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I FULLY recovered from an eating disorder - AMA

11 replies

livingthesimplelife · 11/06/2021 19:39

Just that really...would love to help just one person here. Unfortunately so many who 'recover' from an eating disorder, disordered eating/exercise or just chronic dieting really don't recover fully (still slightly orthorexic, still perform compulsive movement etc.)

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Ibizafun · 11/06/2021 23:27

If you don’t mind me asking, what was the disorder and how did you recover?

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TopBlogger · 11/06/2021 23:35

Going through this with DS. It is like an insidious evil that crept up on us last year until all the family were dancing to its tune before we realised. I have so many questions...

How old were you when it began?
Was there one trigger, or a series of them?
How long did it take you to fully feel you werent in its grip?
What things helped or hindered your recovery?
What did your family (esp parents if you lived with them) do that helped you? Or pushed your recovery back?
Do you think extra counselling helps once you felt more in control of the ED?

Thank you for posting x

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largeprintagathachristie · 12/06/2021 00:01

I wonder if you can help with this question. I have a friend who is worrying me. She was always very very thin, I had to look up the word orthorexic that you used, but absolutely all of that, yes. Compulsive exerciser. Fascinated and a bit horrified by what other people ate. Had been hospitalised for anorexia in her teens. But there was a sense that though things around food were a bit disordered, it was okay.
She channelled lots of energy and perfectionism into “being healthy.”

Saw her recently in person for the first time in a long time due to the pandemic and she has lost weight. Too much as there was nothing to lose in the first place. Had bought scales during lockdown when normally wouldn’t have them in the house, as triggering. GP persuaded her to throw them out and instead come into surgery once a month to get weighed.

I am frightened of saying the wrong thing.
Do you have a steer on what’s the right thing?
She has a closer circle of friends than me but I don’t want to assume that she has enough support or feel that she gave me that information and I did nothing to help.
We were in a group of other people and the moment passed before I could get my head together.

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livingthesimplelife · 12/06/2021 09:53

@Ibizafun

If you don’t mind me asking, what was the disorder and how did you recover?

Anorexia (although in hindsight, I had periods of very disordered eating and exercise since about the age of 12). I recovered by going 'all in' and going against the grain of conventional treatment. This involved forcing myself to stop all movement (including things like compulsively loading the dishwasher!), eating whenever I was physically hungry or mentally hungry (whenever I had a thought of food), and eating exactly what I wanted in the quantities I wanted.
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livingthesimplelife · 12/06/2021 10:05

@TopBlogger

Going through this with DS. It is like an insidious evil that crept up on us last year until all the family were dancing to its tune before we realised. I have so many questions...

How old were you when it began?
Was there one trigger, or a series of them?
How long did it take you to fully feel you werent in its grip?
What things helped or hindered your recovery?
What did your family (esp parents if you lived with them) do that helped you? Or pushed your recovery back?
Do you think extra counselling helps once you felt more in control of the ED?

Thank you for posting x

I'm so sorry it's happening to your DS.
I was in my early twenties (with a child!) when I recieved a diagnosis of anorexia. I had a stint when I was 16 where concerns were raised but I never went to the Dr.
The trigger was a breakup for me, however I had always been tall and was aware that this meant I was 'bigger' than everyone else. It was uite a big complex of mine.
It took my about 9 months of full, all in recovery to feel fully free. But in honesty, as soon as I committed to full recovery, I felt much more free - it was the biggest relief when I gave myself permission to eat.
Things that helped my recovery: TABITHA FARRAR. Google her - she single handedly changed/saved my life. She is unconventional in her approach (i.e. do away with meal plans that in itself, are restrictive, stop all movement even if it is walking DD to school - so I literally sat on my bum for a year - but it truly worked wonders!). Also, my family were very non-judgemental and encouraged me to eat until I was truly satisfied. Looking in the mirror every day and telling myself I loved myself, holding my stomach/thighs/whatever and actively saying, wow I love these. Worked really well!
Things that would hinder my recovery - weighing (I threw away the scales about two weeks after I decided to recover. Haven't weighed myself since. Distancing myself from any friends that were always talking about diets, 'healthy' eating, caught up in the world of crossfit/gym life.
Parents were a help yes - I gave them the book Rehabilitate, Rewire, Recover to read so they could understand the journey I was on (especailly when it came to extreme hunger - so often people are told that this is bingeing and thus scares them to restrict again - in actuality, this extreme hunger dissapears after a month or two. But when I was in it, it truly was extreme! I was eating jars of peanut butter at a time, boxes of cereal etc. All totally normal!)
Counselling I feel can help with other issues but I don't feel it is neccessary to recover from an eating disorder. Sometimes trying to find a cause can just open new problems. Mine was simply a diet gone wrong and this snowballed to the scary feeling of not being able to get out of it. As I recovered, I worked really hard to neurally rewire my brain, so every single time I had a thought like oh I'm too big, or I'm greedy, I would say to myself, is that a helpful comment, is it goingt o help recovery, and then I would go and eat something to 'piss the thought off' - this worked tremendously to weaken the thoughts, and I have no disorderd/negative thoughts about my body.
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livingthesimplelife · 12/06/2021 10:10

