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).

20181224145822_IMG_0225.JPG

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.

IMG_20190126_182217_075.jpg

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?

IMG_20190103_161424_545.jpg

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.

20181221_200310.jpg

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.

a806f-dsc_0090252822529

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.

20181118_144425.jpg

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.

3ca22-picisto-20140203143913-498025

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.

 

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.

20181212215734_IMG_9242.JPG

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!

What to do if a friend/partner is struggling with an eating disorder?

Aside from the regular question of, “how do i recover?” i also get asked frequently by friends/family/partners of someone who is sick, or someone they suspect is sick.

Being close to someone who you see is struggling – whether they are open about it or not, can be incredibly frustrating, sad, stressful and many other emotions and feelings. Wanting to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves is incredibly tough,

When you just want the best for someone – want someone to be happy and healthy – but you know that it is up to them to make the choices to recover and get better.

I have been the one who struggled with an eating disorder in my family – and i can only imagine how tough it was for my family. Since recovering i have talked to them about how they felt during those years as i was sick, and it was awful for my family. I was going through hell and my own struggles, but it was not easy for them either.

Also in recent years, since recovering i have seen people in my friendship circle who have struggled with an eating disorder, and it is always tough to be on the other side. To know what the person is going through – and want to help them so badly – but also knowing that all i can do is support them and try to help them. It is always tough when the person doesn’t want to admit they are sick, but you can see them getting worse and it feels like all you are doing is standing and watching it happen.

Image result for what to do if your friend has an eating disorder

So what do you do when a friend/family member/partner is struggling with an eating disorder?

My first advice is to try to talk to them. Ask them how they are doing/how they are feeling? If they need to talk to you or anyone else. Just showing that you are there for them can be helpful.

You don’t want to directly accuse or confront someone, because they will instead go into defense mode and when you are sick, you will have 101 excuses as to why you do what you do. Anything to hide your illness. However, it can sometimes be a good idea to just tell the person what you see or if you notice ex. they never eat lunch, or that they never eat around people, or always working out. Just mentioning that you see those small things and asking if they are ok. It can 1) make the person aware what they are doing and 2) make them realise that someone notices what they are doing.

In my recovery my sister often called me out on things i was doing “wrong”, and i despised her for it because it made my mum aware, which then made her watch me even closer. But in the end – it was for the best. The only way to recover is to go against your eating disorder and the eating disorder habits, and having someone watch you and knowing you can’t do certain habits is helpful in the journey towards recovery.

Be a role model around food. Depending on how close you are to the person, you may or may not eat alot of meals with them. But if you eat regular meals with the person, try to be a role model around food. Show that you can eat balanced – this doesn’t mean you order burgers, fries and milkshakes just to prove that you can and it is ok. But sitting there with a salad and black coffee isn’t a good idea either. Also try to avoid all talk about diet, weight, calories, food etc when around the person.

Don’t talk about appearance with the person – avoid commenting on their body. Even if you think they have lost weight or look skinny or look sick – telling them won’t be helpful. Infact, it can at times have the opposite effect and make the person happy by being told they look sick/skinny/have lost weight.

You can’t force the person to eat – but encourage them to eat if they are at social events or with family/friends. Often they may have an excuse that they have already eaten or will eat later (and sure, that can be true. But if it is a recurring thing that they never eat around others, then it is an excuse to avoid eating.)

Watch them. This can be tough for both you and the person suffering. But if you ex. suspect a person purges after meals – watch them or even follow them when they go to the bathroom after/between meals. Yes, this may be uncomfortable for both of you. And the person may go into defense mode and get angry at you for doing this. But it is a way of showing that you see what the person is doing and you aren’t ok with it.

Be helpful and supportive. Just showing a  person that you are there for them can make a big difference.

Avoid telling them to “just eat” or “just stop exercising”, also avoid forcing them to eat as that will just lead to defense mode and a negative reaction. Instead, encourage them to eat. Encourage them to talk to someone and/or seek help. Also telling them that you are worried for them may be helpful.

Remember that even if a person gains weight – don’t automatically assume they are better. Also avoid commenting on weightloss or weightgain.

 

Being around someone who is struggling can be incredibly tough mentally for you. So remember that it is NOT your job to make the person recover, you still need to take care of yourself. All you can do is support and help the person and encourage them to seek help and get better. But in the end, it is their choice to recover.

