How quickly have you gained weight? Are you weight restored yet? How do you know if your Veganism is Orthorexic or not? They were all questions which I answered in November’s monthly Q&A over on my Instagram stories.
This month’s Q&A was a long one – you can watch my answers here, or read them below where’s also some exclusive questions.
Q1. How are you?
I’m actually doing really well at the moment, thank you. I’m the happiest that I’ve been in a long time!
Q2. Would you consider doing an international giveaway?
I’ve got a special series of giveaways planned for December, however due to shipping costs they will unfortunately be UK only.
When it comes to giveaways with brands, it’s up to them whether the giveaway is international or not.
Q3. What are your favourite things to order from Buy Wholefoods Online?
They’ve been kind enough to gift me a number of their products and my favourite is definitely their medjool dates.
Q4. How is college?
I’m really enjoying it! I love being back in education and I really like the course content too. It’s definitely making me even more excited for university next year.
Q5. Favourite colour?
Mauve pink or grey.
Q6. Where do you want to travel to?
Q7. How old are you?
Q8. How is your hair feeling now? Thicker? Stronger?
My hair is definitely in better condition than it was, I can tell that it’s growing and it looks a lot healthier too.
Q9. What is your favourite season and why?
Autumn – I love sunny, cold crisp mornings and getting cosy on the dark evenings! It’s also my favourite season fashion wise too.
Q10. What music do you like?
My music taste is so mixed! Some of my favourites are Drake, The Script, Little Mix and Dua Lipa – I’m so obsessed with her new song.
Q11. Where do you live?
Q12. What do you do throughout the day?
I spend 2 days a week in college. When I’m not there I’m at home working on content for my blog and Instagram, or completing college work.
Q13. Do you play any instruments?
I used to play the guitar.
Q14. How’s your dog?
Maisie’s really good thank you! It’s actually lovely because we’ve bonded loads recently now that I’m in a better place mentally.
Q15. How fast did you gain weight?
I started gaining weight in August and since then have gained 28kg, at a rate of 1-3.5kg a week.
Q16. Are you still gaining or maintaining weight?
Although my body is way in to the healthy BMI range and I have surpassed my highest pre-ED weight, I’m currently still gaining.
Q17. Have you ever thought about starting to lose weight again?
Honestly, no and I think that stems from knowing how unhappy I was when I was smaller.
Q18. How has your mental state changed since starting to gain weight?
In every aspect possible and for all of the right reasons. I’m no longer depressed, my personality is back, I have so much more food and life freedom and overall I feel like I’m a million miles away from the place I was in a few months ago.
Q19. Are you still eating in a surplus to gain weight or are you maintaining?
I’m eating in response to extreme hunger and as a result I’m still gaining weight. All of my increases have been made in response to my hunger and weight gain has been a bi-product of that. My intention isn’t to lose, maintain or gain weight, I’m simply listening to my body and allowing it to do what it needs to do.
I haven’t lost weight or plateaued at all during this process and I’m at my highest ever weight, which is making it difficult. However, I have researched in to the overshoot and set point theories, so I know that with time my body will falls where I need to be.
Q20. How long does it take you to finish a meal? Tips for learning to eat at a normal pace?
It depends on the meal, but usually 30 minutes maximum, whereas it used to take me 2 hours to eat my dinner.
I started chewing faster and less which has helped. I used to focus so intently on my food and had very specific eating conditions, but gaining weight is the main thing that has helped all of this. Now that I eat more and more regularly, eating isn’t the most important part of the day like it used to be and not every meal or snack is a ceremony.
Q21. Are you still struggling with extreme hunger?
Q22. Challenges you are still facing in recovery?
Extreme hunger is the main thing that I really want to overcome, along with tackling negative body image.
Q23. Are you still in the weight restoration process?
I have gained back all of the weight that I’d lost plus extra, so technically I suppose that would make me weight restored. However, my weight hasn’t yet plateaued and my periods haven’t returned.
Q24. Do you still follow a meal plan with specific calories or have you moved to eating more freely?
I haven’t calorie counted or followed a meal plan during recovery. But I definitely eat a lot more freely than when I started and it’s something that improves daily.
