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Posts Tagged ‘Binge-Eating’

Well… it’s been a little while.

I’m not going to apologise for not posting, and I’m also not going to say things will go back to normal. I’ve enjoyed not blogging, but I’ve also missed it. The truth it, I’m not so sure I want to blog about my Eating Disorder anymore.

I’m not cured, but I’m not in the place that I used to be. I’m currently trying (and succeeding) to lose weight, exercise and become altogether healthier. I came to a point where I realised that if I really wanted to ‘get better’ then I’d have to separate myself from my Eating problems, and not let them define me. I had an opportunity to do another documentary to raise awareness for binge eating and EDNOS but it didn’t feel right. Whatever I do, it has to be for me, and I’m not so sure if blogging about bingeing – which I technically don’t do anymore – is really for me anymore.

I’d love to blog about weight loss from a disordered perspective, but I think I have to get comfortable with the idea before. I feel like I’m walking a very thin line, and I’ve gone back into the world of calorie counting and ideal waist measurements with more of a level head. However, I’ve gone into these things with a level head before and come out a binge-eating, heavier mess.

So I’d like to keep this blog going, because I know there will be people out there who relate to eating struggles, but I don’t want to force it. I thought I’d write this post to let you know where I am at the moment, and if you wouldn’t mind checking in occasionally, that would be great.

I hope you’re all still battling on.

Hayley Emma

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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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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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In January 2010 I knew I had an Eating Disorder. I’d lost 3 stone on the second round of LighterLife, binged on several bowls of cereal and gone to the University counsellor, where I learned I might have a problem with binge-eating. I stopped doing LighterLife, hoping beyond hope I wouldn’t put weight on whilst I was sorting out therapy options. I went home for Christmas and binged for 2 weeks on anything and everything I could find. Despite this, I was still a lot slimmer, and the glimmer of hope LighterLife gave me – that I would lose weight – was still alight. I didn’t know how severe my bingeing was, or would get, but I thought I’d probably lose weight each week in therapy.

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So in the January sales I purchased a size 12 (UK) pair of jeans. My size 14 jeans were getting looser, and on LighterLife you learn to buy clothes quickly because your body changes quickly. I’d never bought a pair of size 12 jeans before, nor had I ever been able to fit into them. My top half was already a size 8 – I told you my bum was big – as I lost my weight quickly from my waist, so size 12 jeans meant I my thighs were finally catching up and I was well on my way to the body I’d always wanted.

Life didn’t really go to plan, as it rarely does, and I gained weight after stopping LighterLife . I continued to gain weight during therapy, as I started to realise how skewed my view of food and weight really was. I was never going to be happy unless I was an all over size 8. It didn’t matter what my body wanted, it only mattered that I get there and stay there, because then everything would be fine.

I’ve still got the size 12 pair of jeans. They don’t mean so much to me anymore. I was devastated when I gained weight, the dream of being able to pull the jeans over my thighs and do up the buttons slowly ebbing away. I don’t want to let the pair of jeans go, size 12 is an achievable size for my thighs, but instead of believing that size 8 was the only size for me, I’m going to let my body choose what size it wants to be when I’ve sorted my mind out. It’ll be a long, long time before I can get into those jeans, but having opened the wardrobe and seen them sitting there, I can safely say my attitude to my body isn’t perfect, but has changed drastically.

Hayley Emma

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So, Operation Well-I’m-Beautiful-So-Why-do-I-Give-A-Fuck has kind of fallen to the wayside on this blog. But not in real life.

The other day, someone said something intending to intimidate me. And it worked. I left the room feeling very small and especially stupid. I didn’t have a comeback even though on way home I knew exactly what I wanted to say (isn’t that always the way), but the chance to hit back was over.

On my way home, as well as thinking what I should have said, I also started focusing on chocolate. My go-to food when I’m feeling happy, sad, stressed… anything. So I started scheming, what to buy, how many shops to go in without raising suspicion, and how to hide the food from my family when I got home. I fixated on the ‘food is the answer’ myth and before I wouldn’t have let it go. I would have obsessed about it, so even if I resisted and went home without binge food, I would have been craving it for  hours, if not until I indulged.