 

If you have to – take distance from the person. This of course can be tough for both of you. Both for the person who is sick, because they will feel even more lonely and part of their eating disorder is often to isolate themselves and push people away so they can continue being sick. But if being around the person too much is causing you your own mental health problems and draining you of energy, then you may need to step back slightly. Still show that you care and are there for them, but don’t get so invested that you end up getting burnt out as well. This is a very fine balance of how much you can do and how much you can be around a person who is struggling with an eating disorder, without ending up sick and burnt out yourself.

And lastly – in some cases you just need to confront the person and tell them to seek help, at times you may need to give them an ultimatum for them to seek help. This can be tough and is not always a good idea, but if you always pretend like nothing is wrong then nothing will get better or change either. And sometimes the person just needs to be confronted to realise they need to get help and get better.

Also, there are groups for family/partners/friends of someone who is struggling which you may want to join if you find it tough. Sometimes you may need to just talk to others in the same situation and vent your feelings and emotions to people who understand and get angry and irritated – but also not let out those emotions on the person who is struggling as that will just end up in a bad situation.

And finally i want to remind you all to avoid talk about calories, weight, body size, diet etc during Christmas. You never know who is struggling and it can be incredibly triggering. So if your family talks about those things during the dinner table or in general – just talk to them and say that those types of topics and conversations are not allowed this christmas!

Previous post on my óld blog:

What to do when a friend is sick

What do i do if my friend has an eating disorder? – Psychology today

Binge eating recovery: Tips, advice, my experience: Masterpost

I think the topic binge eating has been one of my most requested blog posts the past few months, and i have been meaning to write this post for a while.

Binge eating – and bulimia – are mental illnesses which don’t always show from the outside and are secretive illnesses which people can suffer with for years without anyone knowing.

Binge eating and bulimia both include overeating – binging on food – but if you have bulimia you compensate for the food in different ways. Anything from purging, overexercising, using laxatives or dieuretics counts as compensation and part of bulimia. If you have binge eating disorder, you most often don’t compensate for the food you eat.

Both are serious illnesses which need proffessional help.

Let’s start off with some basics.

Binging is not just overeating. It annoys me when people say they ate a few more cookines than planned and they call it a binge – no, that’s just overeating/eating more than normal.

Binge eating = loss of control when eating. You consume extremely large amounts of food – often in secret – and there is shame/guilt/embarrassment afterwards. You often eat junk food, or food you normally wouldn’t eat, and you eat until extremely full and eat large quantities of food even if you aren’t hungry. And it is a repeated, regular habit – not just once in a while.

Extreme hunger and binge eating can seem similar, but they aren’t. Extreme hunger is more of a physical hunger, whilst binge eating is a sort of mental hunger. (Read more HERE)

Suffering from binge eating or bulimia is not just a lack of self discipline or control – it is a mental illness and has nothing to do with discipline or control. They are serious illnesses which require treatment in some form to get the support and help to recover.

If you suffer from binge eating or bulimia you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed – you are not weak. But you do need help.

There are no  real statistics on how many suffer from these illnesses, because there are so many who don’t seek help.

However, if you don’t seek help there are many consequences of binge eating and/or compensating – not just physically but mentally as well, and suffering lowers your life quality drastically.

 

I have suffered from bulimia i.e binge eating and compensation, and it was an awful dark cycle. It was incredibly embarrassing and shameful, going from having strict control and not eating when i suffered from anorexia, to suddenly not being able to stop my hunger or eating. 

Eating large quantities of food in secret – even if i wasn’t hungry, throwing away packages of food to hide what i had done, and then compensating afterwards by purging, exercising and using laxatives. It was awful. 

I did however learn some things during my recovery to find balance with food again.

I have to note – that as i have suffered with binge eating and compensating, i can only give advice and my experience of that. I.e i don’t know how it is to just binge eat without compensation, so maybe some things i write won’t apply 100% to you in that case.

 

Tell someone. If others know what you are doing/struggling with it will be easier to get support and help, not to mention that you won’t be able to binge or compensate in secret if those around you know. It can be hard to tell people – but one way or another they will find out. And trust me, recovery and finding balance with food again is worth it.

Seek help and support. Apparently CBT training is seen to be very helpful with these illnesses, however if you are struggling alot then maybe inpatient treatment can be beneficial to get you into a regular routine of eating normal portions and not compensating. Also by being inpatient you have support around you and you won’t be able to binge eat. If you can’t/don’t want to/don’t need inpatient treatment, then i suggest you tell those you live with – if you live with others – so they can be your sort of “guard”, because it can be incredibly tricky to fight your mind and eating disorder on your own. I.e if the opportunity to binge arrives – your eating disorder will tell you to.

