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Jul 18, 2014

You Only Have One Life - How Will You Spend It?

Nuclear bombs. Poverty. War. Diseases. Just a few examples of the errors of this planet. So, how big is the issue of food compared to these examples?

Now, don’t get the wrong end of the stick here. I’m not saying that your mental health and relationship with food isn’t important; of course it’s important, I’ve dedicated to the whole blog towards it. What I mean is, have you ever looked outside of your own little bubble before? Have you ever looked around at everything that’s going on outside of your food-crazed world?

When I’m feeling low about my weight…etc, I have different solutions for making myself feel better. I listen to music, I paint, I go talk to a friend, I watch a film…etc. But sometimes, all I really need to do is to ask myself “Is it really a big deal?” I get so caught up with my calorie counting and weight loss, that it seems like the only thing that really matters in this world. Sometimes, all we need is a friendly reminder to open our eyes and look at what’s going on around us.

When you think about all of these errors of the world, do you think people are really all that concerned about whether you look fat?

You only have one life. This isn’t a trial run. This is it. Do you really want to use it this way? Do you really want your whole life to be about food? Do you think you’ll be worrying about whether or not you ate that chocolate bar earlier when you’re lying in your grave? Morbid, I know, but that’s really how little it means, compared to everything else in your life.

I’m certain that you’re an amazing person with your own individual skills and talents. Focus on them. Develop them. Use your energy on them. Don’t give in to your eating disorder so easily. 

Jul 11, 2014 / 5 notes

Anemia, Hair Loss, Missed Periods?…

Once you start your calorie restriction, you may notice that weight won’t be the only thing you’re losing with nutrition. 

One of the first things I noticed was hair loss. After washing my hair in the shower, I’d be stood in a large puddle of water. Why? Because my loose hair had clogged the drain. So, what causes this? Mainly insufficient protein intake. Not only that, but according to “Super Nutrition for Women”, lack of essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6 can also cause hair loss.

Another ‘symptom’ would be Anemia. This one tends to be common among people suffering with an eating disorder. This happens when the body doesn’t have enough iron, which prevents production of red blood cells. This in particular has had quite an impact on my personal health. It’s left me feeling drained, weak, and struggling to do simple tasks such as walking, climbing the stairs, or even standing. Not only that, but it becomes apparent in my appearance that I’m lethargic. Of course, I take pills for this now.

Another would be missed periods. I’m sorry if this is a little ‘tmi’, but for me personally, it’s been 4 months since my last period. This happens a lot. You’ll go months without a period until you boost your nutritional intake again. Your body doesn’t have enough energy, which means that your ovaries won’t function correctly. This could also cause problems getting pregnant in the future, or even miscarriages. 

There are honestly so many horrible effects on your body due to lacking in nutrition. More examples would be low blood pressure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, constipation…etc.

I’m not trying to scare you with these facts. I’m sure that you’ve heard it all before. But you need to realise what you’re really doing.

You’re not just losing weight. You’re losing the ability to function. You’re losing the ability to live.

Although, there was a time when I’d be pleased to see these changes. I know. It’s vile. I was happy to see that my hair had clogged the drain. I was happy to see that I didn’t get a period, and devastated when it came back. Why? Because I knew that I was losing weight.

If you’re thinking this way, you need to stop focusing on the weight for a second, and think about your future. Do you want to live? I mean really live. I mean explore, meet new people, start a family…etc. How are you going to do that if you’re half dead? 

These effects aren’t signs that your weight loss progress is working. They’re your body’s way of crying for help.

Take care of your body. Give it what it deserves. You’ll thank yourself in the future.

Jul 4, 2014 / 3 notes

Wanting To Recover An Eating Disorder

Living with an eating disorder is no easy life at all, and there are solutions to help deal with it. But, the toughest part about getting rid of an eating disorder isn’t always the process of dealing with it. For some, it’s actually getting into your head that you want to recover. 

If someone was to offer you a pill, and said “take this, and your eating disorder will be gone forever”, would you take it? In my case, there’s reasons for and against this.

Of course, I’m desperate to get rid of my eating disorder. It’s constant pain and agitation. But at the same time, I sometimes feel that I don’t want to recover. 

