Sunday, 26 March 2017

Reaping the rewards.

 

I've been struggling to blog lately and I don't know why. Every time I try and write a thing I just feel overwhelmed and just end up closing the editor. I've even struggled with the eats report this week, even though things have actually been really good on that front! I'm in that weird place where I have so much to say, and yet I don't even know how to say it. I suppose I'm experiencing some weird writers block. I do from time to time.

It's funny, but I do tend to write a lot more and write my best stuff when I'm emotional, or unhappy. When I'm in a good place it doesn't even occur to me to blog and when I try, the words never seem to happen. I suppose my newfound need for privacy and dislike of broadcasting my life and innermost thoughts on the internet has played into that. I am the sort that does check my blog stats (I love my numbers, ok!) and it does bother me that my most popular posts are still me at my very worst, although I am grateful that some of my more recent positive posts are getting more popular and are starting to overtake them. I have tried to read some of my posts from the summer, but I can't without cringing. That really wasn't me... I'm not sure who I am even now, but I feel more closer to working that one out than I was before. I feel a little more like myself.

I have thought about deleting a lot of it, but at the same time I'm still very mindful of that promise I made to my past self.

I am never allowed to forget that time.

Every time I feel fat, or wonder what the point is, or can't be bothered to eat (which I do, especially if I'm 'not hungry.') I have all that to remind me.

That moron commenting on my weight was a blessing in disguise in the long run. Partly because of the much needed kick up the arse I needed, because I love proving people wrong, and partly because it got me off social media and forced me to live in the real world a little more. I was spending an unhealthy amount of time on social media, especially Instagram, and even though I do check in from time to time, I'm not unhealthy checking it constantly and trying to take pretty pictures. I've never really liked the 'recovery community' on there, and have made no secret of that. A lot of the time it's anything but. It just feel too binary, too superficial, and aggressive and bullying, not to mention downright patronising and a lot of the time missing the point, and I'm happier off there. Don't get me wrong, I've met lovely people, and made some good friends, and there are people I do root for and feel invested in, but my problem is with the culture and community rather than the people.

I also am aware that most of my friends are other people with eating disorders or mental health issues, and I need to start interacting with 'normal people' too, rather than having my whole life revolving around my eating disorder, and normalising it by only talking to other people with eating disorders.

Things have actually been ok lately, and I've actually been ok. I still have moments of feeling trapped, of being unable to stand myself, of feeling that sheer panic. I've also had a lot of nostalgia, but I've been able to deal far better. I get a little low, or bored, or ragey at times, but I don't fall into that deep despair I did before. I'm doing my best to reclaim March, and spring, and this time of year, and now it's coming up to the end of the month, I actually feel like I've done pretty well.

The first thing my doctor remarked when I walked in to our appointment was that I was looking stronger. I'm actually feeling a lot stronger, both mentally and physically. It's not to say I haven't had a few bad pain days, but in general I do feel better.

I got weighed. My BMI is now 15.1, so I've finally gained a little, albeit a negliable amount. The thing is, I don't even care that I've gained. I actually went a week without weighing too, because I didn't feel like it. Not in an unhealthy denial type way, but more in a not actually caring what some arbitury number says about me. I felt I had a vague idea what I weighed anyway, and seeing as I've basically been eating the same amounts and been sticking to structure and all that, it's highly unlikely that I would have gained like, 10 kilos, when I haven't weighed myself for a few days.

Funnily enough I wasn't actually hating on myself for 'making myself fat.' I actually felt pretty proud of myself. I obviously already knew what I weighed as I still weigh myself, but I didn't mind him seeing the number. In fact I wanted him too.

Anyway, I'm now on monthly monitoring, and basically been told to keep on doing what I'm doing. My heart rate is still low, my bloods are still good, and I still haven't had a period since August, so I'm still in fairly poor shape, although I'm lucky. It could have been far worse...

On the days I don't feel bloated, and rubbish, I actually feel ok about myself too. I get painfully aware of how thin I am at times, and I'm starting to hate it.

 

There's a reason I don't post photos of me smiling that often (when you ignore my terrible teeth! Haha!) I have old lady wrinkles, which I really hate. I've felt increasingly self conscious about it. When I mentioned it to landlord ex he did say, 'well yeah, you've had them for ages!' Kind of weird how I didn't really notice before.

I do sometimes struggle with the whole eating more and the idea of weight gain thing, but the two things that stop me from going back are firstly, just remembering how shit I felt in the summer and autumn, and how damn miserable I was when my diet was poor, and secondly, I get chips now, and eggs, and potatoes and facon, and chickpeas, and all the good foods, when I didn't before! I kind of care more about eating nice foods than I care about the numbers. It's not to say I'm not counting, because I am, or that I'm not annoyingly rigid, because oh God, I am infuriatingly so, but it feels less important.

I'm not quite eating what I want to eat, but I'm far closer than I was, and I'm making more choices based on what I actually like, rather than it all being dictated by fitting numbers. I was walking past my favourite pasty shop the other day, and I came so close to just buying the damn pasty for my tea, but I couldn't. It's not the right time yet, although it feels closer to actually being possible.

I have also been out with landlord ex, and again getting slowly more flexible in eating when out. It's been factored into my meal plan, sure, but it's been higher kcal than what I'd usually go for, and more importantly, without compensation. I've just followed the plan, and despite what my head has been telling me, I haven't piled on loads of weight. In fact I've gained barely anything.