Follow a meal plan. Often those who binge eat try to eat healthier (such as little fat, littla carbs) during the day or when around others. Almost like a “new start” each day. This however won’t work, because by skipping carbs, fats and eating little calories is just setting you up for disaster later in the day when you are hungry and tired – then it is almost like overeating – or binging – is enivatable. So the best thing to do after a binge is to try to follow a meal plan – with normal portions, including carbohydrates, fats and protein – with regular meals during the day.

Image result for binge eating cycle

One of the best things in finding a balance with food again was to begin with regular meal times. To eat normal portions – including all food groups – and to eat my meals even if i didn’t feel hungry. When you binge eat it will affect your hormones, including your hunger and fullness hormones. This means that you don’t really know when you are hungry or when you are full and you can’t trust those signals. But also if you have been binge eating large amounts, you might have also stretched out your stomach, meaning that it takes large quantities of food to feel full. And in that case, it can be good to eat alot of vegetables to help you feel full – but of course, also eating enough calories and all the food groups. You want to find and create a balance in your intake.

Change your mind and relationship towards food. Stop seeing food as “good” or “bad”, or “healthy” or “unhealthy”. You need to change your mindset and view on food so that food is just food – yes, some may have more nutrients, but in the end you can eat all types of food in balance.

Which brings me to my next point. In the beginning of recovery, get rid of all trigger foods. You may have certain foods which once you take one bite/one piece, suddenly you think “i’ve already ruined my diet, might as well eat all of it”, and that sets off the binge. So it can be helpful to get rid of certain trigger foods which you know you just can’t eat in a balanced way. Later on in recovery you should try to reintrorudce those foods – or learn to be able to eat just one piece/portion – without feeling guilty or needing to eat the whole thing. However, you may find that there are certain foods you just need to keep out of your diet completely because you can’t eat them in moderation.

Stop the black and white/ all or nothing thinking. Eating 1 cookie or 5 cookies won’t ruin your diet and won’t drastically change your body. It is ok to eat treats, it is ok if you overeat, however when the overeating turns to binging that is when it becomes problematic. Don’t feel guilty if you eat more than expected, but also when you stop seeing food as good or bad, there is less chance that you feel like you have “ruined” your intake. Trust me, your eating disorder will harm you more than those cookies or extra portion of food will. Think like this…. isn’t it “better” to just have eaten more than usual – than to carry one eating everthing in the house just because you ate a little more than usual? I.e if you drop your phone on the floor and it gets a crack, you don’t have to suddenly throw your phone against the wall just because it got a small crack. (If that makes sense).

Image result for i've already ruined my diet might

Find your triggers and learn to cope with them. People may have different triggers, it can be stress, anxiety, emotions, hunger/low blood sugar. It can even be people or different situations that trigger you to want to binge eat. As mentioned in the beginning, binge eating is a mental illness and not just a lack of control, and there is a mental hunger/craving for food which just can’t seem to be controlled. However by learning what triggers those intense cravings to binge it will be easier to control and learn to stand against those feelings and cravings.

Distract yourself – and know that the intense feelings and cravings to binge will pass. Distraction is key – or that was for me anyway. To sit and talk with family, to go out for a walk (not compensation – but a way to get out of the house), cleaning. But also doing things with my hands – it wasn’t enough to just watch youtube or a series because my mind would instantly woander to food – foods i craved, foods i wanted  to binge eat. So i had to distract my mind and focus on something else. And at times i just had to leave the house. Sometimes my intense cravings to binge eat/food could last for 48 hours, that was the times when i couldn’t binge eat because family was at home. Then i would have so much anxiety, anger, irritation because all i wanted was to binge eat and the constant cravings. But over time the desire to binge eat wouldn’t last as long, sometimes all it took was an hour away from home and the craving/desire would be gone.

(Important to note that when i say craving, i don’t mean just craving chocolate where you can a row or two and then the craving is gone. But this extreme craving to just eat HUGE amounts of food. As mentioned, it is a lack of control, but i even had planned binges where i knew what i wanted to eat. That can sound incredibly strange to someone who hasn’t suffered from the illness but i did have planned binges when i knew i could purge on my own. Binging and purging gave me this relief and weird feeling of both satisfaction and relief as well as extreme disgust.)