People tend to push this aside. They jump from full on eating disorder to “time for recovery!” It’s great that you’re enthusiastic about recovery, but it’s a hell of a leap to take. It isn’t something that you can just decide on over night. When you do this, you tend to push those negative thoughts to the back of your mind, which is fine for a little while, but they’ll eventually catch up with you again.

The first step to recovery is to accept it and want it.

For me personally, I was afraid of recovery because I knew that I’d put on weight again.

For months, I told myself and everyone else that I was recovering an eating disorder, and that I was sorting everything out, but I wasn’t. Why? Because I was still restricting myself to a 1200 calorie diet. Yes, it’s more calories than I was eating before, but it was still far too little.

When you’re in the process of recovering from an eating disorder, you can’t restrict yourself. Recovering from an eating disorder and dieting at the same time is like sailing a boat with a great big hole in the bottom. The two don’t go together. You’ll eventually just be dragged back down.

It’s distancing yourself from diets and restrictions that’s so tough, especially if you’ve been on these diets for several months (maybe even years!) but it’s the first step to recovery.

Before you even jump to the jazz of eating disorder recovery, you first of all need to accept that you’re leaving your eating disorder behind.

You need to want to recover. You need to want to put on weight. Just think of all of that pain and agony that you’ve been put through, just over a few pounds of fat. 

Don’t find comfort in your eating disorder. It’s not your friend.

 

Jun 27, 2014 / 62 notes

'Eating Disorder' Doesn't Mean Underweight/Overweight

This is a mistake that is so commonly made but really frustrates me and many others. Though, I’m being a little hypocritical saying that, as I too used to commonly make this mistake (before I had educated myself a little more on the topic).

People have the tendency to immediately associate the phrase ‘eating disorder’ with being underweight/overweight. You can understand why. But, what’s really frustrating is when someone sees someone incredibly thin (a complete stranger!) and immediately think “anorexia.” Or, on the other side of the coin, when someone disagrees with someone else about having an eating disorder, simply because they don’t look ‘skinny’ enough to be considered ill. 

Being under/overweight is not the definition of an eating disorder. Being under/overweight is one of the consequences of an eating disorder that’s gone too far. So, what is an eating disorder? “any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa).” Though, even that explanation doesn’t do it justice. 

An eating disorder is constantly having food on your mind. And eating disorder is calculating the amount of calories that you’ll be eating tomorrow night. An eating disorder is worrying that you won’t be able to fit in your daily workout routine. An eating disorder is dreading a family event because you know you’ll eat too much. An eating disorder is the constant anxiety, the feeling of being on the edge of your seat. An eating disorder is the feeling of desperation to eat every single thing in your fridge (whether you like the taste or not). An eating disorder is revolving your whole life around your workout and diet - even if that means interfering with a friendship. And eating disorder is crying over one small piece of cake, because you’d been “so good today”. An eating disorder is exercising excessively after a heavy meal, even though you know it won’t help. An eating disorder is shoving your fingers down your throat, because you’re so desperate to reverse everything that you’ve binged on. And eating disorder is promising yourself that you won’t eat a single thing tomorrow, but you know that you’ll end up eating everything again anyway. And eating disorder is hating yourself for feeling full at the end of the day. And eating disorder is loving that feeling of emptiness in you stomach, and the grumbling sound it makes. An eating disorder is when food becomes not only your enemy, but your bestfriend. 

There is so much more to define what an eating disorder really is. There’s so much more depth to it, and being under/overweight is simply the aftermath of it.

Jun 23, 2014

Monday Munch: Cheesy Tuna & Couscous

Yep, another fish dish. I promise that this is unintentional - I don’t even eat fish that often! I actually went to Pizza Express earlier, and my original plan was to take a picture of the pizza and dessert and post it as this week’s Monday Munch, but guess what? I completely forgot and ate everything within minutes (that’s not the first time that’s happened). Luckily, I had taken this picture from last week’s meal. 

