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.:)

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

She's had her Weetabix in the morning...interpreting Weetabix as a dual reminder of how far I have come, and the importance of continuing to move forward..

Ah, yes. The robust, ever convenient, milk-soaking Weetabix: something which has been something of a breakfast staple of mine, long before even the latter years of my pre-eating disorder days. In fact I have a distinct recollection of eating hot, soggy Weetabix out of a Thomas the Tank Engine bowl, back in my old house at Crabble Close in England while whinging at my sister for having taken my Sylvanian Caravan without my permission.

And so throughout my childhood, I was still munching my way through many a bowl of Weetabix; without care or thought, as I did many other foods. and then, at the age of 12, I entered the world of my eating disorder, and things changed, drastically. As it did with everything else, my eating disorder changed my relationship with this particular food: profoundly, and, unsurprisingly, more than just a little negatively.

Since Weetabix was a food which I very much enjoyed - it has always constituted one of my favourite breakfast cereals -  as well as being something which I generally found rather filling at whatever time of day I chose to eat it, I began to "use" it in a way which fitted in with my eating disorder's rigid system of oppression and restriction.

And I have memories - ones which are just as vivid as that one of the four-year-old me, scoffing a hot, soggy weetabix-resembling concoction at the kitchen table in Crabble Close - of such situations: me, Weetabix, Ed.

Of myself, standing in the ransackle kitchen of the house I rented in second year of college, leaning against the peeling wallpaper next to the fridge with a smile plastered to my face and my arms folded tightly against my breast, conversing gaily with the nursing student girls who I shared with. An outer semblance of a chirpy, chatty little English student, who was just that little bit smaller than the average 20 year old, perhaps. But on the inside, I was churning, tossing, plummeting like a stone spinning in slowly revolving circles over the side of a great ravine. My cheeks burned like two mini furnaces side by side; my palms and underarms itched uncontrollably. Don't let them see, don't let them see. Please, make them go away; please, please, please please make them go...

You'd be forgiven for thinking I'd just committed some sort of crime.I hadn't, of course. But there was something there in that kitchen that I did not want them to see.

There was a weetabix box sitting innocently in the corner of the room.

I had just been in the process of moving towards the fridge to get out my 1 litre bottle of milk i had bought from tesco express that morning - skimmed, of course - when the three student nurses had all come in together, voicing loudly how hungry they were after a long and very taxing day at college. I stood there, trying desperately to conceal how pathetically anxious I was, praying miserably that they would not notice what I was doing - or rather, perhaps, what I was not doing; that being, cooking for myself a "proper" evening meal of some description.

But no. Instead of bags of potatoes or rice, instead of a packet of fish or chicken or a package of noodles or bread - instead, on the counter, there was a box of Weetabix.  

Having starved myself for most of the day, I had just been about to break my "fast" for the evening, by having a couple of weetabix with a little sugar and some milk.My daily allowance. I would savour every mouthful of that bowl. Because it was one of the meagre few things that I would eat in a day.

That was about three years ago now.

And, since then, I have come far. Those days of rigid restriction and starvation are gone, long gone.

Now, I enjoy Weetabix most days - at breakfast, or at snack time, and not as a " meal " as I used to.
I enjoy 2 - not 1 - at breakfast time usually; sometimes with ice cold milk to retain its delightful crispy wheatiness; othertimes, with milk warmed until hot in the microwave, resulting in a delightful, warming bowl of a weetabix-like porridge.

And then, having eaten that, I eat other foods at breakfast time, too, now: something which, at one time, the very thought of which would have filled me with both horror and revulsion. In fact, such a propsect was unthinkable to me, back then. Often then, breakfast consisted of nothing but a single lone weetabix, a little skimmed milk, and maybe a banana or an apple. And then...nothing. Nothing but endless swigs of water, for hours on end. That was how I used to eat.

Is it any wonder my bones are brittle, weak, osteoporotic - forever?

Is it any wonder that I cost myself so much damage - some of which, I know, I will never be able to repair?

