“Fat” Is Not A Feeling


From the billion pound diet industries, to racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia our world tells us not to love our bodies, even as far as to be ashamed of the skin we’re in.

Too often people refer to “feeling fat” as if “fat” is an adjective, the same as feeling ‘happy’, ’tired’, ‘restless’ or ‘joyful’.

Warped by the diet-ridden, fat phobic world we have become, this noun, “fat”, we have learnt to associated with feelings of self-dissatisfaction, shame, guilt, and discomfort.
A word used to reflect not feeling good enough.
Good enough to ourselves.
Good enough in the eyes of society.
Good enough in comparison to our friends, families or those we admire on social media.

A study investigating the content and frequency of fat shaming, body dissatisfaction and internalisation of the “thin ideal” amongst college students (predominately female) found that 90% engaged in conversational fat shaming of their own bodies, despite only 9% of them being clinically overweight and this was (unsurprisingly) associated with higher dissatisfaction and internalisation of the westernised “thin ideal”. 

This feeling now drives the chronic dieters, those who return to their “Monday morning diets” of restricted eating, eliminating food groups and over exercising, as this is now a socially justified form of self-care.

Not just only for women, but for many males I come across too.

So I want to remind you, in those moments when you sit there and think “I feel fat” remind yourself that “fatness” is not a feeling. But feeling fat means you’re feeling some other dissatisfaction, and that finding out what that is will be revolutionary to your overall well-being, and self-respect.

In those moments when we decide to sit and listen to our bodies sometimes we don’t always like what we feel back.
Pinnacle to recovery is learning to sit with, and work through, these uncomfortable feelings, without self-destructive thoughts and behaviours.

Remember, you have one body, and that body may be different in its abilities to others, treated differently in the past, have undergone illness or injury.  But what your body does and how it does it, demands your care, your respect and your constant unconditional love.
Feeding it.
Clothing it.
Moving it, and using it in the ways that build you up instead of breaking you down mentally as well as physically.

It’s a true act of self-care instead of a repetitive cycle of self-harm.

It by no means waking up every day and feeling amazing, but it’s accepting that it’s okay to feel shit about other stuff and not project this as a label onto yourself.

It’s a choice to respect your whole self, and in doing so respecting the diversity of bodies, minds and abilities that surround you.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to challenge the label of “feeling fat” because to those who are actually overweight, who may even face size discrimination, this terminology is damaging, adding to the daily fat-phobic stigmatisation that diet-culture fuels, reinforcing the warped thin idealisations that need to be challenged and changed

Its okay not to be okay
But it’s not okay to remain so.

Diet Culture Is Damaging Our Health: Problems and Solutions
Break Free from Comparative Behaviour and Negative Self-Talk [4 Challenges]
The Instagram Trap: #Fitspo or #GuiltTrip?


Say Yes To Rest! Top Tips For Non-stop Busy-Bees

Work-a-holics and busy-bees how do we switch off?

Often we find it hard to stop.
We are great at offering self-care and wellbeing advice to others but risk burnout and stress, ourselves.
Sounds silly but for many of us just ‘chilling out’ can be really hard.
It’s something I hate doing, and so I realised it is a challenge I needed to face.

In this post I share my top tips for how to switch off without feeling bad about it!

Go slip on those snuggly PJs, grab a cuppa biscuit, and enjoy todays post.

The alarm goes 6:30am and from then on I am constantly doing, and constantly thinking. My mind is a buzz of productivity and creativity, and my body a buzz of activity; bustling around, numerous jobs, activities, studies and commutes.

At the end of my day I love nothing more than to feel I have achieved.
You know what it’s like to have that deep satisfaction of ticking all the boxes on the ‘to do’ list; so great.
Only then am I allowed to snuggle up on the couch to watch an episode of Bake Off or Blue Planet. However, more often than not ten minutes in and I end up once again with my laptop out, work head on, feeling “guilty” for taking time off. 

Sounds silly, but for many of us just ‘chilling out’ can be really hard.
It’s something I hate doing so I realised it as a challenge I needed to face, and I know I’m not the only one!

What happens after a while?
The stress headaches begin.
The anxiety creeps in.
Sleeping becomes disrupted.  
Guilt and Perfectionism? …lets not even open that can of worms.
I feel rubbish, achey, and begin picking up every illness under the sun.

Basically, my body is telling me “whoa slow down and chill”, but my mind is telling me “you ought to be doing something productive”.

Can You Empathise?

Often we find it hard to stop.
Many of us are often great at offering self-care advice to others, then ignore the signs of burnout and stress in our own lives. 

Recently I decided enough was enough. I needed to listen to my body, to take care of myself and relax.
The idea from going from always “doing” to learning how to just “be” made me kinda nervous, I felt bad, and at first I found it hard. But  as the weekend unravelled, the effects on both my body and mind were unsurprisingly awesome. 


Top Tips To Swicthing Off

  • Split your “to-do” list into “ought to do” and “want to do”:
    This was actually a tip from my old man, who told me to re-structure my to-do list into things I “want” to do and “ought” to do.The want to do list is what you find important, what you feel you’re missing out on that you want to do more off, these things will motivate you, bring a smile to your face and give you peace of mind.
    Be honest with yourself and you’ll be surprised when you listen to your body and hear what its telling you it wants to do…it may not want to go to the gym today ya’ know.


  • Don’t be afraid to take time off!
    Not books. No emails. No researching.
    These will get done but are placed int he ought to do column for when feeling more refreshed.
    You’ll find coming back more relaxed and rested you’ll have more motivation and energy, so productivity in the long term is greater!!



  • Go Exploring:
    Autumn is my favourite season, but I felt I was missing out on all the fantastic smells, colours and walks that I love at this time of year! I spent a weekend exploring some of my favourite countryside getaways. This cleared my mind and eased the tension headaches. My body appreciated the gentle movement, and I was able to spend time with close friends and feel, for once, a little more relaxed.




  • Don’t be so hard on yourself!
    If you begin to feel guilty about taking time off for you challenge those thoughts and remind yourself that you are hard-working and deserve some down time. Often this is because we are perfectionists and believe we need to constantly be bettering ourselves and making advances in work, relationships, studies..
    Try talking to yourself like you were your best mate. Hopefully you’d never tell them to continuously push themselves into overworking without recuperation, so why put these harsh expectations on yourself?
  • Get earlier nights:
    Sleep is SO important. Your body heals faster when you sleep, and cortisol levels (the stress hormone) decrease allowing your body to deeply relax.
    If you find it hard to sleep then try going into bed a bit earlier, have a relaxing bedtime routine with limited use of blue light from TV and electronics. Things I love are a good book, scented candles and having a hot water bottle so I can get seriously snuggly. If you can’t sleep after 40mins I’d have a break from bed; get up, make a herbal tea, stretch, and then go back and try again.
  • Wine is Always a Good Idea…
    Whilst I will not advocate downing bottle upon bottle of wine, and vast quantities of chocolate, a nice glass of red I find soothes the soul, and relaxes my mind…and what’s wine without the cheeseboard or chocolate ‘ey?
    There’s even been recent research (published by Nature) suggesting that a glass (or two…) of red wine may lower perceived stress and increase longevity.
    [How great is research like that?! I’ll happily be a volunteer.Winning]
    Whatever your choice of tipple, be it a hot choccie, or gentle camomile and honey, make space for that little something calming and comforting. 
  • Don’t Take Life So Seriously:
    The most important self-care tip! We live in a culture of work-a-holics. But seriously chill, there is time! 

