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Take 5 sugars in your coffee!

IMG-8302I used to give myself ‘eating rules’ – ‘Only fruit for lunch!’  ‘One sweet thing per day!’  ‘…and not before 4 o’clock!’  Both bulimia and anorexia played their parts.

I saw a doctor, an unforgettable experience.  “How much are you eating? How often are you eating? Do you take sugar in your coffee?”

“No,” I said

“Well you must start. Take 2, 3, 4, 5 spoons!”

How many do you think I took?!

A few years later, I’d had enough – what and when I ate, ruled my life.  I’d created huge barriers around me.  It was suffocating.

I signed up for group counselling – ready to treat the cause, not the symptom.

It was the best thing I could possibly have done.  Not only could I express my thoughts and feelings but as a group, we gained strength from each other.  I discovered that my eating habits were all to do with control.  One of my biggest take-aways was simply, ‘eat when you’re hungry’.  It was a complete revelation.  I learned to check in with myself, “are you hungry? Yes. Great, eat!’

Years on I consider myself to have a healthy relationship with food.

I know I got off lightly, many people suffer for years, living often in fear and shame.  It’s a secretive illness.

If you notice someone is struggling with food, unusual habits, eating too little or too much, remember:

  • It’s not about the food, it’s about feelings
  • It’s not about will-power, it’s an illness
  • It’s not about ignoring, it’s about letting the person know that you’re concerned and that you are there for them if they need to talk
  • It’s not about impatience, it’s about empathy
  • It’s not about your journey, it’s about theirs
  • It’s not about fixing, it’s about caring
    Oh and that doctor?  I met him in 1990, fortunately things have moved on since then.

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