In the past, many approaches have been tried to shift my thinking, with very few..ok none..being successful. However, i had a phone call with a lovely woman i’m going to start seeing regularly and even after half an hour talking with her i can tell she will help alot!
The harrogate community eating disorders team consists of one specialist nurse and a dietician, so i have never actually recieved any real psychological support or form of therapy. Which frankly seems ridiculous, how on earth am i supposed to improve spending weekly half hour sessions explaining how ‘this week’ was exactly the same as the last?
Anyway, this lady focused on how i make daily decisions, which can often become overwhelming when my thoughts and ‘eating disorder’ thoughts merge into one, making a simple decision a dificult one. She told me i need to focus on how i FEEL about a decision rather than what i think about it. To take a couple of seconds out and see how i feel about a choice, if it feels right for me at that time, and whether i’d be happy with the consequences of that decision. For example this morning i went for a coffee and as i was about to order my head said i wanted a normal black coffee, (which admittedly was what i actually fancied) but after giving it a couple of seconds thought i realised if i’m spending over £2 on a coffee, and have alot of calories still to make up for in the day, what my body actually needs right now was the extra calories and calcium from dairy. So i went for a regular flat white as i felt this is what my body needed.
When faced with a choice regarding food, in recovery it can become hard separating your thoughts from that of your eating disorder. You say to yourself the lower calorie option is genuinely ‘what you fancy’, so choosing it isnt colluding with anorexia but just choosing your preference. I’ve found a good approach to figuring out my true reasonings behind choosing said ‘low calorie item’, is accepting the consequences, am i willing to eat more later to make up for the difference and ensure i get enough for the day? If the answer is yes, then clearly that salad or piece of fruit is just a genuine craving and i should go with it..if the answer is no then i know i was only picking it to avoid eating enough-this would be the anorexic thought, not my own decision. If i still struggle to decide, such as this morning with the milk situation, i dont think of what i want, but more so what i need to achieve my goal to gain weight and recover. By staying in touch with my thoughts and feelings this way, and focusing on the current situation, maintaining a healthy weight will become easier as i’ll be making decisions based on a new situation. My goals will be constantly evolving and so my choices can change accordingly as i approach this stage rather than a complete dietary overhaul as i reach my ‘goal weight’ which may seem quite overwhelming. I’ll be able to pick that salad or black coffee i fancy and know i’m not being detrimental to my goals. It may feel like you are losing control in recovery at times, but actually you are simply taking it back. You will always be in charge of what you put in your mouth, you just giving yourself the control to make healthy choices in that very moment.
Sorry if that post rambled on a bit but its a difficult concept to explain!
Until tomorrow…Emma xo