Eating a problem?

‘At the beginning, your eating disorder is light. It guides you, bewitches you, it infiltrates the myriad of threads that weave your dreams.

The light is mesmerising and pure and you are fixed on it: unwavering, driven, solitary. But your own light, the very essence of your self, is fading. Colour seeps from your world – rainbows become monotone, soft edges become angular, words of beauty become numbers, gains, losses. Joy is always just beyond reach, it slips away from you like water. The light evolves cold, and unforgiving, it steals your dreams. It is not your friend, after all.’

– Ellie

We know that life can be difficult sometimes. We all have things to face that feel very challenging. We try to find ways to cope, and for some of us, that might mean a change in our eating behaviour. If that has happened to you, and you are worried about it, don’t panic.

There is always hope, and we have seen many people recover fully from eating disorders.

Susan’s story:
Ihad bulimia for 8 years when I was in my twenties and I didn’t tell anybody at all during that time

I was a very insecure child, there was a lot of conflict in my family and I was often afraid my parents would divorce. I didn’t know how to win my parents’ approval so I tried to like what they liked. My mum was very beautiful and wanted us daughters to share her interest in fashion. But I liked sport – so I felt I was a disappointment to her and she did get angry with me sometimes.

She made one comment about being careful about what I ate so as not to put on weight. I went on an excessive diet and I got approval from her and others then, so carried on but found I could eat more if I made myself sick. This kept going for 8 years, especially when I was stressed. I was only happy when I was in ‘control’ and not eating many calories. Yet I was also ashamed, and scared of being found out.

But I wore myself out with it all and finally made a decision to change. I made a better eating plan. I accepted my weight as it was. I stopped binging. It was progress, but still I was obsessed with calories from then on.

More recently, I have learnt how to be honest about how I feel, I am learning who I really am. I have forgiven my parents, forgiven myself, and I can see how different factors triggered my eating disorder, including my personality. I am setting myself free from calorie counting and now I don’t weigh myself any more – I even smashed up my scales!

I have got more confidence, I know when I’m hungry, and I have stayed the same weight. I am learning to relax about food, as well as learning to accept myself and like myself. I am ok. It’s normal to get things wrong. I am not so dependent on what I think others think of me. No more pretending!

Susan’s story may ring some bells for you. Perhaps you have done similar things with food – or perhaps you have been binging. Like Susan, you may feel unhappy about your relationship with food and wonder if you can change.

What do I do?

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