I was afraid to open up about this part of my life, but how can I tell you all how important it is to talk if I’m too afraid to open up myself?
So I’m taking the challenge….here is my journey of my battle with eating. I hope I can reach out to anyone suffering right now.
To me I’d always seen an “eating disorder” as undereating, a skinny physique and something I never needed to worry about. This is completely wrong. Society is good at creating unrealistic representations of everything, eating disorders being one of them. They’re not about what’s going on on the outside, that’s just a side effect, its what’s going on on the inside, in the mind.
It all started with wanting to lose a couple of pounds after indulging on a 2 week holiday, which was one of the best times of my life. However, what started with wanting to lose a couple of pounds, became an unhealthy obsession leading to a vicious cycle and being trapped inside my own mind. Along with the pounds went my curves, my glow, my confidence and my happiness within my own body. Despite ‘seeming’ healthy to the world, I’d just began my new life consisting of restrictions, starvation, excessive exercise and therefore a very little amount of energy, making everyday tasks impossible.
Now it’s easy to look back and see all the bad decisions you embarked on but whilst you’re in that headspace you spend your whole life in denial. It’s like you’re protecting your disorder, whilst feeding it by listening to everything it tells you. We actually let a disorder control us to the point of danger. It’s scary to accept.
I often struggle classing myself having suffered an ‘eating disorder’ because in my mind I didn’t look ill and I wasn’t hospitalised, therefore I don’t have the right to call it by this name. But again, that’s wrong. An eating disorder is characterised by restrictions, constant calorie counting, over exercising, binging, having crippling anxiety around food and feeling fear when eating in front of others…you don’t have to be underweight to have this disorder.
Now i completely recommend anyone suffering with an ED to get professional help. However, luckily for me I recognised when things were getting really bad and decided to embark on the journey of recovery myself, I wanted to defeat this on my own. In my head, this demon was no different to any other id fought off before and if you know me well I wont let anything destroy me. It wasn’t easy. I had bad days, I had better days and I had days where I wanted to give up. But here i am today telling you my story, these dark places don’t last forever. So now id like to share with you a few ways of how I overcame this on my own-
1). Acceptance- The first stage to overcoming anything is accepting that it exists. You don’t need to have an extreme case of a disorder for it to be a disorder. Accept that you’re unwell and make sure you know exactly what is it that you’re experiencing.
2) Accept help- Don’t be alone, talk to people, talk to your family, your loved ones and it you need to, speak to a therapist. I found so many accounts on Instagram of people suffering the same as me, sometimes speaking to a stranger is a lot easier. It’s so much easier knowing other people are suffering too, you’re not alone I promise you!
3). Work out when it started- I’m not an expert but I know that an ED is often triggered when you have lost control of something in your life, the disorder is there to take the wheel because you might have lost it somewhere down the line. Work out what this could be but don’t worry if you can’t. Remember that disorders are actually protecting you from what’s really going on sub-conciosully.
4). Be prepared for the journey– Remember you’re not going to be cured overnight, this is a journey and it’s not going to be easy but it’s going to be worth it. It’s a marathon not a sprint but the end destination is the same.
5). Remember that food is there to keep you alive- Change your relationship from a bad one to a good one. See food as medicine, it’s there to keep you alive, not kill you. Take back control, don’t let this voice take away your human needs.
6). Talk to yourself- It sounds stupid but it’s easy to let things control you when only you can hear them. Speak out loud, “I’m going to eat this because I want to and because it’s good for me.” Be in control of your thoughts.
7).Set goals- Categorise your ‘fear foods’ and set yourself the challenge to tick them off. This might start off a fear a month, leading to a fear a week. The same as most obsessive disorders, when you face the fear and realise nothing bad happens, it takes a little more fear away.
I was so shocked when I ate a burger that I didn’t gain 10 pounds, in fact it was the most satisfied I’d felt in a year. “Feel the fear and do it anyway!”
8). Delete social media- There’s so many times I’d spend hours comparing myself to others on the internet, thinking I needed to look the same. Don’t do it to yourself! Remember your mind food, check what you’re exposing your mind to. Right now you might need some time out from others filtered pictures. You are enough just the way you are, don’t ever change for anyone!
9). Remember what matters in life- I know it’s hard overcoming a disorder like this and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight but there are a couple of things that really made me see sense in my darkest times. These being-
-As you get older will you remember the time you and your family had a BBQ and danced till dawn or will you remember the time you didn’t eat your own birthday cake because it had many calories? Will your loved one remember the amazing, kind and caring person you were or will they remember the number on your scales at each stage of your life? We have these small moments in life where we are in complete awe od the world we live in and the life we have, let me tell you, none of these moments are defined by the way you looked or how much you weighed. Count your blessings and not your calories. Good looks don’t last forever but good memories do. Remember what matters in life….YOU matter and this illness will destroy you if you don’t take control now!❤️
Illnesses like this don’t discriminate, they affect men and women of all ages and sizes and too many people sadly let this illness take their life. If my story can save just one person I will be eternally grateful. If you notice any of these signs mentioned in someone, please keep an eye on them and be wary as to how you treat them. Remember it’s not how they look but how they act. Look after yourselves and look after eachother!💞
My journey isn’t over yet, but I can admit that I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been. I promise you true happiness exists. I won’t ever use my stories for attention but I will use them to do good. Thank you to those who carried me on my bad days, I am forever grateful for the life I have. Thank you so much for reading, keep smiling!🥰