This week I wanted to talk about something rather personal that also feels amazing to be able to open up and talk about and that is relapse.
Relapse: “deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement.”
Towards the end of 2015 I finally built up the courage to go to a specialist after one year of suffering in silence and was diagnosed with an eating disorder “not otherwise specified.” This is because I share a large number of symptoms of both anorexia and bulimia nervosa. I already knew I was bulimic, that was the first big step I made by self-diagnosing myself in March 2015 after four months of previously ignoring my problem.
It was only towards the beginning of summer that I decided to properly take action. I had previously been to the doctors and had been told to log my food in order to track when and how often I purged but this was all very relaxed and I was too busy in my life to care about the damage I was doing to myself. I was in my first year of university, studying hard for exams, coursework, learning Spanish, working a part time job, playing hockey, dancing and training at the gym. At the time this was far more important than dealing with what was going on inside of me.
However as mentioned, at the beginning of the summer I decided to make a real change and fight back for the confidence and freedom I had years previous. I was fed up of freaking out my friends whenever I had a panic attack or left a social gathering to make myself ill. My friends were always there and when they weren’t they would come running to be with me as friends do but they should not HAVE to do that. I realised I owed it to both my friends and family and I owed it to myself. I have so many plans and ambitions that I do not possibly have the time to be tied down and restricted by an eating disorder.
This summer has already proven to be a difficult one but it also could not be more perfectly timed! I start a pretty intense therapy course in October but I have already started making positive changes without the extra help, which is a real buzz! For the first time since I was 13, I am unemployed (out of choice. I’ve never been fired, just want to make that clear.) It feels weird at times but it has helped me come a long way by having all of the hours in the day to work on my fitness and health. This was 100% needed!
I divide up my time by taking 1-2 hours a day, six times a week to train and when I walk to the gym and back this takes another two hours. I am also using my summer break to do a lot of reading. Reading distracts me from obsessing over food and keeps me mentally engaged much better than a television. Alongside reading for fun I have been educating myself on many things, knowledge is power and I have an incredibly strong thirst and passion for education!! I continue to teach myself Spanish and I also read further into the health and fitness industry, constantly learning new things every day.
The past week I found extremely tough as I had my first relapse in 29 days. It seems like a short period of time but it felt like ages. To go from being ill daily, to a few times a week, to once in just under a month felt like an incredible milestone. At the time I was highly annoyed at myself for letting it get the better of me but relapse does not mean that all your hard work has gone to waste. I have been on the road to recovery for a long time and relapse is a part of that recovery. It’s like telling someone who smokes that they have to stop completely, there and then. It is not sustainable. You have to fight your battle more than once to win it. I’m aware of that and it makes me stronger each time to come back from it and get back on track.
Since my last relapse I have thrown myself even further into the fitness and health industry. I have very recently educated myself on macros, calculated the amount of calories I need to fuel my body with regards to my height and weight, divided up my protein, carb and fat intake into ratios and begun to weigh my food. I find this super difficult and time consuming at the moment but I know it will become easier soon enough. Some will view this as obsessive and crazy but when looking at an athlete or body builder, wouldn’t even question it. We all have to start somewhere and I know my goals, I am just taking the necessary steps to get there. I have done this in a completely healthy way with absolutely no intention to lower my calorie intake further than it needs to be, cut out certain food groups or completely limit myself. Other than bread as I have started to realise how sluggish it makes me feel, especially when training so I have lowered my intake of this out of personal preference.
I am fully aware and better educated to know and understand what I have put my body through over the past 2 years and 9 months and I am now taking the time to finally care, nourish and treat my body in the right way. I am excited for a future of weekends away, nights in with ben and jerry, holidays and meals out without feeling guilty, self conscious or restricted to what I can have. This will all come slowly at first and of course all of these will only be as treats and cheats and not all of the time but I can't wait to have this kind of freedom!
“Go girl, seek happy nights to happy days”
Until next time,
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