"I've been underweight, I've been chubby, I've been skinny fat, I've been super lean, I've been at the peak of my physical fitness and then lost it all again. All along this journey, I've hated my body, loathed it, accepted it, then loved it, then hated it again, wanted it to be skinnier, then stronger, fitter, more flexible, and the list goes on...
Someone recently asked me what the lowest point of my eating disorder was. What was the final straw that made you change? I immediately knew what it was and was catapulted back to that moment. And now I'm going to share it with you.
I already talked in some detail about this here, but I think that a lot of people who are currently struggling with an eating disorder may find some comfort and hopefully inspiration in this part of the story.
At the time, I was doing an internship as a service staff in a hotel in London. I had just moved there three months ago, and even though I enjoyed discovering this new city, I absolutely hated my job.
Putting a compulsive eater into an environment where you are surrounded by readily available food 24/7 and get to secretly eat the leftover pralines at the end of the night is like putting an alcoholic into a bottle shop.
I dreaded going to work every morning and more often than not, would spontaneously call in sick because I just couldn't deal with the food confrontation. I would wake up every morning, promising myself that today would be different. Today would be the day where willpower would succeed and I wouldn't even dare to look at all the tempting food around me at work. I'd have a tiny little breakfast, like 1/2 a kiwi, and hope that it would sustain me throughout the day (it's so crazy when I think back to that now!) Sometimes I managed to actually not eat anything for the entire shift, but on most days my willpower would eventually fail me and I would eat one praline, then two, then tree and so on. By the end of the shift I would feel so guilty about failing yet again that all I wanted to do was go home and eat some more. I lived on a busy main road in West London, and on my walk home from work I passed an endless amount of fast food restaurants that were open until late at night. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how that story ends...
At the end of Part 2 of "My Story With an Eating Disorder" I left you on a positive note, it almost sounded like recovery was smooth sailing. But let me tell you: it really wasn't.
I mean, yes, I started understanding what my triggers were and yes, I slowly began opening my eyes to a wholesome diet that left me feeling energised and happy. But consciously understanding the issue and actually reprogramming your subconscious are two very different things.
There was a phase in my recovery where I thought I had understood everything, had left no stone unturned and knew exactly what got me riled up, but somehow, somehow I still couldn't resist the urge to binge once it came up. Once that feeling crept in, there was no way in hell to stop it. I was like a roaring monster that just wanted food, food and more food.
Previously the binging used to happen on autopilot, but now there was a part of me that was somewhat conscious about it. There was this moment before the binge, just a split second, where I knew what I was about to do and why I was about to do it, but then I would still go ahead and do it anyways.
For the first part of my story with an eating disorder, click here.
Fast forward half a year. I have now moved from Dubai to Switzerland and started uni there. Everything seems perfect on paper, but deep down I'm still struggling. In fact, I'm struggling more than ever. I am throwing up twice a day, the scale is my best friend and the mirror my worst nightmare. I know that food and negative body image are controlling every aspect of my life, but I feel too powerless to fight it.
During the first weeks of uni I met Phil, my boyfriend with whom I have been for almost five years now. Remember when I said that I was very sick yet functional at the same time? Well, I was so "functional" that I even managed to hide this side of me from the person closest to me. The shame of being locked into this lonely cycle of bizarre behaviour was driving me sheer crazy and I hated not being able to be honest to someone I cared about so much. I felt alone in a way that was terrifying and I felt like I was going to have obsessions and compulsions around food forever.
Every Monday morning I would promise to myself that this week would be better, but by that same evening all good intentions were out the window and I would give in to my drug of choice once again. Yet there were no empty alcohol bottles or used needles. The evidence of my dirty little secret was a pile of food wrappers around me.
I’ve had this post in draft for months, but I never felt ready to post it. I've been reading it over and over again, adding bits and pieces here and there trying to see if it all makes sense. And somehow this morning I felt ready to share my story. My eating disorder story.
I mean, I've talked about this very openly in the past and have written several posts and guest posts about it, but nothing ever like this. This, my friends, is full disclosure. I'm sharing it all with you, the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to share this story with you because wether you've suffered from an eating disorder or not, wether you consider yourself an emotional eater or wether you've ever felt uncomfortable in your body, I think you can relate to the challenges that come along with the search for a healthy, happy and fulfilling life.
Warning, this is a long post! I decided to split my story into three parts because it's quite a long and heavy read..If you want the quick & easy version, feel free to breeze through the "About Me" section instead.