National Eating Disorder Awareness Week – The problem with eating…

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It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness week (26.02.12 – 03.03.12), so I thought I would share my eating issues…

I don’t have a diagnosed eating disorder, although it is quite common for these to go hand in hand with a BPD diagnosis.

But, I do have problems with eating in general.

To be honest, I think that there are probably lots of people that have food issues without it tipping over the edge to become an eating disorder, I guess we are ‘borderline’ eating disordered, lol.

It may even be true to say (without official diagnosis) that what I suffer can be categorised as what is known as ‘Selective Eating Disorder‘.

For me it is a difficult one, complicated.

Sometimes I am just not hungry, at all, and I can go days or even weeks where a packet of crisps, some cups of tea and a few soft drinks will be plenty to get me through the day.

Sometimes, I feel fat (this is probably where it gets closer to a real disorder). I currently weigh 9 stone 2 lbs, or 58 Kg. At 5 feet 2 inches (169cm) tall this is a healthy weight for my size. It means I wear size 8-10 (UK sizing) in clothes.

But, I look in the mirror without any clothes on and I see chunky calves, massive thighs and rolls of fat, an ugly ‘muffin top’ that hangs over the top of my jeans – and I feel UGLY. I hate my body and want to lose all the fat.

I have another problem, I used to be able to do intensive fitness training and exercise to tone up and make this flab vanish without having to starve myself – in fact when doing a lot of exercise I would actually eat better, lots. However, I can no longer use this to tackle my weight issues (and I know they are only in my head, as my stats above clearly indicate a perfectly healthy, slim body size).

My physical health problems (also no official diagnoses beyond Hypermobility, and ‘suspected’ Fibromyalgia) prevent me from using exercise to help with my issues. My legs cannot take it, if I go for a run every joint becomes inflamed and painful to the point I struggle to walk. I have just had an x-ray on my knee because the joint is now so bad that it crunches noisily when I walk, and if I go up and down stairs it sounds like coins rattling in my pocket – but it’s my knee making that noise!

So, all this brings me back to more eating issues, when I feel fat I stop eating. I refuse to have anything more than that packet of crisps. If I do eat any more, it is a struggle. I want to vomit as soon as I am half way through what I am eating (thankfully I have not yet actually ever made myself sick after eating).

On a ‘reasonable’ eating day I will manage to eat a piece of dry toast and a yoghurt for breakfast, a bacon sandwich for lunch and a small meal for dinner (maybe something like pasta bake). I think that on these good days I am probably consuming a fairly balanced diet of about the right amount of calories, but these days are hard to come by.

There is also the issue of rigidity in my diet – other than the evening meal that diet will not change, no flexibility or variation. I won’t have a bowl of cereal occasionally, no, it is the same food every time.

On a really good (bad?) eating day I will throw in a snack of a packet of crisps, and maybe a chocolate bar on top of that menu.

Other times, my health kick mode will strike out and all I will eat in a day is several pieces of fruit – an apple, banana and a satsuma (it has to be a satsuma, I don’t eat any other oranges) and maybe a few grapes or cherries.

Then you get the binges, these are the rarest of my eating issues. They will come when I am not eating much, but they are not massive even then. For me a binge will consist of eating several chocolate bars (or a whole box of chocolates) and several packets of crisps consumed in a very short space of time. But, after eating this I will feel disgusting and not eat anything for a minimum of 24 hours.

I trained as a chef so that I could try to love food and eat better. When I am eating fairly normally I enjoy cooking some hearty meals using the skills I gained. But, far too often I would rather vanish at mealtimes and leave the family to fend for themselves, so I don’t have to feel bad about not eating properly.

I am also a terribly fussy eater, as well as being rigid with my personal diet I pick, pick, pick. The list of foods I don’t eat it probably longer than the list of foods I do eat.

For starters I have a mild intolerance to dairy products, it seems to be mainly about them being in raw form, but I don’t eat cheese, eggs, any butter/margarine products, milk etc. I only eat yoghurt, only have milk in my tea, only have eggs if they are cooked in something like a cake – no omelettes or anything like that, and only have cheese if it is melted on pizza – and even then if the pizza tastes cheesy (maybe the cheese isn’t well melted) it will make me nauseous and I can’t eat it. The only way dairy products (other than yoghurt, if that even counts) get in me is when they are cooked in something else, raw and I will vomit them back very quickly – I can’t have butter/marg on my toast or sandwiches or I will be sick.

Then here are the innumerable other foods I don’t/won’t eat onions, mushrooms, kidney beans, tuna, pastry, meat on the bone, nuts, pulses, lentils, seriously the list is huge.

Taking me out to a restaurant is a nightmare and I pretty much end up eating the same things everywhere I go. Even with fast foods I’m fussy, no burgers, no McDonalds (at all), only fillets at chicken places (no bones), no relishes on anything, no hotdog sausages – only ‘real’ sausages will do, bacon has to be crispy, if its not I can’t eat it.

I don’t think there is a single ‘normal’ thing about my eating habits, they are very twisted and peculiar.

What about you, are you a ‘fussy’ eater?

Do you have an eating disorder, or are you ‘borderline’ eating disordered like me?

6 comments on “National Eating Disorder Awareness Week – The problem with eating…

  1. I totally agree:) My problem, when I was growing up, was that I wouldn’t know when to stop eating. I would just keep going until I was completely full. I’m just glad that I realized how bad that was – sooner and not too much later. Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

  2. Thanks for your honesty Sharon. For me it is a hard subject to discuss with anyone so I admire your courage. I have an ED (ED-NOS now days but it was anorexia) and it is difficult to not let food rule my life. Certainly a lot of my thoughts surround the subject. Exercise too. I either exercise to extreme and over-do it or I do nothing because it is too hard to get out of the house and do it. Now I (also) have suspected fibromyalgia and I have yet to work out what is possible without pain. I guess time will tell. For a long time I have wished that it wasn’t necessary to eat. If I could give up eating like say an alcoholic gives up alcohol, my mind and my life would contain so much more freedom. Well that’s not going to happen but I continue to be a work in progress.

    • Thanks Catherine. I guess I just reached a point where I actually accept that my eating habits are not ‘normal’ and I’m sure there are many others who feel the same but don’t voice it – once again opening up myself may help others do the same? I so agree about the exercise thing – it became like an obsession for me when I was in a fit enough physical state to manage it, like you now I need to discover what I can ‘safely’ manage! Good luck with your eating and exercise work 🙂

  3. Im not a doctor and obviously I cant diagnose anyone, but as someone whos suffered from eating disorders since I was a teen, in my opinion you would qualify as having an eating disorder. Eating disorders have such a bigger range than just anorexia and bulimia, and the diagnosis are becoming ever more refined, but Id guess right now you would fit into the ednos category. Just a thought.

    • Thanks for the insight Gypsy, I know what my GP will say if I mention this to him “You have enough labels already” so until I sort out a new GP I’;; just have to continue to manage this myself :/

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