Just writing that title is making me anxious. I’ve wanted to write this for a while but have kept putting it off. I know, or hope, I can help a lot of people by talking about my experiences. But at the same time they’re not experiences that many are aware of so putting it online for the world to see is a little [very] daunting to me.  A Binge Eating Disorder is something that has affected me for many many years. Yet I feel like it took hitting “rock bottom” only very recently for me to realise how much of a problem it had become. A point that I hope this article stops my readers getting to. And a point I hope never to return to.

My Binge Eating Disorder

My first memories of my Binge Eating Disorder was when I was around 13 or 14 and started earning my own money. As much as I wanted to [and did] spend this money on clothes, shoes, make-up, I also spent a fair bit on sweets, crisps etc. And I know you’re all thinking “that is what we all do when we start earning money” – thinking back, the extent of it really wasn’t normal. I’m not going to go into much detail about all those years ago as my memories are quite faded. Instead I want to talk about my recent experiences as I finally feel like I’m coming out of the other side of this. My mindset has changed so much. I am motivated and determined.

I’ve always been a slimmer person. My “average” weight is a little below 9 stone. So it was hard for people to understand how this disorder was affecting me, even to those closest to me. Even now, after speaking out about it I’ve genuinely had people say to me “you’re not fat so it’s obviously not much of a problem” and right now, I bet a lot of you are thinking this too.

So let me tell you about my eating habits – my unhealthy relationship with food. This year was going to be the year I got “the body of my dreams” and honestly? The harder I pushed, the more weight I put on. My body image, my self-worth, my confidence was awful. It went as far as cancelling my summer holiday abroad because I couldn’t think of anything worse than wearing a bikini, or even shorts. I wore jumpers and blazers throughout the entire summer because I hated my arms. I covered up every part of my body I could. My skin was spotty, my hair was dry, my nails were brittle. The more depressed I got about my body image, the more I binged. That’s probably hard to contemplate, but if you’re also struggling with this, you’ll know exactly what I was going through at that time.

This summer was when “rock bottom” happened. It went as far as eating 7 packets of crisps in a row. Or 6 chocolate bars. Sneaking downstairs for an ice cream at midnight. Eating an entire pack of muffins at my desk. Binging in my car so no one would know. And do you know how I’d counteract those binges? I’d end up starving myself to make up for “all those extra calories”. But there was only a certain amount of time this could work for. Over time, the binges got worse, and far more regular, and I couldn’t keep the weight off. However hard I tried. I’d put on over a stone. This is when “rock bottom” happened. And when I realised I needed help.

But that realisation triggered something in me. Asking for help made me realise my problem. How far it had got. How far it was going to go if I didn’t do something about it. In the end the only person that was going to help me was myself. It just took me a long time to realise that. These tweets were where it began.

 

 

To begin with, I struggled daily. Tweeting about my accomplishments, about going that “one more day” without a binge. Food was an addiction for me. A comfort. And it was so hard to give that up but I knew I had to. I spent some time researching Binge Eating Disorders and what it could do to my health in the long haul. Health problems can include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. I knew I had to do something about it.

I made a point of having a big breakfast in the morning. At first I hated it. I couldn’t think of anything worse than eating first thing in the morning. But now I go to sleep dreaming of the breakfast I’m going to have when I wake up. Having a big breakfast meant that I’d stay full until lunchtime and not be tempted to snack. I was then eating hearty, carb filled lunches such as sweet potato soup which would release energy slowly throughout the day. It was always the afternoons I’d find the most difficult – which saw me diving into the “treats” box at work. Muffins, sweets, crisps, chocolate. I decided to make my own “treats” box. Yet fill it with fruit, nuts, lentil crisps, cereal bars, carrots, hummus, you name it. And this is what I started to dive into when I was hungry.

The binges stopped. I started to understand hunger. And differentiate it from boredom, or emotion. I suppose it all sounds so simple. Something just triggered inside of me that said “I can do this”. And I did. I focused on me. My life. I can’t believe how much things have changed in just over a month. And of course I know I’m not out of the woods yet. I’ve still got a long long way to go. But my entire mindset has changed, I’m a much better, happier person. The way I think about myself has changed massively. I still have those days where I hate every little thing about me but knowing I’m doing something to change that really really helps.

As hard as it has been for me to speak out [and please stop me from getting anxious and deleting this post] if it helps only one person I will feel like I’ve achieved something. Although Binge Eating Disorders are life-threatening, many still don’t consider them a “real eating disorder”. But in all honestly, they’re just as dangerous as Anorexia or Bulimia and we need to start taking it more seriously. I know there’s so much more I want and need to say here but I could go on forever. I want to use this to spread awareness but I will write an updated post in the near future.

