Northern Girl On... My body image story..
I write this as I lie in my bed in a sports bra and leggings, it’s 10:15pm and I’ve just completed one of those 10 minute high intensity home work out things. If you’d have asked me about my plans for my blog, this was never in it. I’ve admired others who have but I didn’t think it was for me. But today, is the day I can say “I’m not okay”.
On the surface I’ve been able to pass the above, and the running and everything else as the ‘new me’ desperate to get fit and healthy now I’m ‘The London Girl’ and whilst that is part of it, it isn’t all. What the above actually is is the obsessive, controlling mind of an eating disorder sufferer. The mind that will not rest until it has punished the body in some way for the calories consumed throughout the day. The mind that can focus of nothing else but running, running until the body physically can’t take anymore because that’s what it deserves (and not in a good way).
It’s been a while since I’ve felt this out of control. I’ve been suffering with eating disorders on and off - mainly on - for what will be my 10th year this year. At my lowest weight in 2012, I was a little under 7 stone and over-joyous at the fact I was in age 12 denim shorts and age 9-10 leggings. And yes; they are ages, not dress sizes. I was 18 years old and ironically probably at my most confident with my body, 5 years since it all first started and i’d made it to that monumental under 7st mark or so I thought. That should have been a warning to me, but it wasn’t. See the issue was that I never felt unwell. I never bought size 4 clothes - size 6, yes but size 4 always seemed tiny even for me. And I was never hospitalised and fed through a tube. In the social media age I grew up in, it almost felt as though there were degrees of severity you had to reach to be classified as ‘ill’ almost like jumping through hoops and checking off boxes - go to a GP for these sorts of things and it literally feels like they’re reading a quiz off the screen “Do you have an eating disorder? Answer these questions now to find out…”
(an almost unrecognisable 2012 me in size 6 dresses that I couldn't dream of wearing today)!
I don’t remember at which point I returned to a level of normality with my weight. If I were to look back at pictures, I would swear it came at some point in 2014 - a very significant year for me. But whilst my weight became normal, my mind has never once stopped. Every single meal for the past 10 years has been a pro/con list. Is it worth it? Can I work it off? Do I deserve the treat? Can I feasibly have a salad as my next meal to counteract it? And it has been F**king exhausting. A special shout out goes to my long suffering boyfriend who has put up with my horrendous moods because I just haven’t felt like eating that day, or when I’ve not been able to come up with anything to eat/where to go because that little voice in my head didn’t want the extra calories. There have been times when I have overcome the little annoying voice in my head. Where I’ve said F*ck it and I’ve had the nachos/cake/ice cream, but that voice has also come back chastising my decision, making me feel nothing but dread or regret and not many people in my current circle will now that this is as much an issue now as it was in 2012.
The hardest part for me now is feeling I don’t have a reason for it. You could argue that back in 2012 I didn’t either but I am happy, healthy, with a career and life I absolutely adore. I should have it all - but I don’t.
(Summer 2013 - still secretly satisfied at how skinny I was - in the striped bikini)
There will be people reading this who have seen it all. People who knew the 13 year old me, who supported me through the start to the people who helped me through that hellish year and stuck with me and the people who will read this and will be surprised by it. It’s a very very difficult thing for me to post, partly because I feel embarrassed to be plagued by this and partly because I don’t want people to look at me differently. I don’t want to get treated with pity or looked at like a fragile doll because that isn’t me. I know I will bounce back from this again and I will hopefully one day find the strength - with the help of my incredible support network - to rid myself of my demons completely.
(The start to my summer 2017, a year of turning 23 and enjoying LDN)
There are so many great people out there who are incredible representatives for body positivity who I aspire to on a daily daily basis, but I decided to tell my story to let people know that in the word’s of Jessie J - “it’s ok not to be okay”. If I can even reach it out to one person who is suffering and help them admit that then it was all worth it.
If you have been affected by anything featured in this post then please contact B.Eat (https://www.b-eat.co.uk/) or speak to your GP.