Because Baader-Meinhof said so

We’ve all at one point found ourselves on the receiving end of a ‘yellow car slap’ (though I’m sure I know of a certain 26 year-old that still does this). If you aren’t familiar with such a phrase, then it shouldn’t take you too long to figure out what happens during this activity, as the name quite frankly speaks for itself. You see a yellow car and you slap the person next to you. Simple as that, yet seemingly annoying on a long motorway journey and a game certainly not to be played in New York.

What was once thought of a car colour that was in rare existence and was the standalone car we knew from the TV series Brum or Only Fools and Horses, it now seems to be the only car on the road. The emerging 4-D hand print from the endless slaps of the annoying travel partner speaks for itself, but why suddenly, at the commencing of the game, does everyone now seem to own a yellow car? No, the hallucinogens aren’t suddenly kicking in with a trail of drivers in yellow cars deciding to now follow you around. There have always been this many yellow cars on the road, just suddenly when your attention is drawn to it, do you realise actually how many there are. It’s actually a phenomenon referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, or frequency illusion, which I’ve found this to be of some relevance to a lot of the eating and body issues I face every day and have faced in the past.

Social media has largely played its part in this illusion whereby Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter seem to spam endless photos of the traits I was so desperately aspiring for. Skinny, perfectly physiqued people displaying what appeared to be total happiness and the utmost confidence in the body they were flaunting. Everywhere I turned, there were these characteristics that forced me to presume I should somewhat be that way too, triggering obsession and upset that I couldn’t achieve it too.

Yet only because I was so focused on paying attention to this and only this, had I missed everything else that was going on around me, which now makes a lot more sense seeing as there’s actually a name for it! I’d somewhere along the lines decided that being skinny was all I ever wanted to be, so everywhere I looked, there were these effortlessly, thin people

If you gave it a bit of thought, I’m sure there are numerous examples in everyone’s life that you can suddenly understand. Realising you’d never once before tried an avocado, but now find yourself figuring out the best way to mash it into your daily meals, because everywhere you turned, people wouldn’t relent to posting their foodie pictures of their avocado brunches until you decided you might as well bloody try one too!

My point of this post is to reiterate that it’s a legitimate theory that whatever your targets may be, your mind will make you believe that everyone around you is meeting these targets because you are focusing on it, most. Everyone isn’t eating healthy, everyone isn’t successful, everyone isn’t losing weight, everyone isn’t in the gym every single day, everyone isn’t on holiday in the sun. You’re just paying attention to it more!

(I apologise for the number of yellow cars you will now start seeing, today)

 

Anorex-SEEYA

If I could have a blown up version of the word anorexia, and catapult it through the air, it would be at least 100 yards further away than where it was a month ago. Though the bulk in my arms from numerous rounds of Orange Theory have probably helped power that throw, Im talking more along the lines of the greater distance that me and it have got going on at the moment. Id like to think its long enough to be winning the Anorexic Throw at the ED Olympics anyway.

 I for one dont believe its possible to categorise when you suddenly haveanorexia or when you suddenly lose anorexia. Its not something you achieve, more something that you seem to nurture or dismiss. Everyone has the capability to suffer from it, no? Just those that end up struggling, are the ones that have nurtured it, instead of ignored it. There may be more reasoning as to why such people like myself chose to nurture it as opposed to someone else, but I dont think Id ever be able to establish my reasons for doing so.

So for 22 years, perhaps I have always had anorexia, I just only decided to nurture it in the last 2 years and am now just doing a lot better at trying to dismiss it again. Only because someone was at their lowest weight at a specific time, doesnt mean that they were only suffering then. Yes, they may have been suffering the most at that time, but anorexia is a MIND set anyway, not a WEIGHT.

I have no idea to what my weight is now. Id rather not know. Though every effort is going towards trying to prove to everyone at my current work experience that the light really could shine out of my bum, and I could potentially be a really great addition to the team, I really felt no guilt in turning down the body mass scales they asked me to review for their readers. I cant afford to ruin my stream of positive weeks with said numbers on the scales. Plus these days, I seem to be this ever-growing mucho muscle man that can somehow manage to muster 5 press-ups now, so Im sure a lot of my total mass gain could be attributed to this.

I almost don’t want to say ‘See ya’ because what on earth am I supposed to blog about now?!

(I definitely love writing now too much to stop, so you’ll still be receiving the spam for now)

Mind the gap

Perhaps due to the fact that I’ve so far this week, spent more time on the London underground than anything else, alongside other countless commuters in our attempt to hold the optimum pathway for the flow of wind that turbines its way through the carriage window, that I’ve drawn attention to such a theme as gaps. Though the TFL workers make every attempt to make the daily herding of cattle through the platform as smooth and ‘clear of the closing doors’ as possible, the continual use of the phrase ‘mind the gap between the train and platform’ must surely just come out of their mouths involuntarily now. But at least their children will probably never fall down a hole in their life. I’ve clearly become so caught up in the whole ‘London Commuting Life’ – and I love it.