I have a lot more energy, again, and I've been far more productive than I have been in months. No more being glued to my chair in my pyjamas waiting to go to bed. I've left the house most days, and I'm constantly doing things. I'm still not great at the whole socialising thing, and I'm still having difficulty with the whole energy management side. I either have too much, or none at all, and I've always been very bad at ever focusing on one thing a completing a task, because I am very prone to procrastination and distraction.

I've done better with the 'spending money on pointless crap' thing too. I've been far less impulsive and whimsy. Again it's only something I really do when I'm unhappy. I've always described myself more as a 'binge shopper.'

I did buy a couple of new dresses the other day.

 

I did also buy a new cardigan. I feel a little bad about it as I'm supposed to be getting rid of things, but at the same time I have been very good at not whim buying things at the moment, and I have been wearing them, rather than shoving them in a bag in the corner of my room with the tags still on as I have so many times in the past...

 

I went to my folks for a few days, and it actually went well! I even managed to cook and eat with them. Plenty of burgers did still occur, but my folks were pretty impressed with my burger skills and both expressed an interest in learning to make them themselves.

The thing I took from that trip, and the thing that means the most to me in the world is I have my dad back! I am a proper daddy's girl (by my own admission), and my anorexia, and various erratic antics over the last few years have driven a huge wedge between us. However, I feel that we've rekindled our old relationship. We were bonding over cooking and everything. I actually bought my dad Jack's book, which I sent him today, along with a burger recipe!

I couldn't recover for myself, or anyone else. I couldn't even for Roy, or landlord ex, or my son, yet I've done it for my dad.

I've said before that there are no epiphanies, or Road to Damascus moments really, ever, and if I carried on waiting for my moment I would still be very sick, and waiting. However a huge turning point for me was when my dad tentatively approached me with an omelette pan and asked me how much of the three egg omelette he'd made I wanted back in October.

I didn't change straight away, and decide to recover or whatever, me improving has been gradual, but that was the one thing that stuck in my mind and I keep going back to.

My dad taught me to cook, and he is as much of a foodie as me, and losing that part of our relationship has been horrible. I want my dad to be able to cook me nice food and to not be scared of me.

Well all my hard work has been rewarded, I have my daddy back. Seriously. This is why I'm doing it! This is the real victory!

It's weird, because a few months ago I would have said that I hated my dad anyway, and 'what's the point in getting better for him.' Again, malnutrition, and anything that threatened anorexia...

I did do most of the cooking when I was there, for myself and my family, but it was more because they're all vegan for lent, and I happen to be good at vegan food that doesn't taste shit (I have been skint many times in my life!) It was a good feeling though, to cook and share good food with others.

Being at Birmingham actually went well. I initially struggled with the lack of privacy and personal space you get from being part of a large family, but my brother was away so I ended up stealing his room. I made a little den and camped out there.

 

I made a little hidey hole! Haha!

I managed to get that blueberry muffin and have coffee and cake with my boy.

 

My mum has even asked me if I'll have him over the Easter holidays! I'm well enough to look after my son!

I sent my mum a copy of my meal plan, and I stuck to structure as much as possible when I was there. Some of the food timings were a little off, because my folks tend to eat their evening meal at 8 or 9, which is a couple of hours after I usually eat my evening meal, but I wanted to eat with them, so I made it happen. Luckily my blood sugar seems to have stablelised so I didn't have any horrible crashes. I even managed to have a couple of party rings when tea was really late and I was hungry!

I also discovered Birmingham has a whittards, so I still got my hot chocolate fix! I was also very good at having my night snack. I just had it a little later.

 

I even made myself some Agnes food when I was home alone! Haha! Yes, I didn't use being home alone to restrict for the first time, well, ever!

I did have periods of feeling low when I was there, but more in the fact that I still don't know what I'm doing or where I'm going with life in general, but I guess that's part of the process. My life has been so tied up with food and weight, it's kind of scary to not have it, and work out who I am without it. I still do feel lonely, and I worry I'm boring, and people don't like me and all that shit. I also have many niggly life worries too...

I'm happy to be back in York.

 

Not far from my house. Daffodils growing along the bar walls.

 

Some photos from my walk back from the station. I love my city.

And of course FACON!

 

I was having bagels at my folks, but with fancy Nutella and cherry jam (so I could eat the same as my son!) and he also doesn't like mushrooms (or pastry! Must have picked up the wrong baby at the hospital! Haha!) but I couldn't find any facon when I was there, and that makes me sad, but I more than made up for it when I got home, and that makes me happy! Simple pleasures and all that.

Nothing beats having my daddy back. It's times like this where I remember, this is why!

It's been slow, frustrating and incredibly gradual, but finally I'm starting to reap the rewards.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Eats report: volume 12

Reclaiming Waitrose, crisis of confidence, breaking my comfort zone, cheesecake adventures and the best fucking choux bun I've ever eaten!

 

Part of the reason I'm continuing with doing these is the fact that it has proven useful for me, but I'm starting to wonder if it might actually be helpful for other people too. I know that probably sounds a tad bigheaded, and also I am by no means any kind of expert. I'm just a sick person trying to get well after all.

However, considering the absolute fucking disaster I was a few months ago, and how much progress I have made in a relatively short period of time, I'm starting to wonder, maybe I could be inspiring? Well sort of, in a 'if someone who's that much of a general fail at life can do it, maybe there's hope for me' kind of way!

I've said a few times, a few months ago I had absolutely no idea where to start. I had no idea what I liked or wanted to eat, I didn't even know how to eat!

Now eating disorders have a wide spectrum, and no two sufferers are the same, but I've always suffered with anorexia nervosa, binge-purge subtype. Sometimes I've just had plain old bulimia with some anorexic tendencies thrown in for fun, because my brain is basically a dick like that.

