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, December 29, 2015

3 answers - working out again and building strength, alcohol and hoarding food

I recently began working out again and running. Problem is, I feel like I can't get better/stronger. Granted it's only been about a month and a half, but I'm currently only able to run a mile (with several stops), and my workout consists of pretty much bicep curls with 5 lbs on each side/crunches/pushup/planks. So nothing really intense. I realize this may sound like I'm just not at a good weight yet, but I am! According to my dietician anyways. But I was just wondering how long it took you to increase in weight or whatever, or how you were able to build the stamina to run for a whole hour, or any tips in general. Like how your routine changed from when you recovered to now. My brother says that it will take time and that I have to just keep continuing with what I an going and slowly it will increase. But I tried increasing the weights by 5 lbs each, and It was too much. I couldn't do as many curls. I was also thinking of starting dead lift or other forms of exercise I would enjoy. I really appreciate it if you could answer me izzy! I really want to get strong! I love the feeling! Thank you izzy!

well when it comes to strength training or making progress in exercise it means 1) Practising and challenging yourself. Everyone starts off somewhere, when i first began i barely knew what a squat was and had absaloutly no idea about deadlifts, plank, military presses etc and a push up was far from what i was capable of. I had little strength and little knowledge about strength training but i built that up over time and did alot of research online as well as looking at what others did in the gym to get inspiration and to see exercises i had never thought of. But making progress also means eating MORE and maybe even gaining weight, if you strength train dont be scared of gaining weight, that just means you are making progress and are gettting stronger. Its ok to want to do both cardio and strength, i wouldnt advise to just do either or... but i think you should ask yourself what your main goal is.... to run faster/longer or to get stronger? And then focus primarly on one of them. For example if you want to get stronger focus mostly on that and maybe have one or two running sessions a week, maybe one HIIT session and one where you run as far as you can. And then the other sessions you focus mostly on strength training... maybe begin with 2 full body workouts or lower body and upper body, or whatever suits you best. But dont over do it in the beginning, you have only just reached your goal weight (and lowest... that doesnt mean that your body is healthy at that weight.. being at the lowest healthiest weight isnt always the best and can mean that you fall back into underweight a lot quicker and that can trigger ED thoughts. So it is better to weigh a little more for both your mental and physical health). Rest is also an important part of seeing progress... while working out you break down the muscles and it is when you eat enough (eating all macronutrients) and you rest that you get stronger. So if you workout too often or too much you will just break down your muscles, or if you arent eating enough your muscles wont have enough energy to get stronger. 

Challenge yourself with new exercises and progressively increase weights, but remember that it takes time.. give it a few months and you will notice progress! And with running try a mix of doing HIIT and trying to run as far as you can. If you practise you will get better :) Just make sure to enjoy what you are doing as well!! And listen to your body, rest when you need it and make sure to eat for your activity levels.

It can also be important to remember what your body has been through and that it will need more rest and such to feel fully recovered. Pushing yourself too hard with exercise after being underweight will stress your body alot as well. So be kind to your body :)

Hey I have written you before but you havent answered :( i would suggest writing about dealing with social drinking (occasional), dealing with alcohol calories, staying late --> hunger, relaxing at party and trying to enjoy oneself. Thank you

I am sorry if i havent answered you before. Sometimes i miss comments and unfortunatly amnt able to answer all emails.

When it comes to alcohol i am someone who neither drinks alcohol or promotes alcohol consumption. There have been times that i might have drank something, though as i am a lightweight and get tipsy very easily as well as i shouldnt drink because of the medication i take and not to mention the fact that it will just negatively affect my mind and my exercise i prefer to not drink. But i think if someone wants to drink occasionaly, then that is their choice and everyone has their own right. The first thing is to realise that 1) Alchol is not necessary... but you shouldnt be scared of the calories in it either. NEVER feel pressured to drink, doesnt matter how old you are or where you are, you shouldnt feel pressured to drink. But if you want to drink then dont let the calories stop you... there are worse things than the calories in alcohol that should keep you from drinking. Enjoy a glass of wine or a beer or something if you are out with friends (if that is what you enjoy/want to do.) If you drink now and again then the calories from alcohol wont affect you, its more the alcohol that will affect you negatively. Think rationally what will 200 or 300 kcal make a difference if you drink just now and again, if it is an everyday thing or you consume huge amounts of alcohol each weekend then i would be more worried about the alcohol and why you are drinking such huge amounts rather than the calories and/or weight gain. 

