Sunday, November 18, 2012

Taste of Freedom

Gonna keep this short and perhaps make longer tomorrow, but too much excitement to sleep with (despite being sick with fever) so had to get it out.
Let's rewind briefly to the hell of a day yesterday. I decided after two days on this plan of freedom and getting portions and honestly not acting in ED at all I should weigh myself (because that's always a great idea...SARCASM). Well let's just say the weigh-in was more than I am okay with and even more than I feared. Luckily I have amazing friends who talked me through the day (granted this of course took me reaching out) reminding me what I have to lose and that numbers on a scale change due to so much in life (you know with such a sketchy number I wonder why I use it as a measure of's completely uncontrollable it seems). So somehow I got through the day. I also managed to get pissed at God because I had given Him control, done what he laid on my heart, and look what happened. But a bigger part of me said to not change my meal plan (seeing as I'm not a dietician), and to stick with the plan for just one more day.
So I woke up this morning and weighed again...BAM! That huge scary weight...gone. And I didn't was of course just water or poo or whatever. So here I was about to throw in the recovery towel because of poo or water....because of a false reality. Even before the weigh-in I woke up with a new motivation to recover. To make this week at home for the holidays the first one in a while where I was truly successful. I packed foods I knew I would need that my family wouldn't have and tried to plan out day.
Let me just tell was amazing. It's the first day at home that I tasted what I think was freedom. I had b-fast and snack before going to the game with my parents and then my mom suprised me with a Jumbo Rice Krispy. No, this wasn't a part of my plan, but I sure as heck wanted it more than my safe triumph treat so that was an easy switch. So I packed it up and went to the game. At the game I got to be in the moment, enjoying time with the family without ED bickering in my mind. I did get a little concerned about when I was going to eat lunch once I realized I had a two hour car drive home. I also had managed to wake up with a fever and cold, so I put my health before my guilt of leaving the game early (was supposed to stay and watch cousin at half-time) and left the game early. I drove one of my residents home and again for some reason ED wasn't there. We just talked about thanksgiving, our plans for break, her aspirations and freshmen year so far. Usually the whole car ride home I am freaking out about lunch, or snack, or something. Or weighing, or my thighs, or whatever. But this ride....nothing.
Then I got home and something amazing happened. I prepared a lunch without thinking about the numbers. I just got my exchanges. In fact, I had my first sandwich since my nutritionist sandwich ban a week ago. I realized in that moment why she banned me from them. I have gained so much freedom from the rut of having to do sandwiches for ED reasons, to getting to choose to do them because I wanted to. Plus, they aren't so scary any more because I have been doing even more challenging meals. It took me no time to prepare my lunch (something at home that usually takes forever as I would compare nutrition labels and all) and I just got what I want based on exchanges. This has come from the practice of having to do this in the dining hall of late due to not being able to do sandwiches and not really knowing what dining hall would run out of or really having the time to pre-plan. When I finished lunch I realized the monumental feat that had just occured. I had just made my first non-ED home meal. I had just eaten my first ever meal at home based on exchanges. I had just practiced recovery in a place so entrenched with ED behaviors of my past. And it didn't stop there.
Later for dinner, parents got pizza. Usually this is a great excuse for me to get a safe meal because I can't eat pizza due to allergies, but tonight I had a craving to try some kind of creamy soup to fix my throat. I looked in the cabinet and saw some light soup my mom had (she struggles with anorexia past and these things tend to resurface due to it). I could have easily done this soup, but honestly I didn't want it. Instead I went online to see what other kinds of soups were out there (been eating diet ones since I was young so honestly didn't know). I gave my stepdad the name of a brand of frozen soup and told him to choose whatever he thought looked best (HUGE step). He came back with split pea soup (btw, delish) and though I did slip up and use the food scale, I didn't take anything off despite it being slightly higher in grams. Instead I enjoyed the soup, counted it as the proper exchanges, and again made a dinner based off what I wanted. ED creeped in as I reached for banana and pb (a big fav of mine, but also big fear despite overcoming it for a good month or so). Again I enjoyed this meal and the company of my family. As I ate, the ED voice was diminished and replaced by amazing conversation and laughter. That's right...I had enjoyment at a meal...a concept foreign to me.
Again this recovery continued. Actually with each victory I almost grew stronger and more eager to do the next. Full portion bagel with a new kind of jam, no problem. Rice Krispy treat without ED chiming got it. Appropriate serving of protein ice cream without weighing....why not?
Sure I am a little scared now, but despite the fear I have a smile on my face. I realized today recovery is possible and honestly it feels so much better than even my best days in my disorder or semi-recovery. I also realized my nutritionist knows what she is doing. This day would have never been possible had she not been pushing me to get my portions, to do exchanges not calories, to eat challenging meals instead of sandwiches, to not weigh foods, and to be more flexible with planning. Had I still been calorie counting, nutrition labels would have been a must. Without my full portions I would have been so wrapped up in restricting enough at meals that ED would have been screaming all night. The sandwich would have never been so easy or enjoyable had I been doing them every day. I would have been a food scale Nazi had I not gotten used to not weighing things. And the whole going by the seat of my pants would not have been possible had we not been working with my flexibility with planning. Oh and how could I forget not worrying about fats in food and only using fat exchanges as ones that are spreadable, pourable, or addable. The rice krispy and not looking at nutrition labels would have never been possible without that.
I can't wait to tell her how good I did. It feels good to feel proud of myself for once....if this is recovery...this feeling of pride, joy, and peace....then I am ready to fight for it. If I could have hope of this feeling coming for the rest of my life (I mean I know there will be ups and downs)....then maybe recovery isn't so scary. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but for now I am thanking God for today and for this tiny taste of freedom.

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