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, 11 October 2017

Letting Go...

So here are some facts.

Some facts about Emmy Snelgrove that the world does not know, or see.

But these are the cold hard truths that press down upon my shoulders each day, as heavy and as grey as the severe, ice-capped mountain, and equally just as bleak. If not more. There is beauty in that mountain, but every inch of these facts are ugly.

I am 23 years old, though looking at me, some might think I'm alot younger.

Yet despite having the outer semblance of a girl, I have the skeleton of an old woman.

I have osteoporosis.

I don't get periods and I never have done. Sometimes,when I lie awake in the darkness of the night, watching the twilight patterns upon the creamy ceiling of my room, I wonder if I ever will. Whether my ovaries have simply given up, or have been permanently damaged through years of restriction.

And of course. I've had anorexia for 11 years. For eight of those years I was significantly underweight; for the most part of that eight, severely so. And then, for the other three. Consisted mainly of my weight bobbing up and down like a slung yo-yo upon a tight string.

So those are some facts about Emmy Snelgrove.
The facts that she doesnt want the world to see, but yet, at times, feels like screaming out loud. Especially to, well, you know. The oh you look well or healthy comments.

I'm currently maintaining between 41.8 - 42.5 kg.
Meaning that my bmi is around 17.7 to 18.

I suppose, for some people, this bmi's ok.
But I know deep down for me, it is unlikely that it is. As I type, I remember my consultant's parting words to me. On my last meeting with her, within the mental hospital's stifling grey walls.

I would advise you, young lady - given the severity of your osteoporosis and total absence of periods - that you get your bmi to above 19, preferably 20 or above.

I had smiled meekly and nodded my head. I was listening, but not to her voice. A different one inside my own head.One which, as soon as those numbers had left my doctor's mouth, had aroused itself, a restless wraith awakening from a fitful sleep.

Who the f*** does she think she is, Em??
Don't you worry, Em. You won't listen to her. She clearly doesn't have a clue what she's talking about. 

There's no way on this earth you are going to let yourself gain until you get a bmi of 19...
And 20?? You'd rather die, right.

And I had listened, and agreed.
With Ed, that is. Not with my consultant, with her many, many years of experience and knowledge, working with and treating those with eating disorders.

A couple of years later, and here I am.
Wishing, once again, that I had chosen to listen to someone else; and not the ever-spouting wisdom of ED.

But. At least now I have the strength to say I can get beyond the minimum healthy bmi, if I choose to.

I know I can do it. If I just let myself do so. It's just the letting - the letting go - part. It's just - so bloody - hard.

For me, the fear of letting go now is akin to that I would feel if I were hanging off the edge of a cliff face overlooking the sea: under which, raging waters churn and roar, more fearsome than a wild beast.

My fingers are latched in a white knucked grip to this cliff edge to which I've  been attached to for as long as I can remember. And yet despite the fact that this hostile crag has torn me and broken me countless times, I still have this fear of letting go. The sea below is so dark and terrifying, as unknown and as frightening as the blackest abyss at the furthermost corner of space.

But somehow -

sometime -

I need to realise that it's long past time, to let go.

And so this is the meal plan that I've been studiously following, ever since I got back from Spain in late July.

Your thoughts. What do you think about it? It's true to say I like this particular eating schedule very much - the variety of foods, the frequency of the times that I eat, the inclusion of all the foods which I love and the exclusion of those that I don't. But it is enough to gain the final bit of weight that I need?

Given my current lifestyle, I don't think so.
I walk twice a day with my doggies and go for the odd cycle sometimes down to the local village. I don't sit around. I'm a busy girly. So I guess this is why I am maintaining on this instead of gaining.


  1. 100 ml milk + cereal (usually Weetabix or ready-brek)
  2. 1 slice spelt/wholemeal toast + spread
  3. 30 g cheddar cheese
  4. 2 tbsp peanut butter
Morning snacks
  1. Half a multigrain/wholemeal bagel + spread
  2. 1 egg, boiled or poached
  3. Handfuls of sunflower seeds (I dont really measure them)
  4. 30 g mixed nuts
  5. Milky hot chocolate.
  1. Chicken/tuna mayo salad with spinach, vegetables, tomatoes, roasted peppers and dressing.
  2. Banana/apple/melon
Afternoon snacks
  1. Cereal + 50-75 ml hot milk
  2. toasted crumpet + spread + 1 tbsp peanut butter.
  1. Main course: varies depending on what we cook but it's usually the basic protein + carb + veggies
  2. My all-time favourite dessert: chopped banana, lots of hot custard, and a bar's worth of chocolate on top with the odd cadbury's chocolate finger or whatever's going begging.
  1. Milky hot chocolate.

