Do you still have bad body image days? What do you want to study at university? And are you still experiencing extreme hunger? They were all questions which I answered in December’s monthly Q&A over on my Instagram stories.
You can watch my answers here, or read them below.
Q1. What are you going to be studying at university?
Q2. How did you get news articles written about you? That’s amazing!
I was approached by a Journalist who works for a press agency which produce features which are included in the major newspapers and womens magazines. There was a chance that the article wouldn’t be picked up by any of them but it went on to feature on the Daily Mail Online and Manchester Evening News websites – something which I’m incredibly proud of.
I had few comments from people saying that they weren’t happy that the main focus of the articles were numbers. And whilst I understand that, what I also think is important is to draw attention to eating disorders and mental health issues in general, in order to start a discussion and help people to better understand them. And the overriding message of the articles is one of positivity – to show that recovery is possible.
Q3. What’s the achievement that you’re most proud of from this year?
It definitely has to be how far I’ve come in terms of recovery. I never knew that I could be this motivated or determined.
Q4. How many times per week do you train?
I don’t currently train.
Q5. Anything exciting coming up?
Well it is Christmas next week!
Q6. Any plans for another tattoo?
Q7. How’s college going?
Good thank you! I’m still really enjoying it.
You can read my post about dealing with education and an eating disorder here.
Q8. What is a special Christmas tradition in your family?
I actually don’t think that we have any!
Q9. How are you doing with everything?
I’m doing pretty well at the moment thank you and would say that I’m actually quite happy with everything.
Q10. Favourite Christmas film?
Probably Elf or The Grinch.
Q11. How did you and do you still have any strategies that help to deal with the physical changes in recovery?
Things that really helped me were to remind myself that being in a bigger body will enable me to live the life that I ultimately want to live. I also wrote myself a list of reasons why it’s ok to gain weight in my recovery journal, including both mental and physical positives.
I also wrote a blog post dedicated to gaining weight in recovery.
Q12. How do you feel about your body now in all aspects?
I still have bad body image days. It’s been hard gaining weight, changing clothes size and adapting to living in a completely different body. I am however grateful for my body and slowly learning to accept it.
Q13. Has anyone made comments about the change in your appearance?
Yes but they’ve all been positive – that I look healthier and a lot better than I did before.
Q14. Do you still experience extreme hunger?
Yes but not to the extent that I used to; it comes and goes but is nowhere near as bad as it was. I would actually say that my appetite has decreased if anything.
Q15. Dealing with Christmas whilst recovering from an eating disorder?
It only comes around once a year, so don’t let your eating disorder ruin it for you! I know that it’s hard when it completely changes your routine and food but try to enjoy it – it’s an opportunity to create valuable memories with your family and look at the people around you – it’s completely normal to enjoy all of the christmas foods and drinks, so why shouldn’t you?
Q16. What do you do if you have a bad body image day?
Reminding myself that this body allows me to do so many things that my smaller body didn’t and making a list of reasons why it’s ok to gain weight are two things that have really helped me.
Q17. Do you plan your meals and snacks or do you eat intuitively?
I choose what I want to eat as I go!
Q18. Are you still gaining weight?
When I was last weighed, I had gained weight yes.
Q19. How did you stop thinking about food 24/7?
The only thing that has helped me to overcome this is gaining weight, eating more and listening to my cravings.
Q20. Have you ever felt that people are watching and checking up on your eating?
Early on in recovery, yes, but not anymore.
Q21. Is there anything that helped you when facing your fear foods, for example a quote?
It helped me to remind myself that if I feel uncomfortable or guilty then it’s because I’m annoying my eating disorder and making progress.
Q22. How did you let go of everything and just increase?
I realised that my eating disorder had completely stolen my teenage years from me and that they’re years that I would ever get back. I wasn’t prepared to let it take anything else from me and also set myself the goal of moving away for uni next year.
Q23. Are you comfortable with the way that you look now or do you still have bad days?
I definitely have bad days and would say that my body image is quite up and down still. My body has changed a lot in the past four or five months and getting used to dressing for a completely different body shape is challenging, but it’s all something that I’m slowly learning to accept.
Q24. How has your life changed since being in recovery?
It’s changed in every aspect and all for the better. I’m healthier, happier, stronger and have so much more food and life freedom.
Q25. How to stop counting calories and let yourself have whatever you want?
I believe that the only way to overcome this is to go all out and stop completely. I stopped overnight and whilst it was scary at first, it’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done.
Q26. How to deal with food or diet related comments around Christmas? eg. ‘the diet starts tomorrow’
They’re difficult to hear when you’re trying to do the exact opposite, but I remind myself that I’m on a different path to that person and what they’re saying isn’t applicable to the stage that I’m at.
Q27. What has been the hardest part of your recovery?
Probably changing clothes size and having to sell all of my old clothes.
Q28. Have you ever had thoughts about going back to a smaller body? How do you deal with them?
I have small moments where I wish that I was more toned, or that my body looked a certain way. But as I said earlier what helps me is to remind myself of all of the things my bigger body enables me to do, that my smaller one didn’t.