I really hope speaking out about my Binge Eating Disorder will help others in the same position as me. My DMs are open on Twitter [as always] if you’d like to speak to me about anything.

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

For reference – some common signs of a binge eating disorder as taken from the NHS choices site are;

  • Secret eating
  • eating when you’re not hungry
  • feelings of guilt after eating
  • eating until you’re uncomfortably full
  • eating much faster than normal

Factors that may increase your risk of a binge eating disorder are;

  • having low self-esteem and lack of confidence
  • depression or anxiety
  • feelings of stress, anger or loneliness
  • feeling under pressure to be thin

When I was invited to attend Valley Fest as a guest of Weleda I jumped at the chance. Valley Fest is based within the Chew Valley Lakes, Chew Magna to be exact, which is only a 30 minute drive from mine. It’s nice to be able to attend an event that’s a little more local to me, rather than having to spend half the day travelling. Valley Fest is a festival of “food, music and fun” – and really is in the most gorgeous location. When I saw the tents pitched up overlooking the Chew Magna Lake, it made me regret not camping. Just imagine waking up to these views. Absolutely breathtaking.

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We arrived at Valley Fest at 10am and made our way to the Weleda tents to say hello to the girls. I’d already met Naomi and Sophie at the Bristol Bloggers Meet so it was nice to see some familiar faces. I also met Carol who was going to be giving me my Weleda Skin Food Facial later that day.

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Before we did anything else, it was straight to Pukka for a cup of tea. They had so many on offer and they were so affordable. I know “it’s only tea” but Jess and I expected them to be around £3 each considering it was a festival yet they were only £1. They were also selling their eco-cups for £10 which included free tea for the entire weekend. I tried the Supreme Matcha Green Tea and fell in love and Jess had the Mint Refresh which is now a firm favourite of hers.

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There was so much going on when we looked around. Zumba at the “Lake Stage”, a Circus Workshop at “The Yard”, Chicken Run showing at “The Flicks” and a Baby Massage Class at Weleda. There was something for everyone. We had a wander around the various retail tents, selling everything from clothing, to incense, to handmade mosaic ornaments. But before we knew it, it was time to head back to Weleda for our Skin Food Facials.

Skin Food is Weleda’s signature product – it’s “a universal saviour of dry, rough skin” with “extracts of gentle viola tricolour, calendula and chamomile”. Skin Food is full of High Quality, Natural Ingredients. The facial was based around this product – starting with a aromatic rosemary compress to awaken my tired looking skin and moving on to a cleanse to remove any excess make-up. This was followed by a relaxing facial massage. I completely forgot that I was in a tent in the middle of a field, I could have been anywhere. The Skin Food was then used as a mask before the facial was finished with a lavender compress.

I’ve been using the Weleda Skin Food since the Bristol Bloggers Meet over a year ago – yet I’d never thought of using it as a mask. Which is definitely something I’m going to try at home with my sample that was given to me after the facial. My skin felt amazing immediately afterwards and I let the oils continue working their magic for the rest of the day. But more importantly I felt well and truly relaxed. And hungry of course, so it was time to find lunch.

Jess went for a Quesadilla from The Mexican Kitchen and I had a Vegetarian Curry from the Yeo Valley Canteen. For dessert we both had Eton Mess, again from the Yeo Valley Canteen. And I couldn’t resist one of their Gluten Free Brownies – divine. Again I was so impressed with the value of the food compared to other festivals. My curry was around £5 and it was a giant portion, the brownie was £1.5o and the Eton Mess £2.50. It was then time to head back to Pukka for a final cup of tea before leaving Valley Fest.

We had such a lovely day at the festival. We really didn’t want to leave. The atmosphere, the views, the food – everything was perfect. Not forgetting the wonderful facial from Weleda. That made the day for us. Thank you Weleda, and Valley Fest for having us.

Have you been to Valley Fest or anything like this before? I’d love to go again.

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

Collaborative post. As always, opinions are 100% my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

The Blogging Blues - Where Have I Been?

I’ve been “blogging” for over 10 years now. Crazy crazy. And in that time, I’ve probably given myself around a year off. I blogged through secondary school, sixth form, university and now into my adult years. Definitely still not accepting adulthood quite yet though. My life, from age 14, has all been put online somewhere. The rebellious 14-year-old having her first taste of alcohol, the smitten 16-year-old when I met my now fiancé, the confused 18-year-old with not a clue what to do with her life, the 21-year-old graduate that’s probably never going to use her degree, the 24-year-old learning how to use a washing machine in her first house. It’s there, somewhere.

