The Relief When You Stop Comparing Yourself

beautiful-woman

I went to a Christmas party on Saturday night and I was really looking forward to it.  Now I’m recovered, I wasn’t dreading the food or even having to make conversation with people that I didn’t know.  I got dressed, feeling confident in myself.  Not because I weighed less or because my dress was a size smaller than when I had anorexia (I am a healthy size 8 now compared to wearing age 8 clothes) but because of how I feel about myself now.  I no longer have negative beliefs and this has been the key to transforming how I feel about me, on the inside as well as my body.

During the evening, I saw this young, beautiful woman.  She was stunning and was wearing a lace and sequin long flowing dress, looking like Cinderella at the ball.  The dress was practically see through so she wore white hotpants underneath.

Now years ago, I would’ve looked at her and felt jealous, wishing I looked like that and I would punish myself as a result.  I would’ve judged her for wearing that dress and for making me feel so bad.  But do you know what I thought on Saturday after seeing her.  “Wow!! Look at you! Good on you for having the confidence to wear that!” You see, she was slim yet not skeletal.  She was healthy and confident.  I wasn’t jealous or thinking hateful things about her.  I felt happy for her.

There are so many people that seem to be struggling in today’s society and it was nice to think that she wasn’t one of them.  Now that’s not to say that she hadn’t got her own issues, but I don’t know her so I will never know.  But that’s the thing about comparing yourself to others.  We don’t usually know the people we compare ourselves against, and we will never know their troubles.  But if we see someone that on the face of it, seems happy and confident, that’s all we’ll see and we put ourselves down because we feel inferior.  But if we feel happy and content in ourselves, we have no reason to let other people’s perceived confidence affect us.

Another lady I spoke to at the party was wearing a nice top with a pair of jeans and boots.  She explained to me, “I just wore this as I wanted to feel comfortable.  I’m really not a dress person.  I’ve been to these type of occasions before and I’ve ended up going back to my room around 4 times to change my outfit”.  I thought she’d done the right thing wearing what she felt comfortable in and if anyone wanted to judge her, let them go ahead.  Again, they had no idea of the strength that it took to put those jeans on.

Don’t judge anyone, in a good or a bad way as we have no idea of their situation.  And in the same way, don’t judge yourself based on what you think others are thinking about you.  Because the chances are, they’re too busy worrying about themselves and wondering what you’re thinking about them.  It’s all just a waste of energy.

If you’d like to feel more confident about yourself, book a call with me now and I can talk you through how I can help you feel more confident on the inside and out.

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It’s Scary To Trust When You Don’t Feel Safe

jo-evans

This week I received a message from one of my clients and my heart just wanted to burst.

I always send out a questionnaire to my new clients, to get some background and history on what they’re struggling with, so that I am prepared for our sessions together.  One of the questions is “If there was an event in your life that you wish didn’t happen, what would it be?”  This gives a pretty good indicator of a root issue that needs to be addressed in order for things to change.  It may not be the biggest issue, but it’s hugely important and a good place to start.

So on our 2nd session, I suggested we look at this traumatic memory.  She was quite emotional just discussing it, which again was a good indication that it needed to be dealt with, and I mentioned this to her.  I explained that I was not going to push her into going anywhere she didn’t feel comfortable with, but that she would definitely benefit from doing this work .  If she wanted to stop at any point, then we would.  She agreed to try.

So I explained how it would work and I would guide her, holding her hand every step of the way, as it were.  There was nothing to fear, she didn’t have to share any details, she did not need to relive the event herself.  So step by step, we worked through this traumatic memory.  It took only half an hour to completely transform her feelings about this event, and she felt such relief and positivity afterwards.  I was really happy with the work we’d done and was proud of my client for fighting her fears.

When you have an eating disorder, it’s scary to reach out for help as you fear losing control, which seems to be the only thing keeping you safe.  It’s hard to trust as you think other people are just going to make you eat more and make you fat.  It’s a difficult place to be, stuck between being desperate for help but also being terrified of receiving that help.  I know, I’ve been there.  But staying where you are is never going to change anything.  And I offer a helping hand, every step of the way, working in a gentle yet effective way, making sure you feel safe at all times.  I know how important this is.

If you’re looking for help but not sure if you can trust, you fear losing control, and just want to stay safe, book a call with me and we can just have a chat, and get to know each other a bit.  If you feel that I could help you, great.  If not, that’s fine.  I’m very much into respecting people’s choices and would never pressure you into working with me.  That’s just not who I am.

But I may be just the person you’ve been looking for.  You’ll never know unless you try.  Book a call with me now.

 

I Was ‘Live’ on Local Radio This Week!

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On Tuesday morning, I went ‘live’ on BBC Hereford and Worcestershire radio talking to Malcolm Boyden, the lovely host of the morning show.

