we’ll be counting stars

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i like numbers. i’ve always liked numbers. i liked maths at school and, although i didn’t end up studying it at university, i chose a subject with a similar set of rules. you either get numbers or you don’t. there’s no judgement either way as far as i’m concerned but i’ve always considered myself lucky to be firmly in the numerical camp.

i like baking because i like numbers. again, i know this isn’t the same for everyone. but i love the precision and the rules (there they are again) and the magic that can be created from some simple ratios. the most traditional, of course, is the old favourite of the 4-4-4-2 sponge which i don’t think can ever really be beaten for pure magic. but there are hundreds of other ratios that i use every time that i bake and a little too much one way or the other will normally result in catastrophe (or, at least, a slightly flat cake which, depending on how dramatic i’m feeling, might well be a catastrophe).

my anorexia (i’m still trying to get used to calling it that) is dominated by numbers too.

  1. how much do i weigh?
  2. how many times have i weighed myself that day?
  3. how much weight have i gained or lost since the day before?
  4. since the week before?
  5. since the month before?
  6. how much does each ingredient of my dinner weight?
  7. how many calories have i consumed in total?
  8. how many calories have i burnt through exercise?
  9. how many glasses of water have i drunk?
  10. how often have i been to the loo?

there are many, many more numbers that i track on a daily basis, even if just subconsciously. in order to recover, some of these need to go up and some of these need to go down.

letting go of the numbers is going to be one of the hardest parts for me i think.

i tried to explain to my therapist this morning that my issues around needing to control my weight are far more about having control of that number than about my size or how i look. the latter two concepts are so fluid and nebulous. my weight is piece of hard evidence that i can use to demonstrate that i’m in charge of my life. i don’t think he really got it.

on the way home, i spent a long time wondering around waitrose, trying to decide what to have for lunch and was uninspired. i’ve never really been very good at working out what to cook when it’s just me at home. for that very reason, i’d bought signe johansen’s book ‘solo: the joy of cooking for one‘ on a whim the other day.  before anorexia, i would default to a bowl of pasta. these days, i’m lucky if it’s anything. the first recipe that i’ve tried isn’t technically a recipe for one i guess but it’s one that i hope will form the basis of many more solo meals to come; a simple seeded multigrain soda bread. it couldn’t really be easier – a mix of spelt, wholewheat flour, oats and seeds all squished together with buttermilk and a little treacle. cocoa powder gives it a beautiful brown colour and trusty bicarbonate of soda gives it a rise. i threw in double the amount of salt required and a handful of chopped rosemary from our just-about-surviving plant. i topped my first slice with some roasted cherry tomatoes, a few crumbles of goat’s cheese and a sprinkling of fresh basil. utterly delicious.

my doctor says i need to be eating at least 500 calories a day (although, it goes without saying that the more the better at the moment). i’m hoping today i’ll get there.

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an act of violence against the self // mini oatmeal muffins

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it always seems so unfair when black moods descend at the weekend; a bit like getting ill as soon as you go on holiday. it was probably my own fault though. a pinterest-induced  spiral that started with my inability to do any more advanced yoga poses than a downward dog (i mean, just how? i don’t think my body will ever co-operate with that), passing through the fact that no matter how many pairs of ankle boots i buy, my calves still look ginormous and finally, inevitably, settling on my weight. the number that had seemed that morning, when i was feeling okay, like an acceptable bmi, now suddenly loomed in front of me, taunting me. this was further compounded by 1) the fact that i ate lunch yesterday and 2) my weight went up this morning by 1lb (i know, i know, it’s just water weight but still).

the competitive elements of eating disorders are well known. it’s a constant comparison game both to everyone around you (do they weigh less than me? do they eat more than me?) and often to yourself (am i more bloated than yesterday? did i do as many steps last week as the week before?). clearly, this appeals to me. there are days when i think i’ve got pretty good at it (and i like being good at things) but most of the time, i’m on a losing streak. and that adds more fuel to the fire. and so it goes on.

i have tried to muddle through today rather than either hide, always my number one choice, or engage in some (other) self-destructive behaviours, generally a close second, so it’s meant more time on the yoga mat, some jobs around the flat that i was tempted to leave for another day and some muffins. the latter were primarily for my husband (obviously) to fuel his long and snowy run but i managed to eat 1/4 of one. baby steps and all that.

{title quotation from iyanla vanzant. the full quote is ‘comparison is an act of violence against the self’ which seemed very fitting}

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perhaps i should say a few words about recipes (and i will talk about this more at some point)? whatever phase i’m going through, i’ve never really stopped loving cooking and baking. it may seem weird to have recipes on an eating disorder blog and some people, will no doubt, find it too weird to cope with. but i’ll never stop wanting to make (and eat) delicious food, generally from scratch. admittedly, part of it is a control thing. or maybe most of it is a control thing. who knows? while i know the nutritionally breakdown and calorie count of everything i cook, i’m certainly not going to add that here. i also don’t tend to use ‘healthy’ substitutions or try to cut calories/fat/sugar/whatever particularly. when i eat, i want it to taste good.

anyway, i’ll try to remember to put recipes behind a cut so you don’t need to read them if you don’t want to.

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