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Archive for the ‘Eating Disorders’ Category

Howdy.

I’ve discovered that it’s ridiculously easy to slip back to the good ol’ compulsive overeating habits.

I’ve lost almost a stone, gained a few pounds and lost them again, but I’m still finding my feet. I think my eating is probably the healthiest it’s been since … I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as healthily without being obsessed with weight loss and cutting out certain foods altogether.

But with all the salads I’ve prepared and carbs I’ve cut down on, there’s usually the urge to gorge on chocolate peeking around the corner.

Sometimes I overeat. Scratch that, most days I overeat, but the times when I’ve compulsively jammed food into my mouth as if it’s going out of fashion have been few and far between.

I’m amazed by how easily it is to have a good day with eating and exercise and then wake up the next morning and pick out sugar-coated cereal or the chocolate in the fridge without even comprehending what I’m doing. It’s as if I’m in a food trance in these moments, I don’t think about my actions because I don’t want to, and I’m pretty sure I’ve mastered this skill over the years. If there was a University degree in bingeing and ignoring what you’ve eaten, I’d be the head lecturer.

Actually snapping myself out of the trance and forcing myself to rationalise about food is still very difficult. It helps now that I’ve lost some weight, because for a long time I genuinely thought I couldn’t do it. I’m not talking losing a stone or two, realistically I’m talking eight stone. At least. It depends what my body looks and feels like. So for a while I thought I just could not lose that amount of weight, I just wasn’t strong enough.

Now I realise I can eat a healthy, balanced diet and lose weight. Whenever I go for the sugar-coated cereal I reason with myself that I can have the cereal, but I have to accept the consequences that come with it.

Such as:

  1. The guilt.
  2. Sugar cravings
  3. Possible weight gain. Not just from cereals obviously, but if the guilt and the sugar cravings then lead to overeating or bingeing.

I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out which group I’m in as well. Am I now in the category of weight loss, or can I still fit in with the Eating Disordered? I’ve felt like my blog can’t be both because some posts I’ve written I now disagree with (I’ll get to that another time though). For now I’m just going to blog less frequently than before and see where it leads me. I look forward to catching up with what other bloggers are up to as well.

How are you guys doing?!

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I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I’m not thin.

I just need to eat a sandwich.

I haven’t got an Eating Disorder, I’m just greedy.

I make myself throw up for vanity reasons, I just don’t want to get fat.

Upon finally reading through my emails which I’d avoided doing for weeks, I found an e-newsletter from B-eat about Eating Disorder Awareness week. I’d wanted to blog about it but having lost motivation for everything, including this blog, I totally forgot.

Eating Disorder Awareness week started Monday, so I started to read about it, I watched this video made for awareness by the University of East Anglia, and spotted the not-your-stereotypical Eating Disordered girl. I went to the B-eat website to see if she had a story because I wanted to know, was she Anorexic, Bulimic, a Binge Eater or did she have something else? So I went to recovery stories and was disappointed with what I read.

Three Anorexia recovery stories, all from the same age group, all from a female perspective. These stories will help inspire hope in individuals suffering from Anorexia, but for those with Bulimia, EDNOS, and Binge-Eating Disorder, I was left wondering, where are all of us?

I could really use some inspiration right now. A recovery story about binge-eating and weight struggles would be much appreciated, but all I can read about is Anorexia survivors. And what about males suffering with Eating Disorders, where is their representation? Are we all lurking in the shadows somewhere, hoping someone else will come forward and speak out about our struggles so we don’t have to?

I took part in a documentary to spread awareness of binge eating and poor body image, had I known when I was 10, 11, 15, 17 that there was such a thing as binge eating and even disordered eating, I would have been able to help myself much sooner instead of finally realising at 19 that I had a problem that is the most common yet the least talked about Eating Disorder.

I kind of figured I’d done my bit with the documentary. But I can’t stand the thought of people like me, men and women, teenagers and adults and even children who will read something like these recovery stories and think I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I don’t have Anorexia. Or I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I’m not thin. There will be people thinking I’m not Bulimic because I don’t throw up after every meal, and that’s not Bulimia, is it? Because these are misconceptions floating around about all Eating Disorders, and Eating Disorders awareness projects are the perfect chance to clear these misconceptions up, by illustrating real people’s journeys through all types of Eating Disorders.

