Sunday, 20 September 2015

So I went hungry again today, I really should know better

I was in such a rush this morning and if I am honest I just didn't fancy the pasta I had prepared yesterday for my lunch so I decided to take my chances with the canteen. The food is rotten but they usually have paninis or toasties I can eat and I figured that would do.

Unfortunately we were so busy on the ward that by the time I had gotten to go for my break all the decent ones were gone. I was stuck with the actual canteen food. The only think on the menu I can stand was roast beef. Problem is I don't actually like roast beef, its always fatty but it was the only thing without loads of veg through it so I tried it.

The beef was so fatty I didn't even have more than one bite and the potatoes were rock solid so I had nothing to eat at all for my whole twelve hour shift. I wonder why I have a headache now?

I actually meant to check my blood sugar when I got home but I forgot all about it until after I had eaten and it would have been pointless then. I have mums old meter for just this type of occasion, I want to know what living like this is doing to my body. I want to know if I really am killing myself slowly and what, if anything I can do about it.

I have been trying really hard this year but I don't feel like I have accomplished anything other than adding a daily multivitamin to my morning routine. I don't feel any better and I have lost such a small amount of weight that I am honestly beginning to wonder if any of it is really worth it. I literally feel sick at the thought of changing my diet, but yet I want so badly to eat better.

You hear all these stories about people who start eating better and almost instantly they have all this energy, not me. I still feel tired all the time, still don't sleep anything close to enough and still work twelve hour shifts that might kill me if I don't do something about my lack of energy and sleep.

I have all but given up alcohol, not actually through choice but because I have a car now and I am always thinking that I might need to drive tomorrow and I wouldn't drive if I had been drinking the night before. I don't feel any better.

I take a multivitamin every day, I don't feel any better.

I eat more vegetables than I ever have in my life. I don't feel any better.

I am more active than I have ever been. I don't feel any better.

I have lost a little weight. I don't feel any better.

What exactly do I have to do to feel even just a little bit better?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

I just want to be accepted for who I am

I have said before that my picky eating doesn't really bother me, and for the most part it doesn't. There are a few exceptions though, one of which is when I have contact with health professionals.

I am a health professional myself and I cannot imagine being as judgemental about people's life choices as some are about my picky eating - and that's not even a choice! I mean take smoking as an example, its a choice some people make and it can, and often does lead to health problems. However health professionals seem to understand that smoking is an addiction and that while it can be overcome, its very difficult for the person to do that. Sure they offer advice to stop, but it usually ends there.

With my picky eating however its almost always 'you need to eat more vegetables' well sorry but I cant do that! I ate my first vegetable in my early 20's so as far as I am concerned, the four vegetables that I do occasionally eat are an improvement. I am not asking for a pat on the back for managing to eat four vegetables, I understand how ridiculous that would be. But I do expect people to try to understand.

I know that there is not a lot of information out there on selective eating disorder, and that most health professionals have never met someone like me. I understand and appreciate that. However I also remember a time when there was no support for people to stop smoking, there is now. Everything has to start somewhere, all I want is support, or even understanding.

I was at the nurse last week, she informs me that I have lost around 8 kilos since I seen her last year. She told me she was happy that I have lost something and that things seem to be heading in the right direction for me, she even said she was proud that I had managed to lose weight despite my limited diet which she understands a little.

The doctor on the other hand tells me I should consider seeing a dietician. I told her I have done that before and it didn't work out, all they did was try to get me to eat more vegetables. The doctor reliably informs me that the field of dietetics has come a long way since I was a child so I asked her 'well what will they do then? if it will help I will go' She tells me 'oh they will look at what you are eating and advise you on how to eat better' I swear its like she doesn't even hear me!

I told her that simply isn't possible for me, if it was as easy as simply being told whats good for me I would have been 'cured' a long time ago. I know I could lose all this weight no problem if I could eat nothing but salad for a few months, I cannot do that it is not possible! She then basically accused me of not being willing to try and I did something I have never done in my life before - I got up and walked out!

All I want is for her to understand how hard I actually am trying, and I am getting there, just very very slowly.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Braving the canteen

I am being forced to brave the canteen in the hospital tomorrow, and likely for the rest of the week. I came off nightshift yesterday and start back on days tomorrow. With the amount of things I have had to do today, I simply haven't had time to get to the supermarket to purchase my usual lunch supplies.

Truth be told I am starting to get a little bored of eating the same thing every day anyway, but I cant say I am looking forward to the canteen one bit.

Although I take my own lunch every day, we have to go to the canteen to eat so I get a chance to see the menu which has occasionally had things I would eat on it. However it has also had things like macaroni cheese with leek in it that even my normal eating colleagues said sounded more than a little strange. I love macaroni cheese, but I couldn't be within ten feet of a leek!

They do also sell pre-packed sandwiches, but whether there will be any I can eat or not I don't know. Surely they will have at least one plain sandwich? I can eat cheese, chicken or tuna on a sandwich and if I am really pushed I can tolerate ham although I would rather not. Surely there will be at least one of those?

I absolutely have to get something to eat, I couldn't work a twelve hour shift with nothing to eat all day. I guess worst case scenario there is a shop that sells some sandwiches and stuff, although its a well known, far too fancy for me chain of shops so I doubt I will be able to get anything there.

Looks like I am back to picking stuff out of my food again!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

It has been a while

I haven't posted on my blog for ages, its not because I have given up or that I don't care, I have just been so busy with the move to the new hospital and other things going on. Food wise, not much has changed which means I haven't really had much to blog about.

I still eat the same thing every day at work for lunch, although I am starting to get a little fed up with it now. I plan to go shopping later on today and get some supplies to try and make a few different things that I can try.

They have finally put new microwaves in the canteen, while they are a good walk away from the ward, at least they are there. That should make a difference to what I can eat while at work, I just need to get organised at making stuff in advance the way I used to do before we moved to this new hospital.

The weight is steady, I haven't lost anymore as yet, but I haven't put any of what I had lost back on either. I haven't really had the time to go to the gym for the last few weeks but I hope to start back there next week once things have quietened down a little.

I am still struggling to eat more veggies, but I am definitely managing more than I was before. No new foods though which is maybe a little disappointing, but then I haven't really been putting the same effort in over the last few weeks as I had been before.

Monday, 6 July 2015

A great friend

I was in uni today for a few hours with a friend to get some last minute revision in for an exam we have coming up. We had agreed before hand that we would go for lunch after the revision session. I wasn't worried, the places we usually go to eat are places I know well enough to know that I can find something to eat.

We were just getting ready to leave when I asked her where she wanted to go for lunch, she turned to me and said 'You pick, I can eat anywhere but you can't. I am happy to go wherever suits you' I swear I could have cried.

It seems like such a silly thing I know but its honestly the first time anyone has ever said anything like that to me. Shown a real understanding of my problems and actually cared about them. She is a great friend indeed.

We went to an Italian place where we have gone a few times, they have a lunch deal where you get a starter and main. There is one of each I can eat and I actually don't even need to modify them in anyway, I just don't touch the dipping sauce. For someone like me to be able to go into a restaurant and order something off the regular menu without having to alter it, that's a big deal. The prices are pretty good too and the portions are big enough if you are hungry, but not so big that you are overwhelmed by the amount of food on your plate.

While we were there we started talking about the upcoming graduation ball. My friend asked if I knew what the meal was going to be and I said no. She knew I had asked them to contact me about dietary requirements (I wrote a post about it at the time) but they have yet to do so. She suggested I try and find out who to contact as £40 for a ticket and not to get anything to eat is ridiculous, plus it will be a long night to go hungry.

She asked what I usually do for things like that and I told her I just try to make it work and eat what I can of whatever they serve which usually involves picking stuff out, scraping stuff off or not eating at all. She said that was terrible and I really should be telling people about my dietary requirements ahead of time so that they could accommodate me. I pointed out that not everyone is as understanding as her and that I really don't like to make a fuss. She said she would be making a fuss if it was her, its not fair of people to expect me not to eat anything all night.

The thing is that people do not expect other people to have a problem like mine. No one expects me to be sitting there with nothing to eat, they expect me to eat what everyone else is eating. If only that were possible.

Monday, 29 June 2015

I eat the same thing for lunch every single day

I eat the same thing for lunch every single day at work now, with one minor variation. Every day I have two small rolls, the type that come already sliced, with turkey and mayo. Most days I have a slice of cheese but some days I don't.

I have eaten this every day since a week after I started at the new hospital and realised that eating in the canteen wasn't going to work out.  So why does that mean I need to eat the exact same thing every day? Well lots of reasons really.

Firstly  there are no microwaves, toasters or kettles in the wards of the new hospital, although we can get hot water from the ward kitchens or pay for it in the canteen (yes they charge nurses for hot water). There is one microwave in the canteen - one microwave for all those staff, so your chances of getting to use it and still have time to eat your food within your half hour break are slim to none. That leaves two choices - either pay a fortune for food that I may or may not be able to eat and wait ages in the queue to get it then ages in another queue to pay for it (there are two till points in the whole place) or bring in something that doesn't need heated.

