That Thursday I Started Eating Porridge for Breakfast

Eating disorders love to make you believe you’re not making progress and you never will. They want you to rely on them and trust that though things are bad now, they’ll get even worse the closer you come to fully recovering.

What a load of crap.

On my journey to recovery I’ve been told time and again how important it is to ignore the ED’s lies and celebrate every positive step forward, no matter how small. If you want to make it through the recovery process you need to keep loving and encouraging yourself, especially during the most challenging times. And a crucial part of doing that is knowing why certain steps are so much harder to take.

ED found its way into my life through the wide open door of my perfectionism. I’ve always strived to go above and beyond and succeed in everything I set out to do. Being this way can sometimes be really useful (when it’s coupled with the right attitude) but it can easily be corrupted too. And that’s exactly what happened when I applied it to my eating and the way I viewed my body.

For as long as I can remember I’ve desperately wanted to be known as a skinny girl—someone who was fit, ate ‘clean’ and always had less on her plate than everyone else. I’m not especially tall, but during my school years most of my friends happened to be shorter than me and because of that I was always ‘the bigger one’. My psychologist helped me to realise this was part of the reason I felt the need to be perceived as ‘little’ by others.

As a result, I would scold myself every time I failed to live up to my perfectionist standards by eating two bits of toast instead of one, taking a bite of a cookie or not exercising for as long as I usually did. I was unbelievably harsh to myself (much harsher than I would ever have been to someone else; a common trait of disordered thinking). I became an expert at tearing myself to shreds. When I was finally diagnosed with anorexia this self-abuse had been going on for years, and that made it much easier for the ED to establish a foothold in my life.

kate-porridge

It’s taken a long time, and I’m not where I want to be just yet, but with the help of my recovery team and family I’m learning to stop being so hard on myself. Instead, I’ve started to love who I am and the things that make me unique. I acknowledge and celebrate every win and try to treat myself the way I treat others. Whenever I’m tempted to dismiss or ignore a victory I think of what my psychologist often asks me: “What would you say to a loved one if they had accomplished this?” When you shift your thinking like this it can help to see things a lot more clearly.

Victories don’t always have to be massive. In fact, the seemingly minor wins can often cause major positive ripples. A few weeks ago I celebrated when I added sauce to my Monday lunches (which were previously dry steamed veggies). I know it’s still not a balanced meal, but it’s a small step closer and for me that’s a giant leap towards recovery.

I’m also proud to say I have finally smashed the self-imposed rule of no breakfast on Thursdays (don’t ask me why I singled Thursday out—logic and the ED do not get along). Thursdays used to be a day to dread, but now I look forward to a hot, creamy bowl of porridge.

These little triumphs are teaching me that I can choose to listen to my recovery team, my family and my body, and it is possible to silence the eating disorder. And that’s worth celebrating.

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14 thoughts on “That Thursday I Started Eating Porridge for Breakfast

  1. hajer bahr says:

    Hello I am recovering from anorexia. But I’m lost I don’t know how to recover as I don’t have a specialist. I’m kind of doing this on my own. The last couple of days I’ve been eating heaps! !! Like over 2000 calories and not healthy things to gain but I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do. Where do I start ? What do i do?

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    • mindfoodly says:

      Hi there. First of all we want to say how great it is that you’re asking these kinds of questions—it can be really hard to ask for help, trust us we know! We always, always recommend getting advice from health professionals. Your doctor is a great place to start, they can put you on the right track. There are also helpful online resources (important to make sure it’s a legitimate source). Here in Australia we have The Butterfly Foundation (http://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/need-help-now/). If you don’t live in Australia let us know where you are and we’ll try to find something similar. But we really encourage you to see your doctor as a first step. Our recovery team (which includes a doctor, dietitian and psychologist) have made the biggest difference in Kate’s recovery journey.

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      • hajer bahr says:

        Yeah I live in New Zealand, and I want some tops and advice like what you did in recover maybe

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      • mindfoodly says:

        I’m still recovering and am definitely no expert. Everyone’s recovery journey looks different. I’d recommend emailing support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au with any questions you have and getting in touch with a medical professional—they’ll be able to give you the best advice. The other important thing is to believe you can recover. We believe you can because we know it’s possible for all of us!

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      • mindfoodly says:

        That is so great to hear 🙂 One of our biggest regrets is that for a long time we believed the ED’s lie that we could handle things on our own. But it wasn’t until we got help that recovery became realistic for Kate. There is absolutely NO shame in asking for help. You are not alone and you don’t need to feel like you are. We’ll be posting something soon about realising we needed help, so keep an eye out for that and please let us know how things are going—you inspire us with your bravery!

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  2. Jess Carey says:

    SO much of what you’ve written is EXACTLY what’s going on in my head! And I’m sure I’m not the only one! I’ve just started my “road to recovery” (not anorexia, but depression/anxiety/disordered eating) and couldn’t have found this post at a better time, thank you for what you’ve written, particularly about tearing ourselves to shreds when we don’t live up to our own ridiculous standards… struggling MASSIVELY with that!!! Congratulations on all of your progress though! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • mindfoodly says:

      Hi Jess! We’re so glad you’re on the road to recovery (it can be bumpy but it’s worth it!). Keep being kind to yourself and remember what you’re doing is amazing—don’t let anyone or anything take that away from you! Thanks so much for your message, it really brightened our day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mindfoodly says:

      Thank you so much! That’s so nice of you to say 🙂 we really appreciate it and it’s so good to see you writing about your experience too. Hopefully you find it as helpful as we do!

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