I’m so pleased that some women may read the recovery stories and realise that they need help, realise that they’re not alone in their struggle with Anorexia, and that’s fantastic. I truly believe you have to know you have an Eating Disorder before you can fight it. We are moving forward, the myths surrounding mental health are slowly waning as more and more people speak out about their terrible experiences with people who have said “why don’t you just eat a sandwich?” or in my case “why don’t you eat 3 meals a day and snack on fruit?”

Every recovery story posted on the internet, in a newspaper or magazine or even told to a friend is one step towards a greater understanding of Eating Disorders, and one more person in the world gaining the support that they need. And since Eating Disorders are so similar in their misuse of food and their hatred of the body and self, then shouldn’t all Eating Disorders be taken into account when raising awareness?

What do you think, as an Anorexic, Bulimic, Binge Eater, EDNOS sufferer or any other Eating Disorder sufferer, are you well represented?

Hayley Emma

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I haven’t stuck to my word. I haven’t written more on this blog. I thought it was out of disinterest if I’m honest. I read other blogs and find them so brilliant and eye-opening, or I’m glad someone spoke out about an aspect of Eating Disorders or weight loss/gain or being overweight. But I haven’t felt inspired to write anything myself.

The truth is, I’ve just been plodding along. Plodding along so much so that I got myself into a bit of … how shall I put it, a pit of distress?

I feel like I was a warrior, fighting in an epic battle, wearing this silver plated armour that’s covered in scratches and scars, but I still keep fighting my way through to get to the other side. But instead, I’ve fought so hard that I never took my eyes off of the fight and I didn’t realise there was a cliff edge up ahead. So I kind of stumbled into it. For the last fortnight I’ve been scratching my head, wondering when it was that I was so blinded by the fight that I didn’t see the cliff edge.

How that’s going to protect her in battle… I really don’t know. Her Vajayjay is showing.

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Since 2013 started, I’ve been feeling the exhaustion of Depression, not wanting to do the simple things like brushing my teeth but forcing myself anyway. It’s my job that’s stressed me out the most, not the actual work but travelling, waiting around for buses and it taking literally hours to get to work and back. I kept thinking just get to Christmas, just wait until Christmas and then you can review the situation. But Christmas came and went so fast (as it always does) and I just kept going.

Until last week, when I felt so dizzy and nauseas that I just stopped. Even when I stopped, I kept going (Which doesn’t make any sense but stay with me for a moment). Even when I knew I had nothing left to give and I’d reached my limit, travelling so far to work and counselling, and having no time for being sociable, I still made it to work feeling like something was wrong. My mind was scattered, I felt like I was about to collapse and any movement made me feel dizzy.

And the moment I got home I felt better, and that’s when I knew it was stress. (I was thinking brain problems, like a tumour, because that’s what my mind likes to do to me: terrify me)

I’m so frightened of going back to how I was before employment and during the earlier stages of therapy, that I’m almost depressing myself thinking about it. I’m dreading being unemployed, I’m trying to find a job but because of counselling it means I can’t apply for what I’d normally apply for (cryptic I know) I want to maintain and progress with battling my Eating Disorder, but what if I put on the weight I’ve lost? And last but definitely not least, my grandparents have Alzheimer’s, and it’s … it’s bad.

Having said that, something changed a while ago, I’m … better. Not recovered, but on the way.

Have any of you guys unexpectedly hit a wall with weight struggles or Eating Disorders?

Hayley Emma

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Yeah so… I am still alive.

I’ve tried to write a blog post numerous times, but I can’t seem to sum up what is happening at the moment.

Because… I’m doing really well.

After resisting binges left right and centre, being able to remind myself that I don’t need extra food, having that little voice in my head instead of just this screaming for me to binge… I haven’t felt the urge to binge as much.