That besides, instead of trains and platforms, I’ve began noticing the safety in gap size between my thigh… and my other thigh, whereby there’s probably no need for a TFL worker to announce to ‘mind the gap’ any more.

Recently becoming a stupid and non-achievable beauty ideal, the thigh gap is supposedly associated with physical attractiveness, yet really, achieving a thigh gap for most people is next to impossible as it is physically unnatural, and generally is a body shape goal of extreme dieting, surgery, and, would you believe, eating disorders.

Exercising endlessly on all that power fuel of apples and bananas (ha!), my body soon started eating its way through the space between my legs causing the sought after thigh-gap. Obviously, my mind-set took me into jubilation because I was getting thinner and thinner, and I won’t deny the small satisfaction that came when sitting down with my phone in my hand that when dropped, fell through my lap and on to the floor. My phone clearly didn’t listen to the TFL’s instructions.

Knowing that such a feature of a women’s physique is scientifically attributed to being unnatural, makes the realisation a lot easier to accept as the gap continues to close on my own body. Plus, who’s to say that the extra mass around my thighs is not also ploughing its way to my buttocks. Katie-1, ED-0.

I said yes!

Whilst on the receiving end of a phone appointment booking to St Ann’s hospital yesterday, though unlikely down on one knee, the receptionist asked me the question.

“Would you like to be discharged?”

And I said yes.

No matter what the length of time, it takes someone incredibly strong to adhere to the horrific demands of anorexia. However, it takes someone even stronger to endure the battle that comes with trying to fight back. I feel like the hardest part to embarking on recovery road has been reached and left behind but I know there is still a long way to go… But I think there will be far more signposts now to help me along the way.

Hopefully my next appointment at Phoenix Wing, will be my last.

“Knock, Knock”

… Well it’s not confidence waiting there.

If you’re looking to divulge into the personal lives of those around you without risking playing the ‘stalker’ card, participating in “Never Have I Ever” is a good way to go about it. A few questions and half a bottle of vodka later, you’re telling them about the mum you mistook for a younger model and accidentally kissed at the bar last year – which could be embarrassing, or just gained you a huge amount of lad points amongst your new circle of university friends.

Only up until a year ago, “Never have I ever… worn foundation” left me in a relatively confident position to avoiding having to take a sip of my drink, while also being able to make the stereotypical assumption that I could smugly watch the remainder of the girls be forced to down one fingers worth of drink. I by no means boast flawless skin at all, but I’d simply never felt compelled to wear foundation for one reason or another. Could again be that desire to be different…

While scrambling through old belongings in search for a big enough make-up bag to house the array of cosmetics I’ve now managed to hoard, I questioned when this sudden change had occured. I’ve gone from the lone mascara and no foundation, alongside minimal knowledge of all things contour, to now wondering whether the Clinique Ivory 03 concealer-come-foundation I’m testing, matches my skin tone well enough, or just makes me look like a walking tangerine.

It is simply confidence.

Not only did/does my eating disorder leave me feeling hungry (though lesser now), but it has also stripped every bit of confidence I once used to carry. It took my assets, it took my spark and it has now indirectly taken my money, as I’m now ploughing ridiculous amounts into finding the best colour match, non-greasy, full coverage, long lasting foundation… Money might not buy you love and happiness, but it helps towards a bit of bloody confidence! I never knew such a lack of body confidence could have such an overwhelming and detrimental effect to so many other aspects of my life: Work, love, happiness.

I don’t know who or what is responsible for such a sudden loss of self-confidence and the unwillingness to accept that perhaps I am good enough or I am smart enough, or I am pretty enough. But I certainly hate them for it and you can be as sure as hell I’m going to get it back. Because it really isn’t worth holding back on things that could potentially be great because I deem myself unworthy of it and lacking the body stability to ooze enough confidence for it.

 

 

 

 

Feet over wheels

“If I could have an apple for every one of the new things I’d accomplished and the steps I’d overcome on holiday last week, I’d be 4 short of a bushel” – Katie/Ross Gellar – Friends

No sooner had I said that “I never ever want to ride a bike again”, did I find myself merrily cycling off to work only two days following the above statement. What’s worse, is I have a fully functioning car that was left itching for a ride after having remained dormant during that holiday week. But when you consider my cycle to ride to work is roughly 390km less than the almighty cycle we embarked upon for that holiday, it didn’t exactly require such an almighty effort (and at least burnt some more calories).

