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Holli Jessi's Tandem Skydive for Charity BEAT - Beating Eating Disorders

I'm doing a SKYDIVE? What!!!

Yep you heard right. I've always been the type of person that strives off of fear.
That is why I've decided to face one of my biggest fears... Next January, I'm going to be doing a tandem skydive at over 10,000 feet! ... and for someone who's got quite a huge fear of heights... that's one hell of a drop. 

So why on Earth are you going to jump out of a plane Hollie? Let me tell you... 

I'm going to jump for the eating disorder charity Beat a charity which is very close to my heart.  For long time I've wanted to give something back to Beat,  I just never knew exactly what I wanted to do. But a Skydive seemed just perfect. They have helped not just me but my family massively over the past few years. Their support has helped us to cope with all of the struggles and challenges we have faced.

Beat are a UK charity who support anyone suffering with eating disorders or the family and friends of those with eating disorders. Their aim is to:

  • To change the way everyone thinks and talks about eating disorders
  • To improve the way services and treatment are provided
  • And to help anyone believe that their eating disorder can be overcome
Beat provide lots of information, encourage research into eating disorders, challenge stereotypes, increase knowledge and run campaigns for better services and treatment. They run message boards, online support groups, peer support groups and various projects around the UK to raise as much awareness as possible. They're incredibly good at what they do, helping thousands of males and females, young and old to overcome and face their eating disorders. 

Now, lets go back a few years...

As many of you will know I've battled with numerous Eating Disorders near enough my whole life. I've spent years as a young girl battling with binge eating with very disordered thoughts towards myself and food. I gained a lot of weight which I knew needed to be lost. I was uncomfortable, inactive, unhealthy, bullied and even told by the doctor at the age of just 10 that I needed to loose some pounds. After all these little things added up, due to situation in my life, I decided I needed to change. I was far from confident and found no happiness within myself. This led down a very scary, unhealthy path on a way to loose weight.

 In the beginning it was fine, I was shredding weight, began exercising and eating what I thought at the time was 'healthy'. I got numerous compliments which of course I'd never had, giving me the biggest boost ever. Each time I saw the number on the scale drop, it fed the little devil inside me which was ready to escape. Everything was going so well. Until something was noticed....

 I was suddenly dropping too much weight and eating less. People commented but I claimed I was fine. I wasn't clearly as my fear of food and myself grew. I went from being this newly 'body confident', happy girl into the worst version of myself I felt possible. Fears of myself & food I had always faced were suddenly intensifying and the little devil inside of me was suddenly being set alight. 

 I spoke with my counsellor at the time, secretly about the things which were happening, only to be told the same things 'just eat' and 'you need to gain some weight'. I kept being shown BMI chart after BMI chart and numbers on the scale. The sad part it, I wasn't actually 'underweight' on the dreaded charts... so, I didn't need the help. While my weight wasn't 'low enough' the devil inside of me continued to burn. My thoughts remained piercing and I believed I was a failure.

It wasn't till February 2014 I got diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I fell officially underweight but  there was still no real action. I was still stuck in a place with no real help or support, attempting to recover on my own, with only the real support of close family. I was in a stage where I was simply 'surviving' not really living. I was still eating too little, over exercising and finding myself obsessed with food and numbers. All I could think was how I needed perfection. Previous things which had happened in my life were out of my hands and all I needed was just something I could control... which was one and my body. Yet, I was destroying my body for a peace of mind I never got. 

I gained some weight back, lost weight, gained weight, it continued to fluctuate between numbers. This was due to falling into the cycle of binging and then starving. I've never openly talked about my binging as it scares me more than anything but it's something that is actually very common, especially in people battling Anorexia. It's a place where I'm far from in control. I'll eat and eat anything I can get my hands on to the point I'm comfortable and in huge amount or pain. Only to then feel guilt creep in and spend days eating very little amounts and over exercising. Sometimes I'd even wake at early hours in the morning to stand in the mirror analysing my body, complete numerous squats or sit ups. It was a vicious cycle for so long. 

This went on for some time until I began weight training and I gained a little weight. People thought I was 'okay'. Which I was, I got discharged from my hospital, stopped seeing counsellors and medics. My life no longer revolved around appointments and blood tests. I was eating, that's all that mattered, right? Yet still nothing had really changed. My mind was still disordered, I still had an issue with food, I still couldn't stand my sight in the mirror and I felt more disgusting than ever before. That was when I hit a relapse. 

