Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bite of Cupcakey Freedom

I can't believe it! I did it! It took support and prayer.....but I ate a whole freaking cupcake. Well...sort of a whole one. Figured this was so big it needed it's own post.....pre-Freedom Friday :) 

So first off I got a dinky cupcake earlier but I wanted one more cupcakey so I went on search at other dining halls after my exam :) Here is what greeted me. I was scared to do this cupcake because more icing it seemed and looked bigger and it was at dining hall other than one I told N was getting from. Thus I didn't think her reassurance applied....well ED didn't...but this was the one I wanted. How do I know? I asked someone which I should eat....the said the red one I had before and instantly I was mad they said it. So I went for what my body wanted :) 

Well it came time to take the first bite and I discovered another amazing part of outpatient treatment. YOU CAN EAT THINGS HOW YOU WANT! So I got out my little spoon and cut off the top (I always have liked to eat top separate :) This was my treat and I was doing it how I liked. It also was quite suprising. I "cheated" my old way of eating cupcakes and ate a bit of icing first (always saved for last). And I got suprised with a lemon flavor. Here I was thinking I got vanilla and I got lemon....which is MY FAVORITE! I know God had a plan in this :) But then things went awry. I took a bite of bottom part and it was I figured I would just heat it up....

BAD IDEA! Apparently 20 seconds is too long not just for cupcakes....but for plastic tops too. Cupcake got burnt and plastic top got melted.....and ED....he went so happy. He said...see you can't finish this cupcake now. If you don't balloon it will be because of this....well that wasn't gonna fly...

So I opened up the container that had the "rejected" dinky cupcake and I took a bite :) Take that ED....ED was screaming and honestly I was standing in shock. Did I seriously just eat an unknown number of cals to replace an unknown number of cals in something else. Something I burnt? Why yes....yes I did. If I am getting victory I'm not holding back. Part of me is scared I took too big of a bite...but I figure it will just make it easier next time I do a cupcake and don't burn it.

And there will be a next time....because this cupcake is all gone :(

Sorrow in Tommorows

So I am most likely going to have two blog post today, but I wanted to get the positive one out first, lol. Today started as any regular day would for me. I woke up and prepared to cram in some last minute studying before rushing off the class before an exam. As I went to glance at my phone and check the time I realized I had an e-mail from my professor. Guess whose classes got cancelled. That left all day to do studying.

Now normally I would throw myself into studies in the panicked frenzy my long-time enemy of test anxiety brings. But lately....that panic has turned to peace. I honestly feel ready for this exam. Or as ready as I can be (perhaps I will be kicking myself later for saying that). So instead...I took the extra time to do some yoga. This also scared me because my N has now taken my three days of yoga down to two. I cling to those precious two days with all I can. And now I chose to use one today instead of doing it Saturday and Sunday.  But honestly it was the best practice I've had this year.

Then it was time for breakfast and I thought....what the heck. You are on a new plan, why not add in some fun and do an unplanned freedom food. So I opened another jar of the peanut butter PB&Co sent me a while back. I finally faced the Dark Chocolate Dream flavor...but you will hear more about that tomorrow. I continued on my day doing some studying and such.....but in the back of my mind was this dang part of my new meal plan I can't wrap my mind around.

I call this mind-altering part of my plan my Sweet Surprise. It's kind of like my Triumph Treat (it has to be something sweet) but there are no caloric guidelines. No max, no min....just what my body truly wants. This freaks me out. I don't know if I am doing enough or too little...the only way I know I am getting my "exchange" is if I am truly eating what my body desired. So as I continued to study trying to get my food planned out for the day in my head as well I contemplated just doing Animal Crackers for the Sweet Surprise. My body has been wanting them and I've been avoiding them, but it's also not quite what my body wanted.

Looked at school menu during a study break and saw that Corn Chex Krispy was on the menu. Something I have avoided and body wanted...but I just couldn't bear thinking of eating that when I did another fear food that involved my most feared nutrient...dietary fat. But I kind of accepted the fact that was what I needed to do. Fast forward all of 30 minutes as I coped and came to terms with my decision and I get a message from my friend that they have cupcakes in the dining hall today to celebrated my schools birthday.

Let me explain to you the significance of this treat in my life. The last time I had a cupcake was on my 14th birthday on my last day before I began the diet that changed my life. After that day, I banned cupcakes from my life forever. This has made for very awkward birthday parties (really....does everyone have to eat cupcakes at parties...geez), family get-togethers (my family's favorite guessed it...cupcakes), and just life in general. Around the age of 15 (they guess) I developed gall stones and had problems eating any desserts without horrid reactions in my stomach....I also plunged deep into anorexia the fear of getting sick was coupled with anorexia fears. Fast forward 3 years to the gallbladder removal surgery that went terribly wrong and started my next big relapse and I was in for even more fear of any dessert. I was told by doctor's due to complications my stomach may not be able to handle desserts and anything higher fat dense. Well my anorexia took off like a rocket with this concept and eliminated any idea of every trying a dessert and banned all fats from my diet.