My list of foods that don't need heated is a very small one. I can eat some cold meats but not many, I can eat ham but I spend ages cutting off the fatty bits and I simply don't have time to do that in the morning before I leave. I don't eat salad or anything else like that so that pretty much leaves me with turkey and/or cheese on a roll.

I don't get bored of my safe foods easily, but I have weeks and weeks left at the new hospital and I am sure I will get bored eventually, plus I am hoping to get a full time post there later in the year. I have to come up with a solution to my food problem, and I have no idea how I am going to do that.

I simply have to find something else to eat.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Great advice

I have been on nightshift the last few weeks which means I have my break by myself as we have to go one at a time since there are less people working nights than there are on days. This means I spend a lot of time reading nonsense on my phone.

I was going through my recommended stories on my google now app and an advice page popped up, not the type of thing I normally read, but the title had me interested. It was something along the lines of 'girlfriend eats like a toddler' and of course I immidiately identified with it.

I started reading, the man writing the letter was complaining that he is a chef and therefore loves to cook but the fact that his girlfriend only eats 'toddler food' as he described it, is putting him off. He acutally says in his letter that he doesn't think he can live with it much longer and is considering leaving her!

I was upset on this poor girls behalf, but my mood soon changed when I began reading the agony aunt's answer. She basically tore him a new one and even mentioned selective eating disorder. She explained to the letter writer a bit about what selective eating disorder is, the fact that it is a real problem and basically he needs to be more understanding. She also said that she has heard of some people with selective eating disorder having some success with cognative behavioural therapy (CBT). I dont think CBT is something I would be willing to try, but I am so happy to hear that some people are finding ways to get over this horrible disorder.

I also feel the need to point out that my partner is also a chef and we have had no such issues with my diet. He is more than happy to let me cook most of the time since he knows I prefer to cook my own meals so I am sure I know what's in them. As the years have gone on he has learned my preferences and I have learned to trust him to make certain meals for me. I guess its a give and take thing, I had to learn to trust him with food and he had to learn how to deal with my problems with food and what that means for cooking. I really am so lucky to have him.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

I wish

I wish my life didn't need to revolve around what I can and can't eat.
I wish I didn't need to constantly worry about whether I will even be able to eat anything when I go to an event. Most of all, I wish I could be normal.

For the most part my picky eating doesn't really bother me, I think I cope quite well with it. I am not afraid to tell people that I am fussy, or that I cant eat certain things and I am quite good at modifying foods to make them edible when I need to..

Sometimes though, it really gets me down.

It gets to me that people know I am trying to lose weight, then they look at what I am eating and you can tell the are thinking 'how the hell is she going to lose weight eating like that, she's not even trying' I want to scream at these people 'YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HARD I AM TRYING!!!' you have no idea how hard it is for me to even consider eating a new food and you have no idea how hard it is knowing that the chances of me getting to a healthy weight are very slim, and that there is very little I can do about that.

I do understand that its not these peoples fault that they have no understanding of what it is like to be me. I know that the way I eat seems strange to most people and that most people couldn't imagine that the eating disorder I have is even real, but it is very real. I just wish that people wouldn't judge me. Maybe I am eating something that you perceive as being unhealthy because it is the only available option for me, that is usually the case.

This week I have had a fried breakfast twice. Being honest I could count on one hand the amount of times I have eaten a fried breakfast by choice, it is certainly not a favourite of mine but it is something I can tolerate. Out of the available options in my uni in the morning (especially now that the main canteen is closed for renovation) the only thing I can eat is either a fried breakfast or a breakfast roll containing one of the fried breakfast items. Therefore people assume that I just like to eat unhealthily and when I say that I am trying to lose weight, they think I am not trying hard enough.

Strangely enough, I don't like sweets that much, I pretty much never eat any sweets and never chocolate. People find that so odd. They find it odd that I eat like crap but will turn down chocolate. I don't get it, I am not the only person in the world that doesn't like chocolate.

I have good friends in uni, some of them really do seem to understand what I am going through. Its the first time in my life I can honestly say that I think my friends get it. Or at least they understand that I don't eat certain foods, I don't think for a minute that they have a full understanding of the reasons why. It means so much to me that they try though. For the most part they will try to help me by going places I can eat without too much trouble. One friend even left one of the uni cafes with me after I realised that there was nothing there I could eat, not everyone would do that especially since we get such short breaks between classes most of the time.

I started this blog in the hope that I could help people understand what it is really like to suffer from selective eating disorder. I don't know if I am succeeding in that as yet, but I know I will keep writing about my struggles with food until I do.

Friday, 1 May 2015

The weight is coming off!

I was at the gym yesterday for the first time in a few weeks. I have just been so busy with being on placement, pulling extra hours that I owe to make sure I can graduate on time, writing an essay and studying for an exam all at the same time while still keeping up with regular things like shopping, cooking and the occasional few hours sleep.

I was genuinely worried that I was going to have put on all the weight I had lost and then some, since you don't exactly eat well when you are working all those hours and I eat terribly anyway. I had only lost two kilograms before starting that placement but it was something and I really, really hoped I had kept it off.

I was astounded when I looked at the scales in the gym to find that not only had I kept off my two kilos, I had lost another four! I cannot tell you how happy I am right now.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Buffets are not alwasy a picky eater's friend

I wrote a post a while back about how buffets can sometimes be a picky eater's best friend, and I stand by that. Sometimes buffets are great because they allow you to pick and choose what you put on your plate and no one really thinks twice about what you are eating.

However that relies on there being things that you can eat, which usually for me there are. However I was at a party last night where they had quite a fancy buffet. I honestly didn't even know what half the stuff was.

I was able to find a giant plate of sausage rolls and figured I would just grab a handful of those which I did. I ate one and it was actually really nice, I bit into my second and panic set in. This was not a sausage roll but one of those cheese and onion ones that pretend to be sausage rolls. Someone had mixed them into one plate and there was no obvious way to tell them apart.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

I have slipped back into bad habits

With being on placement and working three or four twelve hour shifts every week for the last eight weeks while trying to write an essay, study for an exam and do my best to help out my sick mother I have slipped into my bad habits again recently.

Its really difficult for me when I am working these shifts, so little of what I eat is portable and reheatable. I guess I need to try harder if I am being honest but all I have eaten for the last eight weeks is the same three or four pasta dishes over and over again. I have three ready meals I can tolerate so I just have to rotate them, or eat toast while at work.

It is really depressing, everyone in the staff room has lovely looking salads or fruit and I have basically the same thing every day. Porridge or toast for breakfast break and one of these stupid pasta things for lunch. I don't even really like the pasta things if I am honest, but it something I know I will be able to eat since its not like I have any way to get an alternative if I don't like something.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Hidradenitis Suppurativa - My diet might be affecting my health after all

Other than being overweight, I honestly don't think my diet affects my health much, if at all. I think the consequences of being overweight for pretty much my whole life will hit me one day, maybe they are already starting to but I honestly don't think that I am unhealthy at the moment.

In saying that, I have been dealing with a minor health issue recently and it turns out that there may be a dietary component.

For the last several years I have been getting what I would describe as large painful spots in my groin and bottom. I really didn't think much about them, as they started in my late teens I just assumed it was a hormonal thing. When it didn't improve in my twenties I still didn't think all that much about it after all I am one of those unlucky twenty-somethings who still has spots from time to time.

My mother was diagnosed with a condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) a few years ago, which is a condition that causes sort of abscess type things, usually in the groin and armpits. Still it didn't click that my 'spots' could be related. Mum is in agony with her frequent flair ups and lesions, my spots come and go as they please and although they are painful, I am not in agony and they usually go away in a few days.

There is not much research into Hidradenitis Suppurativa, well there is research but its not conclusive. Some research suggests a genetic component, you are 30% more likely to suffer from HS if one of your parents has it. Add that to the fact that its more common in women than in men and my chances are somewhere around 50/50. Still I wasn't convinced, I had done some research for mum when she was first diagnosed so I knew what the symptoms were. I was pretty convinced that wasn't my problem, I didn't feel I got the 'spots' often enough and I don't have any scars like most people get when they have them.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

I envy my friends sometimes

I am really not the jealous type, just ask my partner, but I do get a little envious of my friends sometimes. All my friends are what I would consider 'normal eaters' and especially at this time of year when we are getting ready for the warmer weather, at least half a dozen of them will be on a diet.

At the moment three of my friends are doing Slimming World, two are doing Weight Watchers, one is doing the 5/2 diet and a few others seem to be eating nothing but salad for every meal. Now don't get me wrong I am proud of them for sticking with it. One friend who is getting married later in the year is doing really well with Slimming World and has lost a lot of weight so far. It does upset me sometimes though because I would honestly give just about anything to be able to even just try one of these diets, or even just to eat healthier.

