White toast x 2, butter.
Tuna mayo, sweetcorn and red onion sandwich (white), 5-bean salad, side salad. Winterberry cheesecake and cream.
Hungarian beef goulash, herb dumpling, boiled rice, cauliflower.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
After updating my Instagram this afternoon with my usual weight-gain progress (0.6kg), it’s kind of only just dawned on me how accepting this ‘vast range’ (which is actually ‘normal’) of food compared to my Eating Disorder’s ideal, falsely ‘peaceful’ diet… has become a habit. Like riding a bike. If I let Anorexia jump onto the handlebars, waving in my face and blocking the view ahead, it all starts to feel very, very scary. Like seeing ‘cheesecake’ and chocolate brownie’ up there… typing them out as naturally as I’d brush my teeth. What is this? Does this mean I’m losing control?
It feels like maybe I’m letting my abusive partner carry on slapping me without knowing there’s anything wrong? Convinced I’m abusing my body and self-control by enjoying these flavours and such a well-rounded diet. Am I accepting this as a normal way to live without knowing how much of a messy, greedy person I’m becoming?
…BUT I recognise I’m not wearing my recovery ‘helmet’ in thinking this way… so when I put this back on and remind myself my BMI is 15.72 and I’m aiming for 20-25, so there is no logic in such ‘greed’. My ‘helmet’ is also a reminder of all the amazing ‘nutrition’ education we have in groups each week, the more and more leave we get granted with weight increase, the qualities I admire in other people that actually have ZILCH to do with weight, the better position mentally AND physically I put myself in reaching that healthy BMI…
My Eating Disorder is equivalent to the ‘abusive’ partner – NOT this new mind-set. Sometimes it’s easy to be tricked about which is which. I’m testing out and committing to wearing this ‘recovery helmet’, so of course, my old irrational, familiar brain is bound to feel threatened and freak out.
When it comes to saying hello to my wardrobe in the morning, getting dressed is starting to feel different too…
Some people with Anorexia, feel less ‘fat’/exposed by covering up and wearing baggy clothes… some feel less ‘fat’ wearing tighter-fitting clothes (me). I find these differences very interesting to be honest… how you can have exactly the same fears but present them through different behaviours. My reliance on wearing ‘tighter’ clothes was not a way to promote or show off my bones or to even ‘look’ slimmer… that kind of came with it as part of the package – it was much more out of fear of looking ‘bigger’ by any fabric that hung off that could add an extra pound or two…
I’ve still not quite braved a hoodie (despite having my dearest, comfy ‘Starbucks’ one waiting excitedly in the wardrobe)… but this morning, I put on a baggy, off-the-shoulder dress that’s been hung up for 3 months since my admission, unsure when it would ever be selected, as though a prize in a seaside grabber machine.
…I guess I knew deep down, that eventually as I put on weight, it would be something I would turn back to. I used to like wearing it for it’s comfort and floaty style… but floaty meant an uncertain threat of making me look chunkier to other people. I already felt like a failure of a person and I didn’t need any chance of unnecessary extra weight telling me how much more of a failure I could be.
This basic dress that I could accept when I start challenging my own perception of my body and detach myself from that controlling fear of looking bigger than I am or ‘should’ be. That day finally came today.
Instead of driving my eyes to my tummy area, or how thick the top of my arms must look, now that you can’t see the defined shape under the chiffon fabric… I found myself actually more distracted and curious about how strong and smooth my fingernails are becoming – a little perk I’ve only just started to notice. I actually found myself giving them a cheeky stroke now and then throughout the day! Weird… it feels like I’ve grown a new extra ‘body-part’ I can appreciate. I don’t think I realised how dry and weak my nails were until now, during my romance with Anorexia…
Taking note of the recovery benefits where I could, I reminded myself (away from the floaty dress situation) of the lovely compliment I received on my video yesterday about my hair looking ‘shiny’, which I can only owe to weight-gain (the one thing my Eating Disorder makes me feel shitty for) and this new, embraced diet for life. I owe my shinier hair and stronger, longer nails to chocolate brownies… chips… ‘Twirl’s… a pint of milk a day… a variety of cereals (not 1 cr*ppy Weetabix with water – my Anorexia’s fave)… white bread… all those foods that were fears I can now accept.
It’s funny how Anorexia has a sneaky way of setting up it’s negative dominoes to make you started to feel doubtful about recovery. In the matter of a few minutes/hours sometimes…
…after a positive outlook for the morning, for lunch I ended up having to have my sandwich on white instead of brown bread, because of orderings in the kitchen (this sparked a ‘fat’/’I told you recovery was a bad idea’ and ‘you definitely look bigger in that dress today now’ thought)… then, portioning the cream for dessert, one of the staff members who I find encourages slightly bigger portions (reminder to my recovery ‘helmet’ – so what if she does, this is normal, one size meal will never be the same, life AND food is not a pre-determined, consistent computer program) sent me away with a bowl of cream that made me want to warn my cheesecake to grab some arm-bands.
(they’re in little pots that we tip into the bowl…)
I know this was my head over-exaggerating but it was another of the dominoes in line… until I then found myself whilst eating it (once I’d pushed past the need for arm-bands) seeing that chocolate brownie for supper, in it’s macho boxer shorts, walking like a meat-head towards me. I could see and hear those dominoes falling one by one…
…hence why, as I’m typing this, I feel like a sack of potatoes in this free-flowing dress.
Since that last sentence, I’d been to the second of my ‘Body Awareness Therapy’ sessions, and it’s a bit of a coincidence we were talking about what affects our body image, and how it might change throughout the day.
It kind of goes to prove that our perceptions of our body image are not always accurate… that, irrationally, what we eat or our emotions that day can twist our views within such a short time-frame that it isn’t logical. Like the idea of eating that chocolate brownie tonight, for me, feels like the final domino falling, all due to those few triggered moments through the day that usually wouldn’t phase me on their own. But when they all add up, I start feeling tricked into a corner.
Personally, for me in the group today, I started reflecting how my body image suddenly feels a lot more vulnerable when I go through moments of ‘quietness’, if shyness/anxiety takes over or I start feeling intimidated by other confident people and don’t feel as though I deserve to talk. Or I have an awkward day where I start off confident but talk myself out of it. It’s like, when those feelings take over, I instantly feel ‘bigger’, more inadequate, weak in my own skin. Maybe the frustration at not being able to express myself and not feeling deserving.
The pages I’ve shared, are from the book I’m currently reading called ‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates. What a woman.