Giving the silent illness a voice

With Eating Disorder Awareness Week taking place next week 27th – 5th March it’s a little reminder just how crucial awareness of this ‘silent’ illness is. Eating disorders are a very secretive illness. Using myself as an example, to begin with I looked fine, my favourite phrase was ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m ok’ and I acted fine and my behaviour was fine. On the outside everything was OK. As the illness progresses it begins to take its toll and it’s clear to people around you that you are not indeed ‘fine’ but by this point it’s too late, the damage is done, the thoughts and feelings are ingrained and have taken deep root. These thoughts and feelings are no longer thoughts and feelings but they are the truth, they are fact and you believe them. Belief is the key here. If you believe something to be true then no matter what your friends or family or the doctors say to you, you won’t believe them. You know the truth. Everyone else is lying to you. That’s when the paranoia begins, everyone and everything is against you, you feel on edge when you walk in to the room and everyone goes quiet… or worse overly chatty. Clearly everyone was talking about you. Against you. This is when you no longer look fine, your behaviour speaks volumes but it’s too late. This is the point where people may try to help you, where you are forced to see a doctor. I did exactly that and only agreed to see a doctor to make my family happy and stop them worrying. I didn’t see the problem and didn’t think I was poorly enough to get help. When it slowly clicked I was terrified but I felt like it was too late. I wished that I’d seen the problem at the very beginning so that I could have received the help I needed before things got too bad but I didn’t. No-one noticed the signs and that’s because I was so good at hiding it, I had all of the excuses, all of the lies and I manipulated. No-one knew what was going on and why should they? Eating disorders were not talked about so freely and so how could anyone have noticed the signs so early on when I was fighting so hard to keep it hidden.

Awareness of eating disorders is so so important and by people talking about mental health and understanding the early warning signs better places family and friends to make the intervention. It’s sad but true that this lies with family and friends because your loved one cannot be trusted to help themselves, that is not the nature of an eating disorder. 

Recovery from an eating disorder is not a quick fix, you don’t get help and then you are better again, it takes years of hard work and in many cases you never fully recover BUT the sooner you get support and the treatment needed the sooner you can stop the downward spiral and begin working towards recovery. 

Whether it’s the beginning of an eating disorder or a third or forth relapse getting help quickly is the most important thing.

I’m no professional but from personal experiences I have identified the early warning signs. If a handful of people are reading this and take something you never know when or if you might need it.

Early warning signs, to name a few:

Preoccupation with food:

  • having ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods
  • having a list of ‘safe’ foods
  • eliminating entire food groups
  • extreme interest in what others are eating
  • feeding other people 

Comments and thoughts around   weight, weighing themselves more frequently and a desire for the number to go down


Looking in the mirror more often than normal and touching or pinching body parts. 

If these phrases become part of your day to day conversations:

“I have already eaten”, ” I’ll eat later”, “I’m not hungry” “I don’t like that anymore” ” I had a big lunch”

Hiding food and throwing it away

Exercising obsessively with the intention of burning calories


Fixation on counting calories and numbers, checking food labels or knowing the calorie content in almost every food

Supermarket shops become painful, time consuming and stressful

Spending more time on the internet looking at diet sites and forums 

Anxiety and depression

Having a few outfits that are worn and washed constantly and only feeling comfortable in these. They tend to be loose fitting

Becoming defensive and snappy and angry with intense mood swings. Becoming angry for what seems like no reason and then being tearful the next.

Rigid eating behaviours:

  • using a certain bowl or spoon
  • cutting food into tiny pieces 
  • chewing a certain number of times
  • not letting foods touch

Avoiding social situations or being socially awkward and withdrawing and becoming isolated

Being cold and tired all the time

The more we talk and read about eating disorders the greater awareness there will be, with more people getting the help that they need. Eating disorders are silent… we need to give them a voice, we need to make them loud.
M x 

Giving the silent illness a voice

Looking back over January

Can you believe January is already over and February is underway? 

If I’m honest I usually dislike Jan, it’s a strange month after the Christmas period, everything goes back to normal but feels incredibly slow. It’s cold, it’s grey and everyone lacks motivation. Most years my January is faced with New Years resolutions that I know I won’t keep, resolutions that will make my family happy and stop them worrying. Resolutions that promise 100% focus on recovery and a promise that everything is in hand and will be ok. 

This year was different, without me even thinking about it recovery was no longer the focus because it really was in hand. When January 1st came around I didn’t really need to think about ‘recovery’ in that sense because of how far I have come. This year I was able to focus my resolutions on making me better and stronger rather than survival. 

