How to deal with feeling full | eating disorder recovery

Yesterday, i posted about how to cope with feeling full, as it had been afrequent question and requested topic i had gotten in my messages. But i thought i would share it here as well, for anyone who may search for this topic on  Google.

Dealing with feeling full.

For the majority of people, feeling full/satisfied is a good feeling, it means you have eaten and nourished your body. It means you are satisfied and no longer have the annoying hunger feelings. However, for someone struggling with an eating disorder… fullness can be negative feelings, whereas hunger feelings can be related to positiv feelings.

For me personally, in the past feeling full was an incredible trigger for anxiety. As soon as i began feeling the uncomfortable fullness feeling – which happened relatively quick – i would begin to feel anxious. Not only was it fullness feelings i had to sit with, but also anxiety which made the whole situation worse.

In the past, there was no way i could eat the portion sizes i do now. It would have been far too much food for my stomach to handle, not just physically, but mentally as well. However, during the recovery process it meant gradually increasing my intake. Learning to sit with the uncomfortable fullness feeling and also expand my stomach size, buecause when you don’t eat, your stomach size also decreases hence why you feel full after a very small amount.  But you stomach can expand and decrease, so overtime, your stomach and body will adapt.

But also, mentally you learn to deal with the fullness. You learn to realise that it isn’t a bad feeling or something to feel guilt over. It means you have nourished your body. It is a normal feeling.

Sure, feeling over full after eating a little too kuch than your stomach allows may not be the besy feeling. But feeling satisfied after a meal is what you should aim for. Not overly full, but not still hungry… and also, not getting cravings 15 minutes after eating (everyday.. once in a while is normal).

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I know that many with an eating disorder avoid eating util satisfied or full because it causes too much of a trigger and negative feelings. But if you are always going around slightly hungry and never satisfied, your mind will always be on food. But also, you never learn to face that fear of being full. And part of recovery means facing your fears.

So how to deal with fullness? Overtime increase your portion size. Eat a little more so you feel satisfied. Know that nothing is wrong with feeling full. Sit with the anxiety or distract yourself… and over time it gets easier. Overtime your body adapts and that full feeling doesn’t trigger negative emotions.

Eating isn’t something to feel guilty about or ashamed over. It’s ok to feel full… infact walking around constantly hungry is not normal or ok. Feeding and fueling your body is what is healthy.

 

Starving yourself is not a sign of strength and being able to disregard normal hunger signals is not a sign of strength.

Of course i know for many who struggle with binge eating or bulimia, it can be the opposite where you are constantly hungry/mentally hungry, and then having to withstand the mental/emotional hunger is what is part of finding balance with food. So i know for some who struggle with binge eating, feeling hungry can actually be a negative emotion/trigger, and they don’t ever want to feel hungry. But at the same time feeling full can be a trigger, and can lead to compensation methods to get rid of that full feeling.

But learning to sit with the fullness, either distract yourself or just sit with the feeling, is the only way to get used to and learn to be ok with the feeling.

Though as mentioned, being overly full where you feel like you will get sick, is not the feeling you should have after eating. However being satisfied. And over time your body gets better at digesting the food and it won’t cause as much discomfort once your body has adapted.

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10 year challenge | How my life has changed & eating disorder recovery

If you are active on Instagram, you most likely won’t have missed the #10yearchallenge which is going around right now. I.e 2009 vs 2019 (or some people doing 2008 vs 2018).

I decided to join in and posted this picture on my Story:

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But it also got me thinking about…. everything that has happened in these 10 years.  It definitely feels like a whole life time ago….

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2009 i was 13 years old and living in Ireland. I had just begun secondary school (or i think i had been going to secondaryfor a year/half a year). Basically, when you are 12/13 you change from primary school to secondary school. You go from being the oldest to the youngest.

If i am honest, i don’t have so much memory from my time as a child… i am not sure if i have just surpressed certain memories or if i just can’t remember them. Ex… alot of the time that i was sick (with eating disorders) i have very little memory of, apart from the very negative moments or certain pictures can bring back memories. This can of course be a good thing, but it also means that alot of things i did, i can’t remember.

2009, as i can remember, i spent alot of time sick with my Cystic Fibrosis. I had begun rebelling alot due to my illness and had stopped taking my medicine, and had also begun thinking alot about my future.

Somewhere online i had read that people with CF have an average age of 30-40. And that of course scared me. I didn’t want to be sick, i didn’t want to have CF, i wanted to be just like everyone else.

Of course… not taking my medication just made me more sick and meant that i spent more time away from school.