Blogging has been a massive part of my life, and even when I’m not posting consistently, behind the scenes I’m spending my days planning ideas and taking photos for future content.  I’ve even got a list on my phone of over 300 post ideas I want to write. I can never imagine blogging not being part of my life. Even when it becomes obsolete, I’ll still be here rambling away on my little place of the Internet. I’m sure of it.

2017 has been manic. You have no idea how relaxed I feel sitting down to write. I haven’t been able to do this in what seems like forever. But before I veer off in a tangent – in January Sam and I bought our first house together. A major renovation project because quite honestly, that’s all we could afford. For three months, we spent every spare second working on the house. Every. single. one. Whilst still working full time. It was hard, but we did it, and we’re now living in the house, finally. Although it’s still a building site and there’s still so so so much to do.

Sam and I work for ourselves and work has been crazy. I’m actually writing a post on ‘What They Don’t Tell You About Working For Yourself’ because I must get told I’m lucky almost daily. I am. But I don’t think people quite understand how much of a hard graft it is keeping a business running smoothly, especially as we now have a house to pay for. It’s stressful. It’s hard. But yes, it’s rewarding.

On top of a crazy crazy home life and a crazy crazy work life. My laptop decided to finally give up. And then the Internet. I’m still not used to this laptop, and I think I must be deleting more words than I’m writing as I don’t know where the keys are yet. I am absolutely useless with technology.

I’ve had a serious case of the “blogging blues”. I’ve been comparing myself to others, my writing, my photography, myself as a person. I’ve wanted to get back in to regularly posting for so long but every post I write just doesn’t seem good enough. I hate every photo I take. My posts are too short, too long, too chatty. There’s not enough photos, too many photos. I thought after 10 years of blogging I’d be over this by now?

I lost the love for blogging, I was writing because I felt I needed to, I was accepting products and collaborations for the sake of it. I was forcing myself to write when the creativity didn’t flow. I forgot why I started. I didn’t start for the freebies, the views, the followers. When I started, Facebook didn’t even exist, yet alone Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other social medias that dishearten me when comparing myself to others. I wrote for me. Because I enjoyed writing.

I think I’ve been spending so much time worrying about what other people will like, what will make me look good, what will make me stand out, how to gain followers, how to improve my writing style, my photos, my content, that I’d forgotten what’s important. I’d forgotten why I started.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve taken time for me. To spend time with the people I love. To do the things I enjoy. To sort my life out. To start exercising instead of complaining about the stone I’ve put on. To have my hair done instead of moaning that I hate it. And most importantly, write. I was starting to hate the person I’d turned in to. I’d turned into one of those people moaning about life, whilst sitting on their arse and doing nothing whatsoever about it. That isn’t me.

800 words later I think I’ve managed to say what I wanted to say in this post. I’ve rambled a lot when all I really wanted to say is that I’m back. And as cliché as it sounds – I am going to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. I’ve declined collaborations that I either don’t have time for, or I don’t feel I’ll 100% love. And I’m going to really start focusing on the things I do love. Baking every sugar filled treat I can possibly think of. My Manicure Mondays. Exploring. Skincare. Pamper sessions. Because you can really tell the difference between the posts I love writing, and the ones I’ve struggled to find the words for. I’m going to take my blog back to something I enjoy spending my evenings doing. And I hope you start enjoying reading it again too.

I’m going to leave it there. I’ve already written way more than I intended and I’ll end up writing another 800 words if I’m not careful.

Have you ever hit a blogging slump like this? What did you do to get back on track?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

 

 

As many of you already know, I’ve been doing the LighterLife Fast #ICanDoThat challenge over the last couple of months.  Mum and I have been doing the challenge together and we’ve both found it so easy to stick to. As part of our #ICanDoThat challenge we visited Go Ape, when both Mum and I are scared of heights, which you can read all about here. We had such a fun day! LighterLife Fast helped us feel energised and ready to take on the challenge, and really helped us get rid of our bloated tummies which is something we both [used to] suffer with.

Vegetarian Meal Plan with LighterLife Fast

I’ve gone into details about the LighterLife Fast in a few of my previous posts but wanted to use this opportunity to share my Vegetarian Meal Plan and show you how to incorporate the products into a balanced diet. I haven’t always stuck to the plan religiously, which is why I love, and enjoy, the products so much. I’ve been finding the products to easy to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle on the non-fast days too. The shakes are perfect for a nutritional, on the go breakfast. Much better than any ‘breakfast bar’ you’ll pick up at the local supermarket. And I’ve always got an item from the Light Bites Snack range in my handbag.

