Monday, December 31, 2012

Semester Goals: Start 2013 off Right

So it's the last day of 2012 and with people making New Year's Resolutions I decided to make Spring Semester Resolutions for myself. New Year's resolutions I forget about come February, but semester resolutions I can share with my team....well that could give me a good focus in sessions and motivation. Feel free to join in and make one of your own too :)

I think what I will do is make this a tab and add the dates I accomplish them.

Jess' Spring Semester Goals :)

Campus based

  1. Eat b-fast in dining hall. 
  2. Have all snacks in dining hall. 
  3. Do a dessert on non-exercise day. 
  4. Do 2-3 desserts per week. 
  5. Grab and eat whole dining hall bagel without any type of measurement/ size selection. 
  6. Go one week choosing dining hall selections without looking at nutrition facts.
  7. Stop bringing tablespoon to dining hall. 
  8. Do 3 nutritionist built meals. 
  9. Try 10 new dining hall foods. 
  10. Have 5 meals with people in dining hall in one week. 

Off-Campus based

  1. Go out for fro-yo and get any flavor and toppings I want without measuring. 
  2. Go out to sit down restaurant with family or friends and have entree. 
  3. Have a dessert from bakery. 
  4. Finish whole Jimmy John's sub.  
  5. Order and have food from drive-thru. 
  1. Eat a fat exchange without counting fat. 
  2. Eat beyond meal plan three times. 
  3. Get freedom food list down to 15 foods.  

What are your goals for this year/ period/ length of time you choose? 
I will get these posted in a tab and mark off when complete. Also, plan on getting freedom food list up as well seeing as I need to write a new one :) 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Trick to recent success

First off...thought I would tell you all about the new tab I made last night when I was struggling. It's the Why Fight? tab and is the short term, in the moment reminders I will be using to get me to keep fighting this disorder. But that's not the only recent trick I have found.

A little trick that has helped me to get all the portions in today. Even the exchange I have always restricted. It came from the realization I had a while back that resurfaced recently when almost got sent to hospital by doc: Outpatient is a privilege  not a right. Outpatient is a freedom that has to be earned by proving you don't need the constant structure and support of treatment.

I recently let that slip from my mind and took advantage of my freedom granted by outpatient but not in good ways. I started restricting portions, adjusting my meal plan to make me feel more comfortable, sticking with only safe foods, and using the walks I was granted as exercise instead of as bonding like its supposed to be. The whole time I lost the reality that outpatient is supposed to be for continuing success of treatment when there is more freedom, not to utilize the freedom and lack of supervision to dabble in some ED tendencies. 

So here is what I have been doing today that has helped. When I get that little voice in me that says..."Should I really be doing this?" and I start to try and justify a behavior I am doing I think...."Would they let me do this in treatment?" Here's why. Because if I keep doing things they wouldn't let me do in treatment I will just end up in treatment doing what I am supposed to do. But if I realize what I am doing is wrong and do the right recovery thing instead then I can stay out of treatment. Either way I will end up doing what I have to do....but if I do it now I can keep my freedom, scholarships, and job. 
It has made it a little easier to make the right decisions and follow through because I just tell are going to have to do this anyway might as well do it now. Plus, I know in my heart I have gotten all I can out of treatment and its time for me to do this on my own. But I need to show this to myself and others by doing the right thing when no one is watching. 

It's so strange in my soul to know I am ready for something but then I let fear cause me to stand in my own way. And what am I scared of? Weight gain I guess...and that it will happen too quick. But this has never happened, even in why would it be different now? I have the same body outpatient as I did food shouldn't affect me any differently. Yet I'm still scared. 

I guess its like when I went to college. I had lived at home for 17 years (I was a young one going to college) and knew in my heart I was ready and equipped to move to college. There was nothing more I could get from being home and I so desperately wanted to start my own life. But a large part of me was scared of not having my family there all the time. Of having to make the right decisions without someone always checking the boundaries. Of the freedom of classes. Still, in August 2010 I loaded up my car and moved to college. I didn't let the fear stand in the way. Even when I suffered from severe home sickness I pushed on and stayed at college. Fast forward to now and I work for the university helping freshmen make the same transition. I love college life and whenever I am home I yearn to be back at school with my independence. This would have never been the case had I let the fear of college hold me back. 

So might it be the same with this recovery? I know in my heart I have gotten all I can from inpatient and residential stays and desperately want to recover outpatient and be done with this disorder. But I am scared of that life. I am scared of the weight gain. I am scared of life without the ED that's been there since I was 6. I am scared of failing and even moreso scared of succeeding at recovery. I am scared I won't like life without ED...that I won't have anything to do. I am scared I will lose control of my body and my life. But I know I don't like where my life is when I act in my disorder and want to recover. I just need to pack up my car and take that first step of pulling out of the driveway. I need to drive towards my future and no matter how hard it gets, how much home sickness for my ED I get...I need to stick with the fight. Then...who knows. Maybe I will look back in a few years and be helping others recover and when I slip yearn to get right back on track...or when I am tempted have such a yearning for recovery that I don't slip. 

