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.

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It’s not me, It’s you.

You’d think I was undergoing some serious emotional meltdown with all these recurring, relationship break-up type themes that seem to be my main topic of writing in my posts at the moment. I’m sincerely not this emotional wreck I appear to be making out, it’s actually just that using a relationship as a comparison to what’s going on in this head of mine, feels like a much better relatable tool for those who are reading.

Through several prompts and also due to the fact I love to write, I long ago made the decision to share my eating issues in the form of this wonderful website you now see before you. It was by no means my way of creating the sequel to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings with the hope of an ensemble of violin players to follow me around, plucking the right chords to portray what a pitiful situation I’m in and get the sympathy vote . It was more so just my way of detracting my attention, potentially analyse what the root of my issues were and to most importantly help me on my way to getting over it all. So completely selfish really.

With this decision came such enormous benefits that I never imagined would occur. I’ve found something I love to do and I’ve actually found a new career direction I want to pursue when I initially thought I wanted to count s*** up for a living. However, with the decision to broadcast, also lead to some unintentional downsides: this being, you (plural).

Because I divulged and revealed so much about my eating quirks, what I ate, what I eat now and my general rules and fears about certain food groups, it almost became this attribute I had to constantly adhere to. When you adopt certain traits and characteristics, i.e. it might be that you’re the one that always has great skin or the one that never gets angry, as soon as you stop to cohere to these traits, all hell breaks loose. But really you’ve every right to feel anger after discovering Paul Hollywood abandoned his post with BBC and has now ruined The Great British Bake Off for life and be completely normal to have a face that becomes bespeckled with a bout of red spots because it’s just that time of the month (ironic that I’m amenorrheic). Now suddenly, because you’ve abandoned the ‘never angry’ and ‘flawless skin’ traits, you’re suddenly impeded with an influx of who/what/why questions and have become some completely unrecognisable stranger to the person masking these accusations. Give it a break, will you!

I sometimes feel in a constant episode of Big Brother whereby I’m forced to retreat to the Diary Room to explain my actions as to why I decided to eat so much vanilla frozen yogurt last night. “But you suffer with an eating disorder?”, “Surely you don’t eat yogurt?”, “I thought it was just an apple you ate?” I feel like a key reason for me remaining tied to the disorder, is because I’m almost scared of what people are indirectly presuming about why I am suddenly eating more. I feel like because of the traits that are formed with anorexia, I have to remain adherent to these traits forever, otherwise people will start talking and making comments about the way I do things now.

I think we’re all guilty of feeling like we’ve stepped into a persistent game of paranoia and I for one, am probably guilty, given the above. I’m sure people really do have better things to do and more important things in their own life to worry about, rather than the fact that they’ve noticed I had my mid-morning snack at 10:28 and not the usual 10:30. However, please pretend like you didn’t notice the missing biscuit from the tin. It was me okay. I REALLY wanted one, and who can really say no to a biscuit, anyway!

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.

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.