    You don’t have to have everything sorted out, or be productive every second of every day. Do stuff just because it’s fun, silly, stupid or new! 
    Spend time making memories with friends, do the things you love, with the people you love in the places you love. You’ll find doing things that make you smile and laugh more take your focus off the stressors and give a healthy perspective on life.

I hope this post has helped you think about the things you feel you really “want” versus “ought” to do, and how to incorporate some real rest and relaxation time into your busy-body weeks!
If you have any other tips and tricks post them in the comments below!

Remember: Rest and relaxation is integral to our mental health and wellbeing. So In the long term will make us more productive and happier. 

Be sure to check out my other blogs  and click follow for weekly posts!

A Seasonal “Sod Off” to Disordered Eating [Top Tips]

This post will be particularly useful for those who:

Experience a heightened level of anxiety around food and eating.

Are inclined to compensate or punish themselves for food eaten.

Those currently having treatment for, or in recovery for, disordered eating.

Those who find themselves stuck in diet mentality, when eating causes negative self- judgement.

For those caring for another with disordered eating.

It’s now November [what the ..?! How’d that happen…] and in my family that’s a cue for premature Christmas songs and getting busy in the kitchen making lots of Christmas goodies! 


Christmas has always been my favourite time of year, and let’s face it what’s Christmas without the amazing array of food. 

The warm comforting smells sum up Winter, and spark nostalgic memories; Christmas evenings filled with games, music and laughter.  

This hasn’t always been the case for me though.
The years spent battling anorexia turned Christmas joys into Christmas fears.
Christmases spent anxious in tears.
Christmases on meal plans, worried and concerned about every spoonful to come, every meal out, and dreading every party.

For those suffering with an eating disorder Christmas can be a serious time for struggles and set backs.

Coming into my fifth year of recovery it is lovely to be able to once again embrace the season’s festivities.  
Over the years I have learnt to hold a more realistic and educated perspective by continuously, and immediately, challenging faulty thoughts, behaviours and communicating anxieties.

This is my wish for all of you this season.

So, without further ado, let’s kick start the festive period with a seasonal “sod off” to your eating disorder.

Here are my Top Tips for Surviving Christmas Time

(ft. mistletoe, and glass upon glassful of wine…)

1.  Don’t restrict/skip meals.  

Compensating and restricting your eating in the weeks leading up to Christmas parties, meals out is more likely to increase anxiety as it puts your body under huge amounts of stress.
Restrictive eating has been found to be associated with overeating later on in the day, that may spark binges for those susceptible. 

Keep to a routine, and if you’re nervous about an upcoming event or meal out simply find out what will be on offer beforehand and pick a couple of options  you think you’ll be able to manage, that way you can feel more chilled in advance and focus on the social side of season!
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2. Movement should be optional and not obligatory.

You do not have to “work for” or “work off” your food.
You deserve to eat food and enjoy yourself just like everyone else, regardless of what you have or have not done.

This is where diet-culture often wins us over, because in the next few weeks we will be inundated with advert after advert for workout DVDs, all this rubbish about detoxes, cleanses, and loads more dieting messages reminding us to hit the gym hard before we have any festive foods.
Remind yourself that these are marketing gimmicks; existing to make sales, and caring about their profits and not your health.

Instead of believing you have to run yourself into the ground, be gentle, do things you enjoy; go on wintery walks, do gentle stretching like yoga.  

                 Move because you want to move, and in the ways you love to move.


3. Be Aware of Faulty Thinking Traps:

Christmas can be a playground for eating disorders, freely swinging guilt and shame around so that you end up perpetually swung into the control of your eating disorder. Thoughts and feelings can feel extreme, self-punishing, all encompassing.
But remind yourself they are lies.
What you eat is not to be internalised as a reflection of who you are as a person; you are not bad, nor are you guilty, or greedy, or shameful for nourishing your body. 

Write down these faulty thoughts on note cards along with some counteractive comebacks,
 have them handy so you can remind yourself that actually everything is ok.

The more you challenge the thoughts and behaviours the more you see that things aren’t really all that scary and the festive fun begins to slowly creep back in!
Thought challenging and putting a realistic perspective on a situation [I have written a blog about common thinking errors and ways to challenge them in a blog that you can read here]

4. Use it as a time to challenge and change!

Instead of allowing the season to hold you back, use it as a chance to push you forward! 

I have often dealt with people who say it’s easier to avoid certain situations, or eating certain foods, so as not to evoke negative and uncomfortable thoughts/feelings. 
But this doesn’t help you challenge your irrational food fears, and by remaining captive to your eating disorder you are preventing little steps forward in your recovery.

Make a little list of foods you tend to avoid or feel anxious about, and then work them into your meals and snacks.  Have a trusted friend that can support you trying these foods out and help you handle anxiety around this.

You may wish to journal how you felt before, during, and after eating them
I promise you will survive to see that nothing bad happens.
The more you practice this task the more you break down barriers and increase the variety of foods into your diet. 


5. Try Something New!

There is so much more to Christmas than food!
Get festive with crafts, movies, winter walks, visiting German Markets, seeing the lights, games. These and many more are all great distractions away from negative thinking and ruminating thoughts.

6. Make Self-Care A Priority

Give yourself space and time to calm your thoughts and feelings; breathing exercises or having something soothing (I used aromatherapy candles and music) can help if you are susceptible to panic attacks or extreme anxiety.
This will also help aid digestion, and may help reduce any pain, discomfort or bloating caused by tension and stress around food often confused as GI dysfunctions such as IBS or coeliac – no self diagnosis please.


6. Take One Day At A Time. 

For many the social occasions are more than just the day itself and many have extended Christmas and New Years plans. This amount of socialising and foody events may feel very overwhelming when you think about it all at once, so don’t get ahead of yourself.
It may be helpful to take time to sit and plan, with a clinician or any trusted other, ways to manage the upcoming season so that your health remains stable.

Knowing where you will be for events, looking at menus in advance, or having some pre-made snacks are all ways you can make sure you feel comfortable socialising this season.

Remember that the season is more than just food, so what else can you get up too with friend and family?!


7. Ditch The Diet and Body Talk:

I used to dread coming back from my treatment at Christmas just because it meant hearing the words “you’re looking so much better” repeatedly said to me.

Now, to many this may seem bizzare,  because surely that’s a lovely compliment to hear?!
And true, it is….now!
But, when ill with an eating disorder, such comments are likely interpreted as “looking bigger/fatter”.

This it then associated with many other hugely complex underlying  beliefs and labels:  being bad/unworthy/unloveable/not deserving treatment/care…feeling out of control.
A complex can of worms you just didn’t wanna open… 

It’s worth telling friends, family members in advance not to comment on your appearance, and abstain from topics of conversation regarding body image and food talk.
None of this talk on “good or bad foods”, or “such and such will go straight to my hips…”…tell them to leave that diet-trash talk out of the picture for their sake as well as yours.

Personal reflection; it definitely helped me to challenge this warped interpretation by remembering they hadn’t seen me since I went into hospital, really they were just thrilled to see me back at home for Christmas, and actually what they were referring to was my bubblier, brighter side that was shining through now I was becoming “me” again.
When I was more motivated in recovery I would challenge these thoughts and ask myself why was I interpreting comments in this way, and why I felt the need to look “ill” – what was this function playing for me? what was I actually trying to vocalise through restrictive eating and self-starvation?
Deep stuff I know…but just points to ponder.

