Thursday, 30 April 2009


I have been tagged by both Sheena and Katie to do the list of 25 random facts making it's way around blogosphere. I feel like I have blurted out a lot of random weirdness in my posts lately so I'll try to keep to things I haven't yet revealed.

  1. I worked very briefly at Starbucks in New York and one day was holding a tray of cupcakes- they literally JUMPED out of my hands and cakes went flying all over the store.
  2. I can't walk in high heels and I never wear make-up (then I wonder why people ask me for ID)
  3. Every summer I buy a bunch of cheap tank tops and paint them with my own slogans. And am continuously amazed by how many comments I get about them!
  4. I have never made a boiled egg- I don't think I would even know how. I don't eat eggs much so I can live with this.
  5. I have 2 brothers and 2 half-brothers. When I was little, I thought I was really smart to figure out that if two half's made a whole, I really had 3 brothers!
  6. I am obsessed with "Scrubs" and have a whole bunch of clips downloaded as MP3's onto my iPod. I can fit a Dr Cox quote into almost every conversation.
  7. I am also obsessed with soundtracks from musicals- when I was really young, I was obsessed with 'Annie'. I must have seen it over a hundred times!
  8. Aside from my obsession with musicals, I very rarely watch movies. I have never seen Jurrasic Park or Dirty Dancing, and don't know the names of any actors/actresses. They could be sitting next to me in a restaurant and I would never recognise them, let alone know their names and what movies they have been in.
  9. I have a tattoo of a rose on my stomach that I got when I was 15.
  10. The month before my mom got remarried when I was 16, I had my hair dyed black with bright red streaks and got my eyebrow, lip and nose pierced.
  11. I took swimming lessons for 8 years and still can't swim more than about 3 feet.
  12. My dream job would be eith at an advertising agency or owning my own t-shirt designing business.
  13. I feel more at home in New York than anywhere else I have lived: I love the buzz, the atmosphere, the frenzy, but most of all, I love who I become when I am there.
  14. I panic every time I get an email or my phone rings in case I am in "trouble" for something!
  15. I can't remember the last time I slept past 6:30am. I am usually awake LONG before then (and go to bed around 9:30!)
  16. I haven't taken a ballet class when I was 3- as soon as I mention dancing, people seem to think I mean ballet. The classes I have taken since I "officially" began dancing have been hip-hop, street and breakdancing.
  17. I hate citrus fruits and anything citrus flavoured.
  18. I worry a lot about what people think of me- I have this notion that everyone is watching me and judging me and am petrified to make contact with a lot of my family because I am so scared of disappointing them.
  19. I have never had a cavity/filling.
  20. I have a phobia of bees and wasps. This means I do not open windows in my apartment. Ever. It also means that my bathroom is now the "smoking room" (it has an extractor fan). Plus side of this is my apartment doesn't smell of smoke. Word of advice: you may want to pee before you come over. It's a little smoky in there...
  21. I could eat deli-made chicken salad wraps for lunch every day and never get tired of them.
  22. I am secretly obsessed with other people's careers. I could listen to people talk all day about their jobs... I don't know why it interests me so much, but I am beyond intrigued. Part of why I love reading blogs is because I am so fascinated by how other people spend their time- what they do, what they think about, what they eat. Not in an eating disordered way, I am just so curious about how other people experience the world around them.
  23. I had my wisdom teeth taken out when I was 20 and ever since then, have been unable to eat crunchy foods. It's like I have 'phantom teeth' and when I try to bite into stuff, it hurts a LOT where the teeth used to be. You'd think I would be used to it by now (6 years!) but I avoid any hard/crunchy foods.
  24. I have a pretty dry sense of humour- people often look at me funnily and can't figure out if I am being serious or joking. Chances are, if I am talking, I am joking. I find it VERY difficult to have serious conversations- the urge to crack a joke/lighten things up is just too tempting.
  25. I have never eaten a blondie, guacamole, a burrito (aside from Amy's!) or a hot fudge sundae though am 110% sure I would love them all. Aside from guacamole, none of these are easy to find in the UK but are on my list of things I want to do when I am next in NY!

So now you have lots of unnecessary useful information about me (no black-mailing, thanks!) Any questions, ask away!

Onto the good stuff...

I fueled up for day 2 of work with one of my favourite (and blog-inspired!) breakfasts.

Banana pumpkin oats (oats, milk, vanilla, pinch of salt, mashed banana and pumpkin) topped with peanut butter. Pumpkin (and peanut butter for that matter) are so under-appreciated in the UK. I never understand why- both are just hands-down amazingly delicious and nutritious.

Work was pretty good- definitely less exhausting than yesterday now that I know what to expect. The office was much quieter today since half the staff were on an "away day" (quite what that entails, I do not know!) so I had more of a chance to get to know the few people that were there...and had less people to ask for help when I couldn't figure out what to do :P

Lunch was a repeat of yesterday- why fix what ain't broke, right?

Quorn "ham" (which I am pretty sure IS Kosher when manufactured in the UK. Quite a few of the quorn products are- check your 'Kosher Food Guide' if it's a concern for you!) with laughing cow love cheese, spinach and tomato chutney.

New snack:
I didn't really like this flavour much. So far have tried this one, coconut cream pie and PB cookie. The peanut butter is amazing, but I haven't liked the other two much. This is one of the flavours that IS readily available in the UK though so I might try it again at some point.

Hope everyone's week is tying up nicely so you can relax and enjoy the weekend- what have you got planned?

Fresh Starts

Thank you SO much for the support and encouragement you gave me on last night's post. I'm feeling pretty good about the goals I have set- they feel realistic and achievable at this point. Onwards and upwards!

Today was my first day of my volunteer placement. I LOVED IT! The organisation works with homeless and vulnerable people to help them find accommodation, provides training and helps them back into employment. I am working on the administration side of things- it was a much more fast-paced environment than I was expecting and there was a lot of information to take in and things to learn. After my 3 hours, I was exhausted! In a good way though- I didn't have a single thought about food/weight the entire time which is GREAT and it felt amazing o be doing something worthwhile with my time. The people were all really friendly- it felt SO good to be around people, chatting, socialising, learning again. I've missed interacting with "peers" because that has been seriously lacking since returning to the UK. I was originally to only work one morning a week, but they have started a new project this week and are really overstretched so I am planning on doing 2-3 mornings a week.

In other news, I talked a lot with my mom last night about New York- we decided it's best that I postpone my trip until a bit later this year (October). I am a little disappointed because I was really looking forward to some summer sunshine and getting back to NY sooner, but I think it's for the best to delay things- this way I have a decent chunk of time to get established in a work routine and have a bit more time to improve my own circumstances and get the most out of my trip when I DO go. So although it's not as soon as I hoped, I think time is going to fly by now that I have more structure to my week. Plus this way I have longer to enjoy looking forward to it, right?!

Onto some food...

I started today with some muesli:

Oats, fromage frais, vanilla extract and sweetener- topped with frozen blueberries and left to soak overnight. I usually add almonds to this but had a crazy banana craving this morning...

I was so busy all morning at work that I had zero appetite when I got home- this has been a downfall of mine when I have worked/been in school full-time before. I completely lose my appetite when I am busy or stressed! Anyone else find this? How do you make sure you get adequate nutrition? It just doesn't come naturally to me to make time for food if I am busy doing other things...good thing I planned ahead.

Lunch was a delicious sandwich:

Quorn "ham", laughing cow cheese, tomato relish and spinach on wholewheat bread. This bread is delicious- the slices are small but packed full of seeds/flavour. I am LOVING the quorn "ham" these days! I had never tried laughing cow cheese until recently, but having seen it on so many blogs, wanted to try it. I've been missing out all this time! The creaminess is delicious with the "ham" and the chutney/spinach round out the sandwich perfectly.

I don't have much planned for the rest of the day...catching up on blogs, emails, etc then my support worker is coming by later.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Whilst I remember, check out Missy's great giveaway!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Goals, Changes...Commitment-phobe Actually Commits?

I've been thinking more and more about the last few days. It felt good to actually write about the conflict I have going on- I think it's important to acknowledge that there is a very real pull towards my eating disorder, because otherwise it festers silently.

I've talked a lot about what "normal" is, and this has been at the forefront of my thoughts lately. What entails recovery, normality. I have come to the conclusion that "normality" doesn't exist. Normal for ME won't be normal for somebody else. What makes me happy might not make somebody else happy. What works for me and my recovery might not work for someone else.