Actual pic of Mindful Eating at Renfrew Florida forward again just a few months and I was in treatment sitting in front of my biggest fear....a cupcake. Part of my least favorite group which most people only had the torture pleasure of enjoying twice (my team realized it was a HUGE problem for me so kept me on it as soon as I was Level 2 all the way till I I got to do it 5 times)....Mindful Eating. Sounds peaceful right....WRONG! This was right after lunch and you basically sat at a table with your fellow residential patients and faced an additional treat chosen by the dietitians (chips and soda, doughnut, ice cream cake, pop tarts, candy bar...and you guessed it...cupcakes). This day was extra special too because I had gotten an early morning Boost added for weight loss and my dietitian at lunch came to me and said she was adding a snack to my meal plan that day and then I get this can imagine my lack of joy in the moment. But you had to do it...there was no option. So I sat at the table with all the other people and ate the cupcake. I asked for a spoon (in my family cupcakes, muffins, etc are always eating with a spoon) and was scolded for my food ritual mentioning. The cupcake was the kind from Publix and I can still remember the overwhelming amount of sugar in my mouth. I was instantly hit with nausea and the intense desire to exercise mixed with the instant calculator in my head adding up all the extra calories for the day and trying to calculate the weight gain that would ensue. But I got through...with tears, messy hands, shaking legs, and a racing mind...I got through. Fast forward a few more hours. After the snack that was added....and my stomach revolted. Excruciating pain, horrid nausea, and some unexpected actions by my stomach had me instantly blaming and banning cupcakes from my life forever (somehow I ignored the fact that Boost increases always upset my stomach due to my reaction to soy and milk, that I had tons of anxiety, and that I had tried a tad bit of cheese which still upsets my stomach to this day).

Fast forward a year and a half to today. I get this message that the dining hall has cupcakes for my univerity's birthday. Instantly I know my N will know this because she works for the dining hall. In that instant I know that the question or e-mail would come up of why I did animal crackers or a krispy instead of a cupcake. And instantly my body told me it wanted the cupcake. I knew choosing anything else wouldn't be utilizing the sweet surprise to its fullest, but my mind told me cupcakes are too scary, it would upset stomach, it was too high calorie for my non-calorie specified treat (yeah cause that makes sense), etc, etc. And it tried its favorite method of getting me out of something: we will do it another day.

It was then that I realized I have been living in what I like to call the sorrow of tomorrows. When fear foods come up, I tell myself I will face them on another day when its easier. But when that next opportunity comes up....I don't take it....I just say the same thing...I will do it next time it comes up. Well I did that a lot over the past years on the meal plan and there have been a lot of missed opportunities as I waited for tomorrows to come. For a tomorrow to come that I would feel strong enough, feel ready to face the fear. But those tomorrows never come. With ED....tomorrow just means never. He keeps adding up tomorrows until eventually he takes your life and there are no more tomorrows. But there is today. There is this moment. For me, today there are cupcakes. I don't know if there will be tomorrow....sure I could bring one back in my room and save it for "tomorrow," but I know tomorrow I won't be ready either.

Here's the reality. I will never be ready to face a cupcake. I will never fear right about doing it. It will never seem okay, justified, or reasonable. Not until I do it. Not until I take this leap of faith, trust my body and my N (who I did e-mail about this dilemma and who has now told me I need to do the cupcake), trust in the strength of my God and eat the cupcake. I will never know if my fear is warranted, I will never know if freedom from my fear of cupcakes is possible, I will never even have the possibility of breaking out of the cage of my fear of cupcakes (or any food for that matter) until I take the first bite. And why wait for tomorrow? What makes tomorrow better than today? What makes it better than right now, this instant? If I do it today, I don't have to wait for tomorrow to experience the possibility of freedom. I don't have to stress about my decision and worry about changing it. I don't have to do anything except trust and open myself up to the possibility of freedom.

So I brave whatever cupcake I am about to go get at the dining hall....I will break free of the sorrow of tomorrows and instead live in the victory of today. I will take today as my day to see if my stomach can handle cupcakes. I will take today to open up to the possibility that maybe I don't have to ban them. I will take today as a possible start to birthdays and family get-togethers I can enjoy. So today...with this cupcake...I break free from the prison of tomorrows and stand in the freedom of today.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hungry for Freedom?

Sorry for disappearing on you all there. I totally meant to blog over these past few days but have been under immense load of work, school, appts, and just needing time to breathe. But I am back and wanted to give an update....but let me just say...I am not the same person I was on Friday..or even Saturday. I feel new, I feel ready to recover....I feel I can do this. 

So let's start with Sunday. It was my last day of the "experiment" of giving in to my meal plan. Well...Sunday was rough. hit me how much I had been restricting and it also hit my GI system quite bad as well. I had some not so pleasant, completely involuntary stomach things happen and was in excruciating pain. Still though....I pushed through and did the whole plan. You know what this taught me? How strong I am when I give my strength over to God and when I rely on His strength and the strength of others around me. 

And then it came time.....time to "face the music" as I felt it was. I should have known that with that mentality weighing myself on Monday was totally ED geared...but I did it. And my weight was up more than I was comfortable with and I jumped right back into ED. I tried to take back control of my meal plan by lowering to what I deemed "acceptable." Why do I say tried? Because I in no way gained any more control. Despite getting N approval for decrease (which I found out at our appt today was just because she knew I would do what I wanted to either way and was done fighting with me)...I didn't feel okay. I knew in my heart it was wrong and too much of a decrease. But I did it. And guess what...I was hungry all day and though more about food than I had all weekend. I didn't feed my hunger but avoided it with my old anorexic methods. I am not proud of it at all. 

Come Tuesday I was using my new plan to confine me. Besides having an overwhelming hunger and craving that had persisted since Monday (and even woken me in the night) to eat a dining hall bagel, I avoided it. My mind was enthralled back in the dieting mentality that I needed less and had to get rid of the weight I had lost. I am not in any way proud of this. But also....Tuesday brought a lot of breakthrough. Because I realized I was miserable and so ultra-focused on food I couldn't concentrate. Why was this? Because I was trying to control my food again. I realied right then, that I could easily escape this mental trusting my nutritionist. By letting her do her job. I am not a dietitian, I have 14 years of experience not knowing what the hell to do with food, and have an absolute terror of weight gain.....I am the epitomy of someone who should not be in charge of food and nutrition decisions. Yet that is what I try and control. All weekend, despite being in pain and eating more....I didn't think about food. My N had made this plan and I was going to stick to it. I gave her control, trusted her with my food...and concentrated instead on living life. Friends pointed out to me I was talking more about dreams and my future and not food and calories. But this came when I gave over the control (the opposite of what ED says). 

