Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Travelling when struggling with an eating disorder (&masterpost)

hi izzy,
do you like travelling? how do you manage your meal plan when you are on 
holidays?
i have always loved travelling - but now, in recovery, my daily routine and 
meals cooked by myself make me feel safe and comfortable. when i think of 
travelling, it makes me feel uncomfortable because i won't have control 
about the ingredients, amounts and times of my meals.

ps: thanks for your blog, it's very helpful and motivating :)


Hello and thank you!
  To begin with i love travelling, it used to give me alot of anxiety for many different reasons but now i love it, even if i can get some home longing after a few days. But now its exciting to see new things, make new memories, take lots of photos and trying the new food is also a bonus!!!
  I am recovered and healthy so i dont follow a meal plan, i just listen to my body and eat what my body needs which is usually 6 meals per day. When i travel i eat very differently from how i do at home because i dont have as much access to food as well as it being different food and eating out for most meals. But i always pack with me bars such as questbars and big bags of nuts to have with me so that i can have those as snacks and then wherever we are staying i always buy even more snacks in the country that we are in so that i can get the right amount of energy i need.
When it comes to main meals i eat whatever i am served if we are staying at someones place and if we are staying in a hotel then we often eat lunch and dinner out in cafes or restaurants and then i order what it is i am craving/wanting right then.
  When you are on holiday you dont need to worry about eating out, most people do that 2-3 times per day while they are on holiday. Instead of worrying about it and worrying about the calories or portions etc think that its just normal food. Its energy which fuels your body and gives you energy to live.
  
When you are on holiday you dont have your routines or habits and you dont get to control food or eat the same thing or same time as when you are at home, but that is a good thing. It helps you move away from your control and obsession and learn to let others make food for you. TO make you realise its ok to eat different things at different times, you dont have to control food. 
   You dont need to restrict when you are on holiday, in general when you are on vacation you do quite alot during the days as well as maybe not eating so often as you would when you are at home. So i know that for alot of people in recovery they get scared thinking they will gain weight when they are on holiday and so eat less and then they come home and have lost weight even though they think they ate loads. For me when i go on holiday even though i try to eat as much as possible and always eat snacks i can end up losing weight because you dont get the same amount of energy into you because you might not be able to eat as soon as you are hungry.

With travelling it can make you uncomfortable but its good to step outside of your comfort zone. To face your fears and give up your control. Because you cant control your food and only eat food prepared by you for the rest of your life, that would be a very restricted life. Instead you need to push past those fears, maybe begin with taking a weekend away somewhere where you then eat out 2 times per day as well as packing with you or buying snacks to eat as those are important.

I have some posts which can help you with travelling and facing fear foods:

How to cope on holiday
Facing fears and restrictions
Panic when eating
Facing fear foods
You cant progress living with the same routines
You are confined by the walls you build yourself
Anxiety while food shopping
Eating at different times

Dog watching and spa day

Hello :)
 
I thought i would do a little update :) Today i have been a dog watcher with A for his parents dog. We drove to their house and then went for a short walk in the forest with the dog, ate fruit salad for a snack (or i ate that anyway, he ate nutella sandwiches!) and then we have had a bit of a spa day as his parents have a sauna and a jacuzzi in their house!! I must say it was relaxing by 150%!!! Super nice to just sit in the sauna and then the jacuzzi!! After 4 hours we were both looking like raisins and now we're waiting for his parents to come back before we begin making dinner :)







Its been a super relaxing day though i must admit some mental anxiety and stress is beginning to creep in because i have so much work that i havent done this break at all and on Monday it all begins again and im just wondering how i will have time for everything :( But instead of worrying about it now i need to just let go of that stress, remind myself that there is no point trying to begin editing an essay now, hahaha. Instead enjoy my break and relaxing day!!
  I must admit it helps to write out my thoughts and my stress/anxiety, helps me to think more rationally :)
  Instead tomorrow i am going to make sure to get some work done!!!

