Over a few months, I lost a drastic amount of weight. I was uncomfortably skinny – lying down hurt as I felt my bones protrude against the mattress. I really thought I would starve as I couldn’t eat or keep any food inside my body; I was drained. To regain my health, I focused on the only thing I needed to do to survive – sleep and eat. Honestly, starting to eat again and gaining weight was a very difficult process, but it was essential and I managed it. Over the course of numerous weeks, I gradually upped my food intake until it got back to normal.At first, I tried to eat whenever I could – which wasn’t often – a quarter of a slice of toast or a few pieces of a chocolate bar. I spent two weeks in my house, where I felt “safe” therefore I wasn’t definitely going to vomit. Although I was eating, I was still being sick but I knew I had to keep trying regardless – I needed some calories to fuel my body. During this fortnight, my only goal was to not be sick for three hours after I took my medication to allow it to be absorbed. Once I realised that I could master that goal, I set bigger goals, for example, not being sick if I was only staying in the house all day.Despite feeling constantly nauseas, I got to a place where I could eat three meals a day (even if I was sick) – I had no appetite but I forced myself. Sometimes I would even forget to eat because food was so undesirable for me. I built up my appetite slowly; my mum made me eat things that I used to enjoy eating in an attempt to encourage me. A very helpful thing for me was having biscuits dipped in tea – it might sound disgusting – chewing was hard for me as I struggled to not vomit, so soft foods helped.When I had to leave the house, I didn’t make myself eat incase I was sick in public but now I realise that this was such a dangerous thing to do. Although I had always known that food powers your body, it wasn’t until I was hospitalised that I deeply understood the necessity of calories. Nowadays, I never leave the house without eating something or drinking water which always makes me feel a lot healthier. I am a healthy weight now, so skipping a meal has less risks but I would rather not take the chance.After I ate three meals a day for a few weeks, I then developed my old appetite and began to introduce snacks in-between meals. One month after that and I was eating normally again, I didn’t have to force myself or stick to a strict routine – I could eat intuitively. The only rule I have is to eat in the morning – even if I feel very nauseas.
If you stick with eating three meals a day, you will gradually get used to eating and regain your appetite. You might think it’s impossible but stick with it and you will get there. A pivotal moment for me in recovery, was recognising that I felt hungry for the first time in months. I was so happy and proud of my progress.When I was very underweight, I didn’t feel healthy whatsoever. I felt constantly ill – my body was empty – which is an indescribable feeling – but it basically makes your insides hurt horrendously. So my goal was to get back to a healthy weight (getting my bum back in the process) but once I got there I felt fat. I realistically knew I wasn’t overweight, with a BMI of 19, but I still believed my stomach and thighs to be humongous. I secretly wished for my skeletal body back. But I made sure I overpowered these thoughts – I had worked too hard to go back. I didn’t want to feel weak again and your health is so much more valuable than your dress size. I still want to be skinnier some days, but I remember the horrendous and detrimental side effects of that.Your recommended daily intake is there for a reason – many people don’t realise that. Your body needs calories to survive; to respire; to regenerate; to move. By not fueling your body, you cause so much more harm than you realise.Recovery is a hard process but it is possible – I managed to do it so anybody else can! I hope my story helps others who are struggling to see that this is achievable, no matter how hopeless you feel.