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.:)

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...


  1. Well done for overcoming your anxieties and having that little bit extra at breakfast - I can really understand how hard it was for you so you should now feel proud that you achieved it!
    Baby steps add up - keep remembering that :)
    Stay strong and keep fighting

    1. <3 thank you so so much for your support <3 It means more to me than you can ever imagine! And you are so's all about taking the small steps forward, and tackling each fear and each increase one at a time, day by day.

      Thank you so so much again and happy new year to you <3 xxx

  2. And Happy New Year to you too!
    How are you? I hope you are ok and things are going well for you. Never give up on recovery, that's what I tell myself everyday even when the day is seemingly unsurmountable. We`ve got to keep fighting this, ANA has taken enough from us. We deserve better :)
    Take care and keep taking those baby steps xxx

    1. Thank you so so much! <3

      I really, really admire your positive attitude and thank you so much for sharing your message with me. I am doing ok, up and down alot of the time, but I suppose that is how it goes! The thing I am struggling with the most is not having someone to talk to in person about my fears and recover, alone, is such a difficult task. But blogging and hearing from my readers really helps me. You are so right, ANA really has stolen so, so much and will continue to do so unless we stop it in its tracks, and fight on every hour of every day.

      Thnak you so much and stay strong! <3 xxx