Afternoon all, we had made many plans for today, we were going to tidy the office, put boards in the loft and then sort out all the mess that seems to be growing in the spare room, but it turned into a lazy day as we were both tired…
This has meant I’ve given a lot of thought as to whether or not I should publish this. I’ve decided to go with it, it’s very personal, but I finally feel able to talk about it a bit more freely. So today’s jump is to speak up about the fact I have an eating disorder.
I try not to use labels like “anorexic” or “bulimic” as I think there are so many different levels to an eating disorder. I know there are to mine, I probably am classed as anorexic in my tendencies to starve myself. However, I don’t have the stereotypical appearance of an anorexic person. I am skinny now, but I don’t look ill. I also imagine I suffer with body dysmorphia.
It started in Summer 2010, if you’ve read my first post then you’ll know I was tipping the scales at 17 stone and was very unhappy with how I looked. I was bullied at school, although it got better in college. I had a close group of friends and things were good from the outside, but I still felt unhappy in myself. I had no confidence and was very self concious of the fact I was fat and tall, which felt worse to me because I wanted to hide away, but being 5ft 11 and taller than most of your friends means people always see you.
I used to say all the time “Oh yeah, I’m on a diet”, but it wouldn’t last long. I’d be too tempted by that slice of cake or a takeaway. It was when I went to the doctors and found out I was too heavy to go on the pill that it really gave me the kick up the backside I needed to get off of my bum and do something about it.
Summer 2010 was when I finally found the willpower to say “no”. I started off just walking more, I’ve always enjoyed walking, but when I passed my driving test, the ease and warmth of a car was too tempting most of the time. It was Summer so the evenings were light and warm. It helped that I had my friend with me, we would walk around town, 3-4 miles most evenings just talking about life.
At this stage I was just working hard and eating less which is the best way to lose weight. I think at the beginning people must have thought “Oh yea you say you’re going on a diet again, how long will this one last?” But I kept telling myself that I really was going to stick to it this time.
And I did.
I became addicted to the fact my clothes were getting looser and looser on me. I wanted to speed up the process so I started skipping meals, I know everyone says this isn’t healthy and you snack more throughout the day, but for me I was harsh on myself and I said “no, I’m not going to eat until later”. It worked and more weight came off. At this stage I had no idea how much I’d lost as I didn’t own a pair of scales. I started substituting more meals with Strawberry milkshake and still keeping up with the walking.
I started working so then didn’t have as much time to go walking. I think that’s when I got really bad. I was so busy with working it was very easy to forget to eat. I went all day without eating and would have a slice of bread at about 10pm at night when I finally got home from work. I thought that by eating next to nothing it would make up for the fact that I couldn’t walk as much as I used to.
I’d say my worst phase was when I was pretty much living off of Strawberry milkshake. I’d have about 4 a day. I would eat something for dinner as living at home I couldn’t get out of it as it was family diner time. However, my portions got smaller and smaller and I’d usually leave around half on my plate. I stopped eating all takeaways, crisps, chocolate, cakes feeling they were bad for me and somehow thinking, as I still do and no I can’t explain why, that if I ate a cake then I would wake up the next morning having put all the weight back on. Yes, I do know that realistically this is not at all possible, but it’s still my biggest fear. I know this is really twisted, but I felt like hunger was power. It finally felt like I could control something, if I was hungry and didn’t eat then I was controlling my weight and that made me feel powerful.
Last April, by this time I had lost around 5 stone and was a size 12-14 (UK size) I met someone. I know you’ve probably heard before how when I met my boyfriend my life changed for the better, but I also saw it that because I had lost weight people would find me attractive. No I’m not saying men are shallow and only like skinny people, I’m merely saying that because I had lost weight, I had more confidence so I would speak to people I liked, when I was fat I thought no one would find me attractive so I just shied away from everything.
I had never had someone show me affection and attention before and it made me feel good. This is where I’m sort of split in two. I then started to think that the more weight I lost, the more attractive I’d be to my boyfriend because I didn’t want to be fat for him. He told me this wasn’t right and he loved me for me and that it didn’t matter to him what size I was/am. The other side of the story is that since I’ve moved in with him, my boyfriend has been my rock. He has helped me so much, he makes sure I eat a good meal every day and tells me I’m beautiful etc. I think this may have been because it was a new relationship and because it was all new to me, because I now feel a lot more comfortable and don’t feel like I need to be as skinny as possible for him, more be healthy in myself.
I have back problems, knee problems, dizziness, you name it (not because of starving, had them all before although knees are a bit better now they carry less weight) so spend a lot of time in and out of various hospitals and doctors. A consultant said to me that he thought a cross trainer may do me good as it’s not an impact machine like a treadmill and it moves a lot of muscles. He said a treadmill would be awful for my back because of the impact and compression so I opened up an eBay tab and bought a second hand cross trainer for £28 (absolute bargain if I do say so myself!). I have to say, it’s not really helped my back, it’s still awful and I’ve had a very bad week with not being able to move mostly, but it’s helped my mind so much.
Since I got my cross trainer I’ve had a whole new mindset that I actually want to be healthy and fit and not just skinny. I am happy being a size 10, I’ve now lost 7 stone and am proud I’ve stuck at it this time. Don’t get me wrong I still look in the mirror and think I’m fat, pull and tug at bits of skin and have tendencies to not always eat enough, but I am getting better. It’s more about maintaining now, I don’t want to actively lose more weight. I now think that it’s OK to go out for a meal as I go on the cross trainer and actually burn calories off.
This is where, for me, food blogging is helping too. Because I’m passionate about it and want to share my recipes, it means I have to constantly think of food and new things so it ensures I eat. I know there are a lot of cake recipes on here and I have to admit I still struggle a bit with treats etc. I do feel guilty after eating a cake/cookie etc and then feel that I need to punish myself by not eating for the rest of the day, but my boyfriend can usually talk me round. One cake every so often isn’t going to kill me and it isn’t going to make me fat as long as I burn it off. But I openly admit that whilst I enjoy baking immensely, I prefer to give my cakes to friends and family. You’ll probably have noticed, I’ve been doing a few more dinner recipes, this has helped me as it means I have thought about dinner and I’m thinking about what I’m eating so it’s more likely to be healthy. I try to oven bake things rather than fry them and eat more fruit and vegetables.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be 100% OK and I know I’ll never be able to eat like I used to, anything too fatty gives me awful stomach cramps, but I
now feel more relaxed in myself and I’m not so hard on myself. I am starting to enjoy food again and I just make sure I go on the cross trainer for 20-30 minutes a day. I must say my fitness has improved greatly, I may have been skinny, but when I first got the cross trainer I could barely do 5 minutes!
I hope that this has helped you understand why I wanted to start blogging my recipes, as although it has been hard and painful, I’m getting better and really feel like blogging is helping, so thank you so much for reading this and enjoy the rest of your jubilee weekend 🙂