Tag Archives: eating disorders

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2012 – It’s Not All About The Food!

A reporter friend of mine, Sara-Jayne Kirk has done two great interviews this Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  One with ED Specialist Ann White and another with Gregory Szanto, the Founder of The Sussex Eating Disorders Clinic in Eastbourne.  Both of these interviews give such insight into the depth of the problems for those suffering from Eating Disorders. They also highlight very clearly, that Eating Disorders have very little to do with the actual food and much more to do with emotions.

As well as being helpful and empathetic with the sufferes, these interviews also highlight the gaping whole in the NHS provision for people with this problem, which I know personally only too well. I hope you will find them useful and please do pass this blog on to anyone who you think might benefit.

For some people this is their only addiction. For others, like me, it was found buried under the carnage of alcoholism, drug addiction, sex and love addiction, not to mention all the other ways I had  learnt to avoid my feellings.  Franetic activity, workaholism, never ever being able to be alone and all to try and fill a huge emptiness in my soul. It is also on the check list for those with Borderline Personality disorder, along with other addictions, such as alcoholism and sex.

A friend of mine told me recently that it is to do with ‘mother love’, lack of love, lack of connection, lack of attunement or rejection or abandonment.  For me, this has always made perfect sense, and this is not a blame game, it is fact for me…………and it is for many other people I know.

Fortunately, I eventually had treatment for my compulsive overeating, binging, bulimia and undereating, I have a food plan, do not eat white flour or sugar and have lost a lot of the weight I put on over a very short period of time. But it never ever goes away and I have to watch myself every single day.

If I feel upset, rejected or unloved, it is the very first place I can go………….and sometimes without even knowing it.  I diluded myself the other week when I brought a very small bar of dark chocolate from the ‘Free From’ range. I had barely got through the door, promised myself that I would have it with a cup of tea, but it was gone before the kettle had boiled.  I know why, and it scared me. I felt so rejected by someone and there it was! Thank God it was just that one bar.

In 2008, I hated what I had become, I felt utterly miserable and hated life.  Slowly I am recovering.  I ate on feelings, and still have to watch it, as I have already said, when it is really bad it can still catch me out.  I would always eat on feelings that I could not express, but now, what is different is I have people and places to go where I can express them and someone bothers to listen without telling me I am crazy or making it all up for attention.

For that I am truely grateful.

Dame Helen Mirren and Twiggy prove you are never too old to look your best

Three cheers for Helen Mirren and Twiggy being trail blazers for women, particularly in the UK, to take better care of themselves and not just give up once they are over a certain age.

I for one, believe I have a duty to myself to look the best I can and am certainly in the process of taking better care of myself after a few years of battling with an eating disorder, which creeps up and before I know it I am struggling again. I want to be the woman who people say, wow, you don’t look your age, rather than the one who they say, ‘Is that your mother?’ Particularly when I have such a handsome son, I think I also have a responsibility to him to look my best. Yes, I am vain, but actually, I think a little vanity is a good thing, it keeps me wanting to look the best I can.  I have to consciously take care of myself and feel better for it, both mentally and physically.

I wrote in a recent article after watching Loose Women last week, following a discussion around women becoming invisible after 47, because it felt rather sad that the general public opinion was if you are not the ‘perfect look’ as portrayed by the mass media, then you are invisible. Thank goodness this is not so for Carol McGiffin, Twiggy or Helen Mirren, who in my opinion look amazing and keep looking better.  Janet Street-Porter is also getting better with age, and actually, I for one find this inspiring.

Using Herbalife Helps Manage My Eating Disorder

I had been talking with a friend of mine about how I am struggling with my weight and want to loose some. She mentioned Herbalife to me in passing as her friends were running the business locally, but I didn’t really take much notice to be honest. However,  it wasn’t long before a chance meeting introduced me her friends Maria and Oskar who are also my local Herbalife distributors.  I was sceptical at first about trying it again because I had tried it in the 80′s and thought it was frankly disgusting, but I decided to have another go and I am very happy that I did.

When I was a child I was always questioning why I could not just take a tablet and not really worry about the whole eating thing, and I wanted to know that I have all that I need to keep me healthy.  It seemed logical to me that if I need xyz to keep going, then why can’t I have it in tablet form, random thoughts? Maybe not!!

I have suffered with an eating disorder for many years now, my weight fluctuates on a regular basis and as I have got older it has got far harder to shed it. I am an emotional eater, or not eater and I have recently seen my portion sizes creeping up and my clothes feeling tighter. I have another 30lbs to loose and I need help to shift it.  I have now turned 51 and really want to look my best and make the most of my life, and for me, that includes feeling and looking good.

So, I have embarked on the Herbalife eating plan and it is working for me.  It has taken a while to get to grips with as some of the products are quite sweet, for me that is not good, it triggers binging so I have had to be really careful and honest, it would have been so easy to say ‘yum, they are delicious’ and continue with them, but who am I kidding!  So, I now have a programme that works for me and the support of Maria and Oskar, who I have to say are amazing in working with me to get the best programme I can get.  Their willingness to listen and want the best for me also helps me to be honest and it works.

