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Posts Tagged ‘Bulimia’

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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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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I started my new job a couple of weeks ago and enjoy it, but I’m exhausted because of it. I wish I could go into detail – actually you know what? I’ll be completely honest.

I seriously thought about shutting down my blog because I’ve lost a bit of faith in the blogging community. Blogging used to be fun and interesting. I understand so much more about Anorexia and Bulimia, Binge Eating and EDNOS than I ever could reading a text book, and I’m so grateful for this. It’s also lovely that there are bloggers out there who have gone through such different experiences and feel they can share them with supportive readers who will help just by reading, even though they may not realise it.

We all know there are risks to blogging – there are strange people out in the world and the internet gives them access to us. As well as the supportive, pro-recovery or people not sure what to do, there are people who are so deep in their disorders that they feel a need to share their happiness with the world.

As much as I don’t like this, glazing over everything not so glamorous and emphasising how great it is to not eat or be thin (it’s interesting how you don’t get that so much with binge-eating, right? I mean, there’s nothing glamorous about being so uncomfortably full you have to take deep breaths and lay down. And then the end result is usually weight gain.) as much as I don’t like this, I can understand it.

What I can’t understand is when people share their experiences of recovery and health, and then are sent ‘anonymous’ emails. A couple of weeks ago I made a brief return to blogland and left again, because, as I’m sure many of you will know, Greta’s boss received an anonymous email telling her about her blog etc.

That right there is disgusting. And yeah, I meant to put ‘anonymous’. This kind of behaviour is disgusting because Greta wears her heart on her sleeve, and gives a lot of people, including myself, encouragement that an Eating Disorder free life is possible.

As I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, I feel it would be foolish of me to write details about it. I don’t want to say what sector it’s in, the city, anything that might give away some details. So that means I can’t blog about something pretty fucking significant in my life, because someone somewhere might try to sabotage me, like someone attempted – and FAILED, may I add – to sabotage Greta.

I thought about making this blog private, but one of the many reasons that I write is so that people like me who feel they suffer by themselves, can read it and realise they’re not alone, like I’m not alone. And I’m stubborn  I’m not going to stop blogging because someone might possibly attempt to hurt my feelings or use my problems against me in real life.

I Just Thought This Was Funny. And I Don’t Even Like Bacon.

 

So I’m back blogging now. I’ve had my rant, and I’ve posted a funny passive aggressive note, I feel a lot better, so yeah. Thank you for bearing with me, I am genuinely excited to catch up on blogs and find some new ones that may have popped up since I’ve been gone.

 

Hayley Emma

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Aswell as being stylish and gorgeous, Greta has one of the best attitudes towards fat. This post of Greta’s holds one of my favourite paragraphs I’ve read on a blog:

The correct recognition of fat would be that it’s a substance within ones body. As you say, “I have an allergy.” You don’t say, “I am an allergy.” You say, “I have a headache.” You don’t say, “I’m headache.” And you say “I carry fat.” You don’t have to say, “I am fat.” Fat is a substance, not an identity.

Love, love, love. Fat is not an identity. It is not my identity. Today I’m holding my head held high, because I am not fat, I merely carry it.

Thank you, Greta!

Emma

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A while ago I was watching someone on television explain why leaving an abusive relationship is more complex than we might think.

I think it was an interview with someone on the news, and the interviewee explained that although there are so many concrete reasons to leave an abusive relationship, (mental health, physical health, etc) there is already an emotional attachment formed between the abused and the abuser. Therefore the logical reasons for leaving an abusive relationship like those above aren’t persuasive enough to leave, because the emotional reasons for staying outweigh the logical reasons.

As someone who’s shied away from relationships because of my issues, I’ve been able to watch other people’s behaviour in relationships. Often I’ve thought she treats him like shit, why doesn’t he just dump her and move on? And if she treats him so badly, why is she staying with him when he obviously pisses her off?!

It’s easy to say that as soon as a relationship becomes abusive, either physically or emotionally, we would leave. But if your reasoning is shrouded in emotion, then it wouldn’t be so straight forward.