I’ve already posted on my NYR’s so I won’t go on!

So how did January go?



January was a month to focus my training for the London Revolution ride, to begin preparing myself for 185 miles in the saddle. Training went well, I focused on interval and strength sessions in the week on the turbo and started getting out on longer rides at the weekend. 

I must say my key achievement was probably using my new clip ins and having the confidence to just do it (after putting it off for way to long!). On the first ride it was a big success, on the next not so much! However only a minor fall, no cars were involved and only a few bruises to tell the tale! I got straight back up and it was mostly fine.

I must admit I spent hours trawling Google looking for a plan to get from amateur to 185 miles in 5 months but there were so many conflicting plans and none that seemed to exceed the 100 mile mark that I gave up and did my own thing (as I like to do anyway!). I was very happy when the London Revolution plan landed in my inbox to give me some indication whether I am on track or not. Pleased to say I think I am. 

Weekly mileage in the saddle for Jan ended on 90km. (Well it’s a start!)

How am I feeling?

I still don’t think I can comprehend the distance, it doesn’t feel real. A slight reality check when I looked at the calendar and realised it is less than 4 months away and I know the weeks are going to fly by! I’m a little more confident in using clip ins and generally being out on the road, something I was extremely nervous of. Especially when told to just ‘pretend you are a car’! Now that is enough to fill anyone with dread. Maybe I should get pink flashing indicators…back to Google 😉 

Plan for February:

My plan for Feb is half dictated by the cycle plan and half by my experiences in Jan.
Feb is all about building a solid base with steady rides, some intervals and strength sessions. I’m going to increase overall weekly mileage with particular attention to consecutive days in the saddle.
On a personal level I need to focus on nutrition on long rides and listen to what my body needs. 
This is the plan (although I will be extending the long rides at the weekend and fitting my running and strength training around it)

So that’s the London Ride. Although marathon training for Gloucester City marathon is not in full swing as it’s in August I wanted to still focus on this and build a stronger running base. With that in mind and maybe getting slightly jealous that lots of RLAG were entering I signed up to Warwick Half as a guide, it will show me where I am at and what I need to focus on. 

I haven’t really been following a plan but have aimed for at least two shorter week day runs and a long run on Saturdays getting progressively longer. It’s been going really well and I’m certain all of my cycle training is making me a stronger runner. 

Piriformis tends to join me on most long runs and likes to make me pay afterwards, but I just need to focus on the exercises given and if that doesn’t work keep everything crossed that it will go away!

I’m not going to lie, it has been and will continue to be a challenge training for a big cycle and running events at the same time, but I like a challenge and have never been one to choose the easy option!

So that’s my month, a good start but with a long way to go, hard training ahead and many lessons to learn.

Let’s not forget the reasons I am doing this:



I am riding the London Revolution Ride to raise money for the Shakespeare Hospice, a charity that works hard to provide support for children and adults with life limiting and serious illnesses. At Blue Skies we have pledged to raise a lot of money in 2017 and so I wanted to do this ride for them, to not only raise money but awareness to.
If you are reading this and would like to show your support please do donate. I’m not asking anyone to sponsor me for the ride, people do crazy challenges all the time but I am asking you to support a fab charity.
All you need to do is;

Text MICM89
With your amount be it £1 or £10 
To 70070
Or visit my just giving page:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Michelle-Mumford3 
So that’s my January, I’m off for a ride!!

M x 

Looking back over January

A Letter To My Younger self

If you had to write a letter to ‘your younger self’ what would you say? I was asked this question and it really got me thinking. This is such a valuable thing to do.

My letter to my younger self:

Hey there little one,

You probably don’t recognise me now. You won’t recognise me for the happy, healthy person that you see before you. I write you this letter looking back at the quiet shy little girl who was hiding in her own shadow. I just want to take you in my arms and reassure you that you will get through this. You will get through this and come out of the other side a better person.

Things were difficult for you, I can see that now. I can see how you were struggling with so many things, so many thoughts going around in that little mind of yours. You were carrying the world on your shoulders and no one could see your struggle. No one could see the pain in your eyes, the regret in your heart and the damage that was done. No one could see that you were about to hit the self-destruct button. 

Looking back I can see the torture you were going through. I understand why you did what you did, I understand where your eating disorder came from and I know you always asked yourself ‘why me’ ‘why is this happening to me’ but I’m afraid that bad things happen to good people. You were a good person, and I’m telling you this now because I know you never believe that. Somehow you thought you deserved this, for not speaking out and getting the help that you so needed and deserved.

