Eating disorders. Help?

When I spent 12 thousand pounds on the first Gastric band I had, before it slipped, I did consider just spending the money on some kind of therapy for (what I now accept) as an eating disorder. I guess I dismissed the idea as I hadn’t fully come to terms with what was actually going on in my brain? Over eating isn’t an eating disorder, I’m just greedy!

Now I have gained perspective and taken a long time to think about my actions, tendencies and behaviours surrounding food. I realise that of course my eating habits would be seen as a disorder. The definition of any eating disorder is thus:

any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa).

Of course Anorexia and Bulimia are probably the most common disorders that come to mind when we think of eating disorders and I guess that in my case, I didn’t ask my G.P for psychological help because for a long time I simply thought I was just a big pig who likes food too much. It was when I began to analyse closely my eating habits that I realised that my behaviours were addictive and disordered.

Many of you will have struggled with food addiction so will be all too familiar with the behaviours, but for those of you that aren’t, here is a little taster of my experiences.

First thing you do when you wake up is think about food even if you are not hungry. You plan in your brain what breakfast you are going to eat and simply cannot concentrate on anything else until you have eaten it. Then you might look at recipes to cook or ideas of what to have for lunch. This isn’t done in a pleasurable way but more an obsessive one.

If you are at work, you literally cannot think of anything else but eating something at break and what It might be. You always pack snacks in your bag to take to work otherwise you get anxious. You hide your eating from other people.

If you are trying to lose weight, you constantly calorie count (I’m sure a lot of people do this in a normal way) but in your case it begins to become overly obsessive. You rationalise with yourself about food. Talking yourself in and out of eating certain things.

Food shopping is a pleasure and a curse. It makes you like and hate yourself at the same time.

You eat when you are not hungry. You are actually never hungry nor full. Perhaps your stomach is so over worked that it just can’t tell anymore?

People ask…do you have an eating trigger? You wish you knew because you can’t detect one. You eat when you’re happy, sad, confident, lonely, confused, joyous, ashamed.

You wake in the middle of the night and cannot sleep unless you have eaten the whole tub of ice cream in the freezer. Your brain nags at you until you give in.

Every waking moment all you can comprehend is food related and when you are asleep, you dream of food…

Having my band done was amazing (once I had found the right point, which actually in hindsight was never) because it did something to my body that meant I no longer thought about food. I still loved to cook and eat out but I wasn’t as obsessive. I could leave food on a plate and feel content, not anxious. It was a revelation.

Now, 7 years on from my original surgery, with my band not working as it should…I am returning to my old habits and behaviours. How will it stop? Who can I ask for help? I’m so confident with most of my life but reaching out for help with this particular issue is so painful and embarrassing.

I hope, that in time, I can reach a place where I no longer have an unhealthy relationship with food. I hope that moment is not too far away.

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How can I stop my weight defining me?

I know this blog is predominantly about my Weigh loss experiences and gastric surgery, so it would be no coincidence that most things discussed on here would be centred around weight and body image, however I feel like my size defines who I am.

Whilst I am finding it immensely cathartic to write down my trails and tribulations surrounding my surgery and my size, it is not all I am. Why then does it seem like it has taken on such a massive importance? I consider the reasons two fold.

1.) My weight has been an issue and subject of much discussion, bullying, loving, since I was a child. No wonder I am slightly obsessed.

2.) Because I am finally releasing all of my feelings and thoughts on to this blog, my size is bound to be at the forefront of my mind.

I will not feel guilty for discussing my size as hopefully it is a platform for me to accept and then move on. I know that there is so much more to life and myself than what the scales declare.

In some ways I feel like the more weight I lost, the more I lost myself.

When you are bigger you automatically have to have something else that is interesting about you other than your beauty ( sad to think this but it’s kinda how life is). So instead of being the slim, beautiful one, I was outlandish, funny, contentious, opinionated. All these things I still am however I feel they have been masked by my weight loss. I now get told how good I look, rather than how witty I am. Thinking about it, how would I prefer to be remembered?

I think to focus on one’s weight for a while is perfectly normal, especially if you are in a state of flux, It’s not everything though. It is but a glimpse of something that seems important.

To combat becoming obsessive over size I would like to focus on how to be a better person, a better friend, lover, daughter. Surely these are the qualities that really matter not chasing after an unobtainable image that may not even make me happy.