I've also mentioned that personally, for me, my eating disorder has always been very numbers driven. I've always focused far more on calories, I've never particularly given a shit where those calories actually came from, and I don't think I ever really did. I'd be deluding myself if I ever tried to pretend my eating disorder was ever motivated by trying by be healthy, if anything anorexia has basically been a complete anti-health crusade for me (God knows why! Malnutrition makes you mad, and I've always had slight self destructive and self defeating tendencies which do get worse when things in my life aren't good...) I just needed to count calories because it calmed me down, and was the only thing that made sense to me in an otherwise chaotic and confusing world. A lot of the work I'm personally doing right now has also been focused on working how my own eating disorder works for me, what function it serves, and finding healthier coping mechanisms and strategies.

Well anyway, after six years of seriously fucking about with my diet I thought I hated food, and to be honest I'd been counting calories, exercising like a mad thing, throwing up, taking laxatives, and restricting my general intake and attempting to maintain increasingly lower and lower weights I had absolutely no clue how to eat any more. My fucked up relationship with food had killed any joy or enjoyment I ever felt, and I used to wish I could just take a pill every day that gave me what I needed, and I didn't have to think about what/ when/ why/ how much to eat. In fact at my very worst I had a tendency to eat my entire intake in the morning, just to get it out the way. Dark times...

There have been so many times in the last six years where I wish I'd never learnt about nutritional information. I mean, I could have been all thin and shit by just severely restricting my diet. However learning nutritional information (coupled with bulimia) completely ruined food for me. Everything became dictated by numbers. I didn't really know what I wanted to eat, or what I liked any more. I've never really related to the whole taking hours to finish meals, or hiding food or throwing it away, or eating chocolate again after years of not eating it, because my own eating disorder has never worked like that. Technically speaking with bulimia, nothing is off limits, and I 'ate' plenty, I would just massively compensate for it, and I never enjoyed my massive binge sessions.

I suppose what I'm saying, in a round about way, is that traditional methods never worked for me. I loathe and despise Minnie Maud (that's what's my personal opinion, not gospel!) because it encouraged my binges and made my bulimia worse. It's not to say that I don't believe in reactive eating, because I do, but there is a huge difference between reactive eating and bingeing. There is for me anyway. I've always seen reactive eating as what my body tells me to do when it's been consistently underfed, and overeating on top of structured meals and snacks, purely because your body is crying out for it. Bingeing for me, is when I'm restricting anyway, and when I compensate for them. I've probably mentioned that I did manage to beat my bingeing after two years, but only when I stopped restricting/ exercising/ purging to compensate. If anyone reading this is struggling with bingeing, then here's my advice. Don't compensate, and make sure you're eating regular meals! It's easier said than done, I know, trust me it took two years...

But anyway, part of my fears around eating more were bulimia, rather than anorexia driven. I was terrified of lapsing into another binge/ purge cycle, and I've always traditionally hit a number where 'fuck it' mode will set in... I didn't see the 'point' in eating more, because I was convinced I was unhappy anyway, and I wanted to eat everything and nothing at the same time, and it was easier to just eat chocolate, and not think too hard about it all.

But yeah, I've always struggled with the 'throw out your scales and stop counting calories thing' because I simply won't eat at all, and have been like that for, well, forever! I've actually found I still need to do both. Same with throwing out small clothes, for me it was actually buying a pair of jeans that actually fit that was a huge turning point, as it forced me to actually accept my size now, rather than continuing to buy size 8s because I should be a size 8, even though size 8s have swamped me for years.

Over the last few weeks I've made huge progress, and so these have served to show the 'how' I've done it. After all, last week I went out and ate macaroni cheese with my best friend, which would have been completely impossible a couple of months back, but I did it so slowly, gradually and staged that in the end it was no big deal.

Well anyway, what I'm saying is my methods are somewhat unorthodox, but they've worked far better than the traditional cold turkey methods I've used in the past. Stealth works better than full on aggression for me!

The last couple of eats reports have been a bit shorter, which I don't really think is necessarily a bad thing as I said last time. In the beginning I was far more experimental, and wasn't entirely sure what I actually liked or wanted to eat, whereas now I have my staples, and a few set meals I do which I know I definately like. I suppose going for foods and things I know I definately like rather than risking eating something I 'might not like' isn't particularly great, but hey, I'm carrying on with the whole trying things out and all that!

Well this week I've finally managed to hit BMI 15! I have been eating quite a restrictive intake, although I have been pushing towards more normal amounts of food, and I am starting to eat meals that actually do look like meals, as opposed to what I lived on before, which was an improvement on no meals at all! I'm also focusing a little more on what I actually like eating, rather than just making things 'fit' numbers.

I did worry about being stuck in a rut, but I suppose it's important to consolidate the structure and take stock, rather than continually pushing and pushing. This week I've pushed myself a little harder, and there have been plenty of new and challenging things!

Shit I've made this week.

Moar burgers: falafel splats v.2

Well I mentioned that I'd salvaged the falafel splats and actually made them work as a burger last week.

Well, seeing as they worked so well last time, I decided to have another go at doing them as a burger. I used 85g breadcrumbs, which possibly was too much, as the mixture ended up a little dry and was a bugger to roll. I added a little water which seemed to do the trick, although I know it's recommended you don't use too much for vegan burgers, as that also can lead to them falling apart... it's a fine balancing act!

Well I initially rolled them into 8, and they seemed a little small, so I rolled them into 6 and they seemed a little big, so I settled on 7.

