At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Advice Post- sticking to the plan!! :)

Today I thought I would write the first (haha, or maybe not so. It's more than likely that I have written a postof a similar kind some time in the dim and distant past. I've just written so many blogposts at this stage I guess I am beginning to lose track of them :( !! ) of my advice posts dealing with certain aspects or particular challenges of recovery. And so here are my tips, based on my own experience of what has and has not worked for me, of how to follow/get back onto following a meal plan....

  • One of the hardest but most important things you can do is to tell someone about how much you are struggling.
Yes, I know what you are thinking. "I can't tell them. They will be mad. They will be upset. They won't understand why this happened." But please believe me when I say this...recovery is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do in this life. And recovery without support is a hundred times harder. It is always, always best to be as open and as honest as possible with your friends, family and support system. They can only help you if you reach out to them.
This comes from the girl who took a whole six months to finally reveal the truth to her loved ones, about how she had relapsed on returning to college and lost weight as a result. And it was one of the most difficult and painful things I ever had to do, to tell them that, yes, I had relapsed, I had lied to them, I had fallen victim to my eating disorder once again, had allowed it to take control of me. But since that day I have not looked back once. I have been doing so, so much better, now that I have Mam supporting me. Because doing it on my own did, in the end, prove to be too hard.

But there is enormous power in togetherness and it was through that crucial support and help that I was finally enabled to find my feet again; to realise that I did, after all, have that strength and courage deep inside me. the strength of a great white swan, soaring upon the storm clouds as they rage and thunder around him. the courage of the young, delicate seabird who has stretched his wings and stepped over the edge of the cliff face, trusting himself to the winds, and the strength of his own wings.

  • Write up the meal plan in full and stick it somewhere where everyone can see it.
It can be the fridge, the noticeboard, the kitchen door or above the doggy's basket on the wall if you prefer. Just somewhere obvious where you and the people you are living with will constantly be able to see it.
  • Buy yourself plenty of the foods which you like and enjoy.
common sense I know, but I mean, what's the point of trying to force yourself to eat things you don't like??
Take my meal plan, for example, which is basically comprised of all the foods which I love to eat. I can honestly say there is not one food item on there which I don't, quite the opposite!! And this, consequently, makes it much easier for me to follow. After all, eating toast generously slathered with peanut butter, or regularly indulging in numerous mugs of Mam's hot choc is something which, to be honest, I don't really find too difficult to do at all anymore, haha. They're just too yummy to resist, and I know that by having as much of these delicious foods as I want, I am only helping my body to repair itself, and basically doing the equivalent of shaking a clenched fist in ed's stupid gaping face.
  • Tell someone about what you plan to eat today/show them your food diary for the day.
this puts pressure on you to follow through with what you aim to have. And you will feel under pressure and feel some anxiety, but just remember, thisis a "good" kind of pressure, essentially, and the only way you are going to destroy that anxiety is by directly doing that thing which directly causes such feelings of agitation.
  • Make things in advance if possible, to lessen the chance of being convinced by ed to skip/"conveniently forget" to have something.
I know you can't do this for everything, but it's just something which might do for a few things, particularly if you are a person like me who hates wasting food. I am most certainly one of those people (maybe a bit too much so!!) and so the general idea of this is that if I were to get something out of the freezer, say, the night before for my morning snack..and then once its out the freezer and defrosted, then you have to eat it or it will just go to waste, essentially - you get the idea. As I say, this might not work for everyone and I know it still requires a good bit of willpower to actually make the food item/get the food item out of the freezer etc for starters!!
  • Bakeand make your own meals/snacks.
again might not work for everyone but if you are like me and love to bake and cook, this is great as eating more and sticking to your plan consequently means you have more excuse to bake and experiment with new things. ;)
  • Develop a sound support system and get as much help and motivation as you possibly can.
If I am feeling a bit nervous or agitated about a certain meal/snack etc what I usually do is go onto my Facebook and answer one of my messages if there is closest friends are aware about my efforts with the meal plan and just talking to them and knowing that they are cheering me on makes such a difference to my motivation. And if I have the camera handy and I am having something which looks as delightful as it tastes, I often can't resist sending them a wee the Lizzy hot choc I had this morning for example.. ;)