8. Communication is Key:

Believe it or not but people do care about you.
Talk to whoever’s cooking for you, and be honest about how you’re feeling to your friends and family, the more they understand how you’re coping with things the more they can support you at meals and in states of high anxiety.
Whether it’s going for a coffee with a mate, or having a hug from your parents, if you need it, ask for it. 


You Got This!

Christmas is a hard time for those with eating disorders, so don’t be hard on yourself, and don’t expect every day to go perfectly.
Take small steps to challenge your thinking and your eating.


It’s only one month. You will survive to see that nothing bad has happened!!!

You do not need to work for, or work off, what you eat. 

Your eating disorder has no authority to restrict or rule your life 

 Above all else, remember that you deserve to enjoy Christmas, just like everyone else.

Dear parents and carers…
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Remember to not neglect your own needs. For more info please check out the blog written by guest writer on my site, and one strong mummy, Janet Richards, sharing her top tips.


If you liked this post please don’t forget to leave a comment, follow the blog and my social media tags! 

Diet Culture Is Damaging Our Health: Problems and Solutions

Bulking, Cutting, Clean Eating, Cheat Days…
This post is dishes up the dirt on Diet Culture and the destructive subtexts hidden in the language used around food and exercise, that makes disordered eating seem socially acceptable, encourages yo-yo dieting and ultimately leads to an unhealthy relationship with food and body image.

No labels or diets should ever make you feel inferior or bad about being in your own skin, nor should any diet mean you are not allowed to enjoy the foods and drinks you love.

No labels or associations should ever make you feel inferior or bad about being in your own skin, nor should any diet mean you are not allowed to enjoy the foods and drinks you love…if diet culture hasn’t lead you to forget what these truly are

Whilst this post may seem like a bit of a rant, it comes from a place of genuine worry and concern about the obsessive diet-culture, and aesthetically driven, society we are creating, not just for ourselves, but for the younger generations growing up.

Only recently I was having a chat with a friend about the baking I had done on one of my days off. His response made my blood boil;
“You on the winter bulk then?” 😡
To which I replied.. 

“No. I’m just on this thing called life”

Diet-culture terminology seems to be never ending, and ever growing, and it is SO WRONG. It is certainly not helped of course by the increased access to images, articles and youtube videos (if I see another “what I eat in a day” post I swear I’ll loose my mind….!!) and more. All of this fuels the myths, rules and associations regarding the “right” types and quantities of food we should (or rather, should not..) eat, not to mention the excessive exercise we should be doing…constantly.

The labels and associations we attach to what we think we believe to be “good” or “bad” foods is destructive to our physical and mental states, and together influences the disordered relationship with food and body image by reinforcing some very damaging messages in its sub-text.

  • Clean-eating
    Cue the undeserved feelings of guilt because you’ve eaten another slice of birthday cake, or a pizza that wasn’t made out of cauliflower
    Foods that aren’t seen as “clean” are then “bad” or “off limits” this has lead to an increase in orthorexia: The obsession with eating “pure foods”…whatever that means?! Problem being, there is no agreeable definition on what determines a food being “clean”, most foods you buy are to some extent processed and manufactured somewhere, somehow, so does that mean these are all “unclean” or “bad” for you? Those words in themselves should never be used in association with your food,  they cause so much judgement and guilt when you then project them onto a reflection of yourself and your body

  • “Cheat Days”
    ...where to begin. There is so much wrong with this. Not only does it reinforce the binge-restrict, yo-yo dieting, that has time and time again been proven to end in more weight gain in the long term, but in reality these “cheat” days you probably eat normally, but because diet culture has become so normalised we have created a day dedicated to normalising our diet. Or, alternatively for many, a day you choose to eat all the foods you’ve limited from your diet to remain sane and curb cravings, so you binge/overeat, and then justify it with the weekly restriction and over exercising. Does this sound healthy to you…?

  • Winter Bulk/Summer Cut
    …A winter bulk, or sometimes referred to as”off season”,  when you allow yourself to eat more foods that have been off limit during the summer period, because you care less about looking lean. These foods are categorised then as foods that will make you gain weight, and are off limits or “bad” for cutting, when you restrict the diet and over exercise to get lean for summer.Again, constant yo-yo dieting, and justifying what you eat and when you eat based on aesthetic goals. Bulking foods are seen as high calorie and to be avoided otherwise, and so associated with weight gain, however many of these include foods that are also very nutritious, such as nut butters, avocados, rye breads.Many may programme these foods around workouts as pre/post workout meals, which I do understand if you are an athlete, training for an event or following a particular programme that may have a performance, or medically advised weight loss/gain, outcome. But for the majority who are not performance based athletes, this can be damaging and stressful, creating the association with exercise equating to being able to eat certain foods or not.If you want porridge in the morning but don’t want to work out that is fine! If you want to eat a meal with less protein in it after you workout, or have a pizza in the evening (not made with cauliflower..) this does not have to be a post-workout meal, you can just eat for the sake of enjoying food, socialising, and keep fit for the same reasons too! No rights or wrongs, no good or bad.

  • Elimination diets, and classing everything high protein and low carb as “healthier”
     no medical justification to cut out gluten and/or dairy are the common ones that spring to mind. Are you sure you understand the function of gluten in food?
    Protein does not magically make it a healthier option, and carbs don’t make you fat. Consistently eating in a calorie surplus, carbs or no carbs, will lead to excess weight being stored.
    Like most things, it’s individual preference, but if you are eliminating foods based on false education and rumour then maybe you should begin asking questions and properly educating yourself by reading research and literature that is not just one-sided, or scare mongering, but factual and relevant.
    Listen to your body and begin to get real about why you feel the need to restrict or eliminate food groups.
    It is worth pointing out that saying “oh but I bloat after eating x,y,z…” bloating is normal. Everyone bloats and gets gassy from time to time, another normal (ok, pretty disgusting) human function, it may not be coeliac disease or IBS so always go to the Dr instead of self-diagnosing.  

These are just a few, there are many other labels, rules and restriction-based diets you’ve probably come across (cleanes/detoxes…all that crap) that create beliefs about what is right and wrong to eat.

Let’s get one thing straight, there is no right or wrong, no good or bad, no guilt, shame, or weakness, for feeding your body the food it wants and needs; this includes cake and pizza as well as kale and quinoa.

Following strict rules and restrictions as a way to control food intake, weight or shape is becoming the social norm. Not only this, but for those with a clinically diagnosed eating disorder it makes it a socially justifiable way to hide their disorder behind these labels.
You do not have to work for the food you eat; your body deserves food regardless of the exercise you have or have not done.  


Pseudo-Dieting: The Diet-Mentality Trap

Overtime the more you adhere to these rules the more reinforced and habitual they become, to the point that even when you think you’re not following these beliefs they are still their dictating your choices; this is known as pseudo-dieting

What is “Pseudo-Dieting”? Written about in Elyse Reich book “Intuitive Eating” , pseudo-dieting refers to the diet beliefs that we still hold on too, and that dictate your food choices, even when you don’t actively realise you’re dieting.
It’s when what you say doesn’t add up to what you do. So you may believe you are not actively engrained in diet culture, but you actually are still allowing it to control you.

