Ramadan: Still in the grips of anorexia

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Every year when Ramadan comes around, I open up about my experience with an eating disorder. It can be such a tricky time for those of us struggling with an eating disorder. For the past seven years, I’ve been strictly told not to fast by medical professionals who were treating me for my eating disorder in hospital. In the past, I had to be monitored extra closely in case my weight dramatically dropped due to fasting secretly.

This year is different. This is the first year that I am not in treatment for my anorexia in seven years, so I feel anxious because now I have a choice. I hate having a choice because I’m more likely to choose the unhealthy one. I’m not being watched anymore and I’m not being threatened with inpatient if I lose weight, so this is the perfect opportunity. I am in no way recovered. In fact, I’d say the thoughts have been creeping back in, especially recently.

A year into my recovery without treatment has been tough. Every day is still hard, and there have been both massive relapses AND recovery wins in the past 12 months and I truly believe this is how it will be for the rest of my life. I don’t think I will ever be fully recovered.

Ramadan brings out a lot of negative emotions and triggers for me. But this year, having a choice to fast or not to fast and still seeing Ramadan as a chance to lose weight and to become sicker is not helping and confirms, yet again, that I am not in a good state of mind to fast safely. I don’t see it as a religious thing. So if I fast, I will be doing it for the wrong reasons.

Rationally, of course I know that I must not fast if I am still in that eating disordered mindset. I know that health and my recovery comes first. But anorexia is so powerful that even if I say I will not take part, I will most definitely act on behaviours because everywhere I go, there will be someone fasting, someone talking about how much they’re “starving” and restricting will be inevitable. Plus, there will be triggering food everywhere and everyone will be talking about food.

I have made the choice, however, to not take part. People close to me have been expressing their concerns about me fasting. I’d be lying if I said I don’t engage in behaviours anymore so fasting in the month of Ramadan can absolutely land me back in hospital.

I’m in a good place career-wise. I’ve got a new job that I love, but I’m worried if I’ll be able to hold it down if I go down that path again. Anorexia makes me not believe in myself. Every day now, it tells me that I don’t deserve this job, that I don’t deserve to be successful. It makes me question if I’m capable of holding down a full time job without getting sicker. It makes me anxious about disappointing my colleagues and managers. It’s been keeping me awake at night worrying about how anorexia, especially in Ramadan, might impact my mental health this year.

In the past, it was anorexia that made me become this successful. It was anorexia’s perfectionism that made me work hard (without food) graduate and get my dream job. People tell me it wasn’t anorexia, but they don’t know how strong anorexia can be. It was this illness that demanded I prove to people that I can do things. The less food I ate, the more weight I lost, the more successful I became…and it worked.

I cannot keep letting anorexia take credit for everything I’ve achieved. I cannot let it take over me anymore. People tell me that I can do things, that I am capable without this illness. Maybe they’re right?

Ramadan is a spiritual month. It’s about health and helping others and about being kind to oneself. I cannot fast because I am sick, but what I CAN do is help others and take care of myself. I can be thankful to God that I am here in this world. I am alive and I am living.

Ramadan shouldn’t be just about controlling yourself from eating food. It should be about taking care of yourself whatever way possible and if fasting isn’t right for your mental and physical health at the moment, it’s okay not to take part.

For others like myself who cannot fast in the month of Ramadan due to an eating disorder or mental illness, why not turn it around and work on your recovery? This year, I’ve come to realise that putting your own health is more important than religion, career or opportunities. Look after yourself first. Make yourself a priority. That is what I will try to do.

This was originally posted on Beat‘s website.

How To Look Stylish At The Gym

Let’s face it, most of us still want to look glamorous in the gym but think it’s impossible due to all the sweat. Sports clothes is something I will never wear out in public as I don’t feel comfortable or feminine in them. BUT, since I’m a regular gym goer, I have transformed by gym wardrobe into a more stylish one so I can feel confident and comfortable whilst working out.


First of all, outfit! As it’s the new year, I decided to mix up my gym outfits and buy tops with motivational quotes and slogans. I bought a lot of slogan tops from Missguided, Boohoo and Forever 21 recently. I put together this ‘Sweat Squad’ slogan vest from Boohoo.com and a pair of Live The Process floral print leggings. Complimenting the sleeveless vest, I like to add a Mesh or fishnet crop top underneath the vest. I love this one from Mesh Panel Crop Tee by Ivy Park along with the brands Double Layer Camo Sports Bra. To finish off the outfit, I’ve added a sturdy yet stylish pair of trainers such as this Adidas Gymbreaker Bounce, which is perfect for training.

I know a lot of people will be raising their eyebrows about wearing make up in the gym but what is the point of working out if you’re not feeling your best? Makeup makes me feel confident and makes me work harder in the gym. But is makeup while you workout good for your skin? It depends on what you use. I’m not talking full makeup. It’s all about natural and light.

I like to use a tinted moisturiser for the gym with a bit of sweatproof powder on top. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser (oil-free version) is perfect and lightweight for the gym. Rimmel London Waterproof Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner is one of my favourite eyeliners. I always wear it at the gym and after an intense workout, there isn’t even one bit of smudgeness – looks good as when I first put it on. I recently discovered Waterproof Sport Mascara by Eyeko and as the name says it, it is specifically for sports conditions. I love this mascara so much. And last but not least, lips! Stila Stay All Day Matte Lipstick is perfect for those sweaty workout. I make sure not to go all out on lipstick when I’m working out, a little goes a long way! Also, don’t forget a cute little make-up! I’m loving this Rose Gold Dita Make Up Bag from Skinny Dip.

Spring/Summer 2016: What I Am Wearing

 

Little Black Dress: Dream Date Style Challenge

The lovely people from Daily Look contacted me asking me if I would like to put together an outfit using one of their little black dresses for a perfect date outfit – which sounded like a great idea for a fashion post, as I haven’t put an outfit together for a while and Valentines Day is coming up – so definitely a great time for some inspiration!
I chose this maxi dress because it is exactly what I would personally wear on a date. A plain long black dress can look rather elegant if you pair it with the right accessories. You can dress it up or down – either way. With this look, I decided to go for the more traditional romantic colour for the accessories, which is red. Black and red go really well together and perfect for a date night.
A stylish red shawl, blazer or bolero would look stunning with an LBD. As this dress is sleeveless, for me personally, I would like some coverage over the shoulders.
Because I have paired a red bolero on the top, I thought the outfit would look great if the top and bottom matched, so a rather lovely pair of classy red heels works well.
I could have went for a red clutch bag, but for some reason, the outfit felt too red for me. I wanted the bag to match the dress, instead of every single accessory being red. I think a simple black clutch works well with a black dress.
With this outfit, the red bolero would be a statement piece as well as the length of the dress – so I decided not to add too much jewellery. A simple red stone necklace and earring set from Claire’s just makes this look elegant and charming.
To complete the look, a dark red lipstick.