  • Reintroduce things gradually, don't take it on all at once. 
Start off with the foods/meals/snacks etc which you fund the less overwhelming. Once you get back into the routine, then it's time to start challenging yourself...
For example for me, when I started eating morning snack again with a hot choc. Well, first I started off by making sure I had a full mug of hot choc, every single morning, for abut four days in a row..and then I added in a small handful of nuts to go with it. In a few days again, a hot choc and a big handful of nuts. choc, spelt toast and peanut butter. Then half a bagel, peanut butter and hot choc. And now? Well, now I can happily say that every single morning I have not ONLy a hot choc and a, now I have a hot choc and TWO snacks instead of one. Like this morning, for example: hot choc and a good handful of salted cashews at 10.30, then half a seeded bagel + tbsp pb at about 12.15. And boy did I enjoy it. And its true, that at one time - only a few months ago, so to speak - this would have been totally unthinkable for me. Yesterday while I was rummaging through some notes in my bag I found a diary in which I had taken some notes of my daily intake during the period back in October, during the period when I had started to restrict again. And I can honestly say, I was appalled, shocked and incredulous..let me tell you, one of the first thoughts that popped into my head - a few seconds after running my eye over the words and actually comprehending just how measly my intake was back then - was...jeez, that amount would NEVER be enough for me now..I'd be starving, if I ate that little. It just all goes to show that, no matter how big, scary or impossible change may be, you CAN do it and you should never let anything or anyone stand in your way. Whether that be fear, doubt, uncertainty; the cruel taunts of ed, dragging you down and telling you that you cannot do it. You CAN resist and defy all of them. Don't let anything stand in the way of your recovery!!!!

Anyway, ahem. Once again I seem to have swayed off topic somewhat. Apologies. ;)
  • Establish a little routine.
For example , on Mam's work days, I always have my hot choc and afternoon snack when she comes in from work at 5.15 . Then we sit by the fire together and talk about our days. Likewise, on Mondays when Im at college until the afternoon, I always try to meet with a friend for coffee (or again, hot choc in my case!!! ;) for coffee at 10 am. Just little changes like that make it so much easier. Always , always try to eat with others..I know this might not always be possible, but whenever it is, do. Make others aware of your routine. My afternoon snacks at the weekends is always crumpet + pb and mam is fully aware of this..then she always buys me fresh crumpets from tescos on friday afternoon and we have them toasted later on after our afternoon walk!!

I hope these are of some help to anyone who is struggling with this particular branch of recovery...which is, I suppose,one of the most important and fundamental aspects to the physical recovery from an eating disorder in terms of nutrition and weight restoration...but which, at the same time, represents one of the most difficult. But hear me now when I say: difficult does NOT mean impossible...and there is absolutely nothing that you cannot do.

You can, and will, defeat the ED Voice. <3 xxx

Oh and one final point i felt that it was important for me to make. In my last post I included my own meal plans, all of which are loosely based on my ones from hospital (but altered, of course, to suit my own schedule and food preferences!! ) Now I don't calorie count but I would estimate that they are roughly about the recommended amounts for recovery (2500 + ). I thought it important to clarify here that if you are in recovery and about to start the refeeding process, it is very important that you do not go onto a meal plan like the ones I am currently on straight away as this could cause refeeding syndrome , which can be very dangerous. Instead you need to start off on a lower amount and then gradually increase to 2500+.


  1. Just exactly as you say: 'You can, and will, defeat the ED Voice. <3 xxx'

    Believe your words, and it will happen for you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. <3 aww hun thank you so so much :* your support is priceless to me hun and knowing that i have a friend like you cheering me on makes such a huge difference..I am sending you so much love and hugs hun, I really hope you are ok, I will keep you in my heart and my prayers hun always <3 all my love dear please stay strong :* xxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Thanks so much for answering loads of my questions, I just struggle with the fear to gain too fast if I increase my intake, it is so hard to sop bein obedient to that enemy in my head...
    Looking forward to your mail, love and hugs,
    Maria xxx