My family holidays filled me with fear
The idea of a family holiday, fills most people with excitement and anticipation. It’s an opportunity to wind down and enjoy each other’s company away from the often mundane, monotony of our everyday lives.
For me, on the outside, family holidays were all of those things too, but on the inside, there was often panic, a heightened sense of awareness was required as I managed my secret eating disorder in an unfamiliar setting. Holidays were always about the pool, the bar and the buffets, and the constant, mindless, carefree eating and drinking for enjoyment, used to challenge my mind as I carried bulimia’s heavy burden on my back.
This January (2019), is my 18th month bulimia free, and this family holiday, I have found myself reflecting.
Every holiday began with a vow to myself that I would stay good. I promised myself to not overeat, and took my runners so that I could work out to lessen the damage caused by food each day. By the end of day 1 I’d usually have failed, after eating crap on the plane, at the airport, and then by topping it off with extra fries eaten off the kid’s plates on arrival.
The next day I would make a deal with myself that if only I could get through one breakfast buffet without overeating, I’d be fine, but the temptation always got too much as the chocolate croissants and crispy bacon called my name not just once, but a second and a third time. I would leave breakfast feeling disgusting, full beyond comprehension and in need of purging. I didn’t understand at that point that the whole problem was with my restriction. I didn’t know then that if I allowed myself to eat the foods I’d wanted, that I would take away their power; hindsight is funny like that.
I was remembering the way I would always be planning the undoing of the damage I’d caused myself by overeating by telling myself that my new diet would start straight after the trip. Once this idea was set, I’d have opened the floodgates to non-stop bingeing and purging before the next bout of restriction began again.
While all of this was going on in my mind, I was meant to be enjoying a holiday with my 3 children and husband. So much of my energy was tied up with the thoughts in my head, thoughts of food, the planning, the finding ways to be alone.
It was exhausting.
18 months on and I notice the difference in my mind and in my thoughts. I’ve been enjoying ice-cream this trip, something I don’t usually eat at home, but I’ve been loving it and without guilt it tastes amazing! The way the cold ice-cream slides down the back of your throat, the crunchiness of the cone filled with the delicious ice-cream, I’d forgotten what a pleasure it could be.
I’m also not planning a diet on my return home.
These days I understand that our bodies fluctuate. I no longer use scales, but there are times where your body will be bigger than at other times, but when you learn you can trust your body, it figures itself out.
For the longest time, I was a victim of diet culture.
I finally understand that my body is what it is. I’ve been skinny from restricting, I’ve been heavy from bingeing and neither of those places made me happy. My body has now settled at its set point and I accept that my body knows what it’s doing, I just have to listen to it and trust it.
So much easier said than done but so worth it.
If you or somebody you know would like some help with this journey, you can sign up for a free 20-minute Discovery Call with me.
I’d love the chance to talk to you and tell you about the Mirror Movement Courses. You never know, working together might just be the motivation you need!
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Have you read my blog on a Mother’s Impact?