I want to shift the focus of my blog a bit- from constantly questioning and analyzing the right/wrong way to recover/live, onto a more personal level about MY journey. That was the original intention and I feel like I've lost focus lately amidst everything going on.

I've been thinking about goals again- short term, medium term and long term, Using "S.M.A.R.T." principles (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) which has been the only thing I have ever used from when I qualified as a life coach a few years ago, I came up with these:

So, some of my goals...
  • get back on track with some sort of balanced and varied meal plan (ongoing- has been recently, but kicking things up a notch)
  • start voluntary work (tomorrow)
  • continue working with my therapist to build up the hours of volunteering I do (seeing her weekly to review how I am managing things)
  • work towards being stable enough to ENJOY my trip to New York (now in October- I want to have a GOOD TIME not an anorexia-infused trip)

They are a work in progress and likely to change over time as I learn and grow and discover more about myself as ELLIE, not "Ellie with her sidekick, Anorexia".

One of my longer term goals is to move back to New York so all the smaller goals I have set are with that in mind- if I stumble or start to struggle, I might need reminded to keep the bigger picture in mind! :)

I've said before that this isn't a food blog, but I want to change that a little too. It's been helping me a lot to post photos in terms of branching out/trying new things so there will be more of that. I will NOT be posting entire days worth of food because I don't see that as beneficial to me at this point. I'm going to be making gradual changes so a lot of my meals are pretty repetitive but I am aiming to do at least a couple photos a day whilst I work on building a healthier relationship with food/my body.

I am pretty certain that the path that anorexia leads down is not one I am willing to devote any more time/attention to. I know I'm going to struggle with this. I know I'll have thoughts/urges/moments of despair/days when I want to throw it all in and revert back to what is familiar. But what's scarier to me at this point than a life WITHOUT anorexia is the thought of a life WITH anorexia (now there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one!).

Maybe I should add one more thing to my goals...

  • to use my blog to vent about frustrations/fears/life rather than instinctively running back into the arms of my eating disorder

Wasted Excerpt

I am lacking in words/creativity today but wanted to share an excerpt from "Wasted". A lot of this book is pretty graphic/triggering, but the last chapter has some amazing insight and is worth reading.

Looking back, I see what I did then was pretty basic. I took a leap of
faith. And I believe that has made all the difference. I hung on to the only
thing that seemed real to me, and that was a basic ethical principle: if I was
alive, then I had a responsibility to stay alive and do something with the life
I had been given. And though I was not at all convinced, when I made that leap
of faith, that I had any sensible reason for doing so- though I did not fully
believe that there was anything that could possibly make as much sense as an
eating disorder- I made it because I began to wonder. I simply began to wonder,
in the same way I had wondered what would happen if I began to lose weight, what
would happen if I stopped. It was worth it.

It is worth it. It's exhausting but it is a fight I believe in. I cannot
believe, anymore, in the fight between body and soul. If I do, it will kill me.
But more importantly, if I do, I have taken the easy way out. I know for a fact
that sickness is easier.

But health is more interesting.

- Wasted, Marya Hornbacher

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Conflict Continued

The thing I am struggling most with right now in "choosing" recovery (by "choosing" I mean, giving it my all) is that I want some sort of guarantee. I like to plan ahead. I like to know how things will pan our, what's going to happen, what shape things will form. Life does not work like that (much to my annoyance). I want some type of guarantee that life will be better- I have this vision in my head of being happy and healthy and functional in a conventional sense of the world. I find it hard to accept that I have quirks and personality traits that are what make me *me*- I want to become somebody else through recovery.

This of course defies all logic. Life won't suddenly become sunshine and rainbows. I probably will struggle to find a job at all in this economy, let alone one that matches my dreams and aspirations. There will always be broken friendships, bills to pay, rainy days. That's LIFE.

When I think about the "guarantee" that comes with an eating disorder (physical problems, inability to function, memory/concentration problems, isolation, obsessions) it seems ridiculous that I won't just take the risk of stepping into a world which has both ups AND downs. Why would I choose a life that is pretty much jam-packed of the "downs"?

Because it's guaranteed. It's predictable. It matches how I function- it's all very scientific and mathematical. It goes more by logic (eat x = y occurs, do z = yy occurs). It shuts me off from having to form friendships or relationships. I don't put myself out there to be rejected by friends/family/jobs because I am more concerned with what's going on in my head. Depressed? Walk X miles. Anxious? Purge. There are "simple" problems and "simple" solutions. It's straight-forward, and for something that needs order and control (oh, how cliche), it's easier.

But is it really?

I have nothing. I live alone and I talk to precisely 4 people regularly- one of whom is my mom, the other 3 are treatment professionals. My "hobbies" are all food related. Food can't hurt me the way people can. I tell myself it's easier like this. That I am safer like this. That this is the best option for me.

Honestly? I am scared to death of leaving this behind because I don't know how to function in the world without an eating disorder. I didn't know how to handle it when I was dealing with the stress last summer of getting rejected from one job interview after another. I didn't know how to cope when friends cancelled plans or didn't return calls. I took it so personally: obviously there was something wrong with ME. I couldn't step back and see that maybe the economy is just s*** right now, maybe the job wasn't a good fit, maybe my friends were busy... I just saw it as evidence that I was not cut out for working/friendships/normality.

It just seems to stupid. I look at the guarantees that come with anorexia and it's NOT what I want. But I choose it because I understand it. I know where I stand, the way the path weaves, the journey it takes, the consequences.

Life is just one huge mass of scribbly lines and bright colours.

I feel crazy writing this. I regret deleting this afternoon's post because it was pretty much identical to this one- but with me recognising that I was copping-out BIG time and saying over and over again that I DO NOT WANT TO BE 'THAT' GIRL. I wrote about not wanting to be the girl who stays home obsessing about food/calories, who never eats her own birthday cake, never does anything with her life. I wrote it and I mean it. I really do. I hate that I dole out advice and never take my own. I hate that I complain about hating my eating disorder, about wanting to move to New York, about these amazing plans I have- yet that I don't actually make any real concerted effort to change my situation.

I've been in treatment enough times to know how to eat. I have the CBT and DBT handouts. I can spout therapy jargon in my sleep. Yet something stops me from putting it all into practice.

I read a lot of blogs and I want so badly to be part of the "recovering" community. I know that you guys struggle each and every day, and I see you fighting so.damn.hard. I feel like my blog is just one big joke, and I am "that girl". The one who sits at home bitching and moaning and being miserable whilst having a rather intimate affair with the disease she claims to hate.

That's the real reason I deleted my earlier post. Not because I didn't mean what I said, but because it felt ridiculous reading it back. Like "the boy who cried wolf". I read it and it just didn't match up with "me". It was full of resolutions that this needs to stop NOW, that it's gone on long enough and I am so damn tired of it and tired of myself and tired of the same old s*** But staring back at me from the screen it just looked like some cheesy cliched crap. I feel like I bring the whole blogging community down (which is really rather egocentric of me- nobody is forced to read my blog!)

I don't know if I am making sense. I am literally all over the place right now- feeling like I am at a crossroad, and have been for quite some time. I debate constantly about having to choose either recovery or anorexia, when really it's just an excuse to delay things because I keep clinging to the hope that at some point, there will be an awesome pay-off to my eating disorder (which yes, I am aware will never come on an intellectual level, but emotionally I still want things to match up and make pretty patterns/colours/rainbows).

Monday, 27 April 2009


I'd written a long post about how determined I was to recover- how I was tired of saying the same things, setting the same goals, etc and not really taking any steps to change the current status quo. As soon as I hit "publish", my mood crashed. I don't really know where I stand right now. Obviously, I am getting some sort of "pay off" from my eating disorder or it would be easier to give up...or would it? I don't know. I am insanely jealous of people that have recovered and are living "eating disorder free" lives. But on the other hand, I am almost equally jealous of people who remain unwell. I am so torn between the bigger goals I have in life, and the short-term "fixes" my eating disorder gives me. When I am depressed or anxious or upset about something- there is some instant gratification to be found in my eating disorder. Which leads to the bigger picture/goals becoming further out of sight leading to more need for that "quick fix"- it's a viscious cycle and I'm not sure how to break it.

This post was originally supposed to be some pledge to recovery...but it's not. I wrote a LONG post and sat staring at it for an hour, trying to adjust my thoughts to match what I genuinely felt when I wrote it.

I'm so conflicted right now.

Looking Through Different Eyes

Yesterday's anxiety spiralled into a frenzy last night. I knew I should just call it a night and go to bed, but I stayed awake, curled up on the sofa writing in my "meal planner" book, throwing out food, sticking abusive notes to myself all over my apartment. I woke up this morning feeling like a different person- went to the fridge to get my overnight muesli, only to remember that in last night's rampage, I had covered the entire thing with washing-up liquid.

