It’s been so long since I did one of these. When I’m struggling with my intake, trying new things and developing any sense of what’s tasty or not goes out the window as I rely on what seems the most “safe” to me. As I continue with this recovery business, during each lapse there are additional “safe” foods and my “safe” level of intake creeps upwards. Recovery from anorexia is weird – as your body gets more and more used to food, it puts up more and more of a fight when you cut back. I get so angry and irritable if I go longer than 3 hours without food, if I drop my calories at all my body goes “NOOO” and I get lethargic and weak all over again. I think it’s a pretty useful mechanism really though as now I lose weight on much higher amounts of calories, but it is annoying. I mean, most people can skip a meal or eat light one day without their body screaming at them and forcing them to have a rest. Still, as I’m increasing again, the night sweats are back to bite me in the arse for letting my calories get so low and I’m boiling hot all the time all over again, yet still no sign of weight gain, so I know I’m only going to need to increase more causing even more metabolic surges. Ergh. The psychiatrist is going to be pissed tomorrow…. When I last saw her I was retaining water something rotten due to illness and since then have maintained, so actually weigh less now. Not looking forward to that. Moral of the story – dropping your calories only leads to future problems, however much it feels right in the moment.
Anyway, on to eats. Considering how long its been, there’s been quite a few new eats. I had a draft list saved from a few weeks ago and to be honest, it was quite a while ago now so I won’t mention all of them but there are definitely three worth the shout out. Firstly, Sainsbury’s do a chunky peanut butter with dark chocolate chips in. I think I’ve only managed to try it twice, but each time it was really good. completely satisfying eat and its own brand so not even expensive. Salty and sweet and lovely on muffins. Heartily recommended. And on the same note, after the peanut butter Twix fiasco I finally bought a replacement and it was all a girl could dream. It’s not got the same biscuit-y base as normal a normal Twix has, but instead is like Oreo cookie stuff (it’s imported from the US) and the caramel bit is obviously so peanut-y. Om nom nom. Cyber Candy wins again! I got a peanut butter snickers there the other day so I’ll report back once I manage to eat it, though I have on good authority that Twinkies are rubbish (it made the boy nauseous). I love Cyber Candy so much. I’m going to get those s’mores pop tarts when I finally pluck up the courage as well. And maybe some Reese’s cereal. What good is recovery if you don’t get to eat all the ridiculous foods no one lets themselves have? I’m great at choosing not to buy food, so buying expensive food is really not something I find easy, but having food to get excited about makes the whole process a little bit more fun.
Lastly on my list of old eats is one from Westfield. Now I really hate Westfield – it’s just so hot and horrible in there, but it does have the nearest frozen yogurt place to my house so it has one plus point. I got a Yoo-Moo from this weird little kiosk thing and it was especially lovely. It was serve yourself so I went completely over board. I had natural and strawberry yogurt with granola and blueberries and almonds and dried fruit as toppings. You pay for how much it weights, but lucky for me the mama was buying so I got to go a little mental with it. It was the nicest thing. I seriously love frozen yogurt and wish I could whip my own at home but alas, Westfield will have to do. I might go again this week. Maybe tomorrow. Who knows? It was especially scary due to lack of calorie info though, so I’m pretty ashamed at myself for restricting like a mad person all day to make sure I didn’t go over my self-imposed limit. Got to keep reminding myself – there is no limit! Especially during recovery!
Now this is another recap bit because I think it’s worth noting that I did manage to keep up my Costa aims this whole time. I have gone to Costa once a week and tried something new and sometimes, it’s been worth it, whilst other times, it’s been a little… lack lustre. Other times I played it so shamefully safe I could kick myself. Basically, I’ve managed to get through my one and only mince pie, a lot of gingerbread lattes, a chocolate and cherry slice, a Trevor tree, some black americanos loaded with sweeteners (not a good habit I completely know, but some times I really don’t feel brave) and a chocolate tiffin corner. Lots and lots of Costa basically. I’m completely nonplussed with their gingerbread I’ve decided so Trevor tree was a bit of a bust for me, but the chocolate and cherry slice was really great. Definitely the best of the festive treats they had in special. It was kinda like a pudding, all dense and rich. Very lovely. Also I was entirely surprised by the epic goodness in the chocolate tiffin. It’s a refrigerator cake I think with lots of biscuits and raisins and chocolate and it’s all crunchy and sweet and creamy chocolate-y and it is very very very good. Like seriously so.