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It was in 2009 (or 2008, i can’t remember) that i had also begun purging after eating. And during 2009 the purging after meals, eating less and beginning to  frantically and obessively exercise began. And over time it got worse and worse. And the self harm also began.

I don’t know what triggered me or caused me to downward spiral. It was never because i wanted to be skinny or because i was scared of food or weight gain. But i do think that i suffered with anxiety without ever knowing it. Alot of the thoughts i had back then, alot of fears – i can now see were very anxious thoughts.

2010 was the year i was confronted by my parents about my habits and the very noticable weightloss. It was also the year i began treatment, first in therapy and then as an inpatient in a kids psychiatric ward. And eventually tube feeding in hospital.

And then after 6 weeks, without any improvement my mum made the decision that we should travel to Sweden where there is better care for eating disorders. And since then, i haven’t longed back to Ireland. (Crazy that i have now lived in Sweden longer than i have lived in Ireland).

From 2010 to 2012 it was in and out of Mando treatment centre. From inpatient to daypatient. Back and forth and never really getting better – just improving enough (i.e gaining weight) to be able to be a daypatient and then within a few weeks losing all the weight again and having to be an inpatient again.

Summer/autumn 2011 i was inpatient for the last time and went over to daypatient again. However began relapsing again winter 2011/spring 2012, and was finally put an ultimatum. Either i regain the weight i had lost or i be put back into inpatient again.

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And because i was going to start a new school autumn 2012, as well as moving apartment i decided that i wanted autumn 2012 to just be a new start for me. To be declared healthy, to change school and apartment and leave the old “me” behind.

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So i managed to regain the weight, really face my ED and fears again, and really try to focus on recovery.

Autumn 2012 i was declared healthy and was put on the 5 year follow up treatment from Mando.

However, i wouldn’t say i was fully healthy back then. Sure i was a stable weight, but i still had fears, habits and behaviours to tackle. And sometime 2013/2014 i would say i was mentally healthy and free.

I.e it is one thing to be a healthy weight and be able to go to school, to eat regular and seem healthy. But it does take time to be fully free from certain thoughts, habits and behaviours. And it is up to YOU to be honest to yourself about those things and really make a change. Because otherwise it is just YOU who is trapped with those things. No one else can recover for you, and you have to change all those habits/thoughts that keep you sick.

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2012-2015, i was in highschool (?). I did struggle with anxiety, and 2015-2016 i fell into a rather bad depression. I think it was due to all the stress from the last term of high school, all the exams and pressure. I was not doing well and had many times thought of ending my life because i felt so depressed.

2016 i started university and moved away from home for the first time. However, i just got worse mentally and even if i enjoyed what i was studying, because i was so mentally drained/tired i didn’t have the energy to make friends. And i felt lonely, sad and depressed.

After my term was over i moved back to my parents for the summer and tried to figure out what i was going to do with my life. Also i was confronted by my parents who told me i needed to make a change and to get better. They saw me falling down a dark spiral and that i couldn’t keep going that way or i would end up in hospital.

Also, at the start of summer 2016 i decided to give veganism/a plantbased diet a go. For health reasons (as i was struggling with so much stomach issues – due to most likely stress and a not so great diet, as well as i think my depression/anxiety was causing me physical pain as well). But also for ethical reasons, after watching different documentaries.

When i first went vegan i ate ALOT of fruit, and in combination with stomach problems and struggling mental health, it was one of the reasons i lost so much weight. I.e it wasn’t the most balanced vegan intake.

I worked all summer, and applied to university courses in Gothenburg, and was accepted.

That summer i decided that things needed to change. I was going to start university, in a new city and feel better. Be ME again.

 

I broke up with my boyfriend at the time. Stopped taking birth control. Started taking herbal medication for anxiety and depression. Changed habits and thoughts and focused on getting better.

Of course, my parents were not super enthusiastic about me moving to a new city, several hours away from home, especially as i had lost so much weight and was struggling with depression. However, i had set my mind to moving and as mentioned, during the summer focused on getting better and showing my mum that i was getting better.

Autumn 2016 i moved to Gothenburg and started my university program.

2016-2019: I have moved several times, studied 2,5years of my program, made friends, made my life here in this  city! Changed my life, gotten better mentally and found balance and health again! These past 2,5 years alot (but also a little) has happened, and i am not going to write so much about it as it would take too much time! But i can say, i am so happy i made the decision to move.

Of course, it is scary to move to a new city and start a new life. But i am the type of person who needs that…. to have a goal, to just move city/start a new school and just “be a new me”.

