Q&A: Body Dysmorphia, Increasing Calories and Your Assumptions

Do you see yourself as ‘skinny’ or does your ED make you think that you aren’t? How do you stay positive and fight your ED? What’s it like increasing calories? They were all questions which I answered in August’s monthly Q&A over on my Instagram stories, along with your assumptions about me.

The blog post version of my monthly Q&A’s have been so much popular than I’d expected, so as always I thought I’d share my answers in written format, along with a bonus section in which I clear up your assumptions about me.

You can watch and listen to me answering all of these questions over on my Instagram highlights as well.

Part 1

Life

Q1. Do you sometimes wish that you’d never developed an ED?

There are definitely times that I wish none of this had happened – that I’d been able to have a ‘normal’ life, healthy relationship with food and not missed out on my teenage years.

But at the same time, it’s provided me with a lot of insight and I’m definitely a stronger person because of it. I always used to think that I would look back on this period of my life with regret, but I’m slowly starting to switch my mindset as I know that I’ll be so proud of myself for making it through. I also really do believe that everything happens for a reason – even if it’s not exactly obvious why at the time.

Q2. Does your Mum work?

Yes.

Q3. Would you call yourself a Christian?

I attended both Catholic primary and secondary schools, but I’ve not been baptised.

Q3. What does a day in your life look like?

I wake up around 6am and do a quick yoga flow before taking Maisie out for her walk. Then it’s time for breakfast, before I start working for the day – usually admin, emails, recipe testing or post writing. I’ll break for snacks and lunch. I usually try and get all of my laptop work done by 5, then I’ll shower, have dinner and spend the rest of the evening downstairs, doing little bits on Instagram. I usually go up to bed no later than 9.30, journal and read before going to sleep around 10.

Q4. What was your favourite subject in school?

History.

Q5. What’s your zodiac sign? By the way you’re so stunning and inspiring. Keep being you.

Taurus.

Q6. How’s the alarm clock?

I picked up the cutest rose gold alarm clock for £4 in a charity shop whilst I was staying with Laura in Dorset. It was an absolute bargain compared to the ones that I’d been looking at online and has definitely made me want to go charity shop hunting more often!

Q7. What subjects are you studying at college? And how’s it going?

I’m completing the Access To Higher Education course and following the Social Science and Humanities pathway which is made up of English Literature, History, Psychology and Sociology.

Q8. What was your favourite subject in school?

History.

Q9. Downton the movie – yes or no?

No.

Q10. Do you worry that less brands will want to work with you as you become more balanced?

It did worry me at first, but at the same time expanding my food choices has also opened up a whole other range of brands for me to work with. I had to put my own health first and if that means that brands don’t want to work with me then that’s their problem, not mine!

Q11. Favourite recent finds or discoveries that aren’t food related?

My college course is definitely a current favourite and I also picked up some skincare products from Superdrug over the weekend that I’m loving so far.

Q12. How old is your dog and how long have you had her?

Maisie is 2 years and 5 months old. We got her when she was 2 months old.

Q13. Are you in Uni or work?

I’m currently at college and I’m hoping to go to Uni next year. I work through my blog.

Q14. Favourite movie?

Titanic, A Cinderella Story, The Purge, The Devil Wears Prada or Jumanji.

Q15. Did the tattoos hurt?

No and that’s coming from someone who cries at a blood test!

Q16. Do you read books? If so what are you reading right now?

I do. I’ve just finished reading the first Harry Potter Book and I’m currently reading a book called Girl, Missing.

Recovery

Q17. How do you stay positive when your brain is shouting a million things at you to give in to the ED?

It’s all about opposite actions. Remind yourself why you’re committed to recovery. I find that making lists – whether it’s motivating factors or reasons why it is OK to gain weight helps me to stay on track. More often than not I’ll use it as an opportunity to challenge myself and annoy Anorexia even more, because I know that it’s during those times of discomfort that progress is made. Whilst the feeling of guilt or anxiety is momentary, life with Anorexia will be permanent if you don’t take the necessary steps to challenge it. I always remind myself that I don’t want to get stuck like this forever.

Starting a recovery journal and adding to it whenever I feel as if I’m struggling is something that has helped me massively.

Q18. Why did you make the decision to recover?

I reached a point where I realised that I’d given too much of my life to Anorexia and there are so many thing that I want to do, that I can’t achieve unless I fully recover. I wrote a whole post about feeling ready to recover.

Q19. Do you see yourself as skinny or does your Anorexia make you think that you aren’t?

I always used to say that I didn’t have body dysmorphia – that I ‘saw my body the same as everyone else did, but just had a different opinion.’ But earlier this year that switched completely – I finally realised how skinny I looked and I was disgusted by my reflection. I didn’t look healthy, I looked skeletal – if anything it scared me and gave me another huge push to recover.

Up until that point I always thought that there was nothing wrong with my body – that I looked ‘normal’ and if anything, needed to lose weight. It’s scary just how much your eating disorder can influence your perception of your body.

