Food: My Enemy and My Best Friend

17.4.17


I have no self control. Well, that's a lie. Over the past few years, I have gained a lot of self control. From jumping from eating disorder to eating disorder and developing OCD, I've taught myself to be very controlled and learnt how to fight off a lot of different impulses. However, there are often some situations where I just completely lose it; my brain is overridden by intense emotion or urges, and all of that control that I've learnt goes out the window.


My days, just simply day-to-day, are very similar - I am very much a creature of habit. I like to wake up at the same time, do things in a similar sort of order and make a to do list for the day, everyday. I like to get stuff done from the moment I wake up and I like to have done something, even just the tiniest bit, productive with my day. And, so, you might be thinking, 'Why do you have no self control then?' and my answer to that is, quite simply put, food.

Food has controlled my life for years - probably the past 6/7 years. And, notice that here I said that food has 'controlled me' and I have not 'controlled it'. As much as I would like to think that I've been in control, I've definitely not been.


If you know a lot about me then you'll know that I've dealt with both Bulimia and Anorexia, and also developed incredibly bad Body Dysmorphia. This all stems from a bad relationship with food. Food has always been my comfort blanket. It's been a constant in my life. It could never leave me, it could never hurt me, it could never bully me or call me names... well, at least I never thought it could.


From the age of about 11, I was a total binge eater. I'd come home from school and I'd binge, literally everyday. And, when I say the word 'binge', I don't want you to misconstrue that as simply eating a packet of crisps, because, no, I would eat 7 packets of crisps, 5 chocolate bars, a slice of cake, a packet of biscuits, Nutella from the jar, super noodles, share bags of sweets, and basically anything I could find, all in one sitting.

I was never satisfied. I never felt full. I never wanted to stop eating. I just felt this loss of control. I just couldn't stop myself from wanting to eat more and more and more. It was like an addiction. I was addicted to the way eating made me feel.

Food gave me a sense of comfort, it softened any little bit of sadness I was feeling, because, despite not really knowing it at the time, I was actually very very sad. And, in fact, I well and truly hated myself, even at the age of 11. I hated how I looked, who I was, who I was associated with, and I'll be honest, I knew that everyone around me didn't really like me either.




I knew I was a fat girl, but I was hoping these 'friends' I had didn't really judge me off of that. I constantly felt the need to act 'cool' or do what everyone else was doing (it actually turned me into a really nasty person when I was about 11) and I just desperately hoped that people actually did like me.

You see, I remember once, a girl that I was supposedly 'friends' with, told me that another girl I was 'friends' with, had been saying that 'I shouldn't be friends with them because I was fat' and that 'the only reason that I was in their 'friendship group' was because I was a pushover and the other girls could get things out of me'. That moment really stuck with me because, as sad as it is, at that time, I was trying my god damn hardest to fit in. I was trying soooo hard to hang out with these girls, do what these girls did and I just so desperately wanted to be liked.


After hearing that from my 'friend', I gave up on this idea of being 'liked' by popular people. I found new friends, great friends, that are still my friends today. The only problem was, that being 'liked', didn't fix my relationship with food, it actually encouraged it. I didn't feel judged by the people I was with and so, despite still completely hating myself, I continued to binge eat and binge eat and binge eat because I knew that I had people that liked me, even if I was 'fat'.



This all changed when I developed Bulimia and Anorexia. I won't go into that again (I'm sure you've heard it all before... if not, have a read of these blog posts: 1 Year On, Body Dysmorphia, How I Dealt with OCD). I basically learnt to control any kind of urge I had around food. I controlled the food I ate, the times I ate, the calories I was eating - I controlled it all. I wanted to feel 'beautiful' and despite knowing that other's liked me even though I was 'fat', I knew that I didn't like myself, and I finally wanted to.

Food was no longer my friend, it was my enemy. It made me feel guilty, it made me feel repulsed and it often made me feel sadder than I have ever felt in my life. The voices in my head went from telling me to eat because I was sad, to telling me to not eat because I was sad. Everything began to go in reverse.

Food went from being my comfort blanket, to being something that only made me more uncomfortable. I avoided food; I no longer consumed even one person's daily amount of calories, never mind the 9 people's worth I was consuming a few years ago. Food went from making me feel happy to scaring me. The idea of eating anything other than what I had planned for the day, freaked me out. I avoided social situations, deleted any form of social media and I just basically wanted to vanish.



Now, I feel bad for using the word 'enemy' in the title of this blog post, because actually, I've learnt that food is not my enemy, food is amazing. But, I've also learnt not to abuse it as a comfort blanket. I've learnt to enjoy what I eat, I've learnt to consume enough food to give me the energy to live and I've learnt to eat what makes you happy.

I've realised that I can't compare what I eat to what other people eat (which I often do, despite knowing I shouldn't), because everybody is different. I need to ignore people who say 'I've not eaten all day' or start discussing calories or portion size, because that doesn't do me any good.

I'm still triggered by the smallest things. I still notice food controlling the way that I feel and I know that food is always going to seem to have some kind of hold over me.


