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!