I also recognise that this is simply the size that my body is naturally supposed to be and that to be any smaller I have to restrict and compulsively exercise.
Q29. How did the people around you react to your recovery? You’re so inspiring, thank you for sharing your journey.
I live with my Mum and I’ve definitely seen a positive improvement in her mental health as I’ve got better because it was definitely taking a toll on our relationship.
Q30. Not a question but I hope that you’re giving yourself the credit that you deserve – you’re amazing.
Q31. Did you suffer with hair loss at any point and how is it now? What’s your hair care routine?
Yes, in the early stages of my eating disorder I lost a lot of hair, which led me to get extentions in March 2018. My hair is thicker and healthier that it was a year ago, but it’s nowhere as near the condition that it was in pre ED.
As for my hair care routine, I always make sure to use heat protection spray before using styling tools on my hair and as it doesn’t get greasy quickly, I only wash it once a week using the beauty works shampoo and conditioner followed by their hair mask. I also use the oil from their range too.
Q32. How has your body image been recently? You’re glowing by the way!
It’s been ok! There are definitely points where I struggle and it’s taking time for me to adjust to being in a bigger body but I’m getting there slowly!
Q33. Tips for not feeling guilty about eating?
You should never feel guilty for doing something that’s so necessary for your survival.
Q34. Are you still using your recovery journal? If so, when do you think you will stop?
I actually haven’t been using it at all really. Whilst is what a key tool and something which helped me massively in the early stages of recovery, I don’t feel the need to reach for it so much anymore.
Q35. Do you eat intuitively yet?
Some days are more intuitive than others, but the majority of the time I still stick to 3 meals and 3 snacks.
Q36. Do you think you’re at your set point weight?
Definitely not – my weight has consistently gone up since the start of August without a plateau and I’ve overshort my highest pre ED weight by quite an amount, so I’m definitely not there yet.
Q37. Have you gotten your period back, if so how?
Thankfully I got it back at the end of November for the first time in four and a half years! The main thing which contributed to me getting it back was weight gain, but I also stopped working out and added more variety to my diet, along with increased portions.
Q38. Did you have a meal plan / dietitian to help you gain weight? If so, could you please share.
I did have a dietitian initally who recommended that I eat 3 meals and 3 snacks, along with supper each day. Obviously I’m not in a position where I can tell other people what to eat as everyone’s body is different, so I would definitely recommend discussing that with a medical professional.
Q39. How do you deal with living in a bigger body?
It’s a difficult adjustment to make, especially in such a short space of time but overall I feel so much better for it. I’m healthier and happier which is the main thing – I try and focus on all of the things that I have in my life now which aren’t related to my weight or appearance.
Q40. Do you have certain rituals or still follow certain rules that you want to stop?
There aren’t any particular rituals or routines that I have anymore, but I know that there are still things that I need to work on before I can say that I’m fully recovered.
Q41. Are you looking forward to being able to join in more this Christmas?
Q42. What motivated you the most to fight your eating disorder?
I was so depressed, lonely and angry that I’d let Anorexia completely steal my teenage years from me. So, I decided that enough was enough and I wasn’t going to let it steal anything else from me. A big motivator was setting myself the goal of going to uni next year.
Q43. Do you think ‘full recovery’ is possible or do you just learn to deal with ED thoughts?
It’s not something that I’ve experienced myself, but from what I’ve heard it can be either depending on the person.
Q44. Was it hard for you to get your period back, mentally?
It actually wasn’t – I was just so happy that all of my hard work had paid off and it was finally back.
Q45. Do you consider yourself completely recovered?
I’m definitely not fully recovered yet as there are still a number of things that I know that I need to address.
Q46. Why did you quit Veganism?
I personally felt as if I could’t fully recover if I stayed Vegan, because it meant that I was excluding everything from my diet that I ate before I developed an ED. I still eat a predominantly plant based diet, but it’s amazing to be able to enjoy some of my old favourites too.
Q47. Are you going to go back to exercising more regularly again if you feel like it won’t affect you negatively?
I’m definitely hoping to get back in to exercise at some point, but I want to make sure that it’s for the right reasons. I want to do it to become fitter, healthier and stronger without focusing on a certain aesthetic.
Q48. Current favorite breakfast?
I love a big bowl of salted caramel chocolate protein oats with all the toppings!
Q49. Favourite oat combo?
Probably the flavour mentioned above, topped with banana slices, peanut butter, chopped nuts and chocolate.
Q50. Favourite Vegan milk brand?
I love Alpro.
Q51. Thoughts on the debate over whether honey is Vegan or not?
In my opinion I would say that it isn’t Vegan and I didn’t consume it whilst I was Vegan.
Q53. Is it expensive to eat the way that you do?
I would say that the cost of our food shop is quite average.
Q54. Are you still incorporating non-Vegan foods into your diet? How’s it going?
I am yes and it’s really helped me. I feel as if I have so much more food freedom, I’m less anxious about making food choices and overall it has positively impacted my mental health.
Q55. What will you be eating this Christmas?
Lots of Chocolate!
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
- Q&A 7 – November or Read the blog post
They were all questions which I answered in December’s monthly Q&A over on my Instagram stories.