Obsession is my enemy

It is nine years since I started getting help from health and
social care professionals. My main issue has been disordered
eating. I’ve gained great insight through a range of approaches but
have until now been unable to change my behaviour.

This insight sometimes feels like a curse. It has not diminished
the food obsession, which is a constant. My main thought is when I
last ate, when I can eat next and what it will be. It feels like a
full-time job to watch and control what I eat. People tend to say
that bingeing is poor self-control and you can stop it if you
really want to. With anorexia they think you are selfish and
wasting others’ time just to get attention.

After years of wanting to be thinner and more special, now I’m
positively using advice I have received over the years. I’m doing
this for myself whereas in the past I was either trying to gain
approval from workers or keep them off my back. I’m trying to eat
without counting every calorie or following the latest fad diet.
I’m discovering how not to be afraid of hunger and break the
association with emotional emptiness. In the past the evenings have
been the worst time for bingeing but now I try to mentally shut the
kitchen door and not go back after finishing the day’s food

Each week I see a dietician. The aim of these sessions is to reduce
my binge eating and keep my weight stable. She’s devised a meal
plan for me of three meals and three snacks a day. I keep to it
most of the time – it lessens the guilt of eating because it is as
though it has been prescribed for me in the same way medicine would
be. If I eat above this I know I’ll never be satisfied since the
craving is in my head and not my stomach.

Accepting my size and entitlement to take up space in the world is
difficult and requires further therapy with my community
psychiatric nurse (CPN). She realises the danger in getting food
more in proportion is that something else will emerge, such as self
harm – we are prepared for this though. My CPN is also working
alongside the dietician to help me manage food better. We’ve done a
detailed nutritional questionnaire together which indicated trace
elements I may be deficient in. I now take omega 3 and 6, chromium
supplements and a multivitamin and minerals.

There are activities in my day that I’m trying to channel my
energies into equivalent to the time spent over food. In addition
to my adviser role at a citizens advice bureau I collect and
sometimes complete evidence forms about social policy issues that
are raised by client’s queries. This is important information for
Citizens Advice who campaign for change at a national level.

There have been too many years in my life where I have been too
food- obsessed to appreciate reality. What I eat will always be a
big issue in my life – but with the strategies I’m continually
learning I hope I’ll be able to keep a lid on it.

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