A quick disclaimer before I start: I am in no way, shape or form a nutritionist (although my best friend is one). This is just a Vegetarian Meal Plan to show how I personally use the products as part of a balanced lifestyle. There will be things that you do differently, or products you don’t like. But that’s the ease of the LighterLife Fast. There are so many products to chose from, you’ll almost certainly find some favourites among their selection. As well as the foods mentioned below, I always make sure I drink at least 2 litres of water daily and usually 3-4 cups Green/Fruit Tea.


Monday: Day 1

Breakfast 7:30am – Tesco Special Flakes with Red Berries, an Apple and a cup of Green Tea.

Lunch 1pm – A Salad consisting of Crispy Salad Mix, Red and Yellow Pepper, Cucumber, Carrot, Feta Cheese, a dollop of Red Pepper Hummus and Chia Seeds.

Afternoon Snack 3pm – A Cherry Muffin and a Blackcurrant and Rhubarb Tea.

Dinner 7pm – Roast Dinner: Roast Potatoes, Parsnips, Yorkshire Pudding, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Green Beans, Stuffing and a Quorn ‘Chicken’ Fillet.


Tuesday: Fast Day

Breakfast 9am – LighterLife Fast Strawberry Shake.

Lunch 1pm – LighterLife Fast Tomato and Herb Soup.

Afternoon Snack 4:30pm – Light Bites Strawberry and Apple Fruit Chips.

Dinner 8pm – LighterLife Fast Pasta Carbonara and a LigherLife Fast Nut Fudge Bar


Wednesday: Day 3

Breakfast 8am – Toast with Marmite and a Banana (and a Green Tea).

Morning Snack 11:30am – A handful of Lidl Trail Mix.

Lunch 1pm – Jacket Potato with a small tin of Reduced Salt Beans and Crispy Salad.

Dinner 6:30pm – Vegetarian Lasagne made with Quorn Mince, served with Mixed Vegetables.


Thursday: Day 4

Breakfast 9:30am – Lighterlife Fast Strawberry Shake.

Lunch 1:30pm –  Minestrone Soup with a small Wholemeal Roll.

Afternoon Snack 3pm – Wasabi Coated Chickpeas (homemade).

Dinner 6pm – Tesco Vegetable Chilli Balti with Uncle Bens Wholegrain Rice.

Evening Snack 8:3opm – Frozen Banana.


Friday: Fast Day

Breakfast 8am –  LighterLife Fast Banana Shake.

Morning Snack 11am – Light Bites Goji Berries, Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Bar.

Lunch 1pm – LighterLife Fast Hearty Vegetable Soup.

Afternoon Snack 5pm – Lighterlife Fast Chocolate Raisin Bar.

Dinner 8pm – Lighterlife Fast Spaghetti Bolognese.


Saturday: Day 6

Breakfast 9:30am – Scrambled Egg on Wholemeal Toast.

Lunch 2pm – M&S Nourish Bowl (Sweet Potato Bites, Chickpeas, Hummus, Butternut Squash).

Afternoon Snack – Light Bites Roasted Shallot and Cider Vinegar Popped Chips.

Dinner 7:30pm – Mexican Bean Wraps: Mexican Bean Burgers cooked and cut into strips. Mixed with Reggae Reggae Sauce. Served with Peppers, Tomatoes and Onion (recipe coming soon).


Sunday: Day 7

Breakfast 9am –  Tesco Special Flakes with Red Berries.

Lunch 1pm – Tomato Pasta with Feta Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes.

Afternoon Snack 3pm – Half a Cadbury’s Easter Egg (oops).

Dinner 7:30pm – Chinese Vegetable Chow Mein and Prawn Crackers.


I like to think I have a varied, balanced diet. I will usually have one takeaway a week, or every couple of weeks. If I’m feeling naughty it’ll be a Vegetarian Pizza, if not, I will have a Vegetable Chow Mein like this week. And I can’t resist a little bit of chocolate. I always drink 3-4 cups of Green/Fruit Tea a day and at least 2 litres of water. Snacks tend to be nuts or unrefined carbohydrates which fill me up, instead of leaving me craving for more. I’ve been making my own roasted chickpeas recently so I have a recipe for those coming soon, as well as the recipe for my Mexican Bean Wraps.

On the Fast Days I tend to start the day with a Strawberry/Banana Shake, I love these so much that I even start some of my non fast days with them too. I adore almost all of the LighterLife Fast Bars, especially the Nut Fudge Bars – they make me look forward to my Fast Days. And as I mentioned above, I always have a product from the Light Bites range with me. My favourites are the Strawberry and Apple Fruit Chips and the Superfood Fruit/Seed Bars.

