I just got done with a walk and it was just wonderful to be outside- clouds or no clouds. No photos today, but thats ok- I have a lot left from last weekend to edit anyway.
When I walk, I listen sometimes to music, but much of the time to podcasts. It all depends on my mood, sometimes I have to not think about diet recovery and stuff like that, but on Podcast recording day my synapses are fired up and I want to listen. I queued up the last episode of Escape Diet Prison, as I was not there (see above reference to last weekend!! :) ) and began my walk. Leila and Anne-Sophie had such a good conversation and I was inspired to get my walk done and get myself home to write about it.
The particular part that caught my attention was when Leila said her nutritionist told her that her eating disorder had evolved and was saying something different. This rang so true to me.
I have found in my life lately I have been a bit down- you will hear about it a little on the podcast that we recorded today. I chalked it up to winter-seasonal-lack-of-light-and-wishing-for-summer-sunshine (yes this is a thing, I say so). I have been pretty unmotivated and out of sorts, I internalized all of the things bothering me and it has manifested itself in some weird little habits and tics in my daily life. I have chewed the heck out of my cuticles, jingle my Island of Capri bell necklace incessantly, fiddle with my sunshine ring and even have rubbed a couple little sore spots just under my hairline. At night I had been coming home, throwing everything in a pile and do almost nothing except play stupid games online and when I found I wasn't sleeping, I made myself read to relax. I had to force myself to be active at all, and I just was blah.
I also was eating with no real rhyme or reason. I would eat to the point of uncomfortable fullness, compulsively eat whatever food that I saw or thought of- even if I KNEW that it would make me feel sick (and I am really good at reading my body and knowing if something will make me feel good or not). Generally, I was thinking that if I was denying myself something, I was restricting and I should "NEVER" do that. And I won't enter into that rabbit hole ever again. However, there was something different about this.
Something was off and wrong. I realize, though, I didn't and don't have a diagnosed eating disorder, I definitely had disordered eating/orthorexia. Definitely. And as Leila put it, and I am putting into my own words- my little ex-bestfriend was chatting to me in a different voice. Disordered eating showed up in disguise. It was pulling some strings and taking advantage of my slight depression and has triggered a bunch of behaviors that had been long gone. I was eating in ways that didn't serve me at all.
Recovery from any sort of condition- mental, physical, emotional requires time and healing. And if you are at all like me, you are an impatient sort who wants to be better now, damn it. I didn't really understand that even if I had mostly recovered, there are always going to be a few steps back at times. I don't like steps back- they bother me. (this is called the head in the sand syndrome, lol)
As they discussed on the podcast, when you take away the thrills, time, and attention that chronic dieting uses and gives you- man, you have to figure out something to replace it. For me, I have to find a self soothing method that is quick easy and always available. I can understand how a couple of my students end up twirling their hair and giving themselves little bald spots. I am about 3 cloudy days from becoming that myself- well not now because I have identified the issue and now I will deal with it.
When you are removing yourself from dieting you do indeed need to figure out things that will take up some time. Because you will have a lot more time when you aren't cooking, and planning and counting calories and hiding from your troubles by doing all those things. I am not sure what I am going to do- but I need to figure something out.
I know that in a more long term way, photography gives me a lot of the thrills and fills my need to constantly learn more and more. That is definitely something that dieting fulfilled- my desire to constantly learn new things. I have also begun reading a lot again- I have read more books in the last 3 years than I did in the previous 10- because I wasn't either depressed because I couldn't lose weight, or because I was so busy losing it. I also am planning a few truly scary adventures- which is the most fulfilling way to tick several boxes for me. I truly love the anticipation of events almost as much as the actual activity.
Fear of leaving diet culture is fear of change- stepping out of the familiar into the unknown. But, do you want to get to the end of your life having spent the whole thing dieting and hating yourself? Embrace your fear and live your life. Experiment and find your right adventure. You are more than capable and more than good enough.