So this could be stuff like:

  • You only eat carbs on days you gym/are active
  • Still using calorie apps to count macros … can’t eat when hungry because an app that estimated your daily needs tells you so?! 
  • Compensating for food eaten (e.g restricting, over exercising, laxatives)
  • Restricting food groups
  • Eating only “safe” foods
  • Following certain beliefs such as “carbs make you fat after 6pm” …news flash, your body doesn’t have some magic switch. It doesn’t know. It only knows that it’s hungry and needs nourishing. 

Problems with this are: 

❌  You to forget how to respond to normal physiological hunger, and cravings become a challenge you need to resist This prevents you listening to your body, what it needs, and what it wants. 
Not honouring your hunger increases your chances of overeating later on in the evening, or at the weekends when your restriction and denial of food you want catches up with you; known as the “what the hell effect” – yes, those weekend binges are actually a well researched psychological phenomena, a normal physiological reaction to any diet that is restrictive or avoidant of certain foods or food groups.

❌  This then creates the experience of guilt when certain foods are eaten outside of these boundaries and beliefs.
Stress and anxiety around food, or from eating certain foods, can cause bloating. Many people suddenly suffering from IBS and other gut related problems may just be a result of your body readjusting to your inconsistent feeding and stress about food messing with your usual digestion.regret

❌  Feeling bad and guilty about foods leads to body dissatisfaction, self blame and yo-yo dieting. Emotional eating as a result of this, or using food to increase your self-worth is disordered. There is an increase in disordered eating such as orthorexia, exercise-bulimia, or binge-purge anorexia as a result of many trying to control their emotions using food. 

❌  It creates a viscous cycle;  avoid/restrict, intense cravings and then over-eating causing you to further go back to restriction and avoidance. This reinforces your initial belief that you can’t control yourself around these foods. In hindsight if you just learnt to nourish your body properly you’d find you don’t always want to eat chocolate and when you do you don’t eat the whole bar because your body knows it will have it again sometime, that it’s not off limits. 

So What’s The Solution?

Avoidance and restriction are commonly ways to gain control, avoid negative feelings associated with eating certain foods (promoted by diet culture) negative beliefs about your body. The fear of weight gain? Feeling out of control? Fear of over-eating?

What really needs to be addressed is the real reason behind the diet beliefs and behaviour.

It’s not simple.
These messages are everywhere. We are bombarded by diet culture wherever we look, sucked in by every penny the £2billion diet industry throws at us

Becoming more aware of the labels and associations we use around diet and body image is a step in the right direction to disconnecting from diet culture, and re-learning how to nourish your body,  be healthy and embrace the skin you’re in!  

It takes you practicing self-awareness and reflection: 

  • Where these beliefs come from?
  • What function are they holding (control? self-esteem)?
  • What associations/beliefs are you still holding onto?
  • What foods don’t you allow yourself, that if you’re honest with yourself, you avoid?
  • Are there foods that you instantly feel guilty for when you eat?
  • Do you compensate for eating certain foods? (exercise more, use laxatives, restrict the next day…)
  • Are there foods you can only eat if you’ve exercised or tracked your calories/macros?

Ultimately, controlling food and weight is not the key to happiness.

You should never feel restricted by your diet, or need to use labels to justify your preferences.

Food should not be given the power to control how you feel toward yourself and your body, which is what diet terminology creates through its labels and subsequent associations.

You can be healthy, fit and happy at every size, and eating anything you want.

If this post resonates with you in any way, or you are interested in reading more about how to break free from diet culture, rebuilding your relationship with food and your body I recommend following up some of these links below: 

Pixie Turner

aka Plant Based Pixie. Nutritionist and food blogger. Informative, and says it like it is posts. 
Laura Thomas PhD 
Registered nutritionist with a fantastic podcast
Evelyn Tribole: Intuitive Eating
Link to her book on Amazon, outlining the principles of intuitive eating: building healthy body image and making peace with food

Louise Jones
Nutrition student and writer, recommend her post on Intuitive Eating and Why Flexible Dieting is a Fad 
Megan Jayne Crabbe 
aka BodyPosiPanda  all centred around body positivity and non-diet approach

Emotional Abuse…Through Her Eyes

A brave and honest account that challenges our perceptions of who is considered vulnerable. As well as exploring issues of trust and manipulation within relationships.

When first contacted by this remarkable young lady I had no idea what she had been through. What her bubbly smile, confident demeanour, and bright eyes masked. 

Whilst the title of this blog post sounds heavy, I ask you to read on.

If you’ve ever attended safeguarding training, be that for adults or children, you are taught about the signs and consequences of different types of abuse: Physical, Verbal, Sexual, Neglect, Discriminatory and Emotional (to name a few). 

You are given the policies and procedures to follow should a concern arise, as we all have a duty of care to look out for vulnerable individuals, namely children, the disabled and the elderly. 

Often in the midst of looking out for others we forget to look out for ourselves. Rarely considering that we may in fact actually be the vulnerable ones.

No matter your background abusers do not discriminate, they destroy.

This account challenges us to consider just who is vulnerable?

It explores how events may go unrecognised, and the difficulty confronting the reality of the situation when  emotionally attached, even in love with, the perpetrator.

She herself is the voice of strength, reminding us that no matter how hard it may seem, there is always an escape route waiting, and that these experiences can have detrimental consequences even after the storms have passed.

Whilst the speaker has chosen to remain anonymous,

This is Emotional Abuse…Through Her Eyes

“When someone is described as ‘vulnerable’, like ‘vulnerable young person’ or ‘vulnerable adult’, we make assumptions on who these people are. I would never have considered myself to be ‘vulnerable’ at the age of 18 because I didn’t fall into any of the stereotypical groups I associated with the word. I was still in education, I wasn’t on drugs, I was living at home and I was a pretty confident and capable person. I was surrounded by a network of friends and I had hobbies that saw me mixing with a wide range of people.

I was a reasonably mature 18 year old. The moment you discount yourself or someone else as not ‘vulnerable’, you remove a layer of protection and care, otherwise afforded to others. You make a judgement call that this person is less at risk of harm.

When I was 17, I met someone 16 years my senior. By 18 I had fallen in love with him and we had embarked on a relationship.

It was great.

He was funny, handsome, caring and charming.

He took me to nice places, he cooked for me, he encouraged and supported me with my studies and my hobbies. We went on some amazing holidays and despite me feeling guilty for not being able to contribute financially, he would always reassure me that it was fine, I was a student after all.

There were whispers and mutterings about the age difference but when people saw us together, laughing and smiling, they soon accepted that ‘sometimes age doesn’t matter’ and it made me more determined to prove that.

I went to university and worried a lot about what it meant for our relationship. Luckily for me, he wanted me to come home every weekend and sometimes during the week if I could. He’d show up when I was on nights out with my friends and say how much he missed me and that he’d come to take me home. I thought it was lovely to be missed and thought about so much.

When I moved out of halls, I moved in.

Things began to change without me really noticing, I wasn’t allowed my own key. I wasn’t allowed to have people round, I wasn’t allowed to bring more than a few items of clothing at a time, I couldn’t be there unless he was or unless I was locked in.

