When my world was falling apart around me with Dad dying and Mum’s illness I felt like I needed to control something. I wanted to grasp anything to shield the pain and make me feel safe. Food became that security blanket.

What started as a diet soon escalated to severe calorie restriction and an excessive exercise addiction. Food became my life. Everyday was ruled by my body weight.

It took over me

You think you’re in control but in reality you’re not. My eating disorder had the upper hand all the time – it controlled what I ate and when I ate, whom I ate with and what exercise I had to do to pay for my intake.

I would exercise obsessively in order to make sure the minimal amount I was eating would not make me fat.

In reality it was not even enough for a child to live on.

I felt exhausted all the time. Everything was an effort but that didn’t stop the drive to exercise. Nothing stops that urge to move. I never wanted to miss an opportunity to burn up calories.

The joy of food was gone

You don’t consume calories – they consume you.  I knew the calorie content of everything – I was just like a walking calorie counter. The joy of food had gone.

I was so hungry all the time that food was always on my mind.

All I thought about was food – I was obsessed.  

I spent hours food shopping and cooking for other people but didn’t allow myself to be part of the eating, the nourishment, the enjoyment.In a strange way, it felt better to be starving – it felt like I was achieving, like I was worth something.

As soon as I ate something that wasn’t on my schedule I felt like I meant nothing, I felt disgusted with myself and couldn’t bear to be around anyone.

Any event where food may be on offer became a mission. How could I avoid the eating part without people noticing? Social activities became an ordeal.

Eating disorder_2It does get better

To anyone reading this, please know that no matter how bad it’s got you can get better. I had days, weeks, months where I just didn’t believe I would. I thought getting better meant getting fat.

It didn’t.

Getting better just means getting to a point where you can have a life and maintain a healthy eating and exercise pattern which doesn’t consume every waking second or destroy your health.

Changing my mindset

For me, getting to this point meant making a balanced but structured eating and exercise plan with a therapist who I connected with. It meant making small adjustments to this weekly and perhaps most importantly it meant working with what my head would tolerate at each particular stage.

During this time I felt lost – the eating disorder had been such a big part of my being.

I used all the spare head space to focus on rebuilding my life. I’m not saying I’m perfect and I still struggle but the difference is that now I am healthy and I have my life back (which includes studying for a PhD, modeling and writing a book).

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