Q20. Do you have your period back yet?

Not yet and I know that it’s dependent on weight, so I need to keep gaining in order to get it back!

Q21. How do you deal with friends and family telling you that you look healthier now?

It’s a tough one and something that I used to find really triggering. I would instantly get offended or take it as an insult but I think that your reaction is very much dependent on where your mindset is.

My eating disorder instantly used to twist it, in to that I was being called ‘fat’ but that’s not the case at all. Your friends and family only care about you, not your weight, they just want you to be healthy and happy. The difference now is that I want to look healthy, so it’s much easier to take it as a compliment.

Although your ED might try to convince you otherwise, looking healthy definitely isn’t a bad thing. You’re glowing, the sparkle in your eyes is back and your smile is a lot more genuine – not to mention that there are countless other benefits that come along with it too!

Q22. Are you slowly increasing or just going all in? You’re such an inspiration.

I started slowly increasing but it wasn’t working for my body – it was telling me that I needed to eat more and gain weight, so I had to listen to and honour that.

Q23. I’m currently increasing calories. How did you find it in the beginning?

It’s tough and to be honest I was absolutely terrified! It’s never something that’s 100% easy, but it does get better with time. And you soon begin to wonder how you ever managed to eat any less!

Food

Q24. What is your favourite breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Breakfast My rocky road nice cream bowl or a cinnamon raisin bagel topped with peanut butter and banana, plus a smoothie on the side.

Lunch A falafel sandwich or toastie on seeded brown bread with hummus, avocado, veggies and chutney.

Dinner Either my loaded Vegan nachos, a veggie burger or my Mum’s homemade Vegan sausage rolls.

Q25. Not a question but I love seeing your recipes and food! Keep on you’re doing a fantastic job!

Thank you!

Q26. Would you consider introducing any meat or fish back in to your diet or will you stay Vegan?

I’m not currently looking at reintroducing either of those in to my diet.

Q27. If you could only decide on one liquid to drink for the rest of your life then what would it be?

Probably water, but I feel like that’s so boring so I’ll go with coffee – but I’d have to be able to have it both iced and hot.

Q28. How do you decide what and how much to eat for each meal?

In terms of the food shop, I have a few general ideas of what I want to make throughout the week but nothing’s pre-planned in the same way that it used to be, where I would have a set schedule for each day. Now I choice what I want to eat as and when. In terms of portions I have a standard portion size which I then often add to and ever go below.

Q29. Would you ever post non-Vegan food? You mentioned that you tried some.

At this stage probably not. Although I did post a number of quite obviously non-Vegan meals that no one picked up on!

Q30. Do you weigh food at all? Your nut butter blobs always look very precise! Lots of love.

I have weighed my food in the past but never my nut butter. Earlier this year I was weighing out my lunch, dinner and dessert but since coming back from Dorset I’ve stopped completely and have only used the scales once, for baking!

You can also listen to and watch my answers here.

Bonus

Answering Your Assumptions About Me

I also asked you for your assumptions about me and it was definitely interesting hearing what you guys thought. I took to my stories to clear up whether they were true or not – you can listen to and watch my answers here but they’re also included below.

Q1. You’ve always been quite ‘slim’

Definitely not true – from a young age I was one of the biggest girls in the year. I was bullied and called fat because of it and as a result was always self conscious about my body.

Q2. You were outgoing in school

Not at all – around my friends I was bubbly and chatty, but when it came to a classroom environment I was generally always one of the quieter ones – unless I was sat with my friends that is.

I achieved well academically and so I would much rather have sat there and got on with my work than talk to people. I was always being told to engage more and to put my hand up in lessons – I didn’t like answering questions in class as I hated the attention being on me or knowing that people were looking at me. I was also worried about giving the wrong answer.

Q3. You’ve battled with an ED for so long that you’re struggling to find who you really are

Not having a sense of who I am was one of the reasons why I was debating recovery a few months ago. Since then I’ve fully committed myself and I’ve gained a significant amount of weight but alongside it I’ve gained so much life.

Slowly I’m starting to feel more like myself. I’ve felt genuine happiness, I’m smiling and laughing again and my sense of humour is coming back too.

Q4. You had a good childhood

Overall I had a pretty good childhood and generally I was happy, yes.

Q5. You’re very hard on yourself

This is definitely a trait that I’ve recognised within myself recently. I always want to achieve my best in every area of my life. I’ve never felt outside pressure, but I’ve always put pressure on myself to do well, especially academically. But nothing ever seems to be good enough and I’m never satisfied with my achievements – if I get 90%, I wonder why it’s not 100%.

Q6. You don’t eat fast food because you don’t know what’s in it

I addressed this in my post about my experience of Orthorexia. There was a time when I wouldn’t buy anything shop bought because I wanted to make everything myself with minimal ingredients. Now I’m happy to say that it’s something that doesn’t bother me. I’ll happy pick up a pack of hummus, falafels or veggie burgers from the supermarket and it’s actually very rare that I’ll make them myself.