How is everyone spending their Saturday? :)


Chaotic yesterday followed by a cosy evening

Good morning Saturday!!
   How is everyone doing today? :)

Yesterday was a bit of a chaotic day. It started off in a good way, breakfast followed by some chocolate because that was what i was craving and Japp Marabou is just soo good in my own opinion!! I had then decided to do some boxing with my sister however when i was going to take the tram i realised it wasnt going and instead i had to take a bus, so i wandered around trying to find that then had to wait and then get off and take another bus which went in the wrong direction before it turned around and went back the right direction, then i had to get off that bus to take another tram and then get off at a station and walk a distance to get to the gym and in total it took about 2 hours, when normally that distance would have taken about 40 minutes. Crazy!!! I got to the gym and had lots of irritation and anger and LOTS of energy. So we worked hard and it felt super awesome :) A guy working at the gym (its not my gym its my sisters) seemed interested in the boxing and was curious whether i was a trainer/PT or not..... so that was kind of fun to hear. Just some more training and confidence and maybe i might start seeking jobs at a gym or teaching Aerobox to others/groups :)



Then i picked up a package, headed home, ate everything in site, lay in my bed which felt super good. It was nice to spend a little time at home and just be around my own things... when im living from one small bag with clothes and dont really have my own things around me, it can feel a little weird!!

Then anyway i headed back to A's and it took about 90 minutes instead of 50 minutes. -_-'
  Then it was dinner followed by Ben and Jerrys and a film!!! Perfect and cosy way to end the week :) Now its only 2 days of my break left, so i am going to enjoy them as much as possible!! 



Next week will be super duper stressful with lots of work, tests and deadlines, so hopefully in a week or two i will have more time for blogging, emailing etc because now im just doing those when i have a few free moments, which isnt so often now a days. :/
  But i like having things to do, so im not complaining :)

(Soo much mention of food in this post XD XD Sorry. hahahah -_-' Ill find better things to write about!)

What to do when friends/family are dieting/eating low kcal around you

One of those tough situations you are put in during and after recovery is when friends or family around you are dieting or eating low kcal. That can trigger something within you, thinking that you are doing wrong by ordering a pasta dish when a friend orders a salad, or you eat a magnum ice cream and your sister takes a popsicle... you begin feeling guilty, anxious, triggered. You get self hate for yourself and believe you made the wrong decision because someone ate something that might be less calories. But you need to stop that type of thinking right then and there. To take a moment to just breathe and ask yourself What does it matter what someone else ate/is eating?
   Its easy to compare yourself to others, look at what others are eating and want to do the same thing. But you need to listen to yourself, know what YOUR body needs. There will always be someone dieting, wanting to lose weight or saying they have already eaten/not hungry. that doesnt mean you have to do it as well.


If you go to a cafe with a group of friends and you all order cake and hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and one of your friends orders a diet cola, it can evoke feelings inside of you. But you know what, WHO CARES. Instead enjoy that you can eat that cake or the extra scoop of ice cream or that toasted bagel etc and know that you will enjoy more food later on. You are giving your body energy, and you know what your friend will still eat later on and if they dont, well then feel sorry for them. Because a life without food, a life where you are scared to eat and obsessed with calories, that is a very sad life. Its barely a life at all. Instead be proud and happy of yourself that you are fighting for your health, that you know what your body wants and needs, that you can enjoy all types of food and give your body energy.
   And there will be people who are dieting and trying to lose weight and you know what, some people need to lose weight. Dont get triggered by that... weightloss is not your life goal, some people need it to be healthy that doesnt mean you have to lose weight as well or that you are suddenly in competition or you need to eat less than them.
   You are not a monkey, you shouldnt just follow others. I mean if someone jumps does that mean you have to jump as well? No it doesnt.  Everyone goes their own ways and has to know what is best for them.

So instead of focusing on what others are doing focus on what is best for YOU.

When you get guilty feelings or feel triggered by friends or family, take a moment to just breathe and think rationally. Even if that means you go to the bathroom and just try to calm down for a few moments. Or even sit in the bathroom and write down your thoughts... ive done this before, even if it meant i was gone 10 minutes. That was what i needed to do to calm down and then be able to actually eat. Be kind to yourself and your body!! Having a good motto or mantra to repeat to yourself in tough times is also a good idea :):)


I hope this helps. Focus on YOU and YOUR body and YOUR goals. Not on what others are doing.

