Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Photo Food Diary

Apricot, almond and vanilla oats prepared with 3/4 cup of milk and topped with 1 small sliced banana and 2 slices of wholemeal toast with Maple nut spread

1 small serve of grapes, 1 caramel Up and Go and 3 macadamia and white chocolate chip cookies

1 cheese an delish sandwich, 1 large apple and 1 vanilla snak Pack custard tub 

1 tub of apple puree with creamy vanilla yoghurt and 1 violet crumble chocolate bar 

Chicken flavoured rice with extra boccoli, carrot and peas

1 large bowl of vanilla icecream topped with 1 crushed flake chocolate bar

1 frothy hot chocolate made with cold milk and boiling water

Taking anxiety medication

For years my doctor wanted me to take medication for my anxiety however I refused. She thought that it would help a lot with the anxiety I had associated with my anorexia and thought that taking it would allow me to make more progress in my recovery. I had a few reasons for not wanting to take this type of medication. I don't think I was truly ready to get better yet and I was not yet ready to stop listening to my anorexia. I had heard that anti anxiety and depression medications could cause weight gain (which certainly has not been the case for me) so I was worried that my doctor only wanted me to take the medication to make me gain weight. I also felt as though taking a medication like this would mean that I was weak, as taking this kind of medication would mean that I was not able to get better on my own.

Eventually, I decided to give taking anxiety medication a proper go but it was not actually for my eating disorder recovery I decided to do this, it was actually just before I started my new job. I was worried that my anxiety and self doubt would prevent me from being confident enough in myself to actually do my new job at the bank. However once I started taking the daily medication, My anxiety did not only imensely improve at work, it also improved in regards to my anorexia as well. Now the amount of anxiety I feel whenever I fight my anorexia is much more barable, which means that I am able to start making more and more progress in my recover.

As I have been eating so much more and allowing my mind to repair, I have been able to think so much clearer and more rationally so my anxiety has got even better still. Once My mind is completely recovered I do not feel as though I will need to continue taking the anxiety medication at all, as I will be strong enough to control the anxiety I get from day to day by myself and I dont expect I will sufffer from anxiety, anywhere near as much once I make a full recovery. Afterall, it is only since I started starving my poor brain that my anxiety has gotten so out of control. I do not feel weak for taking anxiety medication and neither should you. As long as you recover from your eating disorder, who cares what you must do in order to achieve it (as long as you are not doing anything dangerous or unhealthy of course).

To me, getting happy and healthy is all that matters and if doing that requires me to take a small anxiety tablet each morning to keep my anxiety at barable levels whilst I choose to fight my anorexia, then that is exactly what I will do. I do not feel ashaimed of the fact that I was not able to cope with the extreme anxiety associated with recovery on my own. I am proud because I know that I  am doing everything in my power to ensure that I make a full recovery from anorexia and fight it every day with everything I have got! So please, if you feel as though your extreme anxiety is preventing you from sticking to your meal plan or doing any of the other things you need to do in order to recover, talk to a doctor about taking some anxiety medication. I know I would not have been able to make as much progress as I have without it and it really could be the difference between whether you recover from anorexia, or die with this awful illness.

Different types of eating disorders

Whilst my eating disorder was developing, I was mainly in denial about what was happening to me however after a few months of making myself purge after eating particular foods I knew that my behaviours were not healthy or normal. I had cut all unhealthy foods out of my diet however I did not lose very much weight at first, which I think was due to the fact that my body tried to stay at the weight I was at so my metabolism just got slower and slower the less I ate. 
At the time I didn't know much about eating disorders so as soon as I started to think I was suffering from one, I instantly thought it was bulimia as I was making myself sick. Now I can see that it was actually more likely purge type anorexia that I was suffering from, which then changed to restrictive type anorexia when I got fed up with going through the pain associated with making myself sick and not losing very much weight at all. 

It really is surprising just how little weight I lost at first even though I practically halved my calorie intake and started exerising more as well. I would not say that I had food binges in this time, instead I just made mysef sick after eating any foods that I had previously decided I was no longer allowed to eat or if I ate a particularly unhealthy meal. 
When I went to hospital, one psychologist even said that I had EDNOS as I was restricting my intake so severely but was not classified as severely underweight. I do not think that I ever did have EDNOS, I just think that my weight had not yet dropped significantly low because I had not been severely restricting my intake for a long time before my doctor took action and had me admitted.
I know that it really does not matter what type of eating disorder I had at first. Perahaps it was bulimia, or purge type anorexia, heck maybe it was EDNOS? All eating disorders are terrible for the sufferer and life threatening, no matter what they may be called. At the time, I honestly hated making myelf purge more than I hated restricting once my restictive type anorexia developed. 
Making myself vomit is the most awful and painful thing I have ever done. I remember that I just used to cry and cry whilst I was making myself sick because it hurt so much, both mentally and physically. I would not let myself stop until I was convinvced that I no longer had anything left in my stomach. Never think that your eating disorder is not serious because IT IS, no matter what type of eating disorder you have.
No mattter what type of eating disorder you are suffering from, it is important that you try and get better.  No one deserves to live a life with an eating disorder. You desere to live a healthy and happy life that is not regimented or controlled by your weight and food. If you cant get better yourself, please try and get some help from a professional or someone you trust. The following descriptions from this website describe the key differences between different eating disorders.   

