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:


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Answers - disordered eating times, over coming fears, gaining weight, overcoming weight barriers

 Is it bad to just want to eat healthy foods? Like if I want a muffin or cookie Id usually not because it's not healthy so I'd go for the fruit instead? 

It's not bad to want to eat mostly whole foods and "healthier" foods, however if you always choose the healthiest before what you want then its not so healthy. You need to be able to eat balanced and eat what you crave as well because there is nothing wrong with a muffin or a cookie. Everything in balance, i.e you dont just have to eat fruit and you dont have to only eat muffins either. But choose what you are craving, eat a muffin sometimes, eat a fruit sometimes, but  not feeling guilty over what you choose is important. Overcoming these fears and restrictions is part of recovery.

Also, I'm really sorry, but I have to ask you for some advice...I now work as a full time waitress, which is quite an active job. My weight was relatively stable for a few weeks at a BMI of 19.5, but recently I have gained weigh to give me a BMI of 20 eating the same amount (2300 calories a day). It's stressing me out! I don't why I've gained weight when I am eating the same amount and being more active (!), and I'm scared that my weight will keep going up and up and up, which is hard as I'm having trouble enough accepting my weight as it is. I don't have my periods back yet (after not having had them for roughly 3 years), and I never ate over 2300 calories a day in recovery and I'm scared I've messed my body up! If you could help me out, then that would be wonderful! Lots of love xxxxx

I know you already got an answer from a reader who gave a great answer, but i thought i would reply as well. Your weight could be going up because your body wasnt aactually at its healthy weight with a BMI of 19.5. Now when you are more active you are stressing your body and it wants to make sure that you are a healthy weight so that it feels safe. Even if it sounds strange you could always try eating a little more, especially if you are alot more active now, compared to when you ate 2300kcal and werent as active... your body could need more food. Which you might think sounds ridiculous as you have already gained weight while eating 2300 kcal. But you can try it, otherwise... give your body a few weeks to adapt i am pretty sure you arent going to keep gaining weight, so the important thing is to just keep giving your body the right amount of energy no matter what your weight is.
  For me personally, my goal weight from Mando was BMI 18.5 but then when i began working out instead of losing weight i gained weight and my body settled on a BMI of around 19/19.5 and thats where it stayed and also when i got my period back, and then when i began strength training i gained muscle and so my BMI went up more to around 20/21. BMI and weight are just numbers, the important thing is that your body functions properly and is healthy, but also that you can live an energetic and happy life. If you havent gotten your period back, then it means that your body isnt healthy and your weight might not be healthy either. Like the anonymous said in the comment they left, after you have suffered with a restrictive eating disorder you usually need to weigh a little more than you did before you had the eating disorder (if you had a lower weight pre ED) as the body has been through so much and needs to make sure it is safe. Dont panic too much about the weight gain, try to just focus on living life, on work, on eating enough and overcoming the fears and restrictions you might have. If your weight keeps going up and you have no idea why, then you can deal with that later on... but for now i dont think it will lead to that, especially not if you are eating very little (i.e 2300 kcal isnt alot if you have a very active job) and doing alot during the days.

This year has been too long with too much work. So the last part is always the hardest to push through and I just can't get any food into me when I feel like this. You don't think you have any ideas on what one can do to help push through and gain some energy and motivation to eat?'

Well the first thing to remember is that if you dont eat, or dont eat enough times will feel even tougher. Because without food you wont have energy and things will feel harder and tougher. So you need to eat even if you dont feel like it. Eat more high calorie foods if you struggle with eating more. Other things you can do is set some fun goals, things you can aim to achieve and maybe have some rewards for reaching those goals... it can be any type of goal. Social, physical (not meaning chane your body, but maybe you've always wanted to do a handstand or run a5km race or try dancing etc) or mental goals. Try something new during these last few months. Write a list of things you want to achieve by the end of 2015 or maybe a little bucketlist for the next 3 months.
   Plan some fun things for the future, things to look forward to. Maybe a weekend away somewhere, or going to a concert or going to a themepark or something fun... that can always be a great motivator! Or plan something fun for Halloween, Christmas and New Years! If you have fun things to look forward to you can feel more motivated to live and do stuff and that means also eating so you have energy.

