My Day (and Struggles) in Food.

Disclaimer: If you have eating disorder tendencies or find related topics difficult, please do not read this post. 

Also, this post is long, just warning you!

…..

Do you know what I did today?

I actually took a photo of  everything I ate. I know a day late but, as they say, better late than never!

So I can indulge in a post which focuses almost entirely on food, which of course makes me happy, seeing how it’s one of my biggest obsessions.

Speaking of obsessions, I think it’s about to come clean. What I am about to announce is something I have never outright written about in the blogworld. I’ve alluded to it in previous posts and I’ve mentioned it occasionally in comments on other blogs. But I’ve never said it here and I think that because of all the wonderful support and advice you give me, I owe it to you.

Why have I never said it before? Because I don’t want it to be the focus of this blog. This blog is about healthy living, learning, loving, healing, happiness, and of course food. (With a touch of fitness thrown in occasionally!)

I don’t want people to think that this is what defines me.

Anyway, after clearly trying to avoid the subject for the last few lines, here goes:

I have struggled with disordered eating and incredibly poor body image and self-esteem for the last 5 years.

Perhaps it’s not a big surprise, I don’t really know how much people have noticed.

Let me clear a few things up. Firstly I eat pretty normally, I get my guideline intake (sometimes more, sometimes less), I am a ‘healthy weight’, I have a healthy BMI.

I am NOT saying I have an eating disorder. That is a serious illness which is hugely harmful and can potentially ruin your life.

All I am saying is that, like most girls, I struggle with food and my body.

I just struggle a bit more than is average.

This post is going to be my explanation, amidst photos of my eats for today…

One weetabix, soaked in milk, and topped with frozen blueberries and a sprinkling of granola.

…..

As a young teenager I was completely fine. My mother has always fed our family healthy food and to be honest, apart from distinguishing what I liked and didn’t like to eat, I never really gave food any thought. I was a fairly fussy eater as a child but gradually grew out of it. I didn’t have a clue about calories, or the fat or sugar content in food, or about dieting, nor did I care. I ate what I wanted and I was naturally thin.

Photos of me at about age 13 show a fairly skinny girl who looks healthy and pretty happy. I danced a fair amount at that age (and had done since I was 3 years old) and led a reasonably active lifestyle.

Body image problems just didn’t come into the equation.

…..

Lunch: mini pot of red pepper hummus (yum!), celery sticks, Ryvita crispbreads.

…..

The catalyst came with the development of my condition. I started a new dance class, contemporary, which I loved, at around age 13 1/2 and for a few months it was fine, I was just really enjoying it. Then I started feeling a pain in my hips when I danced, to begin with it was just a bit uncomfortable but then it developed into quite a lot of pain.

My mother took me to the doctor, I was referred to the hospital, I had an x-ray, nothing.

I was then sent to a specialist, they couldn’t figure it out but referred me to a physio and for several months I tried all sorts of strengthening and stretching exercises. Nothing seemed to work. I had more tests, MRI, ultrasound, I tried a different physio, I had acupuncture…

Still nothing.

So I had to give up dancing.

…..

This is what I have snacked on constantly today. It’s just been one of those days when I can’t seem to stop snacking but at least it’s semi nutritious and it’s really tasty. I’ve had several bowls like this. x20

…..

Obviously, stopping dance cut out a huge source of my exercise. Combine this with the fact that I was going through puberty and of course, I gained weight.

You have to bear in mind that I was bordering on underweight before, so a gaining about 6 kilos actually put me in the mid to low section of the ‘healthy weight’ for my height. But it was still a shock for me.

All of a sudden I had sizable breasts (no I’m not telling!), I had hips, I had that little bit of fat between my thighs which had never been there, and I had that little bit of fat over my lower abs.

It scared me pretty badly. Over the next few months I was struggling with coming to terms with the pain, I was having all sorts of medical tests, school work was starting to become more serious, and I had a few bad experiences with some kids at school.

All of this together led to my discovering the world of diets, of incredibly low self-esteem, the development of hatred for the loss of my dancer’s body, the absolutely 100% hatred of my new ‘woman’s body’.

So I started restricting.

…..

I went for coffee with one of my lovely English Lit friends. We chatted, we ranted about the world, we talked books, we drank coffee, and we indulged guiltlessly.

…..

It started slowly at first. I just cut down on snacks and treats – the usual. But it didn’t seem to work, so I cut down more. And more.