I have the vanilla shake, which I mix with soya milk and a banana or strawberries for example; the protein bar; the soup; fibre and herb tablets and multivitamins, and the tea, I have the original one which I prefer. I have the shake twice a day and a snack inbetween each one and then a healthy meal in the evening. I have already lost 5lbs and am looking forward to the rest coming off and feeling good as I do it, not starving myself or worrying about what to eat etc, it takes the pressure off for me. It is also balancing my sugar and I am working towards my optimum nutrition.  Being in recovery is a challenge and anything I can do to easy the stress is great for me.

I am going to be writing about his regularly so you can keep an eye on how it is working for me and then maybe have a go yourself.

If you want to learn more click the link above and see what you think, I am very glad that I did.

New Helpline for Binge Eaters Discussed on Loose Women

It was a brilliant show today, the topics covered were varied as usual and today there was the announcement of a new helpline for Binge Eaters called ‘Buzz About Binge’ set up by Pam Ojalae who believes that there needs to be more help for people who are going for fatty treats. I could not agree more.  I have tried to find the details for you but cannot find them anywhere, but I thought I would let you know that there is such a thing out there now and maybe the number will come up on google in the very near future, please let me know if you find it before I do.

kate Thornton was very courageous and disclosed that she herself has had an eating disorder and went on to explain the shame around not being able to share this horrendous illness for the feelings of disgust and how it is still not really talked about, good on her for being so open.  If you click on the link above you can see more of this discussion.

Thanks as always to the women on the panel for making it such an informative and fun programme and for being so willing to reveal themselves.

Vanessa Feltz and her Gastric Band on Loose Women

Thank you Vanessa for your honesty about how you feel about being over-weight, you have helped hundreds of women by being you.  On Loose Women today Vanessa Feltz openly admitted she had to resort to having a gastric band fitted because she just could not loose the weight. That awful feeling of feeling so unattractive she described beautifully and the feeling of not being able to wear what you liked to wear because your choices were now limited, all the above I understand, I have been there, I blew up from a size 10 to a size 20 in a matter of a year, I felt like someone else.  I was under so much stress and I ate to give me energy and I became so obese some of my friends did not recognise me, it was one of the loneliest times in my life.

I have battled with my weight all my life and was diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2008 officially.  I had tried everything and for me it has come down to no sugar, no white flour, no caffeine, and an eating plan which consists of 3 meals a day and ensure that I have equal portions of protein, carb and veg and fruit with every meal, plus exercise 3 times a week.  I found it excruciating at first and could not do it without support because I ate on my feelings.  So what happens when the eating stops, the feelings come up, and they have to be dealt with.

There are places to get help for people with eating disorders and fellowships that don’t cost money, but like everything there are waiting lists, therapists cost approx £50.00 and hour which is out of a lot of peoples price ranges.  Vanessa did touch on the fact that she could afford this when asked by Sherrie what about others who don’t have the funds for a gastric band.  This is becoming more and more of a problem, most things cost and not everyone has it.  I guess there is also a priority for those who do have money, how much do you spend on food and how much will you give up to get well.

Compulsive overeating is a disease, one that is not discussed enough and can even be described as an addiction, if you suffer from this problem and would like to discuss it further please do get in touch, send me a comment or a message to penny@pennysnowball.com and I will help in any way I can.

Thanks again Vanessa and I wish you well with your treatment.

Penny

Eating Disorders and Mental Health-Radio 1 Summer Surgery

A huge thank you to Aled at Radio 1 for his Summer Surgery he is covering subjects such as Eating Disorders, Alcohol and Drugs, Panic Attacks and his approach is really good.

It is so refreshing to hear Eating Disorders being discussed in such an informative way, rarely is the connection with Mental Health made .It is a problem not just about weight, far bigger than that.

Thank you Aled for raising the awareness, how good to hear a man talking with such empathy.-

In Search of My Mental Health

I am so excited…….it has been a really emotional week, one way and another.  In the midst of it all, it has all started to come together. The hope of a documentary with two Addictions Therapists talking about service provision, or rather lack of it, for people like me with no private health care and little funds to pay a therapist, has finally come to fruition.

I have got a production company on board and we are shooting on 13th August, it will be on this website asap after that. We are not commissioned, we are all doing it for free because we believe it is a very important thing to be doing.

It is my  passion to use my journey, (battling with Mental Health, Addictions, Eating Disorders and Co-Dependency, to name but a few of the Addictions I have), to highlight the gaps in the provision available to people like me, and just what a huge impact that has on mine and others lives.

The jury is still out on my diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder/Bi-polar, the Psychiatrist has now passed me over to a Psychologist and hopefully I will get to see her before the end of August.  Thank God I am not as unwell as I was even a few weeks ago, this waiting and having to go over what is going on, over and over again really does my head in……!

I once saw a huge bill-board on the way out of Waterloo Station which said, ‘If Britain was a person it would be sectioned……’ I do truely wonder if it is not the people but what we are expected to tolerate that compounds the state of our minds, it certainly feels like that to me.

The series is entitled In Search of My Mental Health.  I will keep you posted.