 

I had one the following day with my tea.

 

It did splat a little. Possible used too much water? However, it was a seriously good burger, and I'm pretty damn proud of it! It was sweet, but in a savoury type way, if that makes sense? And it was just all manner of good and delicious!

The best fucking choux bun I've ever eaten!

On Monday I spontaneously bought landlord ex and I some coffee choux buns. Well more, I bought me a coffee choux bun, and it seemed a bit mean to leave him out of the whole choux bun thing so I bought two.

Well on Tuesday landlord ex went to sainsburys and repaid me in kind, as he was so enamoured by the last choux bun he wanted another!

He opted for the double chocolate, which is not one I would have chosen for myself, because I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge chocolate person, tending to opt for fruit/ nut/ custard/ coffee type things. However I thought I'd give it a go and I had one as part of my afternoon snack.

 

Well?

Aw man! Seriously, it was the best fucking choux bun I've ever eaten! It was all kinds of amazing!

 

Behold the glory!

 

Was late in the afternoon so the light was pretty poor, but that still can't detract from the incredible delicious epic awesomeness! Man, the chocolate, the pastry, the cream, the sauce, even the icing and the flakes of chocolate on the top... oh man! It was just a foodgasm and a half on a plate! It had all the right things going for it, and was just unbelievably epic and awesome! It will definitely happen in my life again.

I think I am just going to leave the eats reports here, as I have reached peak perfection in terms of finding good foods! Haha! But yes. The ratios were bang on, and it was just all manner of good!

I think the chocolate sauce was my favourite part, as it was very reminiscent of profiteroles, but yeah, the whole thing was pretty damn good and will certainly be happening again in my life.

Well in fact it did. Again! On Wednesday night landlord ex said,

'It's been a while since we've had a choux bun...'

'Dude! It's been like, a day!'

'Yeah...'

'I know! I'm already feeling the withdrawal!'

Well on Thursday I decided this really needed rectifying, so off I toddled to sainsburys and headed straight for the patisserie! It was the same guy as last time, and he initially misheard me and gave me one, and I had to ask for another 'because my landlord will want one too and it seems a bit mean and he might get sad if I have a choux bun and he doesn't because the love of choux buns is best shared!'

Yeah, if I didn't already come across as nuts the first time round! Haha! Least I didn't jump up and down like an excitable young puppy!

Well anyway, I had it that afternoon!

 

I opted for a bowl and spoon rather than knife and fork. There's only so much David Cameron you can be after all! I haven't destroyed the country or owt, and I know how much a loaf of bread costs so I'm not that much like David Cameron! Haha!

This time the bun was less cream and more chocolate sauce, but I really really wasn't complaining as it had so much awesome and win happening for it!

All the happy food coma was occurring in my life. Not gonna lie. But seriously, if you have access to a sainsburys and it has a patisserie, you seriously need to get these buns in yo life. You will not regret it!

Reclaiming Waitrose.

Now I've mentioned I have quite a few foods, and shops, which I associate with periods of being 'at my worst.' Not necessarily in terms of weight, but in mindset. Oddly enough, M&S was one, and I worked very hard over the winter months to reclaim it back, but Waitrose was another.

Now a few years ago, I used to live next door to Waitrose. It was during my bulimic phase, and anyone who's been through it will know how strong the compulsion to binge is, especially when the idea's in your head.

Well, anyway, Waitrose is where I usually went for my binge food, as location wise it was the closest (well, when I wasn't just stealing my housemates food for that purpose.) I have scores of nasty, unpleasant memories from that period of going into Waitrose, buying a load of rich, expensive foods, and ice creams, and having a complete blow out, leaving me surrounded by wrappers, in tears, and slicing chunks out of myself. I also racked up a tonne of debt, why couldn't I just go to Poundland? Haha! But I suppose logic never really features with eating disorders. Anyway, it was a horrible, shameful, depressing period...

The next year, I also used to frequent Waitrose when I was going through one of my restrictive phases, and would spend hours picking up and putting down miscellaneous food items I had absolutely no intention of buying. Both were pretty dark depressing times.

I did go through a similar phase this summer, where I was just going in to look at food, or buy thing to hoard, I also went through a phase of only eating Florentines, and that was back when Waitrose were the only place which stocked my favourite Thomas J fudge ones at the time.

Well anyway, I had a weigh in on Friday morning, and I had my heart set on going to Waitrose, because I absolutely bloody love Waitrose, and I hate that this stupid fucking illness has taken it from me.

RECLAIM! Haha!

I got ridiculously overexcited about Waitrose, and spent all evening on the website planning exactly what I was going to get, like a normal person... I also kept on banging on about it to landlord ex, but yeah, in general I was just very excited! Haha!

Well anyway, I went in on my way home. Annoyingly I was wearing impractical shoes for the long walk, so my feet were killing me! I also seemed to have picked the time of day where every single person in York over the age of 85 had decided to stock up for the zombie apocalypse, so I was being continually being rammed with massive trolleys and found myself growling at people dithering in the middle of aisles on numerous occasions... I also didn't get my free coffee as there were too many people milling around the thing.

Still, it was good I'd already looked on the website, meaning I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to buy, which saved a lot of annoyance and irratation.

I bought a couple of yoghurts, the Icelandic skyr (which is amazing by the way and I 100% recommend! Yeah, it is high protein and low fat, and I hate bigging up 'diet' foods, but at the same time avoiding low calorie and diet foods can be equally disordered, plus it is an ace yoghurt!) and the collective Russian fudge one which I have been eyeing up forever, but have been too scared to buy!