Then there was the other realization I had that I was letting meal plan restrict me. You see I was desperately hungry and obsessing about eating dining hall bagel (something I removed from plan) all day....but I didn't want to "cave in." That's how I was looking at nourishing my "caving in." Why? Because I had made this plan and decided body didn't deserve any more. Because in can't eat more than your meal can't eat less but can't eat more is law. So I have almost been institutionalized in my eating and any meal plan I have (either made by me or dietitian) I treat as law. Luckily...I have a major genetics exam and by the end of the night couldn't take the obsession and I did enjoy a dining hall bagel. I dealt with the yelling in my head of my failure (even though really was triumph) and accepting fear of weight gain (which the opposite actually happened so just another lie) and just ate it. And guess what...the obsession went away. And I felt much better. I need to learn that my knows what it needs. My plan is a minimum but if my body needs more...that's okay and I need to honor it. I don't know what's going on in my body...maybe it's fighting off an infection, or needs more because brain being used to study....idk. But it let's me know by sending me signals and I need to respond. 

So when I woke up today knowing I had N session I was excited. I was ready to go in and just be open to what she wanted. I even sent her an apology letter Tuesday for basically wasting her time. For doing her job and telling her what to do instead of it being the other way around. And our session was the most amazing one yet. I told her how much pain I was in this weekend but also admitted I knew my decrease was wrong and too low. When she weighed me and I had lost....I was expecting it. So obviously my plan wasn't working...but she agreed old one was possibly too high for my GI system to handle right now. She said she had to do prescribe that plan...because she had come to distrust me and in giving me that plan she crossed her fingers and hoped I would at least do 60% of it. And each time we had to increase because I would fail to meet even that much. She was shooting for the moon hoping I would land among the stars. 

But with my new mentality and new desire to trust....we decided it was time for a new plan. Not a plan based off the old one. Not a plan (like the old one was) based off of my treatment plans. But a plan based off me in that moment. Based off where my body is now. Based off getting my nutrient requirements without so much tummy pain (basically this weekend my body went through a kind of food rejection syndrome and now its recouping). And it felt nice to actually see my N do what she loves. What she has passion for. She got to write a plan...not based off other plans...but based of her knowledge of my needs. I don't just felt like MY plan, from MY team, and with the love and support of MY N. It just felt better. And there was no way to compare, judge, was just fresh. Fresh and new. 

It's the first time I left an N appt and felt like maybe this was possible. I wasn't thinking about where I would hold back portions (which I haven't done since Friday despite weight gain) or what I wouldn't do. I took the plan and just wanted to learn it so I could meet it completely. I just feel this is a fresh start for a new me. This is the start of a new relationship between me and my full of honesty and truth...not restriction and secrets. I finally feel that OUTPATIENT RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE. Oh...and another part of my plan I bagel is a part of it :) 

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Well...I did it. I said I was going to and I did. was the first ever day of doing my real meal plan, of getting all portions, of not restricting, of not overexercising. Was it pretty? Not all the time. This morning I didn't get b-fast till 1 pm because I kept going back and forth between whether I was really going to do it or not. So here is a little breakdown of how day went.

B-fast: Flip flopping between whether I was really going to get all my portions and follow my plan. Such a large part of me woke up this morning ready to dominate. Wanting to conquer it all. Wanting to see if I could really do this. But then I started to freak out about ballooning and after hearing people's stories of how this was a possibility....I got more and more scared. But then (well not right then...this started at 10 am I ate at 1 took awhile) I realized I was letting fear of something I didn't even know would happen to me control my day. It's something I've done my whole life....I fear I would fail at something so I wouldn't try. I feared I would gain weight, so I didn't eat. I fear I would binge, so restrict portions. But this was different. I realized I was letting fear of tomorrow ruin my today. Fear that applies to others but has never applied to me, determine my future. So I stop....took a lot of deep breaths and had my first ever full portion outpatient breakfast (and I mean EVER). Let me just will blow your mind how much a full portion of grits is. And since when did a tablespoon of peanut butter get so big....but was exciting. That excitement I had going inpatient...the relief of someone saying I could all came back. But you know who the someone was giving me was me.

Lunch: This was later than wanted thanks to b-fast and it was quite more difficult because of the fat portions. I just did not want to do them. But also a part of me didn't want to give up. So I sent out a bunch of support text, delved into studies to distract me, and I pushed through. I will admit the excitement started to wane and nerves started to hit in now.

Dinner: this is where emotional breakdown/panic mode set in. One, this was later than expected. Two, the cafeteria staff made fun of me when I was getting a big fear food of mine. Three, the dining hall was closing so I had 15 minutes to eat. Four, they ran out of what I had planned. Combine all this together with the nerves that had been building up and it turned to panic. I wanted to restrict, that's all I wanted to do. I wanted to throw in the towel, say nice try, but I am not strong enough. But instead I sent out support texts yet again and I reached into my pocket and pulled out a notecard I had written on back at b-fast when I was feeling so good. Here is what it said:

  • This is just a two day experiment. Not much can happen in two days, and anything that's completely reversible. 
  • Don't let fear of something that may not be possible stop your possibilities of today. 
  • Think about how exciting it is to be able to eat again. Think of all the portions you are finally ALLOWED to eat. These aren't things you HAVE to eat, they are things you GET to it. And you deserve it. 
  • This is just a nice vacation from ED. Right now it's just a two-day weekend trip away...but who knows..maybe it could be a lifetime. You won't know till you try. 
I clenched this card, gritted my teeth and pushed through. I almost cried (would have if wasn't in public). Used some weird food rituals, but I got all my portions and had a freedom food. 

