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Do I belong here?

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    I’ve been aware of Matt Stone’s site / teachings for quite a while now, having been a longtime dweller on youreatopia. I have always thought it has made a lot of sense, although I have been nervous to ever really give it a proper go and although I have gone through periods of eating more food then the stand recommended ‘2000cals’, i’ve always done it eating ‘my’ foods, at ‘my’times and have therefore been in complete control – or rather my disorder has been in complete control!!

    Little bit about my history – warning TRIGGER w/ numbers etc –
    3 years ago when I was 23 i started what I thought was a harmless diet with my sister to lose weight for a family wedding where we were bridesmaids. I had never had a weight problem and wasn’t overweight (prob about 122lbs at 5ft5) eating whatever I felt like and doing v little exercise other than the usual walking around London etc. I had of course had periods when I was bigger – fresher 15 etc – but the weight had come off without really trying as I was never iron willed enough to stick out a diet longer then 2 or so days.
    So i started this harmless diet – started replacing breakfast and lunches with healthy juices and doing exercise and after a month or so I had lost 7lbs and everyone was telling me how great I looked and that was that. I became OBSESSED with keeping myself that size. At first I developed a strategy of eating v little in the week (800/900cals) and then at the weekend I would eat whatever I wanted. I now know this is reactive eating. I did this for about 5 months and then suddenly Christmas arrived and I freaked out and just started restricting all the time. whilst exercising. I did have the odd day (xmas, new year) where I ate a fair amount and there were a few horrific binge sessions in this time where I had to starve myself for days after just to compensate. It was a dark few months and by the end of it I had lost a stone.

    At this point everyone around me knew I had a problem. I knew I had a problem. I was freaking out, but food had become my everything and I only felt safe when I had complete control. I was scared though because I was far too thin and I felt frail. I think my lowest was 93lbs or so and for me that was a scary weight. I didn’t want to be that thin, it repulsed me and terrified me, but I didnt want to have to eat differently. I managed to start eating properly again but this just triggered hunger which made me start controlling everything i put in my mouth in an almost OCD like manner. I developed routines and food habits. I gained up to about 98lbs where I plateaued for a year by eating 1800 calories everyday. I ate pretty much the same food everyday for a year at almost exactly the same times and my weight never changed. I felt safe. I was too thin still yes, but I didn’t feel on the brink of death anymore and through careful dressing i just looked like your typical slim London girl! I knew my eating was disordered because I could only eat my safe foods – mountains of brocolli, watery porridge, protein bars and popcorn. and I never ate before 5.00pm. Christmas came round again and i became even more controlling shaving off calories here and there until I had lost 5lbs again causing my family to step in yet again. I was given the option of inpatient treatment or change my habits and I just couldnt face the idea of my parents wasting all that money and also having being inpatient and having that as part of my history so I bumped calories up.

    I had read all about youreatopia and became obsessed with the idea that i had to eat a certain number of calories. I would try for 3000 but inevitably always fell short and i always loaded my calories to night time eating so by the time supper came round i had consumber very little still and i could snack after supper until i fell asleep! I’ve pretty much been living like that since last February now. My calorie limits have been slowly dropping and i have been adding in exercise. Interestingly my weight has creeped up though over the year and I now stand at what looks like a healthy 115lbs. I have stayed that way since August despite obsessive exercise – I work out x6 days a week and i only eat 1800 calories a day and pretty much all of that is consumed after 7.00pm.

    I hate myself for living like this. Everyday is so painful to get through and consumed by thoughts of food and just making it through my routine. I know I am not giving my body proper nutrients. I eat watery porridge still laden with sweetners, black coffee with sweetners, far too much veg and I end every night with a hot chocolate and biscuits. I can’t be doing my body any good and that scares me, but this routine is all i know and any form of eating outside this feels so shameful and makes me hate myself. At weekends I force myself to eat differently but the hunger rears its ugly end and I feel out of control around food. It is horrible and miserable.

    Anyway i know this is a long message and makes probably very little sense as I am waffling. I just don’t know what to do. I weight a relatively normal weight now and I have my periods back finally. I eat 1800 calories a day monday to friday and about 3000 a day on sat and sunday. I do 6 hours of exercise a week. I am sure I could keep living like this if only i didn’t starve myself all day so I could eat freely at might – although it never is freely because I have to eat the same foods the whole time. I am just so hungry and this is the only way to control it.

    How do i get my life back? I am miserable eating like this, but eating more makes me miserable too and i just hate myself more. I also don’t want to gain anymore weight. I feel like I will never escape this cycle, but I want to be normal. I want to get married and have a family and I want to be around to see my niece grow up and my family grow up.

    How has everyone else dealt with recovery from a normal weight?

    Any advice would help me so much.

    Thanks :)


    Hey girl, I think I remember you from YE. I totally understand where you are at. I felt miserable restricting and miserable eating, but you need to keep up with the eating to get the benefits. I still struggle but it is so so so much better now. I did gain some more weight, but I am happy. I do not follow MM guidelines, however I do hit minimums many times a week. Keep at it!


    Hi Lottie,

    Firstly, yes, you certainly belong. You have a fairly typical and serious eating disorder.