Post: Moving city to study | Life change the past 2 years & 8 tips for moving to another city

Of course, moving citty or starting a new school doesn’t mean that you never struggle with mental health again, and it doesn’t take away your illnesses, but for me it does help. Some places i just have very bad memories attached to and i don’t want to return to them. Such as certain places i have  lived (including Ireland) i don’t want to return to because it brings back too many bad memories.

Anyway… that was my long 10 year challenge, and it just shows me how much i have changed.

To have gone from incredibly sick to now so much happier and healthier. Living in another country. Moving houses – and cities – several times. Stepping outside of my comfort zone.

Of course, many ups and downs. But it also makes me wonder… i wonder how my life will be in 2029 – 10 years later! Who knows if i am still blogging then… but i can look back on this post and see how my life has changed from then to now!!

All i can say is that i am happy and happy with my life right now!

How i got over my fear of food and eating? | eating disorder recovery

How did i go from barely being able to eat an apple to now being able to eat heaps of delicious food and not have the slightest bit of anxiety?

Well i can tell you it wasn’t an easy journey and didn’t happen overnight.

It definitely feels like a different person when i think back on the time i struggled with anorexia, and if i am honest i guess it wasn’t really me.  I lost myself when i was sick.

Recovery was by no means easy, and learning to see food as something good and not something terrifying was a long journey. But it was worth it. To be free from eating disorders and not have food, weight or calories control me. To not be controlled by anxiety or fear.

So how did i go from being terrified of food and feeling guilty whenver i ate, to now being able to eat freely?

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It meant finding peace with food, and also… beginning to eat.

Even if it just meant taking one bite of my fear food, it was one step closer to recovery. It meant choosing to eat a snack even when i wasn’t hungry, and when i didn’t want it or my eating disorder would tell me i hadn’t deserved it. I still had to eat.

It meant following my meal plan and knowing that it would help me, even if it didn’t feel like it when i was eating.

Finding food freedom – and full recovery meant doing the opposite of what my eating disorder told me to do. When my eating disorder told me to eat the plain yoghurt because it had the least calories, i had to eat the vanilla flavoured one instead… which was also the yoghurt i liked the best.

Eating disorder recovery meant packing snacks with me and eating my snacks even when others weren’t eating. It also meant, being able to compromise and eat foods that weren’t on my meal plan because that was the only option.

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Finding balance with food and freedom from food anxiety meant going out to eat and ordering what i was actually craving, not what was the least calories. It meant allowing others to cook food for me and not having to control or watch when they cooked… instead eating whatever was served.

Finding balance with food meant beginning to trust my bodies signals…. if i wanted an extra snack or larger portion or dessert after lunch, then that was what i ate. Learning to trust my body and remind myself that it was ok to have days where i ate more and days where i ate less.

Recovering from my eating disorder meant facing my fear foods over and over and over… until they no longer gave me anxiety. At first it was just a bite, then next time i could take two bites, and eventually i could eat the whole thing and not feel guilty or feel the need to compensate.

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Recovering from my eating disorder meant not caring about the number on the scale and focusing less on my body image and more on life. Changing my focus from appearance and weight, to wanting to be healthy and have energy to live life. Focusing on fuelling and nourishing my body so that i could live life… not just be skinny and tired all the time.

Finding food balance meant being honest to myself about what foods i liked and which ones i didn’t. Honest about which foods i said i didn’t like just because i was scared of their calorie or macronutrient content. It meant retesting all types of foods and being truly honest about which ones i liked and didn’t.

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Finding food balance meant not being ashamed for being hungry or eating. It meant being able to go to the store and buy the food i wanted to eat, not just the lowest calorie food or not buying the food i wanted because i was worried what the cashier would think. It meant, eating the portion sizes i wanted and not the small portions because of fear of being judged.

Finding balance with food and recovery meant nourishing my body and mind, not restricting and depriving myself.

Finding food balance meant beginning to enjoy food again, using salt and oil and seasoning. Trying new and different foods, enjoying to cook and bake for the right reasons.

There is no secret pill towards recovery or finding freedom with food and being free from guilt around food. It is small choices and changes which add up over time.

Each time you defy your eating disorder is one day closer to freedom. You may not even notice yourself getting better, but one day you will be able to spontaneously go out to eat pizza with friends and suddenly realise that you didn’t worry about the calories, or worry about compensating and you had no anxiety at all. And you will realise how GOOD it feels and that this is part of recovery and freedom. And over time… you won’t even remember how it feels to be anxious around food, because food and eating will just be part of your life, not your whole life.

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Recovery takes time, it is tough and it DOES require support and help. However, recovery comes from YOU. You have to be honest to yourself about why you do what you do, why you eat the way you do, and honest about what needs to change. Only you know the truth.

