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. 


  1. Hi Emmy - its so good to read your latest post and that you are thinking so positively about your recovery journey. You are recognising how far you have travelled and progressed - and that is fantastic! Be sooo proud of yourself :)
    Put the bad times of your ed behind you and look to the future and believe that you will indeed conquer your fears about increasing your meal plan to gain those last few kilos that will make such a difference to your health! You can do it - baby steps add up and before you know it you will have reached your goal.
    Good luck with making your changes and stay strong xxxx

    1. <3 Aw thank you so so much! That means such alot <3 to be very honest I find it hard to recognise any "progress" I make as in my head it often appears trivial or insignificant. But writing a post like this helps me to realise that these "victories" over ED are crucial to the recovery journey (as they are for everyone!!).

      Thank you ever so much! I feel so motivated to take on my fears now <3 xxx

  2. Dear, yes, of course you HAVE COME FAR:::!!!
    I will write you a bit more soon, but, dear, be one step after another!
    There will not be this "click"moment, there a only many little and little bit bigger CONSCIOUS changes and actions, every day, many times...!!
    we have to be careful, every day, NO RESTRICTION, little increases, being a bit more gernerous here and there...and just HOPE and Trust..that perhaps, one is all not worth o much thinking any more!

    1. <3 thank you hun! And you are so SO right...all these little things will add up, each little step makes up the entire long journey..I think we both needs to just focus on them one a time, goal by goal, meal by meal..and then once the fear is faced, we will realise that yes, we have done it, and we can do it again..and again..and again...and ed habits and behaviours will be replaced with positive ones!! <3 xxxxxx

    2. * need and one at a time I mean, hun, sorry for the typos! xxx

  3. Beautiful, sensible thoughts, Emily.
    And reading this from a different vantage point, all I can say is -- if you do press through this, you will look back on this time and only be sad about the time you postponed or dithered over the steps that now frighten you. You will just feel sad for that bit of life lost and wasted, when you were worrying about a little increase in diet, a little less exercise. Looking back, you will be sad that you hesitated over such meaningless things, and that in doing so you missed out on the joy of embracing life. You will wish you had rushed boldly onward, with the zeal and eagerness of one marching up for a prize, rather than crept timidly in the shadows, as if doubting that the prize was even there. Hopefully you will have compassion on the timid self you once were, but you will be sad for what you lost, and I hope you will reach all the more boldly then for the gifts of life that are truly yours to enjoy. Bless you, as a new week begins.

    1. <3 thank you so , so much for posting such a meaningful comment <3 i really appreciate you sharing your insight with me, and it makes me feel even more determined to press on as hard as I can, and not spend one moment more dithering or hesitating about taking the crucial steps forward. Thank you ever so much, and I hope you have a lovely week too <3 xxx

  4. Awww Emmy my gal ;) such a wonderful post again ;) Wow it was so nice to read it and i love the comparison of a weetabix with so much ;) you reached so many things in life hun :) :-* I am so proud of you ;) and you never ever will be alone ;) There are so many people who love you ;) and i am one of those who is always here for you ;) Sending you all my love ;) xxxxxx Ange ;) <3

    1. aww Ange huni <3 <3 thank you so, so much for this, it absolutely made my day to read your little comment hun <3 it means more than the world to me and knowing that you are always there for me makes me feel so much stronger and braver..thank you huni, so much <3 I really hope you are well and promise me that you will never forget that I am here always for you too <3 sending you all my love too huni and my biggest ever hug :* love you <3 xxxxx