So I’m Not Sure if You’ve Observed …

But I have been blogging less and less lately. I’m not entirely sure why – I mean, I have a desire to blog – but my fingers and brain aren’t working together to bring you a daily informative blog about eating disorders.

So I have a theory.

That is, I reckon I’m getting a lot better. I’m not as greatly focused on my eating disorder as much as I was. And I shall continue to blog, but hopefully it shall become to begin less about me and my eating disorder and more factual, as such. Lately I have been dealing with some very big issues related to the ED and it’s been tough but the fact of the matter is that I’m working through it and dealing with the core issues that brought about the ED in the first place. That is a very wonderful thing.

I want to encourage you to stop for a moment and consider what has brought you to where you are now – what has gone on in your life and shaped and influenced who you are? Are you alright with these things? Or are there issues to work through? It appears all well and good to carry around a facade (like an eating disorder or equiv) and pretend you don’t have stuff to deal with. And it really is probably one of the most difficult things you will ever do … But deal with your issues.

It might not seem fair or just that you’re left behind to pick up the pieces, but you are responsible for yourself and only you can make these changes in your life.

So go and do it.

Love, B.

X

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Conquering Nachos.

Third time lucky. One of my biggest fear foods and they’re finally achieved! Topped off with a piece of pavlova. Yeah, it’s stressful and foods I once perceived as bad – but the point is, it’s just food and it’s not a food one tends to eat every day … So it’s alright. I’m not going to be any bigger for it, regardless of what my eating disorder tells me.

It’s so easy to be stuck in that moment and listening to what the ED is saying right then and there … but it’s illogical. It’s wrong. There’s no way that one meal or one snack or eating a bigger piece of cake than usual can make you blimp out within hours of eating it. Feeling full is temporary.

It’s difficult when you have food associations or negative memories of food to say to yourself “I’m just going to do it and it will be fine and I will be fine.” But in all honesty, we all know it isn’t about the food; that there’s something a lot deeper going on. The food is just a facade.

So – enough rambling, as I need to get ready for church. Point is – I conquered nachos and now I need to conquer mac and cheese and a caramel sundae so that I can sit back here in this exact spot and type excitedly about kicking my eating disorder right where it hurts.

Oh joy joy joy.

 

Love Rebekah X

Full Cream Milk Round 2.

For a long time, I have had a big fear of full cream milk. I used to try and tell myself that I liked the taste of skim milk more but have recently come to realise that my eating disorder has dictated this fear. And so I decided I needed to challenge it.

At church on a Sunday morning at morning tea time, I used to always make sure the milk was skim. If it was full cream, I didn’t have a coffee that Sunday. It’s only a small thing, but I decided to overcome that – and so now I don’t check if it’s skim or full cream and I drink my coffee regardless.

Next challenge was to purposely put full cream milk in my coffee – even if skim was quite readily available to me. I did it a few times (much to the horror of my eating disorder!) and discovered I actually really preferred the taste of full cream milk.    Seriously – it is so good!

Next challenge after that was to go out to a cafe and order a coffee without adding my usual “on skim milk”. I had done it a few times already with L but on Saturday went up to Newtown to have lunch with S and had not one but two coffees on full cream milk. Impressive, I know. And they were pretty good. So now I need to make it an intuitive thing – ie, what do I actually feel like, rather than what my eating disorder wants me to do.

This excellent post talks about how these days we’re all so into the half-fat, lite or skimmed milk that we’ve seemingly forgotten all about the days when full fat milk was perfectly appropriate for everyone to drink – children, elderly, teenagers, the middle -aged – and no one even cared about the fat in it. We’ve turned into this society that values fat free products, slim bodies and restricted diets.

But it isn’t too late to change that.

🙂

 

Love Rebekah X

the elderly & eating disorders.

Let me make this very clear: I love old people. I think they’re great, extremely valuable, hilarious, knowledgeable and interesting. But I’ve come to learn (whilst living with C) that they also have their own hang-ups about their bodies and their self-worth – a piece of information that I’ve struggled to swallow.

The 1940s and 1950s were times where women didn’t work; they didn’t study – the idea was absurd. Rather, their job was to look after the children, the house, feed their husband and look good for him when he came home from work. So we’ve placed this expectation on women for a long time – is it any wonder that there are older women in our society who have body image issues?

C quite often manipulates her diet in order to achieve weight loss – this week it’s the “soup and fruit diet” which is what it sounds like – eating only vegetable soup and fruit all week –  and I was more than horrified when she told me about it. Apparently, the diet is set by a well-known hospital and claims you can lose up to 5.5 – 8kg in the week. Clearly, a lot of the weight lost would be due to a loss of water in the body … and it seems wrong to me to not provide your body with the carbs, proteins and fats that it needs in order to maintain health. Plus, weight cycling is sure to ensue.

