i like extremes.

So being the stupid clichéd eating disordered, obsessional, perfectionist that I am (I’m such a stereotype I know), I’m really pissed. I got one mark – one measly mark – off of a distinction in my essay. And now obviously I feel like an absolute failure. But for NO REASON. It’s not even part of my assessment and doesn’t count towards my grade at all – it’s purely for feedback purposes and it told me exactly how to make it a distinction. Plus it’s only one mark so it wouldn’t matter if it was assessed. But it’s not good enough. I hate myself for thinking it’s not good enough because it should be, but I know it my heart of hearts it’s not. If it’s not distinctions I’m not doing well enough. I got one and a half marks of a first in my undergraduate degree, I don’t want to make that mistake again. So annoyed. At least uni is over for the term now. I still have a lot of work to do though for my dissertation (if I even stay at uni…) so no relaxing for me over Christmas. And obviously I have to be putting more effort in. Still, at least I’m not failing as much as I thought I was even though it still feels like failure to me. I didn’t go to the end of term course drinks (obviously) but I did finally speak to someone on my course today without having a panic attack! Shame it’s probably the last time I’ll see her but she was really nice actually. I gave her a cigarette and we talked about the film from the lecture (world premier guys! Someone who used to be at my uni made a documentary called My Grandmother about the contradictions of development projects in the Israel/Palestine conflict – interesting stuff. Also very depressing) and she was really happy and chatty so I didn’t have to do much. I don’t even know her name though and she’s in my seminar… I’m not really a social butterfly.

Anyway, today I am going to moan and I don’t care. I know that I have to get healthy and gain weight and that’ll make everything that’s hard at least a little bit better with time but I don’t have to like it. I’ll do it, but I have the right to hate it. I hate gaining weight and I hate eating this much food and I hate my body and I don’t want to do this anymore. I will do this but I hate it. I see absolutely tiny people wherever I go and I’m jealous. They get to be small still and I don’t. As I queue up for my coffee and cereal bar, I hear people talking about the fat content in flapjacks and how there’s just so much you shouldn’t even share one as that’d be too much. It’s a flapjack – it’s hardly bad for you. Needless to say I now feel like cereal bars and flapjacks are too greedy and unhealthy for me. And it’s nearly Christmas and I don’t feel festive. I don’t want alcohol calories and extravagant food calories and it makes me dread Christmas. Plus it’s the brother’s birthday night out this weekend and most of the people going last saw me twenty-two pounds ago and will think I’m fat or at least judge the fact that I’ve gained weight. Gaining weight is not really socially acceptable and people will judge me. And it’s hard. It’s hard to eat this much even if it’s not even that much as it goes against every fiber of my being. It makes me feel like a bad person. I talk about all these foods I’m eating like peanut butter and chocolate and potatoes and ice-cream and you know what? They make me feel bad. I know I shouldn’t have these opinions because they are meaningless but I feel like they are ‘unhealthy’, ‘junk’ foods and I judge myself for eating them because obviously they are just categorically bad. Except they’re not. They are just food and right now they are particularly good for me because I need extra fats and carbs and energy. That doesn’t matter though because illogically, it makes me feel like rubbish. Like a bad person doing unhealthy, unjustifiable things. Right now I’m eating so much food just to maintain my weight. I desperately don’t want to add more. You need an excess of 500kcals (ish) a day to gain a clinically significant amount of weight in a week (0.5kg) and I’m already eating above what’s recommended for women of my age and activity level who are a normal weight. I don’t want to eat more even though I know I have to. I try to kid myself that maybe this is my “set point” as I’m maintaining on weight gain amounts of food, but it’s still underweight and I still don’t have periods so it’s just a lie really. I don’t want to have to choose the full fat products in the supermarket. I want to choose things that I feel safest with. I know exactly what yogurt has the lowest calories and every week I have to deliberately chose ones with higher fat and thus calories. It takes so much energy to not weight out my blackberries to make sure I don’t over do it. I mean – its bloody blackberries girl! I could eat all the blackberries in my house and over shoot my calorie target by what, 50kcals? Does that even matter? Of course not, but it still pains me to just guesstimate amounts using handfuls as a guide. And don’t even get me started on spreads. I do these things everyday and I desperately don’t want to do them. My days are full of things I hate, weights that make me feel worthless, things that make me anxious and scared and upset, but I do them anyway. In fact, I actively pursue them even though they make me feel awful because I hope that in the future there’ll be a payoff for all this rubbish now. It takes all my energy and effort and I hate it. But then again, no one said I had to like it, just that I have to do it.

