Friday, August 10, 2018

What A Concept!

I have never reached this point in recovery before. I have been at this weight before, even a higher weight, but I have NEVER had the mindset I currently have.

I used to think being weight restored was equal to being recovered. I have thought back to the times I left treatment in my new, healthy body, but with a not so healthy mindset.

This is the first time in my entire life that I can say my body and my mind are on the same page. I ate a cheeseburger last week (not planned) and I didn't spend the next few days worried about it. I didn't even spend the next few minutes! I literally ate the burger and moved on with my life. What a concept!

Now, I have eaten cheeseburgers before, but this is the first time that I wasn't cringing inside thinking about the calories I was consuming or how I would "pay" for it later. I am free.

I never in my life thought I would be writing these words. Recovery is possible, my friends. Keep fighting.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Real Recovery

I've written this before, many times actually. The difference is this time my motives have changed.
Been in a quasi- recovery stage for about 2 years now. I am now (terrifyingly) breaking free from that mindset. My motivation is no longer to run a half marathon. It is no longer to get to where I "should be" so that I can go back to how I was.

After YEARS of Ed,  (a few recovery oriented ones, many half-assed recovery ones), this is it. THE END. Goodbye.

I want to focus on eating food that tastes good to me. In the past, I longed to be very "healthy" in my recovery.That inst in itself, a bad thing, but in my case it was (is)...because I cannot think of food in terms of healthy or not healthy. I have done that much too long. Food needs to just be food. It can hold no more power than that in my life.

I am trying what I call "real recovery." Where I eat food that normal people eat, not "coconut oil, almond spent grain refined organic flour" bullshit. That stuff is hard to find, hard to make, and honestly not worth my time, when in reality there is little difference between eating peanut butter and "organic almond spread."

I am also thinking about how I want my future children to view eating/food/exercsie. I want them to eat nourishing foods, but ultimately not really care! Nutrition has taken such as forefront in our society that it is no longer healthy! It is about being "good" and "bad" and "guilty" and all these other emotions that have no place among food!

I read a story the other week about a mom who fired a babysitter because she took the kids out to eat and let them order a hamburger. Yes, (sadly) I am serious.
If I want my future children to have a normal relationship with food and exercise, then I have to have a normal relationship with food and exercise!

So, here's to real recovery. Real ice cream (no thanks, Halo Top), and oh yeah, CAULIFLOWER ISN'T RICE.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

My Tribe?

Tribe. I've heard this phrase used many times in the past couple of years. "Ladies, it is so important to have a tribe. A group of women you can trust, hang out with, be real with- your people."

The term may be new, but the concept isn't. It is something I have struggled with since elementary school. Having my "group." Ok, let's be honest, my "clique." I  have always desperately wanted to have a group of friends to whom I belonged. It didn't become problematic for me until high school. With Ed's help (or course), I started to doubt myself. Was I really "in" this group of friends? When people referred to this group (I'll spare you the cliche high school name of it), I always questioned whether or not I was included. Because of Ed I missed out on a lot of fun times with my friends in high school. This was quickly twisted and turned into "you don't have friends; you are an outsider." 

When I went to college things were different. I found my "tribe"! For once, I truly felt like I was a crucial part of a friend group.

Three years out of college my life has changed quite a bit. Even though I still live in the same city as a few of my college friends, we aren't' as close as we used to be. I am not sure if that is because I am in a different stage of life than they are, or because of something else. Regardless, I have been struggling. I have a few new friends that I love, but my college friends should be the ones that are in my wedding, the ones I go to in times of trouble.... right? Maybe not.

As I grow up, I am learning that not all friendships last a lifetime. There are a few that will and praise God for those! However, sometimes friendships are great, true friendships, but aren't meant to last forever. There are certain people in your life at certain times for certain reasons. I am not saying you shouldn't try to keep up with people or continue to foster relationships, because it takes quite a bit of effort to have ANY friends in the adult world! But growing up sometimes means growing apart, and that is ok. It doesn't make the times you shared together any less valuable.

Maybe a tribe is important, but it doesn't mean you have one "tribe" for your entire life, or that a tribe has to be a group of 3 or more women doing yoga together. I think the point is having one or more people in your life who you can be completely real with, no hiding or holding back. Right now, that person is my mom, and I think that is perfectly acceptable.

I'm not writing this to bash the strong groups of friends that I know exist. If you have that- I am sincerely happy for you. I am writing it for those, like me, who have struggled to find that sense of belonging.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Reality Check

While most of my posts are dedicated to the following topics: "F-YOU, ED!" or "RECOVERY IS AWESOME," today I am going to give myself a reality check about where I am currently.

I haven't fallen back into the grips of ED, but I also have not moved forward in quite some time. I tell myself that I can be doing "recovery" by checking off certain boxes: eating my meal plan, going to my appointments, etc,. However, after a hard Saturday last weekend I realized (well, it was pointed out to me) that I had been playing it very safe. Maybe I was eating all of my meal plan, but it was the same old foods. Yes, I would have my weekly desserts, but usually the same ones because somehow that had also become safe? 

