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Posts Tagged ‘Disordered Eating’

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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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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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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In a week, I’ll be on national TV.

I am pooping my pants.

For you English readers, Inside the Body Beautiful – How Cosmetic Surgery Works, the first of a two-part series, is on tonight on BBC3. It explores ‘the science beyond the most popular beauty and cosmetic treatments’.

Inside the Body Beautiful – How Fat Works is next week and … I’ll be on it. Yeah. Not nervous at all.

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I’m seeing a clip of the program tomorrow so I know what will be shown so I won’t have to watch the television hiding behind a cushion ready to cringe at any moment. Although that will probably still happen.

I’m not sure whether I should put it on my Facebook. I have let my friends know, but it’s a toss-up between – do I let everyone know so no one will be surprised to see my face, or just let anyone who wants to see it …see it?

The whole point of me taking part in this documentary is to spread awareness of binge-eating disorder and EDNOS, as well as compulsive overeating and negative body image, particularly associated with obesity.

It’s not for popularity, and I don’t know what I’m expecting. I really hope that someone will see the program and understand why they overeat when they try so hard to lose weight, or that they’re not alone in wanting to hide from the world because they think they’re physically disgusting.

I know there will be others, who see it and scoff, claim I’m making excuses and really it’s as simple as eating less and exercising more. Unfortunately, I know from first-hand experience that it’s not so simple, psychological reasons often play a vital role in losing weight and keeping weight off.

I used to be ashamed of my body and my Eating Disorder. I still am, to a certain extent. I’m by no means recovered, but I’m on  my way to something I didn’t know existed.

I’m so much closer to a healthy weight now, thanks to person-centred counselling, than I ever was with LighterLife. I’m a long way off, but how I’m handling situations and processing emotions is different, and that is the key to being happy and healthy for me.

For the people in different countries… yeah I don’t know if someone will put this program on youtube. I will find out whether it’ll be available online and where, and I’ll record it, but I’ll have to have a think. I’d really like to pop it on this blog, because I know some of you want to see it, but then I copyright issues may crop up. So we shall see.

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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What I’ve already done is yo-yo dieting.

I was 13 when I first stopped bingeing and cut out all snacks. 3 meals a day, nothing else. I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t want anything else, and I did a very old and hilarious workout video, the mother of all workout videos… Jane Fonda. I can remember the songs, the frequent “woo”s and “yeah!”s, and the men who were very into skin-tight workout wear.

(Update – I’ve looked for this on YouTube for years since we lost the video, and I finally found it! Uploaded 2 months ago, this little gem. Me and my mum are going to do this tonight!)

That was a good time. I lost 1 ½ stone, people complimented me and it was the first time I noticed a difference in how people treat you when you’re bigger compared to when you’re smaller.

I remember getting home from school in the days before and after this period – because it didn’t last – and eat small 5,7,10 chocolate bars in one go, hurriedly stuffing them into my mouth and hiding the wrappers down the back of the sofa or in different bins in the house. Hardly a vomit-inducing binge but I felt a sense of compulsion, a loss of control. (People with Binge-eating Disorder will know that stages of not bingeing would be temporary. (Dr Fairburn explains this in Overcoming Binge Eating))

The feeling of being free from your Eating Disorder, although I didn’t know I was disordered at the time, is incredible. I knew I was controlling what I was eating, I was exercising and enjoying it rather than using it as a punishment, and saying no to food I’d usually binge on was empowering. I felt slightly superior. I was taking control of my life (As much as you can at 13).

This is how I felt during every diet that resulted in weight loss, especially LighterLife. But this feeling was short-lived. Something would click back into place.

After all, a disorder does not come and go, the symptoms can fade or evolve.

The periods of control would worsen the bingeing, and I’d gain the weight I’d lost as well as some more for good measure. If anything proves that restrictive dieting doesn’t work, it’s yo-yo dieting. If you have lost weight and you have every reason to be happier with your body, and then as soon as you finish the diet you put the weight back on? I’m pretty sure that’s a major hint that the method of weight loss didn’t work. It could be an emotional attachment to food or being overly restrictive and therefore the results are unsustainable.

Right now, I’m learning how to eat ‘normally’. Regular meals which minimise the risk of bingeing and healthier meals that don’t upset my blood sugar levels. Exercise is less punishing and more enjoyable, laughing when I make a mistake is an important part of realising that it’s my health and well-being I’m trying to improve, rather than aesthetics.

I know this is the right way forward, but the urge to diet and go back to my old ways are creeping back in. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve done that before, it didn’t lead me to permanent weight loss, and it’s my attitude that needs to change, rather than the diet.

I’m gritting my teeth and sticking with baby steps to success. When I think of re-learning how to eat properly I think I should be moving faster, but since planning 3 meals a day is overwhelming, let alone incorporating regular healthy snacks, it’s necessary.

Are you doing things you aren’t comfortable with? Do you have the urge to go back to what you were doing before, in the hopes that it’ll turn out differently this time? Tell me I’m not the only one who’s fallen into this trap!

Emma

P.s. If anyone decides to do the Jane Fonda or Pump It Up workout please let me know which one if your favourite, both are on YouTube (the Pump It Up workout has a few more parts).

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