Recovery is possible, and you won’t regret it – not if you are fully recovered anyway. If you regret recovery… chances are you were never fully recovered.

 

New years resolution -start eating better and working out? | Making sustainable lifestyle changes

This new years eve, when i was celebrating with my friends we began talking about new years resolutions.

I don’t actually have any new years resolutations – i have goals and dreams for the whole year, but no resolutions. However all my friends had the goal, to start eating better and working out.

I was actually a little surprised, i thought that that was just a stereotypical thing and that no one actually had that as a resolution anymore, but i guess i was wrong. And of course, there is nothing wrong with that resolution, it is great that people want to focus on eating better and working out more often.

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However, most people go about it the wrong way. In January they all decide to get gym cards – along with everyone else – and because they are so motivated they force themselves to the gym 5-6 times a week, which only really lasts a few weeks until they get tired, bored, unmotivated. They try to eat healthy and that means cutting out all junk food and anything they consider “Bad”. Instead they just eat a bunch of salad, bland and boring food and they are left feeling unsatisfied, tired and craving sweets and junk food even more than before. And eventually end up back to their usual eating habits.

Getting healthier doesn’t mean you have to run 6 days a week and eat salad. In reality, that isn’t sustainable anyway.

It is better to make small changes overtime and make it a lifestyle change, not a 6 week diet.

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I know that i am lucky and have grown up in a family where eating “Healthy” and exercising is just part of my lifestyle. It isn’t something i stop with or give up. Because even if i do have dips in motivation with working out, i know that eventually i will get back into and find my motivation and enjoyment again. I know however this isn’t the case for everyone and that many just can’t seem to stick with a “healthy” diet and workout routine, but i thought i would share some tips for those of you who have the new years resolution, “eat better and workout more”.

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My tips for making a healthier lifestyle change and sticking to your new years resolution:

  1. Try different forms of exercise. Try swimming, try gym classes, try running, try dancing, try yoga…. Also, try them atleast 2-3 times to see. The first time might not always ben fun because you may just feel awkward and lost, but you get better the more you do it!
  2. Try working out with someone else…. whether it is a friend, partner, family member or in a group. It can be a way to make exercising more fun and at the same you are social. Not to mention, you will *hopefully* be more likely to exercise if you make a pact with someone else. You can help motivate each other.
  3. Set realistic goals. Setting the goal to run 10km in 2 weeks if you can’t even run 1km yet isn’t a realistic goal… instead, focus on goals that can challenge and motivate you, but at the same time are realistic.
  4. Also remember that practise makes perfect! You may not start off as the best, but you can only get better. And the better you get, the more fun it is!
  5. Set long term and short term goals & have rewards for when you reach them. This can be motivating for some, and it is always nice to have something to look forward to!
  6. Don’t try to workout 2 times a day or 6 days a week when you first start. Instead, increase slowly. Begin with maybe 1-2 times a week, and over time you can increase if you can fit in the workouts.
  7. Priortize working out… why not watch an episode while on the bicycle or treadmill on the gym?

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What about changing your diet and eating healthier?

  1. Eating healthy doesn’t mean never eating sweets or chocolate or ice cream again, it just means eating them in a more balanced way. I.e not on a daily basis.
  2. Also choosing when you eat them… i.e just because you are offered doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
  3. The best way to start is to look at your diet as it is right now… then identify what you think needs to be changed, and why. You don’t need to make all changes at once, and you don’t need to go from 100 to 0. Instead say to yourself… Maybe instead of eating chocolate 5 days a week i can eat it 3 days a week? Maybe instead of regular soda i can drink diet soda? Maybe instead of drinking alcohol every weekend i can cut down to 2 weekends each month, or have one weekend alcohol free?
  4. Also focus on what you CAN eat and what you should increase, instead of what you should cut down and take away. I.e eat MORE fruit and vegetables. Eat MORE homecooked. Eat MORE plantbased. Eat MORE vegan/vegetarian option. This is a much better mindset and you focus on what you can eat, not what you “shouldn’t” eat.
  5. Set small and realistic goals. I.e is it realistic for you to go from 5 cups of coffee to 0? no, maybe not so focus on just cutting down. Also setting 1-2 goals each week maybe be better than trying to do everything at once. Such as the first week you try to eat 3-5 fruits a day and drink more water. The next week, along with those other two goals you also try to increase your vegetable intake the whole week. The week after that you try to eat less chocolate and use less salt etc etc This will create more lasting and sustainable changes and it won’t feel too overwhelming.
  6. Don’t jump onto any restrictive or fad diets. Really this should have been the first point. One sure way to set yourself up for failure is to do a FAD or very restrictive diet. It is not sustainable or enjoyable, you will just feel tired and deprived. Not to mention, don’t fall into the marketing trick of fatburners, appetitesurpressants etc… they don’t work and are just a waste of money.
  7. Focus on primarily plantbased/whole foods. And try to think of the 80/20 rule. I.e 80% of your diet is wholefoods/plant based and 20% of your diet can be other food.
  8. Make “healthy” food delicious. I.e forget boring lettuce and tomato salads, and instead fill your salads with lots of tasty and nourishing foods such as tofu, beans, sweet potato, avocado, make some type of dressing. You don’t have to eat boring or bland food just because it is plant based or healthy. Use spices and seasoning, try different methods of cooking, find recipes to try.
  9. Don’t cut out whole food groups – i.e you need carbs, protein, fat and fiber. So don’t cut out fats or carbs just because it is a trend-diet.
  10. Eat foods that make you feel good. But also focusing on how you eat can be a goal. I.e don’t stress eat, don’t eat mindlessly, structure your meal times and if possible, eating without distraction can be good for some. And if you are someone who gets alot of stomach pain and digestive issues, then focus on feeling relaxed when eating and don’t stress eat or throw the food into you. Instead take your time to eat and relax when you eat – this can help with digestive issues.

