When Food Takes Control – Katie Winter

Real Life Food Journey

Let’s set the scene, my name’s Katie, 21 years old and in recovery from anorexia. When I was in secondary school I got bullied, which took a huge knock on my confidence and unfortunately, the anorexia then begun to take hold. I have to admit, that I know now that even before the bullying, I never felt 100% right. I always felt like I was different and ‘odd’, so I can be grateful now that my eating disorder developed, because it has allowed me to understand why I felt that way and make changes accordingly.

When the anorexia started I knew that something wasn’t right, I didn’t feel myself and starving myself seemed like the perfect fix. I believed I had found the piece to my puzzle.My parents had no idea how to help with this illness, and why would they? I got taken to see a lot of specialists but if I’m honest, at the time, I just did not want to listen to them. I hated how I felt but the thought of change was just too overwhelming, the illness controlled me completely. It even made me believe that the problems lay in my house and I moved myself to a hotel for a month thinking that everything would be OK and the eating disorder would go away, but boy how I wrong I was!!

Things only got worse and the family only broke apart more. My dad would pick me up every morning from the hotel in tears, telling me he couldn’t face seeing me looking like that anymore but I didn’t want to listen, the anorexia was now in full control, it took over me.

My journey in recovery has taught me and still is teaching me how to fuel my body, what to eat or drink to make it feel amazing.

Time passed and very quickly my health had seriously deteriorated and after seeing my GP one day, I was deemed to be critical and unless I voluntarily admitted to a clinic, I had to be sectioned. Looking back on it now I can see why and they were just doing their job but at the time I was so angry that I felt like they were all just ganging up on me.

So now the scene’s set, let me tell you how I decided to get my roller-coaster life back on track
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Reluctantly, I went on a 12 hour journey with my mum to Cape Town, South Africa, where I was admitted to a specialist eating disorders clinic – Montrose Manor. It helped my parents and I to understand much more about the illness and how, together as a family, we could support each other.Six months later I was discharged and now I can see it was really just a temporary fix that saved my life.

After returning home I pretty much immediately relapsed, the illness over powered me again and I felt so out of control. Sadly and shortly I was back to square one but this where my own real recovery began.I was attending therapy and saw a dietitian on a regular basics for months and months but nothing was really changing. I would be anxious about the dreaded number on the scale, the minute I left the room. This was just not helping me. I felt all of the emphasis was on my weight, which is so crucial but deep down I know it’s not about the food or the weight. For me, it was about control and finding a way to numb my feelings.I so badly wanted to be at peace with myself. I thought I would never ever be able to fuel my body properly again.

Shortly after coming home from Cape Town I discovered yoga. I so nearly stopped going one day after feeling fed up that I wasn’t getting anywhere, but I stuck with it. Yoga gave me a chance to get out of my head and into my body – to express myself through movement and start to feel confident.

Now I would like you to meet my parents, Michelle and Jerrard who starting attending an addiction meeting for relatives. My dad was very much tied up with his work but I am so lucky and grateful that he still managed to find time to support me; it gave us both so much strength.

I slowly started to realise after discussing everything through with him that two heads were better than one and I didn’t have to be alone in this and I wasn’t going to be either. It changed my perspective on the illness and gave me huge hope that there was a way out. Please don’t be alone, find someone and talk to them, tell them how you feel and let them comfort and support you. Share honestly with them and don’t be ashamed.

At this point my dad and I decided that together with the help of the family we had to stick together and combat this. Previously due to the normal pressures of life we would rarelysit together for meal times, which obviously gave my illness the upper hand, so we made a promise that we would sit every night together and have our meal. It’s helped us to bond and feel much closer as a family.

Because my yoga practice has helped me so much, I decided to set myself a much needed motivation goal which was to take a yoga teacher training course and then be able to help others through their yoga practice.

This goal helps me so much because I know that if I am not well myself then I am useless to anyone else.

Lastly I wanted to say that I am no longer ashamed to have an eating disorder, I’m proud of my journey.

It is also important to remember that when dealing with an illness like I had, balance is key and if I wanted to have a cookie or piece of cake then I choose to have it, and why shouldn’t I?

Going out to eat used to be and sometimes still is a huge fear of mine. I now use the strength inside me, that I have gained through my yoga practice to get through hard times.

My journey in recovery has taught me and still is teaching me how to fuel my body, what to eat or drink to make it feel amazing. It is quite tough, sometimes I do get it wrong but I learn from those mistakes and always pick myself up and try again.

I’ve connected via social media platforms with other people that feel the same way as me about health and how to look after your body and I like that we can support each other and give each other tips, its just so lovely. I feel like I have another family and I’m part of such a friendly community.

These are all such important values that I didn’t have before and sharing this story and message with people is very important to me.Also, social media has helped me to help other people who are in recovery and this has made me feel so hopeful that there is a way out of this and it is possible for anyone.

Lastly I wanted to say that I am no longer ashamed to have an eating disorder, I’m proud of my journey and excited for where it is going to take me. To me it feels a real blessing that I’ve been able to learn so much about myself and about life at such a young age and met such great people on this journey which will make me overall a better person.

I have learnt now to find the positive in every situation and let go of the negatives that don’t and won’t serve me or anyone around me.

I hope that by sharing my story I bring hope and that no-one should feel like they are walking alone because they really are not. I once felt like that too.

Katie Winter X

Autumn issue of Thrive Magazine is OUT NOW
If you’re looking for some health ideas and recipes to kick-start your health routine, grab our Autumn Issue. At Thrive we only bring you reliable and trustworthy content, covering health, nutrition, and wellness.

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Inside this Autumn issue:

• The Brain Food Diet – foods to nourish your grey matter
• Why we’re lacking in Vitamin B12 and what does it mean
• How to eat for your specific body type
• The power of kombucha
• Different sugars and the effect they have on the body
• How Important is calcium in our diets
• Food stories with CNM – natural therapies restored my health
• HOT PRODUCTS
• The science behind our food cravings
• Yoga and nutrition – the perfect pairing
• Trusted information from industry experts on all aspects of Health, Nutrition, Fitness, Mindset…

Recipes including: Late Autumn Gazpacho / Warming Baked Squash / Avocado Sushi Mango Makis / Kale, Banana and Ginger Smoothie Bowl / Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake / Cranberry and Pumkin Seed Flapjacks

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