Which brings me to…. Find out what the real problem/cause is. Because food isn’t the actual problem. It may of course be that you are undereating or not eating all the food groups, or because you restrict and deprive yourself to compensate for the binging it then triggers you to binge. For me, not eating enough was definitely a cause of my binge eating, and eating regular meals and following a meal plan was what helped me recover. But also dealing with what was going on in my mind. Talking to someone is recommended…. maybe it is your situation or emotions you need to deal with. Maybe you need to learn to cope with your stress or anxiety, which are causing you to overeat. But there can also be things like low amount of gutbacteria or a candida overgrowth which can cause you to binge eat as your body is out of balance. Or if you suffer with depression (which can of course be a consequence of binge eating/bulimia), but because food can increase your serotonin levels (making you feel more happy) it can be your bodies way of making you feel more happy. Also most people have comfort food – which can at times be linked to past good memories or experiences – and you can feel that happy feeling again when you eat those foods. Often comfort food is eaten due to emotions or stress. By talking to someone, or doing your own reflecting you may be able to figure out what the actual problem and cause is. And also by reflecting on what triggers your binges.

Write a diary and track your binges. Write how you felt before you binged – and even how you felt after. It can be easier to become aware of what triggers the binges, but also to make it more clear to you that the binges aren’t normal or healthy.

You need to stop with the compensation before you stop with the binges. (This goes for binge eating as well as bulimia.) Don’t deprive yourself and restrict yourself following a binge, that will just set you up for binges later. And with bulimia, don’t compensate. Trust me on this, you need to stop the compensation before you stop the binges. If you know you can’t compensate, you will be less likely to binge – or atleast it may be easier to fight against the cravings to binge if you know that you can’t compensate. It can be incredibly tough, but it does get easier. If you do binge – distract yourself, do some writing, go for a NON COMPENSATION walk, or leave the house and meet a friend or sit in the library or cafe until the anxiety and guilt has begun to fade.

Set goals for yourself – such as if you go 2 weeks without binging and/or compensating then you can do X or Y. Important to not treat yourself with food, instead have the treat be something like an experience or something you have wanted to buy. For some, setting goals can be helpful, for others it can just be demotivational because they feel like they never reach the goals – or that once they reach the goal they just go back to old habits once again.

Less time in the kitchen and focus on food. If you find that being around food too much triggers your binge eating, it can be a good idea to lessen your time around food. I.e just shop for the food you will eat for your meal times and snacks (don’t shop when hungry), don’t buy your trigger foods. And either cook your meals when you plan to eat so that you don’t overcook and binge on the food, or prepare your meals so you can eat your preportioned out foods when hungry – whatever works best for you.

Find happiness outside of food. Often times binging can give you a good feeling – followed by regret, anxiety, disgust. But you need to find happiness outside of food – find a new hobby and interest to focus your time and energy on.

Reintroduce trigger foods when you are around others. If you have cut certain trigger foods out of your diet, it can be good to try them again when you are with others and can’t binge on the food. It can be easier to learn to eat normal portions and feel satisfied when you eat with others (though this is very dependant on what relationship those around you have with food.)

Don’t fear weight gain. Yes, you  body may change in recovery and when you stop binge eating or compensating. Some people lose weight, some people gain weight. But the most important thing is to find balance with food again – not so much what happens to your body or weight. Infact, by balancing your food intake, recovering mentally you will get more healthy, and there won’t be as many consequences for your physical health from all the binging and/or compensating.

My best tips – talk to someone. Don’t eat alone. Distract yourself & get out of the house. Follow a meal plan with regular meal times. Don’t compensate. If you do overeat, leave it at that, don’t continue onto a binge. Find your triggers and learn to cope with them. Find other things to focus your attention on. Don’t give into the binges, and if you do… learn to move on.

Image result for bulimia recovery

 

There are some of my tips and what i learnt from my own experience of binge eating.

Remember that you aren’t alone and that you can – and should – seek help. Also remember that it is NOT a lack of control or self discipline, it is not just about “saying no to a cookie”, it is an illness far more complicated than just “not eating the food”.

 

I will link some older posts with more advice down below. And you can always leave a message or send me a DM on instagram if you need some help or have questions.

THIS post – with links to posts about overeating, extreme hunger and intuitive eating

*old posts from my previous blog*

Do you struggle with binge eating?