I haven’t had to talk myself out of a binge so often, it’s as if the voice persuading me to binge is interrupted by a resounding NO. No, actually it’s not. I think saying NO to myself for over a decade and then sabotaging myself is a key pattern to my Eating Disorder. Being able to reason with myself has been something I’d never tried before.

I can binge if I choose, but it is a choice. If I eat this chocolate bar/3 bowls of cereal/huge bag of popcorn, then I have to take full responsibility for it, whether it leads to weight gain, or sinking into depression. But as well as this, it means I can take responsibility for if I don’t binge, it means I’ve done something to be proud of.

My therapist explained when I first came to her I was in a child ego state. I’d left Uni and moved back home with my parents, I was unemployed, had no money and so no independence, I wasn’t being very sociable, I was gaining weight… it was all going downhill, and I couldn’t stop it.

I didn’t want to save myself, I wanted someone to save me. I wanted it all to go away, and I didn’t want to have to work for it, because why should I have to? Not everyone has an Eating Disorder and Depression. Why did I have to deal with it when other people my age were getting on with their lives, and I was sliding backwards?

But now I’m thinking as an in control adult. I have a job (for now), my eating and weight is my responsibility, so now I can control that as well. I have an income, and I do things I stopped doing, like cleaning, things that I don’t want to do but I do because that’s what being an adult is all about. I don’t want to talk myself out of a binge when I feel the urge, I just want to grab the food and go. But I do talk myself out of it, because otherwise I’m choosing to binge, choosing weight gain. And I don’t want weight gain. I want to lose weight, and become fitter and healthier.

So that’s where I am right now.

How has your Eating Disorder progressed?

Hayley Emma

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I’ve never been a big fan of New Years Resolutions. My resolutions have always been to lose weight, and why stop there? To do better in school/college/uni, to dress better, get a better job, be a nicer person but be more assertive, do more for charity, meet a guy, make some more friends, be better friends with the friends I’ve already got… the list goes on and I end up doing nothing.

And I don’t like that these resolutions normally don’t last past march. Starting a diet on the first of January of a new year has always meant I was setting myself up to fail. Making a radical change was never going to last the test of time because the first of January became the first day of the rest of my life…No pressure.

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I deemed 2012 the year of change. 2012 meant becoming healthier, going to therapy and sorting out my ED riddled brain. This time last year I’d been on antidepressants for 3 months, weighed more than I’d ever been, was unemployed and thought I’d hit rock bottom. I was bingeing regularly, causing my family concern, and I rarely saw any friends.

During 2012 I gained even more weight, but I’ve also lost some weight. My bingeing got worse, as did my depression because I was facing problems I’d never faced before. Therapy meant I was ‘sitting with it’ rather than bingeing it away, until it got to a point where even bingeing wasn’t stopping me from feeling.

But 2012 is also the year that I took part in a documentary. It’s also the year that I revealed my arms for the first time in years as Bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding. It’s also the year that I got a job and maintained a job, despite that I’ll be made redundant in  the not too distant future.

And most importantly, it’s the year that I found the root of my bingeing problem. I haven’t binged in months. I’ve overeaten, I’ve made bad choices, but they’ve been my choices. I now realise that I control more than I realised. If I binge now, it’s my choice. I still feel the burning, unwavering urgency to binge, because bingeing is the only think that will make it better, but there is a little voice that’s growing stronger each time I listen to it, pointing out that bingeing will in fact make the situation worse. And that actually, facing the shit things will mean that you can move on from the shit things, rather than letting them fester and gnaw at you until bingeing becomes a coping mechanism.

me2013

So 2012 has been the year of change. Some of it was negative and although that sucked, like, properly sucked, I’ve also had some positives. I can honestly say 2013 doesn’t need a title, because I don’t know what’ll happen in that year. I’m in control of my eating, I’m sure my progress won’t be continuous, because life tends to chuck in stuff to trip you up, redundancy being one of them. But I’ve had the year of change, and now it’ll be more change, and maintaining the changes I’ve already made.

Do you have any new year’s resolutions? How was 2012 for you?