Anorexia Nervosa
'Anorexia nervosa' literally means 'loss of appetite for nervous reasons' but this is misleading, as in most cases the appetite of the sufferer is undiminished but is systematically unsatisfied. Individuals with anorexia nervosa are unwilling or unable to maintain a body weight that is normal or expected for their age and height (most clinicians' use 85% of normal weight as a guide). The disorder is characterised by a fear of gaining weight, self-starvation, and a distorted view of body image. Concerns and perceptions about their weight have an extremely powerful influence and impact on their self-evaluation and anorectics typically restrict the amount eaten and drunk, often to a dangerous level. Exercise may be used to burn off what are perceived to be excess calories. The seriousness of the weight loss and its physical effects are minimised or denied

Diagnostic criteria of anorexia nervosa include two subtypes of the disorder that describe two distinct behavioural patterns. Individuals with the Restricting Type maintain their low body weight purely by restricting food intake and increased activity. Those with the Binge-Eating/Purging Type usually restrict their food intake but also regularly engage in binge eating and/or purging behaviours.

Initially the sufferer focuses on food in an attempt to cope with life; it becomes a way of demonstrating control over body weight and shape. Ultimately, however, the disorder itself takes control and the chemical changes in the body affect the brain and distort thinking, making it almost impossible to make rational decisions about food. People who suffer from anorexia often have low self-esteem and a tremendous need to control their surroundings and emotions. As the illness progresses, the sufferer will experience the exhaustion of starvation. Occasionally people die from the effects of anorexia, especially if it is untreated.

Bulimia Nervosa

It was only in 1979 that bulimia nervosa was recognised by doctors as an eating disorder in its own right. The term bulimia nervosa means literally 'the nervous hunger of an ox'. The hunger, however, is really an emotional need that cannot be satisfied by food alone. After binge-eating a large quantity of food to fill the emotional or hunger gap, there is an urge to immediately get rid of the food. Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by these episodes of binge eating (uncontrolled consumption of a large amount of food in a relatively short period of time) followed by an inappropriate "compensation" behaviour such as forced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, a subsequent fast or period of food restriction, or excessive exercising.

Diagnostic criteria for Bulimia Nervosa also identify two sub-types of the disorder: purging and non-purging. Forced vomiting, or abuse of laxatives or diuretics, is considered "purging" whereas fasting or engaging in excessive exercise after a binge to compensate for the calories consumed is considered "non-purging". Sometimes the distinction between bulimia and the binge/purge type of anorexia is difficult to draw. However, if a patient meets all other criteria of anorexia nervosa, that is generally the diagnosis which is made.

Bulimia is more difficult for others to notice as the sufferer tends not to lose weight so dramatically, or their weight will fluctuate. People with bulimia may have demanding jobs that require them to be out-going and self-assured even when they feel inadequate inside. As with anorexia, people who develop bulimia become reliant on the control of food and eating as a way of coping with emotional difficulties in their life. During the binge episode, the individual experiences a loss of control. However, the sense of a loss of control is also followed by a short-lived calmness. The calmness is often followed by self-loathing. The cycle of overeating and purging usually becomes an obsession and is repeated often.

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) is a diagnostic category of mental disorders that involve disordered eating patterns. It is described in the diagnostic manuals as a "category [of] disorders of eating that do not meet the criteria for any specific Eating Disorder". A diagnosis of EDNOS is frequently used for people who meet some, but not all, of the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. For example, a person who shows almost all of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, but who still has a normal menstrual cycle and/or body mass index, can be diagnosed with EDNOS. A sufferer may experience episodes of binging and purging, but may not do so frequently enough to warrant a diagnosis of bulimia nervosa. A person may also engage in binging episodes without the use of inappropriate compensatory behaviours; this is referred to as binge eating disorder. People diagnosed with EDNOS may frequently switch between different eating disorders, or may with time fit all diagnostic criteria for anorexia or bulimia.

EDNOS is a serious eating disorder, like anorexia and bulimia, with various subtypes (such as Binge Eating Disorder, Compulsive Overeating and Orthorexia Nervosa, as described below) and can have long-term consequences on the individual's physical health.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge eating disorder is characterised by consuming large quantities of food in a very short period of time until the individual is uncomfortably full. It is similar to the eating disorder bulimia nervosa except the individuals do not use any form of purging following a binge. Additionally, people with bulimia are typically of normal weight or may be slightly overweight whereas people with binge eating disorder are typically overweight or obese. Individuals usually feel out of control during a binge episode, followed by feelings of guilt and shame. Many individuals who suffer with binge eating disorder use food as a way to cope with or block out feelings and emotions they do not want to feel. Individuals can also use food as a way to numb themselves, to cope with daily life stressors, to provide comfort or fill a void they feel within. Like all eating disorders, binge eating is a serious problem but can be overcome through proper treatment.

