Friday, 4 March 2016

Body Positivity?

TW: This post discusses eating disorders.

When I was a teenager, from the age of about 13/14 I developed an eating disorder. My mum had an eating disorder and, as you often look to your parents to teach you how to behave and what is (quote unquote) 'normal' I was convinced that I was fat, that I was eating too much, that I'd be happier if I lost weight and made myself a lot smaller.

That's not to say my obsession with weight loss didn't start before then. I saw a documentary when I was in primary school about how girls who reach seven and a half stone were considered 'weight ready' to start their periods (or however it was phrased). At the time, I lived in a very toxic home environment and was very close to my dad. For whatever reason, I was convinced my dad wouldn't love me once I started my periods, as I wouldn't be his 'little girl' anymore. So my drive to lose weight and stay small probably started when I was around the age of 10.

Eating disorders are strange things. I have what is known as EDNOS, or eating disorder not otherwise specified. There is no way of fully expressing the feeling of not being able to be deemed anorexic or bulimic. I was never strong enough to starve myself long term, too weak to make myself small enough or stick to the diets I read about on pro-anorexia websites. It was agonising, and something I still deal with today, to the point that I find it difficult to speak with friends I know who have lived with these kinds of eating disorders, because of the all consuming jealousy that I live with.

Around about November last year, I realised that I'd essentially had an eating disorder for a decade. What started out as EDNOS soon became binge eating disorder, as my body was so hungry for nutrients in went into overdrive. For some reason, I decided that I had to reach 8 stone 7lbs, after seeing a magazine cover with Lindsey Lohan, who supposedly weighed 120lbs and was considered to be too skinny.

I have never, nor will I ever be, a fan of Lindsey Lohan. Apart from in Parent Trap.

Obviously, my body could not reach this unrealistic goal and I would binge constantly, eating from the second I walked in the door after school until I went to bed. Here came another sense of failure. I couldn't purge. I have no gag reflex and no amount of sticking my fingers down my throat or drinking cups of salt water ever allowed me to purge the food I had consumed. I was in a state of mind I just couldn't escape.

This binge/starve pattern continued until I had put on over 2 stone since I'd decided I was too fat. I joined slimming clubs and online forums, bought exercise equipment and diet pills, anything I could to 'fix' my body.

During my first go at my third year of uni I began to starve myself again. Losing a stone and becoming essentially a walking skeleton. People would tell me I looked too thin and I would become angry at them, furious that they didn't want me to reach my goal weight of eight and a half stone and finally be happy with my body.

I should point out that, not only did I still think I was grotesquely fat at this point, but I was also trying to reach a goal weight I had come close to before I went through puberty. Because that makes all the sense in the world.

In November last year I realised that I'd been living with an eating disorder for over a decade, and needed to let go. Up to that point I'd become fixated with my weight once again, thanks to being put on medication that caused weight gain. I weighed myself constantly and begun using laxatives. Even shitting myself in my kitchen wasn't enough to tell me that I was going too far. Thankfully, I finally came to terms with the fact that a goal weight just doesn't exist, noticing I'd actually I became more and more miserable the more weight I lost, because I was trying to fix a problem with my body that wasn't there. I left yet another slimming club that I had joined, and decided I would never weigh myself again.

Stupidly, I broke this vow last month. There are a set of scales at my gym and I hopped on them before a work out. My weight hadn't changed by a single pound, but the uneasiness was still there.

These past few weeks I have been slipping back into old thinking patterns. A close friend has lost an amazing amount of weight and, despite the fact that we have dramatically different body types, I find myself once again consumed with jealousy and anger that I have not been able to lose as much weight as her. I've begun calorie counting again, and have set myself a goal weight that I know isn't remotely healthy. For a long, long time I've felt like I didn't know who I was without my eating disorder, that I'd be lost without it and it gave me a sense of rhythm and purpose. This total bullshit of course, but these things affect your brain in almost exactly the same way as they affect your body.

I'm trying to get out of this cycle, to remind myself that no matter how much weight I do/ don't lose I will never be happy with my body until I accept it as it is, but it is in no way easy. With summer on it's way, the thought of not  being on a pre summer diet seems alien to me. I simply don't feel able to function without it.

There is a good chance I'm going to slip into my old ways. Constantly calorie counting again and berating and punishing myself when I eat just a fraction more that I had wanted. Ironically, this mind set prevents me from exercising, from doing something that makes me feel strong and healthy, because I feel like I'm never doing enough. But I know now that enough simply doesn't exist, and that I'm never going to find piece in my body unless I learn to love and accept it the way it is.


Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Rejection sucks. Anyone who tells you otherwise is out and out lying to you. No one has ever, in the history of time, put themselves out there for something in the hope that they won't succeed. It's just fucking shit.

As you know I'm job hunting at the moment, and I just received a rejection email for an application that took me weeks and hours of anxiety to perfect before I submitted it, for a company I really wanted to work for. I'd just taken my laptop upstairs after writing Tuesday's tear stained and anxiety ridden post, so hearing that I'd been unsuccessful really didn't make me feel any better.

If I had written this post a year ago, the previous paragraph would have been littered with the word fail. My thinking process is very black and white, and so I frequently see a lack of success as a reflection on me personally. Not getting the job I applied for doesn't mean I wasn't good enough, just that I wasn't 100% right for the role, and that the other people who applied were more suitable.

As you know, when it comes to matters of the heart I struggle a little bit. I'm not good at handling my emotions, and so used to see being rejected or 'dumped' as a reflection on me, as opposed to the relationship as a whole. Add to that the fact that I've had God awful taste in men in the past, and it paved the way for a lot of tears, wine and ice cream. As I'm getting closer and closer to the grand old age of 24, I'm coming around to a different way of thinking. Every situation, relationship or job role that doesn't work out the way you want it to isn't a failure, it's just bringing you a hop and a skip closer to where you are supposed to be.

Hella cheesy I know but sometimes the old cliches are the best.