I was working as well as studying but earning barely enough to pay my train fare each week. This became an issue. He said university was pointless and I’d never succeed anyway. I needed to be paying half for the things we did together. Dinners out, day trips, holidays, all things I couldn’t afford and hadn’t chosen to do. I didn’t drive so would often end up waiting for hours at train stations or walking back alone late at night.

He started using my insecurities against me, he’d make passing remarks about my weight, about my body, about me being unstable or overly emotional. He’d make jokes about it in public and I’d laugh too to try and make it less painful.

He withheld affection and sex, it all became on his terms, which was hard considering I’d had a difficult history with intimacy. I’d overcompensate by spending money I didn’t have, buying him gifts or taking him out but it was always wrong and never enough. I knew he was cheating and with multiple people but I felt unable to act.

By this point, I’d become isolated at university.

I’d lost friends because I hadn’t seen them.

I’d been so determined to prove people wrong, how could I now tell them I was unhappy?

Before I knew it, I’d become entirely dependent on him. I was depressed, in debt, isolated and had no self worth.

Ending the relationship was the hardest and best thing I have ever done. It took all of my strength and all of my courage to acknowledge that it was unhealthy, even though I didn’t believe I deserved any better.

Initially he made it easy for me to leave. He was convinced I’d be back. Then he continued to try and control elements of my life.

He wouldn’t return my possessions for months.

He tarnished my reputation by fabricating reasons for our split – generally based on me being emotionally unstable and that he’d had to deal with a lot.

Classic manipulation really.

 It has taken years to regain some sense of identity, to begin to understand myself, even just figuring out what I like and don’t like.

It continues to affect my relationships now.

I am always fearful that being truly myself will leave me open to more hurt and harm so I never let my guard down and I push people away when they get too close.

It took a while for me to totally break free of him. I’ve done a lot of soul searching and have had counselling too. I still struggle now and find myself behaving in a very defensive way, like my body and mind are constantly in self preservation/flight mode. Intimacy is the hardest bit and I still struggle with the associations I have between sex and my self worth particularly – am I being used/do I feel obliged. I’m always learning and I have to really depend on and trust who I’m intimate with because I’m scared.

Learning to be loved and learning that sometimes it’s ok to rely and need other people is hard but necessary to have fulfilling relationships. Emotional abuse is abuse. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how long you’ve been together, your gender, if you’re straight or LQBTQ+, the affect can be devastating.

Understanding and recognising what constitutes a healthy relationship is essential. Encouraging a sense of self-worth is essential.

Until we start talking more openly about what happens behind closed doors and educating children and young people appropriately, everyone is ‘vulnerable’.”

If yourself, or anyone you know of, are at risk or have been affected by any issues in this post that you feel you need help with then please either reach out and use the contacts below, or drop me a message on my contact page

It doesn’t matter if you are unsure, or if the incident was long ago. If it is impacting your safety, wellbeing and health then make it a priority. 


Victim Support: Free confidential service tailored to your needs. Online, calls or 
Samaritans: Call or drop in for help, support or advice 
MIND: Offer information about abuse, and contacts for qualified counsellors 

Other sources of help, advice and domestic abuse helplines can be found on the Crime Stoppers website. 


Break Free from Comparative Behaviour and Negative Self-Talk [4 Challenges]

Practical advice how to transform four common thinking errors and break free from negative self-talk.

Have you ever caught yourself scrutinising yourself in front of the mirror?

You stand there, staring hard, taking in all the small marks on your face, noticing all the freckles, birthmarks and spots.

You look hard at your thighs, the tiny bit of belly fat that you’ve accumulated over a few nights of late night drinking and pizza sessions.

Then to make matters worth you click onto Instagram only to spend the next hour trolling through feeds of thin, toned beautiful (yet photoshopped) pictures, and everyones green smoothies and poached eggs.

Instantly you’re filled with unnecessary guilt and regret.

They all appear so happy and confident.

Your comparing turns to despairing.
You begin to feel imperfect in comparison to these supposedly ‘perfect’ ideals.
Before you know it that well known negative self-talk record hits repeat.

It is estimated that 1 in 100 will suffer from some form of eating disorder, body dysmorphia or muscle dysmorphia.


Unsurprisingly this correlates with the increase in social media, “fitspo” accounts, dating apps, and commercialised diets.

Exposure to thin ideals in the media has been shown to adversely influence how one perceives their own body image and internalises feedback from others.

Comparing yourself endlessly to those you meet or see on social media, in magazines or TV, increased your risk of developing mood disorders (depression/anxiety), and  higher levels of internalising  thin ideals (Tiggemann, 2004; Yamamiya, 2005).
In short,  what we feed our minds with literally has the power to transform our personal growth, impact self-esteem and confidence in our own skin.

We live in a warped society whereby beauty, weight and shape equates to our self worth, happiness and success:

Dion’s (1972) ‘beautiful is good’ hypothesis: a remarkable amount of research supporting the influence appearance has on how we judge others, with more attractive pictures yielding higher ratings of happiness, success, likability and health.

Women who view these images on a regular basis have reported higher levels of body dissatisfaction; lower self-esteem and positivity about their futures. However, if they were told that the person they viewed was unhappy or unsuccessful this had reduced effect.

The more you tell yourself negatives, the more you’ll believe them.

Have you ever come away feeling good about yourself after comparing yourself to others?

No. You feel inferior. It saps your confidence.

The problem is the more you allow yourself to listen, and believe, these thoughts they stick like glue, becoming hardwired habitual thought processes you just can’t seem to switch off.

Hebbs Law: “what fires together wires together”.

It is widely used to explain how we form automatic memories, but this is also applied to automatic thought processes and addictive behaviours, which are learnt.

Such as having a cigarette with a glass of wine, even though you swore you’d quit!

Negative self-talk is poisonous and often is a reflection of the faulty, internalised beliefs you hold about yourself.

So Lets Get Positive.

Cognitive restructuring, or, thought correction, involves a desire to change your thinking by challenging negative and faulty errors.  Unlearning behaviours and changing your internal belief system doe not happen over night.  It takes perseverance and practice to literally re-wire the way you think.

The following are four common thinking errors and some practical challenges to help start your journey towards balanced thinking:

  1. Black-and-White (or dichotomous) thinking.

You fit yourself into one of two extremes; there is no continuum or ‘grey area’. You then judge yourself harshly; find yourself easily stressed and unable to see alternative explanations or logical reasoning.

e.g: ‘fat’ or ‘thin’, ‘failure’ or ‘success’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’.


  • Do you judge others by extremes? Then why judge yourself by a harsher standard.
  • Start to see the continuum, notice that not being a 10 does not automatically place you at the bottom as a 1.
  • Eliminate the loaded language you use in the extremes. E.g. “I’m scrawny” becomes “I have a thin physique”. It’s less damning and emotionally unloaded.
  1. Comparisons to Unrealistic Expectations.

You pit yourself against ideals and spend more time focusing on what you don’t have than what you do have. You end up making copious social comparisons wanting the desirable characteristics others display and believing they must be happier because of them.

You may also believe you ‘ought/must/should’ have certain attributes, and with unobtainable ideal of ‘perfection’ you always fall short, thus you find yourself constantly beaten down and falling short.


