Alison Beveridge, a 32-year-old actor and food tour guide based in North East England, is passionate about culinary delights but has been battling an eating disorder.
She recently wrote her debut novel, “Me, Myself, and Ed,” drawing on her personal experiences with anorexia nervosa to help others cope with the condition.
The book personifies the protagonist’s struggle with an eating disorder through the character of “Ed” (Eating Disorder), shedding light on its mental and physical impacts.
Alison was diagnosed with anorexia in 2014 while studying at drama school in London but has since recovered and can now be seen regularly guiding tourists around Newcastle’s restaurants, cafes, and bars.
“The condition impacted every area of my life, not just the physical things but mentally too. If I went out with friends and they suggested going out for food then that was a really big deal as I needed to see the menu beforehand and pick something out in advance so that I could cope. It was very exhausting living a dual life and I knew that somehow; I would have to get help.”AlisonAlison
Alison received a range of treatments, including CBT counselling, blood tests, and sessions with an occupational therapist. The therapist helped regain her passion for enjoying food and the social interaction that accompanied it.
“I’m now probably 95% ok but it’s something I have to manage every single day. I still think about my relationship with food often but I’m in a much better place than I was then, and I won’t let it rule my life. Like everybody I have good days and bad days, but it is a lot less frequent now.
“I know it’s quite ironic that despite having an eating disorder, I’m an absolute foodie. My friends all ask me for restaurant recommendations, and I always host all the parties at our house so that I can cook for everyone.”
Alison has taken her passion for food a step further as she works for award-winning Triple A Food Guides based in Newcastle. A typical tour may see her taking tourists to some of the city’s culinary delights including visiting independent eateries, sampling street food and food safaris in the Ouseburn Valley.
Writing a novel had always been a bucket list item for Alison and when her mother suggested that she write a book, she realised that the novel could become a way for her to share her experiences with others and raise awareness about eating disorders.
The book is about a young school teacher called Scarlett and examines how she goes about battling an eating disorder at the same time as trying to go about her normal life. Many of the characters were inspired by family, friends and people Alison knows and the story mirrors her journey from pre-diagnosis to the current time.
“I hope that the book will encourage other sufferers to keep going even if they’ve gone backwards as they will get there eventually like I have. I also hope that the book will raise awareness of the condition and even prompt people to raise funds for charities that support people with an eating disorder like I did when I did a parachute jump.
“I know I’ve come a long way since being diagnosed in 2014, and I know it’s unusual for someone with an eating disorder being a food guide and now an author, but I’ve had tremendous support and I hope my experiences will help others too,”.
“Me, Myself, and Ed” is now available for purchase on Amazon, Kindle and at selected bookstores.Alison