And we’re back with an eating disorder recovery related post and that is the issue of real recovery. I’ve been in the community on YouTube and the gram for many many years now and yes as a young influential gen z I did #realrecovery in my posts. But now I’m older and wiser and believe the message of real recovery is slightly problematic.
Back in the day it was associated with a minnie maud style, 3000+ calories a day, no exercise recovery. Yes that is probably the most ideal recovery when it comes to putting weight on fast in recovery from anorexia and maybe even for your mental state. Now I find it associated with going “all in”.
But other than the fact that “going all in” isn’t appropriate for all eating disorders or all eating disorder patients as it may cause refeeding syndrome or increasing urges to binge the term real recovery is problematic as it insinuates to many eating disorder patients that there recovery is only worth it if they’re never giving into thoughts, eating to their cravings and hunger ques and not using compensatory behaviours. Considering how perfectionistic anorexia sufferers in particular are this is even more problematic as they are likely to want the perfect recovery and the eating disorder may convince them that it’s all or nothing.
If you give into a behaviour your a failure. Your recovery isn’t real and so why should you bother.
The reality is every recovery is real recovery. Even if you do slip, you do act on thoughts and use behaviours. It’s still recovery, as long as you recognise what your doing and make a real effort to try and change it.
Of course the ideal of recovery is to never use behaviours, but that’s not realistic.
Recovery has ups and downs and often a lifelong process. Often when you recover from an eating disorder the thoughts will become less and less but they’ll always be there in the back of your mind and you’ll always have to keep check on them.
Sometimes you’ll be doing great, sometimes you slip.
Slipping or not making as much progress as other people in the community doesn’t mean your recovery is less real!
Recovery is not linear, not the same for everyone and does not have to be all positive!
It’s eating disorder awareness week, and having suffered from an eating disorder myself I always like to acknowledge it in some way. To be honest this year inspiration is running thin. What with my current job destroying my mental health and meaning those eating disordered thoughts are creeping back in and this ME flare up which is relentless could god forbid I could just phone up and call in sick when I’m still climbing. That internalised guilt is real as well as internalised ableism.
Anywho on with the post!
I’ve been in the eating disorder recovery community for years, own recovery My own recovery starting in the summer/autumn of 2013. I’ve been through many a EDAW and had to deal with those before and after pictures. Before I knew better, I may have even participated in this trend myself.
But I feel as though these pictures, this type of awareness misses the point. It caters to the middle class white skeletal female version of what an eating disorder is. It caters to and perpetuates the stereotype which is not at all relatable or a representative depiction of eating disorders as a whole.
This image and reinforcement ignores the fact that anorexia isn’t the only eating disorder, as well as that anyone can get an eating disorder. Anyone of any race, size, socio-economic background.
Most dangerously these pictures continue the misconception that an eating disorder is just about weight. This is damaging on all counts but most importantly on the likelihood of and the success of treatment for the disorder. I know myself, only a tiny part of my eating disorder journey was spent underweight and less of that was spent emaciated. I did have anorexia and further through my recovery compulsive exercise and orthorexia but this isn’t the case for the majority of eating disorder sufferers. Many more have bulimia, binge eating disorder or OSFED who may never become underweight or may be overweight. This misconception is also damaging for those who are underweight or who will in the future end up under weight. It can make everyone think they’re recovered when ED recovery is about so much more than weight restoration. An eating disorder is a mental illness, thus to recover the mind needs to recover and this can often take years.
Instead of posting images that focus on weight I believe we should take weight out of the equation and think about warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder instead.
These can include:
- Being preoccupied with weight/shape
- Being preoccupied with food
- Denying themselves food
- Going to the bathroom straight after a meal
- Constantly making excuses as to why they’re not eating
- Not eating in public
- Hiding food
- Becoming withdrawn
- Wearing different clothing than usual – i.e more baggy
- Overexercising or exercising with the wrong motivations in mind.
- Hoarding food
- Taking laxatives/diuretics
There are many others, but these are just a few from the top of my head. I personally use a traffic light system to maintain my own recovery. Green – alls good. Amber – I’m showing a few personal warning signs but not really acting on them. Red – I’m acting on my disordered thoughts. I find this really helps me keep check on myself.
