Back to School

If I look back over this journey it takes a while for me pinpoint specific actions I have taken to get to now as there have been so many small parts to make the bigger picture. ‘Now’ for me would be defined as binge and emotional eating absent (I think its important to use that description instead of ‘free’ as without mindful management, it could all return). I am able to approach weight management with a level head most of the time and I have a strong will to never return to dieting restrictions of the past, it may be more honest to say I have a hatred for the diet industry and often think of running round shouting how shit they are and that the industry is designed to make money, not help you!

Although I can acknowledge the years of work I have put in to recover from my ED, almost 3 in total now, I would say that this period has had the most significant impact for me. It has smashed a lot of my learnt misconceptions and given me the confidence to move even further away from the body hating culture constantly thrown at us.

Since Aug I have been a part-time student! I took an online Diploma in nutrition and it was a fantastic learning experience. The reason for studying was to focus more on myself now my baby is at school and to educate myself on what food is all about on a scientific level.

Whether this would work for all, I don’t know, but for me it was life changing. I now look at food in terms of nutrients and what I need daily, weekly and looking at the trends over longer periods. Despite not dieting prior to the course, I would still view a single meal of high calorie value as able to have a much bigger impact than actually possible, or not drink enough and happy to ignore any consequences of what I may put my body through by not eating propely. It has helped me to be realistic and make choices based on a balanced view, in summary I no longer fear food! Its there for me to fuel my body and eat how I want, that may sound to many like a scary and a complete lack of control, well your not wrong. I no longer need to try control my relationship with food to the degree that it becomes my nemesis, I strike a balance making sure I get as much of what I need as possible and regularly but if I want extra then why not?  It removes the need to be super strict and then rebel, a long worn path in my past and has further strengthened my ability to cope without turning to binges. The more structure I have to support myself without eating, the better the chances are of staying this side of recovery are.

I’m not saying I waved a magic wand and the anxieties all went away and I’m cured. It will always be something I need to mentally coach myslef to some degree. During PMS my confidence can crash and I that day I won’t like what I see in the mirror, or feel confident when walking outside but the difference now is my ability to talk myself back up without food taking over. There is no binge or restriction cycle anymore.

I have a plan of where I want to be rather than a weight or clothes size I want to be which is still a nice feeling as it comes naturally, I passed the faking it ’till I make it a while ago. Even on my weight management I don’t have this dream number in mind because this is me, who I am won’t change and I’m confident being me now. When I feel comfortable moving, strong rather than achey and don’t suffer with pain due to being over weight then that is where I will be in aphysically better condition, nothing more. I am currently losing weight sensibly and slowly for health reasons and im actually enjoying cooking and experimenting with new meals and learning better ways to gwt what I need. this is a separate area to my body confidence which needs a lot of nurturing to maintain. Its not always easy but my driving force is be able to feel about myself the way I do about others and I will eventually achieve that too.

 Aftet my Diploma I decided if i can do that why not go all in, so I did and am now studying a psychology degree so that I can get out there one day in the future and with a plan in my hand to try and help others escape the shit peddled by the media about how we need to be thin and diet and show people that there is another alternative where you can step on those crappy diet leaflets on you body positive journey learning to love you as you are inside and out! 

Dr Hill’s TED Talk

This was an amazing TED Talk, so much new information from studying ED’s. She made me cry, just knowing there are people out there learning what its really like for us.  

Body Negative Conversation Bullshit

So picture this, you’re at a family gathering, sharing time, laughs and catching up with relatives (you know the ones you actually like and can spend time with). Of all the topics of conversation possible: Billy’s new little shit scenarios, Daisy’s graduation from her college programme despite being vietually nocturnal or Granddad’s new fishing record (he caught something after 3 years of saying ‘This is my day’). The possibilites for hearing those great missed moments are endless…so what is talked about most of the day? Eating, size and fucking diets!
Now I get more than most the inner turmoil of walking up to the buffet table and filling a plate in front of others but why do the older generation feel the need to discuss size at this point? Its banded round like a joke about gaining and changing size. Is it any wonder that the more vulnerable shrink away and look at themselves through those eyes?

Why is it so fucking hard to make a connection between how their mouth spouts out crap and the people who stop / imcrease eating, for fear you mean them too, when you talk about being fat?! 

I suppose I should point out this us after most being informed discreetly that not only the BED sufferer has an ED but another is slowly slipping into major restrictions with their food? They all gasp and share concern when warned that we need to keep it body positive only (if you need to take about it all. I personally prefer hearing about Billy dragging the plant across the room filling the lounge with soil! Far more entertaining).

Its like watching a snowball grow as the shite conversation gathers pace, almost everyone joining in. Is it a right of passage to being a grown up in the family circle that I wasn’t informed of, my comtibution: screaming ‘cut the crap out’ followed by throwing a plate at the wall, at least mentally anyway. 

