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Posts Tagged ‘Shake Diet’

Lately I’ve been avoiding, avoiding, avoiding.

As well as avoiding this blog and my therapy tasks I’ve been avoiding people and going out. I know, so sad. I’ve been watching True Blood from start to finish, that’s 4 series. I feel like I know Eric, which is why I’m glad that I’ve finally realised what I was doing.

I went to therapy last week and was late yet again. I couldn’t be bothered with it, and I was disrespectful both to my therapist and myself by a) being late again, for probably the 4th time in a row and b) for not putting any effort in.

I didn’t want to be there and I said this to her, but at the time I didn’t know why. Therapy has meant so much to me, I was waiting for it for months and yet I wanted to stop. Some things are too much to take and I’ve been overwhelmed by the problems that I need to sort, the work I’ve got to do, the amount of problems that have arisen as well as the odd emotions that have been popping up and, the main reason I feel so overwhelmed; I have 8 stone to lose.

My goal weight is a healthy one and I would not lie about this. My goal isn’t to get skinny now, it’s to get healthy in the long run. I could slim down now; I’m like, a crash diet guru. I could go on LighterLife once more and lose the weight, sure, but I’d put it all back on again. I’ve done Atkins, I could cut out carbs and lose half a stone in a week or just not eat anything outside of 3 meals a day, all of which I’ve done in the past. My issues are still in me and I instinctively know that in order to move forward out of control of the ED I need to deal with them.

I’ve lost some weight – I don’t know how much because if I get on the scales and it turns out I weigh more than I expected I’ll be devastated – but I can feel that I’ve lost some. I’ve been eating better than I’ve done in years. I haven’t had chocolate in a couple of days, mainly because when ever I get the familiar overeating craving I have fruit. Or a drink, or gum or I distract myself. I’ve not had the urge to binge yet, so we’ll see how that goes, but I feel stronger now.

I feel like my ED is in a cage, clawing to get out.

I’m aware that these last couple of blog posts have been about me me me so startin g from tomorrow Its coherent blog posts that have a point to them and non-avoidance.

Just to remind everyone of the super awesome survey that I’d really appreciate everyone doing, especially as it takes about 3 minutes and is awesome. It closes Saturday (2nd June) and I’ll publish the results Monday.

Cheers guys.

Emma

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Last night I received a comment on my blog that was perfectly polite and honest. I thought I’d reply to this comment as a blog post, because I felt I had more to say on the topic of Tough Love My Ass.

Here is my reply:

You will justify every reason for why things are the way they are, but this is you deflecting responsibility for yourself and for the ones that look up to you and love you. You will be everything but honest with yourself and the ones that are trying to help you because you have so much to protect, and those friends: guilt, shame, and remorse, (the ones you a have acquired through your addiction) really hate any kind of criticism. (Jessie Pavelka, the trainer from Obese: A Year to Save My Life)

I appreciate your comment, I love having debates and I sincerely enjoyed reading your opinion. Congratulations, you’re part of the 3% that manage to lose weight with a restrictive diet and furious working out and sustain weight loss 4 years later, and I genuinely applaud that.

I don’t know if you read any other posts on this blog, but I have something called EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) you can call this 1 of the 50 reasons not to sweat for 4 hours in the gym everyday (something I have done) and reduce my calories significantly (again, which I have done) but I call it the real world.

In this blog, I’m as honest as I can possibly be, and in order to do that I have to be honest with myself at all times. I chastised myself for YEARS, bullied myself into a state of not leaving the house because I wasn’t strong enough to stick to a diet and then keep the weight off. Then a couple of years ago I finally found out that I’m not weak, lazy and disgusting: I have overeating and binge-eating issues. I appreciate your opinion, but I’m not a big fan of being told I am fat because I’m ‘deflecting responsibility’ for myself. I certainly don’t ‘hate any kind of criticism’. I invite it – I’m writing this blog, aren’t I?

I don’t pretend that I don’t have any problems – that it’s just my metabolism or that I have the fat gene. I take full responsibility for my weight, and that’s why I hate it, and myself for letting it happen. It has happened, I am fat and I sustain my weight, but I’m trying to change that my way, through therapy to treat my disorder.

I have chosen a path that I think is right for me. I know myself, and I know if I restrict my diet again and over-exercise, It will just be another way of punishing myself for something that I didn’t do. Therapy will help me to control my disordered eating, but I can’t accentuate how out of control I feel, and no one like Jessie Pavelka is going to toughen me up to get that control. And that’s why I have chosen to listen to myself, because I’ve listened to the shit that these programs churn out, and I’m bored of being preached to.