One thing today I can assert with conviction. I never want to go back to those days. 
It's true to say that, at the moment, there aredays when I just feel so scared at the thought of moving forward. Over the past few weeks my weight gain has been slow; true to say, I;m around 2 kilos off the "mimimum" acceptable weight (but did not I say that I should aim to go beyond that?) but I know deep down that I should perhaps consider another increase to my current intake. Either that, or reduce the walking again. And the thought of doing either are, so terrifying.

But yet.

Wasn't there a time...

when the thought...

 of eating two Weetabix at breakfast was terrifying? The thought of eating two weetabix and toast; the thought of not eating Weetabix as a main meal, of sorts??

But yet...I achieved all that, and more.

I conquered my fears. And if I choose to, I can conquer more of them: I can reach the top of the mountain.

I feel afraid, I feel terrified, and at times, I feel...completely powerless.

But those oval shaped wheat biscuits are a reminder to me of just how far I have come.

And that, ultimately,

I do have the power to move forward. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Above, and beyond, that halfway mark...

The half-way line. A point , upon the road leading up the mountain: a certain little milestone on the path of recovery, at which I have come to know more than just a little well.

Because basically this is as far as I have ever managed to go. It's not recovery. True, getting here in itself was a hard and gruelling battle. One in which stinging wounds were inflicted and blood and tears were shed.

True, also, that this place is a far outcry from that which I initially started this journey.That being the cold, dark abyss in which I remained wholly immersed in the depths of my anorexia.

But this place is not recovery.
And I am not recovered.

How I long to go further, now: to keep on striding forwards, with the heart of a lion and the spirit of a prancing gazelle.

But the thing is...

I can.

It took enormous strength to get this far up the road.
Yet I remember the time when I stood at the very bottom of the mountain, staring upwards with fear and despair in my eyes. And I remember believing that I would never make it. Even taking that very first step, and then the second. I believed, with all my heart, that I would not be able to do it.

But yet, I did.

And so my journey began.

Me and Benny 💜

After a difficult week - one which was filled with the usual bloating, anxiety over exercise, and persistent feelings of depression and loneliness, yesterday felt that one bit different.

There was..
travelling home from university and watching the sunlight dance upon the glistening rivers and streams of the sweet, dew-soaked countryside.

Sitting and drinking hot chocolate with Mam, running my fingers through Daisy's soft, jet-black coat, and laughing till my sides ached at Mam's raucous Cap'n Poldark impersonations.

And then talking to my sister on Facebook; sharing with her my current, newfound feelings of motivation; as well as my fears that it will ultimately not last. My beloved sister's furiously typed reply brought a spontaneous smile to my face and a warm tears of gratitude and love to my eyes.

When you feel your motivation going, Em, tell that f***er ED that Lizzy is going to kick its ass if it even tries to creep back in. 

Me and Lizzy 💜

  It was over Christmas when the loneliness really hit me hard; like a sharp, jagged stone being thrust into my body. Despite the twinkling lights and the happy scenes all around me, I had never felt quite so alone. And then, looking up at that lonely, solitary path which seemed to stretch on endlessly in front of me, there was many a time when I felt a desolate sense of utter despair and desperation.

I'll never get there..
Why does this has to be lonely? 

But today reminded me that I am not alone. There are people who I know, no matter what, are here for me. Even if I cannot see them, or feel their hands physically touching my own. Even if I cannot literally hear their voices. I know what they are saying to me. Don't give up, Em. Carry on.

Carry on. Past the halfway mark. Up the mountain, scrambling over sharp-tipped rocks and pebbly slopes. Over yawning abysses and coal-black caverns. Towards the valley. The valley where beautiful flowers grow wild and free; reaching towards the sunlight above: sunlight which spills upon every leaf and every vein and makes their petals shimmer with dancing, sublime beauty.

As that is how I envisage true recovery...
A place in which I feel totally alive, and free, like a budding, blossoming flower.

A place in which I feel totally at peace with myself: a feeling, which I have never felt for so, so long, not since I was that small girl with the long blonde hair who danced and laughed and lived a life that she loved.

