Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
That sounds gay, doesn’t it? J
It is a lesson I am trying to learn though. For many years whenever I was having a bad day I would turn to food. It was a quick, dependable and easy way to get some comfort. It was fairly short-lived however, as once the food was eaten, I needed further comfort. More food? Why yes, thank you.
I have always been viewed as a “strong” person, despite actually being quite mentally and emotionally fragile. I have talked about this before. I gave the impression of being strong because I never depended on anyone else. Why did I never depend on anyone? Because I was busy depending on food.
On days where I was feeling sorry for myself (these days still occur you know) I would sometimes feel the desperate need of a friend (of which I have many). Did I ever pick up the phone and ask for help? No. And then when help and support from friends was not forthcoming, I would actually feel angry at them. I’m there for you all the time – where are you when I need someone?! Had I just swallowed my pride and asked for some company, or sent an email, I would have received what I needed. But I never did. I turned to food instead.
A couple of months ago I was having a “black” day. This is the kind of day when the ED seems to consume me. I have been binge-free for a few months now and have not allowed myself to use food as an emotional crutch – only as nourishment. And on this day, it felt (as I have described before) as though there was screaming going on inside me, unrelenting screaming. Pleading for food one moment, forcefully demanding it the next. Thinking back on those days (I haven’t had one to that extreme for a while now) it strikes me that the internal conflict has a demonic edge to it…there’s a good cop/bad cop thing going on. There’s this pathetic voice…Please, please give me a snack. I am so hungry…quickly followed by a complete screaming tantrum…GET IT FOR ME! It is a living torment. I used to quieten it down with food before it ever reached those kinds of proportions. Not anymore.
Anyway, on this black day, I was being beaten black and blue on the inside with this bullshit. And it occurred to me that I needed a friend. And it occurred to me further that perhaps I could be that friend. Perhaps I could speak calmly to myself, offer myself reassurance, do something kind for myself. And I was right. I was able to do those things. And I felt better. I do have the capacity to take care of myself. When I do this, I am in a better state not only to love and care for others, but to receive love and care from others.
This realisation doesn’t mean that I don’t need friends, or that I don’t need to call on others for help sometimes. It also doesn’t mean that I am invincible, or that I can fulfil all of my own needs: as a Christian in particular, I definitely don’t think that’s true. However I have been denying myself a relationship with me for so long – choosing food as an alternative; ironically, depriving myself .
But this does mean that I have a caring and intelligent friend at my disposal every moment, if only I will call on her. And that’s myself. That’s a big deal.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I focused on accepting my body; sending love to the parts I didn't like, and that seemed to be the answer...to live anyway and the body just kinda sorts itself out when you aren't focusing on it and you are wrapped up in doing other things...in living!
Sometimes you temporarily gain a bit of weight becuase your body is healing. The poor body...being so beaten up and broken and yet it keeps fighting for you...but as it heals, it sorts itself out. You just need to trust; to beleive it's worth it. Something that helped me was realising that what had caused all the problems I experienced with my body was the disordered behaviour in the first place.
So there was no point in going back looking for the solution in the very thing that had created the problem! The answer is to build up the self-love. When you love yourself enough, you stop hurting yourself.
Build up the acceptance: only when you accept something the way it is completely can it change in positive ways. Build up the forgiveness (forgive your body for not always meeting your expectation, trust it is doing its best...).
Work on feeling good enough the way you are...build up your sense of feeling good enough to the point that nothing can break it."
So this is what I am trying to do. It is genuinely difficult to trust that it is all going to work out ok. Our culture screams at us that all we need to do is put down the fork. That's actually not the case. In fact, many of us need to learn that it is actually ok to eat. It is actually ok to give our body what it needs. I think I have been stuck in a mindset of thinking "If I can just deprive myself for long enough, then I will reach my target weight, and then I can stop depriving." That is total bullshit. Deprivation does not work. Dieting does not work. Why would I want to go back there? It has caused so so many problems: such a sense of failure. Sometimes you can even get a bit of a (short-lived) high from depriving yourself. Yay! I ate very little today! I am hungry but my willpower won out! Soon I will be thin! You think this feeling is confirmation that things are changing in you - but they're not!