You can also try new recipes, new snack ideas etc to keep you eating. Otherwise if you really struggle with eating then try to follow a meal plan, then it means that you eat at certain times and know you have to eat and eat the right amount. That can also be a good thing to fall back on when eating becomes a struggle, but eventually being able to eat more freely is the goal as you shouldnt follow a meal plan for the rest of your life. But try to find motivation for life and living life and then eaitng is part of that!!

i always seem to have a baby belly and by evening it's rock solid and this stops me going out as i am so embarrassed and i always check my stomach 1st thing in morning to see how big i am and I'm always big then too. I'm finding it so so upsetting and all my clothes don't fit they are super tight round the middle and i still have loads of kgs to put on but I'm already a size 8/10 around the middle so scared I'm going to be obese i can't cope

The first thing is that it sounds like you do alot of body checking which isnt good. Always looking in the mirror or always looking at your stomach is a sign of an unhealthy mindset. You are more than your stomach and it really isnt as bad as you think. At the moment your thoughts and your life might revolve around your body and food  but there is more to life than that and you are more than your body. I am not sure how far you are in recovery, but it sounds like you have extreme bloating which is tough... but you are not alone with that struggle. Most people in recovery from a restrictive eating disorder go through extreme bloating when the belly is big and very bloated and hard, but it will pass. The important thing is that you keep eating your meals and getting the food and energy your body needs. You will not always be bloated, it will go away and the weight will also redistribute. In recovery i suggest you try to wear more loose clothing as it is more comfortable because of the bloating.

Also, you wont be obese and you wont be overweight either. You will reach a normal and healthy weight for YOU. But because of your eating disorder you might think that is big or too big, when infact it is just a healthy weight and size for you and your body. The way you look now is not how you will look forever, your body will change and change again, but you need to focus on overcoming your thoughts and fears, fighting your eating disorder and trying to accept and love your body, but like mentioned, it will change. You are more than your body and more than your stomach, so dont let those things control you. Instead i challenge you to actually go out and do something some time in the evening, even if it feels uncomfortable. Instead put on something loose, maybe some jumper and try to let go of your thoughts of your body because no one else cares, its only you who thinks too much about it and your own body. Instead, do something different and break free from the body thoughts, distract yourself. If you go to treatment, keep doing what the doctors are telling you. Keep eating and following your meal plan if you have one, it will help. This stage isnt forever, it will get easier and get better, you just got to push through the tough times and tough stages.

izzy, do you have any advice on meal times, i am trying to keep to a food plan but i find that i am hungry at times that i shouldn't be eating and then i feel i have to starve myself till i can allow myself to eat and thus I'm clock watching and o don't know what to do with myself as i can't concentrate and I'm in physical pain. but if i eat early say then i have an even bigger gap before i can eat again and then this is worse cos I'm in more pain then. i feel so greedy and out of control and it feels like I'm bingeing if i eat all at once or soon after. i don't know what to do maybe I'm eating the wrong foods or something

 The first thing.... "times that i shouldnt be eating". If you are hungry, eat. If you are still very hungry despite following a meal plan, increase your meal plan. Eat bigger portions.... your meal plan is a plan with enough energy for your body and you shouldnt be feeling hungry, that is the opposite of a good meal plan. And even if you are getting enough energy and gaining weight, you can still increase., the body adapts and needs more food. Especially if you have been restricting, then your body wants food, it has been stressed and been in starvation mode then it wants to make sure it gets enough energy so that it can repair your body and maybe the internal damage that has been done. So my first suggestion if you feel that you dont want to eat at random times is to increase your portions at each meal and aim for 5-7 meals per day. Eat so that you feel full, because no... you cant concentrate when you are hungry. Your body is telling you that it needs energy and so you need to listen to that, but if you feel full after your meal then you should be able to do and concentrate on other things and then when its time for another meal you eat that meal and feel full again.

You are NOT greedy in recovery. You are eating what your body needs and it is not binging either. Your body does need alot of food and needs food all through out the day. Like ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING. All humans need food, several times per day. That is not greedy, that is survival.... its like feeling greedy because you are breathing too much air.

You need to overcome the fears and the restrictions, because you can eat at random times... its just that you are scared and not allowing yourself to. But you need to learn that hunger is not a bad thing and you dont need to punish yourself. You dont need to watch the clock either for when you can eat, you eat when you are hungry. Because that is what normal people do. For a normal person they eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full (and sometimes eat something more because it tastes so good!). So somedays they eat lunch at 11pm and other times at 2pm, sometimes they eat dinner at 4.30pm other times at 8.30pm... it all depends and is different each day. There does not have to be a certain amout  of time between meals, the important thing is that you eat when your body tells you that you are hungry. This is a learning process and the first step is to try to listen to your body. Eat something inbetween your normal meals if you are hungry, but start with increasing all your meals and make sure to eat 5-7 meals per day. 

It can also be helpful to ask yourself... what is it that scares you? What is the worst thing that can happen if you eat at different times/eat when you are actually hungry?