But for right now I just remind myself the option is to do this outpatient like I want, or to let fear keep on ruling me and have to be forced to do the right thing inpatient. I am the same person outpatient and inpatient, so I know I have the strength to push through....I just need to do it. So I will keep asking myself if I would be allowed to do the behaviors in treatment. If my portion completion would get my tray signed off in treatment. If I am pushing myself like they would in treatment. If the answer is no to any of those I will do the right thing to make it a yes, because otherwise I will be back in treatment forced into doing what I know I can do outpatient. 

Know that I write this because I have been to treatment several times and have gotten the tools I need to succeed outpatient. I am not saying outpatient is for everyone and in fact I would never attempt outpatient recovery had I not already been inpatient. I know people who have completely recovered outpatient without ever going inpatient, but they hadn't been suffering long. Honestly, I think if inpatient or even better residential is an option you should do it. It was amazing for me and has set me up for the success I know I can have outpatient. And speaking of doing the right's snack time :) Peace :) 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Freedom Friday 4: Xmas Week

Despite this week being extremely rough I did manage some freedom foods I would like to share :)

 This is a lovely refried bean quesedilla. I really was craving it, but was scared of sodium and the beans. But I put that aside and did it anyway. Actually, my tummy was too upset for a shake so I made it with enough beans to replace my shake. Notice the weird shape? This is the freedom brought by using a waffle maker when you don't have a panini press lol. I was so pleased with this it's what I brought to eat at my family's Feliz Navidad Christmas.

This is PB2 Oatmeal. This combines my fear of oatmeal and peanut butter. Granted I did take the easy way out and use PB2, but still I faced the fear of oatmeal. My mind was screaming the whole time, but my was smiling. And I think the inner me that is waiting to break out was smiling too :) 
Next up is a special product I had on xmas eve night. It's my typical Breyer's Frozen Yogurt, but it is combined with a special sample of Original Caveman Cookies.  This company was founded by Stephanie Lester who is a fellow recovery warrior, but she has successfully recovered from her disorder. She used the education she learned about Paleo diets and the power of natural food and fats and how much our body needs them to make these lovely cookies. I reached out to her and she sent me tons of cookies to sample. So this week I started with original. It was different than any cookie I have ever had. It's like a ginger snap meets oatmeal raising cookie, but is really soft and moist. I will say if you aren't used to natural foods, this may not be what you expect from a cookie. But for me, the natural sweetness from spices and moist texture hit the spot. Add some fro-yo and I was in heaven. The only problem I had...after all the lovely was all gone haha. There will be many more flavors I review and if people want to join me in supporting this company order cookies here. Also thought I would mention these are gluten-free as well :)  

 And tonight I am facing two freedom foods. As I type I am eating acorn squash stuffed with corn, guacamole, and chicken breast. Not really a fan of the acorn's kind of bland but still good for me to challenge myself :) The chicken breast was also a challenge, because its not the thin-sliced I usually do but I got through it and the juicy plumpness was actually better. Btw, this isn't a pic of my squash...mine didn't look as nice.

And later tonight for dessert another company sample sent to me. This is Arctic Zero....tonight Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor. I love this product so much. A lot of people look at it as a diet product because it's low calorie in the whole pint, but for me that's good because I can challenge myself to add toppings as such. Also, due to allergies I can't have regular ice cream, but to me this taste just like it. Plus it has chicory root which helps me absorb calcium. It's gonna be a big challenge, because tonight will be the first night I don't pre-measure it. But I can't rave enough about this product. It's so creamy, tasty, and is good for me to challenge myself with because I enjoy it so much. You can find them in some stores (Publix or Kroger for me) or can order them here or on But really...if you can and your team approves you should try it. I love crumbling granola or graham crackers over it, or adding syrup and marshmallows, anything. It's freaking delicious!  Just a fair warning is quite filling and will make you really cold (I mean it's frozen after all).

Well that's all the freedom for this week. Thanks for letting me write this...I feel my motivation coming back.
How did you all find freedom this week?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Near Death Experience...why I've been away

Hey everyone--
I am so sorry I have been away but honestly these past few days have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me.

Christmas day was the best one I have had in a while, until the drive home. It was raining and we were driving down the interstate when the car in front of us smashed into a stalled car, going from 75 mph to 0 on impact. This caused my stepdad to have to swerve to miss it, propelling our car towards the side median, but then hydroplaning and a jerk of the wheel caused us to swerve back onto the lane. A glance to the side showed me the devestation of the wreck we witnessed....the cars were smashed. We missed being added to the destruction by 1/4 inch. Had we collided with the car, had someone been in the lane next to us, had the car not gotten back in the lane and collided into the median....we all would have been dead or severely injured. In fact, the collision we were so close to was so bad that a piece of one of the cars headlights was impaled into our car when we got home after 30 more minutes on the interstate. To be so close to had everyone in my family shaken up.