  • Remind yourself that no one is perfect. In fact perfection doesn’t exist because it is a subjective phenomenon. Media is photo shopped and even your friend with the gorgeous smile hates elements about herself, but she rocks what she’s got and so should you.
  • When you find yourself making a negative comparison balance it out with a positive to compare yourself favorably.
  • A mental compliment to someone is not an automatic criticism of you. Learn to give and receive compliments, then repeat them to yourself to allow yourself to believe and see them.
  • Reduce the time you spend scrolling through social media/Instagram, and filter out accounts that constantly make you feel downhearted.
  1. Projection/Mind-Reading.

You place your own beliefs, and evaluations about yourself into the minds of others. If you assume that your worth is defined by your appearance and you worry what others will think, you will find yourself falling into the category vulnerable to projection, and miss-reading peoples body language and behaviours.


  • What contradicting evidence do you have? Are these thoughts reflecting how you feel about yourself?
  • Remind yourself that it’s not you, and that the person probably seems off because he/she is having a bad day. Remind yourself of the other options for the behaviours.
  • Remind yourself that no one else sees you in the critical way you see yourself. That is what needs to change.
  1. Magnifying Glass:

You have tunneled vision and focus on the one thing that is wrong, rather than looking at the picture as a whole. The opinion you have is biased, and it’s as if all other compliments, achievements and positive attributes are insignificant because you put so much emphasis onto this one aspect of yourself.


  • Stick positive post-it notes around your mirror so whenever you catch yourself scrutinising yourself you read a positive statement back. Then walk away from what you’re doing.
  • Take a step back and look at the bigger picture; notice that your thighs are in proportion to your body or that your smile isn’t as wonky as you thought.
  • Ask yourself why that part of you should mask the rest of you so much? It doesn’t define you, therefore you won’t let it.

These are just a few small steps to start you off on your journey to breaking maladaptive thought patterns, and comparative behaviours.

I hope you have found it useful, please do get in contact for any other advice or questions related to this or any of the other blog posts!

Stay Happy. Stay Healthy.

London’s Toughest for CLIC Sargent

On the 23rd April, 13:50, Callum and I set off on the London’s Toughest Race in aid of CLIC Sargent. 8km terrain, 40+ obstacles, fast lanes and penalty rounds for notcompleting obstacles. Raising and awesome £175 in total, Callum conquered this course, coming away with his well deserved medal, a heck of a lot of cramp.

As we both settled down, minions movie on and his congratulatory tub of Ben and Jerry’s being demolished, I consoled myself with mine. 

The weather cold, the course technical at times, and my height and size not giving me a huge advantage meant that unfortunately I had to drop out – unable to get my body temperature back to a reasonable level after wading through some muddy water in the woods. I was frozen to my core, and unzipping my jacket was and an obstacle in itself:  definite humiliation being 23 and having your dad undress you. Even after wrapping up in clean, warm layers, I was still shivering and fatigued.  

We were back in the arena though to cheer Callum on as he finished the final obstacles and  watched proudly as he had his glory photo taken on the podium. 

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However, I couldn’t help feeling horrendously disappointed in myself.

Months trying to train and build strength, and I’d ended up losing more muscle mass than putting on, and just clearly not in the same fit physical condition that I was for Tough Mudder last year, walking away without my medal, I felt I’d let the charity down, Callum down…and above all, myself down. Although I am very proud of the funds we managed to raise! 

For the week after I literally couldn’t get it out of my mind, and I felt pretty rubbish. However, stopping to reflect on the past few months leading up to the race (my mentality and training) helped highlight the conflict that’d I’d experienced wanting to get fitter and stronger, but also stay in the trim lean state I’d got to. There is of course a trade off between putting on muscle and staying so lean, and really, I would’ve much preferred to have completed this race, been a bit bigger, stronger and overall healthier for my height.

So without wallowing in self pity, I am seeing this as a chance to restart, and now I know what the course is like, maybe entering it next year…? I will of course continue pursuing other challenges (for myself and charities) and have my sight sets on the Guildford Triathlon Sprint, Spartan Races and Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. 

Although this medal is not hanging from my wall, give me a year or so and we’ll see what happens. After all, slow and steady wins the race…right? 

“If you focus on what you left behind you will never be able to see what’s ahead” – Ratatouille


A Glimpse into Her World…Self-Harm and Depression

As part of a new series I want to start I am interested in hearing people’s own stories of how they’re either conquering or have overcome their personal mental health struggles. Not only do I find it fascinating to hear each individual’s journey, but also I believe that by sharing these accounts, what’s helped and what’s hindered people’s recoveries, we can work together to reduce the stigma surrounding them, raise awareness and help others who are battling similar mental health disorders.

I know from personal experience that these disorders can be incredibly isolating, but that the impact of reading someone’s story, and realising that you’re not the only one out there with these thoughts/behaviours/worries, it can reduce that sense of helplessness and hopelessness and increase ones autonomy to get back on track and make positive changes.

So, as I rocked up to the Surrey Sports Park Starbucks I was eager to meet my first interviewee. She actually approached me about whether the topic of self-harm and depression would be one I’d want to cover in my blog, and if id be interested in hearing her story, of which I replied “of course!”

For me it came as such a surprise to learn that she had this story to tell, and that in itself is a lesson best learnt early on – to never judge a book by its cover. But I felt privileged that she was allowing me to turn over and delve deeper than the front cover…

Having moved to this country in 2012, this talented young lady started her A Levels in a nearby boarding school, making lots of friends, getting top grades and being a fantastic athlete. Whilst on the surface there seemed no obvious reason to punish herself, underneath her strong persona layers of low self worth festered, bombarding her mind as soon as her bedroom door was closed.

When were you first aware you had depression?

I can’t pin point an exact time it started or when a diagnosis was given to me – it wasn’t. But I experimented with self-harm before moving to England, with periods on and off with my mood. However, when I moved over to this country to boarding school it was then that I would say it became a more persistent problem in my life. A friend found me one day, and the housemaster was alerted. Going home and breaking the news to my parents was awful, my mum had such a vacant expression on her face, and they both didn’t know what to say or do.

 How would you describe your experience of self-harm and depression?

The best way I can describe the experience of depression is an all-consuming heaviness. Everything, even small trivial things people take for granted, like getting into University, seemed tricky. I started missing lectures that worried me.

The world begins to look cloudy, and what once was vibrant was just dull.

It really felt like my body was intolerant to happiness, I could be having a fantastic day but as soon as I got back to my house and sat in my room it was as if my body had an allergic reaction to doses of happiness that were too high, and I’d be plummeted into lowness. Self-harming was my way of connecting my feelings with a visible representation; I could focalise my feelings visibly onto myself. It felt like all the thoughts in my head needed a physical tangibility.

 What impact did it have on your relationships?

I felt really ashamed for my problem; I hid a lot and wore long sleeved tops. But it always felt like I was hiding from myself. I didn’t want others to see, I couldn’t deal with the questions and judgment, so I pushed many people away. But it made the relationships with those who I did trust to tell stronger – they were part of my support network.

 When my parents first found out they wanted me to move back home and focus on getting well, but I refused, I need goals and distractions that take my eyes off the problem. Plus I am stubborn. I felt that because I was so independent, this was something I could handle on my own, but my parents always reminded me that they were there for me. It’s just that I didn’t reach out to them much. I knew that it was a personal problem, it was my problem, and so I wanted to fix it. I had moved away from home therefore I didn’t want my parents help. My relationship with my mum has never been great though.

 Do you know what triggered your depression and self-harm?