(And on a side note, i know at times people react or get triggered when i post a picture of a sugar free chocolate or 0,5% yoghurt etc but remember everyone is different :) I eat normal chocolate just like i eat sugar free chocolate, i eat 4% yoghurt just like i eat 0,5% yoghurt. Its different and all depends on what we have at home or what i am craving. So dont get triggered or react towards one picture or one item!! )




Friday, February 27, 2015

Recovery advice from a reader (NED awareness week)

The post and advice below comes from Olivia , who writes about what has helped her in recovery!!


One of the most helpful things in my recovery was support and knowing that someone   cared.   Having someone who has gone through similar struggles or somebody who is currently struggling with very similar things, it helps knowing youre not alone and that there are people understand. 

Hearing advice and feeling support, I didnt realize that it was actually working until much later. I reached out because there was that tiny glimpse of hope, that maybe things dont have to be like this, that, who knows, maybe recovery is possible for me two. So I reached out, I got advice and found places and people I could be honest with about my ED, someting I couldn't bring myself to do for more than a year. 

One blog post, video or email could change a lot, but it didnt suddenly change my thoughts to healthier ones, made the silent anxiety go away.
Instead it planted that ray of hope and made   my day that tiny bit more positive. Slowly but surely I was going forward. Veeery slowly... I fell back many times, but in me there was still that anger I felt towards all that the ED made me do and how it made me feel. 

I got back up, and thats what matters. I did not give up. If I had given up I probably would've been going up and down in weight, my metabolism would still be messed up and I would have had an irregular period if one at all. I would be possibly failing in school, struggling a lot, feeling hopeless. If I hadn't kept going and fighting my ED I wouldn't have had a blog, I wouldnt have signed up for the Color Run, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy pancakes for breakfast with my friends, I would feel stuck and filled with anxiety. I dont want that. I didnt like not having energy, I dont like knowing that I was slowly killing myself and destroying my health, thats why I chose recovery. 

There is so, so much I wouldve missed out on, opportunities, new people, memories. My ED was not worth having, not in the slightest.  I hope anyone realizes that it is possible for YOU as well. You are not an exception and it IS possible for you too. Chosing recovery is one of the first and hardest steps. But its one that will get you so far, you may not even imagine how far. 

Friday Finds

Food


Craving


foodaddictofficial:

More yummy photos here!

Wanting

(LINK) ^^ They are so pretty!! Want them :)




Motivation


Funny
awwww-cute:

My friend wanted a dog so he went and adopted Hank. He is a little different

Cute


dogsdogsdogs1:

My puppy got some shots and my other dog was comforting herDogs! Dogs! Dogs!
(You might have noticed that i find dogs very cute!!!)


Helpful tips for recovery

Here are some helpful tips/advice from readers on what has helped/is helping them in recovery!

I want to say that what helped, and is currently helping me, is being with people that I know, even when you don't want to be, as they can make you feel less isolated and alone. These people don't even have to know what you are going through, but sometimes just having someone there makes you feel less alone. But of course, if you feel like you do need time alone, than that is helpful too. I also found that talking a walk in the fresh air helps to motivate you to carry on and brings more positive thoughts to you, as well as give you a new least of life - I always find that it helps to make me feel better. Also, music helps me so much! When I'm down, or feeling 'fat', or like I need to restrict, I put my headphones on and listen to music that I like, and it really does help to inspire and motivate you to carry on. I also found that re-reading childhood books, or listening to them on audio CD (such as Harry Potter, Jacqueline Wilson books) was really helpful as a way of escapism and a reminder that everything will be alright. 



What helps is being with others and keeping busy, (although not to tire yourself) such as voluntary/ charitable work/ activities and hobbies. Being out in the fresh air and focusing your mind on other tasks, takes your mind off food and your body. 

Listening to 'happy' music is also something that helps me and mainly just doing things that make others happy and in turn me happy! 

Having goals/ targets and endeavouring to really stick to them and staying focused is important. If you want to recover...then that is the first step. 



