Learning Curve

Technically speaking, I’d like to think it’s actually closer to 103 things, but for simplifying matters, let’s keep it that so far this week I have learnt three things: hard work has its way of paying off; I am certainly at my most creative whilst running and I have no real need for a sports bra – the latter two having ironically been realised instantaneously.

Not that they need too much more of an explanation but I’ll start with those last two things because let’s face it, we surely all want to hear about my imaginative brain busting ideas and my two not-so-rounded A-grade spectacles bouncing liberally underneath my running top.

Running has so far accounted to nearly all my ideas for Christmas presents this year where I’ve so far lacked so much imagination with gift incentives that I was debating whether just to run off to Hong Kong a few days early and forget about Christmas all together this year. Turns out, all I really needed to do was traipse out into the dreary dullness of December’s early mornings and late evenings, run 7 or 8 miles and voila, a book full of toilet trivia for my work Secret Santa becomes the next best thing since sliced bread for a present. And to think I didn’t think of that before…

Perhaps the reason for my sincere lack of creativity can be partly due to the extreme tiredness of me attempting to work 7-day weeks to both gain some Monday-Friday invaluable unpaid work experience while also earning essential dollar on the weekends to actually get me to Hong Kong in the first place. The extreme tiredness became more than apparent when I learnt number 3 in my list, and noticing 3 miles into a run that I’d completely forgotten to support my boobs with a sports bra – a mile number far too high to justify having anything protruding from my chest at all because it took me that long to realise. It’s a good job my way of celebrating a decent mile pace doesn’t involve lifting my shirt up over my face like the footballers do.

Those two things covered, I get to my main point to this blog about hard work paying off – both with my eating disorder and life in general. Forcing yourself to eat normally again may not seem like much hard work to some, but believe me, it’s no easy feat for someone who is still too afraid to take just one of the miniature heroes offered to you at work. Also forcing yourself to admit defeat that your energy levels are just far too low to attempt exercise for that day has also required an awful amount of hard work too, something of which people dream towards each week knowing they can finally have a rest day that day.

All the hard work of breaking routine, launching out of my comfort zone and working what feels like more unpaid hours of work this year than paid, has all paid off. For the reason I’ll be able to explain in the New Year… This is my way of keeping you hooked until my next post where I can properly explain.

What a curveball cliffhanger!

Embracing Change

If, like me, you’re a fan of the film, Bridesmaids, we’d have all seen the difficulty that can come with undergoing and accepting change. In the film’s case we see the protagonist, Annie, and her inability to deal with the fact that her childhood best friend is no longer the same as when she was at a former age. But instead of plunging into a giant cookie, or battling your bowel movement while your pride overrules to accept that you’ve a bad case of food poisoning, we would probably find it easier to just try and accept change, grab it by the balls, and embrace it.

Change in my case has so far been the deviation from size 10/12 jeans to size 6/8 to steadily creeping back up to an annoying size somewhere in between the two. Though anorexia saw me rekindling the love of the Zara jeans that got me through my years of being 17 and 18 (that for some unknown reason I’d held on to), I suddenly in a moment of epiphany wondered why on earth I was gushing tears when they felt slightly more snug than normal the other day. Okay, weight gain might have a little to do with it, but really the point here is the fact that I am 22, very almost 23 and certainly not a 6 year former age and it is quite okay that a pair of jeans that are now about 8 years old don’t fit me any more!

A 17 year old may have still yet to realise their ever decreasing speed in metabolism so can still continue to gobble 4 Yorkie bars in one hit or not see a pizza shaped mound appear in their thighs after a cheeky session with Dominoes but they still have enough problems as it is. Especially us females. It’s a given that we all know the adolescent changes that occur for both males and females between their teenage years. Fat tissue will start swelling out of control in your chest area as you cross the border from A to B to C cup, no amount of toothpaste, Sudocream and any other concoction of home remedies will rid you of your red spots and that smell that keeps following you? Yes that is Sure’s way of hinting that you should probably now take up on their buy one, get one free offer on deodorant. But the changes don’t just stop there, because that pepperoni pizza has to go somewhere…

According to Cosmopolitan, “Weight normally continues to increase annually in your 20s, mostly due to increase in body fat compared to teen years.” The years of Yorkies, the months of McDonalds and the weeks of waffles may eventually catch up on you and that is apparently entirely normal.

So the fact that these stupid jeans still had a place in my wardrobe 6 years down the line anyway is still quite beyond me. Those jeans only fit me over the last few years because I was a 22 year old unnaturally squeezed into a 17 year old’s body. Those jeans don’t fit me now because I am becoming a healthier version of the 22 year-old I should be, (attempting to) embrace the changes that every normal 20 something year old faces and not because I am getting fat.

Single and not so ready to mingle

Break ups are hard, even worse so when you don’t realise you’re going through one and still living in the hope of it being a temporary sponsored silence they’re partaking in. However so, there’s generally a reason for them happening and after the “I’ll never love again!” phase, you realise that you can grow in love again for the only two people you’ll ever need in your life anyway… Ben & Jerry – though mine is more Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry if I’m truly honest. (But I’d appreciate if my mum, dad, sister, family and friends stayed put in my life too. Obviously.)

I’ve had my little share of break ups: some very real, and some that felt very real until you realise it’s actually only their free taxi service and the access to their orange Wednesday code that you’re sad to have broken up with as opposed to the person, themselves. That is true heartbreak. On the other hand, I’m not yet damaged enough from a break up that I’m not ready to mingle again, regardless of the title to this post. In actual fact, I’m talking about being single from anorexia and not ready to mingle with it EVER again.

Anorexia relationship status: it’s complicated.

As pictured in a fairy tale or in one of Disney’s great movies, this week I merrily skipped out of the hospital, hand in hand with a life-size piece of cake* and a giant ‘eff’ off scrawled across a piece of paper that was conceptually stamped to my back. The nurse must have put it there after I left her surgery as we both made a positive bid goodbye to each other now that anorexia was no longer keeping us together. Because this week, I was discharged!

Though fairly anti-climatical as I was half expecting to be greeted outside of the doors by a marching band and a huge ‘Congratulations’ banner held by a human-sized walking bottle of Prosecco, I instead retreated to the car and felt almost on the verge of tears.

It goes completely without saying that I’m so pleased I’ve fought as hard as I have done to get into the position I am in now. Life has been and is so much better on this side of the disorder, but you can’t help but feel sadness towards something you’d grown so close to. Almost like the part of the break-up where you suddenly feel like you really are ready to move on and it can sometimes feel more upsetting at the very real thought of living without it, even though you know it’s potentially for the better.

For better understanding for both myself and anyone that cares to learn about eating disorders, I frequently compare anorexia to be like that of a relationship. And for me, this has unexplainably been the hardest break-up yet, though by far the most important break-up (at least for my health) I’ll probably ever have to make. Given that my life is still very much governed by food, exercise and the absolute fear of gaining too much weight, there are still various parts of me that remain tied to the disorder, hence the complication status.

At least for now I sincerely feel like people around me are no longer having to cope with me and some other me with an eating disorder lurking behind. I still very much have lots of unusual eating quirks but they are far from making me unhappy, so for now just deal with the fact that I’ll have a steak salad for my dinner… Just perhaps without the steak and the dressing and the cheese. The rabbit food will be just fine.

*okay, me and cake aren’t that good a friends just yet.