Perhaps true happiness comes when we stop thinking about ourselves. When we truly give ourselves up to some bigger purpose. I am not sure what my true purpose in life is yet, maybe I never will, but I know what my purpose is not. It is not to waste my life on getting that “beach ready body.” It is not to fit into size 6 jeans. It is not to eat 1 Apple and a slice of ham a day and it most certainly is not to let my weight define who I am.

Is this a sign from the cosmos or am I just being melodramatic?!!

I was proud of myself yesterday…after feeling pretty rubbish for most of the morning, I met my lovely friend for lunch which cheered me up. I even made healthy choices over what to eat and drink! Gold star for me.

I then went and found a nice sports bra and gym top, in preparation for joining the gym or attending a class today. On trying it on this morning I found that the security tag was still attached! Thanks Tesco! What is strange about this is that I don’t remember an alarm going off when I walked out so either I was in my own world (probably dreaming of ice-cream and dribbling) or the tag actually doesn’t work. Either way I feel thwarted in my attempt to lose weight. Perhaps the cosmos or some higher power knows that I am not supposed to lose weight, or more likely, I am just being lazy!

Now mostly I realise that I am just making excuses and procrastinating…I am a master of this. Take what I am doing right now for example…I was en route to the swimming pool, cossie in my bag, somehow I have been distracted. I am now sat in a delightful cafe, enjoying a cappuccino, having spent 30 quid on some exquisite vintage dresses. Not quite the poster girl for motivation, I must admit! However I did order, and for the first time in my life may I add, a skinny cappuccino! Small wins I say.

When contemplating my failure at not having reached the swimming pool, I don’t feel too bad about it. For now at least. I feel ecstatic that I have some gorgeous vintage treasures to wear, but, and here is the rub, I may not be able to fit into them for too much longer unless I get my arse to the pool! (oh and I only had one sugar in my cappuccino when I normally have 4!)

Modelling Firm Scams!

As you may have read in my latest blog, I am attempting to try my hand at becoming a Curve Model. So far my experience has been pretty awful. Good job I’m thick skinned!

I applied to a few modelling agencies online, if I’m honest, without much thought. I tend to live my life in a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ type of way, if I think about something too much, I won’t do it. So I uploaded my measurements and some photos and excitedly waited for a reply.

The reply came in the form of a telephone call from a Modelling Platform named Studio Works. The Lady on the phone claimed to be ‘Head of Talent’. She informed me that she had received my application and that the photos I had provided had been sent off to potential casting agents who had ‘green lit’ my look. This meant that they would have used me in their advert.

The Lady from Studio Works (who was named Jess) told me that my look was perfect for Mature Modelling, a term which, being young at heart, and having just turned 30, felt a tad odd! She claimed that they wanted to book me in for a photo shoot in Oxford street and that I would be able to keep all photos taken…..here comes the catch…..I only had to pay £150 deposit for the time slot of the photo shoot.

Luckily I felt maybe things were too good to be true, so I said I would call her back, having discussed things with my partner.

My partner,having arrived home from work, was greeted at the door by a terribly excitable me, who had visions of my name in lights and my picture on a Time Square billboard! (ok I exaggerate but I kinda hoped of getting a few modelling jobs.) I explained to him my phone conversation with Jess at Studio Works and having discussed it, he rang Jess back to talk further.

The first thing my partner felt having talked to Jess was ‘bull shit!’ Not that he has no faith in my beauty but he has a job in sales so he knows a sales pitch when he hears one. He also had a look online at the company reviews, which were all negative. He questioned Jess over this and she said that they had a positive testimonial video on YouTube…hardly difficult to create that yourself? He then asked her for the head office number, to which she replied that she didn’t know it?? Where was she calling from then??? Lastly he asked her to send him a company profile and some testimonials, to which she agreed, but we never heard from her again!

I had a lucky escape, I was extremely close to handing over some of my hard earned dosh and if I had then attended a fancy photo shoot and they had asked for more, foolishly I probably would have handed over more money. As it is my money is safe, but this isn’t the case for thousands of wannabe models who are lured in by promises of work and the fact they will make their money back in weeks.

What I find the most disturbing is the children who are tricked. There are reports of 15 year olds actually attending photo shoots with their parents, who pay up to 6 grand, because they are promised modelling work, only to find out they have been scammed. That 15 year old’s confidence would be shattered for a life time, I just felt a little taken in and sheepish.