Even my doctor has suggested I try either Slimming World or Weight Watchers and I honestly considered it. She assured me that I would be able to eat things that are within my range of safe foods and still stick to the plan, but after spending a bit of time on each of the companies websites I quickly realised that she was completely wrong.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A trip to the dentist means I will be hungry for a few days

After having surgery on my wisdom tooth a few months ago I realised that there are very few foods that I eat which are soft enough to be eaten after such a procedure.

Today I had another wisdom tooth pulled, although I had it pulled in the regular fashion rather than the surgery I had to have last time to remove just part of it. I am hoping this will mean a quicker recovery than last time.

I also had some work done on an old filling but since that tooth has no nerve I don't expect any problems with that one.

I am in a decent amount of pain despite taking the strong painkillers I take for my back. I cant take anti-inflammatories till at least tomorrow because its still bleeding a little and they thin your blood. I hope by tomorrow it stops bleeding and I am able to take my mega-strong anti-inflammatories because that would hopefully allow me to eat something.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Losing the battle

I have not updated the blog for a while, partly because I have been really busy offline but mostly because I really have nothing to say.

When I started this blog I intended to help educate people about selective eating disorder and write about my struggle to try and eat healthier. Recently I have not been doing well.

The amount of hours I am working just now while also trying to write an essay and study for an exam are making planning and cooking ahead of time very difficult and I have slipped back into the habit of eating the same things over and over again because I know they are safe.

This is not how I want to be. I don't want to eat the same unhealthy junk every day, I want so badly to be healthy, or at least healthier. I accept my limitations and I know my diet will never be completely healthy but I honestly thought I could improve and I have been trying so hard.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

I tried a new food - it didn't work out

As I said in a few of my earlier posts, I am really struggling to find food that I can take to work with me. I tend to take the same few things over and over again and none of them are healthy.

I went to the supermarket today, and decided to try one of their pre-made pastas, the ones you just eat cold out of the tub. I have only tried one such thing before and I didn't like it but this one seemed like something I would like, just pasta, chicken, bacon and mayonnaise.

I checked the ingredients to make sure there would be no nasty surprises like onions and decided to buy two. The reasoning being that I could try one today and if I liked it then I could have it for dinner on nightshift tomorrow night. I came home, put the shopping away and sat down with my pasta.

I actually wasn't worried about it at all, I knew I liked everything in it and I have had some success with trying new foods which are combinations of foods I know I like. I figured this would also be a success and put a tiny piece of pasta in my mouth.

It tasted horrible, like onions. I have no idea how it tasted like onions because I made sure there was none in there but that's what it tasted like. I immediately had to spit it out and I kept heaving like I was going to throw up. Luckily I had a glass of pepsi max to hand and I was able to wash away the taste before I was actually sick but I haven't been able to eat anything else all day. Since I hadn't had anything before that either that means I have had nothing to eat all day.

If you ask me that's a big part of the reason I cant lose weight, all the experts these days say you need to eat regularly to lose weight - at least three meals a day. I could count on one hand the amount of times I eat three meals a day, sometimes when I am working I may eat three times but I certainly wouldn't call them meals. When I am at home I sometimes manage twice a day but often only once.

I still see today as a sort of accomplishment because I wasn't too scared to try this new food, I just wish I had been able to like or even just tolerate it.

Thankfully I am all to used to not liking things and I have a back up plan in place. I have my dinner for tomorrow night cooking away in my slow cooker as I type, perhaps I will even manage something small to eat before bed.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

This article just really upset me

I was doing a bit of research, partly for blog post ideas and partly because I like to look for stories of how people have overcame their picky eating (these stories are few and far between) or how they have managed to lose weight in spite of their issues.

I came across this article The title made me think that the article might be poking fun at people like me and I decided to give it a look over and see what it was saying. I am not against contacting the owner of a site and putting them straight, in fact I did so recently where a TV company had written a 'factsheet' on Selective Eating Disorder. They had used a really inappropriate image for the article and many of their facts were incorrect so I emailed them to let them know. They didn't change the facts, but they did change the image.

Anyway back to the article we are actually talking about here. The article itself was actually in no way upsetting, I actually think it did a reasonably good job of explaining picky eating, online support groups and how important they are to people like me. The comments were what I found upsetting.

The site the article is published on has a policy of not censoring comments. Their policy is none of my business but it wouldn't be the way I would go. After all as site/blog owners its up to us to make sure the content of our site/blog is not offensive or illegal, whether we wrote it or not. Their unwillingness to moderate comments means that this article is full of comments that are really offensive to picky eaters like me.

I have a thick skin, always been that way. Something to do with being an only child, growing up in a very small town and working in a pub for a little short of a decade I think. However even I was a little upset by some of the comments on this particular article.

There are a lot of the usual 'these people are like that because their parents let them away with being fussy as a kid' and 'if you were mine I would have just kept putting the same meal down over and over again, you would have gotten hungry enough to eat it eventually' type of comments. Those really don't bother me that much, I have heard them all before and a whole lot worse.

The ones that bother me are the ones where people like me are actually being verbally attacked for being the way we are. One particularly vile commenter also asks the person above them if they also wet the bed and still live with their mum, calling their behaviour childish. All the person had done to warrant this 200 word plus rant was point out that putting the same food down to them time and time again hadn't worked for them.

I just don't understand why people can't be a little more respectful to others. I know that people like me have eating habits that others don't understand but what I don't get is why we attract such vile hatred from people. No one would ever attack a person with anorexia or bulimia in the way they attack people with selective eating disorder.

I understand that it's because selective eating disorder or avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder as its now medically known isn't as well known as other eating disorders. In fact here in the UK if you were able to get a diagnosis it would likely be 'eating disorder not otherwise specified' but that doesn't give people the right to attack us. Just because our disorder is not as well known as other eating disorders doesn't mean its any less real.

I just wish that people would take just a minute to think about what we actually go through. I don't doubt for a second that every single person with selective eating disorder would do anything to just have a 'normal' diet. Many people have tried everything from hypnotherapy to exposure therapy, which by the way is very distressing for someone like me, in the hope that something will help.

If you don't understand what we go through then I invite you to do some reading, this is a great blog: and actually the page I visited that first made me realise that there were actually other people like me out there. If you don't want to read about it then ask us a question, most of us are more than happy to share our experience to try and better the understanding of our disorder.

If you don't want to do any of those things that's fair enough but remember the old saying 'if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing' and please just leave us alone. We struggle more than enough daily without vile insults on the internet being directed at us. We know all the things you are going to tell us already - we have an unhealthy diet. We are fully aware of that and people online pointing it out over and over again does nothing to help us.

For the selective eaters reading this I encourage you to read the meal time hostage blog and even join one of the many online support groups. They are safe places for people like us where we can discuss our struggles without anyone firing insults at us.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Do you have any dietary requirements?

This was one of the questions on the form for booking tickets to my graduation ball in November. Thankfully I have taken charge of booking my table's tickets or I would never have known about this box.

I simply entered 'would appreciate a call/email to discuss' I mean how on earth am I supposed to explain my food issues in a tiny box?

Normally I don't bother, I just eat what I can of whatever arrives and leave the rest but the tickets are costing a fortune and its an all night event where I doubt I will have a chance to sneak out for alternative food. Since I am paying a fortune for the tickets, I feel I am entitled to at least make sure there is something I can eat.

I have no idea if they will even bother to call me, and if they do I have no idea what on earth I am going to say. I have only ever been to one black tie event before in my life and I was given no option of what to eat. It was one of those fancy five course things and I still remember that the starter was salmon mouse which I couldn't even look at. I don't like salmon let alone salmon that's blended up to the point where it resembles baby food! The main was chicken which was actually edible but then gave the whole office food poisoning and the pudding was something weird and wonderful that I didn't even taste. I have no idea what the other courses were but I am guessing I didn't eat them.

I am hoping that they do call and that when they do I will be able to ask them what the planned meal is, that way I will be able to decide if its edible or not and what I can do to modify it. I think that would be better than trying to list all the things I can and can't eat.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

I need to try and plan better for work

Being on four nightshifts this week has made me realise that I really need to plan my meals better for work. Where I am is nowhere near the canteen, not that being near the canteen makes a huge difference - hospital canteen food is usually barely edible to me anyway. So I need to take my own food in with me. I have access to a microwave and toaster in work which helps a lot since there are not many cold foods that I can actually eat.

The problem is that there are just not many foods I can eat that can be taken to work for lunch, its not easy to take a full meal in, heat it up and eat it within half an hour. Most people bring sandwiches or snack type foods, the rest bring ready meals.

There are only two ready meals I know of that I can eat and I don't just want to eat the same two meals over and over again. I need to get more organised, especially if I want to stick to my healthier eating plan. I am going to make a shopping list tonight and stick to it when I go to the supermarket tomorrow.