Below are posts which might be helpful for you:

hi izzy i don't know if you could offer any advice but i was wondering if you had on how to cope with going over certain markers or weights that mean something. Im really struggling to get over weights that have some significance to me and thus feel I'm in a constant state of fear about increasing my meal plan as i want to gain weight but i don't want to hit these numbers. it's proving a bit of a barrier thanks x

It can be important to remember that either way, you will eventually have to gain the weight. Whether it takes you 2 years to do it becuase you keep going up and down or whether you decide to do it in a few months, but you dont want to spend your whole life trying to gain weight. It is better to reach your healthy weight and focus on accepting and loving yourself and your body and trying to live life. But the first step is to know what your goal weight is and to accept that. Once you have done that it can be a little easier because you know that whether you like it or not, that goal weight is the weight you have to be and you have to reach that weight.
  But with those weights that "mean something" know that they are just a number and dont actually mean that much.... You might have a weight which your ED told you that you would never weigh more than, but that is just a number... just like age or height, weight doesnt have that much more significance. It is just society that has told us that weight is super important and that there are certain numbers that are "good". If i were you i would recommend that you dont see the number when being weighed, if you are in treatment say that you dont want to see the number, because then you dont have to know how much you weigh and all you focus on is reaching your healthy weight (but it is also important to know that doctors and calculators cant actually tell you your real healthy weight. They can give you a rough estimate, but where your body lands and settles might be +/- that weight, so dont get too caught up on numbers. The important thing is that your body and mind are healthy, you feel you have energy and can live life and your body functions properly. Those are the main things, not the actual number). However, if you dont go to treatment and you have to weigh yourself and see the number then try to disconnect from the number... see it as any type of number. Hvae some type of mantra and remind yourself that you need to gain the weight, whether it takes you x months or y months to do it. Its your life you are wasting by refusing to gain weight and hence refusing to recover. This is a mental barrier you need to cross, a mental challenge and you need to ask yourself why are those numbers so important? Why are they holding you back from true recovery and being able to live a healthy and happy life? In the end they are just numbers.... if you were to weigh yourself on the moon or on Mars or some other planet you would weigh very differently. One way or another you need to overcome these barriers and know that you are more than your body and more than your weight.... weight does NOT define you.

When i was in recovery i told myself and my case manager that if i ever weighed more than 55kg i would kill myself. I told them that i wouldnt weigh that much, that i would look huge, i would be over weight. But my goal wieght was 58-60kg and that terrified me... the amount of times i cried and begged my case manage to lower my goal weight is crazy. I cried, i had panic attacks i had anxiety and wanted to jump off a bridge just because my weight was going to be "too much". But in the end, i focused on recovery and knew that one way or another i would have to weigh 58-60kg, i had no other option. And now i weigh around 63-66kg, which is something i never ever thought would happen or that i would be ok with it. But now weight just doesnt mean so much to me... its a number and as long as it doesnt shoot up for some reason or decrease too much for some reason then it doesnt matter. As long as i feel healthy and happy (and know that my weight is an ok weight for me) then it doesnt matter if the scale says X or Y.

Left: When i weighed around 53/55 and said i would never weigh more than that
Right: Weigh around 63-66kg now and happier and healthier than ever :)


  1. Very good answers Izzy. I think many will find them helpful.
    Jus a thought: In recovery there is something very important to understand. You can not with willpower determine your own biological healthy weight. You can´t decide that YOUR body will function properly with the BMI 18.5. It does´t work that way. A healthy BMI for you is when your periods function, when your brain functions and you think about other things than food and looks and when you have energy and interest to do the things you want. And you shouldn´t stare at the scale. For a healthy woman, weight might change +-4 kg in just one to two days. And the weight is different during different times in your period cycle.
    Also I want to comment on calculated meal plans. If you have one you should remember that it´s only a calculation. It´s a approximation made based on average caloric needs of some collected group of people. But people are not machines you can´t actually calculate how much energy one individual actually needs. So if you feel hunger or tiredness don´t be afraid to increase your meal plan.

    1. Thank you :) yes I pointed out those two things in the answers :)

    2. Oh sorry ;) I got too excited to write before I read thoroughly

  2. Sorry, but happier and healthier than ever? I thought you were feeling rather depressed lately? Sorry if it sounds mean... That is not my intention.

    1. Thats true, however the depression isnt correlated to food or body image... so weight and body wise i am happy and healthy... physically i am healthy, though mentally i feel kind of unstable. So maybe writing that statement at the moment isnt the best, but in general before the depression hit i was at a very happy and healthy stage. But for me personally, i think i will always battle with periods of depression and it is just something i need to fight through, but that doesnt mean that i cant be happy inbetween.

  3. Thank you SO much for your reply to my comment Izzy! It's so reassuring to hear! xxx

  4. thanks izzy for the meal time comment, i think i may have to do as you say and increase my portions, I've been making steps to do this over the last few weeks tackling a meal at a time in gradual increases. I've still a way to go, i don't really know how much 1 should eat at a normal meal as I've always restricted and never shown. its also so hard to justify eating more when I'm gaining my head tells me that I'm on enough and that I'm greedy for wanting more esp as my therapist doesn't see how i can be still hungry eating 1800 cals. thanks for your helpful words I'm going to check out the links. love you x

  5. hi izzy yeah i have to manage my own weight and food intake so i need to know my weight in order to make changes but i prob need to cut down on the amount of times as my weight fluctuates quite a lot and this gets me so scared. i kind of have a target to get to i don't know what ill feel like there as its all new but its getting there thats the problem cos of these stupid barriers but thanks so much for your answer its helped.