If you are planning to go out and drink DONT COMPENSATE AND EAT LESS. This is the worst thing you can do 1) you will get drunk quicker and 2) you will feel more hungover the next day. You need to eat before you drink. Dont drink your calories through alcohol... that is EXTRA. So it is up to you whether you want to drink alcohol as an extra or not, but you should never skip dinner or meals just because you are going to drink. But also, even if you do drink alot and then eat the typical "drunk food" (Because in all honesty, who wants a salad when you have been drinking?) dont compensate the next day. It is ok if you ate more or ate food you dont necessarily eat everyday. If it is something that happens sporadically then it doesnt matter so much and the aactual alcohol will affect you worse.

Some things to think about regarding alcohol though are 1) Are you someone who easily gets addicted to things? If you have a tendency to get addicted to certain substances then i would be careful regarding alcohol and such. I personally have a tendency to get addicted to substances so there are certain medications which i avoid and also alcohol and all of that because i know i can easily get addicted to things. But also 2) Why are you drinking? If you are someone who drinks to try to run from problems then know that it wont work. You CAN NOT drink your problems away, infact that will cause problems.... so if you are in a very low mental stage or feeling depressed i would NOT advise drinking at all. For me personally i have drank while i have been depressed because i thought "it would make me more fun/enjoy myself"... it almost caused me to jump infront of a train because instead of the alcohol taking away my problems or making me happy, it made me feel even worse. It made me feel lonely, my problems got worse and suicidal thoughts were stronger than ever.... so if you are the same as me regarding alcohol and mental negativity, then dont use alcohol as a way to escape as it can make things worse.

But also if you drink alcohol just because you are pressured to drink it or think that you will have more fun if you drink, then ask yourself is it really necessary? You can still enjoy yourself without drinking!! But if you do enjoy yourself more with a drink then that is your choice, but it should always be your choice and not because of pressure. 

Rememeber that if drinking and partying doesnt happen so often then if you drink alot and consume more calories, it is ok... dont let that ruin your evening or ruin you from having fun, and dont compensate either. 

Ok - heres a topic for you, what do you think about hoarding food? IE buying several packets of one item when all you really needed was one?

This is something that has increasingly got worse since I started recovery. Its like I try an item of food that I haven't had for years, like it, and go out and practically stockpile it. My spare bedroom is full of things like boxes of cereal, biscuits, chocolate spread etc because I have started eating these foods again and gone out and brought loads. I used to do this a bit before recovery - decide I was going to try an item of food and end up buying loads of it when 9 times out of 10 I never actually got round to eating the food - after a couple of months I would either throw it away or donate it to the food bank. At least now I am actually eating some of the food I buy, but I`m buying way too much of it and that's not normal is it? I never have and still don`t binge, so that's not the reason why I do it. My partner says I shouldn't do it as the shops are hardly going to run out, but I can`t help it.¨

What does this mean? I don`t mind doing it when I am actually buying it but afterwards when I see the amount I have accumulated it makes me feel bad, hence why I often get rid of it.
If you have any thoughts on any of this I would be interested to read what you think?

I have never heard of anything like this, if it isnt that someone hoards and collects food because they binge on it. But i havent heard of anyone hoarding food just because....  so i dont know how much advice i can give. However it sounds alot like it is due to your body and mind being in starvation mode? Even if you are eating, maybe you arent eating enough... and its not enough that your body is in starvation mode and "saving food" for later, but now you have begun (Or always been doing it?) hoarding food in reality because your mind is set on starvation mode, it wants to make sure that you wont run out of food? Maybe i am wrong but that is what i first thought of when i read your comment... that it is a sort of mechanism against starving?

But one thing i can say is that it isnt good or healthy, unless hoarding food is for an actual reason such as saving money on buying big packs (which will then be eaten) or because there is a lack of food or a famine...

It can be good to ask yourself why you buy the food... so you know yourself, and to be honest to yourself? I would suggest that you try to not buy big packs if it isnt that you plan on eating them. And try to listen to your partner... the food will still be in the stores unless it is a limited edition, and that is one reason to buy extra of something, but that also means eating the food.  If you get anxiety by buying smaller packs try to ask yourself why... often you can come to answer about why you feel anxious, even if it is a silly reason, but you often know the answer yourself even if you dont want to admit it.