I also haven't been to the gym this week which isn't making me feel too good about myself, but I just haven't had time with the four back to back nightshifts. I will try and fit in a wee hour or so in the gym tomorrow as well if I can, I will also check my weight. In theory I should have lost some weight since I have been so much more active over the last two weeks running about a massive hospital ward. However I don't think that will be the case, I have never lost weight on a placement, mostly because all I can eat when I am there is toast and junk food.

I also plan to spend some time tomorrow coming up with ideas for more informative blog posts. When I started this blog my intention was to try and convey how difficult it is for someone like me. How difficult it is to cope with social engagements that involve food, how hard it is to eat on the go, and how much of a struggle it is to lose weight. I wanted to tell people what selective disorder is and what it is really like to suffer from it, I also wanted to help people who are dealing with the same thing or have children who are. I feel all I have done recently is babble on about my own struggle, which was a part of what I had planned to do as I think it demonstrates how hard life can be with an eating disorder like mine, but that was never intended to be the blogs main purpose.

Perhaps it would help me to have some questions, so if you have any please leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer them in my next post.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Nightshift is a nightmare!

I actually normally really enjoy nightshift, it's not as busy as day shift (although still busy in my current ward) which means I get loads of time to chat to the qualified staff and ask them questions. It really is a good learning experience and I am quite lucky that staying up all night is not a massive problem for me.

However on my run of four nightshifts in a row the last four days I have had a massive problem. One of the auxiliary nurses has been bringing food for everyone. The first night she brought pasta with loads of veggies and stuff in it, last night she brought baked potatoes and chilli, I cant even remember what she brought on the other two nights but I know I couldn't eat it.

It's really hard to refuse food that someone has went to the trouble of preparing for you, she had made sure she had extra for me being there so there would be enough for everyone. People don't understand, I know that and I actually don't expect them to. I just wish people wouldn't get offended when I cant eat what they have brought. In fairness to her I don't think she was offended but people usually are.

What bothers me more than that though is the attitude of the other people eating, people always think its so strange that I am not eating the food that's been brought in preferring to eat my own food. I don't understand why what I eat bothers anyone else, surely its not their problem.

Anyway, I am very tired having done four nights in a row and not slept yet today. I apologise for not updating much this week, I do normally update regularly but this week has been a bit difficult for me. I plan to take a nap just now and then maybe try to make some dinner that's at least a little healthy. That's the other problem with nightshift, you eat rubbish no matter how hard you try not to. For some reason you are always hungrier and someone is always making toast or handing out chocolates, although chocolates aren't actually a problem for me as I don't like them but toast is another matter - I love toast.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Should I hide vegetables in my child's food?

This is probably the question asked the most in my picky eaters group. Parents are often terrified that because their child won't eat vegetables they will be really unhealthy or even become ill. They are often so terrified of the concept of a child that doesn't eat vegetables that they consider trying to hide them in their child's food.

If you are in the UK like me, you might have seen a government sponsored advert advocating the hiding of vegetables in a pasta sauce in order to trick children into eating them. I can honestly say that had this been done to me, I would have never eaten pasta sauce again. Actually I never ate any sort of pasta sauce until my late teens, but that's not the point here. The point is that I would have known that the vegetables were there, no matter how well hidden mum thought they were, and it would have made me unable to eat the sauce again as I would always associate it with having the veg in. or worse it would have made me not trust my mother promising me that there were none there this time round because she would have lied about it the first time.

For picky eaters like me, trusting the people preparing your food is a huge deal. A really huge deal.

Anyway back to the original question, the answer depends on if you think your child is just being fussy the way a lot of children are, or if you think your child has selective eating disorder like me. If your child is just being fussy as a phase that a lot of children go through then you might be able to hide vegetables in their food and they might eat them without noticing them, or even if they do notice them they are unlikely to be traumatised by the experience. However if your child has selective eating disorder, they will absolutely find the hidden vegetables, refuse to eat them (and probably never eat whatever you hid them in again either) and possibly be traumatised by the experience. Their trust in your ability to prepare their food in a way that is safe for them, without tricking them will likely be severely damaged too.

I guess the natural follow up question is how do you tell if your child is just going through a fussy phase or if they have an actual problem with food? This question is near impossible to answer I am afraid, but I can tell you about some traits most of us with selective eating disorder have or had as a child which might help you tell the difference.

Most of us exclude whole food groups rather than just one or two particular foods. The most common seem to be fruits, vegetables and seafood. Its as if these food groups are excluded on some sort of principle rather than because of a genuine dislike for the foods in question. We also don't need to taste a food to know we don't like it, I cant explain it and I have no idea why but every picky eater I have ever met has a long list of foods that they have never tasted but simply find offensive for some reason.

I could never imagine putting seafood in my mouth, and I have lived beside the sea my whole life until two years ago. I have seen the fishing boats going to catch the stuff, I have even helped prepare it (yes I know how to gut a fish). I have heard tourists go on and on about how wonderful this fresh seafood is and how much better it tastes than the stuff you get in the city. To me it just isn't food, even with all this knowledge about how great it is. Shellfish in particular are a problem for me, it all looks so slimy and squishy it just doesn't look like something I would want to eat. Although I have eaten the occasional piece of fish in my life I have never eaten a shellfish and I highly doubt I ever will.

Another strange thing is that although I can eat fish (I really prefer not to though) I could never eat a fish I had caught myself or that I had seen being caught. That's why I stopped going fishing as a teenager. My friends and I used to go fishing every weekend, its just one of those things kids do when you grow up by the sea but I never took any of my fish home. If they were still alive I put them back in the water if not I gave them to one of my friends to take home. I guess its something to do with seeing the fish as a fish, rather than as food.

The smell of some foods bothers some of us, some people can't be in the same room as certain foods. Personally the only food I cant stand the smell of is cabbage and I actually think that has a lot more to do with my mother's complete love of the stuff than my eating disorder. Growing up my house often smelled of cabbage when I came home from school - mum was a big fan of the cabbage soup diet. However many people with selective eating disorder have a whole range of foods they simply can't stand to smell.

I guess if you are trying to figure out if your child is just being fussy or if there might be more to it you have to use your best judgement and try and decide what your child's attitude towards food are. A child with selective eating disorder will have a real aversion to certain food groups and refuse point blank to even try them, no matter how much you beg or even bribe them. They might also get quite upset by the idea of eating certain foods or even having some foods near them. Characteristically selective eaters will tell you they don't like foods without even tasting them.

I am not a parent so I do not feel like I have the right to advise parents on how to raise their children but I can tell you that I had a really positive experience with food growing up and what my mother did to make me feel that way.

She never forced me to eat anything I wasn't comfortable with, she did encourage me but she was never forceful and she certainly never hid foods that I wouldn't eat in foods that I would. I honestly believe that the reason I am even able to consider trying to expand my diet now is because my mother was so good about my food issues.

Trying new foods was never made a negative experience, sure there were a few things I tried that I couldn't eat over the years but that was always ok, I was allowed to not eat the rest of whatever it was. I think because mum encouraged me to taste things but didn't make a big deal out of it if I wasn't able to actually eat the thing, I was able to try some new things. It was always difficult for me to bring myself to try a new food and I admit I haven't tried many over the years but I have tried some and I have added a few things to my diet.

Friday, 27 February 2015

My goal for the weekend

I have decided to set myself smaller goals to help me towards my healthier eating and weight-loss goals. The idea is that by breaking it down into smaller goals they will seem more achievable and I will hopefully be happily celebrating many of these small goals on my way to my big goal of getting my weight down to the point where I can pass my fitness test for the Army.

I am off all weekend, I don't start back till nightshift Monday night so I have two whole days off in a row. I plan on using that time to try and get to grips with something I am really bad at - meal planning.

I struggle with meal planning in part because I am just not very well organised a lot of the time and in part because of my eating disorder. Sometimes even foods that are a favourite will just be inedible to me for some reason, I have no idea why this is but I do know its common in people with Selective Eating Disorder.

That makes it very difficult for me to plan my meals ahead of time, what if the meal I have planned for tomorrow seems inedible to me when tomorrow actually comes around? So I have come up with a workaround for this. What I plan on doing is making a variety (or as much variety as someone like me can have) of lunches and dinners up over the weekend that can be frozen and reheated in a microwave since that's what I have in work. I can also plan some other quick to cook meals for when I don't fancy any of the frozen things but don't have a lot of time to cook which is often my problem while I am on placement.

I won't plan what days the food is to be eaten on or anything like that, I will just plan some meals to cook ahead of time and then I can just choose from those meals throughout the week. I have one of those keep cool lunch bags somewhere that will stop my frozen food from making a mess in my bag as it defrosts, I just need to find it.

This coming week I am working four nightshifts in a row which makes my meal schedule more than a little odd but I still think planning ahead of time is possible. My meals may be eaten at strange times, but that doesn't mean I cant plan them ahead of time.

