8 Mar 2011

Grey Area

I feel like I'm in a very confusing place right now. For a while now I've been within the 'healthy' weight range for my height (admittedly, I just scrape in with a BMI of about 18.8 but I'm still there), so, weight-wise, I certainly don't meet the definition of an anorexic. I also eat what approximates to a normal amount, and I can eat in normal situations too - I can go to restaurants, eat things other people have cooked me, and all of that. But again, I feel like I'm only on the borders of normality. I eat enough but only just (round about 1,400 cals per day) and I'm still very restrictive - I wont eat this or that because its too calorific, and often not allowing myself to eat when I want to because 'I only ate lunch two hours ago' or 'I had a huge breakfast' or whatever. In the same way, while I can go to restaurants and sometimes I'll even splurge in them and order a rich dessert but, as a general rule, I'll  pick the thing on the menu that looks like its the lowest calorie or look up the calories on their website before if they have one. I prefer to go to the same familiar places where I can order the same familiar things that I know don't frighten me. I also still have lots of ED habits/ thought-patterns, like worrying about getting fat, checking calories, feeling guilty if I eat a snack thats more than a certain number of calories, 'compensating' by skipping meals or snacks etc. I also spend A LOT of the day wanting to eat, often because of genuine hunger, but denying myself food until my next 'scheduled' meal etc. I even suspect that I'm not quite at my personal 'healthy' weight yet, even if my BMI's in the healthy category. So, I'm not exactly cured yet. And yet I'm not quite 'ill' either. I know being on the borders is soooo much better than being a full-on anorexic, but sometimes it just feels so confusing because I don't feel 'recovered' yet I'm not really ill anymore. I feel like I'm being self-indulgent if I even try to work on my problems, because I know these problems are so minor compared to what other people are going through (and what I went through in the past).  I feel like a fraud - a 'fake' eating disorder person. Does anyone else feel this way ever? Does anyone know how to deal with it?


  1. I am in a very similar place right now- I am not actively engaging in my eating disorder, but I still have very disordered tendencies that I am working on. I call myself "in recovery", and it is a very grey area, and it is also very up and down. I can identify with feeling like a fraud or fake eating disorder person- I think this is a very common concern with people in recovery. Giving up the ED kind of feels like losing a part of one's identity- and that is scary and unnerving. Also, with eating disorders, I think we all feel sometimes like we are not "good enough" at having an eating disorder- it is just another awful part of this illness.

    However, you are NOT a fraud or self-indulgent- neither am I, neither is anyone else who is in a similar place as us. It is pointless to compare ourselves to others, because in the grand scheme of things there is always going to be someone who is sicker or healthier. What matters in your own happiness and health, and if you know that your life is still negatively impacted by your eating disorder, it is important to continue to seek support and work on it. You are not alone, either- there are many people in the same boat as us. My nutritionist told me that 80% of her patients don't meet all the diagnostic criteria for Anorexia or Bulimia- they are in the in-between stage. It is a more common stage than you think. :-)

    I deal with these thoughts by telling myself that it is my ED who is telling me that I am self-indulgent or not really sick- and that I know I can't listen to my ED, because it wants to kill me. My ED is making me think those thoughts, because the illness is an illness that tells us we are never sick enough. I do my best to reframe the thoughts, talk back to them, and if I am unable to do that myself I talk to my therapist and nutritionist and they help me to think differently.

    I am sorry I rambled so much, but I hope that some of that is helpful! You are not alone. Keep fighting ED- I know it's hard, but it is so worth it! <3

  2. This post really echoes to me. I am in the same boat as you are right now. I struggle with my disordered thinking all of the time. I do eat out. I eat whatever, but I still have ALOT of old habits and tendencies with my ED behaviors. They do surface every day at different times. It's so frustrating and difficult becuase people look at me and they think I am healthy...but I don't feel healthy!!

    I feel that you are writing about me, really! You have no IDEA how much I truly appreciate this post because it is comforting to know I am not alone...even though I am sad that you are also struggling with this.

    I agree with jess...KEEP REFRAMING your thoughts..it is hard, but it will help. When I find myself really struggling and unable to change my thinking; I vent, I write, I paint, I run (for limited amount of time), and I blog!

  3. Thanks so much for your comments guys. I'm so glad that what I said resonated with you. It's so nice to know that none of us are alone in what we're feeling, even though it can feel so lonely. I guess we have to accept it as a 'normal' part of recovery. I actually found a really interesting post on this topic on Nina's blog, 'Help for Eating Disorder'. I found it really helpful in clarifying what I'm going through and reassuring me that it will all make sense in the end. I hope you find it helpful too:


  4. I'm in the same place where I'm right on the edge of being healthy and unhealthy.. And I don't want to stay there, but it's just so scary to move up any more than I HAVE to, ya know?
    But the only way we can recover is by moving through that uncomfortable period and fake it til we make it, as they say.

  5. This post rings true, to myself and many others on the path of recovery. We've all been at this same spot and I certainly feel this way even now that I'm at my healthiest. Sometimes I feel frustrated because even though I look healthy, and try my best to continue eating well, I still have E.D talking to me in the back of my mind. All day, every day. Some days are worse than others of course, but I've still yet to have one where it's been completely dulled. The fact that you're reaching a healthy BMI and are no longer 'ill' is a HUGE accomplishment. You should be so proud and celebrate! The hard part is over. But that doesn't mean there aren't challenges ahead. Sometimes I feel so un-normal because I haven't been able to beat all of the habits or treat myself to goodies, but continue to let the E.D win and shove its way into my adventures. But undoubtedly there are times when I say 'screw you E.D!' and kick it to the curb. I know you can do it, practice makes perfect. The more you kick E.D out of your head and allow yourself to choose things for yourself, the more natural it will become.

    You're wonderful and don't you forget it ! :D