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, January 2, 2017

Answers - structured eating, full recovery from an eating disorder, studying nutrition

Ive gotten a lot of questions recently - which i love, so i thought i would just answer them in a post so that others who might have similar questions can see my answers, or if others have helpful suggestions/advice as well.


But I always wonder whether my interest in nutrition is genuine or simply a byproduct of my eating disorder....I question whether pursuing a career in nutrition is something that will make me happy rather than my eating disorder happy....any thoughts?
 When you have an eating disorder alot of focus is on food and calories and macronutrients and there is an interest for it, however the interest is also an obsesion and compulsion. Of course you can develop a healthy relationship with food and study nutrition because you love it - that is the case for me, and many others who have had an eating disorder in the past. But also i cant dney that people with eating disorders or who have had an eating disorder do tend to end up working or studying nutrition or exercise. But that doesnt mean that they are unhealthy or still sick. My best suggestion is to try studying other things and do other things in your life.... ive gone different courses in my life, done different work and volunteer work and ive questioned what i want to do many times but i know deep down that nutrition is what i love to study, but most of all helping people and not only with nutrition but with mental health and physical health as well. Try other hobbies and do things and if you enjoy knowing more about nutrition do some reading about it in your freetime and try to see if that is what you love or whether its your eating disorder which makes you love or obsess over it.

Ive also written some other posts, and a video about this topic:
Studying nutrition while struggling with an eating disorder (vlogg)
Studying nutrition due to an eating disorder 


Izzy, how do you know you are completely recovered? The doctors don't know it, right? You have to know it on your own. But how? Does it come a day when you know you are recovered or do you just look back to your past and see the progress? When can you say that you are recovered? Does it end at the spot or is it just gradually improving? Is there a day when you say that yesterday you had ED thoughts and the next day you are free from those thoughts? Sorry for asking so many questions.
As you wrote, being declared healthy on a piece of paper isnt the same as actual recovery or freedom.  But also just because you reach a healthy weight doesnt mean you are healthy, not even when you get your period back does it mean that you are healthy or recovered, instead that is a mental state. Being fully free doesnt mean that you wake up one day and suddenly you think "ok now im 100% recovered", but its a process and you dont really notice it happening. One day you might go out to eat wth friends and realise that you no longer ask for the dressing on the side, or you no longer leave some food on the plate, or someone might ask you to help them or meet up and you dont automatically think about whether you will have to eat something (or something scary) or not, instead you just say yes because you want to meet the person. Its small realisations that you have made progress and that progress comes from facing your fears and making changes.
But also i have realised that Yes, you can fully recover from an eating disorder, but also that over time you grow and progress and hopefully keep feeling healthier and balanced. That is the case for me. For example, i felt super healthy back in 2013, but that was because i compared my health status to how i was in 2010/2011, and then in 2014 i felt even healthier and balanced than in 2013, and in 2015 and 2016 it was just a roller coaster and i know i wasnt my healthiest, but at the end of 2016 i felt even more balanced and healthy than i did in 2014/2015.  
You keep growing and maturing over time and you feel more balanced and more free if you make the right choices. But you have to remember that it is YOU who makes the choices and hard decisions, its YOU who has to face your fears. You cant just sit around and think, "im a healthy weight, now i am healthy", but instead find your ways to cope and question yourself and your habits, its the only way to progress and to be fully free! You need to be honest with yourself and not settle for certain habits or destructive thoughts, but instead keep fighting and making changes... i mean i was declared healthy in 2012 but i would say i felt truly healthy and free in 2014, but compare 2017 version with 2014 version i would say i am even more balanced and healthy now.... and thats how life is. You have realizations and self analyze and change!

Posts:
Mental and physical recovery from an eating disorder
Eating disorder and when you are healthy (can be good to read!)
When you are physically recovered but not mentally
The difference between healthy and free

You've said before that you beat your depression last year, and I'm trying but I'm not really sure where to start. There's so much general information, like 'love yourself', but I really need physical things that I can do to try to get better. Could you do a post on things that worked for you, like homeopathic medicines or writing or stuff like that? I'd really appreciate it!
You've really inspired me to start getting better in all areas of my mental health, so I already have heaps to thank you for! I hope you have a great year :)

First off know that recovery is possible, you can get better!! But i would recommend reaching out for help and seeking support. You can recover on your own, but i think speaking to others and knowing people are around you and can help you is very important!! But also needing to make changes... i personally believe positive thinking helps, but maybe not so much when you are deep in depression.... i mean sure drinking water, thinking positive and going for a walk helps... but i dont think those things are what makes a person recover from depression either even if they help the body physically.
I have made some posts about what helped ME to recover, but maybe they are a good starting point for you. Each day try to do something and also try to express yourself in some form, and dont be scared if you need medication whether its anti depressants or homeopathic medicine like i take myself.

