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 giving...so 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 past....to 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 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 plan...it 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 home...so 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 happen...it'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 body...so 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 home....you 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 say....my 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!