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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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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.

 

(Source)

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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This is a re-blog from Dropping the F-Bomb (Fat, That Is) by Jennifer because it’s brilliant.

I can relate to this, especially making up an excuse to the cashier, until I became too paranoid and went to several shops to get all the binge food I needed.

Can you relate, or sympathise?

Emma

Coming out of the closet… Part 1.

Hi. My name is Jennifer, and (insert big, deep breath) I am a closet binge eater.

Here are some of the symptoms of closet eaters:
  • Feeling shame and embarrassment about eating in public
  • Binging on comfort foods, junk foods, and sweets when alone
  • Hoarding food and hiding empty food containers
  • Eating a large amount of food in one sitting
  • Feeling powerless to stop eating
  • Binging but not purging
Only recently recognized by health professionals as an actual eating disorder, this has been my primary coping mechanism and comfort for almost 30 years, with my first recollection bringing me back to about 8 years old.
For practically my whole life, when I had no sense of self worth or confidence, and absolutely no regard for my health, I used food to numb myself from the pain of, well……..everything... Exclusions from friends, ridicule from strangers, abuse from my mother, abandonment from my father, drama in social circles, stress at work. Every single rejection from a man.
No matter how big or small the pain of the situation, food was my comfort.
When I didn’t have the vocabulary or the strength to stand up for myself, food was there for me.
When I was swirling in the shitstorm of teenage drama, emotions and hormones, food was there for me.
When I was watching everyone around me attain their dreams, while I sat paralysed by fear, food was there for me.
When life, schedules, and time felt out of control and chaotic, food was there for me.
When I was lonely, angry, sad, feeling unworthy or unimportant, food was there for me.
When I felt misunderstood and ignored, food was there for me.
Food was what I had control over, when everything else felt out of control and out of reach.
It felt like that all. the. time.
I remember being 8, 10, 12… years old and eating the meal my mother prepared, and when my grandmother would ask “Have you eaten yet?” my response was usually “Nope.” so that I could get a second dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch.
When I was out with friends, I would often be pre-planning my trip to the convenience store on my way home. Not only what I would buy, but how would I sneak it past my mother and into my room when I got home.
When my mother left for work at night, despite having already eaten, I would scrounge together my babysitting money and order take out.
When I was older, I would secretively eat in my car before meeting friends for dinner.
Never wanting any of the store clerks, or food service people to think I was eating all this food alone, I would be sure to make some comment about picking up things for friends as well. Why else would one person buy a 20-pack of chicken nuggets, or 2 big bags of chips and 3 chocolate bars, or a large pizza after all?
It has only been in the last 3 years that I have begun digging deep into why I was using food as a crutch. Why was I caught up in a cycle of self loathing that would find me elbow deep in a bag of potato chips to soothe my soul? And then back into the potato chips, because I had only numbed the feelings around whatever was bothering me, and now I hated myself, too.
And so the cycle went…..so it sometimes still goes. Old habits die hard, as we all know.
Closet eating, not unlike so many other harmful vices – drugs, smoking, drinking, sex – can often be related back and tied to something bigger, something not yet addressed, some pain or fear we are still holding on to.
I know exactly when I started lying about food and using it as a crutch.
But that is a story for another day.
Have an awesome day!
Know that you are loved.
xoxox
~J

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I had an epiphany last night (that’s not a euphemism).

Last week I realised I needed to try to push through the depression to go for a walk each day, something I haven’t been successful in. Last night I realised that instead of just wanting to be slim and healthy, I have to believe I can get there.

My counsellor mentions that I have to believe in myself pretty often. She believes I can get over this whole Eating Disorder malarkey, but she says I need to believe in myself. I figured when I started to lose weight maybe I’d start believing I could do it, but really I was sure it was impossible.

Last night I was reading I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. It loses points for having the word ‘thin’ in the title, which to me conjures up an unattainable aesthetic that I don’t want to be, but it was recommended by a fellow blogger, who has since deleted his account. There is a visualisation technique in it which requires you to imagine yourself ‘thin’, imagine seeing a film of yourself doing everyday tasks and you’re slim. The book asks you to envisage how you sound, how you talk to yourself. And then when you’ve done this, imagine you are slim.

In my imagination, my slim self – note, not thin, not skinny, I will always have a healthy bum – was happy. It kind of surprised me just how happy my slim self was, and in my slim-self fantasy, I was eating a strawberry and laughing, like it was no big deal.

Strawberries aren’t exactly the food of death, but I’d be very aware of eating the right amount of strawberries rather than too many that I’m overeating or too little that I won’t get 1 of my 5 a day. In my imagination, I’m aware that I’m eating a strawberry, but not bothered by it.

And that’s what ‘recovery’ means to me.

I know some of these thoughts and obsessions are never going to go away, and I hope to be able to acknowledge them in the future but ultimately not be overpowered by them.

