eating disorders

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The Fall Out of a Weight Loss Holiday

Published July 16, 2015 by Crystal

Four pounds heavier, full of food and drink that do not nourish.

It was a blow out.  But I think I am beyond the post diet binge.  It isn’t even about them any more.  I’m rebelling, I’m self sabotaging, I’m doing everything that leaves me feeling crap and guilty, but I am finding it hard to analyse why.  The thing is, I now know the benefits of eating more veg, drinking less alcohol, drinking more water.  I know that less bread for me means less bloating.  I feel the physical and mental benefits when I do these things.  But then something snaps, and I want all those foods that make me feel below par.

Is it some sort of punishment for myself?  Do I somehow feel I don’t deserve to have good health and happiness?  And feel that I need to make it harder for myself to achieve those goals?  Or do I self sabotage because I feel I never succeed, and if I don’t let myself succeed, then failure is the inevitable, and I’m used to that, and I won’t be disappointed?  Mad, backwards thinking, but somehow it feels like that is the issue at the moment.

I feel on the edge of depression again, not quite falling in, but dangerously close to that edge, and I am desperate to turn it around before it’s too late.  So today I am making better food choices for me, increasing the water, and avoiding the caffeine.  Tonight is outdoor fitness, and I will treat myself more kindly.

Having food issues is all consuming, and exhausting.  And it’s why I get so mad at the Fattist and Sizest tweeters who are dead set on fat shaming.  I don’t like myself too much right now, and it isn’t encouraging me to lose weight.  It’s led to a week of overeating simply because.  And it’s exhausting for not only me, but my husband. Not because I am hideous and too fat to have sex with, but because I am emotional and needy and lacking in the self confidence.

Time for some kindness once more.


“You want to weigh yourself, you know you do”

Published November 8, 2014 by Crystal

I woke this morning after a horrid day yesterday with a lot of pain and nausea.  It might have been a tummy bug, but on reflection I think it was an ibs attack.

This sent me internal dialogue into a spiral of criticism and anxiety.  If I am tuning in and listening to my body, how have I ended up with an IBS attack?  Clearly omitting gluten and dairy and meat isn’t helping.  I am not tuning in enough.  I am missing something.  And if I can’t tune in enough to eat the right foods, then I probably have eaten so much I have gained half a stone.  Oh, and Thursday was a rest day, yesterday I was poorly, so I have done no exercise in 48 hours and that is incredibly lazy!

But I observed these thoughts and this little discussion between the voices in my head, and rather than being defensive, or justifying my actions or decisions, I have been saying “Isn’t that interesting?”

Rather than interacting with the thoughts that are whizzing through my head, I am watching, listening, and pausing before responding.

It isn’t easy.  When I normally actively participate in addressing and responding to the thoughts in my head, it is quite hard to let them pass for a little longer.  And it is bizarre to realise the thoughts come through whether I want them to or not, whether I think they are acceptable or not.

The biggest boldest thought that came through was that I should weigh myself.  And it is the one that I did go into depth thinking about.  It was one that in the past I would obey.  Because there is still that worry over weight gain, and anxiety over not tuning in.  But for now I know it is not going to aid in my healing from disordered eating, and for now I have committed to that for myself.

It really looks like such an innocent thought.  Go on, weigh yourself, just so you know you’re heading in the right direction.  Just so you know you haven’t completely slipped up….

Slipped up where?  Slipped up how?  What do I want here?  What is it I am measuring?  How much food I’ve eaten in the last 2 days?  How bloated I am after an IBS attack?  What exactly do I NEED to measure?  Am I not looking at my overall health and well being at the moment?  What would the scales tell me?  And how would I interpret that information today?

So I stood up against that voice telling me to weigh.  Telling me to measure myself by a plate of metal on the floor.  And I looked inward to how I am feeling now.  A little bit sensitive physically, like I’ve been punched in the gut a few times.  A little bit disappointed that I had an IBS attack, while I am focussing on tuning in, and giving thought and care to the food I eat.  Wondering if it is stress related, what it is I am feeling stressed over, what I am not addressing at the moment, but internalising and tensing up over.

As I type I am not entirely sure, but as I continue to tune in, and be kind to myself, I am sure the answers will come.  There are several thoughts and concerns that come to me, and so it is time to observe how I react physically to those thoughts and feelings, and see what they tell me.

But it is nothing that a number on the scales would have helped with.  Not at all.

I said I weigh every day, BUT

Published November 4, 2014 by Crystal

The last few paragraphs of “It’s Not About Food” are powerful.