However, somethings changed. Well, I’ve changed. I am taking responsibility for my actions and how I feel. As Eleanor Roosevelt said ‘no one can make you feel inferior without your consent’. I really understand that now.

 

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Instead of pure negativity, the rant, instead of following the predictable line of:

My God I am stupid, it’s not that I’ve suddenly realised it, it’s just they’ve sussed me out. So I’m stupid and fat. Great, I’ve got some much going for me…

There was a small voice that piped up with: You have a degree.

Instead of my self-esteem spiralling downwards and the negative thoughts rising up until they’re at the brim, so close to spilling over and having a good cry or scream, emotions that I’d normally stuff back down with food… this tiny voice offered a ray of hope.

Yeah, actually, I do have a degree. A degree doesn’t necessarily mean you’re intellectual, nor do you have to have a degree to be an intellectual, but it’s one thing that shows I’m not stupid. And I know how hard I had to work to get in to University, as well as actually complete the course.

And then, when I’d acknowledged that thought rather than slam it down as a pointless argument, convincing myself that I only just managed to get into Uni and struggled through so they really only had to give me a degree and besides, don’t most people have a degree these days? I clung to that thought, the little ray of hope.

And then I went with it. After a while of resisting the idea that maybe everything in the world isn’t shit, I hasten to add. I’m not going to make this sound easy, talking myself out of a binge is fucking hard.

I decided that yes, I went to Uni, I am not stupid. And yeah, I’m overweight, but I’m taking steps to not binge and improve my eating. If I was doing amazingly well and losing weight really quickly, that would probably result in rapid weight gain after I’d finished restricting.

And I have friends. Very lovely friends, a friend came filming with me the other day, and a friend had me over to watch a scary movie last week. So I’m liked.

I’ve got a job now, which I’m doing ok with. I’ve improved on stuff and I think I’ve made some friends.

Yeah, so… I can’t be that bad. And maybe this person has some issues of their own. Maybe they were just having a bad day. It doesn’t matter, because it’s them who has the problem, putting that on me isn’t going to make anyone feel better, and food isn’t going to make all my problems go away. Otherwise I’d be problem-free by now.

So I went home, and I didn’t stress about food.

And It felt refreshing.

Hayley Emma

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In this song, ‘Pretty Girl Rock’ Hilson sings about her beauty and how girls can be jealous of her.

First of all, I think it’s great when someone has self-confidence and can believe that they are beautiful, whether they’re fat, thin, whatever. So although the British part of me is saying “how conceited!” the body image obsessed part of me is yelling “hooray!”

Secondly, I don’t take this song seriously.

But thirdly, it draws a parallel to Samantha Brick. Keri Hilson, however, got there first.

It’s the idea that if I woman says she’s pretty, and another woman either doesn’t like her, treats her differently or disagrees, then she is jealous. There’s no other explanation. Because, obviously, Keri is pretty, there is no denying that, so jealousy must be the reason that people disagree, right?

Even though I don’t hate anybody because they’re beautiful, I’m sure pretty girls don’t always get positive attention. I’m sure some women are jealous, but then with lyrics such as : ‘Pretty as a picture / Sweeter than a swisher / Mad ’cause I’m cuter than the girl that’s with you’ and ‘Girls think I’m conceited ’cause I know I’m attractive / Don’t worry about what I think, why don’t you ask him?’ I’m not surprised you’re getting negative attention, Keri, because you come off a little rude.

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Beauty is subjective. Keri Hilson is very beautiful in my opinion, but someone else might only find her mildly attractive, and another person will find her ugly. I think she’s got a nice figure, someone else may say it’s amazing and others may hate it. Nothing is going to change the definition of beauty, because it can’t be defined. It depends on your personal opinion. So why do we put so much of our self worth on whether we look beautiful to other people?

I don’t hate Keri Hilson because she’s beautiful. I think this song is about self-confidence and superficiality, and as I said, I’m not going to take it too seriously. What I completely agree with is that no one should be judged purely on their looks, and we shouldn’t judge ourselves on our looks either.