Not really, no. Shortly after disclosing the issue to my parents I started getting psychotherapy, which gave me ample time to talk about issues and explore the problem more, but I have never been able to pinpoint exactly a trigger. Even now I can wake up and know when a day will be good or bad but I still can’t say why.

 My relationship with my mum has always been a slight irritant, and I guess that didn’t help. I come from a family of lawyers and I was the one who decided to go against the grain, mainly because I resented Law so much from the dominating impact the subject had on many family gatherings and meals. I chose to study English Literature and French, which then made me feel more inclined to keep up this perfect persona because I felt I had to prove myself, and my choice not to do law, to the family.

 As well as that, I had a relationship breakdown when I went home for Christmas the second year I was in boarding school. He was a very dear friend of mine and we decided to become an item, but I got rejected shortly after we became more intimate. I think guys forget how impactful they can be to a young girls self esteem – they may not be aware of hang ups or body issues they have and this can really scar someone and any future relationships. Luckily I am in a very supportive and happy relationship now.

 Through your battle with depression and S-H what positive coping strategies have you learnt to help you?

Music has helped me hugely and always been a constant in my life. I find it humbling and often listen to playlists when I do my creative writing.

I think as well accepting the problem has helped me acknowledge and accept that there will be good and bad days, but that’s ok. I know at times the urge to self-harm will be there but I have good, trusting, housemates who I can be around (even if I’m not feeling social).

Playing Squash and keeping active does help me because I want to be able to compete and play for teams but can’t do so if I’ve self-harmed because of the kit. I missed out on the ‘Tournament of Champions’, which is a fantastic opportunity to play with some top athletes in the sport, but I didn’t want anyone seeing my arms.

 Seeing how much concern my loved ones have for me has helped me to value myself a lot more. You begin to try and see what they see, and even though positive affirmation when you’re low doesn’t seem to sink in, just having the love of others makes me value what I have more.

My boyfriend has been very understanding of it as well, and I know how much it would hurt him to see my body harmed in any way, and so pleasing him and keeping our relationship sturdy also helps.

 Are there things that haven’t helped?

Hasn’t helped…I think looking back. For me alcohol is a trigger, I will be fine before and on the night out, but as soon as I get in at whatever early hour in the morning, it’s rock bottom. I found then seeing pictures of the night hard and unhelpful.

 Asking myself “why me?” was also not helpful. It’s so easy to beat yourself down about a problem. There was no major life event or adversity I experienced, so why did I feel this way? This perception that I believed people had of me to be this perfect girl, who could take on anything, prevented me getting help. It’s knowing it’s OK to need help and coming out of the denial.

 As well, I think stigma doesn’t help. There have definitely been times I’ve been worried what people would think and having to hide your problems is difficult and can prevent wanting to reach out for help.

 You’re a fantastic squash player, and keep fit in the gym, do you find sport and exercise helps you?

It does and it doesn’t. My eating has never been affected by my depression; my weight has fluctuated, but just the same as anyone’s does. Sport definitely helps me stick to routine as it’s a release, and lifting weights is empowering. It’s a good feeling to feel like you’re empowering yourself from a state where you’ve felt so small. There are times when I’ll have a bad gym session or squash lesson and I’ll feel powerless again. It’s just about knowing that there will always be the good days and the bad days, and being okay with that.

There was one incident where my self-harm was very bad, and it nearly took me away from playing Squash, and I think that was an eye opener for me and what was really important in my life. Occasionally I have taken the odd training day off when my mood has been low and I’ve wanted time on my own.

 What advice would you give to someone experiencing the same/similar problems?

Have a triangle of support ready for you:

  1. A go-to activity: something you adore doing that you have the energy to do regardless of your mood. For me it’s my creative writing and music.
  2. Professional help: this is so important because it’s likely that your friends and family won’t be able to give you sound medical advice. Issues like this are serious and do need to be properly monitored and handled by someone who knows what they’re dealing with.
  3. Friends/Family: they are vitally important for the sentimental side of things, especially when you just need to have someone to lean on.

 It’s always good to have positives to look back on. When I feel really low I like to remind myself of what I’ve achieved, especially in my writing. I had one occasion where I sent a chapter I’d written to a friend and got such a positive response it just boosted me; it’s my dream to be a bestselling author.

 Go on then, tell us your top ‘must reads’:

  1. Perks of being a wallflower (by Stephen Chbosky)
  2. All the bright places (by Jennifer Niven)

And what’s your go-to song?

Umm that’s hard! Probably a song by Prides called “The Kitestring and the Anchor Rope”

My interview with her really allowed the rawness of her experience to surface, and as we departed I felt honored to be allowed a glimpse into the world that she has faced, and the battles that she has learnt to armor herself against. It saddened me that this beautiful young lady should be subjected to such mental torment. I have huge thanks and admiration for her bravery and honesty.  I have no doubt with the air of authority and certainty she spoke with, that she will go forward to reach fantastic feats regardless of set backs.

I hope this account has been both informative and eye opening for you.

If you have been affected by anything you have read in this interview, or need to speak to someone about an issue that has come up please view the links below:

Mind Helpline: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/

Samaritans Website: http://www.samaritans.org/

Coping with loneliness

It’s winter. It’s cold. It’s dark.

Let’s face it the lack of Vitamin D does nothing for anyones mood, and with my current routine being bogged under with revision for January exams, this post seemed very relevant to write about.

People don’t like to admit their lonely; it sounds needy, desperate and maybe even weak I guess?

But severe bouts of loneliness can lead to depression, anxiety,  increase alcohol dependence and lower self-esteem.

It is not a shameful thing to admit you are feeling alone, we are social beings, designed for relationships and interactions.

Being around the right people can help raise self esteem, make us feel supported and loved, give purpose, motivate and inspire us. We experience amazing amounts of growth when we spend time with those who reciprocate our friendship.

Lets get psychological about relationships….

Maslow’s renowned hierarchy of needs specifies its importance in his stage of “belonging”. For those not familiar with Maslow’s theory of self actualization, he believed that each stage in the hierarchy needs to be met in order for a person to reach, what is termed, ‘self actualization’. It is then that we are able to reach our full potential, learn and develop ourselves into well established, grounded, individuals.


I would argue that relationships also are important for other areas of his hierarchy, such as  “safety” and “esteem”, because it’s through developing good relationships, and spending time with people who make you feel good, that you feel safe, supported and are given positive reinforcement. This in tern builds identity and purpose.

However loneliness can be split into two categories:  circumstantial loneliness, the type that can be given context and is often easily resolvable, such as living alone, working alone, dealing with bereavement, losing touch with social contacts or from the experience of discrimination.

But the other loneliness is more pathological and has links with depression. This is the type of loneliness experienced when you are surrounded by loved ones but still feel nothing but emptiness.

It is ongoing, pervasive and intrusive to all areas of your life and levels of functioning, including higher levels of fatigue or insomnia.

What should we watch out for?

With both types of loneliness you may suffer from many cognitive [thinking] errors, such as:thoughtsemotions

  • Catastrophic thinking
  • Overgeneralizing 
  • Black and white thinking
  • Disqualifying the positives
  • Personalisation
  • Mind-reading


So, what are the key things to do when feeling a little lonely, or bogged down with the January blues what can be done to lift your spirits?