“We have witnessed women standing in front of a mirror and for the first time in their lives being able to feel and express love for themselves, and then the next week turn around and say, “I’m completely stuck.  I’m not losing weight.”  We have seen women grow and change in beautiful ways but completely invalidate their growth because they haven’t lost weight.  Complete recovery from an eating disorder requires spiritual and emotional growth.  Sometimes weight loss accompanies this growth, sometimes weight gain accompanies it, and sometimes no physical change accompanies it.  The complete healing process is not linear.  It can fluctuate and it is different for everyone.  We will talk more about this later.  But for now it’s important just to understand that when we measure our progress only in weight loss or gain we set ourselves up for failure.  There are three reasons for this:  1) We are not placing value on our spiritual and emotional recovery, which means we are not hearing the message of our eating disorder; (2) we have removed ourselves from being present with the internal process that is necessary for recovery; and (3) when we aren’t gaining or losing weight at a regular rate, we think we’ve failed and we turn back to overeating or undereating.”

I have learnt to become mostly impartial to those numbers on the scale.  But then it begs the question, why do I weigh each day?  The following paragraphs ask the reader to question themselves on their behaviour around the scales.  But the part that struck a chord so strongly was this;

“Where did you learn to measure yourself in pounds only?  Is this the true measurement of your personality, your intellect, your body, and your soul?”

I thought I was ok weighing regularly.  I thought I was allowing healing through that impartiality, but really, those scales are still holding a power.  If the number increases, I must try harder.  If the number drops, maybe I let myself lose a little.  It’s time to take that next brave bold leap into healing.  Into really tuning in and trusting myself, and allowing my body to work with and not against my spirit.

“Trust that your present weight is the perfect weight for where you are right now in your life.”  

Wow.  How freeing.  How forgiving.  How accepting.

I’m ready to step off the scales.

Extracts from It’s Not About Food

“It’s Not About Food” extract

Published October 21, 2014 by Crystal

“We are writing this book to say there is another way. True recovery, going beyond hunger, is not a process of abstaining but of developing a self-assurance so that you choose what is best for your own unique body.  It is a process of reaching deep into your own insatiable emotional and spiritual hunger, that which you have been trying to satisfy with food.  It is looking at your eating disorder as a friend instead of an enemy, letting it teach you who you are and what you want from life.  It is healing your relationship, not only with food, but with yourself and your spirit.  What we’re proposing is not a quick fix.  In some cases it can be a long and challenging path because of the depth of the transformation that is required.  But one thing is certain, if you choose to undertake this path it will change your life forever.  Moving beyond hunger is a highly individualized process, one that is different for everyone.  Our eating disorders are a reflection of our different histories, different ways we’ve been wounded by our culture or families, different experiences with controlling our weight and food, and different emotional and spiritual needs.  For one person, it was always being overweight as a child and having her family and peers constantly teasing and judging her.  For another it was the pain of always having to have a perfect body, but never being seen for who she really was.  In both cases, the eating disorder was a reaction to the inner self being ignored, invalidated, and certainly not nurtured.  Although the core issues may be the same, the process of recovery, like the process of wounding, is very different.  You are the best judge of what you need for your healing.  This book will help you learn how to heal.”

“It’s Not About Food” Carol Emery Normandi and Laurelee Roark

If you would like to join a small group of us as we explore the chapters in this book, please do join us over on facebook in the Intuitive Eating Book Club

Cake is not the enemy!

Published October 14, 2014 by Crystal

Since reading this lovely phrase this morning, it has been going around and around in my head and I just had to come and write the stream of thoughts going through my head.

I was sharing a throw away comment made by someone last evening about me scoffing cake the previous night.  It upset me a little. Not because there is anything at all wrong with scoffing cake.  Not because cake is evil and must be tamed.  Not because I hate cake, or love it so much I cannot get enough of it.

I was upset because it seems to be an assumption of people dieting that we must not or can not be trusted around food.  I didn’t scoff cake.  I ate cake.  I ate a few more mouthfuls than I needed, and I certainly regretted that decision moments later when my tummy started to hurt.  But I didn’t “scoff” cake.  I ate every mouthful mindfully, really, every mouthful. It was a conscious choice to have cake.  I didn’t walk blindly into the kitchen, hunting through the cupboards for something to eat.  I had made the cake on Friday for my son’s birthday, and the rest of the family were about to have some.  I weighed up whether I really wanted some, or whether something else would satisfy, and I decided I wanted cake. I put a portion into a bowl, and I ate it slowly.  I noticed every single taste, the slight burnt sugar, the sharp honey, the rich cream. I was aware of the different textures, the slight crunch of one mouthful contrasting with the soft sponge of the next.