After all, logically speaking, I am unhappy with my weight, I should stop bingeing and overeating and increase my activity levels to lose weight, right? I’ve heard the saying if you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever you need to succeed. I’ve always gotten angry and frustrated with my need to binge and overeat, criticising my mind for not getting with the weight-loss programme. I mean, it’s straightforward. Something is making me unhappy, if I work hard to illuminate the cause of the unhappiness, then I become happy.

I’m so unhappy because of my weight, the logical answer is to lose the weight. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure that out. And there are so many ways of achieving this: Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, I could go for round 3 with Lighterlife, Rosemary Connelly, the GI diet, the Paleo diet, the caveman diet, the cabbage soup diet, the Cambridge diet. I could go vegetarian, vegan, I could substitute meals with soups, shakes. There’s slimfast, calorie counting, I could have an apple before every meal, go on the grapefruit diet, I could go on a juice fast. The list goes on and on… and on.

My reasons for bingeing and overeating aren’t so straightforward, though. It would be great if they were, but to most people who become obese, poor food choices aren’t the sole reason for such a substantial weight gain, and therefore when these poor food choices are irradiated, the emotional issues with food are still prevalent.

I have an emotional attachment with food. Eating a chocolate bar does not just mean eating a chocolate bar to me. Before eating the chocolate bar there are the inevitable cravings. I crave the chocolate bar, and then I try to hush up my cravings. I have a cup of tea, a glass of juice. I check to see if I’m physically hungry. I wait. I obsess about the chocolate bar. The chocolate bar then becomes a chocolate bar and a bag of M&Ms. I obsess some more.

I want that. I need it.

But if you have it you’re giving in to everything you hate about yourself.

But you have a disorder.

But you’re fighting it. Food does not rule your life.

Food does rule your life. Accept it.

Look at your bum, how big is your bum?! You want it to shrink, not grow it!

You do have a big bum, so what’s the point in trying to avoid bingeing? All you want is a chocolate bar, a bag of M&Ms and some popcorn. What’s the harm in that?

Umm, what’s the harm in a binge? Really, you want a list?! Ok, there’s weight gain-

Honey, you’ve gained all the weight back, plus some. You might as well give yourself the binge. It’s all you’re good at.

…True.

I then eat the chocolate bar, plus the M&Ms, popcorn, more chocolate, cereals, etc. And then the guilt sets in.

What THE FUCK did you just do?

Why THE FUCK did you do that?

What THE FUCK is wrong with you?

You want to lose weight, right?! You’re not working hard enough, you’re not trying hard enough, you’re a failure. You should starve yourself. Or continue to eat. Either one, it doesn’t matter. You’ve failed already.

The emotional reasons are stronger than logical reasons. That’s why I’m in therapy, so I can find out what was making me so unhappy to make me binge and overeat in the first place, so I can take steps to work on my unhappiness, to change my behaviours and lead a healthy lifestyle. Losing weight on a crash diet would work, but I know myself, and I know I’d be back to square one by Christmas. The way I’m working, taking baby steps to success, is my way of ensuring that by Christmas I feel different and I’m not going to lie, I am desperate to look different as well.

And it is not easy, trying to shut the voice out that screams at me to binge and overeat, but I’m becoming more aware as the days go by, and I’m working towards a healthy life. Because of this voice, because I’m trying, it doesn’t mean anything when people attempt to apply logical to an Eating Disorder.

I’ve said many times that Eating Disorders aren’t logical. Saying things like just lose weight or just eat a sandwich or don’t throw up after you eat don’t mean anything to us, because we’re not basing our reasons for destructive behaviours on common sense. It’s emotional, and often we’re trying not to feel emotional so we eat or starve or binge/purge to hide it all.

Just like it is so difficult for an abused wife to leave her husband, it’s very difficult for the disordered to leave their disorders.

Do you think I’m way off on this one? Do you think this can be applied to any addiction?

Emma

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Last week I saw an Eating Disorder meme which indicated a person thought they were Anorexic yet had a BMI which put them into the obese category. I know most of the people following this blog have EDs thanks to my totally awesome survey but I’ll just break it down for people who might not be familiar with BMI.

BMI (body mass index) uses a person’s height and weight to calculate whether a person is at a healthy weight. Below 18.5 is underweight, between 18.5 and 25 is healthy, 25-29 is overweight and over 30 is obese.

