I like irony. I like it a whole lot. I like that this blog post is about irony and iron deficiency and the word “iron” is in the word “ironic”. Because that’s ironic. And excellent. Tonight I want to share a little with you guys about iron deficiency, which is a common health risk of eating disorders. The ironic part here is that when I struggled with my eating disorder, I wasn’t iron deficient at all. I’ve had over 12 solid months of eating well and lo and behold – I found out on Saturday that I am very, very iron deficient. Ironic.
Basically, iron is essential in the body for:
• red blood cell production
• a healthy immune system to help fight infection
• good mental function
• muscle strength
• energy production
There’s a Catch 22 here – I can FIX my iron stores by eating more iron rich foods – but I’m too tired to do it. Today, for example, I woke up at 9:30, ate breakfast and went for a walk … came home, hopped into bed at 12:30 and slept for a lot of the afternoon. Much of the last few days have consisted of sleep. Will be pleasant once the iron supplements kick in, let me assure you!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being sick is my number one biggest eating disorder trigger. I’m not sure at what point it will become less of a trigger, but as it stands, it’s a big, big trigger. I can’t decide if I’m eating less because I’m unwell and exhausted and generally have little appetite or if I’m eating less because I’m being eating disordered. To put it plainly, I don’t think I’m being eating disordered – but the very quiet and inactive ED part of my head likes that I’m eating less. Which is a little skewed. Or a lot skewed, really.
Here’s a little confession: I’m recovered, but the eating disorder still rears its head every once in a while. The nice part is that I recognise its lies and choose to ignore it. Being unwell may make me more vulnerable to being eating disordered – but I can still choose to NOT be eating disordered. And I am making that choice. I still have much, much freedom.
So, here’s my little dose of IRON-y (hehe) for the day. And a reminder to know what your triggers are. And know that it’s easy to be roped in to eating disordered thinking, even if you think you’re too far beyond it. Sometimes the ED will surprise you.