I reckon I was living on about 1000 calories for a few months age about 14. Scary to think about it now.

I hated my body and frankly, I hated myself.

Maybe it was depression… Maybe it was the beginnings of an eating disorder.

Anyway I did drop some of the weight. I was sort of in between what I’d been pre-condition and my heaviest.

I do think things could have gotten pretty bad.

But then I met this wonderful guy:

I sometimes think I know that if I hadn’t then things would incredibly different now.

Although I had a lot of really fantastic support from my parents, I think that meeting and falling in love with Tom had more of an effect on me.

He loved me for who I was, and I didn’t want to be a ‘broken’ person, I wanted to be the girl he deserved!

From this point, things gradually improved. I stopped restricting, he hated it, he hated the thought of me being unhealthy and unhappy, and frankly I was tired of controlling my food so much and of hating myself.

I started to eat normally again. I focused my energy on school and on Tom. I became a very different person, a much better person.

…..

Dinner tonight was simple but delicious, courgettes pan-fried in garlic and chili flakes and quinoa.

…..

The other thing that has really helped me to view food in a different light? Healthy-living blogs!

All of you guys!

About a year and a half ago I discovered healthy-living blogs, food blogs, fitness blogs… I can’t even remember how I first found them but they really helped my absolute LOVE of food to develop.

This was such a positive thing and what eventually decided me to start my own blog, this blog, Love Live & Learn 🙂

It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I have learnt so so much from blogging, I have made many connections with wonderful, inspiring people, I have developed my writing and photography skills, I have found new foods, I discovered a love for strength training and I have had so much support from all of you.

I can’t thank all of you who comment and email me enough, you are amazing people!

…..

Fage 0% fat Greek yogurt (love that stuff!), frozen strawberries and blueberries and yet more granola!

…..

So why has this come to the forefront now if I’m feeling so much better about food?

The thing is, since coming to university I have put on quite a lot of weight because my condition has gotten so much worse and I struggled so much with physical activity last term.

To be honest, I’m really not that happy with my body. A lot of the fears and the low self-esteem and the negative emotions are resurfacing. It’s a really difficult time for me basically.

As I said in yesterday’s post, I want to use this period of Lent to really look after my body, to care for it. Yes I want to lose weight but I want to do it in a healthy, controlled way and I don’t want to lose kilos and kilos. I just want my old, healthier, toned and slimmer body back.

This post has been really hard to write, it has taken a lot of courage and it was really emotionally draining.

I really hope no one has been upset by this, your support really does mean a lot!

Thank you all for your lovely comments and support, particularly on my last few posts, you’re all fantastic 🙂

Thank you also to my wonderful parents and sister, for all of the support and help they gave me and continue to give. I honestly wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t have their love and their unfailing support. I love you all!

Lastly thank you to my amazing boyfriend, Tom. I love you so much, you have been more help than I could have ever imagined.

Were you surprised by what I talked about here?
Do you struggle with any of these issues (or have you in the past)?
What are your thoughts on all of it?

p.s. I am sorry if some of this isn’t particularly clear, my sleep medication is really starting to kick in but I was determined to finish the post!

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34 comments

  1. Like you said, a lot of us girls have gone through similar habits. I still have days where I feel like I need to restrict because I didn’t get enough activity in, but I fight through that and eat because I know I need to. You’re not alone, and opening up about these things only brings you closer to people who have gone through similar challenges!

  2. Sophie, I’m amazed at your story! You’re such a strong and beautiful girl, both on the inside and outside. 🙂 I’m so happy you have Tom in your life and are continually getting better in your relationship with your body and food. Keep on the fight, you deserve a wonderful life!
    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  3. It’s good to get it off your chest, especially to the blog world who completely understands. I definitely can relate to you and often still want my borderline underweight body back, but then I remember how much I love food and how much I want to have normal thinking and be a normal teenager again. You know, not worrying about the fat or calories and such. You can definitely get passed the disordered thinking though, just keep your head up. And quick question, how long have you and Tom been together!? I request a post about how you guys met and such. I love hearing cute love stories! 🙂

    1. Yes it is! I know, that’s what I love about the blogworld 🙂 I’m so glad you have your love of food to push you past the disordered thoughts! Your cooking is phenomenal!