Triumph Treat: Not only was this when I had to face Devil's Food Cake Square....but I also got the brilliant idea of looking up the nutrition facts on my school website. Well...these didn't have enough calories to meet my minimum for triumph treat. My brain was not happy that I had realized this, because this meant today...on meet your meal plan day...I had to add to it. So I got to "enjoy" Devil's Food Cake and pudding. But wasn't as bad as I thought. In fact...I think I really did enjoy it. Granted half of it was mechanical eating so I didn't taste a bite, but I did feel slightly more free. 

Bagel: This was not only the first time having an unmeasured bagel, but also the school had only the super large ones (thanks't you have a small one today). Today was also the first night I had to put jelly on bagel without measuring it. The "portion" of spread has to cover both halves of the bagel, but apparently I was never supposed to be measuring it. felt more normal to just put it on...but it was a hell of a lot scarier. Halfway through this is hit me that I had almost done a full day of the plan and again panic set in. I wanted to tear this bagel so bad. To throw some away. But I shot up support texts like they were warning flares and got the support I needed to push through. 

The Final Bite: So my last snack is usually easy, but today...I just didn't want it. Well...I did want it maybe that was the problem. I actually had what I was craving which was scary as hell because I've never gotten full portion of it. But I am actually proud to say I did it. It was mechanical, I can't tell you what it tasted like, but I did it. 

And the aftermath. Honestly...I am proud of myself. And I realized something. ED had put this lie in my head that the portions were too much, this would be too hard, I needed to do it slow or change my meal plan....because he wanted me to feel I wasn't strong enough to recover. But as I've been saying...I know in my heart I am strong enough to do this outpatient, because I have God and amazing support and an amazing team. I knew I could do it, and today I proved myself right and ED wrong. But I won't lie...I am scared of what tomorrow (well today now) will bring. After I go to sleep...dreaming of future days like today I will wake up...walk over to the corner of my room...and step on the machine that has dictated my life for so long. I am scared what that moment will bring. But again, I have support, I have God....and I am hoping I can push through. But that's tomorrow....right now...I am gonna be in this moment of success. Long overdo and very hard-earned success. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Start of Someone New

Again Freedom Friday will be moved and possibly I will just do a huge one next week because honestly I am at a pivotal point in my recovery right now and I know I will be needing to concentrate on getting my real emotions out on here. On using this more as a journal than as a blog the next few days. But next Fri I will do a giant post. But for now....I need to share something. It's long as hell and you all don't have to read's more for me...because tonight I reached a crossroads and chose the road less traveled....and I feel that's going to make all the difference. Sorry there are no pics...but I just need to be raw, to be me, to strip away the pretty pictures and just give reality a chance to shine through.

So tonight I admitted something to a friend of mine that I have never admitted to anyone…not even really myself. You see I realized something was still holding me back. Some invisible wall is still standing in the way of me breaking through to true recovery. By the end of our conversation I think I found that thing. But it started with my honesty.

Here was the secret I shared. I know how far I have slipped in my disorder and it scares me. Because I feel like two and a half years ago when I left Renfrew residential treatment I felt free. I felt I could eat food. I was living on cloud nine, living in freedom. I feel like I blinked and somehow got to where I am now. At my lowest BMI and more scared of food than I have ever been. More obsessed with movement than ever before. And I have no clue how it happened.

I didn’t restrict to x amount of calories or go to the gym x amount of hours or run x amount of miles…so I don’t feel I can say that I am anorexic again…but under all diagnostic criteria I am. I still do restrict because I don’t meet meal plan and I still do overexercise because I do more movement than approved to. But still…that’s all I’ve done so I don’t know how I got this thin? How I got this sick (mentally and physically)? Because in my eyes….I don’t have my anorexia to blame. And it just confuses and scares me.
I feel I have lost control of my mind. Back when I full-blown relapsed I could say my mind was so obsessed because I was anorexic and starved and all that. Now though….I don’t feel I full-blown relapsed and it scares me that while my actions weren’t as severe…the consequences of them were worse than ever before. Here I am at my lowest BMI and my most unstable mind and all I did was dabble in my anorexia…and that scares me.

I also admitted to her that I am scared I might die. There are nights I got to sleep and am afraid I won’t wake up. These are the nights I go to sleep knowing I didn’t fully meet my meal plan. That I restricted portions. That I was too active. So as much as I say I don’t like my meal plan and think its too much….part of me knows it is all that is keeping me alive. And that….that scares me.

Then my friend asked me some questions no one has ever asked me. Probably because she is recovered and thus she understands my mind. First question: when you went to treatment did part of you feel excited because you could eat again? I answered this a little bit in my earlier post, but the answer was a resounding: YES! Finally, someone understood and said she (and many others) felt the same when they went to treatment. It’s like finally…after all this suffering, people were going to force you to eat again and you knew you would do it. And though I would put the face on that I didn’t want to….so much of me was excited to sit down at the meal and be forced to eat. I was never one of the patients who struggled to get through the first meal….I “put on” a struggle…but inside….I was so hungry not just for food but for freedom…that eating the meal was easy.

