This week I went to visit my friends and family in England. I almost feel back to square 1. Although, seeing how much this still effects me, changes my personality, blurs my priorities, loved ones and dominates my actions…I have come back more determined to keep on going and beat this.
Regardless of the environment, triggers, memories of past behaviors dependent on the situation, people, scenarios and memories associated, once I rid this from my mind and I have truly overcome this illness, I would like to be in a frame of mind that my thoughts and actions are stable enough to be myself in all situations where ever and who ever that may be with.
Leading up to the trip, I was already getting very anxious. I knew there would be challenges. Times where I would need to eat at ”English eating times”, meals that didn’t revolve around salad, meals out in restaurants as well as more fear foods. Therefore, I found myself cutting again the week leading up to the trip. Nothing like in the past although, I still restricted to around 2000 kcals, although I know in this plan I need a lot more!
When I was then in England, I was almost completely back to my old self. I never felt hungry. I was making sure I was walking enough and eat day counted the calories and never went over 1800.
Even though I was only back to my ”Old Self” a week or so, I noticed so much change in myself that I first noticed in reverse when starting this and has actually been a learning experience that I think will help push me more with this and keep me going.
What I noticed when I went back to cutting, old habits and prioritizing food and exercise.
-I wasn’t laughing as much as I have been doing in recent weeks.
-I stopped needing the loo (sorry if too much info haha) and went every 3 days or so.
-I found myself clock watching a lot and getting stressed about what and when we were going to eat.
-I had a panic attack in a restaurant when choosing what to have on the menu and became very snappy at the people around me.
-I started getting brain fog again.
-My energy levels dropped.
-I felt bored and lazy.
-I was quite irritable at times.
Although these are some of the things I noticed while being in England, I also feel some has to do the with environment and the fact I feel a bit useless and don’t have the distractions, things to do and things that keep me busy when I am here which of course will effect anyone’s mood. Although, I think if I had of been eating the way I had the last few weeks when on the re-feeding plan, things would have been very different.
I did a weigh in this morning and despite looking at myself in England and feeling a had started to look a lot bigger, I had actually lost again. 46.6KG today.
However, today is a new day. A new week to start again. I am back in the environment I feel most comfortable and England has and always will be the place I feel I struggle the most. If anything, this experience has made me feel like I can do this here. England will be a challenge again in the future but if I can crack this here, the challenge when I go there will a new goal to focus on overcoming there. I can take things at my own pace here. Keep challenging myself and I need to keep reminding myself how far I have come and like Barcelona is starting to feel like a place I can beet this, I know this can be the case for England also in the future. One step at a time.
On a positive front, I did combat a few fears I would never have done, in BCN (before the re-feeding started 6 weeks ago) or in England for years!
-I randomly bought a home made ginger bread man from a food stall (no calorie labels of course) when I wasn’t particularly hungry with my Spanish friend :). I would usually wait for the perfect time and environment to eat something like with the ”should I shouldn’t I, how to cut later” thoughts running through my mind before the first bite, but my friend suggested getting a coffee to go with it, so we did, although I actually would of ate it on the street with her which usually I would NEVER do.
-We had a family meal, Indian (although my sister prepared it very healthy to make sure I felt comfortable, mostly all vegetables) but with rice, chapattis and lentil dhal. Indian terrifies me because I associate it with high fat and calories. Although, it was gorgeous and didn’t worry me before or after eating it :). I also had a couple of after eight chocolates and quite a bit of vodka after which I regretted the large amounts of vodka the next day hehe well my headache did, but no big worries about the food. I ate until I was satisfied and then simply enjoyed the company :).
-I went a restaurant (typical English pub food) which I had said no to every time my parents asked me to go with them for 4 years. It was called the Woodpecker (although now a new name). I had a chicken flat bread and half a side portion of chips shared with my sister. Chips are something I have avoided for years and I am starting to find myself not worrying too much about them now. I have not yet ordered a portion anywhere for myself since i used to live in England (4 years ago) but I feel from all the chips I have been stealing from people more recently, I may be getting close to actually paying for a portion of my own some time hahaha.
One thing my sister said to me while in The restaurant.
I was having a bit of a panic attack before ordering. Getting sweaty and worrying. I couldn’t focus. I asked her what she was having and she said ”i’m not that hungry, so I think I want the salad”. I said ”a salad really?”. When she told me this was what she wanted I started to feel more relaxed and I told her I actually like the sound of it too but wanted to test myself. She told me ”don’t worry about always feeling the need to challenge and test yourself, just have what you want. If you are hungry, then have the fish and chips, if your not that hungry, have the salad. That’s reality and what people do in reality”. This made me think. People don’t go to restaurants to test themselves. They don’t avoid social situations because they feel the need to order something fatty or eat what they don’t want just to prove to themselves that they can. They go out to socialize, enjoy the company and order what they feel they fancy and what they have an appetite for. After this, I started to look at the menu differently. I wasn’t super hungry but I wasn’t without appetite also. I ordered the half flat bread with chicken and salad with half a portion of chips and it was just the right amount :). This was a learning curve for me and made the thought of going to restaurants less scary.
I also had amazing time with my friends children. Meeting my friends new baby and shared some nice conversation with my aunty who has been a big support recently with this. She also bought me a present from a recent holiday which had another quote that I have taken back with me and will be another reminder to keep going with this.
Never give up. Great things take time.
This couldn’t be more true. If someone told me it would have taken 4 years to get to the point I am at now, I probably wouldn’t have even bothered starting. Given up or thought it wasn’t possible. However, knowing that some things can be done to help speed up this process like giving our brains and bodies the nutrition it needs to get through this and see each challenge, obstacle and experience clearer and more achievable, things will take time. However, weeks, months and years worth of working on this eventually end in great things and the longer we stay committed to this, the closer we are becoming everyday!