Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A typical days intake

I thought I would share with you all a typical days intake for me now that I am weight restored. So this is what I ate yesterday as well as what I ate today. I try my hardest to get a good balanced intake with lots of healthy nutritious foods as well as enjoying some yummy treats too.

Please rememeber that if you are still trying to gain weight, you should be eating more then this amount. In fact, you may need to eat more then this just to maintain your weight. Everyone is different and just because this amount of food fuels my body efficiently does not mean it will necessarily fuel yours.

Yesterday's food diary
Breakfast: 2 sachets of uncle toby's flavoured oats prepared with 50% milk and 50% water

Morning tea: 1 packet of mini oreo cookies and a kiwi fruit

Lunch: 3 round crumpets with cream cheese, a kiwi fruit and jelly with custard

Afternoon tea: an apple, 2 sweet 'tic toc' biscuits and 1 chocolate biscuit

Tea: Crumbed chicken pieces and mashed potato with gravy and lots of extra mixed vegetables (carrot, caulliflower and broccoli)

Dessert: an Apple and a tub of warm vanilla rice pudding

Today's food diary
Breakfast: 4 wheetbix biscuits topped with 1/2 Cup of vanilla custard

Morning tea: 1 apple and 3 sweet 'tic toc' biscuits

Lunch: 2 pieces of wholemeal pita bread topped with cream cheese and diced ham, 1 strawberry Fruche yoghurt and 1 kiwi fruit

Afternoon tea: 3 cruskit biscuits with vegemite and cheese and a small kinder chocolate bar

Tea: 250g of Special fried rice with heaps of vegetables (carrots, caulliflower and broccoli) and soy sauce

Dessert: 1 banana and a tub of chocolate flavoured custard

My top 5 recovery tips

An important thing to remember about recovery is that it really is different for everyone. What works really well for some people in recovery, doesn't work at all for others and there is no right or wrong way to recover.

Despite this, I thought it may be helpful if I share the 5 main things I did in my recovery, which allowed ME to recover.

You may or may not find these things helpful yourself but if you havent already tried these things, maybe you should give them a go. I hope they help you as much as they helped me! 

1. Follow a Meal Plan
I simply couldnt have recovered without a meal plan. In my opinion you cant just eat intuitively in recovery and if you try, chances are your anorexia will make many of your food choices for you. A meal plan is an easy way to keep track of the energy your putting into your body and can therefore be incredibely helpful to help you to restore your weight. 

While it wasnt always easy, I followed my meal plan perfectly all the time. I found this very helpful as it meant that my anorexia wouldnt even try and convince me to eat any less (no matter how anxious the food made me). It was almost like my anorexia knew I had no choice but to follow my meal plan and so it stopped even trying to tempt me not to do so. 

Whilst designing my meal plan, I considered how mang calories I needed and therefore chose various foods that would allow me to reach my 'calorie goals' for each day. It is importang to note that following meal plans doesn't necessarily mean eating the same things everyday. My meal plans always had a lot of variety and I would change what I ate from day to day while making sure I was eating the right amount of calories. 

2. Restrict exercise
Even though you may really enjoy exercise and want to be fit, exercising while you are in recovery may not be the best thing for your health. Not only does it make gaining weight even more difficult, but your ED may just use it as an opportunity to compensate for any extra amounts of food you are eating.  

Cutting out exercise was incredibely difficult for me whilst I was trying to restore my weight but I can see now that it was the best thing for me to do. Not only did it enable me to gain weight more quickly but it also helped me to learn to control my anorexic thoughts in relation to exercise. 

Just remember that you wont need to restrict your exercise forever and doing so will most likely speed up your recovery for you. So by cutting out exercise, you will most likely be able to exercise again sooner, once you are recovered!

3. Monitor your weight
Some people dont like to see what they weigh and I can completely relate to that. I believe in order to recover however you really do need to keep track of your weight somehow. This may involve a blind weigh in or weighing yourself, whichever you are more comfortable with. 

From memory, I weighed myself 2-3 times a week so that I could make sure I was gaining the weight I needed to. I found this incredibely helpful as it stopped my mind from playing tricks on me. For example it stopped me worrying that I had gained enormous amounts of weight when I hadnt at all. 

Also, without weighing myself I would not have known when I needed to increase my intake. Whenever my weight stayed the same for a few consecutive weigh ins, I knew straight away that I needed to add something else to my meal plan. This ensured that I kept gaining the weight I needed to.

4. Talk to others in recovery
It doesnt matter if you are suffering or recovering from an eating disorder, either way it is can be  an incredibely lonely experience. I found that no matter how much the people in my life tried to understand what I was going through, they simply couldn't. 