Binge eating disorder is similar to, but it is distinct from, compulsive eating. People with binge eating disorder do not have a compulsion to overeat and do not spend a great deal of time fantasising about food. On the contrary, some people with binge eating disorder have very negative feelings about food. As with other eating disorders, binge eating is an expressive disorder - that is, the disorder is an expression of a deeper, psychological problem.

Continual debate exists over whether binge eating disorder should have its own diagnosis. Some believe that it is a milder form, or subset of bulimia nervosa, but others argue that it is its own distinct disorder. Currently it is characterised under Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), and the diagnostic manual simply states that ‘more research is needed’.

Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive overeating is characterised by an addiction to food. An individual suffering from compulsive overeating disorder engages in frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating, or binging, during which they may feel frenzied or out of control. They will eat much more quickly than is normal, and continue to eat even past the point of being uncomfortably full. Binging in this way is generally followed by a period of intense guilt feelings and depression. Unlike individuals with bulimia, compulsive overeaters do not attempt to compensate for their binging with purging behaviours such as fasting, laxative use or vomiting. Compulsive overeaters will typically eat when they are not hungry, spend excessive amounts of time and thought devoted to food, and secretly plan or fantasize about eating alone.

In addition to binge eating, compulsive overeaters can also engage in grazing behaviour, during which they return to pick at food over and over throughout the day. This will result in a large overall number of calories consumed even if the quantities eaten at any one time may be small. When a compulsive eater overeats primarily through binging, he or she can be said to have binge eating disorder. Where there is continuous overeating but no binging, then the sufferer has compulsive overeating disorder. Compulsive overeating almost always leads to weight gain and obesity, but not everyone who is obese is also a compulsive overeater.

Compulsive overeating is a maladaptive behaviour that may be used as a way to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and daily problems. Food is used to block out feelings and emotions. Excessive weight may act as a shield they can hide behind to avoid social interaction. Sufferers usually feel out of control and are aware their eating patterns are abnormal. Like bulimics, compulsive overeaters do recognise they have a problem. Compulsive overeating is a serious condition and needs professional support to ensure long-term recovery.

Orthorexia Nervosa

People who eat a normal amount of food, but become exceedingly obsessed with healthy eating, or strictly categorize normal foods or entire food groups as "safe" and "off-limits", may be referred to as having orthorexia. Orthorexia Nervosa is an obsession with a "pure" diet, where it interferes with a person's life. It becomes a way of life filled with chronic concern for the quality of food being consumed. When the person suffering with Orthorexia Nervosa slips up from wavering from their "perfect" diet, they may resort to extreme acts of further self-discipline including even stricter regimens and fasting.

"This transference of all of life's values into the act of eating makes orthorexia a true disorder. In this essential characteristic, orthorexia bears many similarities to the two well-known eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. Where the bulimic and anorexic focus on the quantity of food, the orthorexic fixates on its quality. All three give food an excessive place in the scheme of life." (Steven Bratman, M.D., October 1997). Although the word is entering the English lexicon, the psychiatric community has not officially recognized the condition.

You can also read the symptoms of each eating disorder here

Monday, 29 June 2015

I love food

I have always loved food, even when I was starving myself I still loved food. Most of the time I really look forward to all of my meals (as long as I am in control of what I am eating) and I am generally happy when it is meal time and I know that I can eat again. I did not feel this way when I was in hospital or when my parents were in control of what I ate however. In these instances I absolutely dreaded meal times and did not enjoy a single thing I ate. When I didn't let myself eat food, I tried to satisfy my love of food by cooking food for others, watching others eat and also watching television shows about cooking and eating food.

One of the reasons that I decided I would increase my intake to real recovery amounts was because I wanted to ensure that my metabolism repaired properly, so that I would be able to eat normal amounts of food in the future without continuing to gain weight. I am so thrilled that my metabolism is working efficiently again (although it is probably ruunning a little too fast at the moment) as I know that this means I will be able to enjoy lots of delicous foods in the future without having to worry about unwanted weight gain. I believe that this will allow me to stay happy and healthy and live an eating disorder free life in the future.

I highly reccommend eating large amounts in recovery for everyone, but especially for those who love food like I do and those who want to be able to eat lots of lovely foods in the future without gaining lots of unwanted weight. Also, for someone who loves food, eating large amounts in recovery can actually be quite fun (if you can try and block out what your anorexia is trying to tell you). Here are two delicious meals I ate tonight. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single bite of each meal which is something I never thought I would be able to do again in my life, when I was really sick.

 Beef canneolli, corn on the cob, broccoli, peas and carrots
Hot lemon pudding with vanilla icecream

So if you anorexia is still stopping you from enjoying food, don't let this worry you as one day it will eventually get easier and you will be able to truly enjoy food again one day. All you need to do is keep believing in yourself and keep fighting for recovery. If you push yourself trough every meal, whether you enjoy it or not now, eventually you will truly be able to enjoy eating again. Trust me, it will happen (as long as you keep eating!) :) x

Feeling younger then my age

I have always been quite immature for my age and I still think I am now. When I say immature, I do not mean silly or irresponsible, as I have always been the complete opposites of these things. What I mean is just that I have generally not done what everyone else my age seemed to do and I believe that this has been due to lacking confidence in myself.
For example I never had boyfriends when I was younger like many of the other girls my age did and I did not wear make up. I didnt ever go to parties or drink alcohol or anything like that until I turned 18 and even since turning 18 I have only done this on a few rare occasions.

