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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Monday, May 30, 2016

Eating infront of others or eating when others aren't eating

I remember you saying that one of the earliest things that led to your eating disorder was the dislike of eating with others - ie having other people see you eat. How did you overcome this and are you at all still a bit self conscious about it today? Do you feel uncomfortable eating when others do not or about the food or the amount you are eating compared to them? If this was an issue for you during recovery how did you over come it?

Eating infront of others or admitting i was hungry, or eating when others wasnt eating was definitely a hard obstacle to overcome in my recovery. Because as you wrote, at the starting stages of my eating disorder i felt uncomfortable and self conscious eating around others in school - i felt like they were all staring at me - so it was easier to just not eat at all than to deal with the anxiety i felt eating with/around others. During recovery those feelings of guilt and self conscious while eating with others stayed with me, but then i also had to deal with the guilt of eating and feeling ashamed and like i was weak for eating.

The first step to overcome those feelings was to realise that everyone eats and needs to eat. When you eat in public you might find someone staring at you but that can be for numerous reasons i.e it was just a random moment where you both looked at each other, the person is daydreaming/thinking and their eyes are in your direction, they might be looking at you for numerous reasons etc But one of the things i hated was that i thought i was being judged for eating. That everyone around me would look at me and think "wow, what is she eating. Why is she eating, she shouldnt be eating" etc I felt judged by others and also myself when i ate when others were around, so instead i just wouldnt eat.  
   But by reminding myself that everyone eats, its natural and everyone needs to eat as well as hunger is normal helped slightly with my fear of eating in public/around others.


The next step was to be able to admit that i was hungry or to buy food when i was hungry. It took time until i could actually vocalize my hunger and not just sit in silence and think about how hungry i was. And then the next step of buying food when i was hungry. At first i began with buying the food i wanted to eat and then eating alone either in a bathroom, corner somewhere or wait until i was home and eventually i had to overcome the fear and be able to eat in public i.e if i had a granola bar or fruit, i had to challenge myself to eat in public/infront of others. But also to be ok with eating when others werent eating or say that i was hungry even when others werent hungry.

It was a long process of being ok with eating and not feeling self conscious or guilty for eating. But also being ok with eating the portion sizes i wanted when i ate with others and not just eat tiny amounts so that people wouldnt judge me.

I am a person who prefers eating on my own and generally speaking am more comfortable eating huge portions when i eat on my own, but i dont have a problem eating infront of others or eating when others arent eating. But the most important thing to reach the stage where i am now i.e dont care if people judge the amount i eat or what i eat (i.e if i make weird food combinations), or i dont care if i eat when others dont or admitting i am hungry. Reaching this stage has been all about challenging myself, facing the fear that held me back.

At first i bought a snack and would eat it in the bathroom. The next time i would manage to eat a snack standing in the corner of a room. The next time i managed to eat half a snack sitting with others and the time after that i would manage to eat the whole snack with others.

The first time i was hungry i would try to hint that we stop at a store or buy food. The next time i would walk to the store alone, the time after that i could vocalise that i was hungry to my mum, the time after that i could openly admit i was hungry. etc etc

Keep challenging yourself, that is the best advice and in time you can reach a stage of not feeling judged for eating or feeling like you are weak for eating or admitting you are hungry, but also a place where you can eat the food and portion sizes you want without caring what others think.


Below are some helpful posts:

Eating in public
Social eating
Eating more than others
Feeling like you need to eat less than others
How to cope and eat infront of others (3rd answer)
Answer - food comments
Eating even though others arent hungry

4 comments:

  1. wow, this was such a long process for you and you got through it by yourself - that took lots of courage and determination. I suppose it is about breaking the bigger problem down to more manageable steps - like you did.
    Thankyou for your very honest reply, this helps me a lot.

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    1. Thank you :) It was alot of working through my fears on my own as the eating disorder clinic i went to couldnt really help with my fear of eating in public or on my own. So inpatient and treatment is great and so helpful but there are still so many things you need to work on on your own anyway!

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  2. This was a great post with very practical advice! I really love the posts wherein you combine your personal experience with practical solutions for problems or struggles that are experienced by many. I guess that is the majority of your blog, lol, but it explains why I keep reading even years past the point when eating disorders are relevant to my own life. Your blog is the only ED-related thing I ever spend time on, I just think it's such a great resource and I see it helping so many people. It also keeps me in touch with my gratitude, seeing how it used to be for me and how different and better things are now. I feel for your readers who are still in the muck, and can only hope that they, too, will find their way out and look back from a position of freedom and health at what used to be. Anyway, in regards to this post's topic, I agree that the only way out is through. You simply have to figuratively bite the bullet, and start facing your fears one at a time. I did the same process as you, Izzy, and while it took a very long time, it worked. Every time I faced a fear and performed an action I was uncomfortable or afraid of, I would find that a) the world did not end, and in fact my action (eating alone in public, for example) had no effect on anything whatsoever, and b) it got a little easier every time. Today, I find it ridiculous to be embarrassed of being seen eating, but I do remember how it felt to be trapped in that mindset. How utterly exhausting, and ultimately what a terrible waste of time and brain space. Literally NO ONE cares if I am eating/when I'm eating/where I'm eating - and now, finally, I don't care, either. I am so sad for the years and years I spent attaching emotional meaning to something as benign and basic as food. I want to shake that poor, confused, misguided girl I once was. Alas, we all have our journeys, and I wish your readers all the best on theirs :). Keep fighting, folks, it only gets better from here!

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