And I had every right to eat that cake!

And cake is nice!

Why shouldn’t I, or you, or anyone, enjoy a piece of cake?

And I realised then, in that moment, how far I have really come through learning of mindful eating, and reading all those books, and practising all those different ideas and principles in the various Intuitive Eating Books.  I can take or leave nearly any food these days.  Crisps are nice, chocolate is nice, cake is nice.  But they all have their time and place and I don’t need to eat the whole multi pack after eating one packet.  I don’t need to finish the whole bar of Dairy Milk because I opened it and broke off 4 pieces.  I certainly don’t need to finish off the cake that serves 12, because I baked it, and it needs eating.

And I am grateful, so so grateful that I am in this place now. I don’t scoff cake, because there is no need to scoff cake.  It serves no purpose.  My binges are so few and far between these days.  And it really is down to all those books about Intuitive Eating and Self Acceptance, and how Diets Don’t Work.

And I still believe Diets Don’t Work.  Maybe even more so today than of recent months.  I have lost 3 stone, and I have enjoyed taking what I can from Weight Watchers, and using it for some accountability, but I don’t believe Weight Watchers is the answer to all my problems.  It has helped me zone in on more optimal food choices at times.  It has helped me make balanced decisions through the day when I haven’t wanted to think too hard, when I haven’t wanted to be mindful, when mindfulness has felt like it would too much like hard work.  But using Weight Watchers, or Slimming World, or whatever else, or using none at all, it was ME that put all the effort in to get and maintain that weight loss over the year. It was me using the clubs in a way that helped me.

I have that rebellious streak that so many dieters do, and when someone starts to question my eating of cake, or chocolate, or meal out, then something in me starts to react and resist their rules and regulations. Thankfully now, though, it just means I rethink how I want to handle this whole weight loss thing.  In the past it might have meant a binge.  “YOU tell me I can’t have cake. I will eat 10 cakes!!”

I do wonder if the “scoff” comment was a bit of projection, because it’s a given that we can’t trust ourselves around food, isn’t it?  Maybe they would have scoffed cake if they had allowed themselves any?  I don’t know.  Maybe they just think I’m a piglet, and so obviously I would “scoff” the cake!

What it has left me feeling though, is that I need a break from following a diet plan, and to instead trust myself a little bit more for a couple of days.  No points, no syns.  Just tuning in at meal times to what I want to eat, and to how much I need.  Back to leaving food on my plate because I reach that point of satisfaction, and don’t need to eat everything just because it is there.  Getting out and exercising because I am enjoying the feeling of pushing myself, and because I know it is good for my overall health, and promotes better sleep and a general feeling of wellness, and not just because it means I can eat more food (though that has not been a reason for a number of years now, anyway)

And what it has also left me feeling is that Intuitive Eating is something people would really benefit from reading about!  To remove that guilt and anxiety around all those foods that diet clubs continue to have you fearing.  To gain some self belief that we can be trusted.

If you’ve got a kindle I would recommend How To Have Your Cake for a simple read, too.  And kindle or paperback Beyond Chocolate

I’m never going to make it as a diet magazine success story.  I can’t advocate one way to easily lose weight and keep it off.  But I continue to make it as a Stepping into yourself success story, because I am my own success story.  I fight depression, I keep making peace with my body, and I’m getting there in marathon training.  LIfe isn’t all smooth sailing, one size doesn’t fit all, and no slimming club is going to change your life without you putting your own effort and thoughts and decisions into the mix.

Cake is NOT the enemy

Thought this picture perfect to show how lovely and loving cakes really are! 😉

But cake.  Cake is definitely not the enemy.  And sometimes it can be what makes a crappy day a little bit better!

I do have my own food (well, drink) kryptonite.  Don’t get me wrong.  I can’t stop at one glass of red wine.  Not ever.  It’s not that I’m an alcoholic.  I just love red wine, and once I’ve had one glass, my resolve and common sense vanish. After a glass of wine, anything goes.  And so there is no “legalising” wine.  It’s an all or nothing thing, and it’s simply how alcohol affects me.  So for a number of benefits, it is better to avoid it rather than attempt to learn moderation.  Any other food though, it really is take or leave.  And yes, it may have taken many, many years to get to this point, but here I am. 

Feels like things are on the up, and trying out 5:2

Published June 16, 2014 by Crystal

Imsomnia seems to have made its excuses and left.  It’s a great thing.  Though I seem to be in the opposite state at the moment of not being able to get up in the morning, so I’m still yet to find a happy medium once more.