Her next question was one I only ever had one other person ask me and that was my best friend in treatment: when you left treatment how did you feel? I was completely honest. I let the walls fall down. I’ve never told anyone this but when I got discharged from treatment this last time….I broke down. I literally couldn’t stop crying and no one knew why. Everyone was expecting me to be excited and there I was crying. When people asked why…I lied. I told them it was just scared what people would think of me. Or that I was sad to leave. Or whatever excuse I made in that moment.

The truth: the honest truth. I was sad to leave but not because of the people I was leaving behind. But because I knew when I got back home, back to reality….well nothing would be different. I would go back to restricting and watching calories. I wouldn’t be allowed to eat what I did in treatment. Desserts….those would go back to being a curse word. Fats….those would be meticulously counted and restricted. Measuring utensils…those would be back in an instant. Exercise….that would be ramped back up. And I broke down. I cried. Because I wanted that freedom to last….I wanted the joy I had been experiencing to stay forever….but I never accepted (and still haven’t) that that could be a reality for me. That food and happiness was something I could have on the outside of treatment.

Everything was good up to the point we got to the airport and I had to buy a snack. It all came back as I looked through all the calorie contents…..and I ran back to my old ways. Away from the freedom and back to captivity. And now I am realizing that fear that I couldn’t sustain recover in the real world…the fear that had me run back to nutrition panels…it’s what’s holding me back now.

I think I have to restrict and control my food for the rest of my life. I think it’s the only way to keep me safe. But safe from what? In my mind…it keeps me safe from my past. From ever going back to being overweight, let alone obese. In my mind, I escaped the torture and condemnation I had when I was that weight by restricting. By controlling my food I lost weight, the rude comments and forced diets stopped. There was no more pain. In fact….when I started restricting…that was the same time the boyfriend my mom had who abused me left. It’s the same time my brother stopped using drugs and hurting me. It’s when my mom broke through depression. My life improved a lot in this time. So I clung onto this idea that restricting is what kept me safe and ended all the pain.

But now it’s become what I have to do. That I have to control my food to control my weight and thus my life. And since I went through significantly more abuse when I was heavier than I have being underweight….it’s become the aim in my life to prevent myself from being overweight. In my mind this is only done through dieting and controlling food intake. But now I am stuck in the trap of feeling I have to control my intake and exercise more in order to not gain weight so that everything can be okay.

Well…here’s my reality now. I have to relinquish control of my food by accepting a meal plan I see as entirely too much. I am medically severely underweight and thus need to gain weight to live. I can’t medically withstand exercise beyond yoga. So what have I done…I’ve found other ways to control everything.  I have restricted portions so I am still controlling my food intake and thus preventing weight gain. I have measured and torn breads and pre-package items to ensure I don’t get too much and gain weight. I have pushed myself to get the hardest yoga possible and to do 3 instead of my approved 2 times a week of it. I have made my triumph treats safe so as to avoid losing control and feeding my every desire. I have done exactly what I feel I need to do to stay safe and exactly what in reality I need to do if I want to die or at least be miserable the rest of my life.

But I am so scared to let control go, because I have never given myself the chance to do it. What if my fears are true? What if I start gaining weight rapidly and thus feel myself propelling closer and closer to obesity (though in reality I am just getting closer to healthy weight)? What if all the bad parts of life come flooding back? That scares me a lot. But I also know two things about this. One….I will never know till I try. Till I give recovery and my meal plan a shot. I will never know. And two….if that is the reality and I start gaining weight too fast….I can stop it. ED says I won’t be able to…but my track record of the past 6 years of my restrictive lifestyle says I can…and frequently do lose any weight I gain. I also have a dietitian that can stop it in a safer way as well….so this is nothing to fear.

Now what if the opposite happens. What if the reality I never let myself even think of happens? What if I see that I can eat and not gain weight rapidly? What if exactly what happened inpatient happens out here? What if I get full portions and snacks and meet my meal plan and don’t overexercise and I gain weight at a steady but not overwhelming pace? Then what if the crazy happens and I stop gaining weight and need even more as happened inpatient? What if I come to find I can trust my body and food? What if my life gets better? What if my dreams begin becoming realities? What if life is more beautiful that I can ever imagine? Well….that would be pretty nice.

So I have two roads I can take. I can either stay on this road I am on and sure….I will be protected from ever having to face the fear of weight gain and will probably continue to lose weight. Or I will gain a little weight then find a new way to restrict my meal plan. I will keep being afraid of food, but at least I won’t have to gain weight or change my ways or face the fear of the unknown. That is one option.

The other option. I commit to my N plan. She already knows of the restriction I do and all that and I have begged and pleaded that she decrease my exchanges so I can get back on track, but she won’t. Why? Because every time she does we get right back to this point. And she tells me this plan is the one I need. So I can commit to the plan she has for me now. I can get full portions and completely follow her guidance. This means gaining weight, it means the possibility of gaining too fast. It means all of the pain and bad things that happened could come back. But how long will I really let all the bad things last…like a week. And I can lose any weight I gain in a week really fast (I know..disordered thought but its helping me). But there is also the possibility of freedom on this path. That I will see I can trust my N and my plan and I can stop being so obsessed with portions and how much I need to restrict and can just eat in a semi-peace (we know ED will be screaming) and eventually in a full peace.  That’s the other option….scarier because it’s the unknown…but it brings the possibility of hope.