I hope this Vegetarian Meal Plan has given you some ideas. I’d love to hear how you get on if you try the LighterLife Fast 5:2 yourself.

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

 

in collaboration with LighterLife Fast. As always, opinions are 100% my own.

People often ask me, ‘How are you always so motivated?’, ‘How do you find time to do x, y and z?’, ‘Where do you get your energy from?’ and the answer always comes down to a good night’s sleep. I know I’m turning into your Mother now, and you’ve probably heard this a million times already, but I cannot stress the importance of a good night’s sleep enough. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it! At one point I was working four jobs, doing a full time degree and trying to start my now successful (if I do say so myself) company, Moore’s Campers. I couldn’t have done any of it without a good night’s sleep.

Tips For A Good Night's Sleep

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Now that’s easy to say, but how do you actually do it? Here are my top tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

1. First and foremost, a good mattress. This is one of the most important aspects of a good night’s sleep. My fiancé and I opted for a Leesa* mattress; with three layers of high quality foam, these provide cooling bounce, contouring pressure release and core support to ensure a good night’s sleep, night after night. There’s lots more information on the Leesa mattress below.

2. Tidy room, tidy mind. I always dedicate time to sort my bedroom out before I settle for the evening. You don’t have to make this a time consuming task, just 10 minutes is all it takes. Put your dirty washing in the laundry, file lose bits of paperwork, wash up empty glasses. Each thing you do on an evening is one less thing you have to do the next day. Which always makes my mind much clearer.

3. No evening snacks/drinks. As nice as a tub of ice cream in bed at 11pm sounds, it’s not doing your sleep any favours. We’re all guilty, Sam and I have been known to have cheese and crackers in bed at gone midnight, on more than one occasion. But don’t make it a habit. Eating late at night can also contribute to weight gain as your body doesn’t have a chance to burn the energy in the food/s. Make sure you have your last meal/snack at least 3 hours before you go to bed.

4. Create the perfect environment. I can’t sleep with any amount of light and the slightest bit of noise will disturb my sleep. My ResMed Sleep Tracker helped me discover and eliminate some of the environmental factors that were interrupting my sleep. I invested in a good pair of blackout curtains as I was waking up at the crack of dawn each morning. I also discovered that my TV was turning on at 3am each morning so I put a stop to that too. I’d suggest trying a Sleep Tracker if you’ve been suffering with sleepless nights for a while.

5. Routine. Whether you go to bed at 9pm every night or 1am every morning, or 3am if you’re my Mother, try and stick to a routine. Let your body clock adapt, stick to a routine for just a week and I can almost guarantee that you’ll see a difference immediately. Try not to change that routine too much on the weekend either. As much as you think you’re catching up on sleep by snoozing until 11am on a Sunday, you’ll probably end up more tired. And you’ll struggle getting up at 6am on Monday.

6. No TVs, phones, laptops, tablets, games consoles, or anything else bright or electronic. Give your body at least 20 minutes free from electronics before your head hits the pillow. And do something to tire you mind instead. Call us old but Sam and I often enjoy a game of cards, or a chat about our day’s. I also use this time to read. I’m currently reading Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee.

7. Pamper. Wind down activities often involve a good ol’ pamper. I’ll regularly make an entire evening of it. I’ll run myself a warm bath, fill it with LUSH goodies, put a face mask on and either read or listen to relaxing music. Whatever time I do this, I always feel like I could sleep for a week afterwards.

The Leesa Mattress, the key to a good night’s sleep

The Leesa Mattress is expertly crafted to create a luxury feel and appearance to appeal to each and every person. With individual needs in mind. The Leesa Mattress, manufactured with three layers of high quality foam, provides optimum support and comfort to help your body rest and recover to ensure a good, and pain free night’s sleep.

No-one can know how a mattress is going to work for them after a 2 minute lie down in store. Leesa understand this and offer a 100 Night Trial Period. If you don’t feel the Leesa Mattress is right for you, they will arrange for the mattress to be collected and donated through a charitable organisation.

One of the many reasons to choose Leesa is that you’re also helping others. As well as providing yourself with a good night’s sleep. Along with the fact that they donate all returned mattresses, they also donate one mattress for every ten sold to organisations that support homeless and at-risk men, women and children. And if that wasn’t enough, they partner with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant one tree for every mattress sold and donate time and resources to help support local and national organisations.

I can give you a massive £50 off your Leesa Mattress if you buy through this link. I’d love to hear what you think if you do chose Leesa.

What are your top tips for a good night’s sleep?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

in collaboration with Leesa. As always, opinions are 100% my own.