What does seem to work, in the experience of Lee and others like her, is imperfectly stumbling along in the journey of kindness and self-acceptance, while feeding the body every couple of hours with something nutritious...plenty of meat, fish, fruit,vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, pulses, cheeses, yoghurt.
I don't always get it right. I eat too much or too little sometimes, or too much non-nutritious food or whatever. Sometimes I go too long without eating, which slows the metabolic rate. I also allow stupid bullshit thinking to go on in my head instead of correcting it and slamming it down at every turn. For example, I was at a bbq recently. We were eating at the table. Plate after plate of meat and bread and salad came my way as they were passed around. Feeling a little pressurised, I mindlessly took something from every plate, not even thinking do I like this? Do I want this? When the loading was done, I looked down and saw far more food on my plate than I wanted, including foods I do not even like. I panicked slightly. I began to eat quickly for a couple of reasons. (a) So that people would not see the quantity on my plate and (b) so that I would not offend our hosts by leaving half a plateful, having helped myself! How idiotic! Halfway through my meal I was very full, but kept going. It was actually terrible. And it all transpired not because there was a lot of food and a lot of "temptation" but because my thinking was utterly disordered. However I have learned a lesson about mindfulness in such situations and I won't let it happen again.
I am definitely a bit scared at the moment. I suppose I have been feeling that I can trust that my body will stabilise at a healthy weight if I can see the "proof" on the scales. (As you know, my scales are gone.) My therapist's suggestion that perhaps seeing lower numbers on the weighing scale was in fact not proof of recovery woke me up to the realities of my motivations...as a lifetime serial dieter from a very early age, I think I was actually viewing the recovery process as the key to losing weight. How insane is that!
I have to battle against this mindset now on a daily basis, but at least I am aware of it, which means I can get into the ring and fight it, instead of taking the covert digs from the condition day in day out without really realising how I am ending up so battered and bruised...
Here's to self-care, self-nourishment and the rest. Later.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
In an attempt to begin truly nourishing my body I went a little nuts with buying nuts today. I bought raw hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, macadamias, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds and cashews. I poured these into a huge canister and mixed them with raisins, dried cranberries and dried apricots. Now, when I want a snack between meals, I can have a little scoop of nutrient-dense deliciousness.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
My therapist helped me to realise that I was rewarding myself for the courageous acts of not binging and actually sitting through and feeling the emotions that this raises, with numbers on a scale. She's right. She asked me what I was getting out of weighing myself every day. I had a hard time answering that. I suppose it was giving me reassurance that I was doing things right. She responded with the suggestion that perhaps seeing numbers go down on a weighing scale isn't always signalling that you are doing things right.
This highlighted for me that my motivation, despite what I have been saying, is actually to lose a lot of weight, rather than to gain full freedom. The irony with all of this is that with full freedom comes the body stabilising at a healthy weight, but that stabilising at a healthy weight in and of itself does not bring full freedom around food, thoughts and emotions. Basically I was working backwards and the destination might have been thin but it would not have been happy or healthy.
So I need to have a little trust in myself. I do not need to document every morsel that passes my lips for "accountability"...who am I being accountable to anyway? What I do need to do is to eat regularly - every 2-3 hours - and eat nutritionally dense foods. Treats are not a problem. Binging is to be completely avoided and right now, there are some foods that might lead to binging, so these are best avoided for the time being (bags of jelly sweets, large packets of crisps...that kind of crap).
One of my therapists said something in Group Therapy last night that made a lot of sense to me. "Unless you have a history of recovery, don't gravitate towards the past." So I've realised I need to lighten up about my weight. So I'm overweight. Big wow. I won't be overweight forever, and it already does not define who I am.
Time for dinner.