16 March 2016

One Thought at a Time...

I often wonder what goes through the mind of somebody that doesn’t have an eating disorder. What do they think about? Do they ever worry? Is there anything that dominates their thoughts so much that they cannot concentrate on any task in their everyday life? As with every aspect of my eating disorder that I am trying to challenge, the thoughts that circulate my mind on a daily basis can be the decider on the general outcome of my day- good or bad. Since the beginning of my difficulties, I can say that thoughts about my body shape, food choices and self belief governed my mind; leaving little room for anything else to think about. For months I was convinced that these feelings were never going to subside and allow me to lead a normal life. However, I am pleased to say that as I continue to rebuild my life, I can now focus on so much more than what my eating disorder is telling me.

Controlling these thoughts doesn’t happen easily; and as with anything, it takes a lot of time. I still have times where I make a decision, and the effects of that one moment can ripple in my mind for the duration of the day. The difference now, is that I have the strength to acknowledge it, but not to let it have an impact. Sometimes this works, and others it doesn’t; but fortunately I have an extremely supportive network around me that know when these thoughts are beginning to consume me, and they rationalise the situation. Every time they help me, I learn from what is said, building my confidence to tackle it independently the next time.

I have had multiple questions about what actually goes on in my mind throughout various points in the day; whether it be decision making, eating food or looking in a mirror. I felt that writing these down in a blog post may not only allow people to gain a small insight into my mind, but also for myself to see just how much more time I could spend thinking about other things if I continue to push myself towards full recovery.

As with all of my posts, I want to express that this is my personal story, and what I experience will probably not be the same for other sufferers. I just want to highlight the complex considerations that channel through my mind on very regular occasions. The content of this next paragraph may also be quite triggering, so I urge those that are in a vulnerable place not to continue reading.

Have you thought about your meal plan? Have you thought about the calorie, fat and sugar content in what else you have to eat throughout the day? Have you eaten healthy enough products throughout the rest of the day for you to qualify to be able to eat that? Have you checked the label; is anything written in red? Do you actually want to eat this? Have you got to eat this? Do you know what effect it may have on your body? Has it got anything of any nutritional value inside it? Does it comply with your other rules? Are you eating out tomorrow? Don’t forget everything else you have to eat! Do you really want to spend money on that? Isn’t it better to just not buy it at all; that way you save money and reduce all of these thoughts? Are there any other options that you can get away with? Why don’t you make out like you really want to try this; when really you just know it doesn’t comply with your meal plan? Has it got the icon to suggest it is low calorie? Just have a quick look at the label again, are the percentages stated low enough? What is everybody else eating? Are you going to the gym tonight? Maybe have a drink, you might be thirsty not hungry? Is it the right time to be eating, or is it before the normal time? I know that looks tempting, but think about the effect it will have on your body. Why would you want to eat that, you know you will just feel guilty afterwards. If you cut it all up then it looks and feels like you are eating more. Just leave that last bit on the plate, no one will notice. Just leave that last bit in the packaging- you don’t need that. Don’t pick that up to bite it, do you realise how greedy you look when you do that? Are you preparing tea tonight or is another member of the family? Maybe if you took longer to eat this, then you won’t need to eat later on? Remember what you ate earlier, is there anyway you can compensate by restricting? I can’t believe you used to enjoy that, what were you thinking? Just walk that little bit further- it will not do you any harm. Why don’t you just go back downstairs and pretend you forgot something, every step matters.

Reflecting on these thoughts has been difficult, and I become frustrated that I still let the majority of these underpin the decisions I make. After writing them down, I can now understand how and why my eating disorder managed to govern my life, as the process of making a decision was just far too exhausting, that I gave up. Prioritising the ease that this reluctance to decision making had on me mentally, was becoming all the more damaging for my physical health. However, at my lowest point, that did not matter at all. The thoughts were consuming me every single day, so wherever I found an opportunity to somewhat relieve them, I would grab hold of it. 

When I think about how many times I make a choice during a single day, I can see why I am so exhausted once my head hits the pillow at nighttime. It is not healthy to be so controlled by all of these thoughts, and I wish that I had such a clear mind that not one of the above made an appearance every time I make a decision. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but as I continue to challenge myself, these deliberations will become quieter and quieter. I often wonder what else I will think about once my eating disorder fades. Hopefully it will leave a vast area of mind open to more positive contemplations.


  1. I was exhausted just reading that paragraph Jess, how on earth you managed to get through the day I can't imagine. As for what else you could think about....try not to think so much and just enjoy the moment.

    1. I still experience it to be honest Shen, I just don't let it have the same impact on decisions. I definitely need to learn how to do that, and I am sure that with time I will be able to!