I’d emailed the radio station to ask if they’d plug my new Eating Disorders Support group that I’m launching in Worcester next week, so was surprised when they called to actually invite me onto their show.  They told me I would be on for between 5 and 10 minutes and would be asked about my ‘anorexia’ story and my group.  I felt excited if not a little nervous.  I was told that I’d be on air at just after 11am and that I should turn up just before 11am.

I thought he’d made a mistake in timings.  I’d need time to be prepped and settle in etc.  So on the morning of the show, I arrived at 10.45am.  I’m one of those people who would rather arrive half hour early than 5 minutes late.  I was asked to wait in reception and at that point, I could hear Malcolm Boyden broadcasting so started to get nervous.  I automatically started tapping to calm myself down and as I was doing so, chatted away to the receptionist who talked about her friend who had struggled to eat.

Well, 11am came and went and I could hear Malcolm telling his audience that Kim Marshall would soon be talking about how to Kiss Goodbye To Ana, who’s Ana, what’s Ana, they’d find out very soon, he said.

Just after 11am, a guy called Stuart came for me, shook my hand and thanked me for coming in.  He told me that I’d be guided during the interview, and not to worry, just imagine I was having a chat.  I was whisked through into the studio, said hi to Malcolm and then sat down at the desk opposite him.  Within a minute the record (I’m old school, I still say records) had finished and we were on the air!

I felt nervous but tapped away throughout most of the first part and I soon settled in.  We started off with my story and I talked about how life was like for me, living with an eating disorder.  I also talked about EFT and how that has transformed my life and how I now use it to help others do the same.

At one point, Malcolm asked me what was my lowest weight.  I answered honestly but before he could move on, I stopped him and pointed out that my weight wasn’t significant and that it was my mindset that was the problem.  I was seriously mentally ill which people can’t always see.  It didn’t matter what my weight was, I was still ill, and the level of support I had should not be based on my BMI.

This is an annoyance of mine but I made sure I pointed this out to him, and everyone else listening.  But I guess it’s very hard to understand, if you haven’t been there.

I could see him waving at people, I’m not sure if they wanted me to shut up but I was there and I was going to be heard 🙂  He cut to another record and I paused for a quick break.  He told me how well I was doing and said we’d have just a few more minutes talking about my group and any final message I wanted to leave listeners with.

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I was actually given about 17 minutes air time which is far more than I expected and the feedback I got from family and friends was amazing.  They all said how well I’d come across, and what a powerful and moving message I delivered.  I was delighted.

After the interview, Malcolm asked if I’d be interested in being part of future relevant discussions so I could contribute my ‘expert’ opinion!!

And the final message I wanted to leave my listeners with … I know it’s hard and it’s scary, but I use a really gentle technique that allows you to stay in control and feel safe, every step of the way.

If you fancy listening to my interview, click here, I’m on at 1.08 minutes 🙂

Book a discovery call to discuss how I can help you with your journey to recovery.

 

The Dreaded C Word is Coming

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Yes it’s that time again.  Christmas is nearly upon us.  Although if you’ve been to the shops since September, you may be feeling like it’s been with us forever.  I think our local supermarket put up it’s Christmas tree in early November!

I allow myself to think about Christmas once 1st December is here.  So now I can listen to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” without groaning, and I can enjoy seeing the Christmas lights throughout my local high street.

But why 1st December?  Why did that rule come from?  I imagine it was to limit my suffering.  You see for someone with anorexia, Christmas time is pretty crappy.  Actually, crappy is too light a word, it’s overwhelmingly torturous.

Don’t get me wrong, I always loved buying and giving presents to everyone, I loved singing Christmas Carols (after 1st December!), I loved that my kids got so excited and they’d count down how many days till Santa was coming.

Now anytime of the year when there’s a social occasion, there’s food involved.  Whether it be coffee and cake, a picnic, a cinema trip with popcorn, a pub meal, a barbecue, a dinner party, a buffet.  I remember trying to think of a ‘safe’ way of meeting up with friends but there just didn’t seem to be one.

dinner-table

What we have at Christmas is a constant series of social occasions, and sometimes more than one in a day.  And there seems to be this ethos that because it’s Christmas and a good excuse for people to overindulge in pretty much everything, the amount of food involved is immense …. and this is terrifying!

Even some people around you who know you have anorexia can think that it’s some sort of diet and you can just ease off at certain times.  They might even say, “Oh go on, eat a mince pie, it’s Christmas”.  The attitudes and insensitivity of some people is amazing, but I guess it’s because they just don’t get it.  And they genuinely don’t.  You never know what it’s like unless you’ve been there.  You can read all the books in the world on the subject, but you’ll never truly understand the huge terror involved in being in the same room as a table loaded with party food and full of people.

I just wanted to go away at Christmas.  I imagined sitting by myself in a hotel room alone but safe, away from any food.  But I never did.  Because I had my daughters to think about.  I wanted them to have a great Christmas.  They were my reason for trying, even when I didn’t want to try for myself.