And this is how I am going to do it...
By taking small little steps which are also known as goals.

Goal 1.
Follow my meal plan and get to a healthy weight. 
And by a healthy weight, I do not mean simply just the minimum healthy bmi.

Goal 2.
Write down all the eating disorder habits and behaviours and work on picking them out.
It's quite an enlightening activity to do this - to actually sit down and have a really, hard look at just what it is your eating disorder makes you do day in, day out. I can literally think of dozens, and so this is going to take up a whole blog post in itself so I won't blah on about it too much here.

Goal 3.
Compose my reasons to recover list and read over it constantly, reminding myself of just what it is I am fighting for.

Goal 4.
Go to a few counselling sessions at Trinity, while I try to finish off the last semester of my degree. Then, when all this is over, I will hopefully have the time to dedicate myself to proper eating disorder therapy, probably at Marino in Dublin or somewhere more local.
I proved to myself in the past that I can manage to get myself physically well, witht the help and support of my family, friends and readers. But deep down I know that, in order to make the full and complete recovery from an mental illness that has already claimed half of my life and the entirety of my teenage years, that I will need to seek some extra support in the form of cognitive behaviour therapy. When I am finished at Trinity (Hopefully :/) I am going to do some proper research and take stock of all the options which are available to me.

Goal 5.
Facing fears and anxieties.
These include specific foods, meals, and also - yes, the exercise thing, which I still regard as one of the hardest things that I am yet to achieve in recovery.

Goal 6.
Start making plans - both short and long term - so that I have something to work towards and keep my mind focused on why it is so important now that I do not waste any more of my life drowning in an eating disorder's depths.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

It's not until it is gone forever, do we realise what we have lost...

Having consumed - slowly, and meticulously, as usual - the lunch that I had brought in a tuppaware with me, to have on the bus on my way home from the college library - I leaned back against my seat, pulling my legs up and easing the leather hard skin upon my toes. Sensations. How intensely aware I was of every single one of them. The slight soreness of my foot; the droplets of moisture upon my cheeks and forehead from the soft drizzle that was falling outside. And then - of course, my stomach. It, but yet, there was that weird - and, to me, terrifying - yearning for more.

I shuddered and rummaged in my bag for my book, desperate to divert my mind from the food thoughts which were beginning to flicker across my mind's eye. If I did not - I knew all too well - those flickering images would grow and grow, like a spark shaping itself into a candle flame, and any kind of concentration would be impossible. Must read. Back to lectures in two weeks. I need to read my novel for Dr O'Toole. My fingers scuttle like ants over my various bits of junk crammed into the bag's small interior. Why can't...I just...stop thinking...about food all the time??

Flowers in the Attic. Tenderly, I lifted it out, smoothing the cover with the same attentive care that I handle all my library books with.

And so we rumbled on, through the sodden grey streets of Dublin, passing the sludgy brown waters of the Liffey and the Phoenix Park monument jutting sharply into the sky like a blunted penknife. Onto the motorway, then; past fields of glittering emerald; across babbling rivers and streams which churn their waters into creamy froth and course their way freely to the sea.

But I was no longer in Ireland. For I had become completely immersed in the sparse, brutal world which the narrator of my novel, Cathy, depicted.

Across from and around me, people snored and muttered and stared fixedly at their smartphones. Two children screamed and shouted at their mother, furious that she was adamant that they were not to be given any more Fruit Pastilles. I was oblivious to every single one of them.

The pages turned and turned like the fluttering feathers of an alighting swan. The speaker's raw emotions tugged at my own, iron fingers tugging at heart strings.

A few pages into the novel, I reached the part at which Cathy and her siblings learn of their beloved Daddy's death in a tragic road accident.

My vision became blurry with tears and I snapped the book shut with a snap. It has been a while since a piece of literature had moved me quite so palpably.

For Cathy's message here was plain and true, and struck a chord deep, deep inside me, to the innermost part of my heart.

It's not until it's gone, till you realise just what it is you have lost.

And this is so, so true: in all areas and aspects of life.

We take things - people, too; and states of being - for granted every single day. And it might not be until they're taken away from you that that crucial realisation may dawn.