Q25. What do you do to distract yourself or keep busy when you get the urge to exercise?
I actually don’t get the urge to exercise anymore, but techniques that used to help me were to do an activity completely unrelated to my body such as watching a film or opening up to my Mum about it and she would reassure me that I don’t need to exercise.
Q26. One thing that you would have told yourself before recovery that you know now?
That it’s so worth it – you’ll feel a sense of happiness and pride that you never thought you would again and that your life will improve in every aspect.
I also wish I could go back and slap myself for not doing it all sooner!
Q27. Are you still having a break from your dietitian?
Yes, I received a number of triggering comments and it’s not a situation that I feel comfortable going back in to right now.
Q28. How do you respond to unwanted and intrusive ED thoughts?
I either distract myself or more often that not will do the exact opposite. For example if my ED is telling me not to eat the bagel, then I’ll go ahead and do it anyway. Challenging the thoughts its hard, but its during those times of discomfort that you make progress and eventually the thoughts do subside.
Q29. Do you find that meal planning has helped you in recovery?
I used meal planning years ago but haven’t since as for me it’s too rigid and I wanted to be able to eat freely and step out of routine.
Q30. Do you constantly feel the need to be happy to feel as if you’re recovering, or do you accept bad days?
I definitely let myself have bad days. It’s completely normal to feel upset, angry or frustrated and would actually be abnormal if you didn’t!
Q31. Do you weigh yourself to monitor weight gains?
I’m currently weighed fornightly by my therapist.
Q32. How do you deal with weight gain?
Starting a recovery journal and listing all of the reasons why it’s ok to gain weight is something that has really helped me. Experiencing all of the other positive aspects of recovery that accompany it has definitely made it worthwhile.
Q33. How did you recover? What’s the protocol for the freedom that you have achieved?
I’m definitely not fully recovered yet, but one of the main things that has helped me is to take every opportunity possible to challenge myself. Always choosing the more difficult option is how you make progress.
Have a goal to work towards, which for me has been university, has helped to keep me motivated.
Q44. Do you think social media has helped or hindered your recovery?
The support that I’ve received on social media has been invaluable and nothing compares to speaking to people who have been through the same and understand your situation. Sharing my journey has also kept me more motivated and focused as I know that I have to be accountable for my actions when there are people watching me.
As for negative aspects, I would say that the pressure to follow certain diets or constantly eat ‘clean’ is something that I have been victim too.
Q45. Have you experienced any B12 issues as a result of your ED?
Q46. How to cope with strong self hatred over your body, including cellulite and stretch marks?
Learning to accept your body is key although it’s a lot easier said than done. As for stretch marks, I see them as a symbol of the constant battle that I’m winning and a representation of the journey that my body has been on. If anything, I’m grateful that my body has kept me alive through all the trauma that I’ve put it through. And as for cellulite? That’s completely normal.
At the end of the day, our bodies are just vehicles to get us through life. There are people who have missing limbs or can’t walk, so we should learn to be grateful and thankful for them. No one knows what your BMI or weight is and quite frankly, no one cares. They love you for the person that you are inside, not your body.
Q47. What do you find the most difficult in recovery?
Q48. Did you also struggle with depression whilst Anorexic?
Yes. I felt depressed all the time, to the point where I thought that it would be easier to end my life than fight this. But, I’m so glad that I chose recovery. I genuinely feel so much happier now and a lot of that is due to weight gain.
Q49. Have you ever experienced binging?
Q50. Favourite thing that recovery has brought you?
My personality back, food freedom and a sense of happiness that I never thought that I would feel again.
Q51. How do I recognise is my Veganism is Orthorexic or actually for the right reasons?
Taking a step back from being 100% Vegan is one of the best things that I have done for my mental health. Instead of talking about or reminscing over the foods that I enjoyed pre ED, I can eat them freely.
My Veganism definitely partly came from an Orthorexic place, I thought that it was the only way to be healthy or that eating any other way would result in me developing a disease – but neither of those things are true.
I learnt so much about the ethical and environmental advantages of Veganism and it’s hard to unknow those things, but I’ve had to do what’s best for my mental health.