I love Eating Disorder memes but it seems there are a lot of opinions flying round between ‘wannerexics’ (wannabe Anorexics), people offended by parodying Eating Disorders and now, apparently, obese Anorexics.

I was torn when I saw the meme and read the responses. On one hand I completely understand what’s funny about it. From the aspect of the diagnosis for Anorexia Nervosa in the DSM which requires a person to be underweight and have a pre-occupation with losing weight despite being underweight, it does seem kind of silly. It’s pretty clear by the DSM that a person should not be diagnosed Anorexic if they are a healthy weight, let alone classed as obese.

As well as these body and weight requirements, an Anorexic must restrict or binge and purge. So if a person is obese, surely they can’t be restricting or binging and purging to the extent required for a formal diagnosis. After all, people suffering with Bulimia Nervosa often stay at a healthy weight according to BMI, despite unhealthy behaviours.

As well as these medical requirements, I think it’s difficult to ignore the impression the media gives us about Anorexia. There are countless newspaper articles and programmes about Anorexia, focusing on the most extreme cases, showing before and after pictures. I can understand why the media does this; it is fascinating to see a mental disorder written all over someone’s body, such as Georgia Davis.

However, I can also understand how someone may think they are Anorexic with a BMI of over 30. For years before I realised (was told by a counsellor) that I had EDNOS (not as represented in the DSM, but I think a way of acknowledging that I had a mix of Binge-Eating Disorder and Compulsive Overeating, thus allowing me to have CBT) I connected with Anorexia in a way I can’t explain. I was fascinated and envious, not in a wannerexic I want the gap between my thighs (Ha! Try telling my thighs that. All they seem to want to do is huddle together for warmth) but I was envious because we seemed to have the same fear of fat, and yet they were reaching their goal weight and I was not. I hate my body, despise it, it’s fat and worthless. I wanted to starve myself, I actively restricted and lost weight but then binged it all back on. I didn’t think I deserved food because I was fat, so food became a comfort – I’d comfort my hatred of my weight with food. Because Eating Disorders make so much sense.

So I wanted to be Anorexic, not as a diet, but as a way of punishing myself instead of bingeing.I wished I could switch Eating Disorders. I was so out of control with binge-eating, being in control healthily didn’t do it for me – I wanted to have complete, unwavering control. I saw it as if I was going to have issues with food, I might as well have Anorexia. Again, Eating Disorders make so much sense. I think, thanks to the infamous (in my mind) Doritos, dip and chocolate binge which made  me vomit for hours, I knew that I had an irrational love/hate relationship with food, but I didn’t know about Binge-Eating Disorder or Compulsive Overeating.

I thought there were 2 eating disorders – Anorexia and Bulimia. I didn’t throw up after I ate (this was my understanding of Bulimia at the time) but I did restrict.

The only problem was – and I now know this – I hated the feeling of my stomach being empty. I still do, to a certain extent. Part of me feels empty and hollow, but the other part can feel the stomach rumbles and I feel a sense of pride, like I can feel my stomach eating itself (bear with me) and that means I must be losing weight. Losing weight = happiness in my mind so, it’s sort of a good.

I find a lot of my disorder is very conflicting:

I want to lose weight: I overeat.

I want to starve: I binge.

But I have a diagnosis now, I understand my disorder much more and I know I’m not Anorexic. I would never have called myself Anorexia, I knew I wasn’t, but I did feel a strong connection with it – I could understand why a person would do these things to themselves, because of their low self-esteem, their fear of being fat.

I think there are some people out there clutching at straws to understand their minds – why do I feel this way about food?! I’m so fat and I hate it, other people have lost weight and kept it off, why can’t i? Is there something wrong with me? People don’t eat a family size pack of Doritos and dip and stuff in 2 big Dairy Milk slabs of chocolate as well. Tomorrow it all stops. Tomorrow, I starve.

Although obese Anorexics might be difficult to understand, and I don’t think you can have an obese Anorexic for long (obviously… they’d lose weight) but I hope this gives an insight into how devastating the lack of information is about Binge-Eating Disorder and Compulsive Overeating is. It can cause you to misdiagnose yourself, for need of some understanding of your problem.

What do you think? Do you agree that a diagnosis is an important first step in battling your disorder? What do you think of obese Anorexics?

Emma

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