I am sick of programs like this, like The Biggest Loser, I Used to be Fat and any other extreme diet regime where contestants are encouraged to work out until they vomit, which is enough to put them off exercise for life.  It is almost like it’s acceptable to punish them because they’re fat. Programs like these are primarily focused on making money, then entertaining their audiences, and then educating. The Biggest Loser is a brand, it’s not that huge over here in the UK but I can still go on Amazon.co.uk and buy a cook book with The Biggest Loser written all over it, as if the name alone will guarantee long-term success. Contestants of these programs have to do the stupidest things in order to get results fast.

I have nothing against Jessie Pavelka, In fact I believe he really does care about the people on Obese: A Year to Save My Life, and I think  it was his genuine belief that tough love was the right tactic to take in that instant. I admire him, and all the trainers at my previous gym, because they were as understanding as their training permits. But when you come across someone with an eating disorder, that’s a whole other ball game. If I’d have been on that program and he showed me ‘tough love’ my disorder would have gone haywire. Coming off LighterLife (a VLCD) was the worst time in my eating disordered life, and I never want to go back to that place.

I wanted to write this blog post because I hate the fact that these programs and diet ‘solutions’ enourage people to think that anyone who doesn’t succeed just doesn’t have it in them. It’s so black and white. Yeah sure, I know some lazy people who can’t be bothered to deal with their issues; they aren’t taking responsibility for themselves. They are the stereotype, but if people look at me and think “she’s just not working hard enough.” Well then they’ve never been through therapy. It’s hard work confronting issues that have been avoided for many years and forcing yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone. There are a lot of tears, a lot of reflecting and a lot of talking about feelings. Trust me, I wouldn’t do it if I thought I just needed to shake off the depression and EDNOS and ‘man up’.

Telling someone to lose weight isn’t going to make them lose weight. It’s like telling someone with anorexia to ‘just eat’ and telling someone with anxiety to just ‘face your fears’. Depression, Eating Disorders, Bi-Polar Disorder – they’re all serious issues that can’t be solved with a kick up the bum.

So thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you are kick ass at keeping the weight off, and that there are people like you who will succeed with tough love. Maybe the reason you over-ate was due to poor food choices rather than emotional eating. For me, and the others with issues surrounding food, weight and body image then there has to be someone to accept that ‘just getting on with it’ is not an option. Feeling like you have no strength left is not weakness. It’s something to overcome with time and understanding.

Please feel free to comment on this post, as I would honestly like to read your side of the debate. I hope this didn’t seem like an attack, I in no way intended it to be.

Emma

🙂

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I forgot to mention in my last post that there are certain rules you have to adhere to in LighterLife. Every month you have to get a routine blood pressure and pulse test. Every week we had to attend 2 hour CBT sessions and weigh in and keep food talk to a minimum to avoid tempting each other to eat outside of the diet.

You may think that for a diet these rules were pretty extreme, but for a VLCD it has to be. And the health checks weren’t for nothing. We acknowledged that because of the lower amount of calories, as balanced as the food tried to be we would still miss out on necessary nutrition and so were expected slight hair loss and for our menstrual cycle to be unpredictable. My periods stopped, something I wasn’t really too bothered about to be honest. My mum was concerned and now I can see why, but it was just a side effect if you like, to losing weight.

I will stress that the hair falling out wasn’t noticeable. It was more like when you wash your hair or brush it more strands would come out than usual. It just meant the hair was brittle. This diet may seem completely ridiculous for someone who just wants to lose half a stone and so to go on LighterLife a person must be at least 3 stone overweight. (New rangeschanges to the diet have since come out) It’s designed for obese people who need to lose weight fast because of the health risks of being obese. It’s drastic but it serves a purpose, it just happened to force my disordered eating into overdrive.

At Uni I still fully expected to start LighterLife again after freshers week, in which I got horrendously drunk. I tried to go back on LighterLife with the packs left over from all of the times I’d binged instead of had a meal, but I couldn’t get into the swing of it. I was addicted to chocolate – I really don’t know if that’s possible but that’s what it felt like. I had a shoebox under my bed which I would fill with anything sweet. If I ran out of chocolate I’d panic, anxiety would surge through my veins and I’d go to the shop, whatever time it was, to get some more. I remember once it was about 10pm, dark outside, pouring with rain and no one else was home. I desperately needed to get some more chocolate but it was late and my friend had been mugged a couple of weeks before in the same area. I decided that it was crazy for me to go just to get chocolate. These were in the days when I still didn’t know I had an eating disorder and I didn’t understand why it was such a powerful urge that didn’t rest until I went to the shops first thing in the morning.