Planning my meals will have a few benefits, first it will save me time which is something I really need to do on a week that involves four nightshifts. Secondly it will allow me to stick to my healthier eating a little bit better than I have done this week since I was so disorganised. Lastly I also think I might save money since buying pre-made meals is always more expensive, and I wont waste as much food since I will only buy what I need to make the meals I have planned. I will also have a shopping list to stick to which will stop me buying things I really don't need or cant use.

I am going to start by making a list of meals I can eat which are freezer safe, if I can buy the ingredients for those tomorrow I can start the cooking tomorrow night leaving Sunday free to cook the non-freezer stuff. I already have a reasonably well stocked fridge so I might even be able to start cooking with what I already have.

I haven't really planned my goal-setting any further ahead than this but I think I will make meal planning my short-term goal until I get the hang of it and it becomes a regular thing.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Really starting to struggle

I have taken a bad turn in my healthier eating this week. I am really starting to struggle now that I am on placement and doing 12 hour shifts meaning I have no choice but to eat in work. I haven't been able to find the canteen yet and even if I could I am told its in another building and would probably take at least ten minutes each way to get there and back, I only have a half hour break.

That means I have to take food with me which I thought would make things so much easier than when I am in uni since I have access to a microwave and a toaster but I am really struggling. To be fair I don't think its impossible, I just think I need to get more organised with making meals in advance that are at least a little healthy but I sit there watching everyone else eating their salads and I feel such jealousy, I want to be able to eat like that so badly.

I do think I deserve a bit of credit for how hard I have been working though, my diet over these last few weeks (this week excluded) has probably been the best in my whole life. Its a big step and although it has not been easy I have shown myself that I can add foods to my diet, all be it in very small amounts.

The problem is that I am placed at a hospital at the complete opposite end of the city from where I live meaning I have to drive to my nearest subway station (I don't live anywhere near the subway route) and park and ride to the stop nearest placement. It actually doesn't take as long as you would think since the subway is quite quick but it means I am out of the house for around 14-15 hours depending on when I actually leave the hospital and how icy my car is when I get back to it. After all that I simply don't have the energy to cook my dinner, let alone cook something for the next day as well.

I actually feel really ill today, I have been working the last two days and I clearly haven't drank enough as I feel like I have a bad hangover today. Its a busy place and we only get two half hour breaks a day, sometimes you just don't have time to nip to the kitchen for a glass of water since its conveniently located right at the far end of the place, ages away from the actual ward part of the ward.

My goal for next week is to attempt to cook some meals in advance so that I am eating properly both at work and at home and to drink more water throughout the day so I don't feel like this again. My goal for the rest of this week is just to get through it, the first week is always hard since its been so long since you have worked these long shifts.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

I am so fed up of picking stuff out of my food

I decided tonight to get an Indian take away, I know I am supposed to be doing better food wise but I have such a sore back tonight I just couldn't face the thought of cooking. I have also spent over six hours restoring and updating an old laptop of my mothers so she can give it to a friend of hers, I am still not finished with it and its made me awful tired.

I got a meal deal for one and got pakora and a chicken chasni. As always I was very clear about no vegetables in my curry.

The food arrived and it smelled lovely, I opened the pakora and took a bite it was horrible so I moved on to the curry. There didn't appear to be any vegetables in it so I put some on my plate, as soon as I did that I could see all these tiny bits of onion. I tried my best to eat some of the chicken and just scrape all the sauce off it but it wasn't working so I figured I would just eat the chips, but they were cold so the whole thing went in the bin.

I am so fed up of having to pick bits out of my food to make it edible, and even more sick of the times where its not possible to do that and I cant eat the food at all. I was so looking forward to my curry, the other half cant eat Indian food so its very rare that I get to have it.

So now I have a sore head from staring at computer screens all day, I am hungry and now my stomach is sore and I feel sick too. I must have accidentally eaten one of the bits of onion, I often wonder if I am actually allergic to onions. Surely its not normal to be sick from eating something that you simply don't like? Of all the foods I hate, and there are many, onions are the absolute worst.

I am going to get one of my meal replacement shakes for dinner instead now.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

I have just eaten the healthiest meal of my life

I am actually quite excited by the fact that I am pretty sure I just ate something that can be considered to be a healthy meal. I haven't logged it into my Noom app yet but I am pretty sure it will be happy with my food choices for once.

I had boneless pork chops (just the middle bit, I cant have any fatty stuff), mushrooms which I fried with my Flora pro-active light butter stuff which supposedly lowers your cholesterol and is a green food in Noom, broccoli and salad. Yes I actually ate salad!

I have found a bagged salad I can tolerate, its called 'bistro salad' and it has a few (three I think) different salad leaves in it and some shredded beetroot which I actually completely forgot I knew I liked. I had tried it once before and liked it but never found a way to buy/cook it that made it the same. I tried boiling it but that made it soggy and I cant stand anything pickled so I have never been able to recreate the crunchy shredded stuff and I totally forgot all about liking it that way.

I am really weird about how I eat the salad, but I don't care at least I am eating it. I am only eating the leafy part of the leafs, I find the texture of the stalky bits too weird but hey that's a big improvement on even just a few weeks ago. Before I had eaten the occasional salad leaf but it certainly wasn't something I would say I enjoyed and it was something I very rarely bought because most of it would go to waste. This time I looked at all the different bags of salad available in the supermarket and looked for what looked the most similar to what I have eaten on those occasions. I think I have found one I can stick to and I am overjoyed.

Don't get me wrong I still couldn't eat a vegetable without something else in the same mouthful, so as soon as I ran out of pork I couldn't eat any more but progress is progress. Maybe I will always need to have my veggies with another food to accompany them, I honestly don't care as long as I find a way to eat them.

Add that to my recent one kilogram weight-loss and I am one pretty excited lady. I can do this!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Buffets: They can be a picky eater's friend

I know many of my fellow picky eaters shy away from social occasions that involve food. I have to say that this is something that's not usually a problem for me. I am very lucky that I can usually find something I can eat on a menu just about anywhere, if not I am not shy about asking if there is any way something can be modified to make it edible for me. Most places I go I find are very understanding, although I know many others who have had many less positive experiences.

I also know that a lot of picky eaters get a little worried when a buffet is the order of the day. I hope that this post will show you why a buffet can be your best friend if you are a picky eater.

The reason is simple, no one notices what you eat and there is usually a large variety of foods to choose from. Today at my final day of university party we had a buffet which to be fair I did help organise so I did have a degree of control over the food which helped. However even without having control over what's there, there are several things that tend to be a staple part of the buffet table which are picky eater friendly.

There are almost always sandwiches, some might be edible to you. Today there were no sandwiches I could eat, someone else organised them. Mini sausage rolls are usually picky eater friendly - just make sure they are not actually cheese and onion ones in disguise! Those mini cocktail sausages, those are my favourite and there is usually a variety of crisps and nibbly things. All you have to do is find one or two of those things you can eat and put them on your plate, then start talking to the people around you. Everyone gets so caught up in the chatting and the party atmosphere that they don't notice what is or isn't on your plate.

Someone will inevitably come round with a bin bag at some point to collect rubbish and you can easily throw in your plate with any uneaten food on it into the bag. No one has noticed what you haven't eaten or the limited amount of foods that were on your plate in the first place.

Today I had one slice of cheese pizza a few sausage rolls and some of those mini sausages that I love. No one noticed that I had no sandwiches or other stuff on there, everyone was too busy talking and enjoying what is likely the last time some of us will see each other. I love a buffet, it really does save me worrying about what I can and cant eat at a party. I much prefer it to being served a random meal that I may or may not be able to eat.

Don't get me wrong, I have had bad experiences at buffets too. In my experience the more fancy people try to be with it, the less I can eat. If people make their own sandwiches, chances are there will be a plain cheese one or something like that. If they buy them from a posh shop there will be salad on all of them and they will all have weird combinations like savoury cheese with which has all sorts of weird bits in it or chicken with raisins in it. I mean who the heck eats chicken and raisins together?

Posh buffets will have weird things in pastry cases whereas the ones people do themselves usually have sausage rolls and mini sausages.  I much prefer a home-made buffet, usually because it will have more plain, simple foods. Although you are taking your chances with someone else's cooking!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

I cheated on my healthy eating

I cheated on my healthy eating last night, then I ate the leftovers today. I don't know if that counts as one cheat or two but either way its not good.

I had such a busy day yesterday, I was out of the house doing things in the morning then I dropped the other half off at work at mid-day and went to the shops to get some food for the party we are having in uni tomorrow for the last day.

I then came home and put the food stuff in the freezer and started on a mountain of phone calls. I actually only had to make two calls, but I had no number for the most important one and it took a further half dozen calls, a facebook request and a google search to locate the number I needed. I had called the main switchboard three times and been put through to the wrong person but I did eventually get the person I needed to get who for the record was no help whatsoever.