In case you haven’t figured it out…I’m choosing Option B….following my N plan. Once I made this decision I got all my full portions and tomorrow…it’s gonna be full portions all day. And not of a safer plan that I decrease too, because that is not what my N says to do and that is still controlling my food instead of giving over the control. And the only reason I wouldn’t do this plan is because I think it is too much and all of the additions back in would increase cals too much and I would gain weight too fast. But here is how I am countering that.
  1.     ED likes to do this thing of making me think I am restricting portions more than in reality I am. Really they aren’t that much less than I need and thus adding back in the portions can’t cause huge weight change as ED says because its not that much caloric difference. Now…mentally it is causing huge damage and thus undoing it does have the potential to make a significant impact into me having a better mental and emotional freedom.
  2.    This plan is not more than 3500 calories, thus since I am eating all of it just with smaller portions I am not restricting more than 3500 calories. Since 3500 calories is a lb of weight I can’t possibly gain more than 2 lbs maximum over the next two days of this plan. Then Mon I can go screaming to my N with proof I need a decrease. Then we can decrease to a plan that my body needs to gain in a controlled manner and I will be able to get the full portions and work from there up as needed.
  3. I will most likely continue to use my scale and thus will know exactly what is happening. So I still have somewhat a sense of control. I will not let it impact what I do, but at least I will have instant knowledge (as in after doing plan all day Sat I will be able to know on Sun) of how it is impacting me. I will know pretty quickly what reality is.

So I am scared but I am starting this new path to a new me. In fact, I already have with my snacks tonight and it feels really good. Scary, but good. I feel more motivated, happier, and already more free than ever before. And kind of like that first day in treatment when I got permission to eat…I am excited about tomorrow and the permission I will be granting myself to be able to eat. Yes…I am scared how much weight gain this will entail, but I know my meal plan can adjust down if need be and that my metabolism can rev up to make up for it as has happened in treatment…so it will be okay. And really that is my only fear is the weight gain. But I think the possibility of this immense freedom….of never again having to control my food….that’s worth a possible two days of a lot of weight gain.

Don’t hear me wrong. Monday will not bring an end to doing my meal plan and getting portions, it will just bring the possibility of my meal plan lowering if it is too much. But I am not even going to think that way right now, because there is also the possibility that it is not too much and my N is right. Well…we won’t know till I try…and so that’s what I am going to do. That’s what I am already doing. I am scared, I am excited….I feel as though I am ready. Here is the start to a new journey…a new tomorrow…a new me. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Smash the Scale (Part 2 of post)

What?! Two posts in one day....yes it is going to happen, because I need to write this for me. So I went to N appt today and it was the best session ever (minus the meal plan changes and freedom foods). I even cried at it....first time that's happened. But I was pure, raw, and honest. I broke down and told her everything I was so scared of. And she was honest back. Honest and pure. WARNING: I do use a number in here in the last paragraph under The Big One, but I need to use number so I can come back and read this....PLEASE SKIP THIS PART IF IT IS A TRIGGER!

Inpatient v Outpatient: This was the first thing we talked about. She told me she honestly thinks I need inpatient because mentally I am so sick. She knows I have the personality to do this outpatient, but add in school, work, religious activities, clubs, research and she said it's understandable and acceptable to say that I need to take a break and make my health a priority. In the end I am still choosing to do this outpatient, but it was nice to hear her say she believes I have the personality to do it. She didn't say I was strong enough. She didn't say I know enough. She didn't say I have motivation enough. She said I had the personality. That is something about me, that is who I am, that is something that can't fade from day to day. To have her basically say I am meant a lot.

Teaching the Body to Trust: This is a post I meant to do this weekend. But basically we talkedabout something a friend pointed out to me. I have been saying I can't trust my body when reality is my body has no reason to trust me. I have either binged or restricted. I have never given my body proper, constant nutrition. I have had an ED my whole life basically (since I was 6) my body can't even trust me to feed it. It doesn't know what to do with food because I haven't given it a chance to learn. So we are kind of on this road together. I am learning how to feed it and it is learning what to do with food. I am learning to be the girl God called me to be, it is learning (and probably already knows) how to be the body God designed it to be. We are both learning proper nutrition, and both learning to trust one another.

Health is more than labs: So part of the reason for the recent struggle is I went to a new doc and she told me that I could just maintain and that my weight was low but she had seen lower. NOT what you say to someone with an ED. So I was back in this world where I convinced myself my health was fine and thus I didn't need to gain weight. But then I realized my memory has gotten worse, its harder to concentrate, my hair is brittle, I bruise easily, I can't warm up. My N pointed out I am constantly sick or complaining of being tired or having GI issues. I can't move my bowels without taking something. So maybe my labs are fine. But these other signs....they aren't. And once my labs aren't fine....things could go so fast that I can't stop them. It could basically be a sign that it's too late.

Is there a middle ground? Like I posted yesterday I am scared there is no middle ground from me. I am scared of the freedom I felt on Monday because I am scared I will end up overweight and obese. That I will go back to binging. REALITY CHECK: right now I can barely meet my meal plan and am severely underweight.....binging and obesity is quite a far way away. My N used an amazing analogy. It would be like planning where I want my daughter to go to school RIGHT NOW. Daughter? I don't even know if I want kids, I don't even have a boyfriend let alone a husband, and I don't have a way to support a kid. How crazy would it be to plan and change my whole life based on where I want a kid to go to school? Yet I have been making my whole life and choices in recovery revolve around the fear of binging and being obese. I think at this point, if I am honest, having a daughter is a lot more likely than that happening.