I hope this helps raise some awareness and explain some of the issues with focusing on just one aspect of a very complex set of mental illnesses!
Hello again, back with another eating disorder recovery focused post because since my period ended (so friday) I’ve been crazy mentally hungry but the physical hunger still isn’t where it was before I started feeling sick again.
I feel like if you google mental hunger you get given a series of articles about how to ignore your mental hunger or emotional hunger as it can sometimes be called. It seems as if having mental hunger is sinful. But that’s not true. Mental hunger especially during and after a period of restriction or illness is totally normal and in reality, is just our body’s way of saying it needs food, it needs nourishment to get us out of that caloric deficit we somehow ended up in.
There’s nothing shameful or sinful about it.Which I myself have found myself feeling in the past, like I was greedy for eating despite no physical hunger. Yet what I failed to realise is Just like physical hunger, it’s something that we should listen to and we should respond adequately, giving our body’s the food it needs. The energy it needs because that’s all food is after all. It’s energy.
Normal people don’t always wait until they’re physically hungry or physically hungry enough. Normal people do respond to mental hunger at times because that’s what being carefree around food and eating as you fancy is. It’s being able to respond to all hunger both mental and physical.
So I encourage everyone experiencing this to embrace it and accept it. Your body wouldn’t want the food if it didn’t need it.
We all know a lot of people with eating disorders are also perfectionists and I am not one of the exceptions. The problem is I see most people in the recovery community meeting the overly high expectations they set for themselves. Which, don’t get me wrong is great for them, but it doesn’t help much when your sat hating yourself because you didn’t get those grades. You didn’t get the straight A*’s you were predicted, you didn’t even get the A*AA you needed for your dream university. You actually didn’t get the grades required for your insurance. And they let you in anyway, but that’s not the problem. The problem is you didn’t do well enough. You didn’t do well enough to meet those expectations you’d set for yourself. So you hate yourself and you feel ashamed of yourself although deep down you know you couldn’t have tried any harder and whatever happened happened.
You find yourself comparing your failed results with others, others who did get those 3A*’s you we’re supposed to get, maybe even 4 with that A or A* in EPQ to top it off and it fills you with hatred. Even more so when the other brags on facebook about her daughter who for these straight A’s and had a part time job and trained for sport multiple times a week. You did none of that. You had no responsibilities but you still didn’t get good enough grades. It fills you with hatred because your jealous and you hate yourself. It fills you with hatred because you have to be the best. You were the best. And now you’re just mediocre. This is why comparing yourself to others is so harmful yet I find it so irresistible at the same time. It’s a hard habit to break really but one I know I need to break if I’m ever going to have any friends and ever come to accept myself. 3B’s and all. Just typing that. 3B’s. It makes me feel ashamed of myself. To me, 3B’s isn’t good. But if anyone else had got that I would congratulate them. If my best friend had got 3B’s I would be pleased for them. So why isn’t it good enough for me?
This is the perfectionism trait that gets to most of us wth eating disorders and it can make or break us. The positive of the perfectionism trait is that it can lead us to achieve amazing things. On the other hand, it can lead to you not doing that essay or exam because you know you won’t achieve well enough. You know you’ll never be good enough. It can also lead to burn out. And lead to your whole world tumbling around you when you tried so so hard but still didn’t achieve those perfect grades.
You try to tell yourself it doesn’t matter but it still does. You try to tell yourself it doesn’t define your worth but it does. Nothing can change how much of a failure you feel like you are. Even when other people seem proud of you. And this is why I feel like the education system can be so dangerous and harmful to people, especially perfectionists.
In both high school and college I’ve been told everyone can et straight A*’s if they work hard enough. And I’ve been told it by plenty of teachers. IIt really is quite a dangerous thing to say I believe because it ensues the belief in perfectionists even more so that if they don’t get the top grades there somehow failures and it somehow means they didn’t try hard enough. When really that is not true, especially in perfectionists who do try hard enough. it’s because some people aren’t clever enough to get straight A*’s. Some people may have undiagnosed learning difficulties, gone unnoticed because they were getting good grades all their lives. (I honestly think I have some mild form of dyslexia and it’s only become more apparent since starting my A-levels, and especially during A2 year.The only reason I haven’t got myself tested is because I’ve heard it costs £400.) They may have just had a bad day, week or year for any number of reasons. Or they may have been to a college with a very bad quality of teaching and no one got straight A*’s. (Again me)
The point is there are countless numbers of reasons as to why these self-set expectations may not have been met but the perfectionist will still beat him/herself up about it because the fact hasn’t changed. In the mind of the perfectionist they have still failed and failure is such a scary thing.
