Saturday 15 November 2014

Is your worth measured by what you eat? - Eating (food) has got no moral values..or has it..?-

Is your worth measured by what you eat? -Eating has got no moral values..... or has it...?-

 I am sure you have heard your parents praise you for finishing up your food or eating your veggies. 
" What a good boy/girl, you are...!"- They might have exclaimed.
 I am even ashamed to admit that I have said the very same thing to my children when they finished their meals. 
 I think it just comes naturally....because we grew up hearing it over and over again.
However, as soon as I say these words, I ask myself, how does eating not eating the choices we make about food can make us any better or worse? Why would that make us a good or a bad person? Why would my children be "good" now because they have finished their plateful?  
We live in the world when "healthy eating" is nothing more as a business, when companies are more interested to sell their products, their meal plans, no matter what.....
I believe we are more confused than ever before about what " healthy eating" is. And we are constantly told what is "good' and what is "bad" to eat. We literally mean that eating certain food or even certain time is bad. 
We are also suggested that when we eat foods like; cakes, chocolate, fats food..we are cheating. But when we stick to a '-low this or -low that' and a '-free from this and free from that,' we are doing well.
In fact, we are good. And there is the "clean eating' phenomenon... which seems to suggest that anything else must be dirty. Does that mean, we can no longer eat granny's delicious apple pie, because that is dirty....?

I have struggled with an eating disorder for over 15years, and I had my own ideas and rules about food....
Now, as a recovered anorexic I am looking at eating and food with different eyes, and I am interested to analyze how people 'treat' food and what meanings they attach to eatings, what kind of relationships they develop.

I am sad to discover that those who claim to 'help' people to "eat healthy", 'live healthy", use food to manipulate, and implant guilt and fear into others mind.
I know professional trainers who would tell you to eat well for 6 days ( of course they have their own meaning of " eating well") and after six days you can have a "cheat day", and even bette, you can cheat without feeling guilty.
When I read about these kind of diets, I cannot stop asking these questions : since when is eating has anything to do with cheating? Since when has eating became a game of some sort?
Why should you or me "need" to feel guilty? Why do we have to bring guilt into something as eating which is  necessary to keep us alive...?

Don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that our relationship with food cannot be damaging for us... I know too well. My relationship with food had almost killed me. However, the relationship we have with food has no connection what so ever to any moral values.

You are not a "bad" person if all you eat is chips and ice cream, all day long. Yes, it might have a negative affect on your health (mental and emotional and physical), but still it doesn't make you qualified to be called a "bad/good boy/girl'. Nor you are a "good" person because you followed so and so's "healthy" eating plans for whatever many days or months, years.....

What we do with food doesn't define what we are worth. Food is just food. It is something that we need to put into our body to live, to grow, to function. It is as simple as that.

Your worth is far more beyond what you eat!

Sunday 26 October 2014

Does Size Matter-I am not "skinny"..can I be anorexic?

Does Size matter?
I am not skinny......can I be anorexic?

For some of you it might sound unbelievable, but eating disorder sufferers come in many different shape and size. 

Yes, you can be suffering from anorexia even if you do not look skinny. And you can appear to be over weight and still fighting with anorexia. You can look "normal" (whatever normal is ) and struggle with bulimia, anorexia, orthorexia, night eating syndrome...just to name a few. 

According to DMS-V ( Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders) some of the characteristics of anorexia in relations to weight is : "restriction of energy intake relative to requirements, leading to a significant low body weight in the context of age, sex, development trajectory and physical health.  Significantly low weight is defined as weight that is less than minimal or for children and adolescents less than that minimally expected.

Just examining the meaning of, the significantly low weight is obvious that it is not clearly defined and somewhat vague. 
However, professionals do follow the manual and those who suffer from anorexia but do not fit the "significantly low weight box", are not considered ill enough to be treated...that means they are put into the competing realm ( in this case competing with the DSM-V definition)... Badly enough anorexia is a competitive illness...even if the person does not compete with another person, they compete with themselves. Because the "anorectic voice" tells them that they are never thin enough, never starved enough...basically, nothing is ever enough for anorexia.

I remember back in my days when I was living with anorexia, that I was asked by my therapist to name the person I follow as an example. The person I want to look-alike.
I could not named one. I have never been interested in fashion, nor was I ever interested in anybody's look. I have always been a thin person and it was more often annoying than anything else.... My therapist who was, of course, treating me from a text book, was startled and even looked uncomfortable as I did not seem to fit the "box". I could almost read the question on her face :"Can she be really anorexic?" 
As a matter of fact I didn't fit most of the the beginning of my illness, I didn't count calories, nor did I exercise excessively, nor did my  diet went wrong...etc.

