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Sunday, 20 September 2009

A Confession : I Have an Eating Disorder

Ever since I read the painfully honest posts by Raechelle and Liz admitting to their inner demons, I have been wanting to tell you this secret. The cold hard fact is that what started out as wanting to 'drop a few kilos' has turned into a raging, all consuming, self inflicted eating disorder and pretending my behaviour is 'healthy' living or 'contest prep' is simply lying to myself and to everyone else.

If I step outside of myself and view my behaviour from the perspective of someone who cares for me, it is obvious that things have been out of control for more than a few years. In my mind I have convinced myself that doing this stuff is completely normal.

Here is what my eating disorder looked like at rock bottom ...
  • weighing all food (including egg whites, lettuce and diet cordial) and adjusting portions to be exactly the right amount (that extra gram of pumpkin had to go back in the container)
  • having food scales at home and in my handbag in case I eat out and don't know the weight of the food
  • recording everything in a online calorie counter including the calories in diet soda and fish oil tablets
  • feeling anxious and upset if I didn't have internet access to check my calorie totals
  • pre-determining what to eat for the day and then printing it out and ticking it off so there was no deviation
  • taking all my food with me all the time in multiple tupperware containers
  • not allowing anyone a taste of my food because it is measured perfectly and I needed every bit of it
  • scraping every last morsel out of the container or licking it clean
  • restricting fruit and vegetables based on their carbohydrate content
  • restricting food based on its sodium content
  • scheduling activities around eating sessions - couldn't go to an event if it prevented me from eating on time
  • eating was the main highlight of my day
  • never eating the same food as my partner/friends
  • the success of my day was measured by the food I ate - good day = ate according to the diet; bad day = ate something I hadn't planned 
  • food/cooking/meals was all I thought about and talked about
  • never being full - either eating and still being hungry or bingeing beyond the point of fullness
  • taking large amounts of expensive supplements ranging from vitamins to fatburners to creatine
  • eating large quantities of 'calorie free' food like green vegetables, miracle noodles, psyllium/bran
  • exercising until a precise number of calories had been burned
  • exercising when I was sick, sore or instead of sleeping
  • wearing my heart rate monitor when I went for a walk longer than 10 minutes
  • constant physical muscle pain (DOMS) and joint pain making every day activity difficult
  • spending all weekend in my gym clothes and sneakers because I never went out anywhere other than the gym and the supermarket
  • chronic constipation and gas
  • avoiding social situations where food was present
  • constantly scouring the internet for the latest diet and latest training method
  • calling myself a 'fat pig' in my head
  • having 3 different clothing, bra and underwear sizes that I regularly wore - competing, off season, fat clothes
  • weighing myself multiple times a day - when I first got up, after going to the bathroom, when I got home from work, before I went to bed
  • throwing food in the bin so that I wouldn't eat it and then taking it out later
  • asking my husband to hide food so I couldn't find it
  • eating until I was so stuffed I couldn't sleep, I had night sweats and my face, fingers and ankles became severely swollen
  • always vowing to start afresh each morning, each Monday, each first day of the month
  • going to bed early because the only thing I had to look forward to was a lower number on the scales the following morning and breakfast
  • crying because of a number on the scale or not being able to fit into my clothes
  • avoiding being with my husband because he would want to eat food I couldn't have in front of me
  • not being able to leave the house because I needed to be near the toilet when the laxatives and diuretics kicked in
  • using colonics as a weight loss strategy
  • looking at pictures of steriod using figure girls on stage and feeling inadequate for not looking like them
I am pleased to say that I haven't done any of the above for most of the last month. I am getting help and support from people who understand where I've ended up and I'm making wonderful progress.

So although I may longer be the person you imagined me to be, that my reputation as an 'inspiration' has been has been based on lies, I am the happiest I have been in my whole life. I am recovering, healing, and evolving into the best that I can be one day at a time.

I would love to connect with anyone who recognises where I have come from and has achieved a transformational shift back to health and vitality. Please leave me a comment and/or a link to your blog so I can overhaul my reading list. I no longer want to know about the best diet, the menu item with the lowest calories or whether cardio is fat burning or not. I want to know that I can leave this mess behind because other people just like me have done it.

If this blog is no longer what you are looking for, then thank you so much for your loyalty over the years. I have felt part of a wonderful community but the time has come for me to focus on being whole and healthy rather than being thin enough to go the gym.

KatieP ♥

PS: I might have to abandon the 100 Day Challenge because it is part of the old diet mentality. I still haven't decided what to do just yet ...
I am also pulling my coaching service because I can no longer endorse dieting as a weight loss solution ...


  1. i am happy that you have gotten some help and are on the road to recovery. you know what i think, we've emailed privately in the past and nothing has changed, you are doing the right thing getting help. you know how much i can identify with your list and have done so for about eight years.

    i'm getting better. i won't shout "i'm cured!" from the rooftops, but i'm improving.

    take care of yourself and do not worry about your challenge or your coaching service because none of it matters as much as getting well. x

  2. Anonymous1:05 pm

    Hi Katie,

    I've been a regular reader of your blog for sometime. I read your list and saw many aspect of my own personality there - thanks for being strong and posting this.... time to face my inner demons....