Since developing anorexia, I do not feel as though I have matured at all and I suppose I really havent as you mature through having life experiences and due to my anorexia, I have missed out on having these. I still feel exactly the same as I did when I was 15 or 16 and dont expect this will change until I recover and start living life the way I should be living it. In saying this however, I think I am just as strong or stronger than most people my age, because of the battle I have had to fight over the last few years.

Growing up I was always too frightened to do things like dancing at discos or having boyfriends as I was so frightened I would do something wrong and embarrass myself. If only I had of had the confidence growing up that most other people had, I would have been able to do these types of things and enjoy myself, instead of being too frightened to do anything.

Even now, the thought of having a boyfriend frightens me as I would be scared of doing something wrong and because I am so self conscious, which is exactly why I am going to wait for a wonderful and understanding guy who wont judge me or make me feel self conscious. I dont want to have a relationship with anyone who won't accept me for who I am or who will expect me to change who I am for them.

I also think that I have also been reluctant to grow up as I am holding on to the parts of my childhood, that make me feel safe. Growing up in this world can be scary at times, even more so for someone who suffers from anxiety and clinging to the things that make us feel comfortable and safe in really quite understandable if you think about it.

Does anyone else ever feel as though they have always been slightly 'immature' for their age due to their lack of confidence and also due to suffering from an eating disorder? I do not think that this is a terrible thing as lots of the things that more confident people do I would not want to do anyway, however this is just something I quite often find myself thinking about.

My pledge to love myself

The following pledge has been stuck on my fridge for a few months now (ever since I found it on the Internet) and I recommend that you take out a similar pledge to yourself. Stick it somewhere you will often see it and every time you feel self conscious about your body, read your pledge to love yourself. Hopefully it will remind you of what is truly important in life and why you should love who you are.

Just incase you cant read it very well (my kitchen is very dark) ^^ I have the typed text below also;

I honour myself by loving every part of me
I will embrace every flaw because they make me
I give thanks for my daily breaths  because
I recognize that the way I treat myself sets the
standard for others and I deserve
I will count my BLESSINGS over my BLEMISHES
I recognize that loving myself is a difficult journey,
but one worth traveling
I will…laugh, breathe, let goI am worthy of love – the love from others and
more importantly LOVE FROM MYSELF
I am worthy because I am HERE.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Busy busy day

I have been really busy all day but am glad to be finally sittin down n the couch to relax for the rest of the night. I got up at about 5am this morning and wrote some posts and answered some emails while I ate mmy breakfast. I had extra thick honey nut spread on my toast (as I said Inow would) which was really delicious. I have also started adding more filling to my sandwiches at lunch each day and have beeen adding extra milk to my oats and hot chocolates.

I am really glad that I decided to make these changes to my intake, when I needed to increase my calories. Because I didnt add in a specific item to my meal plan, but have just basically started adding in extra things whenever the opportunity arises, therefore I actually do not know exactly how many calories I eat each day. I think that this is great progress for me as I always felt as though I NEEDED to know exactely how many calories my food contained. Now it doesn't really worry me that I dont know exactly how much I am eating, which Isee as a good indication that my mind is continuing to repair. I still obviously know the approximate amount I am eating, but I do not know if  I am currently eating 3100 or 3200 calories per day etc.

I then took Tess for a walk around the bush track beside the beach and she was full of energy so just ran around like crazy. She is always well behaved however and never goes too far from where I am. All I need to do is whistle and call out to her and she comes bounding back to me.  When I got back home I had a whole hour to fill in before I neeeded to go to work so I vacuumed my house. I had quite a good day at work as I was working with lovely people. One of them is my cousin, who is quite a few years younger then me but we get along really well. 

After work finished at 4:30 I came  home and made myself a delicious tea of chicken, vegetable and rice casserole. I also cooked some lemon puddings which  I will be able to have for dessert a few nights this week with icecream. I took Tess for another quick walk before I ate tea and then went for a shower. I can't believe I have to go back to work tomorrow. I feel as though I need to have a break after working all week last week and then the weekend but unfortunately I need to have another full week at work this week too. 

I know that as long as I keep looking after myself I will get through it though and i'm sure I will really appreciate next weekend as well, when it finally comes. It is Amy's school holidays but I think she wants to come and stay with me. I know that I will be really tired and need to rest however I don't want to stop her from coming to my house if she wants to. Amy deserves to have somewhere to escape too, whenever she feels like she needs a break from what is going on at home.

I hope that my posts on body image have been helpful. I know that the research I have done as well as writing out my own thoughts on body image has helped me a lot also, as it has reminded me of the importance of developing a good body image as well as how to do it. My absolute dream is to be able to love my body and feel confident in who I am, no matter what size I am and I am determined to keep working on this until it happens. 