We didn't get home till late and my stomach was so upset from the shock of what just happened, that I didn't meet my meal plan. This of course made the following day rough and that was also my 1st night back with my dad and my PTSD was extreme and horrid. Today has been a little better, but I am still in shock about the wreck from two days ago, and my body is still messed up from my Christmas restriction. So I have been taking the past few days to reflect before I came back online.

I am also crazy busy getting ready to get back to school, but once I am back on Jan 1st, trust me there will be more posts. I want to posts my struggles too, but these past two days...I have been in no mood to be on a blog. But I do have a little tiny blurb today.

One moment could change it all
All I have been able to think about these past few days is how that one car ride could have been my last. I started to think of how I would look back on my life. I know I would regret not letting myself enjoy a treat at the xmas get together (silly but true). I would have wished to spend more time with my family. I would have wanted to have been able to graduate. I would have wanted to be able to run one of my races, to raise a guide dog, to ride a horse one last time, to spend more time trying to heal me and my dad's relationship, to have not been so consumed by food.

You want to know what never made my regret list? Anything about my weight or shape. I think it's funny that my shape and body...they didn't matter in that instant I almost lost my life or in the reflection of that fact in the past few days. Yet when I act in my's framing my whole life around the way I look and how much I weigh. But that's not life....that isn't even an aspect of living. Living is about experiences, relationships, emotions, success, loss, triumphs, lessons learned. It's not about a body, it's not about a weight, it's not about food. It's about living and experiencing.

This ED has taken that away from me. I don't want to be around people because it wants me to hide. My self-doubt and perfectionism have kept me from trying new things. The health status it has me at keeps me from doing the things I want and the activities I love. But if I let go of the ED, as scary as that is....I can experience life again. I can heal relationships, find new ones, and get to the health status that I can do anything and everything my heart desires.

It's sad that this wreck had to shock me into realizing my ED has taken the life from me that I want to live. That if I were to die today...I would leave this world with so much regret and all of it would be tied to the regret of not fighting harder to overcome this disorder. Of letting tiny fears (that seem monumental) stand in the way. Of not utilizing the team and resources I am blessed with.

But I can change that. I can change the way my life is headed. I can make it so when God is ready to take me home I can look back and say.."Not too shabby Jess. Way to kick ass." I can have God look at me and say "Good job my faithful servant." I can really rest in peace instead of regret. How? By making every day a precious one. Realizing each day is a blessing and using it to help me towards recovery and towards experiencing life once again. I want to stop living my life thinking....oh I will just do that tomorrow, it's okay to slip today because I will fix it tomorrow, I will wait till my N appt or therapy to fix that. I want to live it thinking...."Today is a gift God has given me. I am going to use it to glorify him, make myself stronger, kick ED's ass, and get one step closer to the future I am dreaming of. I am going to use today to experience life, to enjoy the ride, to help others, and to try something new. I will treat today like the gift it is...going through with the excitement each new moment will bring."

Sorry for the strange post...just needed to get it out there. I am still very lost with my motivation these past few days, but I am fighting and hopeful it will come back. Please bear with me and know I will be writing more very soon. I need to practice what I've preached. I need to stop looking back sad at where my ED has brought the fact that I have so many regrets....and instead focus on the fact that I was saved. That God spared me and protected me that night. That I was granted a tomorrow, and that I can use the gift I have been given to change all of that. Starting now I can live the life I won't regret...the life my God desires for me....the life I deserve to live.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Xmas Gift from Recovery Voice

So this morning the recovery side of me (assisted no doubt by God) gave me two HUGE realizations that are really helping me. In fact tonight I am doing unplanned freedom food that arrived in mail :) These two revolve around the holidays and going to events/ meals at others houses. And I figure it's the season of I should share my gift so here it is.

Treat Recovery Like Diabetes
Alrighty so just like you start with the small gifts and build up I will start with the small realization first. I am going to my aunt's tomorrow and was feeling weird about bringing my lunch (fitting the theme) with me instead of having what they are serving. But I know what they are serving I either can't eat due to allergies/intolerances or just not being at the phase in recovery yet to face it. Holidays are already hard enough and I'm just not at the place in recovery I can face freedom foods on holidays.

Now I do have the option I have chosen in the not bring my food and hope I grow the courage to eat the scary foods offered that I can eat. Well...I've tried this the past years in recovery and it has never ended with success. Or I could go with the option of accepting where I am in recovery and bringing along food I can eat while still having the option to challenge myself if I get courageous. But I always feel strange about that.