And that’s the crux of the whole thing there. I have to do it. I have to do all these absolutely rubbish things in the hope that in the future, none of it will bother me anymore. It’s not only gaining weight, it’s also behaviours like calorie counting, excessively weighing food and myself, restricting myself to only “healthy” foods etc. None of these behaviours and worries should be normal to anyone (although they are to an alarming amount of the population) and for me, they have proven themselves dangerous. I have to cut myself off from all my “healthy living”, “diet”, “daily exercise” and “low-fat” experiences entirely as this road leads to no good, but in a world where these dangerous actions are seen as self-improving, I can’t help but find myself feeling lazy, greedy and somehow immoral. I know that  health and nutrition guidelines are essentially all rubbish, but I took them to heart years ago and to me they just feel right. Even though they’re hyped up nonsense. Weight loss, diets, low-fat, high fibre, exercise, at least 5 daily fruit and veg, low carb, low sugar, unprocessed, less meat, less dairy, more whole grains, unrefined foods, low sodium etc. All of this is nonsense really. Fibre is only good to a certain amount, half an hour walking a day is actually enough exercise, fruit and veg is great as long as that’s not all you eat, fat is crucial for functioning brains and reproduction and we need both saturated and unsaturated fat to be healthy, carbs and sugars are great energy boosters, sodium is really important for health, meat is so high protein and full of vits & mins, dairy is great for your bones, whole grains are good, but so are processed foods too. It’s all about moderation. Everything in moderation. Except I like to take things to extremes.

You know what though? The extremes are rubbish.



Filed under general, recovery, university

8 responses to “i like extremes.

  1. For a start, sorry about the one mark off the distinction. That would piss me off too! We need perfectionists anonymous :P

    Anyway. I wonder if I could possibly convince you that it’s worth reframing your thoughts a little. It’s not gaining weight which sucks so much, and it’s not recovery’s fault that you feel so crappy. It’s the stupid evil anorexia. If you were a person without anorexia who lost weight due to a physical illness and had to gain it back you wouldn’t care, and I know because I have friends who have been in that situation. The anorexia makes you believe all this BS about weight gain, when in reality recovery is saving your life and the anorexia is trying to kill you. It’s a subtle and difficult difference in thinking, but it really helped me to keep forcing that idea into my head!

    The extremes are rubbish. Some people just seem to be wired to seek extremes – I’m one of them too. Even now I’ll do silly things like force myself to “beat” everyone else getting off the metro at my stop to the top of the road. It’s absolutely ridiculous and I know it, but I am Lady Katie of ObsessiveCompulsiveville, so there you go. The best I can manage is to laugh at myself and try to externalise my OCD tendencies the same way I do my eating disordered ones. It’s not me, it’s IT, and IT wants to hurt me. I’m not going to allow that to happen.

    I’m writing this in a bit of a rush having drunk half a bottle of mulled wine, so apologies if it’s incoherent/ridiculous/annoying!

    • I know I should reframe my thoughts, but it’s hard. I fully know that it is the anorexia that makes all of this so rubbish, and I don’t blame recovery. It’s still rubbish though. I know it will be positive and it is actually good and stuff, but yet regardless of why, it’s still not fun. But hey – at least it’s motivation to not relapse. I never ever want to do this again. It keeps me going in recovery a lot. I think I want to be smaller, but then I think “Why? – I’d just be drawing out this whole rubbish process and have to spend even longer being uncomfortable.” It is something to think about though and I actually will.
      Gah! Brains! Sometimes they need so much effort.

  2. arabelladesiderium

    Have you ever heard of Nia Shanks? She’s a personal trainer who did a blog post about her experience with disordered eating:


    I know it’s not the same as what you’re going through, but it is an uplifting story. And now look at her! She’s gorgeous and throws around appreciable amounts of weight (deadlifting 300 pounds is no joke).