 

I also bought some 'Black Forest frozen fruits' which are in their 'essentials' range! Haha! Waitrose knows the score!

I bought some of those incredible 'taste the difference' maple pancakes again the other day, as I had a hankering for them, so I decided to top my breakfast one the next day with skyr, Black Forest fruits, cherries, crushed amaretti and malteasers and maple syrup. All the win was happening. Not gonna lie! It was all manner of awesome!

 

Trust me when I say it tasted every bit as awesome as it looks!

Also, just when I thought Thomas J. Fudge Florentines couldn't get any more awesome, they go and throw a curve ball...

 

Yes! That's right. WHITE CHOCOLATE! Two of my favourite things, rolled into one.

 

Well, it was awesome and incredible. Salted caramel do still have the top spot for me, but they certainly have stiff competition with these babies I must say! They were seriously good.

Thomas J. Fudge do, hands down, make the best Florentines.

I also bought a box of ice cream, a couple of bell peppers, a potato, some tortellini (lol) and a slice of cheesecake from the patisserie bit.

So yes, I did buy many awesome things from Waitrose and the whole thing was very exciting. I bought some amazing bell peppers too, and yeah, in general all manner of good foods were occurring, so yey for Waitrose!

Adventures with cheesecake.

Cow bone cheesecake!

I've already mentioned that one of the purchases I made when I went to Waitrose was a piece of cheesecake from the patisserie counter. Now cheesecake has always been a massive trigger food for me. I've never been able to eat it without purging, which has always been a longstanding issue. I did have those gü puddings, but I've been wanting to tackle a full on, slab of cheesecake for a while.

Now cheesecake is kind of scary for me, in terms of calories, and also because it's one of those foods I 'need' to purge. I just find it so rich and sweet (and delicious) I instantly want to make myself sick, and I really struggle to not do it. It's been a long running issue, and over the last couple of years I've dealt with the issue by not dealing with it, and just avoiding cheesecake completely.

However I am well aware that completely avoiding the food is not dealing with the problem, it's pure avoidance and it doesn't make me not bulimic (although I did spend years trying my best to convince myself the opposite was the case...)

Well anyway, after my positive doctors appointment, I was feeling all motivated and shit, and decided I wanted to have a go at tackling cheesecake. I dithered around Waitrose for ages, trying to decide which one I wanted, and in the end I settled on a lemon curd and mascarpone one from the bakery counter. I got landlord ex a slice too.

It was higher kcal than I generally allow for my afternoon snack, but I was having a major 'fuck it' moment. Cheesecake is awesome after all, and anorexia sucks balls!

I went to see C, and had my slice when I got in.

 

Well, it was delicious. It was light, and the flavour wasn't too overwhelming. The buttery biscuit base (lol) has always been my biggest trigger, and luckily it was thin enough for it not to be an issue for me, and all manner of deliciousness and win were occurring in general.

Sorry, this is totally necessary!



Haha!

It had flaked almonds on and everything!

 

I found out afterwards that it wasn't vegetarian, because being the genius I am I forgot to read the ingredients, and only read them afterwards. That is most unlike me as I'm usually very aware of what I'm eating, and have always been very careful with labels, as animal products do crop up in the most unlikely of places, as this has proven.

So sadly this particular cheesecake will not be featuring in my life again, but for all you non veggies out there, it is a very good cheesecake and I definitely recommend it!

Luckily I didn't do my usual beating myself up thing for accidentally eating something non veggie. It's easily done after all. I've always been a very strict vegetarian (albeit eating magnums, which are dubious territory because of the whey, and I do feel a bit weird for eating them tbh...) and I'm generally quite vigilant with checking labels. I suppose I didn't this time round because cheesecake is generally ok. I'm more annoyed at Waitrose to be honest, rather than myself, because I always hate it when things that should be vegetarian and usually are have gelatine in, when it's completely unnecessary.

I say that I don't feel bad, but then I'm typing this worrying that people will judge me, and think I'm a terrible vegetarian for eating a non vegetarian cheesecake, and that everyone reading this will think I'm an idiot for not checking the label properly, and that I'm some kind of terrible person for enjoying a non vegetarian cheesecake... and then I worry that people are judging me for eating magnums when the subject of whether they're vegetarian or not is very dubious, debateable territory... ok, I'm getting way way too neurotic! Basically, lovely cheesecake, I tackled cheesecake, and next time I'll read the label.

Also thankfully those very sexy choux buns of win are veggie!

'Make him proud.'

On the 18th it was the anniversary of my best friends death. Anyone who knows me (or has known me for a while) knows what that man meant to me. I probably wouldn't be sat here writing this right now if it wasn't for him, and he did save my life.

It was three years and I felt it was important I did something to mark the day, preferably with landlord ex, as Roy always liked him, and was always trying to get us to do things together. It took me ages to decide what to do. I know there was nothing Roy liked better than having a few pints at a good pub, but as I'm teetotal (as is landlord ex) that obviously wasn't an option.

A couple of weeks ago landlord ex printed out the menus for café concerto, one of his favourite places, as a hint he'd like to go. I'd been there with him before, and had a mocha and a piece of cheesecake back when I was at St Andrews. However, that was when my eating disorder was starting to become more of an issue again, and I really struggled with it. I ended up having a full scale tantrum in public, which isn't ideal, and I was really struggling with my 'cheesecake issue' which is a shame, as it was a very nice cheesecake.

Annoyingly the anniversary fell on a Saturday, which meant town was most likely to be rammed, but I had my heart set on doing it, so we made it happen anyway.