Being around others, even if it's just sitting and talking helps, as even if you feel miserable, anxiety ridden etc, others are there. Also getting some fresh air from a walk helps SO much, even if you don't feel like it. But most importantly, music has helped me xxx

In recovery you have to test things out, like a science experiment, if you don't do the experiment you won't get the results. If it doesn't work the first time, come up with a better strategy and try again until you are happy'




The way to my heart is through coffee and chocolate

Good morning :)

Its Friday and it feels like today is going to be a wonderful day! Why? Well because im thinking positive and going to make today a good day!! Im eating breakfast now and soon im going to met my sister and we're going to do an aeroboxing workout, despite still being sore since Tuesdays aerobxing i am 110% excited anyway!! Then i have some packages to pick up, maths to do and then back to A's place to eat dinner and see what we decide to do for the rest of the evening!

Yesterday i sat from 11am until 5.30pm and varied from doing maths, research, writing on my project, writing posts, emails and other things i needed to do. I had a period during those hours where i just wanted to take a nap, my head wasnt ready to start studying again.... it knows im on my break!! But i had to force myself to study, though i did wrap myself in a blanket, make some tea and then sit in the sofa and do maths, that helped!!!

When A came home he came with gifts for me as he knew that i had been trying to study all day and that i was feeling tired.... he had bought me chocolate and energy drinks!!! That is like the sweetest thing you can do for me!! All my life I have said the way to my heart is through coffee and chocolate and A seems to have realised this, even though i havent said it!!

The perks of having a boyfriend, you can get him to buy you chocolate :) hahah 

I then made dinner and we ended the evening with a movie!!

This break is going to quickly, soon it will be Monday and then i will be back to school and i really dont know if im ready for that. I enjoy waking up at 8am, doing my own things during the day then spending the evenings with A!! Its a nice way to spend my day and know that i get all the things I want to do done. There is no stress or pressure!!
But thats life, school is part of life and i need to just continue enjoying these next 3 days and enjoying my break!!!

Now its time to get ready so i hope you all have a lovely day!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Readers story & advice

For NEDA week (or any time really) if you ever want to share YOUR story or advice or tips regarding recovery or life in general, then just email me!! We can all help to inspire and motivate each other!

Here comes Cristina's story and advice:

I have had anorexia nervosa for 10 years.  I was undiagnosed for 8 of those years. I didn't really think anything was wrong.  What I wanted was not to take up as much space.  Not to impose.  To have people want to take care of me.  Or not notice me.  

My father was emotionally and physically abusive. I realized I could not control his erratic behavior, but I could control myself.  I vowed not to take my anger out on others, instead, it would be better turned inward.  I had so many thoughts during my childhood "If I could just be better"  "If I could just be good".  So I restricted.  Anorexia provided a disconnect.  A dizziness and an escape from my life.  I started restricting at 14.  The classic diet of carrot sticks.  Sometimes goldfish crackers. Nothing with enough nutrients.

So when my mother threatened to hospitalize me, I was scared.  I couldn't sleep, couldn't go through a day without feeling like I would pass out, having heart palpitations, nails that were always chipping, feeling like I was just floating through the day.  I knew I was hurting myself.  I tried to get better on my own.  I gained 20 pounds, and maxed out.  One low BMI to another low BMI.  But I thought I was "better".

Recovery has been a long process for me.  I've asked for help along the way, and received it.  But you have to actually dedicate yourself to getting better.  The longer you are sick, the more it becomes a part of you.  My advice would be to focus on what you do want.  Life goals.  I want to have children and a career, I want to not think about food all the time, or feel guilty.  I don't want ten years of being sick to become eleven years of being sick.  

If you are a "functional anorexic", it's hard to find reasons to recover.  I was doing well at an Ivy League school, I had friends, I was close with my mum and siblings, I have had jobs and promotions. But having all of those things, and adding in an eating disorder, it serves as a distractor, it makes you feel that you have accomplished less.  The eating disorder voice is a dichotomy.  Always telling us that in order to be more, we must be less, weigh less.  I think we should challenge ourselves to be more.  To allow ourselves to take up space.  I finally am realizing that in letting go of anorexia, I am accepting myself, as I am.  

My advice is to challenge yourself to see how much potential you can have if you choose to let go.  The eating disorder is not responsible for our successes, that is separate.  So here is to untangling the two.  We are so much more than an eating disorder.  So this NEDA week (and ideally going forward), let's reclaim ourselves. 