It wasn’t just a short spell but all bloody day and its damn hard to stay positive when you’re surrounded. In fact I probably over ate to drown it out a bit, whilst trying to gently guide the other one following all the habits I started with so many years ago, funnily enough, surrounded by the same conversations from different people.

I’m kind fighting this one alone because I hope to (well anything inserted here as I’m not religious) that I can use what I’ve learnt to protect them. Whilst I mentally slap those filling the room with body negative chatter, even if they are lovely people the rest of the time.

Anyone wondering, well why didn’t you just change the subject?…hmmm…it turns out when you switch it to politics and the debate of Trump sinking America into the dark ages and the recent European changes, that is short lived because apparently “some people are sensitive about it”. (This is where my head hits the table, I lift it up and drop it again for good measure).

I think I need to get one of those signs put up normally reserved for happy anecdotes on house rules like laughter and fluffy stuff. Only mine will read…Diets are bullshit, weight is just a number and if you take about size I will chase you out the house faster than I hit the bar on a kid free night out!

Body Positive Holiday!

My recent holiday was the opposite of what I anticipated…

I chose comfort over other peoples opinions. I ate 3+3 every day to fuel my body and felt great. I chose balanced meals over a day and felt more confident in my own ability to look after myself. I had space and time out when I needed to and relaxed because of it. Ultimately I took control of what happened to me and took care of myself. The anxieties were left behind and squashed down, rather than the other way round. 

Now, I’m home and keeping these efforts going. I decided: I don’t want to be a version of someone else, I don’t even want to be thin any more. I want to be a stronger version of me!

June, What A Crappy Month That Was!

Sometimes you just can’t wait to see that back of certain time periods, June 2016 can be dumped on that list!

At the start of the month I was 2 months off medication and doing great.My key moment was doing a long journey and only realised on the way home that anxiety hadn’t interviened at all. Life felt rather good!

 Fast forward a month and I’m back to feeling like hiding from the world with my hands over my ears to block out the noise.

Between looking after the kids and working every spare minute I had for 3 weeks straight my stress levels were permnantly raised, that is one of my worst triggers for anxiety, which is now firmly wedged in my daily life again.

It’s taken a long time to accept but I can’t do it all, not that I’ve ever wanted to but that’s not the same as pressure to be able to do it all. I can either focus on full time work or full time mum. When both are combined I crack and can’t give focus to either. This manifests as irritability and very little patience and the most simple tasks are too much for me to cope with. I can’t even decide which dog food to buy, the choices on the shelves overwhelm me.

I was already struggling with bad memories resurfacing but I didn’t have time (or more to the point didn’t give myself time) to think about why they were coming up. It made sense when I realised a particular day was the anniversary of a difficult event for me.
This year has to be the first time I’ve ever acknowledged the pain and emotions I have attached to that day. Its knocked me quite badly. Combined with the stress my eating has been gradually getting worse.

I’m aware that I have to look at my emotions and work through them. It won’t be over night but I wish it was. My bad side has taken over somewhat, I stay up late, eat too much (a lot of it crap) plus doing very little for myself. A reset button would be handy right now.

I’m trying to make small changes to help myself. I’ve reduced my social commitments, I’m trying to fight the voices that tell me ‘I’m no good, I look hideous and need to diet to make it all better’….even after all this time those demons are always ready to strike when I’m down. I just have to choose not to give in.

One area I can’t change is the decision from Weight Management Services on whether I’m an elligible candidate for them. I hate things being out of my control but I think the true feelings run deepet than that. It will have contributed to my ready long list of shitty things to deal with in June.
 Part of me is rebelling against making food a focus again and making changes to what I eat. The other issue is what happens if I’m not accepted, how do I move forward with weight loss, without relapsing?

This isn’t a focus like restrictions of the past. Its about re-educating myself on how to eat without the mentality of diets and instant expectations. I need to lose weight to be comfortable, not ache all the time and generally nimprove my health. Doing that alone makes me quite scared and the pressure would be immense. I can’t make alternative plans until I hear from them, its not a good place for me to be in.

So all in, June can do one and I’m trying to make July a more positive month. I fear it may take longer than that to be back in a good place again.

Body Checking Demons & Periods, Evil Bastards Working Together!

I read this article from Anastasia today and its a good read but also a little tug back to the positivity path we can lose when ‘that’ time of the month arrives.

Body Checking – Anastasia Amour

It may not be universal, (as the tortures of having periods differs for us all) but personally I have noticed this month, more than ever before, just how much hormones distort my view of myself and blows my confidence to pieces.