I’m sorry for what you went through, I’m sorry for how I treated you. You should never have gone through this alone.

You have been on quite a journey- a journey that however hard has taught you so much. A journey that will continue to teach you and show you who you truly are.

When you get to uni try and enjoy it- it’s meant to be the best years of your life. I want you to find the work life balance. You can never have too many friends. These people that you will be spending all of your time with will be friends for life, you are going to need to keep them close, you will need them one day. Go out with them, socialise, get drunk and spend your Saturday’s hungover and eating pizza on the sofa. Whatever you do do not isolate yourself, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and work 24/7. You can only do your best, and your best is more than good enough. Uni should be the best years of your life, make memories that you can look back on and smile.

When your struggling remember it is ok to ask for help. You are going to need help along the way and that’s ok. You need to be open and honest with those who care about you and any professionals that want to help you. Don’t resist help. When treatment is offered to you I want you to promise me that you will take it- jump at the opportunity and don’t let go. You are going to need treatment to get better and the sooner you get it the easier your life will be. The sooner you start down your road to recovery the more of your life you will have to live. You will soon realise just how precious your life is, don’t waste it punishing yourself. Don’t waste it punishing yourself for something that isn’t your fault. Take the help and start to work through recovery. Your uni course can wait- there is no pressure to finish your degree, your health comes first.

Forgiveness, this is something that you find difficult but you need to forgive yourself, no one blames you for this. You just experienced something no-one should ever have to and as a child you were given too much responsibility. You had to grow up long before your time but that isn’t your fault and wasn’t your choice. I know you blame yourself for keeping it all in, suppressing your feelings and trying to protect everyone around you but that wasn’t your job then and it isn’t now. You were the child, you are the teenager and you are not responsible for other people. They can and will look after themselves. I know you have done all you can to protect them but you are destroying yourself in the process. Forgive yourself for not getting the help when you needed it and stop blaming yourself. Stop feeling guilty.

You struggle to express your emotions but I want you to remember that it’s healthy and normal to be angry. Feeling anger does not make you a bad person, people wont judge you. It’s important to express anger when you feel it, you have been bottling up your emotions and deep down in the mix you do feel a lot of anger, you just don’t allow yourself to really feel it because it’s uncomfortable. Your allowed to. Considering the circumstances you have every right to feel anger, the sooner you let yourself feel this without the guilt that comes with it the healthier you will be. 

You are going to experience a sense of deep loss, it will feel like grief and it will hurt as you let go of all that you have known. But grief is a process, at first you will be in denial but this is where you must listen to me. This is really happening, there is no denying it. You are seriously ill and the sooner you accept that the sooner you will be ready to get help. Loss is a horrible feeling but it is just that, a feeling that you will overcome. Grief gets better with time. Give yourself time.

Most importantly of all I want you to remember just how loved you are. You are about to embark on the biggest journey of your life and there will be dark times ahead of you, times where you feel like giving up and wanting to end it all, but if you listen to my letter to you you will get through it. 

You will discover the real you and that is going to be such an exciting time. The eating disorder has taken over your life, sucking the life out of you and leaving you the shell of the person that you were. The person you see before you has been pushed and pulled and shaped by the eating disorder, it’s not real. You are about to discover the real you, you will find new hobbies and interests and make so many new friends. Enjoy this process. You will look back in years to come and see just what you have overcome, there is hope. Be strong. Life is waiting for you.
Mx 

What would you say to your younger self? Have a go 🙂 

A Letter To My Younger self

What are you going to START for Lent? 

What are you going to START for Lent? 
I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. Pancake day is just around the corner and so that means Lent will soon begin! Thousands of people will be giving something up on Wednesday 10th February. Some may be doing it for fun, others to prove a point and many for religion.

I’ve done the giving up chocolate for Lent every year since I don’t know when. I did it for the wrong reasons, as a way to deprive myself and lose weight. So this year as part of recovery rather than depriving myself or restricting myself of something I have put a spin on the typical idea of Lent. This year instead of giving something up I wanted to take something on. 

I am going to start finding one positive thing in every day. Sometimes I feel that life is so busy, with work and jobs that need to be done that we don’t have time to reflect. We are quick to notice and complain about everything that hasn’t gone well in the day that we fail to see everything that was right. This links in to mindfulness and the work I have started doing on this. 

Every day I will be finding the positives in my day. 

I will also do doing some form of writing each day throughout Lent, whether this be a blog post or working on my book

What are you going to START for lent?

M x

  

What are you going to START for Lent?