Recovering from Bulimia and Learning to be Healthy

By Char Shields - May 25, 2020





Ever since I was a young girl, I've had a love/hate relationship with food. Sometimes, it was a comfort blanket for when I was feeling down. I didn’t have the easiest childhood, so it was something to turn to. Other times, it was some evil thing that was going to make me gain weight.
            
Of course, I did gain a lot of weight due to my comfort eating. It made it harder to fit in at secondary school, being one of the few overweight children. A few years later, when I was 14 years old, I decided to start restricting my food and drink. Only eating one meal a day and drinking water for breakfast and lunch.
               
I lost an unhealthy amount of weight in a short amount of time. People started to worry, raising concerns with me. However, I didn’t notice any difference. Looking back now, I realise how underweight I was.
               
Fast-forward to 2020 at the age of 22, I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been. After years of my weight acting like a yo-yo, I was forcing ridiculous amounts of food down my throat and purging when possible. This, along with the anti-depressants I was on, caused me to gain a lot of weight.
               
After group therapy and one-to-one’s with therapists, I’m finally on the mend after over a decade of having an unhealthy relationship with food. Now, I’m at the point where I want to start losing weight healthily… and I have no idea where to start.
             
So far, I’ve lost a stone which is fantastic. But that’s just been from generally eating less (and by that, I mean I’m not binging any more). I’ve been sat at my current weight for months because I don’t know the first thing about eating healthy or exercising right. I’ve been too used to either eating nothing at all or eating my weight in food all at once. To over-exercising for hours until everything hurts and not being able to climb a flight of stairs because I’m so unfit. 




Where’s the happy medium? Does it even exist for someone with an eating disorder?
              
Recently, I messaged my support worker asking if I could be put in contact with a dietician. As I’m under NHS care, though, I’m looking at another painfully long waiting list. So, how can I learn to be healthy on my own? How can I educate myself? That’s something I don’t quite know the answer to. Magazines and books may tell me many things, but none are the same.  
               
Do I focus on strength workouts or cardio? How long do I exercise for? How many times a week? I’m so used to pushing myself too hard, what’s a stable level? And how much do I eat? Do I count calories or not?
               
For now, all I can do is accept that my body needs food to survive and strive. Food is a friend, not something that’s going to hurt me but also not something I can rely on solely for comfort. The best I can do right now is learn as I go along. Education is the key for my journey. One day, hopefully, I'll get it right.
          



Until the next time,

Char

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