Tomorrow is the day I turn 20 years old. I have officially survived and lived two decades. It’s crazy to think how fast time flies; how many birthdays I’ve celebrated; how many things have happened and changed. How much I’ve changed.
At 11 years old, I didn’t think I’d survive to be 12. Each year since then has been a battle. Each year since then has been an absolute roller coaster. Joy, change, hurt, sadness, depression, anxiety, happiness, fear, shame. At 15 years old, I cried myself to sleep because I didn’t want to celebrate my 16th birthday and become ‘grown up’. Now I’m sat here, the night before my 20th birthday and I won’t cry myself to sleep. Life isn’t a walk in the park. I’m far from where I want to be but much further than I have been.
Tomorrow I will wake up and celebrate that I have actually made it two decades in this crazy world. Two decades of life to which half has been filled with mental illness…
Body Image is our idea of how our body looks and how it is perceived by others. Having a negative or poor body image is strongly associated to Anxiety and Depression as well as eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia. Obsessive and exhausting over-exercising behaviour, yo-yo dieting, reluctance to socialise, difficulties with relationships and financial problems are all associated with body image.
BEAT, the UK’S leading eating disorder charity, estimates that 1.6 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. 1.4 million of these people are female. People most at risk of developing an eating disorder are young women aged between 14-25. 1 in 10 secondary school students are affected by eating disorders.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and many young people who develop anorexia or bulimia (as well as other eating disorders) will suffer serious long-term health consequences.
Body Image and Young Children
A lot of research on body image focuses on adolescents. However, there is now evidence that suggests children develop negative body image much younger than we think. Children as young as 9 and 10 show disturbing levels of anxiety about their weight and physical appearance. By the ages of 10 and 11, 1 in 8 girls want to be thinner.
10 Steps to Positive Body Image
Appreciate all that your body can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.
Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.
Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
Look at yourself as a whole person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you–as a whole person.
Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.
Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. Work with your body, not against it.
Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages: write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message
Do something nice for yourself–something that lets your body know you appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, find a peaceful place outside to relax.
Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others. Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.
Friday’s are class days so its officially been 1 week since I joined slimming world. I have to say that its been hard. Not because I’ve wanted junk foods such as chocolate or because I’m struggling to diet. It’s hard because I am trying so hard to eat 3 meals a day that are appropriate size portions. With a history of Anorexia, I can’t stand eating 3 meals a day. I was absolutely certain I was going to gain this week because I’ve eaten so much more than I usually do. But..
First week results = 3lbs down.
I think I’ve realised that I’ve lost this weight because even though I am eating more, I am eating healthy foods that contribute my weight loss, am nourishing my body and exercising safely.
I truly feel like slimming world has allowed me to feel in control without the need to restrict and resort to eating disorder safety.
I thought it would be a good idea to post my meals each week so not only I can keep track of what i’ve eaten but so that others can get meal ideas! (side note: some pictures are repeated as I ate the same meal just forget to take a picture!)
Where do I even start with food. Even before I developed an eating disorder, food was a battle. Back then it was all about having too much too eat, too big of portion sizes and not moving enough. Something changed back when I was 15 – something that literally happened overnight. I remember it was summer and I was eating ice cream on the patio whilst sunbathing. This was the last day I enjoyed eating freely before an eating disorder kicked in. The next day, I began counting calories. I still ate pizza, ice cream and chocolate and didn’t restrict much; I just kept track. Then, each week the calories began to reduce. I began exercising. Eventually, I got to the stage where a full blown eating disorder had taken over my life. We all know the symptoms.
Anywhoo, into the main reasons for this blog post. I went into recovery for my eating disorder on the 1st of September 2014. The first few months were horrendous; not being able to exercise and having people force food down you because looking at it brought you to tears. I wouldn’t even drink water. Eventually, I ate a meal and my body went into craving mode. I ate everything and anything; even stuff I hated. People assumed my eating habits had returned to normal and have been to this day…but they haven’t. I admit it. I’ve relapsed; heck I’ve relapsed. I’ve relapsed more times than stabilised in recovery. I’ve purposely restricted food. I’ve purged. I’ve screamed. I’ve cried. I’ve rejoiced at the sound of my own hunger. I’ve craved dizziness and feeling weak as its eating disorder progress. I’ve also binged and ate whatever the heck I’ve wanted. I’ve eaten takeaways and eaten out at restaurants. I’ve had days where eating 3 meals a day was easy.
My weight has fluctuated ever since my eating disorder. It goes up and down constantly because recovery has prevented me fully relapsing. I’m tired. I’m tired of watching the scales go down and I’m tired of watching it go straight back up. I don’t want the scales to determine my happiness anymore…
So I have joined slimming world. No more counting calories. No more severe restriction. It’s time to tackle 3 healthy meals a day and eating syns without feeling completely guilty. I’ve put my body through enough shit these past 4 years and I’m ready to make healthy changes…
A lot of people don’t realise that eating disorders stay in the mind way longer than the weight is restored…Healthy or overweight does not indicate healthy minds. Please, please remember this. I was a healthy weight when Ana plagued my mind. Eating disorders do not emerge in those who are already severely underweight…they emerge at anytime.
Look around you and notice those who may be struggling. Do not let them slip off the radar.
Here’s two god awful recent pictures of me…2 years weight restored and not at a healthy weight. I hate full length photos of myself so this is the first step to acceptable and realisation that change needs to be made.