Yes, I did just say 390km of cycling. Yet I still haven’t decided what was harder. That: or the almighty struggle of dealing with a mum that gets overtaken by a toddler on stabilizers, or an older sister that has a meltdown in the centre of Amsterdam’s train station.

Though I’ve always questioned my own sanity, at least I feel comforted in knowing, it could well be just a Brown trait, as it was decided by my sister, my mum and me that we would spend our week’s holiday, cycling from Brussels to Amsterdam. It’s true that we imagined it would only be the 340km that the route said it would be, over the 5 days we were there; but adding together the detours, the wrong turns, and the extra journeys made backtracking the route to ensure my mum was still in a close enough proximity to us and still alive, meant our total mileage must have certainly gone above and beyond the specified distance. It can’t have been far short of 400km, I know that much.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say, that my main agreement for embarking on this holiday, was that fortunately I would still be in a position where I could maintain a relative amount of exercise and calorie expenditure. Making me feel a lot more at ease about being away from the comfort of my local London streets and my tri-weekly attendance at the Orange Theory studio. So at least if my eating habits were to be in disarray, I could at least settle the anxiety knowing I’d have burnt a good few calories, cycling for what felt like an eternity, each day.

There may have been some minor cheats along the way, where I’d simply not be able to handle the anxiety of being out of my comfort zone and felt like my eating disorder was getting the better of me. This being, having internal breakdowns when there weren’t enough apples to get me through the day (so I’d have to settle for a nectarine instead), bringing a tupperware lunch from home for the first day (to ease me in to it), and sneaking out for an early morning run on our 4th day (because let’s face it, I’ve not had more than one consecutive day of no running in the last 18 months).

  • I relinquished the control of preparing my own meals
  • I settled for what the supermarket provided and found alternatives, when there was not my usual choice of Alpro soya almond yoghurt.
  • I shared a sandwich with my mum
  • I ate soup in a restaurant, unknown to exactly what went in it, with actual white bread rolls on the side
  • I accepted that although I didn’t feel like I deserved the fuel, I knew I needed it in order to make the cycle mileage each day
  • I was completely out of routine and couldn’t retreat back to my own home comforts
  • There were 3, followed by 4, consecutive days that I didn’t go for a run
  • I snacked at times of the day I wouldn’t normally snack
  • I had a fizzy drink – I never tend to veer away from sparkling water or soda
  • I went to a sweet shop and LOVED it

What’s more than these achievements, though seemingly small to some people, is that I was actually able to spend a holiday with my mum and sister and feel comfortable enough about it. It was hard, and it was a huge step, but it was SO worth the effort – I just don’t think I’ll embark on another cycling holiday again any time soon! So I won’t be swapping the feet for wheels any time soon, I’ll stick to running for now.

 

 

4469.4 miles

Well as much as I love running and a good bit of calculation, no, this isn’t me carefully counting the distance in miles I’ve run so far this year, or month – albeit something I’d probably be likely to do. This is in fact the distance from my home city London to the centre of Dubai: the home city of my sister, Hannah.

About 6 months ago, conveniently coinciding with Hannah’s short visit back to England, was when the time had come for something to seriously change. I had reached my lowest weight, my lowest mental state and the lowest intake of food I allowed my body to have. I was a walking and talking human being on the surface, but the Katie I am, was hidden far beneath, locked up in some ever-shrinking box, that I kept forcing myself to fit in to, labelled anorexia.

Being a religious sun worshipper, a trip back to England in the midst of winter, with a miserable younger sibling that could hardly break a smile or laugh, probably wouldn’t make it on my sister’s list of ‘Top 10 holidays’ – or maybe even 20 for that matter. But regardless, from a completely selfish point of view, I think there’s indirectly a hell of a lot that I should thank her for this visit. I just didn’t know it then.

Now 6 months on, with already some significant changes in my weight, my mentality and my food intake in this time anyway, my sister repays another visit back to England. Even in just the few days she’s been home, in between all her country hopping, visiting her home friends around England, I’m struggling to even remember the Katie she had met the last time we saw each other. I’ve noticed such a surge in my positivity, my activity and just my general outlook on positively everything and I’m sure she is responsible.

Though my mum (my rock), and all those who have been around me, have been nothing short of an incredible and remarkably tolerable support system, there’s no hiding away from the impact that Hannah has had since being home.

I feel like right now, I am the sibling she knows; laughing, talking and acting stupidly in the way that sister’s should. I’m sure it’s not even purposefully done and she’s putting on no front to try to keep me upbeat (she has her own life to lead at the end of the day, and everything doesn’t revolve around me!). It just turns out that everything with her around is hilariously effortless, and, well, normal…

So maybe it just takes a 4469.4 mile plane visit to feel like you really could be recovering from an eating disorder – and a pretty amazing sibling.