What helped me recover from depression
Coping with depression useful links
Positive thinking depression recovery

Do you have any advice about finding a structured eating pattern that works?
I know you cannot prescribe for everyone's situation, and I don't even mean specifics so much as rules-of-thumb about the main things (quantity & composition of meals), and then where one might change or adjust things to suit one's individual situation.
For people who are at a healthy weight.


When it comes to structured eating it is very individual and depends on your lifestyle, your routines. And what and how much you need to eat also depends on lifestyle, genetics, whether you workout or not, illnesses etc

But i would say that the best is to try to eat 4-6 meals a day and structure them at best with your lifestyle.  (but also remember that somedays you are more hungry and others less hungry!). And how much of each macronutrient you need is something you just need to figure out over time. But the general guideline is roughly 50% carbs, 15-20%protein, 30- 35% (healthy fats) at each meal... and of course vegetables and fiber are also important (but they count as "carbs"). 

Structured eating is basically what fits your lifestyle or your life situation, or just the day. Its good to have a "Base structure" i.e eat 4-6 meals a day but also know that that varies for example if you had a tough/long workout, or if you are on your period, or if you are very stressed or just extra tired then you will naturally want more food. And then other times you might end up losing your appetite or you dont have time to eat or whatever and you eat less frequently that day.

I know this may not be a super helpful answer, but you can always leave more comments if you want me to clarify something or other, haha!

And (this is off-topic) but could you maybe give advice on how to get out of rigid routines that come with anorexia. For example I am so precise about the times I eat and how much time I leave between meals and wake up at a certain time so I can fit in my meals within these times. I panic if i sleep in or dinner is made earlier etc.
These thoughts and behaviours are very much (according to me) due to control and wanting to control everything in life. So what you need to do is try to change the habits, face the fears and realise that you dont need to control everything in life. .Therapy or talking to someone can be very helpful with those control issues. But also trying to do more iin life... do things that make you break those routines, eat lunch earlier or later than usual, or turn of your alarm and allow yourself to sleep in etc it is scary at first and the anxiety might feel overwhelming, but its the only way to break the habits and be free of them. You need to face the fears and habits that hold you back.  Ask yourself what would happen if you eat your food earlier or later than usual? What would happen if you were to sleep in? Having the strict control about your life takes away spontanity, but also makes it hard to go out with friends or travel, or be away from home or do anything that isnt part of your structure and that makes life very dull and boring. That is just "surviving" life and not living it. So you need to break those habits and face the fears, and only YOU can do that, you need to decide that you want to change those thoughts and habits. Try talking to someone, maybe you have a friend or family member who can help you?

I have some posts about disordered eating times - linked below:

Eating at different times
Disordered eating times
Answer - disordered eating times
Unstructured and different eating times

I am also stuck eating the same things every day and always need to have each nutrient on my plate (protein carb & veg/fruit) and panic if they're not separate or there's one missing/too much of one. 


This once again is a control issue and talking to someone or going to a "food therapist" or someone who can help you with your food and how you eat can be very helpful. The first step is realising that these habits arent healthy and you need to change them and second is to actually make a change, and the only way that will happen is by you actually facing the fear and the anxiety. What would happen if you ate more or less of a certain food/food group? What would happen if the food touched/werent seperate? Try to think logically. You can get better, but you also need to make the changes!!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks Izzy, these posts really help! :) I do have an issue with wanting extreme control... But I think I've got to just trust myself, go out of my comfort zone and eat at different times/different foods... I realise that if I don't then nothing will change.

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  2. Thank you, Izzy! :)
    What happened for you about osteoporosis? Do you still get scanned for it? It affects things like calcium & vit D requirements, but if one doesn't keep getting the scans then one doesn't know what one needs?

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  3. Thank you so much for the answer :) you are always so friendly!

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  4. Hi Izzy, I just wanted to ask you a question. its been almost 3 years now that I'm in recovery. I've made huge steps forward, and I'm relatively ok with foods most of the time. But the problem is that even if I feel that I'm ok now, my weight isn't healthy yet. I don't believe in the BMI thing, but mine is 17 now, and my parents want me to gain weight. It is necessary gain weight? I mean I feel like my body after years and years at this weight has adapted... what do you think?

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  5. Hi! I have few questions which came in my mind while reading this post.
    1) Everyone (also you on your posts) talk about facing your fears, challenge your self and do the opposite you ed says what does that really mean? Like i have already came pretty far in recovery; i have some weight to gain and some foods are more difficult than others but i can eat everything.. I still know i have challenges and fears and i'm not healthy yet but it is so hard for me to find those things.. Like what are those things i need to "practise".. So I wanted to ask could you have any examples for those things? What things could give me that "freedom"? I feel i'm in the same place with recovery and i don't know what to do..
    2) and I have (and have had) problem with eating enough when i'm almost weight restored or i have just reached the minimum healthy weight.. Like eating in the lower weight has been some way easier for me becaus then i feel i need it but when i'm in better weight it feels "stupid".. And thats why i have replaced when i reach better weight.. So do you have any experiences with this kind of struggles / do you have any advises?

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