Next time you go shopping, JUST buy what you are going to eat. You will save money as well as not have to waste food. I dont know how much advice i can give, because as mentioned i have never heard about this before but i think it can be good to figure out why you do it and then try to stop it. Realise that you just need what you are going to eat at home... maybe a little extra but hoarding food is never good. No matter what it is you hoard its never good and there is often a reason behind hoarding things. Maybe with the help of your partner you can get a control over this habit and try to break it... or maybe just your partner will buy the food and you just have to deal with having smaller packs and then you wont feel that pull or tug that tells you to buy bigger packs.It can also be good to maybe clear out the hoard you already have, especially now for the new year? Start fresh.... and i am sure food banks would be happy about all the food? maybe keep a bit of it... what you plan to eat anyway, and then start fresh with no hoarding for the new year?

If i have missed your comment or question just let me know or recomment :)


  1. Hi Izzy, I hope you don't mind me chipping in about the exercise question and I know you have infact said what I wanted to say already but to the person who asked the question, you absolutely mustn't underestimate what your body has been through! Even if your weight is better / restored, it takes ages for you to build up a proper reserve. I imagine it like people who haven't had anorexia have an overdraft (like in a bank account) that they can dip into - if they miss a meal or they work out their body has an overdraft it can take from. People who have had anorexia are missing their overdraft and it takes ages for it to recover so that you can manage the same as everyone else. I have been a much better weight, although not officially a healthy bmi, for a year now and work out lots. But I absolutely can't manage going without food and if I do too much I really am completely drained. My body still has no reserve. So I would say you have done fantastically to reach a better weight but just don't underestimate how much your body has been through and how hard it is still working to keep you functioning well. You absolutely will improve fitness / exercise-wise but take it slowly, keep feeding your body really well and rest whenever you need it. In the long run you will see much more progress than if you push yourself too hard too quickly xx

    1. Exactly! ! Thank you for adding that. It's important to not push the body too much after what it's already been through. It takes time for the body to heal!

    2. Thank you so much for answering my question izzy!! It truly helped a lot!! And thank you to the person who added a little bit! I was never anorexic but I did become underweight and still struggle with disordered thoughts/fear foods. But I will try to get better! Thank you again!

  2. Hi I have recently asked your advice on stretching to master the center splits:) you had done a really good post on how to start running I think it was taken from an article with many pictures etc. so sth similar to stretching would be great :)

  3. hi i stock pile food but its only cos i am scared the shop will stop selling it and i need it in my diet as a have the same thing each week. i also buy some food in discounted stores so when i see something on offer i stockpile cos i might not see it again and again i have it on my diet plan so i need that food. i have been tempted to have something so i have bought it and then not eaten it so i have random packets sitting in my cupboard but this is just in ones not multiples. thats why i stockpile maybe you are similar? just my thoughts x

    1. Yes, it is rather similar. I don`t buy food for the sake of it - right now it is food I have started eating again so maybe like you I`m scared they`ll run out as it is food I eat everyday. Before recovery I used to get the fancies for something and then buy quite a lot of it - never actually eating it - but now its foods I do actually eat, but I definitely need to cut down on the amount I buy.
      I also think starvation mode has a lot to do with it - thanks Izzy for the heads up about that. I think I need to get used to a different mindset that food is no longer restricted and I can eat what I want. Then maybe I won`t feel the need to buy "just in case" for what ever reason.
      I think I`m beginning to see why I do it. I need to increase my meal plan too as weight gain has been very poor just lately. so maybe this is another factor - simply not eating enough and compensating for it in other ways?
      Either way you are right it has to stop. I will follow your advice and have a clear out, only keeping a couple of each food I am eating. New Year, New Start.
      Thankyou - both of you for your advice.