90% of my meals are still completely Vegan by coincidence, but it’s so lovely to be able to enjoy chocolate, eggs and cheese again too.
Q52. How do you cope with the stress and anxiety of challenges? Do you still get as anxious about them as you did initially in recovery?
I don’t get as anxious as I used to. It’s natural that they’ll make you feel uncomfortable, but really the only way to overcome fears is to face them head on. As you repeat them, the anxiety lessens.
Q53. Do you ever find yourself saving calories for night time? Any tips on how to stop?
It’s not something that I’ve experienced but I would say try to spread your intake more evenly throughout the day. Increase each of your meals and snacks slightly, so that you don’t end up eating large amounts later on.
Q54. Favourite non-Vegan food that you’ve allowed yourself in recovery?
Cadbury’s chocolate! I’d completely convinced myself that I didn’t like it but I definitely do! Their new orange twirl is amazing!
Q55. How do you cope with the thought of going over a minimum healthy weight or rationalise that it’s ok?
I’ve always had a problem with the BMI chart and it’s accuracy, as it’s not individualistic. I entered a healthy BMI range a while ago and I’m actually almost in the overweight category now. I know that the thought of going from an underweight BMI to overweight would horrify some people, but I have to accepting of it in order for my body (and mind) to recover.
In reality, the minimum healthy weight is going to be suitable for very few people and that success number reduces further when you take an eating disorder in to account. If you actively suppress your weight and restrict in order to maintain a low end healthy BMI, then that’s not recovery to me.
A BMI chart can’t tell you what’s the healthiest weight for your body – only your own body can do that so who cares what the chart says!
Q56. How do you deal with clothes not fitting or feeling too tight?
I’m currently writing a blog post all about growing out of your clothes in recovery.
Q57. Do you plan on incoporating exercise into your life at any point?
I miss working out from the perspective of being strong. My fitness levels have declined a lot, as all I do know is a short yoga flow and dog walk each day.
I do want to return to the gym at some point, but it’s not something that I want to rush in to and I know that if I did it now then it wouldn’t be for the right reasons.
Q58. Do you eat a set amount each day or do you go lower or higher depending on how you feel?
If I’m having a particularly hungry day then I’ll more, but it’s never less.
Q59. Best advice that you can give someone for starting their recovery process?
It’s difficult but it’s so worth it. Take every opportunity possible to challenge yourself and defy your eating disorder. And trust me, you’ll never want to go back.
Q60. How are you making yourself eat so much? I get scared and just can’t do it.
I don’t have to make myself eat – it’s a case of simply needing food to survive!
As for being scared, is it you that’s scared or you eating disorder? Don’t let being scared be the excuse that stops you from recovering. I was scared and I did it, so what makes you think that you can’t?
Q61. Will you be reviewing all of the Christmas sandwiches that are out?
I don’t have any plans to, but if I happen to try any then I can definitely do a mini review on my story.
Q62. Favourite new meals or foods that you’ve found?
I’m currently loving toasted sandwiches or paninis for lunch! And I’m also enjoying revisiting childhood favourites.
Q63. Favourite dessert?
Anything chocolate related is a winner. I especially love my Vegan Mars Bars.
Q64. What is your favourite food?
Peanut butter or chocolate!
Q65. Favourite snack?
I love the peanut butter choc chip lara bars, or anything dipped in peanut butter.
Q66. Favourite meal?
Q67. What’s your new found favourite food that you wouldn’t have eaten before?
Anything carb related! I’m still obsessed with bread and bagels.
Q68. Your last meal on earth – what would it be?
- Starter – a mezze platter with bread, olives, hummus, dips etc
- Main – Vegan burger and sweet potato wedges
- Dessert – lots of chocolate!
Q69. Your 5 store cupboard essentials?
Tahini, peanut butter, chocolate, bread and medjool dates.
Q70. What Christmas food are you most excited to have this year?
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.
- Anorexia Recovery Q&A
- Q&A 1 – May
- Q&A 2 – June
- Q&A 3 – July or Read the blog post
- Q&A 4 – August or Read the blog post
- Q&A 5 – September or Read the blog post
- Q&A 6 – October or Read the blog post