An eating disorder or strict dieting?

Hey folks

So, since Monday at my latest weigh-in, I’ve gone a bit quiet on the blogging front. I’ve always promised to be really open with you as I venture through this rather large weight loss journey but, as my blog tag line says, it’s been a case of trying to keep it a healthy diet rather than slipping into previous eating disorder behaviour and mentality. Goodness…it’s a fine line between the two! I mean, can we be super focused on the calorie counting, the exercising, etc. whilst keeping a healthy mindset and without it becoming obsessive? Up to now, I’ve had times when it’s been really hard but I’ve been slipping in a rather large way more recently.

Where am I right now? The anorexic voice is dominant in my head and I find myself becoming terribly fearful of eating, of not having larger losses on the scales, of not exercising enough. I find myself planning how to miss meals, how to get rid of food (not in a purging way but basically not consuming all the food I’m dished up). And I guess I have two voices in my head: the side which is probably an anorexic voice (all consuming, obsessive, berating, etc) and then the other voice that’s caring and knows I could end up ill again like 10 years ago. And, as I’ve said before, it’s possible to have ‘atypical anorexia’ when your weight is average or even above average if all the other DSM5 diagnostic criteria are met. Am I there? Yes, it really pains me to admit this but I think that my strict dieting has turned the corner. 10 years ago, things got really serious when I started to have abnormal heart tracings and I’ve noticed two things recently: I can get dizzy when I stand up and I can also find my heart racing some mornings when I wake up and I’m getting out of bed. Of course, it may not be heart-related but I’ve done something that I didn’t think I’d do. Despite my intense fear of doctors, I contacted my local surgery yesterday to explain the situation and I’m waiting to hear back.

The last time I struggled with an eating disorder, I lost so much weight but I then put it all (and more) back on. And I’m worried that this will happen again. However, a difference this time is that I have therapy to help me come to terms being a carer to my child and talking things through with my therapist will hopefully help me find a way to get that healthy mindset back and be able to eat in a less restrictive, less dangerous way.

So, I feel embarrassed admitting all the above but I owe it to you readers and I owe it to myself to be upfront. How do I overcome this? I need to allow my caring voice to quieten the anorexic voice so that I stop heading down this destructive route, find a way to regain a healthy mindset, find a way to eat healthily so that I can still get to an average weight and use my story to inspire others

Hope you have a great weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday

Love Erika xx

8 thoughts on “An eating disorder or strict dieting?

  1. I think it’s hard to draw the line between trying to eat healthily and developing an eating disorder. Hell, there’s an eating disorder for people obsessed with eating healthy-orthorexia. Learning to eat the foods we love in moderation without beating ourselves up is definitely a challenge, but worth learning 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Ang. I think being a carer is significantly impacting me (with fear of my child’s future, etc.) whereas obsessing about food and the weight loss gives me something I can control… well, it feels like I’m in control of it but, simultaneously, I’m not.

      My understanding of healthy eating is completely different to 10 years ago so I’m definitely more hopeful that letting go of the obsessive thoughts won’t lead to suddenly putting on all the weight. Hopefully reaching out to my doctor and working with my incredible therapist will get me back on track and free up my mind 😊

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  2. I can offer a couple of suggestions I’ve been using. I have around 2 Stone to drop before I’m at/near my target weight. I haven’t done any elimination diets this time — I like things like bread too much to give it up entirely, and I know that won’t last. So I am focused on portion control.

    Here are some thoughts:

    I’ve set myself a smaller plate at the table for dinner. I serve up smaller portions — but rather than refuse to eat more, I sit for a couple of minutes and let my brain catch up to my stomach.

    I drink A LOT of water. I drink water before lunch and dinner (and snacks) before I actually eat something: dehydration often presents as hunger.

    If you’re not investigating a way to incorporate weight training, you’re missing out on a massive boost to your goals. I have a push up routine I do every day, and I’ve been adding more and more body-weight exercises to help develop muscle. If I’m heavier than my target weight but I’m leaner and in smaller clothes? I’ll deal with the higher number.

    I know you have a bunch of “When I…” goals; but pick one as your Holy Grail and make decisions focused on achieving that goal. (The other “When I…” goals will all come as part of the process). This changes your focus from “I have to lose weight” to “I am improving on… ” For instance: I don’t know if you know this, but I’m currently reconditioning myself after a running injury. My run blog/journal is: https://thefatguyrunningblog.wordpress.com/. The reason I’m working on weight loss is because I think I could be a better runner if I weren’t bashing my knees with a bunch of extra pounds.

    All that said, I can’t comment on the mental parts of that — I’ve not had any eating disorders or such. So I could be offering useless advice. Regardless, Erika: take care of yourself.

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    1. Thank you, Matt. Your journey is inspirational. Water is so important, isn’t it. When I started this journey, I found that a glass of water could do the trick and ruling out dehydration needed to come before reaching for the cookie jar. The days I kept going to the loo tended to be followed by the biggest weight loss!
      I have considered weight training. With increasing levels of sagging skin, I heard that weight training can help with this and if I feel better in skin, I could feel better in myself. So, it’s definitely something I’ve thought about getting into. I love cardio but I need to define my body more.
      And this journey is so much about the mind, whether it’s choosing a smaller plate, finding ways to focus on the right goals rather than obsess about the scales, etc. The thing about eating disorders is that this voice arises that’s far from the usual chilled, relaxed personality and everything is about food. Nothing is more important than what’s on the scales. Nothing’s more important than feeling that hunger (until the mind gets so used to it that it no longer recognises hunger). On Monday, I’ll include more about what I am eating which my logical mind tells me is dangerously low. But I’m going to hold onto the hope (well, more than hope, the knowledge) that I will get my eating back on track so that I’m healthy, feeling good mentally and doing all those things I’ve been wanting to do for years! What I don’t want is for crisis talks to occur again about hospitalisation and where I’m suddenly told not to walk for more than 10 minutes at a time due to the risk to my heart from eating so little. I’ll get there. I’m a tough girl and I don’t do failure!!

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  3. I think you made lots of progress just by identifying your situation and taking steps to address it. Our mind can really do a number on our physical health, so I think you are doing the right things to address your “stinkin’ thinkin’ “ . Please remember to be kind to yourself. These issues aren’t removed overnight.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kindness. I thinking struggling 10 years ago has given me useful insight because I discovered how serious things got (was incredibly close to being forcibly admitted to hospital) and I need to listen to do everything I can to avoid getting to that place again. Reaching out is hard and I’m dreading the call from the doctor today but I need to catch this early 😊

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  4. I wish I had good advice to help you but I’m actually struggling with the same things you are. I often wonder if I’m becoming too obsessed with losing weight or if you actually kind of need to be obsessed with it in order to not slip back into unhealthy eating habits. It’s very easy to fall back into having just one little bite of a treat, then one little treat, then okay, maybe having two treats… well if you’re having two, why not three?! And all the progress just unravels after that. It’s tough but you’re not alone.

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    1. Thank you. So good to know that I’m not alone. I have many days where it almost feels like a full-time job! All the thinking, planning, researching really adds up and I need to be careful as I get to my target weight that I learn to focus the skills in other areas rather than suddenly feel like it’s an abrupt ending. As someone else on here said, losing weight is just the beginning as maintenance is an entirely different animal. Now that I have a diagnosis of atypical anorexia, I know I’ve a lot of work ahead of me but blogging certainly helps to get the thoughts out of my head and be heard. I hope you’re able to toe the line with what’s a very difficult balance between being super focused and falling into bad habits, whether unravelling the progress or severely restricting. Take care xx

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