Warning: This post contains talk of disordered eating. If this is likely to trigger or upset you, please don’t carry on reading!
During Blogmas, I spoke about my experiences with disordered eating. It was the first time I’ve ever been truly open about some of my mental health struggles on my blog. The post was so well received that I thought I’d carry on being open and honest!
Although I am mostly ‘recovered’ from my struggles with disordered eating, I do still struggle from time to time. There are still days when I have to fight the urge to skip meals and count calories. Whilst those days sometimes just appear out of the blue, they are often triggered by external factors.
The thing about triggers is sometimes they are obvious, but sometimes they just make no fucking sense. So, in the spirit of being open about my messed up brain, I thought I’d share with you some of my stranger triggers. Partly so we can all laugh at my weird thoughts together; partly so that other people with similar struggles can perhaps feel less alone; and partly so that people who don’t struggle with mental health issues and disordered eating can understand those struggles a bit better.
This is perhaps one of my strangest ‘triggers’ – and it doesn’t always trigger me into having disordered thoughts. But sometimes – just sometimes – I’ll read the suggested serving size on a packet of food, and spiral into feeling like shit and wanting to stop eating for days.
Usually this happens after I eat a whole tin of soup, even though the recommended serving is only half a tin (seriously, who eats just half a tin of soup?). Or when I see that the Dominos large pizza I’m about to order is on offer as a ‘Feed the family’ deal.
I have a large appetite, okay? I spent years trying to repress it and ignore it and go against it entirely, but it’s still there. And goshdarnit it, I want to be able to embrace it without passive aggressive packaging and websites making me feel like crap!
As the old joke goes, ‘Serving size: Feeds 4. Yeah. All 4 me’. #relatable
The Biggest Loser
When I was in the midst of my disordered eating, I was obsessed with watching The Biggest Loser. You know, that American reality TV show where severely obese contestants compete to lose the most amount of weight possible. In part it was because I used to hungrily seek out any and all stories of weight loss, but I also used the show to kid myself that my weight loss was healthy. If these people were allowed to obsess over weight loss and exercise and diet, then I was too. Right?
Nowadays, I steer clear of shows like The Biggest Loser. But periodically I’ll see the show advertised on telly and my brain will long for the days of binge watching it while doing jumping jacks in my room. Stupid brain.
Being Home Alone
During my worst struggles with disordered eating (which occurred while I was living at home with my parents), I used to long for days where I’d be home alone all day and night, because it meant it would be easier to skip meals.
Even now, on the rare occasion that James isn’t home for dinner, my brain will sometimes go ‘This would be a perfect opportunity not to eat’. On these occasions, I tend to drown my brain out by ordering a large Dominos pizza and eating a chocolate bar while I wait for it to be delivered.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with issues around food and eating, I really encourage you to seek help. I am living proof that recovery is possible, and that you can get to a stage where you can laugh about the weird quirks of your brain. Below are some resources that you might find helpful:
B-eat – The UK’s Eating Disorder charity
Do I have an eating problem? – A video by Chidline ft. YouTuber Melanie Murphy
Eating Disorders – An introduction by the NHS