That's when recovery voice came to the rescue. I realized bringing my food is just like bringing medicine I need. My doctors have prescribed a meal plan and I need to meet it for my health (both mental and physical). How is this any different from a diabetic? If a diabetic thinks they may have insulin at a place they are visiting but aren't sure...they still bring their insulin with them. They don't just cross their fingers and hope that there is insulin where they are going. Nope. Instead they pack their insulin with them so they are sure they will have some.

So the same goes for me. I need to pack my food because then I know I have the "medicine" I need. My mind says this will make me look weird, but its my family and they understand (to some extent). Even if it wasn't family much more akward is it to be the girl at the table who isn't eating than the girl at the table eating something different for medical reasons.

So if you are traveling somewhere...just pack your "medicine." Luckily this medicine can be shared so you can even pack a dish to share that you know you can have. Even if you can't, just pack a little something for you to have and blame it on medical reasons if you are questioned (which most likely won't happen). That way you can meet your meal plan (even though that may still be scary). And this brings us to the next point...

The Big Realization: It's all the same
The next realization really blows everything out of the water for me. I have been thinking about how I always struggle at family events and started to get anxious about tomorrow. But then I started to realize that there is nothing to be afraid of.

If I am bringing my own safe dish and getting my exchanges....then what is there to fear? I realized that my meal plan and my body are the same at home as away. I know this seems simple but bear with me here. You see, if I go to this lunch and meet my exchanges...then all I am doing is the same thing I would do at lunch at home. I am just meeting my exchanges with the food I need. The only difference is my family will be there. But with me eating and being social like everyone else my ED won't be in the room and that is what usually leads to the emotions and chaos of family get togethers. So without my ED and with me meeting my meal will just be joys of xmas.

So really...I should be excited not scared about tomorrow. I will be meeting my meal plan just like I would if I was home...but will be doing it while playing fun xmas games with the family. So really it is built in distractions and joys...making it more fun to meet my meal plan. And if I want to I can challenge myself to something different, but even then it's the same exchanges as I would meet at it's not different. My body will utilize it the same and none of this ballooning my mind says will happen is possible.

If I'm eating the same amount (my meal plan) then no ballooning can happen. Even if I eat a little more ballooning can't's just a little extra my body will know just how to use. I will just be meeting my meal plan with people who love me and I have never heard of love causing ballooning.

This was the coolest realization ever. It takes tons of the fear out of my Xmas lunch tomorrow. I will just be meeting my exchanges in a different location with different people....but its still my exchanges and my nothing will be different than doing it at home. So out the window with the fears on ballooning and in with the joys of the holidays we all deserve to feel.

So if you have get togethers with food coming up just remember these two things. Bring your "medicine" in the form of a dish for yourself or to share that you are comfortable with. Or find out if there will be stuff there you will be comfortable eating and plan out your meal ahead (ensuring you get all your exchanges). Then, if ballooning or other fears creep in just remind yourself it is the same as if you were eating your exchanges at are just in a different location and location doesn't affect metabolism. In fact...I bet all the joy and laughter will have our bodies needing more energy to send all the joy around.

So this holiday let's make it merry. Trust me...I have spent the past years of holidays restricting at occasions thinking that helps but all it causes is anxiety that continues for days after. It makes me feel more miserable on holidays than normal days. But meeting my exchanges...that will take this misery away and I will be able to enjoy all the joys of the holiday season.

If you do slip though forgive yourself and get back on track. This happened last night for me. I did restrict at my family get together with my dad but it was due to lack of planning on my part and the one food available for me to have as protein exchange being cooked wrong by accident making it inedible. But I did something I've never done before. I came back to my mom's and continued on my day meeting all the rest of my exchanges. Usually I just let the restriction continue. And let me anxiety was so much less last night after NOT restricting than all the times in the past I have continued to restrict. I actually got to enjoy the night and had some good laughs with my family.

So I am hopeful tomorrow will be a Merry Christmas for me and I will have victories to share. I have my "medicine" packed for our Tex-Mex Christmas and am ready to enjoy the time with my family. I will meet my exchanges just like at home and then will focus on having fun with the family. But if I slip.....I will accept that too. And I will brush myself off, give myself the gift of forgiveness, and get back on track. Because I am strong enough and deserve to do that...and so do all of you. Happy Holiday and can't wait to hear of the success I know you all will have :) Give yourself the gift of joy, peace, and recovery this holiday season :) Let's finish 2012 out strong!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shift the Focus of Recovery

So I was struggling yet again today and was at home making dinner. I was about to restrict my portions, because somehow this seemed like a good idea. Then my phone started blinking and I saw I had an I figured why not check. BEST E-MAIL EVER! Let me explain:

A few months ago I switch from being pre-veterinary to wanting to pursue a Master's of Social Work with specialization in studying the Human-Animal Bond. I want to look at how to use this bond to help people with addictions, mainly eating disorders. There are a lot of reasons for my passion in this area, but I will share more about that later. So I started to research feverishly how to get my new dream to become a reality (seeing as I only have 3 semesters left of undergrad...needed to figure this out). Well, I found a program at the University of Denver that is exactly what I want...and in my eagerness I sent them an e-mail. This was weeks ago and there was no response. I didn't stop looking into the program and recently stumbled upon the portfolio for the professor who pioneered the Animal Assisted Social Work (AASW) program there. He is freaking amazing and I had planned on sending him an e-mail, but kept forgetting. Today, I started thinking about all this again (not that I ever stop, but it was a focus today) and started to think maybe the lack of contact from the University meant this wasn't where God wanted me....and had me feeling down. Now fast-forward to me reading this e-mail.

It was from the head professor himself. Not only did he send me all the information I needed, but he hit me with several surprises  First off, he hadn't responded to the forwarded e-mail due to the fact that he was teaching a course in Kenya. A dream of mine has always been to go to immediately my interest was sparked. As I kept reading he spoke of how he could tell how passionate I was and was so excited to find somebody like me who wants to enter this field. Then there was a lot of information, and in the end I was hit by the biggest shock. He said he wants to talk to me! He wants to help me get into the program and pursue this interest. That he is eager to hear from me.

This is insane. You have to understand. This professor pioneered this program and it is the first and only one in the United States. He also does equine therapy which I am interested in. He leads a trip to Africa, where I want to go.
He is in the damn field I want to be in. AND HE WANTS TO SPEAK WITH ME!

All the sudden my passion was reignited. My excitement got stirred up. All the thoughts swirling in my head about ED faded to silence beneath the screams of joy in my head of this step towards my dream. Of reading such enthusiasm from a professor. It's like my gaze was focused from the road of ED to the road of my future, my dreams, my hopes. This passion being reignited focused my gaze back on why I am fighting.

This seems simple, but it saved my night. I didn't restrict my portions, am going to do the scarier snack I actually want more, and am celebrating with fro-yo. Why? Because I have something more important to me than my ED. I want to work in AASW. I want to change lives. This desire was always there, but somehow this e-mail made me see maybe, just maybe my dream can become a reality. I realized I have let my self-doubt and self-hate creep in and tell me I am not good enough to accomplish this goal. That all I am good at is my ED. But this professor...he thinks I am good enough...and he MADE the dang program.

I also realized how important it is for me to shift my focus. I have been so focused on fighting this disorder that it has sucked me more and more into the disorder. My disorder tries to remind me what I will be missing out on and why I can't fight it. The focus on fighting the disorder has me caught up in everything I won't be able to do anymore and it just seems like my teams "rules" for me are restricting me from my future. That my food plan is a curse, instead of a tool to my future. I am so focused on fighting the disorder that the disorder is exactly where my gaze is. It's strange, but overfocusing on recovery almost puts more emphasis on the disorder and makes recovery harder.

Shifting my focus to what I am fighting for, why I want and need to changes things. Instead of my thoughts being wrapped up in the disorder and how to fight it, what I can't do, how perfect I need to be in recovery... they become wrapped up in my future, the steps to make my dreams a reality, and all the things I want to accomplish. Fighting the disorder just becomes one of the steps, instead of the focus of my life. The ED voice becomes silenced as my drive (once used to drive me towards our disorder or in attempts of recovery to      drive us away from it) becomes of one driving me to my future. 

I'm not saying that focusing on recovery is bad....but when that is your sole focus...your sole drive...that's when slip-ups seem like failures you can't get out of and when ED is screaming of how you can't let go. But when your focus and drive is your future....slip-ups are just minor sidesteps you can fix and get back on the road and the ED has no room to say that it is the right way to go. I mean how can your ED convince you it will help you in your future...because all it will do is steer you away from it.

So perhaps that is something needed in this road to recovery. To keep our eyes focused on where we are going instead of where we are coming from. To focus on what we are fighting for (our future) instead of what we are fighting against (our ED). It makes sense. I mean when you are driving you look through the windshield to what's ahead (like looking in the future), not the rear view mirror at what's behind (like our past and ED). If you look in the rear-view mirror it is only when you are going in reverse. Even if your intention is to move's a lot harder when your gaze is behind. 