    Secondly, I am so sorry to hear your story and I can so, so relate. I started my anorexic journey at the age of 23 and prior to that weight wasnt an issue. I also was a bit surprised to see the weight come off quickly and then I felt trapped to maintain it as well as all my control around food and the timing of it.

    That was 11 years ago.

    Shortly after my family’s first OMG you look like death freakout I also got back up to 100 pounds-ish and stayed there for years. Like you I told myself I looked normal-thin, like a model. But I knew it wasnt at all a healthy weight for me. Still, I felt trapped. I felt like the only thing I had was the food I allowed myself in the later part of the day, and I didn’t want to give that up-even if that food was the same thing daily.

    I have been through umpteen iterations at this point. I am probably at a similar BMI as you, at this point. We both know it isn’t healthy but we call it ‘healthy’ and tell ourselves that since we are already healthy we cannot possibly tolerate or allow ourselves to gain more. Yet we are still living in the SAME prison as before. We play whack-a-mole with the exercise and we turn the recommendations on their head so they become daily minimum requirements. Or at least, I am assuming I can include you in my “we”.

    This is no way to live. You are in the earlier stages of this. I can only tell you my perspective on this, which is that I lost my 20s to this and I totally regret it. Now approaching mid-30s and still in the trap, I cannot believe that this has been the main theme of my life for so, so long. I promise you that if you had asked the 24 year old me, or 26, or 29, or 31 year old me, I never would have expected (or wanted to admit) that it was possible that this is the sad course my life would take. I had so much potential back then.

    Obviously I haven’t figured out the easy solution, but I think my point is that I hope you will learn from my story and fully push forward into recovery NOW. If you continue with this half-life you may very well end up with wasted decades too. Lingering in the prison of what the YE boards call quasi-recovery is probably the worst of all worlds. You don’t get the support and concern of emaciation, yet you still get all the mental fog and depression of restriction.

    As you well know at this point, eating more broccoli and watered down oats and exercising daily is a miserable existence whether you weigh 20 pounds or 200 pounds. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking the number on the scale is any indicator of your recoveredness. It isn’t. (And therefore, it also isn’t useful information so you should just skip it entirely.)


    Thank you both for your messages!

    Tennosea – wow, thank you so much for sharing your story, it brought tears to my eyes – not only because I know your pain, but also because I know how quickly time can pass you by when you chose to shut yourself off to the world and live in a ED bubble. As I approach my 26th Birthday (in a week) I look back on the past 3 years and my primary thought is – holy sh*t, how have I managed to waste 3 years of my life in this mental prison?!! I really, really don’t want to miss out on anymore of my twenties and I know I am the only person who can pull myself out of this trap/cycle.

    The last few weeks have been tough. I have been exercising more and my eating in the day was very limited to allow myself to eat at night. Getting through work everyday was excruciating – I think I had got myself to the point where I knew I couldn’t carry on. On Saturday morning I woke up with a terrible hangover having drunk far too much on just 2 bowls of watery porridge – ick – and I did something I haven’t done in years..I ate. At 7.00am, within 10mins of waking up I was eating porridge with milk, honey (no sweetner!!) and granola. Copious slices of toast with butter and peanut butter followed and more bowls of granola. Instead of freaking out I just allowed myself to be. I went for a walk in the sunshine and then had more toast and granola for lunch, a brownie mid afternoon, a burger and chips for supper and toast and biscuits before bed. Yesterday I woke up and honored my hunger once again, and today too – although since i’ve been at work i haven’t been snacking as much.

    It is early days, but it feels liberating. I am half freaking out at what will happen in the future to my body and half relieved to finally just be responding to something my body has been screaming at me to do for years. Just getting through today at work has been so much easier, although there is still a slight fog and food is consistently on my mind.

    I think at the end of the day I just have to trust myself and trust my body. I have put it through hell these past 3 years but it is still here and I need to show it some gratitude finally. I know whatever comes in the future will be hard and if I end up having a body bigger than what society tells us is ‘acceptable’, ‘desirable’ etc then I will have to learn to live with that. I hope you can find the strength to push through too – 34 is still so young and much in the way I hope to use your words to keep me pushing me through this, you should use your words and perspective to push you through as well!


    I just turned 50 and my Ed started in my teens and took off at 23 with a hospital stay.
    All I can say is you are right to want to be free from the insane and deadly cultural obsession with thinness.
    Did you know more die from anorexia than being obese? Yes, it is true.
    Anyway, I hope you have support to help you. I recovered in my twenties but relapsed at 40 because it was then when they started harping on ” belly fat”. I fell for the bait and became obsessed and sick again. Now in recovery a second time, older and wiser, I will never fall for the bs that industries sell us about our bodies.
    I have my belly back and I am eating to satisfaction again. I have begun to get a life back. My body may not be model thin anymore but my feelings, my interests and my relationships are becoming the focus again. My body is a precious gift that let’s me live to create a life for myself that I can feel and experience. Yes, it can be painful. Being numbed out on an eating disorder is seductive.

    I could not have recovered without professional help, but that was my way. Anyway, it sounds like you are eating again. What a great step to health and wellness for you!

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