I walked around slowly, pulling down the notes, cleaning up and starting my week afresh.

I spent a lot of time last night looking at blog entries from a year ago when I was in New York. I noted two things:-

  1. This time last year, I was writing very similar posts: the same frustrations about not being able to let go of my eating disorder and move forward once and for all- recognising baby steps, but not really making any significant changes
  2. I WAS happier overall being in New York, but I wrote a lot about the anxiety and depression I was dealing with, the loneliness, rejection, stress about finding/keeping a job, health care, etc. It wasn't all as happy and wonderful as I continue to picture it to be.

So where does that leave things? I don't want to be writing the same posts a year from now. I thought I would want to be living in New York, but having re-read how I really felt/managed whilst I was there, I'm not so sure.

I am so frustrated right now- I feel like I have no goals in mind, nothing to aim for and am just drifting along for no real reason. That was the thinking behind last night's 'episode'- I figured that if I can't be normal/recovered/living a "real" life, then why even bother trying to fight this at all?..

I AM feeling better this morning. Not because I woke up having discovered my true calling in life and suddenly have goals/purpose/passions to pursue, but because I need to believe that somehow, sometime this will get easier. It's not always going to be like this- though part of my brain is screaming as I write this that things really AREN'T going to change dramatically. But that is such a defeatist attitude, such a cop-out. As long as I am around, I have a chance to change things- I guess although I am having a lot of the same thoughts as last night, instead of using it to fall head-first back into heavy ED behaviours, I'm trying to use it to propel me forward...

Before I forget, head on over to Meg's site to read a great post about living life to the fullest!


With today's breakfast sabotaged, I kind of panicked. I didn't want to eat the breakfast I planned last night when I was in such an emotional state, so scrounged around to make up my usual calorie quota with what was lying around...

Bran flakes with Fage honey twin pot and raisins. Where would I be without Fage?! I actually found this sickeningly sweet- I love honey, but there was a LOT of it in this yogurt. I think I'll stick to the cheesecake fruit twin pots.

And BIG NEWS! My oven is FIXED! Of course, I had to test it out...

I made a sauce for the kidney beans using melted laughing cow cheese, pesto and mushrooms. With baked sweet potato half-moons. It's all about the ha-hee-hey-ho sweet po-ta-to... I forgot how much I love pesto- I find it a bit strong by itself, but combined with the creamy laughing cow cheese was delicious. This is the closest thing I have come to "cooking" in a really long time- and definitely a first time for me "experimenting" and making up some sort of recipe as I went along. Loved it :)

Question: I finally found an all natural non-soy protein powder (it's pea protein). Stellar nutritional stats, but it's unflavoured. I don't have a blender so smoothies are out- anyone got ideas for how to use it? I am wary about buying it if it's going to be gross, but open to suggestions for jazzing it up!

Saturday, 25 April 2009


I've been feeling really anxious since yesterday's post- or maybe since reading the letters I wrote all those years ago. I suddenly feel this urgency to be progressing faster- to run forwards instead of the stumbling "3 steps forward, 2 steps back" I have been taken. I don't know quite what's stopping me or holding me back- I DO know that I've felt this urgency before and rushed into things I wasn't ready for, only to collapse in a heap a few months later. It's hard to find a middle ground between moving forward and standing still.

I've talked before about how impatient I am with this "inbetween" phase- I'm not at my worst and I am not recovered. I'm somewhere in the middle and although I may be making progress/moving forward in some aspects, one foot remains firmly entrenched in "anorexia land". I still resist weight gain (which results in weight loss), I still weigh myself every day hoping to see a lower number, I still exercise more than I should, still crave the numbness that restriction brings, still obsess over food/weight. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself- maybe this is what this "stage" of recovery is all about? Or maybe I am seeing it for what it is: I'm not trying hard enough to fight this and have nobody to blame but myself that I am where I am right now.

I was always told that you have to WANT recovery- I agree with this. But wanting it isn't always enough. I feel like I am missing something crucial as I go about tackling things- like my "recovery handbook" is missing pages and I am filling in the gaps and making stuff up as I go along. I *know* that everyone's path is different and there is no "right" way to recover, but I can't help feeling like I am overseeing something huge- otherwise I'd be further forward than I am right now.

Eh. I didn't want to think about this today- I actually wasn't going to post at all, but there ya go. I can't shut up for a whole 24 hours it seems ;)


In other news...

I got given a free box of bran flakes last week and since I never turn down free food, decided to make one of my favourite snacks:

Bran flakes mixed with Fage 2% twin pot... I swear this tastes like cheesecake!

Lunch featured these two ingredients:

The relish is absolutely heavenly- it's a tomato base but has raisins in it so has a sweet/savoury combination going on. Is delicious with meat/cheese (I think it tastes great by the spoonful too!) I love quorn too- this was the first time trying the "ham" slices and I was a little wary, but these did NOT disappoint!

All together now...

Well if I can't go to a NY-style diner right now, I can recreate the food, right? This sandwich was AMAZING. Though as I've said before, can you really go wrong when melted cheese is involved?..

I'm really glad that I've started incorporating some new foods into my diet- the pictures I post may not look like much in the way of huge changes, but they are pretty big for me. For as long as I can remember, it's been impossible to incorporate 2 sources of protein at one meal. Adding some source of fat (almonds, peanut butter, etc) has been avoided years? So yeah. I am kind of proud of the things I have been doing lately- inspired by other blogs mostly!

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Shape Of Things To Come

I was going through some of my unpacked boxes last night and found a folder of worksheets from treatment. Included was on of the assignments we did in "Motivational Enhancement Therapy"- two letters we had to write to ourselves, 5 years from now, one as if we had recovered and one as if we hadn't. They were both rather chilling to read- I wrote these almost exactly five years ago and BOTH seem to have come true.

The letter I wrote as if I hadn't recovered was pretty much the same advice I would want to give to myself back then. I had written that I still had yet to find some true meaning/purpose to my days, my social life was still very limited and physical consequences of my behaviour were still a prominent feature in every day life. I wrote about my world still revolving around food, rituals and obsessions- about living from one hospital appointment to the next, one crisis to the next. Loneliness, depression, pain.

The letter I wrote as if I HAD recovered talked about having moved to New York, work, friends, hobbies. About being healthy and LOVING feeling strong (both mentally and physically), and being comfortable with a healthy/strong body. I wrote about how I was seeing my family again, eating my mom's cooking, the birthday cakes I had I was an active participant in a world I had created for myself, that included food/diet, my certainly didn't revolve around it.

I look back on the last five years and can see periods of both wellness and sickness- the ups and downs have been in stark contrast...the downs more so probably because of the "ups" in between. Good days/weeks and bad- I guess they balance out somehow.

What it really made me realise is how quickly time does go by, and how easy it is to delay making changes/recovery for "just a little longer" when the reality is that the world doesn't stop turning- things keep changing and moving and I can only ignore it to a certain extent. As long as I stay stuck in my "anorexic bubble", I pretty much block-out the outside world, live in my head and continue to miss out on the LIFE around me- not to mention the life within me that I starve/exercise away because it scares me. It scares me to try in case I fail. In case it isn't what I hoped it would be, in case my eating disorder is the lesser of two evils and that I am better off somehow remaining "safe" with the devil I know rather than taking a risk that doesn't work out.

But I am bored of playing it safe. I know the kind of life anorexia gives me- yes it's predictable, familiar and to a certain extent, feels safe. It's also limiting, suffocating, lonely and insanely DULL.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for”
Life isn't about always playing it safe, taking the easy way out. It's about branching out, doing new things, exploring, discovering, making mistakes, falling down and getting back up again. Daring to dream, daring to dream BIG and taking the risk to see if those dreams can come true.
And that's my shpiel for the day :P

Onto some food!

Breakfast: overnight blueberry almond muesli...

  • oats

  • unsweetened fromage frais (Greek yoghurt's runny twin sister)

  • vanilla extract

  • sweetener

  • frozen blueberries

  • almonds

Left to soak overnight, then mixed together to eat...

I love this- it's so refreshing and would be perfect on a hot day. Too bad Scotland doesn't have many "hot days"!