I highly reccommend you reach out and talk to other people who are going through the same thing as you. Talking to other people who I could relate to and who understood what I was going through was extremely helpful and comforting for me. I felt as though I could tell these other sufferers things I wouldnt have told anyone else, which meant I could get things off my chest without the fear of being judged.

While it wasnt the case for me, some people may find that talking to other anorexics can trigger their eating disorder. If this is the case for you, then I definetely DONT reccommen talking to other sufferers. In this case I would suggest talking to a professional or someone else who you trust, so that you can get everything you need to off of your chest.

5. Believe you can do it
If you dont believe in your self, your anorexic voice will over power your own thoughts and you will give into your anorexias demands. I honestly think that in order to recover, you need to believe you can do it and you also need to believe it is possible.

For example when you feel overwhelmed about eating a certain food and your anorexia is trying its hardest to convince you not to eat it, if you dont believe in your self chances are you will give into your anorexias demands. But if you believe you are strong enough you will see that you can do it and therefore you will be able to eat the food that is scaring you so much.

Recovery isnt something that happens overnight, it is something that requires you to fight incredibely hard for a very long time. If you dont believe in yourself, I dont think you will be able to fight your anorexic thoughts whenever they may arise. So please, try your best to believe in yourself. Everyone is capable of recovering, no matter how sick you are. You may feel like its impossible but its not. I promise you can do it!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Feeling unwell

Even though I woke up feeling fine this morning, throughout the day my energy levels are rapidly depleting and I just dont feel very well at all. I am feeling tired and drained, even though I havent been very busy and I feel nauseous too.

I have been getting hot and cold flushes also, which suggests I probably have a touch of a stomach bug or some other virus. Fingers crossed it will pass quickly and I will be back to my usual energetic and bubbly self before I know it.

I feel terrible as I know that I am not very good company for my poor boyfriend but for the the time being I just need to look after myself. Which means having a rest day and letting my body recover from whatever I have. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

My relationship with food post anorexia

Although I no longer consider myself to suffer from full blown anorexia, I know I still do not have a completely normal relationship with food either. I dont really worry about the fact that my relationship with food is a little different to others around me as it is not particularly harmful. I find it quite interesting as I have noticed other people who have also recovered eat quite similarly to me.

Firstly, I prefer to eat larger quantities of low calorie density foods. So the size of my meals is the same as others calories wise most of the time, however my meals just contain a lot more food. This probably started for me when I had anorexia and tried to eat as much as possible while consuming the fewest amount of calories possible. So while I dont try and limit my calories anymore, I still enjoy the same types of foods so need to eat a lot of them to ensure I am getting enough energy.

Because I really enjoy lots of vegetables and salads, I add heaps of these to my meals which makes them very large in volume. 
It sounds silly but I think I also like to eat large quantities of food because I just really enjoy eating and love food. I eat 6 meals a day and hate skipping meals. It is actually a fear of mine to skip meals and being hungry makes me really anxious and upset. I would much prefer to eat 6 small meals than 5 larger ones each day, even if it means I have to get up early so that I can do so.

Even though my meals are large, I eat them really fast which people often notice and are astonished by. I dont know why I eat so fast, but I have always the first to finish a meal ever since I started my recovery. I remember when I was really sick I used to eat my meals incredibely slowly, at an attemp to savour of morsal of food. But I suppose I just dont feel the need to do this anymore as I give my body all of the food it needs and am less obsessed with food.

Unlike most people, I still keep a basic count of the number of calories I eat each day to ensure I am getting enough energy. Some people may say that this is an unhealthy behaviour for me to have and I can see where they are coming from. However I have found this to be necessary in order for me to maintain my weight. If i dont do this and just try to listen to my hunger cues, I often find my self accidently eating too little.

I always eat absolutely everything on my plate. I know that this is probably a really weird trait for a post anorexic to have but I always finish all of my meals. I think I started doing this so strictly in recovery so that my anorexia could not try and tempt me to leave food. (Because I always ate everything on my plate no matter how full I felt, my anorexic voice didnt even try to get me to leave any behind.) So I guess I have kind of been conditioned to not associate feeling full with stopping eating.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Why I recommend Blogging

To say that blogging has changed my life may seem like an exaggeration, however I believe this to be 100% true. I honestly dont think I would have been strong enough to recover, if it wasn't for Blogging. Firstly, it was only through reading other peoples recovery blogs that I realised recovery from Anorexia was actually possible.

Before this time I really did believe I would be sick for the rest of my life and that recovery was impossible. It seemed as though no one could help me and changing my ways seemed far to painful. So I suppose throigh reading other people's blogs, I found hope that I would someday recover, which is perhaps the first stage of recovery.

As I could see others making progress and getting better first hand, I started thinking, 'well if they can do it, I can too.' And since I was totally fed up with living the way I was (although I really wouldn't call it living, more like barely existing), I finally made the brave decidion to try and change.