You will need:

  • Tuna steak
  • Two medium/large tomatoes
  • 50g couscous (I’m using Aldi’s roasted vegetable couscous)
  • Cheddar cheese (add to your liking)
  • Mixed herbs
  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C 
  2. Pour your couscous into a pan, and apply boiling water (just enough to cover the surface of the couscous)
  3. Apply the pan to high heat, and bring to the boil. Move the pan away from the stove, and leave couscous to absorb the water.
  4. Reach for a baking dish, and apply a little oil to the bottom (I’m using extra virgin olive oil), or you could use a baking sheet.
  5. Place your tuna steak into the dish.
  6. Cut the tops off your tomatoes, and scoop the inside out with a teaspoon. Add the inside of the tomatoes to the baking dish.
  7. Grate some cheddar cheese into the inside of your tomatoes, and some more on the top of your tuna.
  8. Once the couscous has absorbed the water, spoon it into the tomatoes, and leave the rest in the baking dish.
  9. Finish off with some more cheddar cheese on top of the stuffed tomatoes, and plenty of mixed herbs over the meal.

Voilà!

Jun 20, 2014 / 3 notes

Guilt After a Day Without Exercise

I’ve posted about exercise before, though today, I want to go into the depth of the guilt that can be felt if going a day without exercise. 

The reason why I’ve specifically chosen to post about this today is because I don’t feel like running today. Why? No reason in particular. I’m not motivated, and I’m tired. Simple? Not quite. I can’t help but debate with myself, and add up the reasons for going out running, which are:

  • I had planned to run today.
  • The weather is dry.
  • As it is a week day, it’ll be quiet outside.
  • I have nothing else planned for the day.
  • I had a good amount of protein for breakfast, which will keep me fuelled. 
  • If I go today, I won’t have to go tomorrow.

Although I have far more reasons for going running than against going running, I still don’t want to go.

It can be a struggle when feeling this way about exercise. It’s as though your heart is telling you to stay at home and recover, though that little conscience inside is judging you for doing so.

When feeling like this, remind yourself; Is anyone forcing you to exercise? Do you think that the people you love and care about are now thinking “I hope they’ve gotten their workout done today!”? Of course not! I’m almost certain that half of the time that I exercise, no one even notices that I’ve gone! 

You are in charge of your own actions.

You choose if you want to exercise.
You choose if you want to rest.

If you really don’t want to exercise today (like I really don’t want to run), take it as a hint! It could be your brain’s way of telling you “Cool down. Recover.” 

When I listen to my brain, and take a day’s rest, I always feel so much more motivated to run the next day, and I enjoy it far more! If you exercise when you don’t feel like it, you’ll be miserable, and won’t do the best you can. And afterwards, you’ll be too tired to go the next day!

Don’t force yourself to do something that you don’t want to do. The only one working against your decision is yourself.

Jun 16, 2014

Monday Munch: Mackerel Salad

During the summer, on those hot sweltering days, there’s nothing that I love more than a salad - a fish salad, to be specific, and this is the perfect dish for that craving.

What you will need:

  • Ready to eat mackerel fillet.
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • Feta cheese cubes
  • Peppers of your choice
  • Rocket leaves
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Babycorn
  • Mixed herbs
  • Sweet chilli sauce (about a tbsp)
  1. Fry your washed mushrooms and peppers in a pan, with some mixed herbs.
  2. Feel free to add your mackerel to the pan if you’d like it heated.
  3. Throw your vegetables into a bowl, along with some feta cheese cubes and your avocado.
  4. Add your fried food to the salad, and drizzle your sweet chilli sauce to finish.
  5. Enjoy!

It’s pretty much the ultimate lazy-summer-day dish. 

Jun 14, 2014 / 2 notes

Being ‘In Control’ Over Food

I relate having an eating disorder to having some kind of strange addiction. It’s the addiction of being in control of something in your life, whilst everything else falls apart.

As I’ve said before, the root of an eating disorder is often something completely different, and people often cover up the root with a new issue. When you feel like you’re losing grip of something in your life, you can either fight or flight; you can either face it, or cover it up with a new issue. And quite often, that’s what causes an eating disorder.

As I was saying, when you lose grip of something in your life, you turn to focus on something that you can control, which in many cases is eating. Because you can control what you feed yourself, and how much you exercise, you decide to put all of your stress onto that, simply because it’s easier than having to face up to something that you have no control over whatsoever. 

For me personally, it was family issues, mixed in with general day-to-day stress. I began to feel low, and wondered how I could improve myself, though I was perfectly fine as I was. I’m not saying that I was the healthiest person, but I did have a well proportioned diet. 