Hayley Emma

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Last night Inside the Body Beautiful aired on BBC3. Thanks to all of you that tuned in, and hopefully people in other countries can view it online in the near future.

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I watched it with from behind the sofa with my family. I mean, my family weren’t behind the sofa… I’d seen it last week as the Producer travelled down to Bristol to show me, yet all I could remember was the shock of seeing myself on screen and from different angles. As in, I don’t have to see myself from behind. I never see my back or what I look like sitting down. And that was difficult.

So far I’ve had positive responses (hooray!). As I said in my last post, I did it to raise awareness for binge eating disorder and EDNOS, and if I could help just one person then it was worth it. A friend texted me last night to say that I’d helped her understand binge eating more, so to me, that’s a win.

I also wanted to get across that Binge Eating Disorder is an Eating Disorder, and EDNOS, just like Anorexia and Bulimia. It doesn’t mean a person is lazy, greedy or ‘just likes food’. There’s an actual psychological problem behind it, as with other Eating Disorders. People comfort eat, restrict or purge for different reasons, it’s not always so straight forward as they want to eat more, they don’t want to eat or they want to eat and then… want to purge. Because … that doesn’t really make sense, does it?

But accepting that you may have a problem, be it an Eating Disorder, disordered eating or comfort eating, there are so many ways to combat it. I personally chose person-centred therapy and my binge eating has improved in the last year. Feeling bad about myself, thinking i was just greedy really didn’t get me anywhere, so if you’re going to comment and try to shame me or any readers about their eating and bodies, then your comment won’t be published.

If you would like some more resources to get more of an idea about Eating Disorders and stuff, please check out my Useful Info page as there’s some … useful info over there.

I’d be really interested to know what you guys thought of it, then next post I’ll stop talking about how I’m now a TV star and get back to discussing when I’m going to start collecting cats to fulfil my crazy cat lady destiny.

Hayley Emma

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Possibly triggering, talk of Anorexia and weight gain/loss, from the perspective of a younger me, who didn’t know details about Eating Disorders.

There was a girl in college who some assumed was Anorexic, myself included.

During my first year (and probably hers too) she was extremely thin, so much so that when she walked past she was a talking point. Her legs, which she always covered in tights and shorts, looked like they’d snap with the slightest force.

After a while I stopped seeing her. I thought maybe she had gone into treatment, maybe left college or even been in residential care. Not knowing anything in-depth about Eating Disorders back then, only having watched documentaries like Thin and Dana: The 8 Year Old Anorexic, I began looking for her. After all, as fascinating as an emaciated body is, I also felt a strong connection with Anorexia that I never fully understood until I started writing and reading blogs.

 

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The next year I noticed this girl who had the same colour hair, the same style, was the same height and had same face, but she was bigger. She was, I’m making an assumption here, overweight. Not by a lot, but she was noticeably bigger, most likely because she was fairly short.

I couldn’t believe it. I stared at her whenever I saw her. I couldn’t help it. In my mind, Anorexia was all about control, how could she have lost control? Surely she couldn’t be ok with her weight? But she was walking with so much confidence, I couldn’t understand it.

I longed to ask her but I was afraid she’d tell me it was none of my business. Which it wasn’t, as it still isn’t. So why do I bring it up? Because I saw her the other day. After staying at a heavier weight for at least a year, she was slimmer. But healthy-looking.

And I realised, I assumed she was Anorexic when I wasn’t as clued up about Eating Disorders, but that generalisation has stayed with me. I automatically assumed she was Anorexia, whereas now I think maybe she had Bulimia, or Binge-Eating Disorder, or EDNOS. Maybe she was a yo-yo dieter, or maybe she went through a rough time, a grievance or something that made her eating habits change and her weight fluctuate.

Or maybe she isn’t disordered at all, and the weight gain and loss was just natural, maybe she was just going through different stages in her life.

And it reiterated that it’s not possible to tell by a person’s appearance whether they have an Eating Disorder, never mind which Eating Disorder. Nor is it possible to tell what’s going through someone’s mind.

Do any moments stand out in particular when you realised how weight obsessed or Eating Disorder obsessed you are?

Hayley Emma

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