@largeprintagathachristie

I wonder if you can help with this question. I have a friend who is worrying me. She was always very very thin, I had to look up the word orthorexic that you used, but absolutely all of that, yes. Compulsive exerciser. Fascinated and a bit horrified by what other people ate. Had been hospitalised for anorexia in her teens. But there was a sense that though things around food were a bit disordered, it was okay.
She channelled lots of energy and perfectionism into “being healthy.”

Saw her recently in person for the first time in a long time due to the pandemic and she has lost weight. Too much as there was nothing to lose in the first place. Had bought scales during lockdown when normally wouldn’t have them in the house, as triggering. GP persuaded her to throw them out and instead come into surgery once a month to get weighed.

I am frightened of saying the wrong thing.
Do you have a steer on what’s the right thing?
She has a closer circle of friends than me but I don’t want to assume that she has enough support or feel that she gave me that information and I did nothing to help.
We were in a group of other people and the moment passed before I could get my head together.

Definitely sounds like she has a disorder or some kind. Unfortunately orthorexia is so rife at the moment, social media 'influencers' who all to me seem disordered, offer 'helpful' nutrition and fitness advice, condition people to think a green smoothie for breakfast and then two hours of exercise is normal and healthy!
This seems to be what happens to a lot of people who come out of anorexia, only to turn to exercise and healthy eating to curb their fat phobia. A normal eater does not hyper focus on what others eat.
What's right to say to one person is wrong for another. I myself am quite straight talking - I have a friend currently going through the throws of anorexia, and I literally said to her, you look awful and you're kidding yourself if you think you're doing okay. She told me that she needed to hear that, and she is doing really well now (obviously not just because of what I said! She's also reading the book i mentioend interestingly).
You could suggest this book to her, saying something like hey, I don't want to interfere or pass judgement but I'm really worried that you might be struggling. Here's a book recommendation if you are interested.
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TopBlogger · 12/06/2021 14:01

Thank you so much for answering my questions, incredibly helpful. I will go and look for that book. So glad you have recovered xx

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Ibizafun · 13/06/2021 22:17

livingthesimplelife Thanks so much for answering. It must have taken huge courage to do what you did, I’m so pleased it worked for you.

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Summerhillsquare · 16/06/2021 07:10

It sounds like you 'did' CBT on yourself OP? Challenged your own cycle of thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

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XenoBitch · 21/06/2021 00:21

How do you know you are "fully" recovered? I mean, you could relapse into previous behaviours at some point, and not be able to predict that.
I know a fair few people with eating disorders during my own mental health journey. None would think they were ever fully recovered.. it is always ticking away there in the background.

I hope you dont take offence, am genuinely curious.

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jsp5642 · 27/06/2021 13:31

I have an awful lot of trouble with food intolerance, loss of appetite and aversion to tastes, but is that different? I'm a bit confused about it, because I thought the medical meaning of the word anorexia was loss of appetite, but in common language I thought anorexia was about people who stop eating to try to get really thin. Is that right?

Thanks for offering this information. It's really helpful.

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