I hope this makes sense....I am just so overwhelmed with passion and emotion right now I guess I started to ramble. Well..I love you all and for tonight my focus is on the future...and I think I need to go have this fro-yo to propel me towards it :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Freedom Friday #4

Hey everyone--
Sorry I haven't been around much. I've actually been busier than though (mostly due to lovely holiday traffic making 10 minute trips into 2 hour car rides) and also I've been struggling with holidays coming out. I didn't want to come on here and pull everybody down and didn't have any ideas of post topics....I never want to post just to post...I want to post when there is something on my heart. And today that something is FREEDOM FRIDAY. It actually was amazing to do this because I am so down and feeling like a failure...but looking back on this week I have faced a lot. Not only that but I have stuck to my N guidelines for the first time at home....I also haven't overexercised at home either...and come Sunday I will be forced into a freedom choice of having a large xmas dinner without doing yoga (the only workout I am allowed). This has NEVER been the case for me and I am so scared. But for now...onto this weeks freedom.

Some freedom foods got repeated.

Top Right: Tootsie pop but this time chocolate. It really was such a craving so when I came home and there happened to be one in our candy sleigh...decided it was fate.

Top Left: Split Pea soup again. Not low sodium either. It's soooooo good (even if it looks disgusting).

Bottom: My boss got this for me. It's candy cane filled with skittles and I ate the whole thing :) I really am starting to see Skittles as a "safe" freedom food. Eventually I hope to not have a safe and unsafe list...but for now it's amazing anything with my feared saturated fat is on the safe list.

Now for the new freedom foods. These lovelies are Perdue thin sliced chicken breast. I never get to eat chicken at school, so it's a nice treat when I get home. The freedom in these (since they are safe for me) is that I used a lot of spray in the pan and that always scares me. Also, I did these instead of lunch meat throughout the meat and that is definitely scary for me. But honestly I hate lunch meat and only do it for ED reasons. And these chicken breast were sooooo much better.

 For my required bagels this week I tried a new spread (that's why there is so little on was a trial run). It's called Red Pepper Jelly and I have never had it before (thus it automatically was scary...not because I might not like it but because I might actually like it). fear came true...I not only liked it but I LOVED it. And I guess since I never had it it made it easier to become safe like it is now.
The bagel provided another freedom too, because it's lower calorie than my other bagels and thus I have to add to it even more than just spread. I have NEVER done this at home...but this week I have. I pair it with the hot cocoa you have seen in past Freedom Fridays. Two freedoms, one food....sounds good to me.

This is actually from today. A day I am seriously struggling. I was so nervous about eating lunch and didn't want to so it kind of slipped my mind to snap a this is halfway through and doesn't include the three other bowls of stuff. Anyway...this is Stuffed Butternut Squash. Tons of freedoms in this. First off, I baked it myself and ate it. I never come up with recipes to use on myself (ever since my ED) so for me to do this again is amazing. Also, it was what I was craving and I've never had it so didn't know the calories and I still ate it. This is a big deal for me. To honor my craving and not try and calorie count. It was freaking delicious though. It's just half a microwaved butternut squash and in the scooped out seed area I put canned tuna (yet another fear food), frozen green peas (heated up in microwave) and a dollop of guacamole. It was really tasty and even better news....the other half of the squash is left for some kind of new recipe :)

 This is also from today (and again the nerves of even eating caused me to eat most of my dinner before snapping the picture). This is Refried Bean Burrito with hummus and grilled mushrooms. This is another recipe I made and ate myself. Also, I am very scared of the vegetarian refried beans we use (do vegetarian due to non-vegetarian having pork product in it which I don't eat). It comes down to the sodium and I always restrict the portions...but tonight I didn't. In fact, the refried beans is what I was craving and I even licked the spoon. The fact that I even ate dinner tonight was a victory...but challenging myself...that is sure freedom. Also got in my fat from the hummus (something I usually skimp when struggling). In the moment I wasn't proud of myself...but looking back...I actually am :)

So that's it for this Freedom Friday but I have some exciting news to share about our next one. Two companies have sent me "samples". The first is Caveman Cookies. The owner herself has overcome two eating disorders and now makes these cookies. Today I got the sampler pack in the mail and will be trying them throughout the week and snapping pics. Was a little too scared tonight to have them...but look out for them next week :) 

The second company is one I am already working on overcoming. It's actually seen as a "diet" product but I still struggle to eat it. You can't judge your freedom foods...if you fear them they go on the list and you face them. Don't try and justify not trying them....just talk with your nutritionist about the fear if it seems strange (or seems justified) and face it. This product is Arctic Zero. It's an ice cream replacement but I have to eat it instead of others due to food intolerances. The hard thing is I have to eat the whole pint and still struggle with that. But they are sending me FREE COUPONS. So I am going to use that to buy a pint and finish it...will take snapshots and find my freedom. 

Anyone else doing freedom foods this week?

How you all feeling about holidays?

And as's a funny pic thanks to Google.