In my first CBT session I was asked to draw a pie chart of how important things in my life are. Needless to say, weight took up a good 90%, leaving little room for anything else. So all of my achievements, the Uni course I was on, my family and friends, my hobbies only got a share of 10%. Ever since I’ve been working on trying to lower my fixation on weight so I can spend more time appreciating my other attributes. Weight is still a huge part of the pie. But as long as I continue to place all of my self-worth on my weight, I won’t be happy. I will never be perfect, and I’m learning to embrace that.

It’s natural to make snap decisions about people based on their looks, we all do it to some extent. I’d love to be able to change it though, by encouraging people to question why they assumed the guy with dreadlocks is a hippie, or the girl covered in tattoos is aggressive. And to note just how many times their pre-conceived judgement was wrong. Just like if I was jealous of Keri Hilson, I’d ask myself is it my own insecurities that are making me jealous? Why does her beauty matter to me?

What do you think, are we ever going to stop judging people on their looks? Or are we, as a society, set in our ways?

Hayley Emma

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I’ve thought of quite a few blog posts in the past fortnight, but every time I’ve sat down to write them I’ve stared at a blank page.

Although I’ve had a few ideas, I’ve felt like I’ve been carrying what I think might be the key to fully understanding my Eating Disorder. I’ve been carrying it round with me for a week, unsure of whether I should write about this without having had a proper discussion with my therapist.

Last week I was 20 minutes late for therapy. At the time I was upset about a difficult situation which I’m pretty powerless in, and I was tired from work. I found it difficult to drag myself out of bed and so was late, and then there was traffic, so my Dad took pity on me and after battling through the traffic, took me to therapy.

I said it was my fault and I should have gotten up earlier, but I didn’t realise how annoyed she was going to be, since most weeks I’m on time. It was no big deal, right? She said everything happens for a reason, but I thought maybe it was just really busy traffic and then she said:

“I’m not offended, but I know if you were going somewhere you were really excited about, you’d be on time.”

I nodded, but I thought “No, I wouldn’t.”

The discussion led to whether I thought this, as in therapy, was working for me. I left the office having to seriously think about what I wanted.

I considered leaving. Maybe therapy wasn’t for me? I felt like I’d been covering the same thing for a couple of weeks not really keeping up with the progress I’d made but not regressing either. Maybe having a job had lifted some of the Depression and I was in a better place, financially and emotionally?

But then I thought about how I’d have to really change my eating for good, and most importantly, how I’d lose weight. And what if I lost my job, or had a rough time at my job? In the current climate it’s very possible I’ll be unemployed again as soon as next year. It’s just so uncertain. What if I’m then plunged back into this swamp of Depression, jobless, struggling to leave the house and avoiding all of my problems until I’m even more overweight than right now?

As much as I want to sort it out myself or just get over it, I haven’t managed to do that before. If I’m hoping things will be different just because  I want them to be, then I have learnt nothing over the past couple of years. Lighterlife is a very attractive option which I might have gone back to, had I not gained this awareness into Binge Eating and Eating Disorders.

And then it hit me, I wouldn’t be on time to an event I was excited about. I cancel on my friends all the time because I get so anxious about what could happen whilst we’re outside, mingling with people who can see my body. It’s horrendous, and I never feel comfortable even though I want to see my friends. If I carry on the way I’m going, no one is going to want to meet me anymore, because I’d probably cancel and waste their day.

And honestly, the mess I’ve made of my house. I have been so messy and, there’s no other name for it, a total slob when it comes to cleaning that mess. It’s awful, i leave wrappers lying around, don’t put my clothes in my wardrobe but chuck them on the floor. I’m disgusted with myself. I am not this person. I’m not a clean freak by any means but I like things tidy, I like to be organised, I like to get to places early. And yet I’m not like that.

I kind of, sort of, hate myself… a little bit.

And it dawned on me, that giving up therapy now, following the same route I’ve taken before isn’t just going to suddenly change because I hope it will.

I have to make the change.

I missed therapy last week because I was in bed. I struggled to get out of bed, but who hasn’t when it’s still dark outside, and cold? But people get up, because they have to. Otherwise they’ll be late, or they’ll miss work etc, and there are repercussions to these actions.

Today I sat in front of my therapist and explained all of this. I’m scared, because moving forward on a different path means the unknown, and for whatever reason, I’ve wanted to avoid that for years. But on the other hand, somewhere new has got to be better than where I’ve already been.

Hayley Emma

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