Lunch was another Mexican bean pate sandwich. Still unspreadable, still delicious- loved the addition of alfalfa sprouts! I bet this would be great on a baked sweet potato...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Let The Healing Begin

I forgive myself for having never completing high school/college...
I forgive myself for not going to medical school...
I forgive myself for putting my friendships/relationships on the back-burner...
I forgive myself for the damage I have caused to my body...
I forgive myself for the years I spent in hospital...
I forgive myself for not accepting the treatment I was given because I wasn't ready for it...
I forgive myself for relapsing after my family invested a lot of time/money into my treatment...
I forgive myself for not being as independent as I would like...
I forgive myself for not being able to manage living/working in New York last summer...
I forgive myself for the suicide attempts and self-harm...
I forgive myself for developing an eating disorder...

I forgive myself because I can't go back and change things, do things differently. I've done a lot of things I regret over the years, damaged a lot of relationships and caused a lot of pain to a lot of people. I think about it a lot and wish I could go back in time and somehow fix things- but I can't. And until I stop punishing myself for the choices I HAVE made, I'll never break free from this spiral of self-loathing/self-destruction. All that I have is THIS moment: a chance to make healthier choices and a chance to lay solid foundations so that the years ahead of me aren't repeats of the years that lie behind me.

Now with the heavy stuff out of the way...


Same banana oat base (oats, 1/2 milk + 1/2 water, vanilla, pinch of salt, mashed banana), with raspberries and white chocolate peanut butter again- the last of my raspberries thankfully. I thought frozen fruit is generally a pretty safe bet in terms of good taste but these were really sour. Maybe I just don't really like raspberries! I have lots of frozen blueberries and some cans of pumpkin so my oats will be raspberry-free from this point on.

In the spirit of self-compassion, I wanted to try one of my childhood favourite foods. I didn't eat 'junk food' often when I was little (I was the weirdo kid with raw mushrooms and raisins at playtime!) but occasionally my dad would take me to the bakery for one of these:

Honestly? I didn't like it very much. I think my taste buds have changed quite a lot over the years- it tasted sickeningly sweet but otherwise doughy and bland. My love of raw mushrooms and raisins remains, however! I'm glad I TRIED this because doughnuts are a kind of "no-go" zone for me, but give me a Clif bar or Larabar over this any day. Of course, I will need to experiment with some other old favourites ;) What were some of your favourite foods when you were growing up? Do you still enjoy them now?

Onto dinner:

Leftover tofu (marinaded in BBQ sauce) with mashed potato and steamed vegetables. So unphotogenic, but so tasty! I was very tempted to squirt ketchup and mustard all over it to add some flashy colours (think "JAZZZZZZ HANDS" culinary-style!) but I resisted the urge. I know a lot of you guys appreciate tofu and steamed vegetables even if they don't glow in the dark or sparkle (cheese-whiz anyone?)

Have a great weekend everyone!

The Amazing Healing Power Of Sleep

I woke up feeling much better today. Never underestimate the healing powers of sleep (+ proper food!). I am always amazed by the impact physical state has on emotional state- anyone else noticed this? When I am getting adequate nutrition and rest, my thoughts are so much clearer and mood so much brighter. It's a vicious cycle when I start restricting because inevitably my sleep patterns become more disrupted leading to deeper depression/fuzzier thinking leading to falling back into old coping skills (more restricting)'s definitely something that is easier to prevent in the first place than pull myself out of!

Work induction went well. Everyone seems really nice and am all set to start next week. There are a couple new projects starting up so it's going to be really busy- I'll just be there one morning a week initially doing admin work, then I'll increase my hours and be working more in the marketing/PR department.

In EXCITING NEWS (!), I am planning my trip to New York and can't WAIT. I am beyond excited. Dates yet to be confirmed, but I'm looking at the last week in August and first two weeks in September. Blogger meet-up anyone?

And some other oh-so-exciting stuff (who am I kidding? :P )-


Banana oatmeal (oats, vanilla, mashed banana, milk) with frozen raspberries and white chocolate peanut butter. I missed my pumpkin oats- these raspberries were REALLY sour, despite the sweetness of the banana and peanut butter. I think breakfast is my favourite meal of the day- most people I know eat the same stuff for breakfasts most days (cereal and/or toast) but for me it's when I am most creative and try lots of new combinations. I also eat really early (wake up around 5:30, drink coffee then eat) so I am usually calm and the outside world is quiet and peaceful. What's your favourite meal of the day and why?


Mini chocolate chip Clif bar spread with 1/2 tbsp white chocolate peanut butter. Peanut butter twice in one day? Why not?!

Mexican bean pate and tomato sandwich. A new find! The pate was really good but somewhat unspreadable and stayed in a big slab despite my efforts to mush it around. Tasted great though! I just noticed that almost all my meals today have been BROWN. At least my sour raspberries added a splash of colour if nothing else!

Hope everyone is having a great Thursday so far- weekend is almost here! What have you got planned?

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

More Than My Emotions

I slept for a total of about 4 hours last night so much of today has been spent in a kind of daze. I'm tired, but not "sleepy" tired- I feel flat, hopeless, sad. Those are my signals that I need rest and it's hard sometimes to see them as signs of being tired rather than taking them at face-value and thinking that I AM hopeless/depressed. I'm just tired. I need to keep reminding myself of that today and make sure I get a decent night's sleep (first day of work tomorrow!) and hold onto the knowledge that I WILL feel much better once I am refreshed.

My dad always says, "don't make any major decisions when you are tired or hungry"- I struggle with this and tend to leap into whatever my emotions lead me to, but not tonight. I'm tired and not going to make any rash or impulsive decisions. Nothing is so urgent it needs dealt with tonight- I declare Wednesday evenings "mid-week weekend"!

I did clean my entire apartment at 5am so at least something productive comes out of insomnia :P

And of course, today has involved food...

Since my pumpkin breakfast cookie was a disaster, I tried something different:

Quaker instant raisin, date and walnut oatmeal (I usually like plain oats with my own mix-ins, but this flavour is awesome- I swear it tastes like cookie dough once it's cooled!) topped with mashed banana and Fage. Delicious!

A new (to me) lunch:

Tofu marinaded in BBQ sauce (pan-fried due to oven situation!) with a little cheddar cheese on Arnold's sandwich thin. This was my first time cooking tofu and I loved it! (Though everything tastes good with melted cheese!)

I definitely have a tendency to over-stuff my sandwiches! When I was in New York, I was amazed by how much filling they cram in between two slices of bread. In the UK, a turkey sandwich generally consists of bread, butter, 2 thin slices of turkey and a leaf of limp lettuce. I prefer my NY style sandwiches!


I'm not generally a fan of Luna bars- the texture throws me a bit because it's more light/crispy than my usual favourites (Clif, Pureprotein). This flavour tastes like a rice crispie treat though so matches well with the texture.

I just want to say how much strength and motivation I am taking from reading everyone's blogs. I don't always comment, but it's been so helpful to me to read about everyone's journeys with all their ups and downs, share in the peaks and troughs of recovery/life (I read a lot of non-ED blogs). The blogging community has become such a huge part of my life and although this sounds really cheesy, I just wanted to say thank-you!

Pssst...check out the awesome Holey Donut giveaway !

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Are We There Yet? (part 2)

I wanted to say more about yesterday's post. I think that a lot of my frustration stems from "recovery" being REALLY hard to define or put into words. I want something I can hold up and say, "look- all better now". A healthy body would be one sign, but a healthy mind? How do you prove that? (which begs the question, to whom exactly do I want to prove it to?) All the things that I had originally clung to as indicators of "normality" (a job, etc), I've disqualified as nothing more than external achievements which don't really prove anything, let alone stability/wellness/recovery.

Oy vey. Back to the drawing board I guess? I feel like I am going in circles with all of this, when perhaps I should be focusing more on the small everyday goals/accomplishments rather than spending so much energy focusing on what recovery is/isn't, what's normal/abnormal.

Anyway, my internet is FIXED! I am excited beyond words- my new connection is much faster, I can view/post pictures and so far, is much more reliable. *touches wood*

So, onto more fun stuff :)

Breakfast this morning:

Chopped/microwaved apple topped with fage and Bare Naked fruit and nut granola. Love this granola so much! This is one of my favourite breakfasts- apple cobbler at 6am? Heck yes!

Afternoon "snack" (Katie- I hate that word too!)

Pumpkin spice Clif bar- love the frosting and chunks of raisins in this. I ordered a box in December which I am slowly getting through then have a giant stash of maple nut to work on. Clif burn-out in the foreseeable future I think!

And, I COOKED! I tried to bake something on Saturday and realised that my oven doesn't work. I was right not to trust it- it's seriously in need of some industrial strength cleaner, but I thought I should try it. After 20 minutes of sticking my head and hands in mounds of smelly grease, I gave up. Hob and microwave will do!