This is how freedom can feel :) 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Outer Makeover, Inner Healing

So real quick before I start this post I wanted to announce a new tab you will see at the top: prayer requests. The power of prayer has become so evident in my life and recovery and I say the more prayer the better. Together we are a strong force. So when my friend shared prayer request for me today the idea got sprouted in my mind to share on here. So if you all have prayer request just email them to me :) Also, please pray for my friend who is in extreme pain and had breathing complications from anesthesia after a knee surgery. More details will be on the tab (probably tomorrow).  Now onto the post :)

Today two exciting things happen: I met my Xmas Angel and I got my hair redone. These are connected because my Xmas Angel owns a salon (will add name if I get her permission) and let me get my hair done and highlighted for free. This isn't even the wish she is granting...that is for specialized running shoes I will need once I get to the right weight. She is also forever a part of my life. She is an amazing, beautiful, shining example that recovery not only is possible but also is worth fighting for. She is my Xmas Angel, a new part of my family, and my newest hero :)

The experience of meeting my Xmas Angel was freaking amazing. She is so kind and open about her recovery. Seeing her...this real life example of recovery. A woman with a family, successful (and freaking awesome) salon, following her dreams, running 5Ks, and being screwed everything ED said. She is in recovery and she is ED's idea that recovery will make me feel horrible is a lie. She has a family and recovery doesn't mean I will be alone and unloveable (another lie revealed). She not only followed her dreams but got her dream of a ED's lies that I won't be successful is just that....a LIE. ED says I will never be able to be fit again unless I angel runs 5Ks in a healthy yet again another lie. And the idea that I will be fat and ugly by recovering....that idea was shattered and stomped out like the lie it was as soon as I laid eyes on this beautiful woman. I'm not exaggerating...she is gorgeous. But it didn't end there..the healing only begun.

It was then time for me to get my new hair-do. First off the stylist was brilliant and so much fun and actually wanted to get to know me. For a normal person, this may be an every day experience. To have a new person ask questions about you. But for me...for someone who thinks so low of was nice to have someone want to know about me. She made me feel like, in that moment, I was the only person that mattered. That she cared about me more than as a customer, but as a person. It also was nice to talk about myself and not feel bad about it. Also, by having me engage in coversation....ED had no way to talk. It was the best two hours of my life. ED was completely was just me, the stylist, my angel, and a great time.

Saying bye to my blonde :) 
And my time at the salon ended with me having a new hair-do, but I didn't realize till my ride home just what that new hairstyle did. First off, I will post pics, I just didn't have my charged camera so give me a few days and I will take pictures. But this trip was more than a new hairstyle. Let's start with the biggest change...the blonde I had in my hair (and hated so much) was gone. Taken out. Done. Literally you would never know there was blonde in my hair. This doesn't seem big...I know...but there is more to this.

This showed me the beauty in my Savior and how he sees me. Despite the "stains" in my life...the times I've messed up, the times I've struggled, all of the times I feel I let God down...he doesn't see those stains. Not only does he was them away like they did my blonde....but there is no remnants. Not a speck left....I am seen as clean and pure. This go for all my insecurities too. Everything I see as bright blonde in brunette hair...God washes it away with the truth that every part of me is part of his beautiful creation. That I am whole and beautiful the way I am. There are no streaks, or chunks, or bright colors out of place. Everything flows together smoothly and beautifully as he desires...just like my hair does now.

Another important thing about this blonde being gone, is it was from before I committed to recovery. It also wasn't something I chose but something I did to please others. Now, I am at a commited place in recovery. I am at a place where I am learning who I AM, I am doing the things I WANT, I am finding MYSELF. And I can't do that if I let others' opinions dictate my actions and decisions. So with this blonde gone...this piece of my past, this representation of how I valued others over myself...I don't know...I just feel more like Jess can shine through. I can't explain how exciting it was to look in the mirror and not see that blonde. Not see that constant reminder of letting others choose something for me. That blaring example of a flaw I saw in myself. It was gone...I was free...I am free...because it can never come back :)

Of course the makeover can't be about taking away the's about bringing in the new too. And that meant new highlights. Honestly I didn't know what color I wanted... I looked at pics online but nothing spoke to me. So I did something I don't do often...I put my trust in someone else. I let the stylist use me as her blank long as she promised no blonde :p Boy am I glad I did. I have these beautiful reddish-brownish highlights, that look natural yet light. I look mature. I have this glow and radiance about me. When I look in the mirror...I saw something beautiful. And that beauty was in me.

Honestly I spent the car ride just staring at myself in the mirror and checking out my new color. Do you get what this means? The fact that I spent a two hour car ride (thanks Atlanta traffic) looking in a mirror and not cutting myself down. It means there is something even more new about me than the highlights. The beginning sparks of acceptance, of possible self-love, but at least self-acceptance are starting to appear. I love my hair. I love how natural and flowy it is. Look...there is something about me I know people will see before they think about my weight (which they probably don't think about anyway). And even if they do...when I look in the mirror I see my new highlights before my shape. And right now I don't accept my body, but my highlights I love. This new color...its brought light back to me. I can look in the mirror and have time to see something I like  and then dart away before self-hate comes in. Maybe this will allow me to accept other parts of me too....but for now I am happy with where I am at.