      We’ll have been together for 4 years next month! I can’t believe how quickly time has passed! Aw well I just may to write one 🙂

  4. I’m so glad that you are being so honest Sophia. I know that it must’ve been tough for you to talk about this, but it’s good that let it off your chest. I, too, had the same problem. I was struggling with my weight two years ago before I met my boyfriend. But after I’ve met my boyfriend, he had showed me love and love me for who I am. So eventually I stopped focusing on food and focus on spending time with him and school and eating better. So the weight just came off.

    I just hope that you will feel better because you are a beautiful person. Just don’t let the issue of weight and food gets to you. I hope things will work out.

    Have a lovely night! 🙂

    1. Thank you Kim 🙂 It wasn’t easy but I’m really glad I did! I’m sorry you struggled with things like this too, it’s a horrible thing to go through, but I am so glad that you have an amazing boyfriend who helped you get better!

      Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m so touched 🙂

  5. I am so glad you shared your story Sophie! I think a lot of people, including me, can reallu relate. I also was a dancer from age 3 to about 14 and I stopped because I got more involved in acting and at school, and I developed my ED around this time as I learned more about nutrition.
    r life,
    ur life, he seems likr such

      1. Thank you so much Ashley 🙂 Wow your story sounds quite a bit like mine although I was lucky enough never to really develop a full-blown ED! I’m glad that you’re doing a bit better now, just stay strong lovely!! Thank you, he is wonderful 🙂

  6. I think that its an unfortunate thing that most women nowdays have some kind of body and food issues that may not be full blown ED’s but are most definitely disordered. I think you’ve been very brave to talk about your story and admit that you want to lose weight to feel at your best, although I’m sure you are perfect just as you are! Your approach to taking care of your body rather than restricting is great 🙂

  7. I was eating a bowl of soup a day at my lowest point during university. I was desperately unhappy. Meeting my boyfriend changed everything around for me, too. Not because, as some people may perceive it, he was controlling but because you (a generic, third person ‘you’) want to be a better person for someone else. Their feelings depend on you now, as well as your own, so the fight to become better than your situation has made you becomes more important.

    Apologies for my awful grammar, but I think it gets my point across in a train-of-thought manner.

    I’ve found, like you, that being sensible and educating yourself about what you put in your body is the best way to look after yourself.

    1. Oh that’s awful I’m so sorry Danielle! I’m so glad you met your boyfriend and that he helped you love yourself more, he sounds like a wonderfully supportive guy 🙂

      I don’t think your grammar was awful, I like train-of-thought style writing! (You should try The Good Soldier if you’ve never read it before, very train-of-thought!)

  8. Bless you for worrying about upsetting anyone reading – I think that says a lot about your caring personality 🙂 I think it’s wonderful that you have lots of support from your family and Tom and clearly you are working towards a healthy relationship with food. I also think it’s fine to want to lose a little weight it’s healthy to do so – it sounds like you have a good attitude towards it.
    I had a period of restricting between the ages of 15-18. I was obese, so I did need to lose weight, but in hindsight I became obsessed and I would say that my eating was probably disordered, although I never saw it at the time. I got over it at university when I was surrounding by friends with a very healthy attitude to food and I wanted to enjoy my experience rather than let food dictate my life.

    1. Thank you so so much for this lovely comment Sarah, you really made my day! 🙂

      Having my family and Tom there has definitely helped me immensely, I’m very lucky.

      That sounds like a really difficult thing to go through, I’m so sorry that you struggled with all of that! I’m glad you found a way out though. I look up to you a lot for your attitude towards exercise and your healthy food!

  9. Sophie – you are such a wonderful, strong girl. Thank you so much for sharing your story- I’m sure it wasn’t the easy.
    I’m pretty sure every girl has struggled with food/body issues in the past – in today’s climate it’s almost hard NOT to when you’re bombarded with media images , propaganda and stereotypes of what “beautiful ” is at every turn. I’m happy you met Tom and were able to find a better balance in your life, before things got too far. Prehalps if I had met a better person at that point in my life then I did – things would have been different for me as well…

    And I think losing weight, as long as it’s not done in an extreme way but “in touch” with your body is all right. Just don’t let it rob the joy out of your life! Find the balance that works for you, and stick to it. And remember you are a wonderful and very loved person, no matter what you feel/think about yourself.

    Thanks for all the supportive commets as well, each one means a lot to me.
    Hugs!