Quorn mince in tomato sauce with spaghetti + parmesan cheese and steamed spinach.

I could eat spinach all day long- raw, it. Though have yet to brave it in a fruit smoothie! One day maybe ;)

Usual disclaimer: everything that is pictured has been eaten, not everything eaten has been pictured.

Danielle tagged me to do the "survey of 8's" that's making it's way through blogosphere...

8 Things I’m Looking Forward To:

  1. a long hot shower tonight
  2. starting work on Thursday
  3. more summer sunshine
  4. my amazon order arriving
  5. my TV being fixed
  6. catching up on blogs tonight (so happy about my internet!)
  7. seeing my mom this weekend
  8. my trip to New York in August (woo!)

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

  1. stocked up on chewing gum
  2. had a meeting about photography group
  3. cleaned my kitchen and bathroom
  4. doctors appointment
  5. finished my book
  6. had my first iced coffee of the year (!)
  7. grocery shopping
  8. played with my camera

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

  1. get a copywriting job at an advertising agency in New York
  2. move back to New York (without having to worry about work/money so much)
  3. go to Australia
  4. go to California
  5. write a book
  6. start my own t-shirt designing business
  7. become fluent in another language
  8. learn to walk in high heels

8 Shows I Watch:

  1. QI
  2. Scrubs
  3. Mock The Week
  4. 8 out of 10 Cats
  5. Everybody Loves Raymond
  6. Badeil and Skinner Unplanned
  7. Sex and The City
  8. Sabrina The Teenage Witch (and I am NOT ASHAMED TO ADMIT IT :P )

So now I am to tag 8 people- apologies if you have been tagged already!

  1. Katie
  2. Sam
  3. Lexi
  4. Leiba
  5. Sophia
  6. Stef
  7. Emily
  8. Pam

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Are We There Yet?

I was discharged from the Intensive Home Treatment Team today- my initial thought was, "does that mean I am fine now?" I don't feel much different to how I did a month ago, 2 months, 3 months ago- but that doesn't mean that how I felt then was "wrong" in some way. Maybe I am already at the place I need to be?

This is all rather confusing. I guess my point is, how do we know if we have recovered or not? I've talked before about recovery, in my head, as being this magical sparkly wonderful happy place. I know that place doesn't exist. Which means I have to define recovery for myself- which makes me wonder if I am already there. I'm not in the same "place" that a lot of people (non-eating disordered/recovered) are, but I don't think I ever WILL be. Because I am not them and my life will be shaped by MY thoughts/feelings/ideas/goals and nobody else's. I haven't achieved my goals in life yet, but hell- I'm 26. I have a lot of time ahead of me to be reaching my goals. That's what life is all about, right? Constantly changing, growing, maturing. There IS no final destination. You just carry on making sense of things as best as you can, accepting the things you don't understand, forming relationships, doing new things/getting better at old things, making mistakes and getting back on your feet. C'est la vie.

This train of thought was prompted not just by my discharge from the IHTT, but also when it struck me how bored I am. Bored of anorexia, YES (my god- how many hours can I obsess over the size of a banana before I realise how freaking DULL it is?!) but also bored of recovery. NOT bored of the idea of recovery, but bored of the grey in between area between sick and well. I'm tired of thinking the same thoughts (whether they are ED/recovery), tired of the same dilemmas/decisions (blueberries or raspberries? distraction or CBT? acceptance or pushing for change?). I am just starting to feel like this is all losing any meaning- none of it seems important right now.

I feel like I did when I was 10- I had osgood schlatters disease (when the muscle in your knee grows faster than the bone) and spent the summer on crutches. I wanted to go to the tennis camp I went to every year. Instead I sat in a bean bag reading for the entire summer...losing myself in stories about people who were out playing hockey, horseback riding, ice skating. I wanted more than ANYTHING to be running around with my friends but my body wasn't co-operating. (My parents did console me by letting me get my ears pierced- thanks guys!)

I kind of feel like this now.

Yet there is nothing concrete/tangible that I can *see* to stop me. Depression, anxiety, ED thoughts- they don't show up on x-rays or scans. There is nothing I can point to and say, "okay- I'll fix this" because I'm not quite sure what is wrong. Or if there even IS something wrong. Which leads me back to my original paragraph.

Maybe this is "normal" after all...

or maybe I just need to believe it's normal because it's driving me insane and I don't know how to fix it

Sunday, 19 April 2009

A New Week Already?

Sunday = library closed = no photos today. So sad. I do have some funky eats to show you guys so I'll let the anticipation build (it's really not very exciting at all- now if I could just give bites out through the screen, that would be something...sadly, blogspot barely does spell checks, let alone virtual dinner parties).

It's been a pretty mixed week. I've branched out with my meals/snacks a bit and put things into place so I have more structure next week. Depression and obsessional stuff is lingering in a somewhat maddening way, but I'm trying to act "as if"...kind of doing stuff even if I don't feel like it/would rather board a plane and fly away. I'm sitting still, holding tight and going through the motions of being "okay" even if I don't feel like it.

Is it just me or is this year FLYING by? I can't believe it's almost MAY already! Crazy. I'm so happy that the weather is getting warmer (YAY for lower gas bills :P )

Coming up this week...

  • Monday: appointment about starting either a photography or writing course
  • Tuesday: therapy
  • Wednesday: internet being fixed (WOO!)
  • Thursday: induction for volunteering work
  • Friday: I am starting my weekend!

Hopefully a week also filled with glorious weather. A girl can dream, right? (The term "global warming" is a little misleading when it comes to Scottish weather!)

And of course, as promised, some new foods (and some old favourites brought back in- why mess with a good thing, right?)

I'm also being discharged from the Home Treatment Team this week. I have been seeing them almost daily since being discharged from hospital so it's going to be an adjusment- they come in the evenings which are my hardest time, and things have been pretty rough the days they haven't come. I'm a little apprehensive about how it's going to go, but I hope that with internet fixed (and hopefully TV soon) I'll be able to fill my time a bit more than just with cleaning/obsessing.

In other news: I have quite a lot of Clif bars at the moment- if anyone wants to do a mini trade (I have a few pumpkin spice clif bars + some British bars, and would love pureprotein bars, sandwich thins or flat-out wraps!) drop me a line!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

What's In A Year?

It's was exactly one year ago today that I boarded the plane to New York. I remember how excited I was as the plane took off- naively believing that I was leaving what I've come to discover the inescapable behind. Inescapable at least until I have faced up to it and changed it myself. Running away doesn't work. I remember being full of hope that *this* time, it would work- I had somewhere to live, job interviews lined up, social plans made. I was so happy to be going back to where I consider "home".

I remember opening the door to my new bedroom, feeling like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The sunlight shone brightly through the huge window- a welcome change from the cold dampness I'd left behind in Scotland.

The weeks that followed were filled with job interview after job interview. Nobody seemed to be actually hiring, and I drifted from one company to the next- portfolio clutched closely to my chest. My motivation waned. I spent time with friends, i went to therapy, I tried my hardest to hold things together. I struggled to pay my rent, struggled to keep my eating disorder under control as I was rejected time and time again from one job to the next. I picked up pieces of temp work in between- answering phones, faxing, Xeroxing. The summer heat started to feel more suffocating than welcoming as I grew more and more hopeless and defeated. I sat in my room each night drinking warm diet cream soda, applying for jobs, hunting for somewhere cheaper to live.

My therapist was pressing for me to see a doctor- everyone I spoke to said I needed to go into an inpatient program. I could barely afford my rent with the little work I was managing to get, never mind take several weeks off for treatment. By July, I had given up trying and made arrangements to fly back to the UK. It was okay- i was going to move to London and build a life THERE. It was going to be great. I got a place for college, found somewhere to live...everything was planned out.

One minor detail overlooked: the problem wasn't where i was living or what I was doing- the problem was how I interpreted it all and how I turned on myself when things felt chaotic/disappointing/overwhelming.

I still want, more than anything, to move back to New York. Do I want it badly enough to make it happen? I'm not sure. Last year i really thought, "third time lucky"- I guess I have learned stuff each time I have moved, even if it hasn't always had the end result that I was looking for. I'm not sure how to go about planning another move at this stage- if there is another move, it's going to be the last.

At least I know now that my difficulties come with me wherever I go, and nothing external is going to change things until I have changed what's going on inside of me...

Onto more fun stuff. I finally found it!

