The most frustrating and confusing thing about anorexia is the association it has with starvation! Anorexics eat!
Not all anorexics starve themselves. Research into the disease has taught me that many Anorexics struggle with total restriction of food!
I am sad to say many use laxatives and dietic pills to shed the small amount of food they do consume.
For me personally, TOTAL food restriction comes and goes. Restriction plays a BIG part in my eating disorder but for me, it’s about consuming food with really low calories combined with exercise!
Savoury & Sweet Dreams!
I think about food more than most people.
I sit and dream about cheese topped pasta, peanut butter on toast or crumpets with lashings of butter!
I have woken in the night dreaming of roasted potatoes and burgers…..
The reality of food restriction is that people with eating disorders will struggle not to eat at all. However, there are Anorexics who do restrict themselves so severely that they cannot even manage to eat – at all.
The prognosis is never usually good with this kind of severe Anorexia and it is this extreme of the disease that is often covered in the media. All Anorexics have the risk of ending up this way.
As humans we all have a desire to eat, food is ingrained in us from our hunter and gatherer days and from the basic human instinct to survive.
Even with my eating disorder that restricts eating and HATES food, food will still inevitably cross my very tightly closed lips. I find this confusing and complicated.
The food I choose to eat however can be controlled.
730 days of Green Beans!
I am ashamed and weirdly PROUD to say I have eaten green beans every day for lunch and dinner for nearly two years…..YES, that is every day!!
On occasions, I might brave some chicken or potatoes or for a few days I may eat a few crisps but those days are far and few between and often helped along with a glass of wine!
I would have kept Jack and his beanstalk in business…for years! (No rude pun intended)
The mealtime cycle
Breakfast is a NO! I cannot start my day fighting my worst fear – FOOD. This is a big part of moving on and recovering, Breakfast has to happen.
Lunch is green beans or leftover vegetables from the night before.
I have usually justified enough exercise to eat more for dinner! The evening meal is the hardest for me. Imagine saying NO to food all day and then you begin to eat!
My body is screaming for food so the minute I start to eat the urge to binge becomes overwhelming! The irony of restricting to binge eating still really confuses me!
Binge eating and bulimia are so closely related to anorexia recovery and I can see why!
How can I spend all day avoiding food, only to reach the evening and want to stuff my face until I feel sick and bloated?!
What kind of sick joke is this??
Burning it OFF!
Exercise plays a huge big part in my eating disorder.
I have to exercise for at least 2 hours a day before I even feel like I deserve the plate of vegetables and fish I consume in the evening.
Exercise is a very private time for me and often carried out in complete privacy! I hide away and carry out a set pattern of exercises; often until I feel light headed and my muscles ache.
A big part of recovery is changing thought patterns around exercise and even reducing it. If I was admitted into a clinic I would not even be allowed to walk to the bathroom, any exercise at all in recovery is frowned upon.
If I was admitted into a clinic I would not even be allowed to walk to the bathroom, any exercise at all in recovery is frowned upon.
Alcohol – Friend & Foe
Until the age of 7, I grew up with an alcoholic dad. I HATED alcohol for years.
The taste, smell, the out of control feeling it gave me and everything about it was repulsive.
In my career, work functions and customer meals usually involved holding the same glass of wine for the entire evening and filling shot glasses with water!
In the end, I was proud of the fact I did not drink and felt little peer pressure to indulge.
However, Anorexia has changed my once alcohol hating outlook.
Alcohol at mealtimes is like a soothing tonic! Anxiety suddenly disappears, I feel warm, I feel hungry and I feel like I can face food – albeit a bowl of green beans.
We are not talking bottles of wine; half a glass is usually enough. Having not eaten much all day, it does not take much to take effect.
Once I have eaten the need to drink dissipates and I feel repulsed by it all over again.
Living in Spain means cheap, lovely bottles of wine! I have seen myself start to think about wanting a drink most evenings and I have come to use this half glass of wine as an anxiety pill, a way to make everything feel OK.
It is something I am aware of and I know I need to stop. I already have one addiction, I do not need another.
I am not an alcoholic BUT I can see and feel the appeal of an alcohol comfort blanket upon my anxious mind.
I know I am not alone with my thoughts around alcohol, many people struggle to refuse it’s addictive and soothing effects.
Like Anorexia, Alcohol is not my FRIEND.
The PLUS side (in a sick way) is that WINE does not agree with me and I suffer its effects the next day. Stomach upsets are not mentally easy for an Anorexic and I believe this stops me from drinking more often than I do!
Some days all of the cr*p still gets too much. The thoughts, voices, guilt, shame and alcohol just feel overwhelming.
Low blood sugar from not eating, coupled with the known depressive thoughts that can occur after consuming alcohol SMACK me in the face and BODY. I cry, I feel angry and descend into the soft blanket of depression.
An eating disorder is so complicated and hypercritical! My mind is constantly trying to figure out what I should be thinking, eating and feeling, sometimes you just want to feel NORMAL. Whatever that looks like.
Whatever that looks like?
Heading back to the UK
Spain has been escapism and six months of having an absolutely fantastic experience, coupled with the bitter taste of being stuck in time.
As we head back to the UK for the summer, we look to the future with optimism and with the 100% focus on recovery, we look forward to facing the challenges of the next few months!
I cannot wait to say GOODBYE to green beans…….
Need to talk?