In a month's time it will be two years since the day I got my osteoporosis diagnosis. It was a day of which I will never, ever forget. I cried a river of tears as it was then I was forced to recognise just what ED had done to me. There it was, right in front of me: the devastation that ED had wrecked upon my body, painted in the harshest and most ugly of colours.

Before that fateful day, I never thought twice about my formerly healthy, strong skeleton. Not until that day: when I stared, with disbelieving eyes, at that immaculate piece of paper with the three-toned graph upon it, which Dr Prasad's long-nailed, slender hand held out in front of me.

I can still see that graph now, to this very day.
The yellow at the very top; the section which represented the state of healthy, normal bone density.
The orange in the middle. Osteopenia. Bones are fragile, more brittle, weakening. But, with the appropriate interventions, they are savable.

 And then. The red bit at the bottom.


At this stage there is no turning back.
There is now getting back to a state of healthy bone mass. That has been taken away from you, forever.

But by the time that I realised was much, much too late.

A healthy body is such a precious, valuable thing. It is probably the most important possession you could ever possess. Money, positions, whatever - compared to health, they essentially equal to nothing. What good will that prestigious degree do you, if your body is too weak, too broken, to function properly? What good will all that money do, that job? Will it bring back the healthy, strong body that you once had, but lost?

I write this as a reminder to anyone who might be reading this, as well as myself. Because I know I am all too guilty of putting recovery on the back burner.And I know - at this stage in my life, the year in which I will turn 23 - I literally cannot AFFORD to "postpone" real recovery for a moment longer. I have seven years. Seven years to improve my osteoporosis, before my time well and truly is out.

Every day ED tries to make me not remember. Not remember what is has done to me, and what it could do, if I don't - break free.

I don't want to reach the age of thirty, to discover then I can't even break into a run without breaking a bone.

I don't want to be in that place again, weeping over something which I once had, and could have saved, but ultimately lost.

I don't want to end up a cripple, an invalid. With a body which is weakened and broken by years of malnourisshment and abuse; of starvation, and restriction.

The time to recover is NOW. NOW, before if is too late. 💗

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Treading carefully...

A dainty white tablecloth had been cast over the daisy field. The sky had taken on the hue of rosy-pink peach plucked at the height of springtime.

And so the doggies and I embarked across this spotless expanse of peerless, unblemished white; an expanse which, only a few months before, had been alive with the humming of fluffy bees and gently wafting wildflowers. Nothing moved, now; everything was still and silent, save the crunching of the frost beneath our feet. The earth remained enveloped in its blanket of frost; folds of interpenetrable whiteness which the sunlight's weakly probing fingers could not break through.

Daisy loped and pranced like a deer in a spring meadow, her pink tongue darting from her mouth like a minnow, her breath rising in snowy puffs from the dainty black nose at the tip of her muzzle. Beside her, Benny - my beloved, faithful old Benny - moved somewhat less vivaciously across the frost-covered plain.

Watching them brought a smile to my face, warm prickly tears to the corners of my eyes. So happy and carefree; so blissfully unaware of all the pain and evil and suffering that lurks in a world far removed from the beauty of this isolated countryside. The Slieve Blooms rise like shields to the west; as if guarding this place in which I and my two furry friends have found our home.

Now Daisy tears after Benny as he breaks into a shambling run, probably after some disturbed mouse or wandering rabbit. I laugh as they go, and my heart feels like it is going to burst from my chest. Because it is a moment of sheer joy, and intense and bitter pain. Because I yearn more than anything to run after them, to sprint like a galloping hare. But, I cannot.

The past few weeks or so, my right foot has been bothering again. No way as bad as it was, two years ago now: that injury that compelled me to finally approach a doctor, a visit which then in turn led me to be officially diagnosed with an eating disorder. No, no way near as bad. But there is still something there that I cannot quite put my finger on.