I didn’t often run out of chocolate, even though I’d fill my shoebox with goodies 1 night and the next it would be almost empty. I hid the food and lied constantly about what I was eating. I knew I was gaining weight but I still thought maybe I could go back on LighterLife.

The summer holidays brought me back down to earth. I had gained back all I’d lost in less than a year. I wouldn’t leave the house because I hated people seeing me so I stayed indoors and only ventured out when I thought it was starting to look odd. Even then I’d go to the cinema or somewhere less crowded. I hated myself for gaining weight and I hated my body for not doing what I wanted for once and staying half-way slim. I tried an array of diets but couldn’t stick to them; I’m very all or nothing, and nothing compared to LigherLife.

My mum and dad had no idea what to do and so after seeing me depressed, staying in and exacerbating the problem they decided I could go on LighterLife again. The price had risen and my parents really couldn’t afford it but in their eyes it had worked in making me happy before, couldn’t it work again?

20th Birthday, Before I Started Counselling

It did; I lost 3 stone in as many months and I was almost as happy as before… but it was different this time. I knew something wasn’t right with my eating. Despite sticking to the diet for 3 months straight, accomplishing my goals, feeling healthier, happier, sexier, I still binged. I went to the Uni counsellor who knew right away my eating wasn’t normal and she referred me to an eating disorder place where they diagnosed me with EDNOS.

I know that you will read this and probably think of LighterLife as the worst diet in the world, and it is for someone in my position, but it also gave me a break from my ED. When I was on LighterLife I did think about food, but it didn’t control me. I was free from it and I was happy losing weight. In the times that I was slim I lived and before that I just drifted along. I described it as finally breaking the surface after being under water for so long.

I still crave to go back to it but I know I can’t. It’s not the perfect diet I like to think it was. Everyone I know who went on it has put the weight back on, my mum got a gall stone from the rapid weight loss (that’s what we think, anyway) and seriously messed up my ED. It wasn’t until around 7 months after finishing LighterLife for the 2nd time that I felt maybe I could resist some types of food. Before I’d felt starved of everything and so I wanted to eat everything.

LighterLife is not as bad as some people think, especially not when you think of it’s target participants. It’s for obese people to lose weight fast to improve health… it’s just in terms of bingeing it’s probably the worst diet you could go on. Despite all the negatives I’ve written about in these posts, I don’t regret it at all. What I regret is that there is so little awareness of overeating disorders! I had no idea I had anything wrong with me for years, it was only until I approached the Uni counsellor did I finally find out why I’m so obsessed with my body and food. If I’d have found out when I was 16 then I could have done something about it much sooner and saved all the financial and emotional strain of going on a VLCD such as LighterLife. It’s not LighterLife’s fault that I had an ED. It just sort of sucks that I have EDNOS in the first place… and EDNOS did win in the end. What a bastard.

Emma

🙂

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Man I Wish I Looked Like Her When Eating Chocolate
For the past week I have been depressed, and therefore a right moody cow. I went to the doctors and got some anti-depressants, but as I was sitting in the pharmacists, playing Spot The Body Shape in my own sad little weight watching world, I stopped being depressed, and started feeling angry.

Why the hell should I, at 21 years old, be taking anti-depressants and worrying that the woman 30 years older than me looks better in jeans than I do. I shouldn’t be worrying about that. I should be thinking about all the clothes I can buy when I start full time work, and all the holidays I can finally go on when I get some money. I really shouldn’t be worried about the fact that my jeans are getting tighter, and yet I refuse to walk to the local shops in fear of people seeing just how sizable my ass is.

I had a The Shining-esque rant in my head, you know, the one where Jack Nicholson is creeping up the stairs towards that woman with the big eyes, and he’s having an epic rant about his interfering family. Yeah… like that.

I was blaming everyone under the sun; the Doctor for giving me anti-depressants but being sceptical about the likelihood of me getting more therapy, my inability to pay for private therapy because my lack of job prospects, and how despite trying to lose weight for at least a decade, I had failed continuously.

As I picked up my prescription, and was warned about the high anxiety levels I could experience within the first fortnight, I realised that if I didn’t want to take anti-depressants, then I would have to find another way to get happy.

And last night I had one of the greatest moments in Eating Disorder ass-kicking history: I said no to chocolate. I said no to anti-depressants, and I said no to chocolate. It’s not a first, but this time it was different.