But she also's okay in the back of your mind to be like...if I have a daughter one day I think I might want to have her try hip-hop. In the same way it is okay in the back of my mind to know if I ever do struggle with binging again here is how I might handle it. But not to fixate on it, not to change my current living on it. I wouldn't move to Nebraska tomorrow because they have a school I want my hypothetical daughter to go I shouldn't change how I eat now because I am scared one day I will be binging and obese. Binging, obesity, and having kids are all far off things that may or may not ever happen. But my life is happening right is my reality, so I need to live in this moment.
And here is the other thing too. How do you find a middle ground with eating? How do you learn to eat healthy and maintain weight? You hire a nutritionist to help guide you. You get a meal plan and you follow it. You take the medical advice of a dietitian and you follow it. So really....I am set to find my middle ground because I have a dietitian. And once I start gaining weight we can stop having our whole sessions revolve around that and have time for me to be educated on nutrition and what "normal eating" looks like and what I need to do to get there.

Start Today Motivational  Poster
The Big One: Gaining I finally broke down with the N and told her I don't want to gain. Plain and simple. I don't, I can't, I won't. Then it hit me. I can't avoid it. The point I am at being a significant amount underweight....I just can't avoid it. I say I want to maintain but even that's not true. The only thing I know how to do when I don't gain is to lose. And here's the reality....if I lose much more I will die. I don't know how or why but I can. That's the plain and simple truth. So no matter what, eventually I am going to gain weight. Eventually I am going to lose so much weight that I am going to break down and go inpatient or have parents force me there or I am going to break down and to it outpatient or I am going to die. Three choices....die, gain inpatient, gain outpatient. That's it.
So each time I lose now it's just another pound I have to gain. It's not even a loss....because its going to have to come back. I am honestly just making it harder on myself because I am making the amount I have to gain increase more and more. The time I have to wait to get back to cycling and running more and more. It's like gaining has become something I kind of have no choice over. But I do have a tiny choice left....whether I do it inpatient or outpatient. This is not just a choice I make, but a choice I prove with my actions. If I want this outpatient I HAVE TO COMPLY AND DO IT!

The reality is you can't be 92 lbs and 5' 7.5" and be allowed to maintain. And how much more can you really lose? Your BMI is can't lose anymore you just can't. And no matter what you will eventually end up having to gain weight. And do you really want to be 89 lbs and then be scared of breaking 90 like you are now scared of breaking 100? No you don't. And you are too close to 89 to keep on going with losing.

So I'm Back

This week I am going to rely on God, going to try and blog more, and going to meet my plan. I am going to need A TON of support as I do this. I am also thinking of getting rid of the scale. Daily weighing is getting in the way of me gaining because of my immense fear of it. I think the best time for me to face the scale is when I am in the nutritionist office and can talk it out....not when I am alone in my room. 
I know weight gain is going to start....that scares me. I have tons of fears (will it be too fast, too much, will I cope, can I do it, etc), but that is okay. I had these fears when I went inpatient too and will have them if I have to go inpatient now. But here is the thing....I have to do this. It's going to happen at some point, and I really don't want to have to gain any more weight than I already do. I don't want to add another week onto the time I have till I can cycle again. So I guess it's time to start gaining. Accept the fear is going to be there, but push through it, blog about it, get it out of me. Cling to my Father. Do whatever I have to do to stick to my plan. It's just one week. I am just agreeing to do it this one week. We will see how this ONE WEEK goes and then next week I can decide again. It's okay...I can do this. I just need to breathe, accept, and now that this gaining has to happen....might as well start now. 

Stupid Scale

Sorry guys but I need to vent. Remember how I said this blog was about honesty? Well it's time to get honest.

I went to bed last night feeling really full and my mind swarmed with thoughts of how I would weigh more this morning and blah, blah, blah. Well, I woke up this morning and first off my tummy was not agreeing with me so it was a little more active than normal. I knew this would affect my weight but that didn't hold me back. Nope...instead I did the one thing I desperately need to stop doing, I went and weighed myself.

Now (as silly and disgusted as I am that I did this) I prayed before I weighed. I asked begged God to please, please, please let me loose weight. Let me see that eating is okay. My mind jumped to yesterday and how I slightly restricted and then made up the calories....had I overdone it? Could my body really be trusted? I closed my eyes and stepped on the machine that has ruled my life for so many years.

I didn't lose. I know, I know this is good. But honestly it doesn't feel like it. I know other people will be cheering about this. And they will try to comfort me by saying that at least I didn't balloon like I always think and that since I am maintaining and not gaining really I do need more....but I am just not seeing that. It's not that I want to weigh less....I know how dangerous that is....but with maintaining my weight comes the fear it won't last and somehow my weight will shoot up, and then with gaining comes well the fear of gaining. So I am stuck with only being happy losing weight.

Why am I still so obsessed. Why can't I just be free...just accept weight gain. It's like this is the one hurdle standing in my way. I don't want to use numbers but I am significantly by a lot. Each lb I lose gets me further and further away from being able to run again. It makes the weight gain scarier and scarier because the amount I have to gain gets larger and larger. Yet losing weight is what I desire. I think it's because it justifies me calms me and shows me I can eat food and my body does know what to do with it.

But it's getting ridiculous. It's becoming the reason I don't drink a lot of fluids at night now because I am scared what the scale will say the next day. Then there is the fact that I know I shouldn't weigh every day, but I am too scared to drop down to every other day. When did this grab hold of my life again? Why can't I just let it go?

I mean I guess its my one last form of control, but I feel more out of control when I weigh. Even when I lose my brain doesn't say I need more, it says it is fluctuations and will come back or blames it on being more active or something. Of course if I went to not weighing every day I couldn't write it off as fluctuations. And then when I gain even the slightest it's NEVER fluctuations. It's always a particular food or triumph that is to blame. Please....if you don't weigh please don't start. And if you do, please stop. I wish I was strong enough too...but right now I feel chained to this damn scale.

