I’ve been a bit ranty about the ‘clean eating’ thing recently because it bothers me a LOT. Dieting isn’t good for anyone. Especially not someone with a history of an eating disorder. It is generally accepted that any form of dietary restriction increases the risk of developing an eating disorder in vulnerable individuals, and once recovered, strict […]
In recent times, it seems that what we eat has gradually become synonymous with morality. The Hemsley sisters and Deliciously Ella cheerfully sell us the idea that if we cut out this or that, we too can be glowing, smooth skinned and full of peace. To ‘eat clean’ has become synonymous with self care, in spite of the heavy marketing (which should make anyone sceptical) and lack of science.
If you’re recovering from an eating disorder and are underweight, you really can’t get away from the fact that weight gain is an inevitable part of the process. It’s definitely the most ‘visible’ part, and often the element that people focus on most. At the same time, we often hear that it’s really not about the weight. It’s true that weight gain alone definitely won’t fix everything, although it may shift some of the rigidity that is secondary to ‘starvation’. But the uncomfortable truth is that for me at least, gaining weight may make some things worse, before they improve. This may not be the case for everyone, and I’m definitely not saying it isn’t worth it.
I’m feeling fairly determined at the moment. It’s unexpected, considering how I wanted to sink into the ground after therapy this morning. Part of the problem is that professionally, I know the answers, certainly in relation to managing anxiety. But I can’t always apply this to myself, and it sometimes gets in the way of my ability to challenge ‘food rules’ as much as I need to.
So this is an attempt to capture some of this unexpected perspective, as a way to (hopefully) refocus and provide an outside perspective when ‘eating disordered’ thoughts feel consuming and all too reasonable.
I’ve been writing here for a couple of years, and until recently it has been much more contemplation than doing much consistently ‘active’ in the way of recovery. I think my inactivity was fuelled by a few things. Mainly, genuinely thinking I didn’t have ‘enough’ of an eating disorder to justify asking for more help or making changes (‘not thin enough’, functional, being ‘fine’.). Continue reading
So, I have in recent years fairly frequently made the decision to gain more weight without actually following through on this. I am not sure whether this is because I am not motivated – maybe I don’t want it badly enough – or whether other things are in the way. Maybe I just need a bit more help, although I’m not really sure how to get that. I think over the years, a lot of things have held me back from taking the plunge and really going for (what I know is really) recovery. One of those things is the confusion about which part of my mind to actually believe. I really struggle to know what is accurate. Do I need to gain weight, or am I actually ok? My GP has said things to suggest I’m ok and things to suggest I’m not. I know the numbers, so I know I’m underweight. I know what my old dietitian would say if she were still seeing me. I know I’m quite far away from the weight she wanted me at. I also know how I feel, which is that most of the time is huge, and I wish my weight were lower. Continue reading
I’ve been struck recently by the proliferation of #eatclean and associated hashtags on social media. And I admit, it angers me. The clean eating’, ‘fitspo’ and other extreme ‘health’ or diet trends seem as distorted to me as full blown anorexia or bulimia. It might do a good job of masquerading as health, but really, if you can’t sit down and eat with friends and family, I question how ‘healthy’ your lifestyle really is. Continue reading
“You know, I’ve been thinking, you should try to eat the same way you’d want your future daughter to eat”. Those were the wise words of my partner recently. We had been discussing my never ending plan to improve my diet and gain the weight I (apparently) need to. Which I always talk about but never seem to do anything about. I had been explaining my reasons for making poor food choices which apart from anything else, now just seem to be habits. Not that changing them doesn’t make me anxious, because it does. Continue reading