An ex-housemate once left a box of chocolates lying on the sofa overnight that she’d forgotten about, and it blew my mind. How could she have left chocolate, a half full box of chocolates downstairs AWAY FROM HER on the sofa where anybody could have had them ALL NIGHT and not been thinking about them every second?

I couldn’t fathom it. I kept looking at them, obsessing about them for her – I would never have eaten them, they weren’t mine. There was temptation though, don’t go thinking I’m a saint.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have that attitude to food, that nonchalance. I think that’s too far the other way for me. But recovery to me means that I’d acknowledge the box of chocolates, accept the thoughts of stealing them and bingeing on them and somehow trying to replace them and eat the exact same chocolates so she wouldn’t be suspicious, and then move on.

What does ‘recovery’ mean to you? And have you ever been in that will-I-get-caught-if-I-nab-that-biscuit kind of situation?

Emma

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I forgot to mention…

I visited Plymouth the weekend before last and … wait for it …

I DIDN’T BINGE.

Nope. I stayed by myself, had a couple of hours in which to binge and I didn’t. I even bough an orange. Fruit! When I could have had Maltesers, Chocolate Buttons, croissants, M&Ms,  Minstrels, sandwiches, popcorn, crisps, Galaxy chocolate, Dairy Milk chocolate, Wispas… you get the picture.

I got a box of 6 croissants – that’s the least number of croissants I could have bought – for breakfast. Obviously I didn’t have all 6 and I took a couple home with me. My friend who stayed in Plymouth as well and knows of my problem said she’d better not find me in a croissant coma, with bits of pastry round my mouth and an empty box full next to me.

She didn’t.

And so to celebrate, here is how I would have reacted if I did binge and she’d knocked on my door:

Ah the endless joy of Eating Disorder memes.

Emma

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Georgia Davis is the Britain’s fattest teenager. She was the fattest teenager in 2008 when she weighed 33 stone and won a scholarship to the Wellspring Academy in America. She lost 15 stone at Wellsprings, a weight loss boarding school.

I watched the documentary about Georgia going to Wellspring and really felt for her. 33 stone is a lot to weigh at any age, let alone 15 years old. She looked so different, her face, her attitude. She discovered her issues started when her Dad passed away when she was just 4 years old. At wellspring the children are put on a 1,500 calories-a-day menu as well as incorporating exercise into their every day lives. What I like about Wellspring is that they use CBT to determine how the weight was gained in the first place and how to avoid falling into the same traps.

A couple of weeks ago I googled Georgia Davis because I hadn’t heard anymore from her in the media. Surely if she returned to wellspring and lost the rest of the weight she’d be in the newspaper?

That’s when I read this Daily Mail article about Georgia having put on all that she’d lost and more, becoming 40 stone at 17 years old.

There’s a lot of speculation of the lack of care from her mother – as Georgia is her mother’s carer. In this interview with This Morning she also said that her first meal home from Wellsprings was chips. (It’s not a great video, there’s some fast-forwarding going on and the first 2 minutes are pointless.)

A couple of weeks ago my Dad told me a girl had to be removed from her home in Wales as she was so obese she was immobile. The ambulance and firemen had to remove a wall in order to get her out because she was so big and couldn’t walk. I knew that it was Georgia and another google search confirmed my fears.

She’s reached 63 stone. My heart sank. She’s 19 years old and had to be removed from her home because she couldn’t walk out the front door.

It’s clear to me that she has some kind of Eating Disorder, some unsolved, abusive relationship with food. You don’t get to 63 stone by just eating the’ wrong kind of food’ or ‘overeating a bit’. And yet still I read some of the comments and was shocked by the utter ignorance and hatred towards her.

I have worked in the fitness industry for 6 years. I’m sorry to say that almost every morbidly obese person I have come across is that way because they are lazy, greedy and insist that it’s someone elses fault they are over weight. There have been few exceptions. Despite free/subsidised training and concentrated efforts from trainers to motivate them, all you hear is how they only eat salad and yet somehow are 10-15 stone over weight.

I’m sure this girl has got problems, but then, havent we all? Yes she deserves a chance, but hasn’t she already had that?!

Tough love is needed here. Fat discrimination IS okay. It should not be taught to youngsters that it’s okay to abuse ones body and to increase the risk of numerous diseases.’

So many things wrong with this I don’t know where to start.

Stop making excuses for her. She’s fat cos she over-eats. That’s it. It’s not rocket science. She brought it on herself. With regards to your comment about people don’t pick on the skinny – they do.

Once again, it’s a fool’s errand to care for either. Eat healthily, exercise, and manage your diet. It’s dead simple. However, if she really wants to be fat, and by overeating she confirms as much – then I don’t think the society should pay for her. Similarly we shouldn’t pay for anorexic’s vitamin treatments when they collapse from lifting  finger.

If she is fat because of some cancer or some hormonal imbalance then my apologies and she deserves all the care in the world. It’s not her own fault then.