I’m not going to type here about how it’s all okay if you haven’t met your grades or everything happens for a reason because I know it changes nothing. But what I am going to say is that we all need to learn to accept ourselves, go easier on ourselves. We can’t always be perfect or the best. Self-acceptance isn’t easy but it’s what needs to happen so we can be okay when things don’t go to plan.
Today I want to make a blog post about well the title says it all really. I feel it’s a common belief from the none mentally ill population that people are selfish, when infact maybe even unknowingly are suffering from a mental illness. Ive heard many a person say suicide is selfish. But they don’t give any thought into how a person who has reahced that level of depression is feeling. Yes it may come across as selfish but to a person with a mental illness. Suicide or any action isn’t for selfish reasons it’s because they can’t see any other way.
Lets just take an example from today that happened to me. Today I was mant to be going to the races and for lunch for my grandads birthday but this moring I couldn’t handle it. I thought about it. I really did think about trying to go. Trying to challenge myself so hard and I thought about ths not for me. But because I didn’t want to let anyone down. I didnt want to be a disapointment as per ususal. But I looed at some sample menues and decided I couldn’t handle it. I mean the fact that they were sample menus would mean a level of uncertainty in not knowing what I could have. What if there was nothing I liked? Nothing atleast half safe? On top of that there wuld be the calorie issue. This 3 course meal would lead to too many calories. Too many unknown calories. Again that uncertainty. Would I get the nutrition I’m after? Probably not. And it’s not just the food it’s the being around people and food all day. It all seemed too much.
And yes I felt guilty for maing the decision not to go and I still feel guilty just not as so now I’ve had some time to think and calm down a bit. I know my mum and brother think Im selfish for sure. Both saying I’m wasting money… And oay my brothers 9, he can be forgiven. But my mum. She knows I’m mentally ill. I would hope she’d be more understanding. Apparently not.
But whatever people think I’m not selfish. Im mentally ill and yes sometimes that may make me come across to others as me being selfish and rude but that is the way things are at this moment in time. The best thing I can do is to work towards getting better and maybe one day I’ll be able to go out to eat even where there’s uncertainty as to the menu, calories and atmosphere.
Okay today I am coing to you about Obesity. Yes that big scary work signifying somehwere no one wants to be as in todays society it is shameful.
I’ve been doing soe observations and I would not say that there is an “Obesity epidemic.” I do not agree with the fat that 58% of english adults are overweight or obsese. Okay maybe clinically in accordance with having a BMI of above 24.9 but that doesnt take into account many things. Bone structure, set point, muscle mass.
It is quite easy to be clinically overweight or obsese but actually at a perfectly healthy weight for your body. I honestly don’t get why there’s such a fuss about this so called “Obesity epidemic.” I am aware obesity is a problem where it is impacting on peoples health and costing the NHS extortionate amounts of money but from my obsrvations of the general population whilst out and about I don’t belive it is as big as the media makes it seem.
So why is there such a huge fuss over it? I honestly feel it is just diet culture and money aking by the big dieting businesses. It’s all diet culture. That’s whats to blame.
Today marks 6 weeks since I started recovering from my eating disorder again after relapsing and I thought I’d make a blog post abou what I’ve gained in those last 6 weeks. Other than weight of course.
- Probably the most important thing first. Happiness. I’ve finally started enjoying life and feeling actually happy.
- Fitness – six weeks ago 20 miniutes of hiit killed me I’ve done 30-60 mins every day since saturday and I’m fine. (todays workout was hard though) I couldn’t imagine ever being able to do that 6 weeks ago. Looking forward to starting up running again in the spring! (Winter running is not fun)
- Intelligence – I was two marks of an A* in my business mock. It came as such a shock to me. I know without the carbs that wouldn’t have happened.