I’d had a fairly good day, considering for the last fortnight I had been stuck in the depths of despair, I then spilt my tea over
me, discovered half my dinner was still frozen, looked for a DVD that I swear has vanished and accidentally kicked the cat. (She was sleeping half under a cushion, OK? I didn’t see her!) So as anyone will know, if you’re in a normal mood these things can be annoying, but when you’re not in a normal mood, they can be catastrophic. Immediately after my shitty ready meal dinner, I wanted chocolate; and lots of it. I got anxious, really anxious, and searched the cupboards. I was contemplating whether to go
to the shops and get something.

This is a controversial idea to me; you see, the shop holds all the chocolate I could ever want, and so is therefore the logical answer to my chocolate cravings, especially since I cannot sit still at this point, and am on the verge of tears with not having chocolate. However, this is a mind riddled with eating disorder-itus, and with that comes a very shitty body image problem which means I don’t like to be seen, and to get to the shops, I would have to walk. Dilemma? Dilemma indeed. Then, because I am at the end of my tether, and I probably look and definitely feel like I am about to lose my mind from chocolate withdrawal, my mum says she’ll go down the shops for me.

A lot of people reading this who don’t understand Eating Disorders will probably point out that the logical thing for my mum to do would be to refuse to go down the shops, and let me deal with my anxiety. However, having an Eating Disorder, as I’ve said before, manages to defy the power of logic, and my mum knows that if I was in binge-mode (a binge that will normally last a
couple of days) the anxiety won’t fade.

But, if she hadn’t offered the answer to my dilemma, I wouldn’t have been able to say no to chocolate. It was an hour after the
anxiety kicked in and I’d had time to think. That’s the thing with binges; the thought process doesn’t actually make sense: I’m fat and ugly but this chocolate will make everything better? Incorrect.

And so I went without chocolate.

Me – 1

Eating Disorder – 0

Emma

🙂

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You know you’re a yo-yo dieter when you can tell the month and year of a photograph not by the actual date, but by what size you are.

Unfortunately I just saw a photograph of myself three stone ago. That’s how I normally refer to time, by stones, or pounds.

“Was that last Christmas or the Christmas before?”

“Um… judging by the circumference of my thighs, Christmas 2009.”

Unfortunately I’ve been yo-yo dieting most of my life, but the huge changes came when I started Lighterlife. Lighterlife consists of having four meals in the form of soups or shakes and drinking however many litres of
water you can possibly manage.  It’s VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet) which pretty much translates as being super extreme. On
average you are expected to lose a stone a month, which is perfectly manageable, however you need to get your blood pressure and pulse checked every month as well. I don’t quite know why.

The first time I lost two and a half stone, and keep in mind this was before I knew I had any eating problems. After being on the diet for many months I felt amazing, but my binge-ing was about to hit an all time high. Or low… you know what I mean. I came off the diet and had one of the worst binges I’ve had to date. I don’t make myself sick after my binges, in fact, I hate being sick. I know no one likes it, but I would rather sit, feeling sick for hours rather than be sick and have it over within five minutes.

I have all my binges in secret, as most people with a tendency to do this will, and unluckily for me I had the house to myself for a week. I bought a huge bag of Doritos and dip, one slab of milk chocolate, and another with milk chocolate mixed with crunchy caramel. I ate it all, alternating between sweet and sour, drinking pepsi and feeling like everything was finally right. I don’t know about you but when I’m on a binge, it’s as if it feels completely right, like I am meant to eat this much; I’m finally giving in to what I’ve been wanting for so long. During the binge and a couple of hours after, it’s great, but then as I went to bed that night, I knew I was going to be ill.

I vomited several times, and stayed in the bathroom until morning, just in case. Not only did I feel physically ill, I felt like my world had ended. The guilt set in, and not only because I’d eaten a lot more than normal, but I was supposed to be on a shake diet. My stomach must have shrunk considerably, and to load so much crap into it wasn’t healthy, but also wasn’t great for my mental health. I think that might have been my first binge, or at least a binge that I can remember vividly, now that I know I have a problem.

I stopped Lighterlife soon after, went to Uni after finally losing weight and having the confidence. However I started Lighterlife again a year later and lost three stone. That was when I finally realised something was not right, and I visited the Uni counseller.

I’d never talked about my weight problems with anyone but my mum before. My family are really close, and yet no one else knew quite how depressed it made me. I finally confessed my real issues to the counsellor, after having another binge whilst on Lighterlife. She referred me to an Eating Disorder clinic where I was assessed. They said I straddled the line between having an eating disorder, and disordered eating. However, after diagnosing me with an EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Yet Specified) I was offered one on one CBT, and I cried with relief that I finally realised that this might be why I had suffered for so long.

Emma

🙂

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