Proof – check the posts on Victoria Beckham on this site (The Sun). You’ll find plenty of people having a go at her skeletal weight.’

It’s dead simple, guys. No need for complicated psychological reasoning… it’s just dead simple. Both of these comments are from The Sun.

But there were some comments that made me glad at least some people are clued up.

For some people, Food is an addiction in the same way drugs & alcohol are for some, it delivers the same ‘high’ in the brain as drugs & alcohol.

Trouble is, middle class alcoholics and drug addicts can keep their addictions private and out of sight, whereas obese people’s addictions are visible to all.

Anyone who thinks people get like this simply through laziness and greed are just plain ignorant.’

This comment is from The Guardian. Georgia has already mentioned that she feels addicted to food, takes responsibility for her actions and desperately needs help. Apparently, to knock her bedroom wall down, build a bridge to wheel her to the ambulance and have a specialist bed in the hospital it cost £100,000 of taxpayers money, and a lot of the bullies (Georgia had to shut down her facebook page because she was being cyberbullied) say that they aren’t being sizeist, they’re merely angry that their money is being spent on someone who got herself into this situation.

I can understand this, but then if someone developed lung cancer from smoking, as a non-smoker I still want that person to get medical care. I agree people do get themselves into these situation – I put the food into my own mouth, as did Georgia, but it’s not quite as simple as that.

Her father died, her stepfather has lung cancer, she is her mother’s carer… she hasn’t exactly led a privileged life. She has no choice but to accept help from the NHS, she hasn’t got the money to pay for private healthcare. Her addiction, her Eating Disorder is on show for everyone to see. And she’s 19.

A lot of different opinions are swimming around the net. I’d like to know yours, but even if you disagree entirely and think it is all Georgia’s fault, please be respectful.

Emma

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You know, I wrote Calm Before The Storm fully expecting to be back to my old self by the end of the week. By my ‘old self’ I mean wallowing in depression, unable to focus on anything in particular, eating anything and everything in sight and hating myself for all of the above.

Something has changed.

Last weekend I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday watching American Horror Story. I loved it. Quite scary, bit sexy, all dramatic with interweaving storylines… that’s my kind of TV series, and I think it helped me get past the initial GIVE-ME-ANYTHING-WITH-SUGAR-IN-IT stage.

The distraction enabled me to eat well without really focusing on it, so I wasn’t psyching myself up for failure. Since then I’ve tried to keep certain foods available, such as yogurt and tea, chewing gum and strong mints so that if I’m craving a binge or just some good old-fashioned overeating then I can have something. Eventually I’d like to be in a place where I wasn’t walking back and forth to the kitchen, searching the cupboards and fridge expecting more sweet things to appear. Even when there is chocolate I try hard to avoid it, and I’m able to talk myself out of eating it.

On top of this I’ve been exercising. Again, I haven’t wanted to psych myself out so I haven’t got strict rules about how long I should stay at this speed or that incline level on the treadmill. I’ve just upped the speed and incline when I tested my heart rate, and made sure I stayed in the ‘fat burning zone’. Because this approach is for health and fitness, not really omgineedtoloseweightyesterday it’s been consistent. I feel great that I’ve exercised and I haven’t set myself up for failure by piling on the pressure.

I’ve also done a little bit of yogalates and my own aerobic exercises (boogieing to music and embarrassing myself) and sticking to one chocolate bar a day.

I can’t believe I’m saying this. Just 2 weeks ago I wasn’t in a state to do anything worthwhile. I hated myself for wanting to eat everything in sight and didn’t try hard not to resist because food was all I had.

I’m now thinking about how I can improve my diet to keep unnecessary cravings at bay, as I’m going to work on the psychological side in therapy. I think, although I haven’t finished exploring memories and experiences that have helped me become the binge-eater who could go pro, I’ve explored them enough to rationally persuade myself that eating isn’t going to fix the problem.

I must highlight, for anyone who hasn’t experienced depression themselves or through people they know, I have only managed to persuade myself not to binge/overeat because the depression has lifted. In no way could I have talked myself out of situations with the depression I had, and I don’t expect anyone with depression to suddenly wake up and feel ok – it doesn’t work like that unfortunately.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ‘cured’. I know there’s a long way to go, and it hasn’t been easy to continually talk myself out of eating/going to buy food hundreds of times a day. And sometimes I’ve given in to the relentless voice in my head screaming at me to eating something, anything, but the majority of times I’ve managed to distract myself, or make a cup of tea suffice.

I feel like I’m finally on my way.

Emma

P.s. What does everyone think of American Horror Story (co-written by Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee) ? And where do you think you are on your ‘journey’?

P.p.s I love Moira the maid’s hair and red eyebrows – I’ve got red hair, but I reckon red eyebrows would make me look a tad insane, what do you reckon?

L(ast).p.p.s I was so relieved when I found out Evan Peters who plays Tate was born in 1987, which makes him older than me, which means I can fancy him guilt free, unlike Taylor Lautner.

🙂

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