I'm guessing that it's something to do with my osteoporosis. My fragile, brittle bones; the bones of a woman three, four times my age. Anything could break them. Even just walking along and tripping over a tree stump; or maybe just twisting something in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Now, from what I have read (and been preached to, during my time as an inpatient in St. Pat's), exercise, no matter what type or form , is something which should NOT be engaged in during the weight restoration phase of anorexia recovery. And no, I am NOT saying that I disagree with that, at all. It makes perfect sense to me, in all honesty. And if I could make myself do it "their" way, well, I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I would.

But what I am saying right now is that I don't think people can appreciate just how difficult it is; to do just what the experts say, and eliminate physical activity during weight gain. For me, cutting out exercise has always been the hardest,toughest thing: yep, even more than eating more, increasing the meal plan and kicking long established bad eating habits. Alongside bloating, I'd say it's quite possibly one of the most difficult aspects of this phase of recovery; and one, I readily confess, I have never quite succeeded in "managing" correctly.

When I was an inpatient and confined to the ward at St. Pat's, this issue or problem or call-it-what-you-will, was automatically removed as my freedom was just taken away from me: I couldn't exercise, and we were watched all day to make sure we didn't do anything which even slightly resembled it. I'm not going to go on here about how awful it was: for someone who, even prior to the tender age at which my eating disorder initially developed, had always loved being outdoors and just being active in general, this side of inpatient treatment proved to be one of the most intensely difficult. I hated it. When I came home at the weekends, against the advice of my consultant and her team, I still would go out with my family for idyllic walks with Benny; unable to face the thought of being left behind, alone and miserable, at home.

Was I wrong in what I was doing? Quite possibly. Anyhow, about 3 months and many exerciseless days later, I was let go: away from that closeted environment where everything was, literally, handed to me on a plate.

But now, of course, things are very, very different.

I am at home, not in hospital. I am a student, trying to struggle her way through the final year of her degree. I am, in every respect, completely in control of my own recovery. I am the one who has to make the decisions; I am the one who has to tackle all the various different recovery issues, alone. And with this one, I have hit a rock hard. I don't know what to do; and it is the not knowingness of it all which is getting to me.

I guess what makes this "dilemma" of mine that bit more tricky and problematical is the fact that I am not severely underweight (I only have about 2 kg to gain before I reach a minimally acceptable" healtny bmi.) I can move freely and without pain or difficulty (for now, that is..). And then, of course, there is that one indisputable fact. To eliminate my current exercise - that being, walking the doggies, and cycling - would be equal to, essentially, eliminating something which I truly love. Walking Ben and Daisy, cycling, physical activity in general - it is something which I love, which relaxes me, which provides me - for a short space of time, at least - with a sense of well-being, joy, and pleasure.

But to say that there is not one part of me..
which recoils, with fear, at the thought of giving up, or reducing that one bit more...

would be a lie.

These thoughts.. these fears, these lingering anxieties surrounding weight gain, of letting go of this rigidness, this control over every single gram of food I eat; every single minute of exercise I take...oh, if only I could just pluck them right out of my head; toss them over my shoulder and cast them to the winds, watch them float away like grains of dust caught in a sandstorm...

Every day, the same burning question which revolves in endless spinning circles in my head.

Am I doing this right?
Is it ok just to "reduce", for now...?
I have about 2, 3 kgs to gain. Not much, it time to do this properly, seriously..?

I do not know. I do not know. And so, every day, I continue on, still wondering, f anyone has any advice on this topic, I would be so, so grateful.

I guess, for now, I just have to be as careful as I can manage. For this path of recovery is a slippery one; one upon which I know I have to tread carefully.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Step by step, bite by bite...

I stand with my left hand by my side, my right hand holding the milk carton; my body poised like a swimmer about to leap into the murky depths of the sea.

I must take this leap.

I must take this leap...

100 ml...125 ml...over 125 ml...I said I'd have more milk today, more cereal...that was my goal for today...

My hand snapped back then like a door bouncing back upon its hinges.

Put that extra milk back!! You greedy......!!!!

My hand quivers. I can feel...I can feel him pulling on my wrist, trying to pull it back towards the still open milk bottle; to clumsily slop the "extra" milk I had poured myself - and more, probably - back in through the plastic neck. Yes, I can feel him. A vice like grip; which has held me for so, so long.