What is binge eating/bulimia? and how to recover

Getting stuck in the recovery community – when “recovering” becomes your identity

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now, but never got around to actually sitting down to share my thoughts. That was until yesterday, when i brought up the topic of having exercise/gymrat/cardiobunny as my identity a few years ago. I became known as the “fitness person” and the runner in high school. It became my identity and later on when i started university, and realised that at least half of the people in my program were also interested in working out and known as the fitness person. I wasn’t really different… but also, because of having my identity be the fitness person it also made it harder to rest, thinking that… who am i if i am not working out? Over time, i had to learn that my identity is not in exercise and it doesn’t lie in my illnesses, either the past or present ones. I had to recreate an identity for myself, and see myself as more than just the fitness person or more than just the sick girl. Instead realise i was so much more than that.

What i wanted to write about in this post is getting stuck in the recovery community online. The recovery community on social media can be positive and helpful – you can feel less alone, but at the same time it can also be negative and keeping you sick.

You make friends with other people who have the same illnesses, you become known as the person who has an eating disorder and it becomes ALOT harder to let go and move on. If your whole identity – whether in real life or on social media, is based on having an eating disorder…. what happens when you are in recovery and need to let go? When you are no longer sick…. you will go through an identitiy crisis.

But you need to realise that you are so much more than the sick person. So much more than the person with an eating disorder. And even if you want to connect with people who have the same illness and can relate with you… it is not good to get too attached so that you can’t move on.

Remember that you are more than your illness – you are also your hobbies, the things that make you happy, your goals and your dreams, your thoughts. You need to find who you are – or recreate yourself if you have lost yourself in your eating disorder. I personally had to sort of recreate who i was after my eating disorder as i had lost so much of myself… But also that everything i had gone through had changed me and shaped me into a new person. So in a way, i don’t think i would be the person i am today if i hadn’t gone through everything i did in the past.

In a way, i guess you could say i haven’t truly let go…. because why do i still write about eating disorders or past experience from time to time? Or why do i have “recovered from anorexia” in my bio on instagram…. Is that truly letting go? Some would argue that no, i haven’t let go completely, and i accept that. For me personally (how i think right now, maybe my mind and thoughts will change in the future), but right now i think that i can still use my past experiences to help others. And many who see that i have recovered message me and find inspiration in what i post/write.

I can’t change the past or what i have gone through, and in a way it will always define me. But i no longer have eating disorder/sick person be my identity.

Image result for you are not your illness

One of the best steps to move forward for me was to let go of my old blog. Sure, there is so much positive on that old blog, so many people i could and was helping and so many good advice posts. But it still took up such ahuge part of my life and still holding onto the illness, even if i wasn’t sick, it was still a part of me as i had to keep going back down memory lane to write advice posts.

Not to mention that i realised that i never get any negative comments about my appearance anymore. Back when i had my old blog i used to get regular comments of people accusing me i was still sick or saying that i was too thin to be healthy or that i was working out too much. Or just overanalyzing everything i did and every choice i made. But now… none of it. And it is great. It may be that i don’t share as much of my personal life, so there isn’t as much to overanalyze and i don’t share as many pictures of myself…. but mostly i think that people don’t define or connect my present choices to my past eating disorder. I.e if i ever choose a salad when eating out i would get people telling me it was my eating disorder – even though i had been recovered for years and they had no idea what i was going to eat later, or that i was just craving a salad.

Finding people who can help you and inspire you can be beneficial in recovery, but at some point you need to move on. You can not have your identity be the sick person – you are so much more than your illness. Your illness is not YOU – no matter what illness you are struggling with.

Learning to find things you enjoy. Recreating yourself. Spending time with friends and family. Stepping away from recovery communities or others who are sick – so you can spend more time with healthy people. Find hobbies and interests and find goals and dreams to work towards.

Image result for you are not your illness

And it is also important to mention that you can not put your identity in your size either… i.e “the skinny person”. If your identity is your size, it will be much harder to gain (or lose) weight. And if you constantly surround yourself/see images of thin people with eating disorders, not only will your perspective on body image be skewered, it will also be alot harder to gain weight and reach a normal/healthy weight.

People like to put labels on others and group/categorize them… it makes it easier for the brain to just categorize people. But don’t let others define you, and even if you are known as the sick person, or the skinny person, or the fitness person. Remember that you can break free of those identities and you can RECREATE yourself and be whoever you want to be.  You get to label and identify yourself as whoever you want to be… if you want to be the artist, or the musician, or the horse rider, or even the vegan. But you can identify yourself as the happy person, the energetic person, the positive person. Your identity doesn’t have to be your illness.

 

Some posts from my previous blog that may help:

You are not your eating disorder

Recovery is about fully letting go

“Who am i?” – finding yourself