Saturday, February 25, 2017

I didn't recover right....

I just finished recording a magnificent podcast with Anne-Sophie and Leila.  This coming week is National Eating Disorders awareness week, and we all shared our stories.  When the podcast goes live I will try to remember to link it up here.  The podcast is UP!!

Both Leila and Anne-Sophie had diagnosed eating disorders and were in official treatments for them. They had some serious issues and I am one of the most grateful people in the world that their treatment has brought them into my life.  They went through a lot of seriously dangerous - health-wise- times in their lives and fortunately found the places, people and techniques to overcome and continue to recover from these illnesses.

My story is different than theirs, as I had no official diagnosis.  I want it to be known that I neither think this is better or worse- it is just different.  This is a huge moment of self realization #1  for me this week.

When I was at the beginning of my search for another way to live other than dieting, I didn't feel worthy.  Even though I was thin enough to fit into the accepted social standards of "she looks good" I didn't feel that I was thin enough.  Though I had extremely disordered eating- to the point of cutting my calories to the point that my exercise zeroed out my intake for the day and I thought that was  not only ok, but admirable- I didn't think I did it well enough.  When I began to recover from this, through a life coaching program that had me writing my way through the different aspects of my life- I didn't think I was "sick enough" to spend the money to get through it and recover.

And now, even though I don't believe it, there are some who probably believe i didn't recover right.  And maybe juuuuuusssssst a tiny bit of myself may have believed that for a moment, too.  (HMOSR #2)

Since there is still the underlying message in society that being thinner is inherently better than being heavier, it seems to my warped-up mind that ultimately you should be able to eat what you want, not restrict and stay on the lighter side.  That, if you are honoring your body, the least your body can do is pay attention to all the ads and beauty sites and become or stay visually in alignment with what they are showing.  That you need to have visible muscles to be strong. That if you gain weight and no longer look like a 12 year old, and if not,  you have some how failed.  blah blah blah..... bullshit.

This interesting bit of news occurred to me during the podcast and I quickly wanted to call myself out on said bullshit.

I know that I have recovered right.  I recovered right because I can have a half of a pb sandwich and a brownie for breakfast and it was good and I didn't even think about it.  I can choose to skip the gym and a long walk this weekend because I need down time and it is ok.  I can immerse myself in another good book instead of "accomplishing something" because it is what I need to do.  Debi has recovered in her own unique Debi way.

And most important is that I KNOW I needed TO recover.  It doesn't matter if I had a diagnosis, because I was trying to alter my body in unnecessary ways: by restricting my food and viewing myself as good or bad on any given day or in any given moment based on what I have eaten,  to choose forms of movement  **or not moving** that are right and good for me regardless of the should that are swirling in my head, or to participate in activities that have nothing to do with my exterior body.  I am good enough to make my life better by concentrating on friends, family and activities that give me true and honest joy.  Not because they are subtracting something from my body, but because they are adding things to my actual life.

And damn it, I am good enough to do that.  And so are all of us!  You do you- you are entitled- and you are good enough to recover.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I woke up quite innocently today, sort of ready for whatever was going to come.  I had tentative plans to go to the gym, probably walk and putter around and something in the house that wouldn't happen during the work week because of pure exhaustion.  One step outside informed me that I most likely won't walk, as it is ridiculously windy and it just won't be that much fun.

So off I go to the gym, and I start off with a fast bike sprint to warm up my incredibly sore hamstrings from yesterday's session.  I found myself trying to get to a particular time/distance combo for no other reason than competitiveness with myself....  As I was pedaling like a mad woman I started thinking about the post I wrote yesterday and also some other things that had been said in our podcast and another one that I listen to as well.  I know it was Anne-Sophie who said we are  in different places in our recovery all the time.  We are not going to be finished- something to that effect.  And as I am finishing up the first sprint I thought about how I was going to run over to my phone and record the stats before I forget them.  It suddenly seemed so wrong and inauthentic.

I have given up using my diet app for well over 3 years- it took me a long time to delete it from my phone, but I did.  The exercise app I have kept because "I want to keep track of my adventures".  Actually I am going to keep the app for my adventures- mostly to see what I did when and a few accompanying photos, but I realized today that going up to the gym and working out is not an adventure.  Nor do I need to keep track of what I have done when, because I know darn well what I have done.  

Earlier in the morning, I had opened today's journaling prompt from Anne-Sophie: it was titled "Release".  I haven't actually written about anything yet (lol, well I guess I am now!) but I knew I could cobble something together about things I may need to release from the last 3 weeks of journaling---  (If this sounds like something for you--------- go to this link------->  journaling prompts  I get absolutely nothing for this shout out, and I don't need it. It is an amazing program- and definitely will be worth every penny.)  So release was in my mind today.

As I was working out, the idea about not entering my weightlifting into the app came up again and again, and I realize that I finally do NOT NEED TO DO THIS any more.  I have divested myself of another part of my orthorexia, and I can't believe how good it feels, and also slightly scary.  My one thought was- what about all my fitness friends on Runkeeper??  Then I understood- those people aren't my actual friends.  I don't even know them. This is not a valid reason for continuing to passively be aware of the calories that I burn and the amount of exercise that I am getting.  I do not need to quantify it at all.

So, I get home and there on the Escape Diet Prison Page, as most of you know- was "Sensual Sunday" and the message today is to think less about exercise and more about moving.  Seriously I was so uplifted and validated by the universe throwing this at me along with the other things.  I have for the most part dropped the "I have to exercise *insert a number* of minutes or calories each week, but I had a little snippet of an idea because of the app.  I definitely have dropped all mind numbing exercise like the treadmill and the godforsaken elliptical (apologies to fans of these machines, but I just can't with them).  I do hop on the exercise bike because I plan to get on my bike as early in the spring as I can, because I like it! I like to bike, I love to hike and walk, I adore kayaking and weight-lifting.  These are activities I do not have to track, they are things I love to do.  If I go somewhere new- I am talking to you Rocky Mountains- I can use the app for seeing how far we went on what day and take a few photos.  But I am done tracking my walks and my weightlifting.  wow.

This is huge for me.

So back to the original topic- release.  I was primed to release another part of my disordered eating and exercising.  I have been doing this for over 3 years now, and I really did think I was done.  Just a few thoughts to realign-  nothing much.  Nothing to see here any more.  Like usual, I was so wrong. I am releasing the hold that exercise tracking had on me.  I am releasing the idea of needing to burn calories every day.  I am releasing the fact that when I work out, the work out counts in a way that is meaningful for me, even when I don't know how many calories I am in fact burning- what counts is that I am getting my body ready for life's adventures.  My weight doesn't matter, it will not keep me from embracing my life, conquering my fears and finding my joy.

I hope you can find a little thing that needs releasing today too.  We are all more than good enough to live without those things- throw them up to the wind and out of your life.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

It always comes back to the food

Hello everyone!

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.