Please if you have any tips or advice about how to develop a better body image, please share them in the comments section of this post, or on one of my other posts. Tonight I am going to watch masterchef before going to bed and hopefully getting a good nights sleep. I hope everyone has/had a wonderful day today. Keep fighting :) x   


20 helpful ways to learn to love your body

20 Ways to Love Your Body

Compiled By: Margo Maine, PhD
  1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams.  Honor it.  Respect it.  Fuel it.
  2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do.  Read it and add to it often.
  3. Become aware of what your body can do each day.  Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
  4. Create a list of people you admire:  people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world.  Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments. 
  5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
  6. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
  7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your body.
  8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
  9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance.  Try one!
  10. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy. 
  11. Consider this:  your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.  Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.
  12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
  13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
  14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don’t exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.  Exercise for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness, and Friendship.
  15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body.  Loving your body means you get to feel like that again, even in this body, at this age.
  16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself—without mentioning your appearance.  Add to it daily!
  17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”
  18. Search for the beauty in the world and in yourself.
  19. Consider that, “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.”
  20. Eat when you are hungry.  Rest when you are tired.  Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

How bad body image contributed to my eating disorder

My body image issues started long before I ever developed anorexia. When I was really young, I was really quite thin and I was therefore confident in my body. As I got older, the first thing I started to hate about myself was my bum. I hated it and thought that it was way to big and I soon started to feel this way about my legs too.

There was nothing unhealthy about my body at that stage and I was still thinner than most other girls my age. However I think that the reason I didn't like it, was because I would compare myself to my brothers who were both skinny. I wanted to have no bum and skinny thighs like they had but now I can obviously see that boys and girls are built differently and are not suppoed to look the same.

As I got even older and went through puberty I developed a real hour glass figure. I had a very thin waist, which probably indicates that I was in fact healthy however my breasts got bigger, as did my bum and legs. My legs were never really fat, however they were very musclar which I still hated. At first I did not let my insecurities bother me and I just continued to live normally.

Eventually however I felt so awful about the way I looked that I coldn't ignore the way I felt about my body anymore. When I was in year 12 at boarding school, my bathroom had a full length mirror in it so I would see my whole body before I got into the shower each day and I hated every part of it. I started to get acne which just made me even more depressed and self conscious and the only way I thought I could make myself happy was by losing weight.

I think lots of things contributed to my bad body image. I think it was partly due to the fact that Iam a perfectionist and therefore was not happy with my body as I didn't believe it was perfect, as well as the fact that Iwas at a very athletic school where everyone seemed to be a lot skinnier than me. The fact that the boys in my family constantly teased me about my weight also made me more self conscious and of course the media affected me also.

Knowing what I now know, I so desperately wish I could turn back time as I know that losing weight was not going to solve any of my problems. I was a perfectly healthy weight and had no need to lose any weight. The problem was not with my body, but the way that I felt about it. Instead of deciding to lose the weight I didn't like, I wish I had decided to instead put more energy into learning to accept and love my body, the way it was supposed to be.

More on body image...

Weight & Body Image Disorders: Causes, Symptoms & Signs

What is Negative or Distorted Body Image?

Body image refers to how people see themselves. Distorted body image (also called negative body image) refers to an unrealistic view of how someone sees their body.  Like eating disorders, it is seen most commonly in women, but many men also suffer from the disorder. You begin forming your perceptions of your body’s attractiveness, health, acceptability and functionality in early childhood.  This body image continues to form as you age and receive feedback from peers, family member, coaches, etc.  Personality traits such as perfectionism and self criticism can also influence the development of a negative internalized image of your body.
Love Yourself – A video for those who struggle with poor body image. As posted by: LoveLyLieKie

Signs & Symptoms of Negative Body Image

Symptoms of unhealthy or negative body image may include:
  • obsessive self scrutiny in mirrors
  • thinking disparaging comments about your body and frequent comparison of your own shape and size to other people
  • envy or a friend’s body, or just as commonly: the body of a celebrity or someone else in the media.

Causes of Negative Body Image

Sometimes body image is negatively impacted by one or more significant events.  For example, a gymnast who is continually chided by her coach and fellow athletes to lose a little weight, may develop a deeply ingrained and long standing dissatisfaction with her body, no matter how thin she becomes.
If  you are concerned about your body image, here are some questions to ask yourself:
  • Is my perception of beauty distorted from years of media exposure that glorifies a very thin ideal that is unrealistic for most people to obtain in a health manner?
  • Do I find myself regularly criticizing my own appearance?
Happy Young Woman in the Sunlight

Relationship Between Weight & Body Image

A normally healthy weight range for an individual can be perceived as overweight by someone with a distorted body image.  An anorexic young woman may look at herself in a mirror and see a reflection that is greater than her actual size.  Conversely, it is not uncommon for obese individuals to report that they did not realize they were as large as they are and had perceived their body as much smaller until an occasion arises where they see a photograph, video or window reflection that strikes a nerve and causes them to come to terms with their actual image.