    1. Oh thank you so much! You really made me smile with that compliment 🙂

      I am always saddened by reading about your struggles but I really do think you’re getting so much better! I really admire your dedication 🙂

      I think you’re completely right about the media and stereotypes, it’s such a huge force in our everyday lives and can have a really negative impact.

      Thank you and don’t worry I won’t! You’re a lovely lovely girl 🙂

  10. Sophie, I’m actually so glad you shared this. It makes me want to read your blog that much more because I know that you’re always so honest. Whether you’ve had a good day or bad, I really like sharing the ups and downs with you..because it’s so normal! I’m pretty sure almost everyone has struggled with self image, their body, etc. You’re so not alone!

    I think you have a great plan and a very healthy, mature approach. And as always, we’re all here to follow you along the way!

    Enjoy your weekend! It’s FINALLY warming up here in Paris and I hope it is in the UK too!

    1. Thank you Anna 🙂 I’m glad you appreciate my honesty and it hasn’t put you off! Yes I’m sure you’re right, we all struggle to some extent! Thank you for all of your support, it means a lot to me! 🙂

  11. Sophie, I am so incredibly glad you shared this with the blogging community. I know you have alluded to some disordered eating habits when commenting on other blogs, or mentioning it on your own, but you have never told the whole story. I mean of course it’s your choice whether or not to! I am thrilled you did though, as I now “know” you so much better and this is just wonderful.
    I feel like every.single.girl has struggled with food and their body at some point in their lies… I mean how could you not with our BS society?! You are so strong for tackling this and realizing how much better life is without this incredibly horrific illness. You are beautiful Sophie and never ever forget that ❤

    1. Thank you Tessa, I am so glad you got to read this! I am glad you feel like you know me a bit better, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone and I always feel like we have a lot in common!

      Thank you so much, your comments and support me a lot to me 🙂

  12. I can so relate to this. Although I have never had an ED I most definitely had a distorted body image which damaged my relationship with food very early on. I’ve overcome the worst of it and still have my bad days but I’m definitely getting there. Thank you for sharing your story!

  13. Hi Sophie, I just stumbled across your blog and reading this post really hit home for me. I was a dancer growing up, eventually leaving school and going full-time for 3 years. I experienced a number of injuries with my hips in particular, I was tiny and had very weak bones, so was forced to stop when I turned 16. Since then, I have continued to struggle with food and body image, gaining about 10kg to put me in the lower end of the ‘healthy range’. My development happened VERY quickly and it scared me so much to watch my body change in just a few short months!

    I too want my old body back, everyday seems to be about trying to lose those extra kilos! Nearly 3 years it has been and my weight is still an everyday battle – low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, negative emotions, pretty much everything that you have mentioned. But what I do want to say is that your message gives me hope, that there is a way through this! Thank you so much for sharing, I look forward to reading more 🙂

    1. Hey Clare, I’m so glad that you found my blog!

      It sounds like we have quite a similar story, that’s exactly the sort of weight gain I experienced and it was very scary so I can completely relate!

      I’m sorry that you have to deal with of that, having poor self-esteem and self-confidence are some of the most difficult emotions to deal with. I really hope that you are starting to battle these thoughts and get better, I wish you all the best with it, just stay strong!

      I hope we can get to know each other a bit more, I visited your blog and love it, it’s so cute :-). If you ever just need someone to talk to, feel free to drop me an email!

      1. I’m glad I found your blog too! It gives me such a thrill to find people who share similar experiences 🙂 Reading so many healthy living blogs has helped more than anyone can imagine, so thank you for sharing your story too!

        I also hope we can get to know each other more, I look forward to reading more that’s for sure. And thank you so much for having a look at my blog! It’s small, but hopefully coming along.. it’s nice to know people are having a peak 🙂

        Thanks again!

  14. Sophie! I miss being more connected to you through blogging. I think I’ve always known that we had similar experiences with food, body image, and boyfriend as the lifesaver. It’s wonderful that you’ve come clean and that you are making an effort now to give your body the love and care that it deserves! Hope you’ve had a great weekend and hope you’re well 🙂

    1. Where have you been?! I’ve missed your blog! We do have quite similar experiences, it’s nice to have someone who’s been through it all too and understands 🙂

      Thank you so much lovely, I hope you’re well too! 🙂

      1. Aah I know, I miss it too! I’ve been busy with my research and being a student…boo :(. But I LOVE reading and “catching up” with you on your blog so don’t worry, I haven’t really left! So nice to be in touch again! xox

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