I is for Iron. And Irony.

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.

Bek Xo.

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14 thoughts on “I is for Iron. And Irony.

  1. Big hugs to you Bek! I hope your iron stores improve very soon. Perhaps if you’re feeling really unwell you can go back to the Dr & see if they can give you some more intensive treatment (there are liquid supplements & other things that you can get to help – including a brief visit to hospital for a transfusion worse case). Let me know if I can do anything x

    • Thanks lovely. I am actually heading back there on Thurs, so we’ll see. But yes, definitely is a big challenge to summon energy to do general life stuff.

      Hope you’re doing okay. Thinking of and praying for you. Also, I still have your book and you my container! We must rectify this sometime Xo.

  2. Firstly, I own this t-shirt and it’s probably my favourite ever: http://www.glarkware.com/adult/i-heart-irony

    Secondly, oh, I so know where you’re coming from. I had a couple of triggers in the past 24 hours. I’m fine now, but I was a little alarmed at how very easy it was to jump straight back into ‘well, I don’t think I’ll eat at all tonight’. But you’re right, recognising triggers is crucial.

    And so is iron. 🙂

    • That is a great, great shirt.
      I’m glad you’re doing okay now, but am even GLADDER that you recognised the triggers. If we didn’t recognise them, we’d just succumb to them and not challenge the thoughts at all.
      It’s also good to recognise how powerful our emotions can be in swaying our actions.

      🙂 x

    • Actually, I lied. I’m more glad that you’re okay now than that you recognised the triggers. Actually, really glad about both. Not one more than the other.

      Er, foot in mouth disease.

  3. Although I’ve been vegetarian my entire life, I didn’t become iron defficient until my latest relapse (and subsequent attempt at recovery). I’m now on supplements for it. Fingers crossed my latest blood tests (yesterday) show I’m back to normal! Here’s hoping you are back to normal soon too. xo.

  4. Good that you recognize what’s going on now when the ol’ ED tries to lure you. Copy Popeye and eat some spinach. It’ll put battleships in your biceps!

  5. Knowing triggers is important, and knowing our response is even more crucial! When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, Satan knew just how to attack him…but Jesus being the living Word of God had an arsenal ready–God’s truths. Keep leaning on those truths and you’ll be quick to shoot down those flaming arrows!

    Being sick is tricky for me, too. I understand the thoughts you described. However, I also know that my family needs me to be well as quickly as possible–so I need to do everything I can to bounce back from illness, which means nourishing my body.

    Even last night, I had to choose between ED thinking and daughter-of-God thinking: I spent the evening typing, writing a blog post that I humbly say blessed a good number of other doctors’ wives, as I wrote about the power of prayer. I didn’t work out, and I’d enjoyed lots of yummy treats and foods during the day. A pound heavier than yesterday. I told my dear husband, and I asked him to remind me that the number on the scale doesn’t put value into my day. All those words I’d typed were far more important than that pound. I confessed to him that in the back of my mind, I would consider myself overweight if I didn’t fall into the “underweight” category. So I still have to silence the voice, too. Immerse yourself in God’s Word, sing songs of praise even if your mood is not great, pray, pray, and pray some more. Keep confessing the struggles, so others can lift you up. Thank you for your honesty. You are a beautiful daughter of God, and he is using you to bless others. Keep being available to him!

  6. Iron and irony! I’ve had the exact same experience. Love this post! Gosh, those pesky iron supplies, despite aaaaaall my gallant recovery efforts it just lingers and hangs there.

    You’re rocking this!

  7. Lentils, spinach, oatmeal, and soybeans…and eat your iron-rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, as it aids absorption.

    But going deeper, I’m sorry you have been feeling unwell because of this. It’s frustrating to be tired all the time, and just very, very difficult because you still have to get through everyday…you just have to do it tired. Being sick for you is what anxiety is for me: when I am very anxious, I lose my appetite and the thought of eating makes me feel nauseous, but while it’s not that I am actively choosing not to eat, I am never disappointed that I am not eating much and I cannot help (yet) but view it as a nice little side effect – the silver lining of that dark, anxious cloud. I’m glad you recognize that being sick can have that effect on you, and that you are choosing to do what you can for your recovery. I hope you start to feel better soon!

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