Hope you are well and enjoying your day so far!
Today I am linking up with Amanda over @runningwithspoons for –‘Thinking Out Loud!’
This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week and Amanda has done a wonderful job of highlighting this important issue and inspiring us all to include this topic within our Thinking Out Loud posts this week.
I didn’t know how to approach this to be honest and I have been thinking about it all week, it is so difficult. The amount of times I have written and rewritten this post so far is insane (with a few tears along the way). This is because this was me. This is because this was all I used to think about. This is because I too suffered from this horrible illness.
And this is the first time I have mentioned it to you all. In fact, the first time I have talked about it outside close friends and family.
It is not that I wanted to hide it from you all; I just didn’t want it to define me anymore or the beginning of my writing journey.
Moving to Glasgow and creating this blog was a new chapter in both David and my life. It marked my long road to recovery and I can honestly say I feel the best now that I have ever felt in my life. I am still on that road but now I am sprinting, not crawling. And I feel both physically and mentally healthy. I am truly, one of the lucky ones and I appreciate this Every. Single. Day.
So for my approach on today’s thinking out loud post, I am going to dedicate it to my recovery and all those who have made me the strong, confident, healthy person I am today. Included will be some general information that everyone should know, these are in capital letters.
1. My husband David.
The honest truth is, I don’t know if I would be here today without him. He was my rock throughout the dark times of my illness and really was the one to pull me through. He understood that this was not just about losing weight and that it was a mental health illness – a key issue that most people do not realise. (LOSING WEIGHT IS A SYMPTOM, THE ILLNESS IS WITHIN THE MIND).
His complete understanding of how this was affecting my mind meant he could fully help me hour by hour, day by day and his support was endless. I know it must have been so difficult for him at times, I really do. His love really does have no bounds. But together, we did it. We kicked it’s butt!
2. My parents
My parents have always supported me through everything and anything and this was no exception. It was difficult for them being a few hundred miles away from me and therefore it would have been easy for me to hide this from them. David was paramount in keeping them in the loop and letting them know my progress, even if at times, at face value, it didn’t look like I was making any. All those little steps add up.
The big thing my parents did was just to be there for me and give me their constant support and love. My mum was always there to talk, she wanted to understand and never gave ‘her opinion’ on anything. Some people are convinced that an eating disorder can be cured by ‘EATING A FEW GOOD SOLID MEALS’. Once again, simply addressing the symptoms, not the cause. I always did eat! I never stopped eating, I just wasn’t eating enough and my mind was fueling bad thoughts surrounding this. (NOT EVERYONE WHO SUFFERS FROM AN EATING DISORDER DOESNT EAT/ EATS TO EXCESS). Luckily, my parents were never these people.
My Dad was the perfect person to go to when I simply didn’t want to talk about it. When I just wanted to speak about something else, smile and have a good laugh. Some people didn’t understand that Jen was still there, still able to talk about lots of different things, instead they simply didn’t talk at all (WE STILL NEED OUR FRIENDS, AND NO, THE TOPIC OF CONVERSATION DOESNT ALWAYS HAVE TO REVOLVE AROUND BEING ILL).
Some may think it strange that I thank my recovery to a way of eating, but it truly has been one of my saviours. Paleo has encouraged such a good relationship between myself and food – I had to start again from scratch with my head when it came to eating and therefore I did loads of research, Paleo just made sense. I am not addicted to Paleo, I simply worked out what my body could and couldn’t tolerate and what made me feel good and bad. For example I can tolerate small amounts of dairy, so I eat greek yoghurt. I can tolerate small amounts of white rice, so I treat myself to sushi now and again. I didn’t particularly like cakes etc before my illness and don’t miss them now. Same with potatoes never liked them! Grains just make me feel yuck so I don’t miss them at all and David is the same. I now adore my healthy fats – bring on the guac, almond butter and coconut! I eat loads of meat which I previously avoided. And I even now enjoy dark chocolate, something I hadn’t eaten in years! The best way it has helped me is that I know, nutritionally, everything I eat is good for me and is helping me and my body for life. Oh and it helps that it is all so amazingly delicious too! I now love food!
(EATING MORE IS NOT THE ANSWER, INSTEAD DEVELOPING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD IS KEY)
During my illness I was such a gym bunny, but using it as a way to burn up all those calories my body needed just to survive! When we moved to Glasgow we decided to begin CrossFit, mostly because it sounded like fun and also because we wanted a change to the gym. I still kept a gym membership during my recovery, doing this along with CrossFit. But then, after a few months at CrossFit, I realised that it was making me strong. I was no longer skin and bones, I was finally growing muscle and damn it looked good! But I was also burning it away combining it will insane cardio at the gym. So I took a brave decision at the end of December to finally end my relationship with the gym and focus on CrossFit –best decision ever! Now my muscles are sticking around and growing – down to CrossFit and paleo.
CrossFit has been more than just getting physically stronger. It has given me more mental strength than I ever could have imagined and I can take this strength and apply it to anything. I feel strong and strong is beautiful.
I must also mention here the CrossFit community at our box. They welcomed David and I to the box and Glasgow with such warmth and we really feel like we have some great friends. Feeling like we belong has helped me so much.
A big shout out must also go to my Coach. I don’t know if he will ever realise the strength he has given me. He makes me feel like I can take on the world!
5. And finally…
If anyone and I mean anyone, needs help, advice or just someone to listen– I am here. No one should be alone through this. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In particular, Paleo and CrossFit have been two big pillars of strength in my life to help me regain true health so if you would like any advice on the who’s, what’s and how’s, again, just simply email.
Please head over to Amanda’s page for more information or to link up with other bloggers who have decided to talk about this topic today.
Everyone is different, and the way everyone is affected by the illness is different. Therefore everyone’s recovery will be different. But recovery can be achieved; you too can feel strong again. You simply need to find your road.