After much contemplation (even though I already knew this in the back of my mind), I realize that I need to start challenging myself, not wait for my R.D. to call BS on me. I need to take control of my recovery and be pro-active in actually fighting ED, rather just coasting by in a state of "partial recovery," which I have been telling myself that I was way past. Reality check: I am not. Gotta keep up the good fight. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

I No Longer Want You, ED

This past weekend I went a trip with my church. I only knew a few people, so I was a little nervous about it. However, one girl that I did know (as in met a few weeks ago, so didnt really know) went on a walk with me Saturday afternoon.

It started out pretty casual, then got into relationship discussion and from there it started to get deep. She shared about her past relationship, which was is a huge part of her story. We slowly breached the subject of counseling and before I knew it we were both telling our stories of ED.

I have talked about my ED with other women who have struggled before, but I have always been the one looking for guidance, listening to the advice (outside of residential treatment). For the first time I was the one farther along in my recovery.

In the past this would have fed ED (ironic, I know). I can almost see myself preaching recovery to this girl, then immediately planning out a new diet and workout regimen in order to be "behind her" in recovery. How stupid that sounds now!- but with ED, it's a competition. He wants to be number 1, and wants you to be the number 1 anorexic.

This time was different though. I talked with her and encouraged her and I felt strong afterwards. I felt solid in my recovery. I did not desire to be where she was in her relationship with ED. I truly wanted her to fight ED because ED is a demon! Not because I wanted her to get better so that I could claim the anorexia crown (as before).

It was a moment of freedom.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Not (only) about Body Image

Body image is (obviously) an issue for those suffering from eating disorders, but I think the media portrays it to be a more prominent factor than it truly is. I will give "them" credit for saying there is an underlying issue most of the time-but the majority of information/articles/TV shows/portrayals of eating disorders etc., focus on a person just obsessing over their body.

While this is true to an extent- I know in my experience there came a point where I no longer focused on my body. Of course I didn't want to gain weight, I am not saying that, but I was no longer restricting my food intake to become thinner. I was refusing to give my body nourishment because mentally I could not do it. I could not even handle the thought of consuming calories; the thought of my stomach feeling full, and not because of the effect it would have on my weight but because my brain told me it was not ok.

Many times in the beginning of my recovery I  remember wanting so badly to be able to just eat!-but I couldn't. I couldn't because I was sick. My brain was not well. This is where I think many people get confused. They think anorexia is a diet that went too far-and yes, that is usually how it starts, but a mental illness is not something you can just "get from dieting." It is a disease.

A disease where you literally look at yourself in the mirror and see something different from reality. A disease that tells you to ignore your body's natural cues. A disease that controls every.single. thing. you do.

It is not just an obsession over being thin. It is not just a diet gone wrong. It is serious mental disorder.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Free Time

Work has been slow the past week or two, and besides a few social activities on weekends I have not been very busy in general. Being bored is very tough for me. When I was not doing well (AKA struggling with Ed severely) I was never bored. My mind and body were constantly occupied with Ed. Either working out, thinking about working out, reading fitness/diet magazines, thinking about food/wondering through the grocery store to look at food, looking up calories online (sometimes of restaurants I had not even heard of before.... just because it would be nice to know what foods to avoid if I ever was faced with such a terrible situation).

That was one thing the eating disorder gave to me-I always had something to be working on, a reason to keep going...because what was life besides running and calories? 

Being on the recovery side of ed, I look back at my old self and cannot believe how I filled my time. Was looking at calories from restaurants in California really what I did for 2 hours on a Saturday? Even if I do not have lavish plans on the weekend now, I would  never want to do that activity again! One of the many perks of recovery is that you get to choose how you want to spend your time (opposed to Ed choosing for you). However, it's hard when almost all of your previous free time activities are Ed related...

Instead of exercising (beyond what I am allowed), I have recently begun journaling again, a habit I really got into during my stays at treatment when free time was frequent and behaviors were not an option. I have found that writing makes me feel tremendously better. Even if I am in a good place, writing soothes me.

My new routine is to go to Starbucks, order my iced coffee with extra soy milk, now that it's cold outside I'll probably switch it up to a cinnamon dolce latte :), and settle in for an hour or so of writing. 

I used to think writing without a real purpose or without something significant to say was childish. I have since changed my outlook completely.

I realized that the act of writing, whether it is about a sweater or life and death is important, for me at least. Every sentence doesn't need to be a breathtaking string of extravagant words. I can write whatever I want because there are no rules.

Now I might simply write about my day-the mundane meetings I had at work or something really exciting at work like seeing caramel flavored creamer at the coffee bar (yes, this is exciting).Other days may be more intense and I'll find myself filling the pages with emotion and adjectives I didn't even know that I knew!

Realizing my enjoyment of writing makes me wonder what else I really enjoy doing - things that are not just what Ed has told me to like. Discovering my real interests is a step in recovery that I haven't taken thus far. Unoccupied time has been dictated by Ed for far too long. I am excited to learn what Julie enjoys doing in her free time.