Of course, love sometimes puts you in a mental place you don't listen and I also realized on my ride home that I didn't quite understand what the stylist had told me about my highlights. She said something about something washing out and all the sudden I freaked that she meant my highlights would rinse out. Luckily though....I have connections with an Xmas angel who got me the answers I needed. This brings us to my final transformation realization....basically a summary of recovery. You see the more I shampoo the more the gloss (that stuff needed to get rid of the blonde) will rinse out allowing my highlights to shine through.

Is that not recovery? I mean we take the leap of faith and get rid of our ED (the blonde) when we give in to recovery. We accept all the restrictions and rules of our team that are there to keep us safe. And we begin to make the steps to heal. You see the rules and restrictions are like the gloss...they get rid of our ED. And the steps to heal...well that's like the shampoo. So as we continue to heal the rules and restrictions get to be lifted as we begin to get stronger. To get strong enough to fight ED on our own. And as the restrictions fall away and we continue to practice recovery, the beautiful parts of our true self and of our new life of freedom...they shine through. These are the highlights.

You first in recovery we are so scared and so focused on the restrictions...we don't see the new future ahead of us. Even as we go through's not revealed all at once. Neither is our true self. Both our true self and our future we must discover slowly as we continue to take the right steps in recovery. But keep on going....keep on gaining the strength you need to be granted more freedom....and begin to see your highlights....the hope and joy of your future and yourself, breaking through. Then one day all the restrictions will be gone....and you will be there shining beautifully with your future in your hands. This will happen as surely for us all in recovery as it will happen with my hair. All the gloss will be gone and my highlights will shine bright...and for us all, if we keep working, keep pushing through...well our ED will be gone, the structure needed for us to fight it will be gone, and we will instead have complete freedom...and will be glowing in the joy that brings :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Learn don't punish

So the past two nights I have been hurt by people around me lately and my immediate reaction was self-loathing and to restrict. I was thinking I would just stay away from blogging and wait till I was in a better place...but how is that any representation of what true recovery is? I should share my struggles instead of trying to hide here I am....typing from the heart.

Basically the pain both times came from some interactions from my parents. I invited my dad to a date night and got apathy, not the excitement I wanted. Then tonight, I pushed away from a hug from my mom due to some anxiety I was having preparing a snack and got berated and yelled at. Both cases made me not feel bad about my parents, but to turn all emotions inward.

How could I be such a sorry excuse for a daughter? What had I done wrong? Why was I such a screw-up? If I was my parents I would hate me too. Look at how much I had done wrong. All of this led to overwhelming disgust, the immediate solution seeming to be to restrict or overexercise.

Luckily for me overexercising is prevented from spinal spasms I am having due to the lovely medical consequences of anorexia. The restricting urge I am fighting through but still struggling with the guilt, but here is how I see it. How will restricting help? It will just feed into my guilt and will lead to consequences for my body. In the end it will just hurt me.

Now part of me says that's what I be punished. I have obviously screwed up and thus need to be punished. But this extreme guilt I put on myself...that's punishment enough. And I apologized to my mom and honestly know I haven't done anything I need to apologize for with my dad. My mom didn't accept my apology and instead responded with more anger....but I tried to undo what I did.

I don't think either of my parents would want me to how would that fix this situation. It would make me feel like crap (which again I feel I deserve) but also would further injure the relationships with my parents. You see...tomorrow I would just be more anxious about eating making my interactions with my parents possibly explosive again...causing the pain to occur yet again.

Add into this that I can't turn to my ED every time I do something wrong. I am only human. I will make mistakes in life, but I need to learn from them...not punish myself from them. You put a child in timeout not to punish them for behavior, but to teach them it is wrong. I know I have done something wrong with my mom and will learn to react differently next time. But for right now I can't change what I did, just what I do next. And the next thing I need to do is to go have a snack.

So next time someone hurts you, don't hurt yourself. If there is something you have done...aceept responsibility, apologize, and learn from it...but don't punish yourself by using ED or any other behaviors. That won't help either parties and will only cause more room for injury.

Plus...I think part of the reasons we attack ourselves is because we care so much about others we don't want to think bad about them. If I think about it I am mad at my mom and dad for how they acted and am hurt, but instead of letting myself voice and feel those emotions I jump to self-hate and my ED. But tonight...I am going to try and let myself feel hurt...and even if I am not there yet...I AM going to let myself go eat my snacks. I have learned from my it's time to heal and move forward. To forgive myself, feel the pain, and forge on.