Relationship Between An Eating Disorder & Body Image

Body image concerns and eating disorders go hand in hand.  Often, it is the early dissatisfaction with a young person’s appearance that leads them to conclude that losing weight would enhance their appearance, and make them feel better about themselves and their bodies.  Thus, restrictive eating and over exercising are often next, frequently leading to patterns of disordered eating and weight obsession that can develop into anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, compulsive overeating or binge eating disorder.
Smiling Young Girl Against Blue Wall

Treatment For Negative Body Image

Getting treatment for distorted body image is a critical step to recovery. The problem won’t just go away by itself.   Recognizing and acknowledging your feelings and accompanying body sensations will help you become more comfortable in your body and lessens the tendency to suppress feelings and revert to unhealthy, negative inner diatribes to escape uncomfortable feelings.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an approach where irrational thoughts are recognized, analyzed and restructured to more rational self talk, is frequently used. Additionally, dance and movement therapy are often employed to develop a greater trust and appreciation of  one’s body based upon creating internal experiences, rather than simply evaluated one’s body aesthetically.
Many centers for eating disorder treatment specialize in body image awareness.
Slice from Karen Kennedy on Vimeo.
Karen Kennedy is a filmmaker and television producer in Los Angeles, California. For contact information, please email us.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Just another Saturday

It has been a lot warmer over the last few days which has been really nice although I havent really had any chance to enjoy it as I have been working so much :(. It's ok though as I dont mind working that much, its just that I get really tired very easily. I just neeed to remember to always eat the right amount and to get as much hsleep as possible so that I have enough energy to keep going.

I am still feeling nauseous all day everyday which is quie strange as I have no other symptoms of a stomach virus. Since thinking about what may have aused mmy nausea, I have decided it is most likely due to the fact that I have stopped taking my contraceptive pill. Afterall, I have been on it for 3 years so my body is probbly juts trying to adjust now that I am no longer taking it. I hope that this sick feeling soon passes however as it really isn't very nice.

I am now starting to question whether or not I made the right decision to take myself off of my pill. The only reason I was on n in the first place is because my doctor thought it may have made my periods less painful and it would also make my skin clearer but I honestly dont think that going on the pill helped either of these things. Now atleeast I will be able to tell whether or not my body is healthy enough for me to have my perios naturally or not.

Luckily, although I am feeling sick all the time I am still managing to get through all of my meals. I always feel especially sick after my meals but I know that I need to eat my full intake amount each day, regardless of this. When I got home from work today I made myself a yummy tea of fish fingers with tomato sauce and  mashed pottato, peas, carrots, pumpkin and broccolli.

After tea Itook Tess for a walk out in the dark and as Iwalked I talked to my little sister on the phone. I try to ring Amy most days as I like to hear that she is ok, as otherwise I find myself really worrying about her. She seemed happy enough which is good although I don't think things are very good at home at the moment :( At least she knows that I am here for her if she ever needs me.

I have been up since about 4 am this morning so am feeling exhausted after a long day at work. Since I have already had dessert, I think I will just go to bed now and try and get some sleep. Goodnight Everyone. I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend <3 xx

The importance of good Body image

I honestlly think that developing  a positive self body image is essential in order to make a full recovery from anorexia. I believe that we must not only become weight restored in order to recover, but that we must also learn to love our bodies at that new weight, in order to live the happy andd healthy lives that we all deserve to live.

Firstly, I think that it is necessay for us all to truly believe that we do not need to be skinny to be beautiful. In fact, being thin does not make us look attractive at all if we are not naturally suppposed to be that way. The way our anorexia will make us look is not beautiful at all and it also doesnt make us happy, so why should we put ourselves through so much pain to achieve this thinness?

I think that if you asked anyone (who wasn't anorexic) who was more attractive in this picture, they would say the girl on the right. I think that the girl on the right so much more gorgeous and f I had to choose a girl I had to look like, I would choose the girl on the right for sure!  

I have always had an unrealistic expectation of myself to be really thin, which I suppose is due to me being such a perfectionist. I think that society made me believe that fat was bad and therefore I didn't want to have any on my body at all. So even if I only had a tiny bit in a cerain place, I wasn't happy. Even when I was literally skin and bone I would still find parts of my body that I thought were too big. 

Everytime I start feeling 'fat' or self conscious, I always remind myself that this is only my anorexia lying to me. There is nothing wrong with the way I now look, besides the fact that I still need to gain more weight. I certainly am not fat in any way. We need to remember that there is nothing wrong with having some fat on our bodies, in fact it is essential. 

While I do not struggle with terriblly bad body image at the moment, I know hat I will struggle with it more an dmore the closer I get to my natural set point weight. I am determined however to not let this stop me from becoming the size I am supposed to be, so that my body and mind can work efficiently and healthily. Once I reach this weight I may hate it for a while but I WILL NOT try to fix this by losing weight again. Instead I will try and change the way I feel about my body.

To me, recovering does not only mean reaching my healthy natural weight. It also means being able to look in the mirror at that weight and to be happy with what I see. When I am recovered I will be able truly appreciate all of the wonderful things my body can do for me. feeling self conscious about your body sometims is normal for everyone, but the key is to learn not to act upon these feelings by changing the way we look. 

