I just googled "How To Measure Yourself" and immediately lots of methods were offered around measuring your chest, bust, waist, hips, etc. But is that the only measurement that counts? Surely that's only one aspect of one's self? When I had anorexia, everything became about numbers. What I weighed. What size clothes I wore. How many calories I ate. How many hours of exercise I did. And so on. And it definitely did feel the only measurement that counted. You've probably heard of the saying, quality over quantity, but those numbers meant EVERYTHING to me. They had the power to determine whether my day was going to be OK or if I was going to feel so horrendous that I'd need to punish myself even harder. The numbers kept me feeling safe and in control. But the numbers I'd strived for only gave temporary satisfaction, and I'd always work harder to achieve a never ending goal. When I eventually reached out for help, I knew that I needed to eat more, I knew that I needed to do things differently. But it really isn't that easy. In fact the thought of it is terrifying. It was only when I was introduced to EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) that I was able to address the hidden meaning behind the numbers. In a nutshell, my marriage broke up when I was 30 and I became a single mum. It felt like my life was turned upside down but I was determined not to let this affect my daughters, then two and four, and tried to become 'supermum'. I had to remain in control. Friends around me commented "I can't believe how strong you're being, I'd be a mess". So I felt I had to continue being strong and couldn't show any weakness. In fact, I think the first time I broke down was a year later when I watched PS I Love You and Kathy Bates' character made a comment about how someone choosing to leave you is more hurtful. Two of our basic human needs are to feel loved and safe, and after the split I didn't feel any of these. Anorexia came into my life acting like my new best friend, telling me everything will be OK if I just followed the rules. So I did. I avoided feeling the hurt and the pain, and the anorexia voice in my head was so proud of me for doing so well. It made me feel special and safe again, and I developed a coping strategy, a way to not focus on my emotions. I focused on the numbers instead and I felt in control again. When achieving those targets became harder, Anorexia went from being my best friend to an abusive partner. It screamed, it shouted, it told me I was useless, I was a failure. And I believed it because at that point, due to restriction, my brain wasn't working properly. I'd been manipulated to think that others didn't care about me and I'd isolated myself from people so that I could focus more on those numbers, which felt like my safety net and my control. Giving that up would've turned my life upside down again. I needed to deal with the root cause in order to truly let go of anorexia. I worked through my feelings of the break up, the divorce, being a single mum, feeling totally lost. Once I'd done that I felt more confident in myself and was able to face life again. All the fears I had about recovery became irrelevant once I'd actually got there. Before this work, when I tried to say "enough" that voice shouted and screamed, because it was in fear of losing control over me. And it's only now that I can see what damage anorexia had done to me, how dangerous it was and that real friends don't call you ugly, fat, worthless or unlovable. If you're not ready yet, which I totally understand, just try to think of other ways you could measure yourself, focusing on qualities about yourself and NOT numbers. It could be: • You are a loyal friend and generous with your time • You care about other people and try to help • You are practical and reliable • You are polite and thoughtful • You have compassion and are kind to other people • You are respectful • You are supportive • You are a good listener • You are hard working and organised • You are talented • You are creative • You are academic When I had anorexia, I always thought the worst of myself so don't rely on the voice that tells you you're no good. Focus on the facts or even better, ask a friend. And finally, how do you measure other people? Is it by their numbers, or some of the above? Recovery is hard work but it is possible and it's so worth it! If you need support, join my facebook group "EFT Tapping - Helping You With Your Eating Disorder"