But I’ve had some laughs the last few days.  And that’s good.  Yes, I have felt tearful, and irrational at times, but there is some recognisable joy of late, and it’s good.

My food issues are still at the forefront of my mind.  Some meals go great, I feel calm, collected, I leave food because I am satisfied with a small amount.  Other times I feel completely out of control, the desire to numb, or not bother at all with paying attention.  Anxiety, stress.  It builds up.

I still want weight loss.  Physically I know I feel better now, a couple of stone lighter.  And I believe I would benefit from some more weight loss.  But I am also aware of the fine line I walk between obsession and normality.  I like control.  I hate being out of control but it easily happens around food.  And when the control is lost, the depression can hit, or depression can hit and control is lost.

So I’ve been thinking what to do about it all, and it was a coincidence that someone asked on a group about the 5:2 and whether anyone has experiences with it.  It’s something that a couple of family members have seen real success with.  Particularly in losing and maintaining the loss.  Personally it hadn’t appealed in the past.  The idea of virtually no food for 2 days of the week just did not appeal.  But then during lent I skipped lunch, and enjoyed the physical feelings.  I felt lighter and enjoyed feeling connected to my body, and noticing the hunger and how it sat in my body.  I stopped before Lent had finished because I was finding it hard to do my long training walks (3+ hours) while Fasting 10 hours a day.  And then in the last few weeks, with my food portions dropping drastically, there was a part that enjoyed again the lighter physical feeling of eating less, but then panic started to come, about what would happen when I started to eat normally (for me) again, and the weight loss I’d got might vanish over time.

So the discussion about the 5:2 was of interest to me this time around.  If you’ve seen the Eat, Fast, Live Longer Horizon show, you will have known the way it took the country by storm.  People didn’t focus on the many possible physical benefits, the actual “Live Longer” aspect of the show, or the information on moving the body into a state of repairing, lowering cholesterol, blood pressure etc. It was the weight loss that appealed.  And  I guess that is human nature in this day and age.  Michael Mosley ended up writing a book after so many requests for his help, and so many people finding the idea of fasting for 2 days a week a really easy way to lose weight.

I downloaded the book, and read through it last night.  Reading with awareness.  Reading with caution that I walk that fine line between obsession and normality.  A part of the book that was of particular interest to me was about Fasting and Mood.  There is some evidence that BDNF is positively affected by Intermittent Fasting, and can have an antidepressant effect, though mostly in rodents, still lots of trials on humans to be done!  I decided that this in itself was a good reason to at least give the 5:2 a good try.  A little bit of control a couple of days a week, feeling hunger, doing things other than eating, then eating “normally” for the other 5 days of the month.

I honestly have no idea how this is going to pan out.  I am going to keep in mind the Beyond Chocolate principle of Be Your Own Guru, but then part of the thing that attracts me to the 5:2 is that this is the approach Michael Mosley says we need to take.  We need to find our own way of making the fast days work for us.  Maybe we’ll want one big meal, maybe 2 small, maybe an apple mid day, maybe no breakfast until it’s gone 11am.  There is flexibility.  Today I started with an omelette.  This evening I will have salmon with rocket salad.

I won’t lie.  There is that little bit of euphoria over starting something new.  But that is better right now than the stress and anxiety over feeling no control.

I’ll keep you posted.



I got on the scales today.

Published June 8, 2014 by Crystal

I know weight is coming off.  That isn’t a surprise.  I wanted to know what I was weighing today, how much has gone in the last few weeks.

The result showed me beneath what had become a massive obstacle over a few months.  I’m now 33lbs lighter than I was at the beginning of October.  Something to celebrate, yes?

It’s odd.  I got on, looked at the number, got off again, and felt, well, numb, really.  The obstacle that had obsessed me for so long has been passed.  With no bells, no whistles.  I’m disliking my obsession around food right now.  I’m trying to be intuitive, but panic over the small amounts I currently eat.  If I eat a larger meal worry creeps in, as if I’m suddenly going to gain half a stone over night.  The constant resistance to wanting to purge is tiring.  But I am winning that battle right now.

There seems to be nowhere to go with it at the moment.  I just have to keep reminding myself to be kind to me and go meal by meal, day by day.

On a very positive note, our shed is complete.  Absolutely done.  Airforce blue and waiting to be filled with the crud from the former shed that currently fills the garden.  And it felt good to be so active for three days solid.  To physically exhaust myself and not have meals, and the many other anxieties taking up my every waking thought.

One step forward is still a step forward.