So if you are struggling with your body image, I suggest making your ultimate recovery goal to not only reach a healtthy weight FOR YOU. But also to learn to love yourself at this weight. As only then will you be able to be truly happy and healthy!  

Positive body image

Quite a few of the people who read my blog are currently struggling with their body image so I am going to try and write some posts on how to develop a better body image and why it is so important. So if you are also currently struggling with this, keep an eye out on my blog over the next few days as I will try and write some helpful posts for you.

Here are some important reminders that we all need to remember in regards to body image;

My anorexia still controls me sometimes

A few nights ago, something happened that made me realise that while I my have learnt to control my anorexic thoughts a lot more now, they are still strong enough to control me sometimes too. I was working quite late at the supermarket and my nan came in and told me that it didn't matter if I didn't have a chance to walk Tess my dog, as she had walked her for me. The first emotion I felt was anger. I obviously didn't want to be rude to me nan so I just said in a half jokingly way "Naaaaan, you shouldn't have done that".

Once my nan left I still felt annoyed about the fact that she had walked Tess for me and considered walking her again anyway. I first put this down to the fact that I am very independant and dont really like other people doing things for me but I knew deep down that there was more to it than that. When I really thought about it, I realised that it was my anorexia that was so incredibely angry that my nan had walked Tess for me, as it meant that I no longer had to do it, meaning I would not get as much exercise for the day.

As soon as I realised that these were anorexic thoughts I was having, I knew that I couldn't listen to them and that I therefore couldn't walk Tess again that night. I then started feeling guilty about how I had spoken to my nan. I wasn't incredibely nasty or anything but I think she would have realised that I wasnt happy that she had walked Tess. When I got home I rang my nan and thanked her for walking Tess for me. I told her that I was very grateful not to have to go back out in the cold again that night and she seemed happy that I had called.

If someone would have asked me before this happened if my anorexia ever still controls the way I act, I probably would have said that it didn't. I would have said that while I still have anorexic thoughts, I do not act upon them. This particular experience showed me that my anorexia still does have the ability to affect my actions however. This tells me that while I am recovering, I still have a lot more progress to make and I still need to be very careful that I do not accidently act at upon my anorexic thoughts. Afterall, acting on these thoughts will only give my anorexia strength and set me back in my recovery.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Feeling tired and unwell

My stomach has been in a knot all day and I cant work out whether it is because I am feeling so anxious about what has been going on with my mum, or if I actually have some type of virus that is making me sick. I desparately hope that it is only anxiety but I have a really bad feeling that it could be a stomach bug as there are quite a few going aroound at the moment. Getting a stomach bug is one of my greatest fears and for a number of reasons.

Firstly, ever since I made my self sick back whilst my anorexia was developing back in 2012 I have hated the though of vomiting. I realise that nobody likes vomiting but since putting myself through so much pain whilst purging, I am now terrified of vomiting. Also I am really scared of not being able to eat my normal amounts of food and also the possibility of me losing weight.

When I got these types of viruses as a child I would always get really sick, being unable to hold any food or water down for days and days. I would always lose 3 or 4 kilograms everytime I got sick annd I worry that if I got sick again now, the same thing would happen which would mean a lot of the good I have done in the recent past would be all be undone.

I just desperately hope that Iam overreacting and that my sick feeling soon passes. Unfortunately I have to work all weekend at the supermarket, so I wont even get a chance to rest a lot. I shouldn't complain though as Ireally do need the money. My plan is to get a good nights sleep tonight an dto hopefully wake up tomorrow feeling as right as rain.

I hope that everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Unsupportive family

While I was living at home, not everyone was always supportive of me which made my illness 1000x worse. I know that these people were only trying to help me because they couldn't bare to see what I was doing to myself (or what anorexia was doing to me) but it still caused me a lot of pain. Recovery was almost impossible for me whilst I was living at home as some members of my family made me feel so terrible about myself. I tried to talk to them about how they were making me feel but there eally was no use, they refused to talk about it. Since I have moved out of that unsupportive environment I have been able to make a lot of progress in my recovery.

If you have people around you that are not being supportive, my first suggestion is to try and talk them. If they are reasonable people they shouldnt mind you approaching them and they should appreciate your honesty. Tell them that you want to recover but what is going on at home is making it harder for you to do this. I have found some great advice on how to help loved ones in recovery. If you think it may help, print it out and give it to your family/friends to read. Afterall, your loved ones most likely want to help you, they just might not know how exactly to do this.

If your loved ones still do not listen to you or accept the advice, dont take it personally. This just means that they most likely cant control their emotions they are feeling about you and your eating disorder. If this is the case, all I can suggest is that you ignore what they say and do the best you possibely can. Dont try and talk to them about your illness if you think it may just end in an arguement or something hurtful being said. Instead find someone else to talk to who has a better understanding. Finally, if you really do find it too difficult living or associating with unsupportive people you may find that you need to move out of home or stop spending time with them. I know that this sounds drastic but if it means you are able to recover, it is well worth it!