The extra time spent trying to locate a phone number which should have been easily accessible to me in the first place meant I was chasing my tail for the rest of the day. I had to go back out and get another few bits and bobs and run some other errands then I had about an hour at home to try and wash my uniform and eat something before heading into town to meet a friend to go to see the Reserve Army recruitment people.

I didn't get home till just before ten and I still had a mountain of stuff to do, I had also gotten soaked in the rain and was not best pleased. All I wanted at that point was a shower then my bed, but I had lots of stuff still to do.

I had messages from my freelance clients to return and one freelance client that has totally disappeared to try and get through to, emails to deal with, stuff to print for uni today and then I had to go get the other half from work. I literally hadn't stopped at this point and it was 11pm.

There is a Chinese take away next door to his work so we just got food there and brought it home. I did feel guilty about cheating on my healthy eating since I have been doing so well (as well as someone like me can anyway) but do you know what, I deserve a treat every so often just like anyone else. Its not like I eat take away food all the time or anything like that, and I don't go mad on the rare occasion that I do. Quite often we will get one meal between us or I will do like I did last night and keep the leftovers for the next day if we are each wanting different things.

Finally at a little after midnight I got my shower and eventually got to bed around two after finishing off wee things like packing my bag and reading over my notes for my lab class this morning.

I guess after a long day like that I shouldn't be too hard on myself for cheating on my healthy eating plan.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Well the Doctor was no help at all

As I expected the doctor was no help at all. Don't get me wrong I know there is not much she can do but I would just love for someone to take an interest and at least try to come up with something that might help.

All she did was suggest another one of those fad diets, it worked for her apparently. Well I am happy it worked for her but I bet she was able to keep her calorie count down by eating salad and fruit, I don't have that luxury. She did say that she thought it would be possible for someone with a limited diet to do this fad diet she was recommending but since she never bothered to ask just how limited my diet is I don't see how she can say it would work for me.

She didn't even seem concerned about the health side, eating like this cannot be good for me. It must be doing some damage somewhere and she didn't even show the slightest concern.

This is the nice doctor as well, she is normally really great. Perhaps I am being too hard on her, after all there really is no recognition for Selective Eating Disorder here in the UK and she can only go on what the research says. Maybe I didn't explain myself clearly enough, perhaps I should take a list in with me next time of the things I eat, it wont be a long list.

On the plus side, I now have something to spur me on in my weight-loss goals - I am joining the Army Reserves. Its something I have always wanted to do but never been able or had the confidence but they came to my university recruiting earlier in the week and me and a friend went along tonight for a  recruitment session. They are willing to work with me to lose the weight because I have skills they want and the determination I need to do it.

I actually don't have to lose as much weight as I thought to meet their requirements although it is still quite a lot. They say once they have my official application in they can bring me in for training and will give me a fitness instructor to work with as long as I am willing. They have also given me an exercise plan away with me to give me an idea of what I need to work up to. I was actually reasonably fit before I piled all this weight on so I hope that as I lose it I will start to return to my previous level of fitness which should be all I need to do really. Because of the job I will be doing in the Army, the level of fitness required is on the lower end of their normal requirements. I still need to be a lot fitter than I am currently, but I don't need to run a mile in ten minutes or do two hundred push ups or any of that nonsense.

So although I had a somewhat negative experience at the doctors this morning, I have ended the day on a high note. I am actually starting to look forward to life after university.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Maybe this weight-loss thing will work out after all

I was at the gym a few hours ago. I have a routine when I get there which involves weighing myself before I start my workout. That's the best time to weigh yourself because you are usually slightly heavier after a workout due to your muscles tensing up and the fact that you drink extra water during exercise.

I have lost a kilogram! It has been weeks of work and over a week of following the Noom app's guidelines but I have actually lost something and I am really pleased.

Noom has been moaning at me that I have missed my weekly weigh in for the last few days, I don't understand why because I only ever do my weight on a Tuesday and I have only been using the app for a little over a week. I hope by doing it today it will make Tuesday my weekly weigh in day. Although my schedule will be changing next week and I have no idea when my free time will be, but I do know I will have a lot less of it.

I am still struggling a little with the colour coding system on Noom, I am often slightly over my amber allowance. However I am feeling more positive and I figure since I am always under my total and most days I don't eat any red food at all, being just a tiny bit over my amber allowance is not a huge deal.

The pro version of Noom allows you to join a group for support, it takes some details off you and then an actual person puts together a group for you. It takes a few days for them to set it up for you but the fact that an actual person does it means that you are put in a group with people who are similar to you in terms of their goals and their fitness level. My group went live today and I am quite excited to get support and encouragement from people like me. Although I highly doubt they will all be picky eaters, at least they are people who share my long term goal of losing this weight.

Overall I am feeling much more positive about things. I still plan to try and make changes to my diet where I can but I am also looking for more ways to work around it, just like I always have. My food issues are a part of me and they always will be, I guess I just need to learn to accept it like I did before I started on this journey.

I am still going to mention all this at my doctors appointment tomorrow. I doubt they can help me, I doubt they will even understand but its worth a try. The doctor I am seeing tomorrow is actually really nice, most of the doctors at my surgery are actually quite horrible but the woman I am seeing tomorrow is lovely. I hope she will be understanding even if she cant actually do anything to help. I guess I just need to feel somehow validated by the medical community, like I actually have an eating disorder - I am not just weird. Perhaps then people will understand that I am not this fat because I sit around and eat all day, or because I am lazy or any of those other things that people think fat people do. I am trying really hard, I don't need or want to be told to eat more vegetables, like that would be some sort of magic cure, even if it was possible.

Monday, 16 February 2015

This is holding me back in my career

We had a guest lecture from the Army Reserve recruitment people today, I actually attended a similar lecture last year too and was desperate to join.
Ever since I can remember I wanted to join the army as a combat medic but I was unable to due to having asthma as a child. Since I haven't taken any asthma medication for around ten years now, I would be able to apply if not for my weight.
I need to have a BMI of 32 or less to join as a student nurse and mine is currently a little over 39, I also need to be able to run a mile and a half in 14 minutes but believe it or not, even at my weight I could probably do that. I was quite fit before I gained all this weight and I don't think it would take me too long to get back to that level of fitness.
I went over and spoke to the two women giving the lecture and they were lovely, they said I would get help to lose the weight before I went for my fitness tests and I was actually really positive about it.
That is until I thought about what on earth I would eat if I was away somewhere in the middle of nowhere living on those food packs they have. I don't think I could do that, how will I know what's in them? Will there be anything I can eat? How weird will people think I am if I can't eat anything? and more importantly what on earth will happen if I am away for two weeks and there is literally nothing I can eat. Its not like I can do all that work with nothing to eat for two weeks, I am pretty sure I would collapse and end up in hospital myself instead of treating people in one.
I honestly don't know what to do. Its honestly a dream job for me and I know I would love it but I really don't know what I would do about food and that's even if I can lose this weight so that I can even get in in the first place.
The benefit of the Army Reserves is that there's no commitment on my part so I guess if I really struggled with it I could just give it up but it makes me so sad that my food issues may take another exciting part of my life away from me.
I am honestly wondering how on earth I got this far in life without realising how big of an issue my problems with food really are.
My first weigh in since starting to use the Noom app is tomorrow (actually it wants me to do it today but I have no scales at home and no time to go to the gym today so it will need to wait) perhaps I will have lost a little and will feel more positive.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

I had a bit of a meltdown

I had a bit of a meltdown the other day when I realised just how bad my eating is in terms of trying to lose weight. I realised that the Noom app finds everything I eat, save a few exceptions, as being amber foods and although I can stay under my total daily calories with no effort whatsoever (in fact the app often reminds me I need to eat), I am always over the amber section.

For the first time in my life I actually cried because I felt so bad about the way I eat, I just want to be 'normal' whatever that is. I have honestly never been upset about my eating, or my weight for that matter before now.

Coincidentally my mother called during my meltdown she made things a lot worse and said 'oh and I guess this is all my fault because I never forced you to eat healthier.' I only wish she understood that her positive attitude towards my eating is likely the reason it took 28 years before I had a meltdown over it. Mum was always great about my refusal to eat certain foods.

Is there a part of me that wishes she had been able to convince me to eat better? yes there is, but there is no part of me that wishes she had force fed me in order to do that. I cannot stress enough how fortunate I am to have a (mostly) positive attitude towards the way I eat. So many people like me are embarrassed by it and some even panic if they are faced with a social situation involving food. I don't have these issues and I honestly thing that's because my mother never made a fuss about the problems I have. By not making an issue of it at home, it never became an issue for me. I eat what I can and I don't have a problem with what other people think about that.

The other day however, I was really upset. I am trying so hard, I even tried to eat salad tonight and I actually managed a few leaves along with half a chicken breast. I learned that I definitely do not like rocket but I can handle a little spinach and watercress. I hope that if I try to incorporate those into more meals I will slowly build on the amount of them I am able to take. I did feel a little nauseous but nothing overwhelming and I suspect its because I really didn't like the rocket. I should know better than to try two new things at once (I have had spinach before), from now on only one new thing in any meal.

