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.

Monday, 2 February 2015

The problem with food

I think now is a good time to try and explain exactly what the problem with food is. I am not sure if this is something I can really explain but I will try my best.

It's a lot more than just being fussy and its definitely not about parents just 'letting me away' with not eating vegetables. I don't know what the exact problem is but I have a real proper aversion to certain foods. Some its the smell, I cant stand the way some foods smell, therefore I don't think I like how they taste, therefore I wont eat them. it doesn't matter if I have actually tasted the food in question or not.

Other times its texture. Texture issues are common in people with selective eating disorder. I don't like the way some foods feel in my mouth, or even how I think they would feel. Take tomatoes as an example, I have never eaten an actual tomato, they look like they would feel squishy and weird and I cant bring myself to try them. However I can eat tinned tomatoes, provided they are blended so there are no lumps, therefore it stands to reason that I like the flavour of tomatoes but yet I cant bring myself to eat one.

The thing is that I understand that this makes no sense, I know its weird and definitely not right. I just cant bring myself to eat a tomato, the thought of it makes me feel a little sick. I am fully aware that my food issues are completely irrational, but it doesn't make them any less real. Many foods make me sick, I have physically vomited because my food had touched an onion and I could taste the onion flavour on it despite there being no actual onions in my food.

There are many foods I have never tasted, and many that I probably never will. However my ability to try things has actually improved a whole lot over the last few years. It started with simply eating different combinations of things I know I like, and this is something I have become quite comfortable with. I no longer necessarily need to know that I like the actual dish, just that I like everything that is in it. I know that probably doesn't sound like that much of an achievement to most people, but to someone who had rarely eaten an unfamiliar food till they were in their 20's its a huge achievement. I used to have to recognise and know I liked the actual dish, which led to me mostly eating macaroni and cheese or a cheeseburger every time I ate out. Those were two things I knew I could eat, and I knew would be as I recognised them, there would be no surprises so I was ok with it. Now I could for talks sake eat a pasta with chicken and a cream sauce because I like all those things so it stands to reason that I would like the finished dish. I am still nervous trying a new dish, but not terrified to the point where I wont do it like I used to be.

I have also added four vegetables to my diet, well I guess I regained one. I used to eat tinned carrots as a child but stopped for some reason before I was ten, I now can eat carrots tinned or not. I also eat broccoli, parsnips and mushrooms. However I am very particular about how they are cooked, broccoli and carrots have to be cooked till soft, really soft and parsnips need to be boiled then oven roasted, mushrooms have to be well fried and  can only eat them in the same mouthful as certain other foods. If I am having mushrooms with my chicken for talks sake, and I finish the chicken before I finish the mushrooms, I cant eat the rest of the mushrooms because they are too weird on their own. They have a weird texture that is sort of hidden by eating them in the same bite as something else. I eat all my veg in the same bite as something else, I can't eat any of them on my own.

I still eat no fruit, and I honestly don't know that I ever will. Unlike vegetables, I cant really hide them in the same bite as other foods. I tried to eat an apple once, but it didn't work out it was all hard but somehow still soft after I bit into it and it was also really sweet tasting and I don't really like sweet things all that much. I was proud of myself for trying though, its not an easy thing for me to do.

I would love to eat more healthily, especially since I have started to really struggle with my weight again. Believe me if I could change my diet I would, but  I am resigned to the fact that I will never have a normal diet. I can make changes though, just changing the way some things are cooked can make them at least a little healthier. That is what I have been trying to do, I have been looking at the foods I do eat and trying to figure out what I can do to make them a little less unhealthy.

I am also trying to take my own food to university and work for lunch, that way its slightly healthier than the junk food that I can eat in the uni/work canteens which is usually something incredibly unhealthy like a burger and/or chips. The problem is that in uni, there is no way to heat anything up and I don't really eat any cold food other than sandwiches which to be honest I don't really love but can tolerate if I need to. In work I have access to a microwave and toaster so I try and make something ahead of time that can be reheated in the microwave and for breakfast I will have toast (I work 12 hour shifts so we usually have breakfast and lunch breaks).

I hope I have at least given you a little insight into what my problem is with food, its a really hard thing for me to explain because to be honest, I don't understand it myself.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Growing up picky

When you are young people expect you to be a little fussy with food, but not to the extent I was. I would insist that I didn't like foods I had never tried, which may be reasonably normal but this has continued to adulthood.

It wasn't just that I refused to eat these things, it was how badly I refused that was the problem. I would get really upset about even the suggestion of eating certain things and a lot of food made me feel sick.