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Focus on making lifestyle changes and the aim of exercising more frequently and eating better is to make you feel better overall, physically and mentally. So if you aren’t feeling better after some time, then rethink what you are doing and eating!

And if you have weightloss as a new years goal – this goes along with finding a workout routine that works for you, and a healthy diet that works for you. When you have the goal weightloss, you do of course have to eat a calorie minus (unless you plan to workout several hours a day). But you can still eat alot of delcious food, even if you have to eat at a calorie minus. Also focus on a slow weightloss instead of trying to lose 5kg in a month – it will be alot more sustainable.

Also.. .let’s not forget those that actually have the goal of gaining weight or getting stronger. Once again, having it a long term goal can often be better than trying to gain strength or lots of weight in a short period of time. And focus on eating at a surplus, adding example drinks to your meals if you find it hard to eat enough, and snacking onn nuts and dried fruit 🙂

Is it really healthier with sugar free and high protein options? (Desserts)

Ok this post could get some negative feedback because there are many different opinions on this. But also the opinion you have will also be very based on your own view of what is healthy and your past and current relationship with food.

Something I have noticed a lot of this year (or well, every Christmas in general) is how many people who have recovered from an eating disorder decide to make low sugar, low fat, high carb Christmas “candy”.

There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with this. I have done this in the past as well, and I have to say I have made some delicious raw food desserts and some sugar free alternatives. Personally, I like a balance of both “regular” candy but also having the alternative of raw food bars/balls or making sugar free options. Everything in balance.

Many make the “healthier” versions because they are scared to eat the “regular” versions…. And that in some sense makes the “healthier” versions not healthy at all. Because they are eating them to avoid fear and anxiety of having to eat the “real/regular” version.

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Personally… I don’t want to use the word “healthier” or “regular” here, because both can be healthy and normal and there isn’t anything wrong with either options. But it is the mentality behind the choice.

You don’t have to be disordered or sick to want to choose a sugar free option from time to time, and if you plan to eat the candy everyday for the whole month of December, then you might like having the alternative to eat candy made with sugar free chocolate. Or making buns out of almond flour or coconut flour and stevia instead of flour and sugar. But when you make the choice to eat those and not the other option because you are scared of the “regular option”, then the “healthy” option isn’t actually healthy at all. And it is even worse if you don’t even like the taste of the “Healthy” option.

Though most people can change their tastebuds to like the bland, unsweetened options. I.e when I was sick I thought some sugar free options were SO GOOD, because that was what I was used to. But when I stopped eating them, and then ate them again I realized how they weren’t good at all and left a weird aftertaste. A bit like people who always drink regular soda and then drink diet soda and thinks it tastes strange and vice versa.

Basically…. Make whatever candy/desserts/buns you think taste the best and the ones you like. And eat them in moderation and enjoy them. Just make sure you are eating the food because you like it and want to eat it and not because you are scared of eating the other option.

Everything in moderation is fine, so remember that this Christmas!!! Eat the food enjoy and eat until satisfied!

I would love to know your opinion, and of course i understand people have different opinons on this topic.

And like mentioned, everything in moderation/balance. Choose the option you enjoy and like the most, and make sure you aren’t making food choices out of fear and/or anxiety!