The kitchen was freezing , but I could feel my face becoming gradually hotter. As if I and It were engaged in a vicious tug-of-war, one in which we were both clinging doggedly to the slippery rope of control.

Always,  in the past, such moments of attempted resistance on my part against ED would see me tugging desperately at that rope with trembling, clenched fingers; the knuckles white and drained of  blood, the rough fabric cutting into my hands. But I was never strong enough to hold on for too long. Eventually, I would lose hold of it and fall, and then ED would trample mercilessly over my body, reveling in its triumph.

This time round appeared as if it was just going to be the exact same. My hands were wavering, hovering towards the awaiting milk bottle.

No! - a weak voice of resistance, pushing desperately through the heat, the dizziness. No, Em! You can DO it...!!! Just think...

Of what...

HE has done to you...

Slowly, inch by painful inch, my hand withdrew.

I can, I mouthed wordlessly, and then it was going in the microwave and I was pushing the buttons and then there, it was done, there was no turning back, I had done it.

An hour later saw me crying bitter tears all over my Eagle of the Ninth notes, nursing my swollen, bloated stomach. The hateful screen, taunting me. Only 2000 words to go, Em! That cruel, sneering voice whispered, maliciously. 2000 - words - I can't - do this...

I wanted...I wanted more than anything else in the world, right then - for someone to comfort me. But I was alone. And I know that this is my journey: the road I have to tread alone. It is only me and noone else who can save myself from the wreck, pull myself from the freezing, icy waters, in which, if I remain, I know that I will drown.

So. That was my morning. A morning in which I, once again, failed once again to make any progress with my essay.

It's true to say that I am getting scared now. the deadline is the 16th of January.

It's just all getting a bit too much. The extreme hunger; my lack of concentration; my raw, pure terror at not being able to write, one single, single word. My very head feels like it is going to explode with the intensity of the pain; the bitterness of the frustration.

But yet.
I succeeded in just one little thing.

I went against my eating disorder.
I achieved my goal of having extra milk and cereal...

Such a small, small step -to someone who knows nothing about eating disorders, it might seem totally laughable that I regard such a feat  as actual "progress" - but, to me, it constituted a major victory. It was a point scored against my eating disorder; and, though the anxiety was horrible, I proved to myself that I could actually do it.

And as a dear friend told me a few days ago...yes, the time is NOW to recover.
I am 22. 23 in a few month's time. I have seven years left to improve my osteoporosis. Every day matters. Every hour and every bite.
It's a small step, it's true.
But is that not what the longest and hardest of journeys ultimately is made up of? Hundreds, upon hundreds, of small, tiny steps...?

Anyway, today I made a number of important decisions, it being the first day of 2017, and all: that I AM going to make these meal plan increases; as I strongly feel that I would benefit from introducing them because I am, after all, still doing my household chores, walking the doggies, and moving around more than a person in recovery ideally should.

It's just a matter of reducing my exercise a little, for now...and also, eliminating the "obsessive exercise" which yes, it's true, I did sometimes engage in.
I define this kind of exercise as being compulsive and forced; not practiced for reasons of pleasure or enjoyment - but rather, for when any of the statements below ring true:

  • I feel like I "have" to do it, even though I do not want to, or the weather is bad, or I am busy doing something else, etc;
  • I want to do it because it will slow down/prevent weight gain through burning of calories.

But there's another important reason why I think for now it is so important that I reduce my exercise...the matter of which needs a post by itself, so I will leave it for now and return to very shortly.