Just two days ago the new wardrobe plan was working well, I was positive regarding my appearance and happy with my progress to being happy with me. Today I caught sight of my reflection and the old negative voice was screaming everything wrong with how I look! Too fat, disgusting, I should go home and eat because starving myself won’t work fast enough! You name it was there! I was with my youngest at a school event and had to stop myself spinning on my heels and taking us home, his time was definitely more important, so we stayed and I did the last thing I wanted to do; I sat in a room full of people I don’t know and forced myself to interact, smile and be present in the room.

It took some time to quieten the nagging voice shouting that I was ‘too fat to belong’ and get a grip on reality. I was the same size two days ago, two weeks ago even, all that changed was my perception!

No one in that room even considered my size, clothes or anything at all about me, it was just me! No one ushered me out the door for being an embarrassment or disgrace. I had to make the choice to ignore the self attacks and remember I can’t trust my own mind when my hormones are raging. It was no easy feat and to be honest even though I shut it up, the low and inadequate feeling has lingered all day.

It will be gone in two days, just like the fact that; I won’t be raging inside when I hear my husband eat or breath too loud (I swear I develop supersonic hearing each month!), I won’t hate being touched or not feel good enough because I didn’t empty the dishwasher last night (yeah, that renound activity we use to gauge our personal achievements, the bloody dishwasher, WTF mother nature???!) In two days, after my cramps, aches, pains, bleeding and exhaustion I can reverse the rage mutation and get back to being me!

Shaking Up The Summer Wardrobe, With A Little Help From F&F


We can all experience struggles with clothing this time of year; be it sizes, cost, the fear of shopping in crowds or simply finding comfort in the heat! If you haven’t seen the summer F&F clothing range at Tesco yet, I’d highly recommend a look!

I bought multiple pairs of trousers!! This is completely unheard of for me when shopping outside of my ‘go to’ plus size store. I normally end up leaving with just tops and simply can’t fit into any of them or face trying on yet another pair of trousers to only end up with disappointment.

This year they have really upped thier game! Lots of choice, good sizes across the whole range and some of the most comfortable clothes I have had in years. I left with a whole bag full without breaking the bank and only one item was a top! I may hunt out a shiny sticker for myself on that score!

This summer my challenge is to be able to look in the mirror and feel good about what I have on. No clothes are going to make me instantly look smaller (I’m working on getting rid of that thought process all together) but I can choose to make choices that I feel good about.

So my usual same old outfits are getting a break and I am trying anything and everything new to see what suits me AS I AM, rather than longing for being smaller and self loathing.

Yesterday I felt good on the school run wearing my new super comfy trousers. I might give a skirt (with comfort shorts underneath) a whirl today. My wardrobe is a little hub of positivity right now and I’m loving it!

Recovery Inspirations, We All Need Them!


Along the twists and turns of recovery I have come across many people who are sharing their story. Some are like myself, giving us a glimpse into their personal struggles of recovery and others who have completely thrown off the straight jacket of their past with eating disorders and now spend their time helping others find life beyond the despair and self hatred.

After finishing my DBT course in March I have continued to battle with good and bad weeks alongside my friends from the course. We all found not having the weekly sessions difficult to adjust to. The lack of routine and professional support really threatened to push us back to a darker place, so rather than roll over and accept that we have  chosen to keep going together.

We maintain almost daily contact with a What’s App chat, voicing our concerns and struggles when ever we need to. It helps to talk to others who not only understand but are feeling the exact same emotions. In keeping with our course, we also share articles and resources relevant to our journey together.

One particular source of inspiration for me lately, has been Anastasia Amour. If you haven’t already come across this wonderful woman and her #projectpositive work, I’d highly suggest you take a look. Right now she is my daily go to for body positive inspiration. The articles she shares are Informative, uplifting and really leave you with a sense of belonging in the world. That last point may sound a little far fetched to some but feeling on the outer circle of daily life seems to be status quo with EDs. For me personally it’s a mental line I can’t erase, I simply spend my days skipping from ‘outsider’ on one side to ‘ready to experience all I can’ on the other. Its exhausting and incredibly frustrating to battle with your own head. That’s nothing new but I am now choosing to NOT stress over it any more and try to fill my life with new experiences.

Last year I discovered my love of Death Metal and live gigs, I made new friends and carved out a completely new social circle. My most recent hobby has been researching my family tree. The high i get from finding a new link beats any ‘go to food’ high!

The binge is a hollow option for me now. Although my brain is still hardwired to think of a shopping trip when I feel stressed (or anything remotely unpleasant), I now take that as my cue to analyse what is wrong, sit with how I’m feeling and take steps to address it. I couldn’t be more grateful to the eating disorder team for teaching me this and allowing me to take control of myself again, I couldn’t have got this far without them!

Although the course has finished and we are officially discharged, there will always be a need to keep the positive influences going. That’s where people like Anastasia come in. It may be her or another person who manages to reach out to you, the important thing is to find YOUR recovery inspiration and keep moving forward.