I actually kind of like having cake when out from nice places (I'm not a huge fan of coffee chains like Costa because I'm always very critical of their quality.) but as an enthusiastic baker, I am very interested in the craft, and appreciate a good cake!

Café concerto was very busy, but we did get a table, and I didn't mind it being busy so much because the atmosphere was nice, and it was relatively informal and friendly.

There were so many awesome looking cakes, but I had my heart set on cheesecake, as I am very focused on beating that particular one. I also love cheesecake as I've probably said numerous times in this post, just in case you've all forgotten! Haha!

Now I'm not a fan of supermarket cheesecakes, and I can't stand the ones you get in the freezer section. Supermarket New York style ones are tolerable, and I've had a couple of gü puddings, but to me they're not really cheesecake. I like a good proper baked cheesecake. The cheesecake that day was vanilla, with a fruit compote, which sounded ideal!

I didn't take a picture of my awesome cheesecake, as landlord ex was there, and I didn't want him thinking I was a massive hipster weirdo. I took a picture of my post cheesecake face though, when he was settling the bill so have that instead!

 

Café concerto is wallpapered with sheet music, which is pretty cool! You can sort of see it in the background!

Still, I'm happy I had food when out, and what I wanted. I had to estimate calories (I'm really not one of those 'omg! I tackled UNKNOWN CALORIEZZZ RECOVERY WIN!!!!1!' people, because when you've counted for as long, and as thoroughly as I have, you tend to have a reasonably good idea of calories anyway, plus as I've made cheesecakes in the past, I have a very good idea of the calories!) Landlord ex ordered the toffee and banana cake, which actually looked fairly decent too. I quite like banana cake when it doesn't have chunks of horrible banana in it, which this one thankfully didn't seem to.

I've mentioned that with cheesecake, one of the biggest 'triggers' in terms of the urges is the base, and the base of this one was fairly rich, and I struggled slightly, but it did taste absolutely incredible, and the berry compote it came with was very nice, and it was just amazing in so many ways, you can't beat proper baked cheesecake.

Incidentally I do make a very good cheesecake, and I certainly need to make mine again at some point in the future! I love baking cheesecakes!

But yeah, we will certainly be doing it again. I also thought all the food looked really good too, and we'll certainly be doing lunch at some point in the near future. Annoyingly I really wanted a mocha, but I got all OMG CALORIEZZZ! about it, so I didn't have one, and opted for a black coffee instead, but hey, mochas will always be there, and I'm sure I'll get braver with it all in future!

Recipe Wednesday and lack of confidence.

I have a confession. You may have noticed I've gone a little quiet on the recipe front and I haven't done a recipe Wednesday for a while now? Well, if I'm honest, I've been struggling a little lately with confidence in my cooking abilities, and being overly self critical. I've started to worry, once again, that I make shit food, and I don't want to post recipes for shit food because people might make them and they'll be shit, and then they'll judge me for posting crap recipes... yeah, I can be such a neurotic mess! I do need to start posting them again though, and get a little more confident.

I've felt lately that my last few burgers have been a little lacklustre, as they've 'splatted' a little, and the texture has been wrong, and a bit crumbly.

I decided to field test one of my most successful recipes on Friday to try and challenge my insecurities a little. I made it exactly the same as last time, with an added chopped up chilli.

 

It does look very pretty!

 

I always think these ones are my prettiest burgers. I love the colours (and how yellow turmeric makes everything!)

 

Well, I had the same problem that I've had with the previous few, it splatted, and the consistency was crumbly, although it mostly held together. I suspect it might be the new breadcrumbs, as that was the only thing different. Tiger bread did work far better with the whole texture and binding thing, so I might scour bakeries at the end of the day for different stale bread to use.

It was a nice burger, don't get me wrong, I just feel that since I've used the new breadcrumbs the texture has been somewhat lacking! Tiger bread does seem to make better breadcrumbs, I suppose as it's a white bread it has a higher gluten content, whereas my new crumbs are wholemeal. Well anyway, I bought a couple of tiger rolls the other day, and I'll try again with them!

I spoke to my dad about it, and he confirmed my suspicion that wholemeal breadcrumbs weren't the same. I did take these burgers down to Birmingham with me, so I knew I'd have something to eat. My dad fried one up in the evening, and my sister did remark that they looked pretty impressive! I enjoyed that one far more, when I wasn't being so self critical.

New things!

Haagen-Dazs icecreams!

Now a few weeks ago I spotted that Haagen-Dazs now do these ice cream sticks. It was about the time that I had that salted caramel ice cream and had ice cream on the brain as the weather's getting warmer and shit! Well generally, I was freezing my bollocks off on Friday, lousy smarch weather and all that!

Well anyway, I was doing my totally disordered browsing of the sainsburys website when I noticed they were on special, so of course, being the normal person I am, I had to run straight out to get some!

I couldn't decide between the white chocolate almond and the salted caramel, so I had to get both of course, for science! Or something...

Well that afternoon when I got in I tried the white chocolate almond.

 

I was expecting it to be like a white chocolate magnum, but it wasn't like a white chocolate magnum, but after I had got over the initial disappointment of it not being a white chocolate magnum, it was actually really nice, and I really enjoyed it, and would certainly have it again!

The chocolate was a lot thinner than that of white chocolate magnums, but it tasted good quality, as did the icedream. Incidentally it felt a little odd eating Haagen-Dazs, as I realised I haven't ever eaten it in a non binge capacity, and I couldn't remember if it was nice or whether I even liked it, but it was, and I did, very much.