I guess what I'm getting at is, even now, after being wayyyy into my recovery, I can truly say that my relationship with food is still not perfect and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fix it to a full extent.

When I'm at home, I can control myself. Everything is familiar, and routined, because, like I said, my day-to-day life is very similar no matter what day of the week. But, there are those times that I've now started to deal with (because I'm no longer hiding away all of the time because of anxiety and illnesses) where I'm out of the house or away from home (or do you know what? even at home sometimes), that that loss of control, I used to feel when binging, comes flooding back. I get urges to just eat everything. I crave foods I never usually crave (or at least haven't craved over the past few years whilst being ill) and it's like I lose all rationality.


It's hard to have those feelings come flooding back, especially after suppressing them over the course of dealing with Anorexia. I've been in situations recently which have made me feel guilty or where I've used food to suppress my feelings and it feels odd to be doing or feeling that again.

99% of the time, I feel calm and in control of the way I act or feel around food, but that's not to mean that those feelings that I've just discussed, those impulses I've talked about, aren't still there.


"Someday this pain will be useful"

Food is constantly on my mind, I'm constantly looking forward to eating, I'm not the kind of person who can skip breakfast or function without food anymore. I need to eat. But, sometimes, if i take it too far, I'm left with that guilt, that self hatred, which tells me that food is the enemy or that I'm the 'fat' girl again.

It's difficult to understand what a normal relationship with food is like anymore. Once you've been in that mindset of being 'obsessed' or 'repulsed' by food, it's very hard to go back.



10 comments

  1. Firstly, you are so very brave for writing this and I just know that it will have helped so many people, so well done for battling through how difficult it must have been to click 'publish'
    More importantly, to go through a process of recovery after what you have been through is incredible. I don't think that recovery ever means that those thiughts will be TOTALLY gone and that you won't ever even think about it, but that you've beaten the demons so to speak.. at least to the point where it doesn't control your life and happiness anymore.
    I know that nothing I say will make it better and I'm so sorry you had such a terrible day yesterday, but you are doing SO well, and just look at how many people see strength and beauty in you ( even when you don't see it yourself)
    You are an inspiration to many, and being honest about the bumps along the road to recovery is super brave, I hope that by writing this post you felt a little better? You're only human gal, don't be so hard on yourself
    Xxxx

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    1. Thank you so so much Ally. This comment has meant the world to me. Recovery is and has been such an up and down process, and it is just sooo very difficult when you're at a 'down' point. I actually wrote this before the weekend, but I think that this was published at a very apt time for me because the lovely comments and messages i've gotten have really helped me.

      Thanks so much again, sending huge hugs your way xxxx

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  2. 1. I adore these shots of you Hol, so raw and ethereal, the sharpness but softness of the portraits too, are beautiful. 2. Although I haven't been through what you have, it's so eye-opening to read this, you seem to be such a strong lady, with only the best ahead of her, I cannot wait to meet you & I know that this post shall come as comfort or realisation to someone who needs to read it. Much love to you girly, all your personal, honest posts are such a highlight of my day to read. Stay strong, I'm only a message away. Xxxx

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    1. Thanks so so much Kat, I cannot wait to meet you either (I'll be giving you a huge hug when I do!). I do hope this helps others - I know that other posts like this have helped me in the past.

      Lots of love to you beautiful lady - same applies to you! xxxx

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  3. Wow holly, this post was hard to read so I can't begin to imagine how hard it was to write. My heart breaks as to me and I'm sure SO many others,, you're so insanely beautiful and oh so so lovely that it's so sad for me, a great follower and believer of your blog and channels to hear that you're going through and have gone through this.
    Thank you for sharing girlie, but please don't be so hard on yourself. Whilst I haven't gone through any of this, I sometimes feel gross for eating so much and then gross for not eating enough... I'm not even sure if that helps. But basically I wanted to comment as I love everything you do and feel moved by your words. Sending you lots of love as always xoxox

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    1. Megan, you have no idea how much this comment has meant to me. It definitely does help to hear that even people who aren't necessarily going through the same thing, can often feel a similar way - it makes me feel a little more 'normal', I guess.

      It is tough to not beat myself up about things like this - especially since things have been going so well for so long, and the fact that *really*, I should probably be feeling on top of the world at the moment, because everything outside of my mental health is great. But, I think I probably just need to give myself a bit of break and, like you say, not be so hard on myself.

      Thank you so so much for your lovely words and even just taking the time to comment (I know you are a very busy lady and it has honestly made my day!). Sending lots of love back to you too xxxx

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  4. Love you... you're so so much stronger than this. You deserve the absolute world <3

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    1. Thank you so much Ashleigh, love you too <3

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  5. This is such an incredible post Holly! So raw, so honest and so powerful. You're such a strong and beautiful young woman, I hope you're very proud of how far you've come and all that you have achieved.

    Lots of love,
    Beth x

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    1. Thank you so much Beth, that really means a lot <3 xxx

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