Quite often, because of this feeling of control over food, you’ll find yourself paranoid of how your food is prepared. Do you ever find yourself feeling far more relaxed when you make your own food at home, rather than going to a restaurant and having it made for you? Even if the two meals have the exact same calories? It’s because you know exactly what and how much you’re putting into it. Or another example would be last minute change in plans. You’ve already planned out what you’ll be eating for supper - you’ve revolved your whole day around it. Just an hour before your meal, you receive a phone call from a friend, inviting you out for dinner. Or perhaps you’re having technical difficulties, and won’t be able to prepare the food you’ve planned after all. You find yourself panicking; why? Because you’ve lost grip over the only thing that you had grip on in your life (or at least you thought it was the only thing).

When situations like these rise, you just have to remember that we are living in an imperfect world; nothing goes smoothly, nothing stays the same, and sometimes, things like these last minute plans just happen. Though, they only happen on rare occasions. Quite often, you’ll find yourself sticking to a specific routine anyway, so appreciate the excitement and change. 

Jun 9, 2014 / 1 note

Monday Munch: Fish Dish

This week’s Monday Munch is somewhat of a mini paella dish. It’s perfect for fish lovers, especially on a warm summer day. 

What you will need:

  • 25g prawns
  • 25g baby squid
  • 25g mussels
  • 50g rice
  • 1-2tsp red pesto
  • Your own choice of vegetables to add
  1. Cook your rice in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, before leaving to simmer on very low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Heat some oil into a frying pan (I used extra virgin olive oil).
  3. Pour your cooked fishy-goods into the frying pan.
  4. Fry on medium-high heat, continuously stirring.
  5. Add your vegetables to the frying pan. I went for peppers, onion, and mushrooms.
  6. Add your red pesto to the frying pan, and stir through. Feel free to add any herbs or spices - I added hot chilli powder for that extra spice.
  7. Once cooked, serve on dish with extra salad of your choice. I went for simple baby leaf salad, and babycorn.

Easy peasy? It’s delicious too. 

Jun 6, 2014

The Media & Eating Disorders

This week’s post is going to be more of another rant, and it’s one that’s been in the spotlight for quite some time. The media’s link to eating disorders.

Of course, the media isn’t exactly the prime problem causing eating disorders (I’m afraid it’s a lot more complex than that), but it certainly does not help matters.

To begin with, there’s the magazine articles. I can’t exaggerate my anger enough when I see headlines like these:

These articles are sick. 

I’m not one to keep up with celebrity gossip, so I don’t exactly know much about these people. But I can tell you this; I do know that they are human beings exactly like us, and so it’d be abnormal for them to stay a specific weight - especially when pregnant!

Pretty much everyone’s weight fluctuates from day to day, even the writers of these magazines - and that’s what irritates me so much; the hypocritical attitude. 

On the other hand, there’s the argument that celebrities know what kind of hate they’re in for once they choose their career path, but what about the public? People like you and I? 

You can’t help but think about those innocent (sometimes naive) youngsters who take influence from these celebrities. These young girls and boys who flip through the magazines looking at the pictures and reading the horrific headlines. Being a teenager is tough enough as it is. It’s like a roller-coaster of confusion with hormones and what not; so why does the media continue to trigger it with weight related topics? 

And of course, there’s models. The majority of models that you see on the catwalk and in Vogue magazine…etc have the tendency to have small frames, and that is just a part of the reason as to why they’re so slim. Another argument is editing photos. Don’t ever compare yourself to a photo of a model in a magazine. Why? Because the photos will have been edited. It’s guaranteed. In fact, take a look at this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17j5QzF3kqE

Though, sometimes, you can’t help but wonder; are the models we see spread across billboards every day really healthy? I’m not one to judge, as I know nothing about these people, but I can’t help but feel curiosity. After looking into it, the average model’s dress size would vary between 4-8UK, and the average runway model would be over 5’8. Now, I’m 5’9, 127lbs, and a dress size 10. After some research, many different online sources have told me that I’m just about within my range (health wise). So, if these models weigh 120lbs and under, and are 5’8 and over… it does make you wonder. 

I could go on forever with my rant over the media, but the moral is; don’t trust what the media displays, because in reality, you have no idea what goes on behind the camera.