I can't tell you the reason for my second relapse. No drastic changes in my life, I had loving relationships, friends and family. I guess it all came down to the inner feelings... the little devil decided it was time to spark back up. Without even realising I began to eat less, exercise to burn fat, and so on. BUT I didn't see it. That's the problem with eating disorders, something the rest of the world will never quite understand. The little devil blinds you, from your mind, thoughts, words and that dreaded reflection. You can't see what you're doing, hear what're saying or even care the slightest bit about any one else. Whatever the devil says goes.  

I've never openly talked about my second relapse. It's the scariest places I've ever been in. During it I lost more weight than ever before but this time I wanted to hide it as well as I could. I didn't want anyone to know. Behind closed doors, I saw what no one else saw but I knew it wasn't pretty. I lost my looks, body, mind and femininity. It's crazy when your mind is telling you you're too 'big', 'clumpy' and 'fat' yet you know you can see you skin dehydrating, your bones visible and your veins prominently showing. You know somethings wrong but it feels right. Like any addiction that's exactly what an eating disorder is, you strive off what you believe the devil feeds you. 

This went on for some months, I knew people were worried however I think they were too worried to say anything. Everyone knew nothing they could say would change anything, it was down to me. Despite being so scared and alone, there is only one word to describe the feeling I faced... Numbness.  I no longer felt anything as weird as that sounds and this only made it harder for me to get back up. I attempted to find the strength to get going again but the voice inside me kept winning each time I tried. I don't know how but their came a point where enough was enough. Something in me changed and things began to turn around... It was time to jump into the unknown.

 I decided to go vegetarian after discovering Deliciously Ella and experimenting with her recipes. I found a love for food and myself I'd never had before. Her words and outlook on life gained me back massive of confidence. Once I took that leap into the unknown, things only went up from there. I studied nutrition, gained back a love for health and fitness but most importantly discovered balance. 

Then not long after, someone very close me, who I didn't expect, turned around and told me how much I could actually achieve. He told me that if I were to go back there would be trouble. He didn't give the usual sympathy like everyone else, yet treated me as Hollie. Just Hollie and not 'Hollie the one with anorexia'. He believed in me when I most needed it. This gave me a new lease of life. I guess you could say he came with a huge hose pipe and began to hose down that devil. From there I promised it was time to focus on myself, what I love and what I know. 

The past 6 months have been crazy. I've bloomed into something I've never been before. I'm confident, happy, love myself and love life. I've used everything I've learned about well being, nutrition, health & fitness to become the best I can be. I've started fuelling my body correctly, giving it plenty of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in order to replenish the damage I had done for 7 years. I feel the healthiest and most energised I've ever been. I've slowly began training again, not because I feel I have to but because I bloody want to. I love to exercise now, not because I'm trying to change myself or 'loose weight' but because I am so grateful for what my body can do. I am so glad to be alive. I love being strong. I love running, I love dancing. I love living. 

So that brings me back to the big question... Why am I doing a skydive? 

A celebration I'm alive. I want to jump, leave the bad memories up in the sky. To fall like there is no tomorrow.

 I want to jump for the charity that I've found so much support in during the hardest, darkest of times. This way I can give something back and thank them for all the wonderful work they do for people in similar situations to myself.

I want to raise awareness towards all eating disorders and prove that YES you can overcome them. Think, this time last year I could hardly move, never mind jump out of a plane!!! Rather amazing I'd say. Okay, yes... I'm scared but nothing can be scary than battling and beating an Eating Disorder your whole life, right? So lets do this!

Most importantly, I'm going to need all of your support. It's my plan to raise as much money as possible. If you would like to sponsor me, it would mean the absolute world to myself and to Beat. Just click on the link and you can easily donate, no matter how big or small every penny counts...

My sponsor link is -'standemskydive

Please share, like, post, RT, sponsor, send to family & friends etc. Every little really does helps.

If you gave this a read, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank all of my family and friends who have helped me over the past years and supported me in the best ways they can. It's been an incredibly tough time but hey these things in life are sent out to test us but we fight through them like troopers!

So now it's onto the next adventure... See you up there!!!

Holli xxx


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