I have a few ideas of what I could do to make it better; if you have any, please do feel free to share them here. Hearing the advice of my readers really has helped me so, so much in the past and continues to do so, every day.💗

But for now, I'm going to sign off, and focus on what I have to do. The thing I want more than anything else in the world, but yet of which the mere thought of strikes real fear into my heart like a knife blade been thrust through flesh.

Letting go. One of the hardest, most painful parts of recovery. But let go, I will and must.

I have to face the pain and the fear now, or spend a lifetime having to cope with a different pain; the pain of regret.

The regret of knowing that I could have changed things, but chose once again to hold on, and put off.

But now it's time to let go.

Let go I can, and must.


  1. Dear Emmy,
    I am so sorry it is so hard.
    I don't think I ever expected to recover as fully as I have done; now I am struck deeply by just how much I *don't* share the kinds of feelings you describe here. I say that in the hope that it is encouraging: that precipice can one day seem alien and baffling, every bit as vividly as it seems real to you right now.
    Speaking of which...
    1) you mentioned previously that you had noticed that your own thought patterns tend to focus on negative things, and that you were going to try to focus more on positive ones...
    is that something you can bring to this situation too?
    Instead of noticing the precipice and all the fears associated with it, are there other things that feel deeply real to you, but that you know to be healthy impulses and motivations? It needs to be something that is as vivid as the precipice, even if it is something you haven't tended to think about so often or so much? Whether it is a stage of health and life that you can genuinely imagine reaching, which is your goal, or whether it is a person whose companionship you really trust in, who will recognise you -- the real inner you -- no matter what your body is like; or whether it is the example of someone who has recovered, who you can envisage sharing your journey with in spirit, so that that is more real and more present to you?
    2) if you are going to think about the precipice at all, then can you listen not to the sense of fear ("there is a precipice") but to what it is within you that you need to love or let to grow more, which is why you feel that intense fear in the first place? what is the precipice coming from? why is it there at all? what is the inner need within you that gives rise to it?
    3) when fear is too intense for any kind of rational thought, either about the fear, or to displace the fear, then to be honest, the only remedy I know is to curl up and wait till it passes. Maybe someone else has a better idea....
    I used to feel some of these things, but I really don't any more. It still amazes me that I got better. That said, I am NOT a professional, and you should NOT take my advice overly seriously. And in any case, what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. You seem to do a really good job of getting to know yourself, and working really steadfastly at finding your way. I am really sorry there are so many struggles and hurdles. But my, how far you have come! Well done, and every blessing.

    1. <3 thank you so, so much for really meant SO much and you are just too kind and thoughtful for going to the trouble of writing this for me <3
      The next time I find myself faltering I'll be sure to read back over this!

      I think your approach sounds really good, I think it will help me alot and I am determined to give it a try <3

      your words give me a true sense of hope, that there IS still a chanace for me to recover (I freely admit, especially at this time of the night, I feel so bitter and hopeless and allow myself to succumb to the belief that for me, recovery is impossible. But it is through words like yours and the support and help I have on here, that I always manage to get back up again and carry on. Better to try rather than simply give up <3

      Thank you,so very, very much, and please do take care.

  2. I’m sorry it’s difficult because it is. It’s not just the letting go Em, it’s also the sustenance, because letting go could be easy one day, but so damn hard the other.
    But you just gotta go through the motions. Keep moving forwards until eating becomes just a..
    habit. Just another normal habit, like blinking your eyes.
    It takes time. It takes so much hard work. But life is like that, isn’t it? But unless you work hard, you won’t get the results.
    Most importantly Em is that you actually build yourself up emotionally because it will be so easy to slip back when you feel awful. You got to find yourself alternative routes to distract the demons away just until you fall asleep.

    One day you won’t regret the effort. Food will become a habit.. stick to eating healthy fats and proteins.. nourish your body mindfully.. educate yourself on how important it is to heal yourself with food. Be healthy, get the blood pounding in your veins.. shine with life.

    It’s hard, but you need new perspectives. You need a new life ahead of you.. you need no choice but to look forward, that’s why I think your new job will be a beautiful start.

    Good luck Emmy. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts here. One day you’ll look back and be proud that you actually made it. :)

    1. <3 thank you so so much for your continuous help and support and heartfelt advice <3 I really needed to hear these words!
      That is what I am trying to tell myself now..if I don't choose to act now, I might regret it forever. One of the hardest things, though, I find, is that often, I lose motivation, because it feels as if ED has already won, in a sense - he's taken alot of what was me, he's given me osteoporosis, he took away the time I spent in university, when instead of making friends I isolated myself, and starved.

      Knowing now what I didn't know then often makes me very bitter and strengthens the depression, as it feels like for alot of things, it is simply just too late.

      But that is a negative way of looking at things; I really want to find the new perspectives you speak of, realise life is not all about pain and fear and feeling not good enough...I hope there's another life out there waiting for me to reach out and grab with bare hands.
      thank you so so much for your advice again, it means the world to me, can't say that enough. xxx