Q7. You drink a lot of tea

No. I rarely drink tea and I’m definitely more of a coffee person.

Q8. You look so much like Jodie Porteous

I do see small similarities, yes.

Q9. You’re so nice and kind and always put others before yourself which may end up hurting you

The one personality trait that I do have along those lines is that I’m a people pleaser. I’ll find myself agreeing to do things before I’ve even thought about it and then I’m left wondering why I’m doing X because I actually really don’t want to.

I hate making people upset or annoyed too. But it’s all something that I’m getting better at – I’m learning to put myself first and say no to things that I genuinely don’t want to do.

Q10. You’d be a fab date to chill, chat, drink coffee and read with

I love all of those things so I would never turn it down!

Q11. You want to try some non plant based foods but you’re scared of what people will say

Yes and to be completely honest, I put my mental health first and went ahead and did it anyway.

Q12. Not many because you’re such a beautiful and honest person

Comments like this generally make me so uncomfortable but thank you! I try to be as honest and open about my mental health as possible, in the hope that it can help other people who’ve had a similar experience.

Q13. You still don’t know how beautiful you are! Keep strong

Thank you! I would definitely say that I need to work on being more comfortable and confident with not only my appearance, but who I am as a person too.

Q14. You struggle with exercise

It’s only looking back now that I realise just how obsessive and compulsive my relationship with exercise had become. Up until around May this year, I was definitely over exercising.

Thank fully now I have reduced my exercise completely and am only doing activities approved by my therapist and dietitian. I don’t force myself to compulsively exercise anymore.

Q15. Breakfast is your favourite meal

100%.

Q16. That you stress a lot about small things

Yes, I’m definitely guilty of over thinking and over worrying.

Q17. Your father doesn’t live with you

My parents split when I was a baby, so I’ve never lived with my Dad.

Q18. Your ED shrank your world and now you’re opening it up to new opportunities, people and things

This is completely true! I started my college course earlier this month which was so exciting. I really feel like I’m finding myself, getting back on track and I’m so excited about the future.

Q19. You’re very creative

In some ways I am creative, but I would say that I’m more academically minded than creatively.

Q20. You don’t leave the UK often

I’ve only left the country 3 times, but travel is something that I’m hoping to do a lot more of in the future.

Q21. I thought you were American and I have no idea why

I’m from Cheshire, so not quite America!

Q22. You always make yourself look made up and pretty no matter the ocassion (only because you always look stunning when posting on here)

I actually only wear make up and do my hair on days when I really have to. If I’m going to college, out for a meal or filming something for my Instagram then I’ll make the effort, but otherwise I don’t bother with either!

Q23. You wake up early

Yes, I never wake up later than 6 generally.

Q24. You were born with a different eye colour

I actually have blue eyes so unlike some babies whose eyes change colour, mine stayed the same.

Q25. You don’t like clothes shopping

I think the effort of having to try clothes on is what puts me off a little! Plus I’ve never felt fully comfortable with my body, which has meant that it’s never been something that I got much enjoyment from.

Q26. You would rather buy nice snacks than clothes

If you’d asked me this a few years ago then the answer would have been yes. But now that I’m developing a healthier relationship with food, I’m also learning that it’s ok to spend less money on it too.

I regret the amount of money that I spent on unnecessary, expensive powders and blends or free-from in an attempt to be ‘healthy’. I love working with brands, trying new products and creating recipes. I’m in a position where I’m lucky enough to be sent a lot of snacks to try, and I make my own sweet treats too.

I may not have been in recovery for that long, but it’s already opened my world up and showed me that there’s so much more to life than food. I’ve become less obsessed with it – my idea of fun used to be walking around the supermarket looking at all of the food that I wouldn’t allow myself to buy, let alone eat.

Whilst I definitely think that it’s worth paying extra for the quality in certain areas, my clothes are slowly starting to not fit me so that’s definitely a priority right now!

Q27. You don’t like it when people point out that you’re eating ‘too much’ carbs or food in general

I’ve never been told that I eat too much and because carbs have been one of my biggest fear foods, I’ve never been told that I eat too many of them either.

One thing that I have experienced is unnecessary comments about my eating and that is something that makes me uncomfortable. Comments such as ‘You’re small but you still find somewhere to put it’ and ‘She can still eat a good meal our Yas can.’ Again, this is something which is becoming increasingly easier to deal with.

You can also listen to and watch my answers here.

Keep up to date with my Instagram stories so that you know when I’m doing my next Q&A or leave any questions that you want answered in the comments below.

You can watch my previous Q&A’s here:

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Hi, I'm Yasmin! Plant based recipe developer and certified health and wellness influencer. I share simple, nourishing plant based recipes along with tips on healthy living, mental health and well being, in the hope that I can inspire others to be the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves.

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