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  4. Dear Katie, I'm so glad you are on the way to recovery. Having my own demons I understand, in a way, how hard it must have been to get to this point. As strong independent women often we tink we can deal with these things ourselves and feel bad if we 'can't'. I'm so glad you are receiving the help you need. You have supported me over the years, and thank you for that. No way would I abandon your blog. I wish you all that you need for your recovery. Erika

  5. Hi Katie,

    I have been wrestling with some of this myself as you know, although I have always had one eating disorder or another,I am trying to find my way back to 5 years ago when all this was fun and HEALTHY. When I had energy and still allowed myself treats. I think we need to rethink "dieting" and learn to eat HEALTHY. I won't ramble any further because I still haven't figured it out, but you haven't lost me as a reader either, I always enjoy your writing and I hope really hope you do find the happy place you are looking for :) *hugs*

  6. Hey Katie. (((hugs))) It's ok. A happy and healthy life is the most important thing and we all struggle in doing what we need to achieve that and what we THINK we need to achieve it. Things don't always go according to plan and our thought processes aren't always what they should be.

    Yes you strayed off the course but you know that, and have sought help and you are doing what is needed to make it better. I will definitely be here to support you xxx Frankie

  7. Anonymous4:58 pm

    Katie - i have read and re-read this post over and over today and cry when i read it. Cry because you write straight from the heart and it hits a chord with me everytime.....Fuck dieting - it sucks - i know personally it has given me issues, i think of life before dieting and fuck it was good. I want those days back. I dont need to be eating out of fucking tupperware for the rest of my life to be happy. So i'm with you all the way - leaving the FUCKING MESS behind me and moving on with lots of strength and a smile on my face xx
    My new blog:

  8. Big hug, Katie.

    You're really crap at keeping a secret though, I've known for quite a while.... It's good that you're talking about it - that's a positive step.


  9. You're very brave for admitting this babe.
    Hope that you continue to get the help that you need just now.

    I know I don't comment a lot but I do think about you, and worry.

    S X

  10. It takes a lot to share this Katie and I am really happy to hear you are getting assistance...


  11. Anonymous8:53 pm

    You've taken the first and hardest step and that's admitting there's a problem Katie. Like Kek, this isn't news for me because I recognised the signs a long time ago having been through them myself. Life doesn't have to be this way and it can and will be better, I can assure you. You have my full support and I'm here if you need me.

    Lia xxx

  12. Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming love and support. Thankfully, I am in a much better place now -- I couldn't have written this post while I was in the middle of it.

    I needed to write this post to document where I began and to remind myself why I am focusing my energy on healing myself from the inside. This is my 'away from' motivation -- the dark place I am leaving behind for good.

    It is wonderful to know that I am not alone [and stop crying Ferny -- it's all good ♥]

  13. Katie, yep me...been there and recognise many of the things on the list. Email me anytime Trudx

  14. featherz11:39 pm

    I've done almost all of those things over the past 5 years (with the exceptions of the laxatives/colonics). I was mostly 'recovered', but up till a week or so ago, I still weighed 'danger' food when at home and I would occasionally get back into obsessively logging food, thinking it was keeping me on track.

    I've been doing my own little 'intuitive eating' challenge for a week or so now and I hope to keep going.

    My stimulus was a trip to NYC where we walked EVERYWHERE - it was a 'free day' for me (not doing those now either) so I could in theory eat what I wanted. And I did - but I was so busy that I had to think 'just what do I want'. Yep - I ate some junk, but no binging and at the end of the day I can say that by deciding to eat the yummiest thing I could find and bypass all the stuff I really didn't want, I came out ahead. Of course, walking from one end of manhattan to the other didn't hurt! :)

    Oh, and I didn't blow up like a balloon either. Even with pizza and ice cream. :P Who eats protein powder while strolling down 5th ave?

  15. Hi Katie,
    First of all I always was drawn to your posts because I connected with your struggles about food, diet and body image struggle. I always felt you gave great advice when you speak so eloquently and reach out to us and share your life. I know you have learnt so much these past 5 years, as I have too come to realise it's all about self love first. I hope you continue to inspire me with your wisdom and great advice!

  16. Anonymous2:18 am

    you are a very strong person for opening up like that. i can honestly say that i do about 90-95% of the things that you listed. I thought I was the only one and didn't realize those are unhealthy traits. It is very true though. I am glad you have found some peace. I have also found peace, I believe and hope it will last. Instead of abandoning the challenge, you should just change your challenge. You said it yourself, this is OUR challenge and we can make our own rules. Change your goals to doing what makes you happy and healthy. You are a very inspiring person and have helped many through your honesty, i can assure you.

  17. Anonymous5:26 am

    Just found your blog and read this entry. it makes perfect sense to me as I can relate to so many of your list. I've been to the point where dieting became all consuming and defined who I was as a person. I now hope I have made it onto the right road and can now lose weight while still being me and live in the real world.

    If you can accept hugs from a stranger - here is one from me

  18. It's really great that you have spoken about this on your blog as I'm sure there are many folks out there that have the same problem and don't even realise it or want to admit it. Us bloggers need to come forward with these issues-I think it really helps us and others at the same time. Helps us all to be more honest and healthy! Good for you!

  19. Powerful post. I have been dealing with similar issues--hence some of my struggles with the 100 day challenge. You are even more of an inspiration for putting this out there-I look forward to following your journey!

  20. It takes a lot of courage to admit our weaknesses and problems. It took my Coach and I a lot of work over a few years to get my mindset healthy with regards to food. It can be overcome, and you have taken the two most important steps in doing so. Admitting it, and getting help for it.

    I can't imagine anyone not supporting another person going through this. I can't imagine anyone judging you for what you are fighting right now. And if this person exists, then it is better off that they disappear and stop reading your blog and let you get on and do what you have to do without distractions.

    Strength to you honey, it will be a long hard journey, but it will be worth it in the end and you will learn so much about yourself xxx

  21. Hi Katie, I've been subscribed to your blog for a while now and I have been wondering about this. I'm so glad you're able to recognise it before it goes too far. If you decide to start a new blog dedicate dto getting healthy I will subscribe to that too.