I must admit I do prefer white chocolate magnums, but that's totally a childhood/ teenage comfort thing. As they are my absolute favourites!

'Handheld ice creams.'

Now, I picked up a box of coffee non magnum magnums when I was in Waitrose. Incidentally when I went on their website to double check their nutritional info I spotted this!

 

Handheld ice creams?

I also did double check they were definitely veggie too! Haha!

Well landlord ex had one on Saturday night, and he was very impressed by it, and was raving on about how great it was. Annoyingly I couldn't have one then, as it didn't 'fit' and I wasn't hungry, and I didn't want to be greedy.

Sadly, it's got cold again, so it hasn't been really ice cream weather. However, on Sunday afternoon the sun came out briefly, so I used the opportunity for ice cream!

 

Well, it was more like a magnum, in terms of the chocolate ratio, and it was rather generous in size too, I thought, unlike the recent downsized magnums.

 

I've realised, believe it or not, I don't think I've ever eaten coffee ice cream! Like, at all! It's not that coffee ice cream doesn't sound nice or like something I would like, but I suppose when it comes to choice, I always go for mint choc chip or raspberry ripple, as they're my favourite.

Well anyway, landlord ex was right, it was absolutely bloody incredible. I was a bit worried as it was coated in dark chocolate, and I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan, and never have been, but thankfully it was actually ok. It was rich, but not too rich, and it wasn't too sweet, and the crispy bits were really nice!

It's basically up there with white chocolate magnums, and Aldi salted caramel ice creams in terms of its deliciousness and general amazingness and I cannot big it up enough! I will most definitely be getting them again I think!

Not a vegetable or a new thing, but a scary thing!

I suppose one of my last goals had a slight typo, well omission, as I'm scared of many miscellaneous fruits too, for no real logical reason. Over January and in early February I'd done well to tackle a load of them, but lately I've hit a bit of a lull. I suppose I'm eating such a variety anyway it doesn't often occur to me to buy different ones, but lately I've felt the need to shake things up a bit. I mentioned that I'd got scared of bell peppers for no reason and I've avoided them for two years...

In fact the last time I did eat peppers was when I was chopping them up for art! We had to buy fruit and vegetables to draw, least art forced me to eat my greens! Haha!

 

Some charcoal peppers I drew in art class ages ago! It's been ages since I've done any art, I should probably pick it up again... there are so many things I need to pick up again!

Well, I was in M&S purchasing biscuits (as standard!) when I spotted the baby peppers. They seemed like a relatively non threatening intro to the world of peppers so I picked some up.

I roasted half, and had the other half raw with my tea, to see which one I preferred (conclusion, I couldn't decide! Haha!) but yeah, they were just really nice!

 

When I was in Waitrose, I picked up a couple of big bell peppers to try, and I had some roasted with my quorn lasagne. The Waitrose ones were absolutely amazing. Sometimes with bell peppers, they can be a little bland and flavourless, but it wasn't the case with these, as they were both fleshy and delicious, and they were all manner of delicious and incredible.

 

I also had one roasted in my epic tortellini! You can barely see it because it's all hidden. Incidentally I used my Waitrose tomato and mozzarella tortellini, but I didn't think it was as nice as the sainsburys one, as it tasted a little dull... sainsburys all the way in future!

I purchased some of the sainsburys bell peppers. Sadly they weren't as nice as the Waitrose, but still perfectly delicious. I chopped up some to use in my Agnes salad, with a spinach and ricotta omelette and some ritz crackers.

 

Not my best omelette I'm afraid, as I got impatient with it and it fell apart! The ricotta was slightly past its best, although I did manage to salvage it with nutmeg, Also accidentally overspinached and underseasoned it! D'oh! Still the Agnes salad does look very pretty! It was also tasty, and the meal was actually pretty good!

Incidentally, I'd been feeling like utter crap all morning, and I had this omelette, and instantly felt like a whole new Agnes. They do have magical Agnes make better powers. My mum did say to me that she starts to feel really rubbish and ill if she hasn't had eggs for a few days, and I'm starting to notice I do too. I think you do need some animal protein in your diet, which I've never been brilliant at getting, like ever! But yey for the healing properties of omelettes. Also maybe I'm beginning to get more in tune with my body?

But yes! I fucking love peppers, and I am glad they are back!

Notable mentions.

Ginger Pepsi max

Now, I'm not one to ever endorse a diet product, as I tend to avoid them myself, and I do say that even if you're on a diet they're a load of shit, and I would only really recommend eating/ drinking diet stuff when you're in a transitional stage (trying to up your intake and so on), however we all do have our poisons... Now I've mentioned before that like many people with an ED, I do have an unhealthy dependence on diet drinks, particularly Pepsi max. Now I do like my Pepsi max, don't get me wrong, but at the same time I know I'm addicted to it, it's very bad for me and my shitty bones (I have really bad osteopenia, caused by long term restriction) and when I was very ill I would often use it as a substitute for food.

I've worked very hard at limiting myself to three pint a day, however, this week I discovered, thanks to amyseeksnewtreats  that they've released a GINGER version. Yes you've read that right!

Now as I've mentioned, I'm currently off Instagram, because I felt my relationship with it was getting unhealthy, and the final nail in the coffin was some total bellend attacking me for my lack of weight gain (while refusing to acknowledge all the work I have done and progress I have made. I'm sorry, hate to big myself up, but I feel like what I have achieved is nothing short of a miracle considering the direction I was heading in. I am, you know, seriously ill and all that!) Well, anyway, I probably would have been aware of the existence of this marvellous thing way earlier had I been on Instagram. Well straight away I knew I had to seek some out, so off to sainsburys I went!