I guess we just all want to feel beautiful and having someone tell us we are and that various clothing and beauty companies will think so too, is a huge ego boost and music to one’s ear. Sadly It’s lip service just to get into our pockets.

So remember, the main rules of modelling is that no reputable company will ever ask you for money up front, or money for photos. If they are really interested in you, they will invest in you. Good luck to all the aspiring models out there. Stay safe and money savvy.

The scales don’t lie…they make you cry.

Ten years ago.

I am truly all over the shop this morning. I have been riding on a high of compliments and being able to buy smaller clothes for a while and suddenly that has all stopped.

I weighed myself this morning, since having my band loosened at accident and emergency around 8 weeks ago, I have put on 2 stone 8 pounds. Looking at the scales I felt sick, ashamed, scared, hopeless and as if all of the hard times I had been through and all the pain I had experienced had been for nothing.

I sobbed uncontrollably for 15 minutes, then with snot running down my face, I marched myself into the shower and decided to wash this self-doubt and self-loathing off!

I realise that yes, I have put on a bit off weight BUT I am no where near the size I once was and this weight can come off fairly quickly, if I really try.

For me it is not just about the weight. I want to feel healthy, I want to exercise. Exercise is truthfully something I have never got on top of. I have done quite a few classes but very sporadically. I try one and most of the time thoroughly enjoy them but then I just don’t go back?

I know I am lazy when it comes to exercise. How can I change this?

So this afternoon I am off to buy a sports bra and some gym gear. Then I am planning on joining the nearest gym and swimming pool. Fingers crossed this time will be better than the last time I joined a gym. I joined one post break-up, in an attempt to be “the new me” and “I will show him what he’s missing!” I went the grand total of two times and being locked into a years contract….it worked out at 150 quid each time I went! Ouch!

So let’s hope this time I can change the mindset of a life time and prove to myself that perhaps I don’t need a band restricting what I can eat but can be happy and healthy through exercise and more informed eating. Here I go…wish me luck!

The thoughts that haunt me.

I can’t sleep, it’s too hot, my boobs are getting in the way but the main thing is I have these thoughts circling my mind.

Bad ones, scary ones, ones that do not help me in my body positive journey. I would like to get up and eat to help these thoughts. I know this is not actually helpful or healthy but then a side of me considers this…if you are truly body positive, does it matter that you get up and eat that tub of ice-cream?

I am really confused and sometimes frustrated with the body positive movement. Not with the movement itself but with the fact my mind can’t quite seem to connect with its ethos fully. I think this is because I spent nearly 30 years hearing that my body wouldn’t get me anywhere. That not only wasn’t I enough but I was TOO much. That what I was, wasn’t beautiful. That actually, despite my amazing personality, nobody would ever love me if I was big. I wouldn’t get jobs, I couldn’t be a positive role model for children or others. People would think I was lazy because of my size. That I would never be safe to have children and even if I managed it, what kind of mother could I ever possibly be to them?

I am crying as I am writing this. Crying not just for myself but for those people who still hear these things and still believe them….maybe I still do.

It is so difficult to change a mindset that has been forced upon you everywhere you look. Films, magazines, posters, adverts, and when you look to your family for solice and the confirmation that, despite your size, you are a good person, you get responses that hurt you and stay within your soul, how can you truly believe that you are wanted, appreciated and accepted no matter what size?

Adventures of a wannabe Curve Model.

Any body who knows me will agree that I have always been a proper poser. When I was a child, 23 stone, with or without make-up, and once I had achieved my goal weight, It has always been the same.

I love being in front of the camera. I’ve always loved how my face looks. I have spent hours putting on differing make-up looks and posing. It wasn’t until I had lost weight and felt comfortable in clothes that I gradually moved the camera down to encompass my body too. A big achievement for me!

And so, with this new found confidence, brings me on to a new exciting chapter in my life. I am going to try my hand at Curve Modeling. Wether or not I actually have what It takes, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I want to give it a go. What have I got to lose? O.K perhaps my self-esteem, if I get rejected. But I am hoping my new found confidence is not based on what model casting agents think of me. I am so enamoured with the body positive and Curve movement, that I can’t let this particular band wagon pass me by!

Wish me luck!

My experience of Weight Loss, Body Positivity and Mental Health.

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