Old habits die hard. A very true saying. Anorexic habits die even harder. And it is some of my anorexic habits that I have been challenging these past 3 weeks. It has been hard…very hard. But I know I can’t keep staying in the safety of my anorexic comfort zone, never making any changes, telling myself that at some point in the future I will make a change but not just yet. And then the years pass by and I can’t believe I’m still in the same situation, still no changes, still too scared to take any risks. Well, no more. These last 3 weeks I have started to make changes. Very daunting and very hard. But it has to be done.
Someone who suffers with anorexia is often very regimented about their eating habits. They will have their ‘safe’ foods – foods they feel comfortable eating and will often eat the same foods most days of the week, at the same time in a set order. And I was no exception. I am not as regimented anymore about eating at certain times and I can also now eat a slightly wider variety of foods, but I have been stuck in a routine that isn’t normal or healthy for a while now and as comfortable as I was staying in this routine, I knew it had to change.
So, a brief description of my old routine: I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch, only eating dinner and an evening snack. My dinner consisted of half a portion of protein and a MASSIVE amount of vegetables. Vegetables are safe and I enjoy eating them so I allow myself to. But the quantities I was eating were beyond abnormal and were actually bad for my body. But because I wasn’t eating all day, I was going into my dinner hungry, and as vegetables are the only food I allow myself to eat more of, I was eating masses of them. And I also knew it wasn’t healthy to go all day until the evening before eating. But is was stuck in my safe routine, bumbling along, convincing myself I didn’t need to change, that I liked my routine and it worked for me. But it wasn’t working for me. It was working for anorexia – keeping me locked up in my anorexic prison cell. But it wasn’t working for me wanting to live life, to be normal and be able to do normal things.
|This used to be my old dinner: half a portion of fish and LOTS of veg
With the support of my mum, I found the strength to try and tackle this. I have started eating breakfast and lunch, having a whole portion of protein with my dinner and a much smaller, ‘normal serving of vegetables, and keeping my evening snack similar to what it was. The overall calories I am eating is the same but as you can see, the routine is completely different. And to say that I have found it difficult is an understatement. It has been so incredibly hard. To make myself eat during the day – I hate it, and to not be able to eat the vegetables I want in the evening – also hate it. But I have stuck with it. There have been tears and arguments and desperate pleads for me to go back to my old routine. But I haven’t. I have to challenge anorexia. As hard as it is, the only way life is going to get better is if I challenge anorexia.
To most people, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is part of everyday life, they do it without thinking. For me, it is like climbing a mountain. In fact, it’s like pushing a boulder up a mountain. It seems stupid that something that is so fundamental in a persons life as eating regularly throughout the day I causing me so much distress and anxiety. The easy option now would be for me to go back to my old routine. In my head, I feel like that would just make everything easier and it would help lower my stress levels. But in a year or two’s time when I’m in this same situation, hating that life is passing me by, when eating the vegetables I want is more important than anything else (besides my weight) – that’s not going to lower my stress levels and, ultimately, it’s not going to make me happy. I want to be able to live life, enjoy life, and do normal things and normalising my eating habits helps lay the foundations for this. I’m going to fight the desire to go back to old habits. I will not let another year pass by. I will not let anorexia keep wasting my life, convincing me that it’s all safe and ok and I don’t need to change. I do, and I’m going to give it everything I can. Yes, it’s bloody hard, and to anyone else who is also struggling, I know it’s bloody hard, but we have to fight. Whatever your own personal struggle or challenge – you can do it. It may only seem like a small step up the mountain, but it is a giant leap for life. A journey that takes a thousand miles begins with one small step.
Some of my new meals:
|Mushroom soup for lunch
|Full portion of fish for dinner (with accompanying, smaller veg)
|Pizza for dinner at Ask!
|Crackers & Dairylea for lunch
|Full portion chicken casserole and smaller veg
|My new veg to accompany my dinners
|A cereal bar for breakfast on the way to work