I realised I had spotted it before, but had just assumed it was a caffeine free monstrosity and ignored it (seriously, what is the point in anything caffeine free?) But anyway, I bought it.

 

Verdict? Aw man! All manner of awesome, epic and incredible we're going on!

It's basically what would happen if Pepsi max and ginger beer had a very sexy love child. But yes, it is he greatest thing ever, and I will now drink no other Diet Coke!

I'm hoping this isn't another 'Vanilla Coke zero' thing. Basically I got really hooked on Vanilla Coke Zero, which became one of my expensive habits as you could only get it in import shops, but sadly I haven't seen it around for a while. Anyway, Pepsi better not discontinue this wondrous thing, because I'd be very sad if they did, as it is truly one of the greatest of all great things.

Miscellaneous mentions

Purely because it was a nice meal, did the omelette from the other day again. Mushroom, sweetcorn and chilli, this time it was cooked to perfection and it was just a damn nice lunch. I had it with tortilla chips, and it was just seriously good eating!

 

I also had the serving size stated on the packet too, rather than going for an Agnes amount! Washed down with ginger Pepsi max, it was a meal of untold awesomeness!

I realised I was long overdue a whittards trip on Saturday, so I nipped in before I went to see landlord ex and purchased the chilli hot chocolate. I'd been eyeing it up for ages, but hadn't been brave enough to buy it, through fear I wouldn't like it. However, I decided to take the plunge, and I'm glad I did, because it was absolutely bloody brilliant! I think it's actually my favourite!

Various food issues.

I have worked very hard on my food hoarding, and tendency to buy food I have no intention of eating, however I have been prone to the odd moment. I do have a tendency to buy individual chocolate bars, which I have absolutely no intention of eating, to keep in my cupboard. The hoard has gone down considerably, as I have made a conscious effort to eat things from it, but it's still very much a thing. I also do struggle a lot when things are on offer too.

I've got miles better at paying attention to the meal plan itself, rather than get bogged down by numbers, which is a positive. As I said before, at some point I realised that if I increase my intake I get more chips! Haha! I still have panics that I'm eating too much and I'm greedy and all that though.

I do also struggle a lot to eat when I perceive I'm not hungry, and lately my appetite has completely gone, probably because of the warmer weather? I don't know. I have still been following my meal plan despite not being hungry for meals and snacks, but there is still a bit of guilt, I'm not gonna lie...

Goals and things I'd like to work on.

Last week's goals and how I've done:

1. Same as last time. Stick to structure and try and raise my calories.

I've actually done it pretty successfully on both counts! A few days I've even been over 2000, although I have struggled a little with that...

2. To try and be a little more varied and use my meal planner more.

Loads of burger and chips/ tortellini have still been happening, however I have made an effort to eat different things. I have actually tried many new foods this week. I've made sure I'm using my meal planner.

3. To introduce a new scary vegetable! I think these days I do eat a good variety of different ones, and a far greater variety than I used to, but at the same time I'm aware that most of my food fears are miscellaneous fruits and vegetables. I'm still really weird about cucumber (even though I eat it most days as standard!), tomatoes and peas. I won't eat broccoli, which I love, purely because I'm scared of it. The same applies to aubergines.

Well, I got reacquainted with bell peppers. Yeah, ok, they're a fruit, but still, I did them. I also ate brocolli, and green beans when at my folks. I do need to get brave enough to buy them for myself though.

4. To be mindful of timings and structure and not just eat snacks early to 'get them out the way.'

I feel I've done really well with this one too, and have actually made a conscious effort to pay attention to my meal plan. I've set an alarm on my phone, so my morning and afternoon snacks happen at sensible times now. I have slipped up slightly on a couple of days, but in general I'm far more disciplined.

5. To do more things while fitting it into my timings and routine, rather than being scared of doing things and avoiding things because they don't 'fit.'

I pushed myself on the anniversary of Roy's death and had that cheesecake. I have had a few meals and snacks that have been higher kcal than what I'd usually have too, and rather than chopping bits out of the next meal or snack to make it 'fit', I've just carried on and eaten the next thing as scheduled.

6. To be a little more spontaneous and buy something when out and about, rather than get bogged down by numbers.

I chose to buy a choux bun myself, and I also picked up that slice of cheesecake in Waitrose, I also went for cheesecake with landlord ex (although us going out was preplanned, I hadn't actually decided what I was having beforehand. I just went with it!

7. If I can, to make something completely new, rather than just go with variations on the same theme (burgers and chips!) It has been a while since I've done something different and I should probably be shaking things up a bit more!

Yeah, I have completely failed on that one this week. I am also away this week for a few days, so not sure if it'll happen, but I'll do my best for next week.

I'm actually at my parents right now! I've been missing my boy a lot, and also thought field testing my structure and meal plan, and breaking routine would do me the world of good. So far it's been going well, obviously that means there will be plenty of challenges coming up.

Goals for next time:

1. As ever, continue to stick to the structure of my meal plan and work on increasing my general intake.

2. To let someone cook for me, and prepare my food (as I'm going to my parents.)

3. Have coffee and cake with my son. I have been wanting a blueberry muffin for, well, forever, and I would love to fit that in somewhere! It would also be nice to go out and just be normal, and do a nice thing with him.

4. Apply my structure to being away from home and doing shit.

5. Try to be a little more relaxed about food/ weight/ intake when with my son and family, he deserves a normal mummy, not a neurotic mess.

So yeah, see you all next week!