I have been hunting for this because I thought I would LOVE it. I was pretty disappointed. I found the flavour to be bland, but overly sweet- not much coconutty taste at all, just a weird sugary taste that i couldn't quite place. I didn't like the peanut butter cookie one though initially so might need to try this again at some point- though only if it's given to me for free!

Last night I attempted to make one of the breakfast cookies I've seen all over blogosphere lately. Using leftover pumpkin and a sample pack of muesli, I came up with this...

I overestimated the absorption ability of oats a little! Pumpkin : Oat ratio = wrong-o!

Yogurt to the rescue...

And that is how the cookie crumbles!!!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Seemingly Meaningless Meaning

Thanks for your feedback on yesterday's post. I am well aware of the fact that I need something TO focus on other than food/weight- it's looking likely that I'll be starting volunteer work next week and I am pretty excited about that.

I think part of why I find it hard to relax and take pleasure from distractions is that it all seems rather pointless. It's hard for me to enjoy things just for the sake of enjoyment itself- I want things to have meaning and purpose, something BEYOND just having a good time. I feel like if it's not taking me further towards bigger goals in life, then there isn't a point to it. I guess that's another place mindfulness can come in- enjoying each moment as it is without constantly thinking of where it is leading. Reading a book because I like the story, listening to music because I enjoy singing along. Not EVERYTHING has to be a major investment in the future (in terms of job, etc)- sometimes an investment in the future is just making each passing moment that bit more pleasant.

Now, onto food since I am at the library :)

Like I mentioned before, I am making an effort to branch out from my usual meals. Starting with breakfast...

A change from pumpkin oats/granola: blueberry and almond muesli

In the mix:

  • oats
  • plain fromage frais
  • vanilla extract
  • frozen blueberries
  • almonds

Left so soak overnight, then mixed together the next morning...

This WILL be repeated!

A new twist on mini clif bars- I suddenly realised that these expire in May, so am trying to use them up. As creatively as possible of course!

Spread w/ 1/2 tbsp white chocolate wonder peanut butter. Aaaah...heavenly.

And I DID make my pasta- I swear this isn't a recycled pic!

Spinach and ricotta tortellini with tomato basil sauce and steamed tenderstem broccoli

I am having fun branching out and trying new things- more to come: watch this space!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

What Do I Do With All This Space?..

...I'm talking head space here.

If my therapist is right (and she has yet to be wrong- this woman is amazing) then the preoccupation with food is partially to block out depression/anxiety. It is, no doubt, partly related to weight/behaviours (anyone read the Minnesota Study?) , but I think she is right with her idea as to why it's gotten so much worse lately.

I've noticed since the day when I decided I don't need to be so black/white in my thinking about my meal plan, my anxiety has lessened and I am spending far less time thinking about food. Instead, my thoughts have drifted back into a hole of despair and negativity. I honestly don't know what else TO think about.

I have been trying to distract myself with reading (yay chic lit!), music, making collages, but it all feels kind of...meaningless. I am very aware of the fact that I am doing these things, not necessarily because I ENJOY them, but because I know I need to drag my thoughts away from where they will wander if I don't make a conscious effort to direct them somewhere.

I don't want to spend my life feeling like I am just going through motions to kill time so I don't go insane. I've written before about how I do things 100%- whether it's my eating disorder or work, it's very much full-on 'don't-think-don't-feel' mode.

Maybe this is normal? I have no idea. I don't KNOW what people think about on a day-to-day basis. I have ideas about how they fill their time, but just little things...waiting for the bus, standing in line in a store. What are they thinking about? I'm not asking because I'm nosy- I just can't seem to even contemplate the idea that there ARE things worth thinking about other than food/weight.

I take away the eating disorder thoughts, the depression thoughts...then what? My mind goes completely blank...

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Who To Trust?

I'm glad so many of you liked the 'A - Z Of Happiness' I posted yesterday- I came across a little 12-step book filled with quotes and cartoons, and wanted to share it.

Second of all, my internet issues are ongoing which means that blogging/commenting is limited. I am trying to keep up with you all, but I can't look at picture heavy posts right now and commenting is causing problems. It was due to be fixed on Friday, but they got my address wrong so had to cancel the whole thing, start all over with a new order and are now coming next week. Crazy- I don't know why they couldn't just change the address! I've got some pictures for you guys though so will try to fit in a library trip this week. Thank you for continuing to read/offer support through all of this!


The topic of yesterday's therapy was about how preoccupied I am with food/numbers right now. She thought it might be anxiety related, another theory being that these thoughts have taken over the "head space" the depression was taking up. I am definitely far less depressed since the obsessional thinking has become such an issue which makes it hard to think about making much effort to stop it- I don't know what is worse!

We talked a lot about mindfulness and how this might help right now. Not obsessing and panicking about what I am going to eat for dinner next Tuesday- but staying in the present moment and taking each minute as it comes. Obviously not practical to do ALL the time (some planning is necessary!), but definitely worth remembering when my thoughts are going a hundred miles an hour about a snack or meal days/weeks away! She said that she often recommends to patients that they sit down one day and plan the week's meals, buy the ingredients then just follow their plan. I try to do this but end up either 1) making my plan in a "good" frame of mind then freaking out when it comes to eating it, or 2) making my plan in an ED'd frame of mind then realising mid-week that it's not what I should/want to be doing.

What works for you guys? Do you plan meals in advance? If so, how far?

Part of the difficulty I have in taking a relaxed approach to what I am eating is that I read so much information about nutrition that it's like fireworks in my brain when it comes to actually selecting food. I question a thousand times what the ingredients are, what effect they will have, every study I have read/heard about. I compare my intake to other people and wonder if my body has different needs, or what is true in a scientific sense and what is just my personal interpretation of the information I've read.

She also weighed me, which she hasn't done for a really long time. I didn't actually mind for once, but admittedly that's because I knew my weight had dropped since she last checked. I struggle with this a lot- she pointed out that I spend so much time constructing a "perfect" meal plan but if it really was "perfect", my body wouldn't be suffering the way it is right now. I can't get my head around the concept of weight loss. As crazy as this might sound, I don't believe in weight loss. In other people, YES, but not for me. My eating disorder has always been more about a fear of gaining weight rather than a desperate drive to lose weight- obviously I err on the side of caution and get caught in a weight loss spiral. But when it comes down to it, I see weight as capable of only two things: gaining or maintaining. By that logic, if I am not gaining, I am maintaining. No?.. This makes perfect sense to me so it was weird for her to talk about a weight loss I don't believe in. I did tell her this- it's only very recently that I've stopped worrying about how I'll be perceived in therapy and just say what I am thinking without fear of being judged/labelled. I tell it like it is now (or at least, how it is in MY head!). She wants me to really start questioning the beliefs I hold. I guess now that I am getting them all out in the open I am at least learning that they don't always match up to other people's- which means they may not be entirely accurate. Not that I think other people are always 100% spot-on, but I am starting to pay more attention to how the things I cling to in my brain actually fit into the real world.

I guess with any kind of eating disorder, perception is kind of skewy with certain things- NOT helped by the fact that I spend so much time by myself. I easily lose perspective on what is considered "normal"- I know that "normal" doesn't really exist and everybody is different, but I also know that the more time I spend in my head, 1) the crazier my own thoughts get and 2) the more distant I become from others because I am so far removed from how they function.

We also discussed how I find it hard to see any real purpose in not only changing/increasing my diet, but just life on the whole. Yes, my sessions can get pretty philosophical at times! She thought that life is just there to be lived- to be enjoyed, to find things you take pleasure from. I don't do nearly enough of that and currently my days have no real purpose (which no doubt fuels my depression/emotional state). She did point out that if I want to take photos of my food, that gives eating some purpose outside of my own body/health- my meals need to be picture worthy! I've told her about the blog and how much it is helping me to write/read other people's. It's NOT going to become a food blog at this point, but I do find that I put a different kind of effort and energy into my meals if I am planning on posting pictures. There is no way I would want to post anything that would represent a restrictive/repetitive/overtly disordered diet, or something overly repetitive. She thought having blog-worthy food, whether I choose so post it or not, was a good goal.

Onto goals!..
  • go ahead with voluntary work application (to be with other people and have some kind of focus)
  • ongoing meal plan issues (I don't see a dietitian so my meal plan is self-devised: I told her of my plan to change things gradually over the next couple of weeks and she is okay with that)
  • be more aware of when I slip into "emotional mind" and work on mindfulness skills (DBT stuff from days gone by...)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A - Z Of Happiness

Happiness Is...