As I started to make changes, I was overwhelmed by just how painful it was and felt completely alone. No one else could even begin to understand what I was going through so I took great comfort in reading other peoples blogs. I could relate to what these like minded people were saying and this stopped me feeling quite as alone and like such an outsider.

While I feel as though reading other peoples recovery blogs really did get me in the right frame of mind to want recovery and change, actually making these changes was a different story. I made a little progress, very slowly, but did not make any great progress until I started writing my own blog.

Once I started my own blog, I felt as though I didn't only need to recover for myself, but also for those people who were fighting anorexia themselves and reading my blog. I knew I could not fool my readers into believing I was in recovery, like I had been doing to myself for years, unless I truly was. I knew that whilst blogging I needed to take action and start actively recovering. So that is exactly what I did.

I still had moments of desparation when I felt as though everything was just far too hard, but then I remembered all of the people who believed in me and this gave me the extra motivation and strength I needed to fight my anorexia fully. I knew that if I just gave into my anorexia that I would not be showing my readers that recovery is possible and that is the message I wanted to portray the most.

Of course, I also dont know that I would have been able to recover if it wasnt for the encouragement and support that I recieved from my readers. Just seeing my blog views meant a lot to me but actually talking to others just like me helped me so much. I developed many special friendships and really cant thank those people who helped me through my recovery enough.

So If your trying to recover, I highly recommend reading other peoples recovery blogs as it can be extremely helpful. Also, reaching out to other people who understand what you are going through can be incredibely helpful too. Even though starting your own blog is a big step, I have never regretted starting my own blog and like me, this could be the key to your recovery. So if you think it could help you, please give it a go!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Eating extra sometimes

One of the hardest things to learn for me in anorexia recovery is that there really is nothing at all wrong with eating more than usual sometimes. Eating extra food does not necessarily lead to weight gain and it does not make you greedy either.

We need to remember that our bodies are amazing enough to use up the energy we give it, even if sometimes this is a little more than other times. It is only when we consistantly give our body a lot more energy then it needs, that weight gain occurs.

I only started to actually believe this when I experienced it myself first hand. Somedays, usually on the weekend with my boyfriend, I eat a considerable amount more than I usually do and on these same days, I usually exercise less too. I dont gain weight however, as I first feared I would.

Obviously my body just puts the extra energy to good use or perhaps it does get stored and is then used later. Either way I dont experience any noticeable weight gain and chances are, you wont either. So dont worry about eating a few extra calories here or there or exercising less somedays either.

So if you go out with friends and enjoy something delicious with them or just feel like a treat, dont be frightened to just do it. Food really isnt something to be frightened of and it isnt something that will hurt you. Food is simply what fuels our bodies and provides us with the energy we need to live happy and healthy lives.

If you still dont believe me and are frightened you will gain heaps of weight if you eat slightly more then you usually do, then please just give it a try anyway. It may seem scary but it is the only way you will see that eating extra sometimes cant hurt you.

In fact, I believe that understanding this fact really is an essential part of the recovery process and you wont be able to make a full recovery until you realise this. So no natter how anxious you feel about eating extra, I highly suggest you try to do it sometimes anyway as this is the only way you will be able to overcome this irrational fear.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Personal update

My boyfriend and I both went back to my home town this past weekend for the first time since I moved to Launceston, about a month ago. It was so wonderful to see all my family again as well as catch up with some of my old friends. While I enjoyed heading back to Swansea for the weekend, leaving again on Sunday night and coming back to Launceston made me realise that I have bo regrets at all about my decision to leave my life in Swansea behind.

Even though it is a bit hard for me as I am still searching for work and am also yet to start university, I am still the happiest I have been in years. This is purely because I now get to see my wonderful boyfriend every single day instead of just on the weekends. I get a bit lonely and bored during the day when my boyfriend is at work but I just keep busy as best as I can and make the most of the time we do spend together.

I start university in 2 months so am very excited about that and this helps me to get through the boredom of my days now, as I know that it wont last forever and I will be busy again before long. I am hoping to find a part time or casual job that I can continue doing once I am at university. I have applied for various customer service jobs but am still awaiting responses for those.

As far as my anorexic thoughts and weight is concerned, I am feeling really good. After making a conscious effort to fight my anorexic thoughts and eat more for only a week or so, I have already noticed a huge improvement which is great. Although I am yet to check my weight, my anorexic thoughts have stopped coming as regularly and I am worrying much less.

I am confident that I would no longer be losing weight and also that I have managed to tackle the potential relapse I may have almost experienced, before it actually occurred. I am determined to continue eating more and fighting my thoughts, to prevent what has previously happened, from happening again. I am just glad that I was able to recognise the fact that I was possibly falling back into some of my old ways and do something about it, before doing any serious damage to myself.