So when we are addressing body issues such as eating disorders, we need not only direct our attention to the young people of our society. This is obviously something that affects not only males and females, but those of various ages. Perhaps those who are older don’t recognise that young adults look to them and model their behaviours – why wouldn’t they if they didn’t know any better? And so we need to better educate those who are older, in order that they can better educate those who are young.

Just something interesting to mull over, and another eating disorder myth exposed: older people can engage in eating disordered behaviour too.

Rebekah X

OCD.

Wordnetweb defines Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as “an anxiety disorder characterised by recurrent and persistent thoughts and feelings and repetitive, ritualised behaviours.”

 A lot of eating disordered behaviours and eating disordered rules revolve around compulsions. A lot of my own food rules used to revolve around compulsions also, and these are things I have made mention of before. Rules such as eating only 1/2 a cup of yoghurt or 23 almonds; eating 23 bites of an apple or cutting out complete food groups. Suddenly, I started counting things all the time. I would count my steps, only walk over lines with my right food and stand in the shower for 180 seconds before getting out. I would go swimming and count my laps: I would weigh myself obsessively prior to and post exercise.

So I thought I had mostly kicked all of these habits until just recently when L brought it to my attention. As I mentioned in this post here, I have started swimming again. I was going to the pool and swimming half a kilometre twice a week, which is a far cry from the 2-3km I used to swim three or four times a week (never again!). But yeah, I was counting my laps. And sometimes I don’t even consciously do it, it’s just such a habit now that it seemed like no big deal. But it is (was!) a big deal. And so I had to do something to change it. Yesterday I went for a swim and decided I’d stay in the pool for half an hour. The first few laps I started counting but then I prayed over the top of the counting in my head and eventually I just swam, not knowing how many laps were completed. Of course it made me feel panicked, and of course it was uncomfortable but isn’t all change until we become accustomed to it?

For those of you without eating disorders: I hope this (in some small way) helps you to understand eating disorders just that little more. And for those of you with eating disorders – what compulsions are you still holding on to that you need to let go to continue to move forward with recovery?

Don’t let your ED win.

Rebekah X

 

 

No longer defined by an eating disorder.

Sitting here eating raisin toast with raspberry jam and honey (and margarine!), wearing a giant jumper and looking sadly at the weather outside. What a strange summer we have had thus far.

Today I looked up eating disorder statistics and whilst I’ve always known that Anorexia Nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness, I didn’t realise quite how bad things were. Since 2004, there has been 218 deaths related to eating disorders in the United States alone. Japan is not all that far behind with 186 deaths.  Australia comes in at #8 on the list with 8 deaths, which is obviously a great deal less than the two aforementioned countries. But the point here is that these are deaths that should never have occurred. Regardless if there was 1 death, 500 deaths – this is an issue that needs to be sufficiently dealt with to prevent climbing hospitalisations and death rates – and something that a lot of people are able to help out with and potentially make change in as we continue to raise eating disorder awareness.

During the bulimic days, I never saw a way out. I thought I would either have my eating disorder for the rest of my life (and what a sad life that would be) or I would die. Thankfully, neither outcomes have ensued and I can sit here and type this today with both a healthy body and mind. It is actually possible to recover from this. My eating disorder can no longer prevent me from having healthy relationships, or one day getting married, or having children. It can’t stop me from going to university or bible college or travelling or whatever I decide to do with my life. It no longer dictates and defines me because it now has no control in my life.

God is the one who defines me, and so He will for the rest of my life.

Love, Rebekah X

“I am recovering from an eating disorder”.

Back in November last year, I wrote a blog post entitled ‘How Does One Get from Recovery to Recovered?’ I reckon at the time it was such an issue for me because I could never imagine myself saying to someone “I am recovered from an eating disorder”; I always envisioned the same ol’ “I am recovering from an eating disorder”. 

So I sit here today typing this and am still no longer in that position that I desire to be.

The fact that I eat regularly, don’t overexercise, don’t purge my meals, don’t abuse laxatives, don’t binge eat, don’t manipulate my food intake in any way and have maintained my weight for almost 6 months all show me that I am much, much better than I was. And I’m proud of that. I am so happy to have made the changes I have; I recognise the significance of them. But eating disorders are much more than the physical. The issues that are at the core of an eating disorder are the things that I believe need to be sufficiently dealt with in order to make a full recovery and to be able to utter those longed for words!

I know the causes of my own eating disorder and am still working through them. It’s a very difficult thing, but it won’t last forever and it’s so essential to deal with them so I can continue to have healthy relationships with others, as well as with myself and my body.

I hope you anticipate the day when I sit down here and write a blog post called ‘Recovered!’ as much as I do. And thank you all so much for supporting me as you have and as you are.

Love, Bek X

Blog Post #50.