Adventures in self-discovery
Being true to yourself
Creating a life that you love
Disposition, not circumstance
Enjoying what you have
Finding balance
Growing friendships
Having someone to love
Inside job: go within
Journey of the heart
Knowing when to let go
Learning from mistakes
Making the best of any situation
Not taking things personally
Optional, so is misery
Progress, not perfection
Quality of your thoughts
Reverance for body, mind and spirit
Spending time with loved ones
Today, well-lived
Unconditional- no "if's", "and's" or "but's"
Valuing feelings and needs
Whatever makes your heart sing
Xpressing your truth, lovingly
Your choice- if not know, when?
Zzzzz...a good night's sleep

- Keep Coming Back

Monday, 13 April 2009

Hard Travellin'

I woke up at 5 am this morning, and proceeded with my routine:
  1. take vitamins
  2. turn computer on
  3. weigh myself
  4. boil kettle
  5. smoke cigarette
  6. make coffee and drink whilst reading 3 specific blogs
  7. eat breakfast
  8. prepare food for dinner
  9. smoke another cigarette
All of that went the same as it does pretty much any other day. 15 minutes later, I was huddled up against the wall, the floor around me scattered with paper, clutching my knees, rocking back and forth with tears pouring down my face. I felt like my brain was literally being hacked into a thousand little pieces. I kind of lost track of time amidst crying/writing/calculating/smoking. Needless to say, by 7am I had worked myself up into quite a state. I threw on the clothes I wore yesterday, grabbed my bag and left my apartment.

More time was lost.

Somewhere along my walk I decided I should buy pasta sauce. Not just ANY pasta sauce, but a single serving of plain tomato pasta sauce. I had remembered that I had 1 portion of tortellini in the freezer and suddenly decided that it would make a perfect dinner for tomorrow. I went into about 4 different supermarkets- in each one, I found the sauce and waited in line to pay. When it was my turn, I left the queue, put the sauce back on the shelf and darted out the store with thoughts literally crashing around in my head. I cranked the volume up on my iPod and carried on walking. With hundreds of reasons to BUY the sauce and eat pasta tomorrow, and hundreds of reasons NOT to.

I don't know why this is such a bug deal. It's one meal- my dinner is the exact same thing every night at the moment and ONE night of something different is not going to have any dramatic effect on my weight, my life, the world. Yet it felt like a HUGE deal to even be contemplating eating something different. Even if the "different" thing was a regular feature in my diet 6 weeks ago.

I went back and forth in my head about last night's post- old plan, new plan, scrap the plan...fruitarian? vegan? high protein? sodium? fibre? money? I couldn't step back and see the wood for the trees. I vaguely remember sending panicky texts to my mom, then ignoring my phone when she tried to call. I remember listening to Pete Seeger singing "Hard Travelling" at full blast. I eventually answered my phone, but when my mom started to get frustrated and yelling, the noise was too much combined with the noise in my head and I hung up.

Walking, smoking, walking, smoking.

Then it hit me. I don't NEED to give up my old plan, and I don't need to leap straight into the new plan. I can gradually work towards the new plan over the coming weeks- slowly phase out my "safe" foods whilst reintroducing new ones. It seems so damn obvious now. It's only taken me 4 days to realise that it doesn't HAVE to be so black and white/all or nothing.

I feel really stupid now.

I bought the pasta sauce, came home, tidied up the masses of paper around my apartment- pulled out a new notebook and planned the next couple of weeks out. They make sense. Suddenly my world stopped spinning wildly, my heart stopped pounding and I sat on the sofa staring out the window for over an hour. Just silent, sitting, breathing.

I started having thoughts of why I need to change the plan I have right now- why it even MATTERS even more. I feel like for years I had all these great motivating goals- as time has gone by and my recovery has been up and down, I've tried out all these goals. None of them worked out or felt as good as I hoped they would. I don't really have any concrete reason to change things, to keep working towards recovery, to keep fighting the anorexic voice in my head.

Nothing 'concrete' like a specific thing I want to be able to do (move to New York, dance, etc).

I do however have this: if the sheer hell of the past few days has been caused by anorexia, then that is reason enough for me to want to break free from this once and for all.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Up and Down and Round Again

"Know that when your mind keeps throwing up
roadblocks, you can just drive straight through them"

aah...the best quotes come from "Scrubs", don't ya think? :P (any other fans out there?)

So after yesterday's post, I was feeling pretty empowered. It felt good to put into words more about the real me beneath my eating disorder. I don't know what happened between last night and today, but I woke up this morning in a complete daze. The world seemed grey and foggy, despite the very un-Scottish sunshine. Shapes were merging into one and other, the world was tilting at funny angles. I could see people's lips moving as they talked, but nothing seemed to make sense. Everything felt foreign and threatening.

Most of today has been pretty difficult. Not because it's Easter- my family are Jewish so busy with Passover festivities and I have spent much of the last few days by myself, avoiding any/all celebrations.

It's been difficult because of the ever-constant obsessing about food/calories/weight/numbers. I get like this sometimes- usually when I am tired or overwhelmed. I usually spend an evening frantically writing out lists, go to bed and feel better once I wake up. This hasn't eased up since the other night- sleep isn't helping, distractions aren't helping. NOTHING seems to be helping and I am frustrated beyond belief at how this electricity is pulsing through my brain. My head hurts, my notepads are filled, my meal plans torn up and rewritten a zillion times (sorry trees!)

I really don't know quite what to try at this point so I am going to cut to the chase and say exactly where I am at with this right now.

I know I need to change/increase what I am eating. I have gotten my head around accepting that fact. So what is stopping me? Partly very stupid reasons. The "safe" fall-back food I eat comes in a can and was on special offer a while ago- that's partly why I have been eating it every day. I must have bought about 60 of these damn things. I still have 18 by my logic, I should keep things the same for the next 18 days. Then I toyed with the idea of changing one of my other meals- but again, I stocked up on the items and have enough for another 3 weeks.

Two problems:

1) I have rewritten a decent meal plan when I was calm/rational, and it does NOT include these "safe" foods. It's not an overly scary meal plan in itself, but I have very particular associations now with these certain foods and I think it's best to avoid them completely for a while.

2) I hate wasting food- granted, these are canned/boxed items and good for a loooooooong time, but I get anxious having food around if I am not "scheduled" to eat it.

So that's where things stand. I HAVE a decent meal plan set-up, but am all stocked up for the next while for the current plan. The plan that is making me feel like crap mentally/physically (it's NOT an "restriction" plan, but is certainly not adequate in terms of nutrients, calories, etc for my body).

Then there is the whole fear of changing things and getting rid of my current staple foods (despite the fact that I am sick to death of them and actually feel like crying at the thought of one.more.damn.bite.of.this.crap).

It's so hard to step back and be rational when it comes to food. There is so much emotion tied into it, so many implications of eating- it's not as straightforward as just eating what tastes good/makes me feel good. The foods I enjoy are harder because I question whether I deserve to enjoy food and start feeling like a "fraud" of an anorexic. Which is, in itself, crazy because I abhor the label and want to be free of this identity. There is also the issue of eating stuff I DON'T enjoy- it's so hard to justify it. For health? For energy? I don't, on an emotional level, feel like I personally have a need for food. Beyond the bare minimum to keep my body ticking along, and even that at times is hard to justify. It's just so bizarre to sit and write it out, read it back- I am almost laughing at how crazy this all sounds. Yet deep down, my thoughts and fears are deep-rooted and challenging them isn't so easy.

I am very tempted to just say, "f*** it"- box up the food I have bought for a time when I can incorporate them into my diet easily. Go out tomorrow and buy the foods I know I want to/need to be eating. There is so much GUILT involved spending money on food though. I am terrified of running out of food (hence the stockpiling of my staple items) and terrified of running out of money (in case I run out of food!)

Oy vey. It's Sunday night and all I want to do is curl up with my book and try to unwind. Maybe posting this and just having it "out there" (rather than jostling around my brain) will help.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner!

I am not known for being a pushover. I am not outspoken in any way, but I generally say what I think, with as much tact as possible. I stand up for what I believe in and will leap into conversations to stick up for people/things I am passionate about. I am not a disobedient person- on the contrary, I like having rules and order, but I need to know why the rules are in place if I am going to follow them. I question things a lot- not in a confrontational way but I am, by nature, a curious person and like to understand why people say/do the things they do. I hate arguments and fighting but will quite happily sit and debate something for 3 hours to understand where you are coming from and put my point of view forward.

Yet when it comes to anorexia ordering me around, I cower in the corner. I don't question the rules laid down- I just follow them. I don't challenge the statements yelled out at me- I take them to heart and hold them to be true.