Today, I was reflecting upon my current exercise patterns and it struck me that, despite everything, I actually made some progress on this score since beginning  to tackle my relapse:

Before (Between the end of the summer and November 2016):

  • I felt compelled to do at least 2 hours of exercise. If I did not meet this target, I would "make up for it" the following day.
  • I sometimes - not very regularly, but sometimes - exercised in secret in my room by jogging on the spot for a short length of time. I also got up early and powerwalked for 20-30 minutes down the road. For me, back then, going out with Benny at 9 o clock, and then taking him again in the afternoon, was just not enough. I felt compelled to do more.
Well, Im please to say that I have actually managed to kick these habits - the 20-30 minute powerwalk before everyone else got up; the jogging in my room, and the compuslion to do a minimum of 2 hours. I know I still have an awful lot to work on, but I hope that I am now moving in the right direction. I am going to continue to monitor my walks for now anyway and see what happens. It all depends on how my weight goes , I know.

A close friend and reader of mine, also suggested to me that I perhaps shouldshare my progress on my blog as much as I can, even for small, seemingly trivial things (well, I think anyone who has had an eating disorder will understand just how significant these "trivial" things actually are).I just really hope this wont make it too boring for everyone, that's all. But I hope that they will benefit others as well as myself by inspriing yyou to make changes - no matter how small.

And here are some of the little changes and increases, that today I have started to introduce...

  • One of the new things I was contemplating adding into my meal plan was to have some extra protein in the mornings. The addition of these foods is, if I was very honest, a change I felt I "should" introduce solely for the benefit of the health of my body, rather than for reasons of personal preference - if that makes sense!! You see, to be brutally honest, I would personally much rather eat an extra piece of toast and another big bowl of cereal , say, than a slice of chicken of fish or whatever. (And then of course there is my own moral principles surrounding eating meat, which make me even more reluctant to eat it; but again, that's a topic for another blog post). But protein - protein foods, so to speak - is the one thing that I have restricted most severely since becoming ill, and I suppose that is what served to make my osteoporosis as bad as it now is. So that is the main reason why I thought in the mornings I would add in one if the following, probably with either my breakfast or my first morning snack:
- 20 g cheddar cheese
- a soft or hard boiled egg
- sardines
- a slice of chickenor other meat.

I list these in order of preference..a nice slice of crumbly extra mature cheese would be for sure my favourite, though I'm going to try and incorporate the others in too.                                                         Also, I am going to try and lay out the serving on a little plate the day before and put it in the fridge, so when I come to eat it in the morning I can just take it out of the fridge and eat it. Because I find this 

  • Now, another change I am going to make is to be MORE GENEROUS with...well, everything. With peanut butter, with cereal; with my nuts and tuna mayo at get the idea. 
  • I am really going to try to listen to my body and respond to cravings and hunger when they hit me.
  • To not hold back from eating more of the foods I love...namely, you know.. ;) hot choc, chocolate, bananas,peanut butter, nuts, cereal, toast, hot custard. Ooooh bring them  on <3 !
  • And also, if I feel like them - not to hold back from eating stuff like maltwheats, hot cross buns, scones - things I cut out from my diet despite really enjoying them. I did so purely because I was worried about my sugar consumption, what with having alot of hot chocolate, and chocolate, every day. But I suppose in recovery it's all about breaking those ED type rules one has made for oneself.
  • Fear foods..more on this in another post, but I really want to start tackling them soon. I don't have many, but there are a few. But more on this shortly.
  • And the change I referred to above and which I tackled today (with success, yes; though I'm not going to lie; I did find it very hard.) that is to make my breakfasts even bigger..I might even try adding in a 2nd peice of toast (and still have my half a bagel later on, too, mind!!)
So, in this new year...

I'm taking it..
step by step,
bite by bite.

Well there's a bridge and there's a river that I still must cross
As I'm going on my journey
Oh, I might be lost...
And there's a road I have to follow, a place I have to go
Well no-one told me just how to get there
But when I get there I'll know...
'Cause I'm taking it
Step by step, bit by bit,
Stone by stone.. brick by brick...
Step by step, day by day, mile by mile...

And so, we have to follow this road now. It may be scary, it may be terrifying, because noone tells us exactly how we are going to get there. 

But step by step, bit by bit. 
We will make our way upon that road,
the road which leads to that beautiful horizon... <3 xxx

 As you can probably tell...I love Whitney Houston..her songs are so powerful and give me enormous strength. 

Happy New Year everyone...
Let's take on this road together, in 2017...