At least my meltdown didn't put me off trying I guess. I have decided that I will speak to my doctor about it, I have an appointment on Wednesday for something else anyway. I haven't tried to talk to a doctor about this since I was a kid and they finally stopped banging on to me about eating vegetables. They sent me to a dietician and everything when I was in my early teens, I went to the appointment thinking someone was going to try and help me manage my diet a little better (I had no interest in changing it then) but all she did is tell me that the only thing I could do is eat vegetables and maybe try fruit as a snack. She had no understanding whatsoever of my food issues, since dietetics is her forte and she didn't understand, I have never bothered a medical professional with it again.

That was at least 15 years ago though and hopefully things have changed, I did mention it to the practice nurse last time I seen her because she was trying to encourage me to lose weight. I mentioned it almost in passing, something along the lines of 'don't tell me to diet, I cant do it I have selective eating disorder and nothing is going to change that' she actually tried to understand a little, although it was clear she didn't have much knowledge of the condition.

I don't know what I hope to gain by discussing it with the doctor, I am not sure I want therapy of any kind. I am not sure if there is therapy of any kind for SED, I know some people in my support group have tried hypnotherapy but I don't see me getting that on the NHS and even if I did its quite well known that hypnotherapy doesn't work in people who like to be in control all the time, I think that's me.

Maybe the doctor can help and maybe they cant, to be totally honest I would just love it if there was some sort of note put on my file to tell them to stop moaning at me about my weight, I am doing everything I can and them moaning at me about it is only likely to send me into another meltdown since I now have the ability to have a meltdown. I have never been that distressed in my life before, I honestly didn't think I had it in me. I am not an emotional person at all, I took myself a little by surprise if I am honest.

Friday, 13 February 2015

A picky eater's nightmare

Today I experienced what is a nightmare for all picky eaters like me - hidden condiments.

I had finished my classes a little early and my friend said she had a bit of time before her lift arrived and asked if I fancied a coffee. We then both decided we were a little peckish so we went for a coffee and a sandwich.

Now this friend knows how picky I am, I actually even think she understands it a little so she asked if I was ok going to this particular place. It only really has sandwiches and toasties but they usually have ham and cheese which is ok with me, although cheese is not ideal with my weight-loss goals.

They had a baguette with turkey and Swiss cheese, I asked if that was all that was on it and was told it was so I bought the sandwich and took a bite. It was actually quite nice, that is until I had a second bite.

Something was definitely not right so I opened the thing and low and behold there were three giant globs of mustard on it! Now I can handle a little mustard, I prefer not to but it doesn't really bother me all that much, but these were giant lumps of the stuff. I managed to get a knife and remove most of it but I feel like such an idiot when stuff like that happens.

I should just be able to eat the sandwich like a normal person, or better yet the label should tell you that there's mustard on it or at the very least the staff should be aware and tell you when specifically asked if there is anything else on there.

In these situations I always wonder what would happen if I had allergies? I mean there are plenty of people who have food allergies, I don't know how many are allergic to mustard specifically but what if I was one of them and I bit into this baguette? Of course because I am just picky, no one cares.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

This is so much harder than I thought

I know that my food issues make dieting next to impossible, but I figured I would at least be able to make healthier choices, even if they are not quite healthy.
As I said yesterday, I am using the Noom app for my phone to track my food intake and exercise. Having used the app before I was sure I knew what I was doing and I know that it wont force me to eat things I simply can't.
The problem is two-fold, firstly there is no list to tell you what the green, amber and red foods are you just have to either guess or work it out by dividing the number of calories by the number of grams, if it works out less than one its a green food apparently. This might work well with pre-packaged foods or while checking labels while doing the food shop, but it is absolutely useless when in the canteen at uni.
There are a few different eating places in my university a big main canteen and several other small cafes. My friends and I usually go to one of the smaller places which is good from the point of view that there aren't many people there but bad from a food choice point of view. I am left with a baked potato or a sandwich, occasionally they have things like burgers which I can eat but clearly wouldn't fit in with my new healthier eating plan.
I usually take a baked potato with butter, tuna and cheese. The potatoes are tiny and I am usually hungry again before my next class is over but it's usually my only option. So today I had the potato minus the butter and cheese, figuring that reducing the calories is obviously a good thing. I also thought that potatoes might be a green food since they technically are a vegetable and apparently a lot more nutritious than people give them credit for, I had already had cereal for breakfast which turned out to be an amber food even although its one specifically marketed for healthy eating and I have seen much unhealthier cereals (children's ones) which have been green. So I was quite near my limit of amber foods for the day (as well as a total daily calorie allowance, Noom breaks this down into an allowance of green, amber and red foods) so when I realised that both the potato and the tuna were amber foods I was a little distraught. I was over my amber allowance already and I had just had lunch!
In fairness to me I was still well under the total and the only red food I have had in two days was the tiny amount of mayo that was in the tuna, but its still disheartening.
The second problem is that my diet seems to consist almost entirely of amber foods and while I can stay under my total limit, I have a feeling I will always be over the amber section.
In trying to combat both these problems I decided to come home and have the only thing I could think of that I knew to be a green food that I could eat - baked beans. Of course I cant just eat baked beans so I had to add to my amber list with two slices of toast. I am still under the overall total with just about enough allowance to spare to eat half a dinner or something like that, but I can't have any more amber foods and there are no green foods I can eat on their own.
Ironically I still have loads of red calories available, over half my remaining available allowance is in the red zone. This effectively means I can help myself to something really unhealthy like chocolate (I actually don't eat chocolate, that's just an example), but not something moderate like bread.
I am beginning to think that the only way I can make this work for me is if I just ignore the colours and just try to stay within the total limit for the day. Since most of my safe foods seem to be in the amber zone I think my only other choice is to starve.
Noom promises weight loss without having to starve yourself but because this newer version breaks your limit down into the three colours (the old app didn't do this it just showed you the colours you didn't get separate allowances for each) and everything I eat seems to be amber, I am already starving and its only day two.
On the plus side, my walk to and from the train to uni boosted my exercise total for the week and since I am working on Saturday (I work in a hospital) and I will be on my feet all day running about I think my exercise will be way over my goal and that's with only one gym visit this week.
Now if I could just find something I am actually allowed to eat!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Starting my weight-loss journey

Perhaps I should say I am restarting my weight-loss journey, because it is certainly not the first time I have tried. I do think this is the most dedicated to weight-loss I have been though and I am hoping this dedication will help me succeed this time.
I am using an app on my smartphone called Noom, I have used the free version of this app before and found it really easy to use but I have decided to opt for the paid version at least for a while so I signed up to a three month subscription. You can read more about the Noom app here: its available for iPhone and android.
I don't want to turn this post into a review of the app (although I may do that later) but I do want to point out the things it does well that makes it suitable for people with a limited diet like myself.
You are not actually forced to change your diet drastically, Noom works by calorie counting and using what's called 'volumetrics' to decide which foods you should eat more of and which foods you should use less of. It uses a handy traffic light system to help you see the good and bad foods you eat. Volumetrics is about how much the calories actually fill you up so something which is a green food may not necessarily have less calories than a red food, but those calories will make you feel full longer, in theory making you eat less.
Although Noom counts calories you actually don't have to count them often. The app has a great database of foods which have all the calories listed, you simply input what you ate and Noom tells you the calories and if its a green, red or amber food, although being honest the new version of the app is not as god at this as the old version, the display was better in the older one and it was easier to see if you had eaten green foods or not. If a food is not listed in their database you can easily add it and it even has a handy barcode scanner, although I am yet to actually get this to work.
I also went to the supermarket and had a browse round the shelves trying to work out what I can eat that is at least a little healthy. I left with the ingredients to make a chicken and mushroom risotto which I think will be a green food since rice is filling and it has one vegetable in it. I also picked up some mince and carrots which I will have tomorrow, although I forgot to grab potatoes which I will have to get on the way home tomorrow.
yesterday I was in the gym for an hour which according to Noom burned only 200 calories, I think I may have entered the information wrong as that doesn't seem like enough. I will take more care with it next time. Noom also has a built in pedometer as well as a separate pedometer app, I am unsure if you need to have both - one to count the steps and then transfer them into the app, or if just having the regular app would be enough. I have only taken 1864 steps today and my target is 8000. Your step target can go up and down depending on what you eat and your calorie allowance can change in relation to your exercise.
My big worry is university tomorrow, there is literally only a few things I can eat, none of which are likely to be green, or even amber foods. I know that the sensible option is to take something with me but I don't actually eat that many cold foods and there are no facilities to heat anything up. At least I only have two weeks left of classes before I start placement again where I will have access to a microwave and a toaster, not much but its something.
This weight-loss thing is not going to be easy, but I am determined.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