  4. hi izzy i have a q - over xmas i really challenged myself to eat many fear foods and to try new things but instead of feeling proud it really upset me. i had a small cookie and it was so good, immediately i got a hit of oh my god and then i got upset cos i felt guilty that i wasn't allowed it and that i shouldn't be eating it. it felt strange cos it all felt new and i wasn't prepared for the buttery sweet taste. it also happened with a few other things i tried like a mini mince pie - i just feel so awful at the moment and I'm scared cos for the first time ever i gained weight over xmas and that really upset me too even when I'm supposed to be gaining. but i restricted on a few snacks to make up for all the uncalculated unmeasured scary food i was eating and also cos i couldn't exercise so if i gained weight then now I'm super scared it will continue and i want to try the new foods again but now I'm super scared. I also really have a problem with condiments - like i had gravy for the first time on xmas day. all my food is 'dry' cos i can't do sauces and I'm scared of ketchup etc but i really want to try them. sorry loads of questions xx

  5. Hey Iz!
    Sometimes when I can't have lunch (due to outer circumstances, not because of restriction), I feel mentally as well as physically absolutely drained of energy, almost as I have been starving myself for quite some time. However, I, in fact, have been weight-restored for a couple months, and my body functions perfectly fine. Just as how a healthy body should. What I'm wondering is, is this feeling normal? If not, then what is it and what can I do about it aside from doing the obvious and eat something?

    Stay awesome!

    1. Its completely normal, depending on how long you've restricted in the past and dealt with an eating disorder. Also everyone needs calories for energy. Food is fuel, no food no longer able to function. Even healthy people experience this

    2. Yes, absolutely the same and I suspect absolutely normal! If I miss a meal or even go too long without a snack now it physically hurts on the inside, like in my stomach and my chest. And I have no energy whatever - I feel like I'm walking through water. As soon as I have something to eat I perk up again. I don't know if it will last forever. I just know I can't manage long periods without food now (actually even short periods!) Before I was ill it was never an issue at all x

    3. Thanks both of you! I'm glad that it's something normal and not ED related. Like Anonymous said, I never used to experience this either. At least it's a sign that your metabolism is up and running again :)

  6. hi will you be going out on new year, i won't cos its too hard for me but i feel embarrassed telling people I'm not and that I'm boring and a loner. but i find new year hard cos it brings up memories and i just want to by pass it as quick as possible. do you ever find not going out socially feels wrong

    1. I didn't go out last year as I felt so sick and the year before I was home alone as my plans were cancelled and my parents were away. It's ok to be alone if you want to be. Maybe this new years your alone but next year ypu might be with others? Do what feels best for you :) it can be embarrassing as people expect you to dress up, drink and go out. .. but not everyone enjoys that and that's ok :)

  7. over xmas i had home cooked food, not weighed out and calculated like usual. i really want to be able to cook and just have a portion but I'm so scared of not knowing the calories and also fearing I'm eating too much so i won't give myself enough or even know how much is enough. i don't know how to get round this as i weigh/measure everything even my veg

  8. This is actually common in a restrictive eating disorder. When your restricting your intake your mind and body are in a state of danger starvation. When you begin to eat normally your body doesn't trust you, subconsciously your preparing for another famine, so u hoard food in any shape almost as a survival tool. Sometimes this habit won't go away and sometimes it does

  9. Hi Izzy :)
    I was wondering if you could talk about feeling full. I feel like I can eat and eat and while my stomach may be physically full and I can keep eating until sick, my stomach still gives me hunger pains. I also sometimes feel lightheaded and spacey after I eat like I need to even though I just did. I'm close to my goal weight and feel like I eat enough so I'm really confused and really just don't like feeling like this. I also have been having more problems sleeping lately and was wondering if you could talk about something like that too? I thought that my sleep would get better now that I'm on winter break and am less stressed out but it's just gotten worse :/
    Thanks :)

    1. While I'm not Izzy I might be able to help. What you're talking about sounds a lot like extreme hunger:
      That website might also help answering your sleep question if you search a little.

  10. For the person who asked about food hoarding: it's apparently not that uncommon. I just recently happened upon this article:

    1. Thank you Sara for posting this link I am going to check it out. I struggle with buying too much food even though I don't binge. It makes me anxious having it in the house. Luckily for me I have really limited storage space in my flat so it means I can't buy too much anymore - but even just having one packet of biscuits extra causes me anxiety. I think Izzy is right though it is to do with your body being in starvation mode, it is trying to make you eat. Our bodies are based on instincts and right now it is doing everything it can to make you eat.