Five Ways to Support a Loved One in 

Eating Disorder Recovery

November 1, 2012 By Sharon

But where do I start? How do you begin to establish a safe space for your loved one? This guide (which, in its original, longer form can be found here) is meant to be an initial resource. Although I hope that those of you with eating disorders find comfort in this article (and openly pass it on to your support systems), this is not an article for people in recovery. Rather, it’s been written specifically for those of you who need a place to start, who are saying, “I know that my friend or family member has a history with an eating disorder. Now what?”

1. Educate yourself. Before proceeding in supporting a loved one in need, it’s important that you check your biases and misconceptions at the door. Do your research by reading a book, watching a documentary, or looking into the published personal stories of people who have struggled with eating disorders. Brave Girl Eating (2010) by Harriet Brown and Wintergirls (2010) by Laurie Halse Anderson are my personal favorite ED-related books, and the documentary THIN (2006) serves as a fair exploration into residential rehabilitation facilities. If you want, you can also look into pro-ana and pro-mia websites, but do so with proper intent and at your own discretion. Remember that your loved one does not have to be your first point-of-contact for information on what it’s like to experience an eating disorder or eating disorder recovery; there are thousands of resources available to you that can be found with a quick Google search. A little bit of effort in the way of education can go a long way in preparing you to take the right steps.

2. Be a good communicator. Be a presence in your loved one’s life, but not a pressure. Listen if s/he wants to talk, but don’t force it. Try not to be critical or judgmental of what your loved one tells you, even if it’s hard for you to hide your initial reactions. Count to five (or ten – or twenty!) before you say something. Avoid giving advice. Remember that your loved one needs her/his autonomy back. Instead, validate their feelings and normalize their experiences. Use I-statements, and encourage your loved one to do the same. Offer gentle suggestions if it feels right, but avoid telling your friend what s/he “should” do. If you’re confused about something or want more information, ask questions. But always be prepared that your loved one might not want to talk about certain subjects. Try to approach questions in a disarming manner: “Is it okay if I ask you some questions? You don’t have to answer them if you don’t want to.” Be compassionate, and stay collected.

3. Avoid body talk. Don’t draw attention to her/his body or try to validate her/his experience by talking about your own weight or body image. Body-specific compliments (i.e.: “I wish I had a body like yours,” “I already think you’re beautiful,” etc.) may seem like a viable solution, but they can actually be damaging to a person in recovery. Well-meaning compliments can be distorted, so it’s best to avoid them. Remember that what might seem like throw-away comments to you about your own body (i.e: “These jeans feel loose,” “I feel so fat today,” etc.) can trigger someone with an eating disorder. Instead, focus your attention on the person’s non-body-related accomplishments and personality traits. Turn the attention away from the physical. This is difficult to do in a culture where we talk often and openly about our bodies (especially our dissatisfaction with them), so it might take some practice.

4. Be sensitive regarding food and numbers. Food and numbers are causes of great stress for people with and recovering from eating disorders. Remember this when planning gifts and activities (pro tip: going out to eat or shopping aren’t the best ideas). If you’re eating in the presence of someone with an ED, avoid mentioning food intake (i.e.: “You could afford to eat more,” “You can order more than just a salad,” etc.). Because numbers often define (and therefore haunt) people with eating disorders, people in recovery need to retrain their minds to stop constantly making calculations. Therefore, avoid any food- or weight-related numbers (i.e.: “I lost five pounds,” “This meal has 600 calories in it,” etc.). Be cognizant of your words. When in doubt, ask what her/his triggers are.

5. Recognize accomplishments, but do so tastefully. When a person is in recovery from an eating disorder, s/he will (hopefully!) start to shed the aversion to food and start to gain weight. When your loved one conquers a fear food or reaches a healthy weight, this is certainly cause for celebration, but be careful how you approach it. Remember suggestion #3: Avoid body talk. Telling someone in recovery that “you look healthy” can very well translate in her/his mind to “you look fat.” Instead, focus on the accomplishment itself, rather than its physical manifestation. A simple “I’m proud of you” or “keep up the good work” will do.

And a BONUS: Remember your own self-care. It is not your responsibility to cure someone, nor is it possible. Being there to support someone who is in recovery is a beautiful gesture, and you’re doing something wonderful for that person. But don’t forget yourself. It’s okay if it becomes overwhelming. It’s okay if you need to step back. It’s okay to be confused, and it’s okay to have questions. Take care of yourself. The important thing is that you’re trying to help.

Eating disorders are difficult – not just for the sufferer, but admittedly for the people who care about that person, too. They’re complicated, and all people are different. Although this guide is meant to give you some insight into common things that eating disordered individuals want their loved ones to know, the best way to support someone with an eating disorder is to ask what s/he needs – and to be realistic about your reaction, response, and ability.

For more information on eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website, or call them toll-free at 1.800.931.2237.

Related Content:

What Not to Say to Someone with an Eating Disorder

Eating Disorder Myths: The Naked Truth

Celebrating Eating Disorder Recovery: Inaugural NEDA Walk in Texas

Expressing Disorder: Art Therapies for Eating Disorder Treatment

- See more at: http://www.adiosbarbie.com/2012/11/five-ways-to-support-a-loved-one-in-eating-disorder-recovery/#sthash.cM9bR4FL.dpuf