You would think by now, after writing 50 blog posts and blogging since October that I’d have virtually not all that much left to say. How long can one can continue to write about eating disorders for, honestly? How can one possibly maintain an audiences interest in the long-term? I’ve worried about it before, but when it really comes down to it I stated in my about that I “seek to educate those who are interested in learning more about eating disorders, as well as receiving support and encouragement from good friends who are learning about my wacky eating behaviours!” I’m not writing things about eating disorders to show off or boast, in some twisted or distorted way. In actual fact, I’m showing you my weakest part in the hopes that it can make someone else stronger.

The more I write; the more people that message me on Facebook and share their own stories and experiences with body image … the more I realise that this really does affect all of us in someway. If it doesn’t affect you personally, it affects your mother or sister or brother or aunty or cousin. People really do struggle with body image.

So what if we realised that? What if we looked around and said to each other – “hey, I understand. But you actually have nothing to worry about.” What if we all had this mutual understanding of each others self-esteem, an acceptance of our own and each others flaws, a desire to help others realise that weights and calories and laps swam are really rather irrelevant?

The next time a conversation about diets and weights is going on around you, would you have the guts to say that you didn’t care? Or the guts to not participate in the conversation, even when every fibre of your being struggles against that?

I don’t care what your weight is or how many chocolate biscuits you’ve eaten. I don’t care if you drink real coke or diet coke. I neither promote overeating or undereating, but mindful and intuitive eating – that is, feeding your body the appropriate foods at the appropriate times – eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full.

So, find freedom from that. Stop waiting around for people to stop talking about this and start loving themselves, because it isn’t going to happen unless you give them a little nudge in the right direction. You don’t think it, but you can actually make change happen here.

So, please talk about these things.

Love Rebheckherrrr xoxo.

Comfort Zones, Rigidity & Rules.

Eating disordered life revolves around rules. No eating after certain times. No more than 5 tablespoons of yoghurt. 7 cups of tea a day. 4 kilometres to be swam; fewer calories to be eaten. Count your steps; how many times you bite that apple you consume. These are just a few examples of my own. I also only allowed myself a certain amount of almonds each day because I tended to binge on them regularly and it was a big issue. I used to wear baggy clothes that hid my body – to me, that was far more important than looking dressy or good – I really didn’t care at that point as long as people didn’t think that I was fat.

Learning to eat again, I had to get into new routines – eat every 2-3 hours. Eat a certain amount of carbs and veggies and fruit and protein (and fats!). Discover what I enjoyed eating. It was fun, for a while.

But then my eating disorder took over again. Suddenly, I had to eat every 2-3 hours – religiously, really. I had to eat the same foods (so my safe food list had just grown bigger). I had to be at home to eat, I couldn’t just eat on the run. I had to know what foods I would be eating each meal time; I had to know what was going to be cooked for dinner.

Coming to Canberra has helped me to come out of that a little. Sometimes you can’t eat morning tea each day because you’re busy doing other things. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it. Or, alternatively, sometimes you feel like eating an extra chocolate biscuit at supper time because you just do. No other explanation required. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to exercise for longer the next day. Our lives can’t revolve around rules and rigidity because life is so unpredictable. As nice as it is to sit down and enjoy a meal or snack, sometimes it just isn’t possible. Sometimes you need to eat some crackers and an apple on the run.

So – seeing these two wonderful girls and spending some time away from routine and all the rest has been a very good thing, I believe.

I don’t want to worry or stress about all of these things anymore. The day I become carefree will be a very good day indeed.

So I ask – what comfort zones are holding you back?

Love, Rebekah X

It’s About Time!

Ahoy from Canberra! I meant to write a blog post before I headed down here to say “hi, i’m going to Canberra for a while so I may not post anything this week” etc etc etc. But I ran out of time and in all honesty I was a little scared of coming down here … Not because I was worried about being here as such, but I was scared of what I was leaving behind. Mostly, I was frightened of stepping out of rigid behaviours, such as eating (generally) the same foods at (generally) the same times, (generally) most days. I was apprehensive about doing different things … perhaps eating out far more often than I’m used to and being afraid to say I was stressing about food to my friends (L & C – wonderful ladies!) thereby giving my ED a foothold.

But so far it’s been okay.

The best part (obviously) has been spending time with L & C and being away from Gerringong where I was sort of stuck all of last year because my eating disorder refused to let much else happen.

Other highlights include taking loads of glorious photos of so many joyful things that have been occurring, drinking lots of really good coffee and being able to lay in Glebe Park and do a crossword and not feel guilty – just be.

I think doing something like this has to be part of my recovery process – so having the opportunity to do this is something I feel very thankful for.

So hopefully no dwelling on how much I’m eating or how much exercise I’m not doing in the coming days. I think it’s about time I let the ED give me a break.

And shall definitely be posting when I return on Sunday. So hope you all enjoy your weekend very much!
Bek x