Anyways, in more recent times there have been a few good eats on the cards. It’s not really up to my standard interesting foods as I’m still very much sticking to the safest options but I am trying a little more, pushing myself here and there. I do realise that this is still not enough, but I’m getting there. I’ve been instructed to go back to my old meal plan for a while and not focus on exchanges as much till I’m comfortably hitting the right amounts again. It’s a bit sad, but a hell of alot less stressful. I like being told exactly what to eat as it takes the pressure off my to decide when the anorexia is really putting up a fight in my head. At least this way I can see the eating disorder decisions for what they really are, rather than assuming that my choices are rational. Basically, if it’s different from the meal plan, it’s an eating disorder choice. Simple. I’m back to ice-cream desserts now though instead of fat-free yogurt (and on many occasions, no dessert at all), and now I’m even trying to have full fat yogurt again too. Full fat yogurt is infinitely better than fat-free, but once I start having fat-free again, the thought of full fat makes me so distressed. I actually had a panic attack over full fat yogurt the other day. How ridiculous is that? I generally don’t have many full-blown food freak outs over particular foods, just over my overall intake (maybe it’s because I avoid the food that causes freak outs though. I duno). Mostly it’s just a lot of anxiety followed by crippling guilt, but no – now full fat yogurt is a panic item. I’m trying to have one every day to get over this. Hopefully it’ll get easier again soon. After all, who would want fat-free yogurt? It’s properly not even good. Seriously.
Next up is vegetable crisps! In an effort to widen my variety a little, I’m trying to have some sandwich, salad and crisps lunches as well as my usual soup and bread lunches. Although I briefly flirted with the potato, this latest lapse has put it firmly back in to the no go zone for me (another thing to work on. Gosh, so many things), and as crisps are so scary in and of themselves anyway, regardless of the fact that they’re potato, on the hunt for reliable alternatives, I found Glennan’s vegetable crisps. I’ve always loved vegetable crisps, especially beetroot, but generally they come in these huge bags and serving my own portion is sometimes a little difficult for me so I tend to try to avoid share bags of crisps. However, Glennan’s have a multi-pack you can buy in Waitrose with individual packs of parsnip crisps, beetroot crisps and mixed veggies crisps. I’m so glad these exist. It makes crisps a load easier than they would be otherwise. Plus beetroot crisps are so yum it also defies belief. Gotta love vegetable crisps.
Another vegetable addition that I only just found, which is surprising for me seeing as stir fry is my most safe of all the dinners (excluding salad but I don’t think that counts as it was only safe when it had no carb elements, just leaves and beans really and I don’t think that counts as a real dinner). Basically the Tesco finest oriental stir fry pack is boom. It has no bean sprouts (I think they are the blandest things and so this is great for me), pak choi, baby sweetcorn, courgette, sugar snap peas, broccoli, lemon grass and grated carrot in it and is a really good time-saving cheat and is also actually just as nice as the stir fry veggies I usually use. Generally I have spinach, mushrooms and peppers, with the occasional addition of squash but this maybe even had the edge. Plus it’s useful as I don’t use pak choi that often outside of stir fries and always end up wasting loads if I get it, but it’s nice to mix it up from spinach (which I have almost every day). Also, I never have baby sweetcorn in anything ever, so I feel like I’m getting a little more variety and thus a few different combinations of vits and mins which is always a plus. You have to use it the day you buy it though because obviously pre-prepared veggies get a bit lacking after a day or two. I really really love vegetables though so this was definitely a nice addition to my usuals. Plus the lemon grass makes it even better – anything that reduces chopping time is a bonus in my book. I bought it like five times in the past three weeks I think. It’s kinda sad though as all that means is I’m having way too many tofu, noodle and veg stir fries and seeing as I like to make my own sauces, it’s not exactly a challenging meal for me.