My struggle with my weight

I have really started to struggle with my weight in recent years, I was in a very minor traffic accident that left me immobile for several weeks, and a lot less mobile than I was before the accident even now. Don't get me wrong, I can do most normal things as long as I don't carry much but we are now three years later. Initially after the accident I couldn't even walk.
Truth be told, the accident is only partly to blame. I have been overweight most of my life, save a few years in my early 20's when I lost a lot of weight unexplainably. The accident just made things worse I guess and I am the biggest I have ever been, and for the first time I am truly unhappy with my weight.
It seems that no matter what I have tried to do before and after the accident I just can't get the weight off, at most I lose a few pounds but then stop and get disheartened and eventually give up. Just now I have lost two kilos (a little over 4lbs) since around the end of last year, no more will come off no matter how often I visit the gym.
I know that the biggest part of the problem is my diet, and I honestly don't know what I can do about it. I was advised by my practice nurse to join a slimming club, but how can I do that when I can't physically eat the things they get you to eat? The nurse did seem to be trying to understand and asked me if I thought I could modify the recipes somehow to make them edible to me, but the only way to make these things edible to me would be to make them a whole lot less healthy.
I have tried just about everything, taken all sorts of tablets that are meant to speed up your metabolism but none of them help and they just leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, quite literally. I go to the gym twice a week most weeks, sometimes more sometimes less but I make sure I go at least once every week and try my best to go more often. I have a crazy schedule which doesn't always allow gym time but I have joined a gym that is open 24/7 now so that will hopefully make that side of things a bit easier.
I honestly don't know what else I can do, other than try to get to the gym even more. I am trying my best with my diet, of course no one believes me when they see the things I eat but I do honestly go out of my way to make them as healthy as I possibly can. I think people think you need to eat salad to be on a diet, I can't eat much salad and could never eat it on its own, like all other veg I eat (all four of them) I have to eat it with something to sort of hide the flavour of it.
I know the effect being this heavy is having on my health and I am lucky that so far my health is ok, but I know it won't always be that way if I don't do something about it now.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Organising the food makes life easier

I have two weeks left at university and to celebrate myself and two friends decided to organise some food and stuff for the last day. I like volunteering to organise these types of things, partly because I just like to be helpful but mostly because organising the food means I can make sure there is something I will eat.
I obviously take other peoples likes and dislikes into consideration and I don't expect to be able to eat everything, as long as there is something I can eat I am quite happy and I don't feel like an outcast.
My biggest responsibility is the cake, I am the only member of the group with a Costco membership and since their cakes are both delicious and cheap that's where we decided to get it from. Ordering the cake means that I can make sure there is no jam in it, meaning I might actually be able to eat a slice, not that I am a massive fan of cake but people always think you are a bit odd when you don't eat cake so I will usually take a small piece as long as there is no jam in it.
I was also able to make sure that the girl who is organising the pizzas gets at least one plain cheese one so I can have a slice of that. That's more than enough to keep me happy, a slice of pizza and a slice of cake will do me just fine.
The girls said they like having me help organise because if they make sure there are things for me to eat, surely there will therefore be something for everyone. I think this is the first time that anyone has ever taken my picky eating as a positive thing.
Today was definitely a positive food day!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Being fussy Vs having an eating disorder

A lot of people don't think that people like me actually have an eating disorder, they seem to think we are just fussy. So what is the difference between having an eating disorder and simply being a fussy eater?

Being fussy

Most people have a few foods that they don't like and of course that is perfectly normal. I guess being a fussy eater means that you have a few more foods that you don't like than average. How someone determines what this average is I have no idea.

What I do know is that most people who are simply fussy eaters will have tasted the things they don't like and actually know that they don't like them. I also highly doubt that fussy eaters are anywhere near as repulsed by certain foods as people like me are. I doubt they have problems choosing a place to eat for fear that there will be nothing on the menu they can even look at, or that they have panic attacks at the thought of an unfamiliar food environment.

Selective eating disorder

People like me who have selective eating disorder (SED) have often never tasted many of the foods they don't like. A lot of us are simply repulsed by the way something smells, or even how it looks.

Thankfully it doesn't happen to me, but I know some people with SED who have full blown panic attacks if they are invited out to dinner for fear that someone will order something that they simply can't be in the same room as, or that there will be nothing available for them to eat. Many people with SED find social situations involving food terrifying, maybe because people will order things they cant be around or there will be nothing for them to eat, but more so because eating in front of other people is a source of panic for some. Some people are so embarrassed by the way they eat, or just hate everyone asking questions like 'is that all you are having?'

Many of us get physical symptoms of our disorder, usually being sick if we accidentally eat something we know we can't have. This has happened to me several times, once just because my hotdog had touched an onion!

For some of us, there are days where we can't eat anything at all, not even our 'safe foods.' It's a strange thing, I honestly can't explain it but some days nothing is appealing at all and I often have to force myself to just eat something even though I really don't want to, breakfast cereal is my go to food in this situation.

People with SED are also a lot more worried about the ingredients in food than people who are simply fussy. You might hear someone say that they can't eat onions for example, but they may be able to have onions in their food in small pieces or something. Well someone with SED no only wont have the thing with onions in it, but would be able to spot a hidden onion at ten paces. As I mentioned earlier, I was once physically sick just because my food had touched an onion.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Yet another bad food day

Today was a bad food day, as so many days are for people like me.
I had a half day in uni so I had a late breakfast before I went in. I went to my first class and had an hour and a half between classes. I had a lot I wanted to get done in that hour and a half, myself and two friends are organising some stuff for the last day which is in three weeks and I had emails related to that to send.
I planned to go to one of the cafes on campus which has a computer room down the stairs, grab a sandwich and take it down to the computer room. Surprise surprise, no sandwiches I can eat. There was egg mayonnaise, savoury cheese and something else that had lots of salad on it. I started looking about at what else was available.
This café is my favourite because they mostly do snack foods which I can usually eat at least some of, failing anything else I can get a portion of chips. There was nothing left today by the time I got there which I found odd since it was nowhere near closing time. The only thing I could eat was a baked potato, no problem I like those.
My potato was rock solid, completely inedible. I had happened to meet a few friends and they all told me to take it back but what was the point? what could they change it for? There was nothing else I liked.
So I went to my three hour class with nothing to eat, although some lovely person had brought snacks to class for someone's birthday. There were all sorts of sweets, and someone had made cake. Only I don't like sweets, or chocolate cake for that matter. Thankfully someone also brought plain, salted pringles, I can eat those. So I had half a dozen of them and bought a muffin on the way home.
For the most part I don't mind missing the odd meal here and there. I do it all the time, I know its not good for me but when your diet is as limited as mine and you often have to leave the house without the ability to bring your own food. I just hate it when it happens when I have a class to go to, its hard to concentrate when all you are worried about is people hearing your stomach rumbling!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

It is a real eating disorder

I think the thing that annoys me most about my issues with food is the fact that people don't think that it's a 'real' problem. People seem to think I am just being fussy and that being a picky eater couldn't possibly be any sort of illness.
Truth be told, I have an eating disorder. It is newly recognised, and much more so in America than here in the UK but it is a real disorder. The medical term being used now is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), I don't personally like the term. I don't feel that I avoid food as such and I don't restrict my intake of food either, I am just limited in the foods I like. To me that definition seems like its a decision to avoid foods and that's not the case at all.
I prefer the term Selective Eating Disorder (SED), although many people like me don't like the use of the word 'selective' as it's certainly not something we choose, I personally feel that it fits me better than ARFID because I honestly don't feel like I avoid food. Although anyone who has ever been out to eat with me would likely tell you that I do in fact avoid certain foods. I prefer to think of myself as selective about the foods I eat, all be it not through choice on my part. This article is great at explaining what SED is and it talks a little about the studies that are being done in to the disorder, mostly at Duke university. It also talks a little about the super tasters theory that I mentioned earlier.
Over here in the UK it is harder to get a diagnosis, although research is being done on the subject. I have participated in some research recently and I know that the researchers are determined to get SED or ARFID recognised better over here. Just now, if you can get a doctor to believe you have an eating disorder at all, you are likely to be diagnosed with what they call 'Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified' or EDNOS. This article, also from live science explains what EDNOS is and why being diagnosed with one is not always a good thing: 
Being honest, I don't know how important a diagnosis is to me. I know I have a problem with food and in a way I don't mind if other people don't understand that. I would however like the medical community to understand a little better, there is simply no use in telling me I need to go on a diet to lose weight, it simply cant happen. I don't feel like I need a name for it or anything, it's not like I need a name to validate it to me, but I think the medical profession does. They cant take it seriously if it's not a real thing and if it doesn't have a name then its not a real thing to them.
What I do know is that the day I found out that Selective Eating Disorder was actually a real thing changed my life. I had no idea that there was a name for my issues, and I had no idea that there were others like me, some a lot worse. I will save the story of that day for another post, but believe me I have come such a long way since that day.