- Enoying food taste and flavours – I’m slowly learning to appreciate food as what it is and not worry so much. It is still an issue but little changes are being made by the meal.
- Energy – I’m no longer constantly zombified!
- Sleep – I am sleeping better most of the time. Some night I do still only get 5 or 6 hours but it is better than the 4-6 I was getting before I started recovering again.
Just goes to show. Recovery is always worth it !
Hello everyone, I’d like to first wish you all a happy new year of health and positivity in 2016! This post is going to be about my goals in 2016.
- Find true recovery from my eating disorder – this encompases a lot of things. To be free from worries about food, portion sizes and calories. To not worry about not exercising enough and be so focused on my weight and body shape. To finally be at peace with myself.
- To get fit! I know this sounds realy contradictary to my last goal but I have found that exercise really helps lift my mood. So I will do exercise excluding walking the dog atleast 3 times a week. This could be 2 hiit workouts and 1 climbing session or 3 hiit workouts. Obviousy if I feel strong enough and want to do more then I will but not if thats because I need to burn more calories or due to any other ED thought.
- To find balence in my diet and healthy middle ground with my caloric intake. I am struggling with this at the moment. Okay I would say my diet is probably more balenced than most but caoric consumption… I seem to eat 3000+ or undr 1000+ and I want to find that healthy middle ground that I can maintain weight at and not still find myself hungry.
- To build my blog, youtube and other social media’s. I’m really passionate about spreading the message of recovery and wanting to inspire others to recover so I’m going to really work on building upp my following so I can reach as many people as possible!
- TO PASS MY A LEVELS WITH ABB MINIMUM! This is the biggest one. I am so excited about going to uni and studying law. ABB is the grades I need for the choice I’ll put as my insurance when hear back from the final uni so that is my baseline goal for all things education.
- To prioritise mental health over grades. Last year I pushed myself way too far. Which lead to my relapse. This year I’m going to focus on me while still working to do my best. Aiming for reaistic grades not perfect grades. And when it all gets too overwheming I will promise to myself to take time out.
- To do some volenteering or fundraising work.
So thats it for my 2016 goals. Notice how I’m not calling them new years resolutions. Thats because I hate that term. Please comment your goals for the new year.
I’m writing this post today as I feel there is a misconception as to what so called “real recovery” is on social media sites such as instagram.
On instagram real recovery seems to be classed as following the minnie maud guidelines, always listening to hunger cues and cravings and being positive at all times.
THAT IS NOT REAL RECOVERY.
Real recovery is doing the best you can on any given day. Fighting your eating disorder one meal or snack at a time. Some days it may be listening to hunger cues and cravings and others it may be restricting because you really can’t do anything else. And THAT IS OKAY. That is fine so long as you pick yourself back up the next day, the next meal even.
What I’m saying is that recovery isn’t all glamorous it isn’t all positive. And you can struggle and be in “real recovery” you can be negative when in “real recovery.” So long as when you are struggling you pick yourself back up and never give up.
Real recovery is continuing to fight even though your heads a mess and the world seems to be turning against you. That is what real recovery is.
The last few days I’ve been suffering eventually uncontrollobale urges to eat continuously. Or so it feels.
I don’t even know why. And it makes me feel mentally so horrible. Like I’m out of control.Because I am.
FAT Because I am. Like I never was anorexic because I’m not controlled enough and I never have been. It just makes me feel so bad. And makesme want to give up so much. Makes me want to go back to starvation becausthat way 500 calories or 250 calories preferably will be the only option. The option to binge won’t be there. I won’t put myself in situations where I may binge and I will always be armed with gum and diet coke.
Most of all I’ll be in control once more.Notthis out ofof control whale. This BINGE EATER I’m convinced into. This Binge eater who hates herself even more now she’s eating.
Starving has always been so much easier. The easyway out of all my problems. The lack of love I get from my family, the loneliness I feel from that and only having one friend. The worthlessness I feel from neverbeing clever enough at school and never getting good enough grades at college.
None of that mattered when I was starving…. and now it overwhelmes.