yes. By that I mean anorexic behaviours like counting calories and body checking, and so on. And yes my own judgement of myself is that my life isn't 'Stereotypically' what society sees as anorexic. I'm just going on my own experience here.

All I know is I feel and act differently to when I first became very ill. My behaviours, thoughts and life is a world apart from when I was actively in treatment. The structure of treatment at EDU means that is always going to be different. But it's also different from when I was just leaving EDU. I have more life around me, I'm more settled and have routines and structure to my life. But the thing is, If I bared all of my thoughts and habits, many of you'd have me rediagnosed (aside from my BMI!).

If I'm honest, no. I don't 'feel like one of those women' - again, THANKS to society - who live life dictated by anorexia or someone who acts on all those thoughts or feelings. I am not. I am not a wallflower or live consumed. But I am someone, like I've always been that finds way to cope and just gets on with those thoughts and just gets on. Until I cry or splurge like this.

I count calories to keep myself in check, and instead of cutting them or restricting more if I feel guilty or worried, I just give myself a hard time about it. I have habits rules and ways of dealing with situations. I hate my body. I feel fat and although I don't know my weight anymore, I was in a healthy BMI and I know i've gained, because my clothes don't fit. I feel disgusted with my stomach STILL for instance. I'm pissed off when people thinner than me have a go at my diet or life habits or preach recovery. Yes. I am jealous sometimes that they get to be 'skinny and happy' - they probably aren't. I feel lazy and shit for not exercising or running. Really lazy and I actually miss that freedom. But I can rarely be arsed either. I want people to tell me I am fat or lazy. Self-fulfilling and all that.

Food wise, okay. There was concern over my 450kcal breakfast being my biggest meal. I get that. I have issues and rules and have problems with SO MANY Foods. Loads of problems. I also am generally healthy and it's not wrong to eat the way I want to eat either, I've been vegetarian and pretty much vegan most of my life, and have food issues not related to ED too. But do I get annoyed at myself for what I consider my bad habits? Yes. I hate that I 'trust' nuts, hot chocolates or dried fruit or handfuls of cereal or allow myself to take up an offer of a sweet. Honestly, I miss my fucked up 'will power' I do. I will eat out if I NEED to, but don't always choose to. Then I usually have a salad. I have the same lunches generally - because I trust them. And when I am out of these routines, I spend more time than normal planning and finding ways to control my food. Like tomorrow, work means I can't have my usual lunch at my usual time and that makes me unsettled. And so on....

Despite all this. I get on. Yes. It's disordered. But in my own ordered way. Maybe it'll happen along the way sometime, when it 'clicks' we are they say. When some time passes or someone comes into my life or whatever. But what I do know is that until that moment, I guess life will continue like this? I know no one else can 'fix this' and that annoys me. The ED services I was referred back to earlier this year said I was doing okay and better than most - and I was too 'therapied out' for general NHS bog-standard talking therapies. Apparently.

So just let me find my path...and you find yours. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like this?


11 August 2017

I don't like it. Any of it.

I am gaining weight. I don't like it.
I am letting myself eat more than 12 months ago. I don't like it.
I am letting myself drink more booze. I don't like it.
I am letting myself buy milky coffees most days.
I eat more nuts and dried fruit again....
I don't like my clothes feeling tighter, or having to buy a bigger size.
I don't like my body at all. Particularly my stomach and bloated torso.
I don't like that I let myself do this.
I hate the fact I have stopped exercising so much.

But I am letting myself do all this within rules. I could bullshit myself and say that I don't feel disordered but I am not in the bullshit game. And on the flipside...

I don't like that I still have SO MANY food rules.
I am stopping doing things I like. I don't like it.
I hate that I still count calories. But I do it.
I hate that my negative self talk win.
I hate that my life is still organised by food.
I am too sensitive and I don't like it.

But none of this is all-consuming. Just consuming sometimes. It ebbs and flows and feels like it used to back in the days before anorexia took control. Just frustrated and scathing of myself. Blaming myself for all of this, not knowing how to fix it.

I don't even feel like I can even BE anorexic and know turning that way doesn't fix things in the long run. I don't like not thinking I have options.

I don't like this half life. But the first list means I am stuck here.