So why is it different when it comes from anorexia rather than from another person? If a "friend" told me I didn't deserve to eat/should lose Xlbs/should skip my snack, I'd tell them where to go. No holds barred. My body, my life. Yet when it comes from anorexia, it's a whole different story. Maybe because it is so hard to separate anorexic thoughts from my own thoughts? I find that the times I CAN separate the two, I am able to fight back. But when the two merge together and it's hard to prise them apart, it's impossible to bring a logical argument into the equation. The real "ellie" gets lost amidst the whispers and roars of anorexia and I find myself doing things that I later question- this is NOT who I am. This is NOT what *I* believe to be right/important. Measuring out peanut butter and spending 5 minutes levelling off the teaspoon? Spending several hours working out the exact calories/protein/fiber in my breakfast? Meh. If I liked numbers, I'd be a mathematician.

I am not what anorexia makes me. Perfectionist, yes. Likes control? Oh-so-cliche, but oh-so-true. But obsessive to the point where I can barely string together a coherent sentence because my thoughts are so jumbled? NO.

I am a creative person. I love to dance around my room pretending my hairbrush is a microphone. I love curling up on the sofa watching "Scrubs". I could spend all day in a bookstore hunting out books with funny titles and taking photos of me and my friend holding them. I love exploring new areas, travelling, working. I love writing- all kinds of stuff. For a long time I have wanted to be a copywriter for an advertising agency (DREAM JOB!). I LOOOOOOOVE New York- the 24/7 buzz, the people, the atmosphere... I love who I am when I am there: outgoing, confident, driven, focused, healthy. I never wear make-up because I always forget I have it on and end up with mascara smeared all over my face. I laugh when I am uncomfortable and have a very dry sense of humour. I love going out for dinner with my friends in New York. I love learning random facts that will probably never be of use to me, but are fun to know. I rarely answer my phone- despite the months I spent working in call centres/receptions, I HATE picking up the phone knowing someone on the other side needs to talk to me about something. I am very impatient- I like things done immediately. I am not afraid of hard work, but if I am not seeing some kind of immediate results, I start to question the point of it all. I don't like making small decisions, but have NO problem making life-changing decisions. I then throw myself into my next adventure, only to get bored 3 months later and change gears. I can't walk in flip-flops of high heels- I can live with that. I wear my hair the same way every day- pulled back in a messy bun that inevitable falls out countless times during the day. I could spend a month in Wholefoods and never get bored. I love food: talking about it, reading about it, thinking about it, and yes- eating it. I never have music on at home, but my iPod is switched on as soon as I step outside my door- I wake up every morning with a song in my head, and that's the first one I listen to when I leave each morning. My play lists are categorised by feelings- whether I am angry, upset, happy, I have a whole bunch of songs right there to match my mood. I don't wear a watch and am always asking what time it is. I am terrified of ALL animals and will never have a pet for this reason. I don't mind spiders that come in my apartment, but if a bee or wasp enters, I am moving out. Seriously. I don't follow any particular religion, but am fascinated by Eastern philosophy. I don't know how to drive or boil an egg- I do make a mean ratatouille though and can do a babyfreeze (which I often do, at very random times...though seriously, it's a kind of random thing to do full stop, outside of a break dancing arena!) I have spelt "separate" wrong everytime I do a spell-check (thank you blogspot for bringing this to my attention!)

Point is, I feel like anorexia has taken up so much of my identity- particularly in the last few weeks between the psychotic episode and depression.

I am not anorexia. I need to keep reminding myself of that, and start paying more attention to ELLIE- investing my time in the part of me that I want to grow stonger and bolder, rather than wasting my time and energy fueling the fire I want to burn out.

Tell me some random facts about you!

Friday, 10 April 2009

A Brain, Obsessed

I have mentioned a few times about how my eating is fairly repetitive- part of why I don't post pictures more frequently is because my lunches and dinners tend to be the same every day. I haven't been in this habit for a really long time (several years)- sure, I have gone through phases where certain foods make a more regular appearance, but since I was 19 (worst stage of my ED- basically was eating exactly the same foods every day which gradually got cut back as I ran out/stores weren't stocking the *exact* size/shape/brand I 'needed') I have made a VERY concerted effort to have some variety in there...

This has taken different forms over the years- from times where I would rotate the same two dinners, to times in New York when I ate out almost every meal and tried several new things every single day. For the most part, it's been somewhere in between- having food/meals that I eat a few times a week, but trying new things a few times a week.

Since moving into my apartment almost 6 weeks ago, I have pretty much stuck to a "weekly schedule". I have a few breakfasts I rotate, flexibility around snacks (within certain limits/criteria) but my lunches and dinners have been exactly the same. Aside from 1 allotted meal a week that I have something "new", though the past 3 weeks this "new" meal has just been repeated.

Obviously this is problematic. I can't go over to my mom's house for dinner, can't even contemplate the notion of a trip to NY right bored to tears at the thought of eating this same thing one.more.time.

I decided on Wednesday night that I was going to switch things up and reintroduce some of my old fall-back meals into my diet. I ended up spending almost 3 hours writing lists, doing calculations, racking my brains for combinations that met criteria for meals in a healthy sense whilst being "safe" in an ED sense (note to self: the 2 aren't compatible). I sat, curled up on my sofa with 3 notepads, a calculator, old food diaries. Eventually I planned a week's worth of meals that I felt okay with. It was a rather awesome moment- a true "EUREKA", as if I had found the answer to world peace. I went to bed happy and relaxed- only to wake up a couple of hours later FREAKING out because I suddenly realised there were major flaws in my plan. Because god forbid I should be so daring as to get my protein from cottage cheese rather than yogurt, or tofu rather than tuna. I honestly feel like my world is held together by the exact breakdown of my nutritional intake- obviously I know that's not true, but that's how it feels.

So, I curled up on the sofa once again- notepads, calculator, etc, and got back to work.

I must have done this at least 10 times since Wednesday night. Suddenly nothing feels safe, nothing seems to make sense. Laws of science and nutrition, never mind LOGIC don't apply. The foods I DO eat were selected for a very particular reason (coincidentally, one of my meals happens to be the exact same meal I ate when i was 19), and to change it feels so incredibly overwhelming and threatening. So much information conflicting in my brain- everything I have ever read about nutrition/diet (eat soy/don't eat soy, eat dairy/don't eat dairy. eat healthy fats/avoid any fat, vegetarian? vegan? raw? nooooooooo!)

I'm trying to fight these thoughts with just plain common sense. I was eating different foods for 7 years with no major trauma. It's not physically possible to gain 10lbs overnight just by eating a different dinner. It's OKAY if some meals are a little lower in protein or a little higher in fat- in time, it balances out. I KNOW this on an intellectual level, but as soon as I talk myself round and feel okay with the idea of change, my brain starts throwing up roadblocks and "worst case scenarios" which I can't seem to shake off.

Every time I try to distract myself by reading/watching TV/cleaning, all of a sudden a thought will come into my head (more "EUREKA" moments!) and I have to stop, write it down, analyze it, tear it up, give up, go back to reading/TV/cleaning until 5 minutes later it happens again.

I don't know why I am writing this. I feel ridiculous. My mom and my therapist know I obsess about this stuff, but I've never quite shared the extent to which I worry about it. Or quite to what extent things have gotten to with both my intake and thought processes lately.

I feel like the last few weeks have been such a whirlwind- the horrible depression, followed by 2 days of BLISS, followed by this incapacitating thinking. I'm also wondering if due to the depression/psychotic reaction, I really let my guard down on the ED front and focused on the immediate problem- meanwhile, ED has crept in and oh-so-kindly taken care of the food front.

One part of me thinks I can't continue. The other part is saying, "eh- why not? what does it even matter at this point?" I guess depression is still lurking there too. The part of me lacking the motivation to do anything about this is, admittedly, the part that just wants to say "screw it". The part of me that I can't tell whether is depressed of sensible- the part of me that knows that all the goals I had about moving back to New York, work, etc...just aren't going to happen. So why bother trying to fight through barriers when I don't care if I make it to the other side?


Well the other part of me thinks that 1) of COURSE New York/work/all that "life" stuff isn't going to be an option in the current situation, but 2) I HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THIS SITUATION.

I'm just not sure HOW. I am beyond exhausted right now. I've had such good intentions to change my meals over the coming days/weeks and the obsessing over it so much is draining beyond words.

This has been long and jumbled and probably not making much sense so I'll end now. I just wanted to try and put into words where I am at right now.

Hope all of you are enjoying Passover or Easter or whatever you are celebrating this weekend.