If you can’t try for yourself, is there another reason for trying?  Someone or something in your life that wills you to keep going, to stay strong.

I’m genuinely excited about Christmas.  I actually throw two parties each Christmas now for family and friends.  I love getting together with people and having a good dance.  I’m quite the party animal now 🙂  And the table loaded with party food?  Not a problem.  I’ll have a plateful of savoury and a bit of dessert.  And I’ll enjoy it.  But then I won’t give it another thought, until the time comes when everyone goes home and I have to do the washing up 😦

If you’d like to start enjoying your Christmases again, I can help you.  Get in touch x

Feeling The Fear

When I was addressing my own issues during recovery, I realised that I had a conflict of wanting attention but being scared of attention.  I wanted to be made to feel special but I also very much struggled with talking to people about myself.  I could listen to others all day, but talking about me?  My mind just went blank.  I just felt that I didn’t have anything of value to say.  I guess my confidence was pretty low and being asked the question “So what do you do?” by people that I’d just met at a social function, was my worst nightmare.  I didn’t feel enough, I felt judged, I felt that I was boring.  I found that a lot of people loved to talk about themselves and I took advantage of this by firing loads of questions at them, so the attention was off me.  But the thing was, it was my own negative thoughts about myself and my situation that were affecting me, affecting my ability to talk to people.

When I was a teenager, a girl from school said that she wished she had legs like mine.  That hers were too skinny.  I thought she meant that mine were fat.  But I had interpreted this event to mean that even when I’m not aware, people are constantly watching me and judging me in a negative way.  This affected me greatly and made me desperate to hide away and not be seen.

desperate-woman

These events in my life are certainly not isolated and I’ve had to work on quite a few.  But by continually working on my fear of being visible, putting myself out there, being judged, etc. not only in my personal life but in my work too, I am now confident about what I have to say.

I know that I can make a difference in people’s lives, that I can really help them.  But what if I kept that knowledge to myself?  What if I was too frightened to say anything to anybody in case someone said anything negative to me?  Nobody would know about me and my work and I wouldn’t be able to help anyone.  As a recovered anorexic and qualified professional, I know I am in a pretty good position to help others, particularly as I use a tried and tested method that I’ve used myself and with other clients.

I want to help as many people as I can, so I know I need to shout my message as far and as wide as possible, and this gives me courage.  So much so, that I fought my fear last week and did Facebook Lives over four consecutive evenings, working on issues such as ‘Thinking Food is Evil’, ‘Fixating on the Number on The Scales’, ‘Eating in Public/In Front Of Others’ and ‘Getting Rid of Food ie. Laxative Abuse, Purging, Overexercise’.  Comments from the group were positive and I really enjoyed doing them.  And I’m planning to do between 1-2 Facebook Lives each week from now on.

I know what it’s like to be fearful, but don’t let fear hold you back.  I feel I wasted so much time worrying about what other people thought of me.  But now I’m confident in me, there are so many opportunities for me to help others, and I want to make the most of this.

If you’d like to make positive changes in your life, but fear is standing in your way, please book a call with me today to see if I can help you.

Plus if you’re interested in seeing the Facebook Lives I’ve been doing with my group, and the future videos, sign up to my  Anorexia Support Group now.

Admitting To Yourself Is The First Step

How long did it take for you to admit to yourself that you might have an issue with eating? Or are you not there yet?

It took me ages to finally admit I had a problem. I’d lost so much weight but I was determined it was OK because I genuinely just wasn’t hungry. I was just stressed and my appetite usually goes then anyway. It’d come back, it always did.

But after a few months of eating less and less, because my stomach had shrunk so it didn’t take much to make me feel full, I began to realise that even though I might feel a teeny weeny bit hungry, I could only eat ‘safe’ foods and the thought of eating more felt like the equivalent of giving a speech on live TV when you’ve only been given 2 minutes notice. Terrifying!!

I thought I could handle it though and there was no way I could have anorexia because I wasn’t skinny and I was still eating. I was definitely not like the stereotypical anorectic I had in my mind. It wasn’t until I had my first bulimic episode that I couldn’t deny it any longer, that’s a bit more obvious I guess.

If you’re still unsure whether you have a real issue, download my Quiz from the Resources section of my website here

If you’ve admitted to yourself but not got help yet, please do it today, don’t put it off any longer, believe me it only gets more difficult. The quicker you get help, the more likely you are to succeed in your recovery.

If you’re getting help and already on the road to recovery, well done!! It’s so scary because you think you’re letting go of your control whereas the reality is your ED has been in control of you, and getting help means a journey towards finally feeling free!

If you’re unhappy and realising that Ana isn’t the best friend that she promised she’d be, get in touch. I can help you kiss her goodbye.