I truly believe that the expectations of fulfilling the criteria for anorexia is making matters worse...and those sufferers who for example made some progress in their recovery, on their own, and reached a "normal weight" but are desperate for help because they don't know how to achieve complete freedom. Nor do they know how to deal with the "anorexic voice".These dear people are left alone. And if they want to be taken seriously, the only choice they have is to achieve a significantly low weight.

On my journey towards recovery, I have experienced hopelessness many times, and I I would have wished to have some help. I clearly remember the day when I was maintaining, a "healthy weight" but the anorexic voice did not seize to torment me. Every minute of my existence was filled with anorexia's endless demands. My head buzzed, I felt dizzy....confused and exhausted up to the point that I have contemplated taking my own life. However, I have pulled it through alone, but that is exactly, why I do not want others to have to go through this alone.

You can have a "normal weight", but still being tormented by anorexia. And the truth of the matter is, no matter what size you are, anorexia is no joke. Living with this illness is debilitating, devastating and very lonely.

Therefore, size does not matter in determining how anorexic you are, there is no level. If you have anorexia, you have anorexia.

Here is a question for us professionals who are here to help sufferers. Should we wait for those clients who fit with DSM-V characteristics of anorexia? Should we wait and only help those who fit into the "box". Or should we let our clients to be our teachers and teach us about how uniquely they experience the illness, regardless of shape and size and how many boxes we can tick, and help them at the stage where they are at? 

Thursday 28 August 2014

There Is Hope for Recovery from an Eating Disorder!

There Is Hope for recovery!
I had battled with anorexia for over 12 years and was told that I will never recover. I am glad to say that they were wrong! I have made a full recovery alone…as even my doctors and family gave up on me.
I am writing this blog because I want to give you hope; it is possible to be fully recovered! 
You do not have to believe the “voice” that tells you that you do not deserve to live! You may not be in control right now ( even though you think you are) because your ED has taken the control out of your hands. But you need to know that you can choose to fight back!
If you are somebody who cares for a loved one who has an eating disorder I want to tell you not to give up hope! You need to understand that the person with an eating disorder is not defined by the eating disorder. Your lovely daughter/ son/wife/husband or friend is still there, just locked away by ED. If you want to be helpful please, see the person and not the eating disorder! I know, this is difficult and most challenging, but believe me that it can help the person to fight back, you can actually give power!
I am longing to bring some awareness about the stigma that is out there about ED and ED sufferers. I want to stop all of them! I want people to wanting to see and hear the truth about Eating Disorder. Because those who are suffering deserve to be respected and accepted and above all to be loved!
I still remember the day when somebody asked this question: “Oh, when will you stop this hobby of yours?” That person actually thought that starving myself was simply a hobby, something that I have chosen to do, for fun.
I have to tell you, it was not fun! I was dying but not just my body but my soul. Actually, I was dead inside and I couldn't care less when I was told that I can die in a few days. The painful truth was that my days were numbered and that worried my parents. However, it did not make me wanting to fight. In fact, it made me to want to die even more…I thought my parents and others around me will be better off without me…after all I am just a burden to them.  I think not many people get this but to tell somebody with an eating disorder that their look or their illness is causing their environment pain, making others' life miserable…etc. These comments are not helpful. Comments like that are captured word by word by the eating disorder and ED is throwing them back at the sufferer over and over again, so to  remind them how bad and unworthy they are which then encouraging the sufferer to torture himself/herself even more.
eating disorder is not about “look”, I wish it could be understood! I find the belief that having an eating disorder is about wanting to look beautiful, most upsetting and misleading.
I believe that eating disorder is about hunger for love. For some reason those people who develop an Eating Disorder believe that they are not worth to be loved but, they are longing to be loved,although even that very thought of wanting to be loved gives a sense of guilt. As ED is rebuking the person instantly : “you do not deserve to be loved…..who do you think you are?"…
On my long journey to recovery I had to learn that I can”want”. I know, this might sound silly but those of you who are battling with an eating disorder sure to understand me exactly.
Please, remember that full recovery is possible and it is available for you! I am a living example of it!
If you want me to help you through your journey or you might want to help somebody and you want to understand a little more about what it is like to live with anorexia,please write in the comment box below.
I will continue this blog and tell you how I won the battle against anorexia and how I arrived at the place where I wanted to fight back.
Living with ED is a very lonely place to be…no matter what kind of ED you are struggling with. Please know that you are not alone, I am here to help you. Reach out because you are worth it! And if you think :” but you don’t know what kind of person I am”. Try me!
You are right! I may not know you but one thing I know and that is that you were born to be a unique individual for a purpose, and I believe that is not to be destroyed by ED!
Let yourself hope, because an ED free life is available to you and waiting for you too!