I also had to have foods prepared a certain way, or some foods could only be eaten with other foods. For example when I was really young I wouldn't eat any other vegetable but tinned carrots, if mum made fresh carrots I could tell the difference and wouldn't eat them. I eventually refused to eat all carrots for some reason, although they are one of only four vegetables I eat now as an adult.

For the most part, my picky eating really wasn't too much of a problem as a kid. Mum was really good about it and never forced anything on me or tried to hide vegetables in food (that's never a good idea, no matter what that television advert says, it creates trust issues). Sure she encouraged, and even sometimes begged me to eat things that were a bit more healthy; but she knew there was an issue here and never forced food on me.

School was a different matter, the food was horrible and you were forced to sit there until a teacher said you had eaten enough and could leave. I pretty much never got to leave, it was those potatoes. I hated those, the roast potatoes were sort of hard but also squishy and the boiled potatoes, although peeled, had a weird skin on them that made them inedible to me. I would happily eat both boiled and roast potatoes at home, although after a few years of being forced to at least try the school ones I started refusing boiled ones.

I tried as much as possible to get my mum to make me a packed lunch, but it wasn't always possible. for a while I got free school meals due to the family income and I sort of had to take them. It was awful. I went to a very small school and the teachers and dining room staff knew that I was 'funny' with food, but no one went out of their way to make life any easier, although in fairness I don't know what they could have done. The dinner ladies would say 'no veg for you' when I was telling them what I wanted because they knew me that well, they would then ask me if I wanted boiled or roast potatoes and when I said neither they told me I had to have one or the other. If they had just let me not have the potatoes lunch time would have been such a better experience, perhaps I could have finished my lunch like all of the other kids. Instead in my seven years of primary school, not once did I finish a school lunch. Oh and don't get me started on the puddings!

I still don't have much of a sweet tooth these days but back then I was even worse. I didn't eat anything sweet at all apart from cheesecake which my mum made from time to time, and a caramel slice type thing that the school would occasionally have; IF I could get them not to put custard on it! They would always cover your pudding in custard, whether you wanted it or not. Custard was actually the one other sweet thing I liked, but I liked cold custard from a can not this abomination of warm lumpy stuff that very vaguely resembled warm custard. Why on earth they cared whether I ate custard or not I really don't know, but whether you wanted it or not, you got custard on your pudding. It made me feel sick with those weird lumps in it.

High school was much better because you weren't made to eat a meal, you could have other things like chips or sandwiches and sometimes they had burgers too. I survived high school on chips and cheese or chicken sandwiches but at least I was eating something. School was a long day for me since I had to travel so far to get there so it was important that I at least ate something during the day. I would always come home from school starving because all I had eaten was a tiny portion of chips (they were meant as a side order) or a sandwich.

I avoided staying over at friends' houses because I didn't want to eat unfamiliar food, or to have to explain to a friend's mum that I couldn't eat something. I knew I had a strange relationship with food, but I didn't know till much later that I had a real problem. I have an eating disorder.

Actually the idea of me having an eating disorder wasn't entirely new to me, my doctor had mentioned to my mum that she was concerned that I might have bulimia in my early teens because I was sick so often and ate very little. Truth was I was literally terrified of being sick, I used to have full blown panic attacks where I was sure I was going to die pretty much every time I even felt like I might be sick. I am sure that made my food issues worse because if a food made me sick I would never eat it again in case I was sick again. There was no way I was deliberately making myself sick! I also never lost any weight or binge ate, which are both common with bulimia and although I was always overweight, I never cared about it. I wasn't a self-conscious kid, never cared what people thought of me. So the idea of bulimia was thankfully dismissed, unfortunately so was any attempt to find out what the problem actually was.

I saw the dietician once or twice, but she just told me I needed to eat better, which I already knew, and tried to convince me that I had to eat fruit and vegetables. No one ever tried to understand what the problem actually was, or if there was actually anything else that could be done to help me.

I honestly don't know if there is anything that can be done to help people like me, but it wouldn't have hurt for someone to try. At the very least it would have stopped me from shying away from doctors who clearly weren't going to actually try and do anything to help. I had bad kidneys growing up and was always in and out of hospital, but I wouldn't engage with treatment really because every time I went in they would weigh me, tell me I was overweight and that I needed to eat more fruits and vegetables. I stopped attending the renal clinic in my late teens, there wasn't really any point in going anymore. they told me there was nothing they could do for me anyway and the only thing they did do was moan at me about my weight.