    It’s hard for you now, but eventually you’ll be looking back glad that you pushed through it :)

  3. This post makes so much sense to me. The apparent contradiction between what we are doing (well, I’m attempting to do) in actively trying to gain weight when everyone around me seems to be doing the complete opposite. The worry about seeing people who only know me at a certain (low) weight is something which worries me too.

    But most importantly, I should say congratulations. Congratulations for doing so well on your assignment, I know you’re disappointed, but you really shouldn’t be. How worried have you been about failing? Worried that the essays you’re writing aren’t even going to pass, that they don’t make any sense? Well, if nothing else, it’s proved you wrong. It’s proved that you are a brilliant academic, and your standard of writing is as close as can be to distinction. Ok so for you that’s close but not close enough, but think rationally about it – I don’t know many people who can succeed like you have at that level, and considering what you’re going through right now that’s a bloody big achievement.

    Well done, and that first comment about re-framing thoughts really makes sense, I’ve never thought about it like that before but it’s true.

    Keep fighting miss x

    • I’m always this way about essays. I beat myself up about them, cry a lot, have panic attacks, convince myself I’ve failed and don’t belong at uni for about two weeks before the deadline, being actually unable to work due to freaking out so much. Then I bang an essay out in two days and it does quite well. If I actually managed to do an assignment without freaking out, I’d probably do quite well. But each time there’s an essay, it happens again. Only two people got distinctions so it’s not like I’m way behind everyone, but still. I know I can do better and that is enough to feel rubbish. Thank you though.

      Hope you’re well x.

  4. oh the extremes thing, its a killer isnt it?! i HATE that i can never just settle, enough is never enough (unless its food, weridly, when apparently less is more… why is this so warped?! funny really)
    ANYWAY. i think the extremes thing is another perfectionistic trait, we cant be happy with what we have so we need to better it, be it with one measly grade point (girl, GIVE yourself that distinction… i know you may not officially have it, but with one mark in it, its yours really – you deserve it) or be it with overexercise. 30mins walking IS enough to be healthy, so why do we feel that we should be doing so much more? because we live in a society where taking things to extremes is normal… why are we so wrapped up in “do’s and don’ts”. cos youre right, it IS nonsense!! but somehow i still buy into it… and i hate that too. but somehow, moderation seems so “vanilla” :-p
    Thanks for your post too… Gah, the walking thing is still 100% hard as balls. I have succesfully cut down on most days, but then im out of my comfort zone and the only way i know how to cope is to walk away the anxiety. its a pain in the ass (or the foot… im feeling the effects and its scary :-s) When im at home and its cold or rainy im ok. but yesterday i was in london and i just had so much empty time to fill that i walked to fill it, even tho it was raining… once i get it into my head that i WILL walk, its hard to talk myself out of it. (i did pause to do some shopping tho, new hoody in h&m. woopwoop!) but today im back home and on track to ONLY do a 30min-er… If i could get my cals upp to compensate then it wouldnt be so bad, but i just cant seem to do both together without freaking out…
    how is your new MP working out? are you on exchanges fully now? i need to try and make a copy of your old MP cos i looked at it a while back and was trying to follow it, but now its changed on your MP page….
    anyways hun, this is an essay so ill stop! email me if you want :-)

    • I’m trying to be more on exchanges. Sometimes I’m not but it’s only when I think “I want porridge and that’s two carbs, but I only have room for one. What do I do? Sod it I’m having porridge”. I still weigh the things which I was given weight value (especially carbs) but I officially do not weight spread! Or berries! Yuss! And I use way more fat in my cooking now too! And protein actually. Still eat way too much fruit, veg and dairy but I think eating more isn’t that much of a problem :). Still counting calories though as I have a bad tendancy to under eat during the day and have to make up for loads in my evening snack :S.
      My old mp is still up there isn’t it? It’s pretty generic and personally, I’d of preffered to feel “allowed” a bigger breakfast. Now I do though so it’s all good!
      Walking is rubbish. It’s not even because it’s that bad for you physically (as long as your eating enough) but because I just feel like I absolutely have to no matter what. I hate hate hate it. Compulsive in every way. Glad your having some success with it though, even if it’s not full success yet!

      I will mail you actually, but for now – to Westfield! Can you believe I haven’t been yet? I live like 20 minute walk away and I haven’t been. I’m actually kinda terrified, but the prospect of frozen yogurt is too much of a draw lolz x.

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