Learning to spend time alone with yourself is crucial to self-love! It’s OK to be alone. Trust me I’d rather be made to learn algebra in Russian whilst suspended from the Eiffel Tower by a pair of dungarees than be with myself for too long (OK maybe that’s a tad extreme…but you get the point). But here are some tips and tricks to beat the loneliness blues:

  1. Even if you feel down make an effort to meet with friends and make contact with people: Now this may seem obvious – you feel lonely go and see someone – but for fishfriendthose suffering with depression as well this is hard because although you want to see people you also want to be alone, making plans can feel like a lot of effort and you may even put it off completely because you jump to the conclusion that because you feel alone no one likes you.

I will tell you now, you are wrong to think that. So it’s important to make as much social contact as you can, even if it’s ringing a friend/relative for a quick chat, going for a coffee or lunch break, or speaking to someone on social media. Don’t knock what a good conversation can do for you!

  1. Join a new club and make new connections: Whatever your hobbies are use them to get up and out. Meet new people, make new friends and don’t be afraid to try something new. Be proactive and productive to instigate change.
  2. Ask for a hug: cuddles are amazing. And if you have a partner snuggling up for a cosy cuddle and cheeky kiss will bring a smile to your face I’m sure! But for those singletons out there [I feel ya’] ask for a hug from a friend, and when people ask if you’re ok it’s ok to say you’ve been missing seeing people later and need a coffee and chat. Honesty is the best policy!


For me, learning to be happy with being alone was a major step to loving myself more! Spending time doing stuff I enjoy for myself, such as art, music, cooking, cycle rides or writing more. You’ll find you become genuinely happy and at peace with your loneliness… In fact, I even look forward to those days and evenings spent alone!


The Instagram Trap: #Fitspo or #GuiltTrip?

This blog explores the dangers of Instagram ‘fitspo’ accounts for those with an eating disorder, low self esteem, or obsessive personality. It’s about being street wise about who you follow and exploring why this is important.

Type in “fitspo” on Instagram search and it comes up with more than 46 million photos related to that one hashtag. All seemingly supposed to be “motivational” fitness accounts.

I’m not sure what they’re advocating we aspire to be.

90% pictures of girls bums as they pose wearing a thong, boob shots, and pictures of extreme healthy meals all with related hashtags of #fitspiration and #cleaneating.

Some profiles even being border-line soft porn which worries me since pretty much all the kids I work with have access to these damaging images.

So what does the research show?

Pictures of thinner, photoshopped women are consistently viewed as more successful, happier and desirable, and leave women feeling inferior in comparison about their bodies and life satisfaction.

Not only has research shown viewing these seemingly flawless pictures damaging to self esteem and related to increase in eating disorders. For those current issues, or in recovery from an eating disorder this has the potential to be detrimental to recovery and even trigger relapses, and associated disordered behaviours.

In a sample of vulnerable young adults, who had previously had eating disorders and depression, there was a heightened dopamine response, in response to pictures of food and models, as seen using fMRI,
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved in reinforcement learning and pleasure response. Thus being exposed to endless pictures of ‘perfect’ bodies, and food is more likely to contribute to the disordered eating, body shaming, and obsessive exercise and dieting behaviours.

Orthorexia is an eating disorder, based on abolishing all “unclean foods”, as well as increasing behaviours such as, obsessive exercising, body checking (staring in the mirror, endless pictures, measuring and weighing) and calorie counting. These behaviour become relied upon, and if challenged cause feelings of severe anxiety and distress.

If you are recovering from an eating disorder, you must remember recovery is ultimately about achieving what you want in life without the boundaries created by your ED, the expectations of others, comparisons, and rules.

#Lies verses #Reality 

We need to be smart about who we follow, and what we are feeding our mind, as this will ultimately feed how we treat ourselves and our bodies. And a healthy you is a happy you! 

1. Unrealistic expectations.
They promote that eating what they eat will make you look that way, and that their way  is the ‘ideal’. These upward comparisons automatically make us feel inferior sending that well known wave of guilt crashing over you when you and fuelling many unhealthy, self-analytic behaviours.  

Reality: You do not need to look any other way then the way you look. It’s not about appearances (cliche I know) but how you feel in yourself.
Do what makes you happy.
Play ultimate frisbee or go dog walking if that’s your thing…and do not believe the lies that many unqualified Instagram accounts fill your feeds with. You need no ones permission to eat what you like, nor should you feel bad for having likes and dislikes of food which go against the grain of what society tell you is acceptable.

2. They are living the “right” way.
We automatically assume they are qualified to give advice, allowing their way to be the correct way and yours to be the wrong way of living.
The majority of the “fitspiration” accounts are not managed by qualified nutritionists, personal trainers or dieticians. They thus have no right to tell you what to do.
We seem to think we all function and are wired the same, when in reality what makes my body, and mind, function at it’s optimal, will not be the same for you. This trend of macronutrient counting, and publicly displaying the numbers, only fuels obsession, comparison, which leads to anxiety, stress and actually means we forget how to listen mindfully to our bodies and minds and what they want and need.
What works for one will not work for all.
We have different needs, likes/dislikes, requirements, past and present health needs.
Never let anyone rob you of the joy of eating a meal you want and love with friends and family, or for having a day where you choose to curl up with comfort food watching films.
Balance is key. 

3. Looking like they do will make you happy. 
This is the biggest lie. 
I remember when I was ill with anorexia I always moved the boundaries of how much weight I needed to lose. I was sure if I reached this magic number I’d be a more acceptable, loveable and successful person.
I  can tell you now, that number never came.
Was never low enough. 

My true bubbliness and happiness came when I decided to sit down with myself and love me, treat myself well and see my worth, talents and passions unfold!
[for more on this read Ambition: Dream Big]

You will be happiest when you are doing the things that truly bring you joy. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Be involved in the work, studies and activities that give you meaning and purpose that make you proud and excited to get out of bed every morning. 

3 Final Tips to Check Who You’re Following and What You’re Posting. 

Make sure you’re surrounded by, and feeding others news feeds, full of good vibes!

  1. Are they, and are you making others feel good about themselves or encouraging comparisons, and dictating a superficial way of life. 

Remember, Instagram, and other social media accounts, only show what people want you to see of them – you don’t know if they ate that healthy salad or snapped the picture and went to McDonalds instead.

  1. Are you seeking validation from others. 

Your self-esteem should not be, and is not, reliant on others validation. Think about what messages you are promoting to others, and what are you reinforcing through spending time looking at, reading and liking. 

3. You are FAR more interesting than your body, workouts and food.

We are turning into such a narcissistic, self obsessed society. We shouldn’t have to be inspired and motivated by aesthetics. Looks aren’t everything. What about the amazing things your body and mind are capable of doing?!

Try following accounts that inspire you to go outside and explore new countries, see new places, and have new experiences?
It’s far more interesting to see that than what you had for lunch or how good your abs look.[unless you share an awesome recipe, that doesn’t involve 5 million ingredients I’ve never heard of]

Conclusive Message

Create a lifestyle that  makes you happy: one that’s not dictated by endless rules and routines, but is enabling you to excel in all areas of your life – not just focused on your body.

Follow accounts that inspire and challenge you in healthy ways. Check the messages you are believing and how they are leaving you feeling about yourself. Do no be afraid to challenge these messages, or live a way that goes against what others are saying you should do.



“A little consideration, a little thought for others makes all the difference.” – Eeyore, Winne the Pooh