Do i remember what it is like to have an eating disorder?

I got asked whether i even remember what its like to have an eating disorder, and to answer this honestly. To some extent No. That is recovery.

The thoughts, the anxiety, the fears, the guilt, the eating disorder thoughts and mind sets passes. That is recovery, if i still knew what and felt what it was like to have an eating disorder then i wouldnt be fully recovered. I dont have a voice in my head controlling me, making me obsessed with comparison, ED thoughts or habits. I live a free life i control my own mind and when i do think negatively or have bad days i can change those thoughts and they usually pass within a day or a few days.
  Of course i still have my memories and i can remember what its like to feel the extreme guilt and anxiety, but as each day passes it fades because thats not me anymore. It would be strange if i still remember exactly how it felt to feel guilty and anxious after eating or to feel fear before eating chocolate, but i dont feel that. I am free.

The thoughts and feelings they pass over time. That is recovery. Does that mean that i cant help as much? Well eventually there will come a day when i feel that i might not be as much help as i was just a year after recovery or so. But in all honesty i dont know if i want to spend my whole life blogging about eating disorders and about my past either... eventually i will move more towards health, nutrition and exercise and not have my past involved in that because i feel i am so judged on my  blog here about my choices now a days just because of my past.
  I dont want to be seen or judged as the girl who had an eating disorder, but see me as the healthy girl i am now. And choices are based on what is best for me, how i feel and what i feel like right then. Somedays i have lots of energy and do lots of things, somedays i forget to eat and only eat a few times. Somedays i spent the whole day in bed, somedays i eat lots or eat half a jar of nut butter or 5 slices of bread after breakfast. Everyday is different and none of those things or choices are related to my past.

However i feel this post is getting very off topic - too many thoughts at once. But i was accused of being wrong because what i post can trigger those who are sick, but the fact is its not my responsibility to be completely trigger free because what triggers people can be very different. I can only do my best and to post things which i feel i want to post, to write what i want to write and if someone doesnt like what i post or write, then it is their decision to stop following or reading for their own sake. There will always be triggers out there and instead of accusing someone else of doing wrong, you have to deal with the triggers, comparison etc within yourself because the triggers wont just disappear, its YOU who has to make the triggers not triggers and learn to not compare yourself to others. Its tough, its not easy but thats the only thing that will give you mental peace.

Before this post becomes too scattered and too many different things at once, im going to end it here... and hopefully it makes some sense and i have gotten something important and useful information out in this post :):)



**TRIGGER WARNING PICTURES BELOW**
'







^^When i look at those pictures it doesnt feel like it was me... When i took those pictures i felt like the fatest person alive. All i saw was fat and didnt understand how people could tell me i was skinny or had anorexia, it made no sense to me at all because i couldnt see how skinny i was.
Now however i look at those photos and think, how could anyone want to have that body as an inspiration? Or want to look like that, i was by no means healthy or happy at all.



^^In "recovery" when i actually did  eat, i thought this was enough for a lunch.... ???

















Running is a form of therapy

With new music on my playlists, the sun shining and a smile on my face i let my legs carry me forward in the sunshine. It really is beautiful where A lives, however i do think that running in the forest is my favourite. When there are loads of cars driving by and its concrete for most of the way its not as relaxing, but still very enjoyable. Running gives me time to think, i can process different things in my mind and gives me time to think rationally about things, not stress about certain things going on in my life or things that worried me.
  It's a form of freedom and therapy for me, though all exercise is but with running then its like i dont have to think about that one last rep or think about proper form... my body and legs know what they are doing so my mind has time to wander.








Running in nature is my favourite, it feels a bit like flying as well as being able to see so many new things as well as knowing that you are actually moving forward, not like on a treadmill when you see the same thing for the whole time you are on the treadmill. But everyone has their preferences and thats ok :) Everyone is different, thats what makes us unique!!

After my morning run i refueled with a second breakfast and for the rest of the day i am just going to study, answer emails, try to get around to answering comments as well as writing blog posts... so basically the next 6-8 hours i will be sitting infront of my computer working until A comes home!!! :)

How are you spending your day today? :)