It feels like all this report has a bit of sadness in it as nothing is really going to plan right now. However, there is some good too! In an effort to try to up my calories in the past few days, I have been jumping back on the porridge train. When things start going downhill, the second food based warning sign (after switching to fat-free yogurt) is using porridge sachets instead of my usual steel-cut oats. The reason for this – there’s a measly 5 fewer calories in the sachets than in my oats servings and that you can get flavored sachets so don’t have to add anything to make them interesting. In an effort to get back on track, I’m back to my proper oats again and have been drawing serious inspiration from various bloggers. Seriously – what is it about bloggers and porridge? Food bloggers, health bloggers, recovery bloggers. Everyone loves porridge. For all you not bloggers that read this, I seriously recommend you have a look at some of porridge ideas that float around in the blog world. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve had some of these epic combos. Anyway, one blogger inspired me to go for chocolate porridge a few nights ago (porridge is my go to evening snack, whether I’m struggling and it’s sachets or I’m doing ok and their loaded to the brim with 800kcals of toppings) and it was really excellent. I used Whittard’s Dreamtime hot chocolate (they had 3 for 2 on hot chocolate there last month and I ended up with loads that I’m still to scared to drink. I think I’ve had one mug since I got them. At least I’ve found a good way to use them) which is a malted hot chocolate so is a bit like a particularly fantastic version of chocolate Horlicks. I used a whole serving of it (ridiculous I know), made it with soy milk (recently my porridge has actually been gruel, so this is a vast improvement even though really I know it should be real milk, preferably full fat) with half a masked banana in it, half sliced on top and a big tablespoon of peanut butter. Super fantastic. Seriously. I also had a blackberry and almond porridge where I cooked the blackberries in it (this makes it go a really pale pink – much more appetising than the dirty colour you get from blueberries) with almond butter as well, then topped it with lots of flaked almond and honey. Om nom nom. Also, last night I had porridge topped with fresh figs, honey, almonds, almond butter and yogurt (I’m ashamed to say this was fat-free, but sometimes you can’t have it all). This was totally boom. Basically, porridge is my breddrin. Plus it’s one of the most successful ways of upping my calories I know as I can add as much or as little as I feel able to, pushing myself a little bit more each day. Porridge is the bomb and a total life saver.
I still have major problems not making everything way spicy due to what I’m sure are dietary myths. Cinnamon, black pepper, chilli flakes etc. go on everything in excessive amounts. Not so good. And I starting to drink maybe a little too many black coffees with sweeteners in general again. These habits need to be challeneged, but I do love black pepper and really like spicy food and black coffee is just really good in everyway. Alas. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to do :(.
Still, although there is slow improvement, I’ve got a lot to get back again still. I need variety again. In early recovery I would routinely exchange the toasted portion of my breakfast, but right now I have a Warburton’s toasting muffin everyday, mainly because it’s the lowest calorie option I’ve found which I can blag as being on the meal plan. They are good and everything, but so are teacakes and crumpets and toast and I’m kinda getting sick of them. I always have blueberries with breakfast as well now, never banana or peach or anything. I am shaking up my cereals a little now though (the only one I’ve been having the past few weeks is Dorest Berries and Cherries muesli – again because of calories), and trying to add different spreads again (no more Nutella. Again it’s another blag. If I have nut butters, I don’t have to have 2 spreads, but Nutella is lower calorie than my other nut and chocolate spreads) and this is causing major stress. Gotta work through it though – that whole “sit with the anxiety” thing. It’s rubbish but sometimes it’s how it goes.
Maybe one day soon I’ll even have a cake. You never know.
Gosh this is long. I’ll try to keep these a little more regular so this doesn’t happen again.