Guest Post: What It's Like to Fight an Eating Disorder

It's been a while since I've had a guest blogger, and I'm so excited about today's post. It's written by Lizzie Mills, a relatively new health and fitness blogger who produces relevant and useful content over at FitLizzieMills. I'm so honoured that Lizzie agreed to write for me about her struggle with an eating disorder and how she overcame it. So with no further ado, here's Lizzie to explain more... 

When Nicola asked me if I would write a guest post for her, honestly I didn’t know what to say. If I'm honest I'm still a little lost for words now, and writing about a difficult journey in my life isn't exactly 'easy'. But here goes…

My name's Lizzie and I'm 20 years old. I'm studying for a BSc Mathematics with the hopes of being a teacher one day. I enjoy going to the gym, eating normally and working hard. However, things weren't always this peachy. There was once a time where I was consumed by my disordered eating habits. All I could think about was food, when my next gym session would be, if I was going to burn enough calories in the gym to be able to eat dinner that night and what uni lessons I'd have to skip the following days in order to stick to this regime. But, I couldn't have an eating disorder because I almost looked like the girls on the covers of magazines. I couldn't have an eating disorder because I wasn't under a certain weight. Or could I?


So how did this all start?

I'll keep this short(ish) and sweet, and if you'd like to find out more you can head to my site or drop me an email! From the ages of twelve to sixteen years old I went to an all girls grammar school where perfectionism was pushed, and it was evidently clear who was 'cool' and who was 'not'. It's so easy in an environment like that to get caught up making constant negative comparisons with the other girls, the magazines they bring in and the celebrities everyone talked about from popular TV shows. One of the main reasons I've started sharing my story is because I'm finding it far too common in today's society for vulnerable adolescents to have developed similar habits from life events like these!

To cut a very long story even shorter, over the next few years, leading up to around the age of eighteen or nineteen, I was skipping meals, popping diet pills like Smarties and purging on a daily basis without anyone close to me noticing. Everything that you really shouldn't be doing, I was doing. I started using the app MyFitnessPal to lose weight without doing the proper research to support this behaviour, and sticking to what it told me so rigorously! I'd miss fun things with my friends and family, because I didn't want to be faced with a buffet dinner, a restaurant menu with no salad, a glass of wine, or any of the foods I'd demonised.

Pair this dysfunctional relationship with food with a three year real life dysfunctional relationship and mentally, I reached breaking point. I constantly sought acceptance and approval from my boyfriend at the time. Once he started working out, I did too. I did it hard and soon enough my obsession with food and fitness ended up causing more arguments than I'd care to admit. That relationship came to an end, and I hit rock bottom.

Why wasn't I good enough? I was going to the gym, I was successful in my studies, I looked good (to everyone around me), so why didn't he love me? I didn't feel close to my family by this point either. I didn't eat with them. I didn't eat what they were eating. I was rarely at home too! I’d wake up early to go running, and stay out late at the gym. My mum was starting to notice that I was obsessively weighing the components of my food for MyFitnessPal, and exercising a lot. My sister stopped talking to me because she thought I was being ridiculous. But it didn't matter because in my mind I was close to getting that perfect body. In reality, I was close to becoming anorexic.

It turns out that you don’t have to meet all of the disorder criteria to have a problem. Unfortunately, in the UK, you can’t be admitted for treatment with an eating disorder unless you have a BMI under 18, regardless of how many of the symptoms you suffer with. Thankfully, there are so many amazing charities and helplines out there! I just had to make the call.

It took me so long to admit to myself that what I was doing was wrong and that I had to stop. I'd look in the mirror and see my six pack abs and pelvis bones, where everyone else would see my ribs, collarbones and thinning hair. I was malnourished. I was ill. And I was doing this to myself! No matter how much anyone told me I was sick, it took my mum breaking down in tears in front of me to realise I was months or even weeks away from being in a very dangerous position. Soon after that day I rang The Bluebell Rooms, a local charity service near where I lived at the time, and I was seen so quickly by a specialist who arranged a specific course of treatment for 'EDNOS with binge eating tendencies' as I didn't quite meet all the requirements for bulimia or anorexia.

I got help, and I got healthy.

With a generation saturated by protein this and protein that, fit/smart watches, and the media telling us what we should and shouldn't eat, I can see now how easy it is to get swept up in the hype and expectation. However, this isn't real life. You should exercise because you want to, not because you have to. You should eat real foods because they're delicious and nutritious. You should be happy with your body because at the end of the day it's all you have, and it's pretty amazing.

Live your life. Live in the moments. And just LIVE!

Thanks again for this amazing post, Lizzie! Hopefully it will help anyone else in the same situation. If any other bloggers would like to guest post here on then please get in touch!

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