I need it to reassure me I can eat, but the reality is I only get that assurance when I lose weight....and with day to day fluctuations....daily weighing is never guaranteed to give me the reassurance even if I deserve it. Even if its fluctuation gain and not real gain. And then there is the fact that I have to gain weight. I don't know how I am going to find reassurance then? How am I going to justify eating more than enough.....eating enough to gain weight. I am not sure, but I have to find a way.

So I don't know why I posted this....I just needed to get out my frustration with the scale. I am tired of it ruling my every thought and tired of being so chained to it. Every morning it's the same routine and I am sad to say its gotten back to the point that it determines my mood. I am also frustrated that I am not trying to cut down to every other day...I am not even looking at it as a possibility. Yet I know deep down I need to do that, then cut down to a few days a week, then once a week, and then only with N. But right now I am going to try and claim victory by not letting the numbers that flashed at me this morning determine my day. I am going to pray through this poor decision, forgive myself, and forge on. Guess, right now, that's the only way to begin to break these chains.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

FreEDom #2: Fear to be Free

Blog ButtonSo this is another lovely #freEDom Tuesday. Different from my Freedom Fridays which are Freedom Food based, this is inner freedom based. A day I am guaranteed to not hold back, to say the things I want to stay hidden. I have been doing really well with this this week actually, but something hit me yesterday that made me feel ashamed. So I figure I need to share it....seems counter-intuitive, but it tends to feel better when I get things out.

So yesterday I really implemented my Dining with Daddy idea at my meals. I also started the morning with Him, especially after a weigh-in that had me freaking out. I can't explain how or really why, but the day was so easy. I had a craving for a muffin....granted it was a weight watchers muffin...but still I had a craving. I drove out of my way to go and get it and spent the extra money on myself.....on FOOD for myself. This is something I rarely due. Granted this craving has been around for months and I've been ignoring it. And granted the muffin turned out to be a new kind not the kind of my childhood and was significantly smaller than their old ones and much less sweet (but hey...what should I expect from a weight LOSS company). was a big step and it was really easy to do.

As I sat at lunch faced with a meal that has been a huge fear and I haven't been able to get right portions on in the past, it happened again. This ease of eating. I got all my portions and just started eating them, no thought of restricting or leaving things behind crossing my mind. Then all of a sudden, I realized how easy it was...and panic set it. It's like I got anxiety out of the lack of anxiety. I realized I hadn't double/triple/quadruple checked my portions, half my bagel was gone and I hadn't torn, I had given myself full fats and already eaten them and wasn't feeling stress over it. Could this be? How was this happening?

Then I was just confused. Here I was scared, because I wasn't scared. Anxious because I didn't know where my anxious thoughts were. Any normal person would take lack of anxiety and fear as a good thing, but I am starting to realize I fear the peace and the silence without them. I fear the normalcy. Because at lunch when I should have been rejoicing over the freedom I felt, I sat paralyzed if fear. There were no anxious thoughts telling me to stop did that mean I should continue? What if this freedom got too much? I mean I had just gone out and bought myself a WW muffin and here I was not analyzing all my portions and controlling them.....what if I started eating and enjoying it. What if this freedom became an every day thing? Would I all the sudden end up eating whatever I wanted?

Notice how all the above things to any normal person would be good. Would be a sign of normalcy and relief. To me they brought crippling fear because I was scared in allowing myself to just eat and not control it, I would/will end up back to my obese days of my past. I know logically this is crazy. Back then I would binge eat.....trying to fill the void left in my heart from years of neglect and abuse. But it in my moment of freedom it seemed like a reality. Because the only time I have not controlled my food is when my eating was out of control. I don't understand or know what a middle ground looks like. To me I either restrict, or I binge.....and honestly I like being on this end much, much more. The world (as sad as it is) is much nicer to you when you are underweight with an ED than overweight with an ED. I'm just scared to be that size again. It makes me sad and mad and guilty to admit that. I don't judge others for their size, but myself...I never want to be that heavy again...I just don't. It was miserable. The things other kids and even adults said to me....they still burn my mind in an ever constant inferno. They still bring tears to my eyes. Honestly....they are the things in my mind every time I look in the mirror...even now being so underweight.

I think right now the fear is just that without the anxiety and fear holding me back I will be free....completely free...and I don't trust myself with that freedom. Silly analogy here, but its kind of like I feel like I am a dog. I constantly need a leash on me and though I am comfortable giving myself a leash that is retractable and thus gives me a little room to run...I still want that lock button that will jerk me back when I go too far. It's sad but I am scared to let myself eat sweets or give into my cravings because I am convinced I will go too far.

The moments of freedom though....that lunch I had....I was happy in that moment. But once I realized fear wasn't's like I felt I had nothing to cling to. I am trying to learn to cling to my Father in these times, and yesterday I did manage to. I even managed to do a whole untorn bagel even though I tore it originally. I went back and ate the torn pieces and felt that freedom. But this morning....when I stepped on the scale...I did it just to put that lock back on. The scale didn't even move....but the fact that I didn't lose was enough for me to tell myself that freedom couldn't happen.

I don't know why I am still so scared to be free and why I am scared to gain. I don't know why I am so stuck still in wanting to see the numbers go down even though I don't want to lose weight. I guess this life of chaos and disorder has become my order and my normalcy....but don't I deserve better? I mean I know in my heart I do, but I don't know what better is? To me the other side of this is my binge eating mind says if I'm not here in control then I am there out of control. I just need to see the middle. Understand the middle. Experience the middle. But I guess I am scared the middle isn't there for me.

So for now I am going to fear the freedom, but that's okay. I am going to feel the fear, but feel the freedom to. I am not going to cling to the fear...I am just going to let it pass and try and cling to my Father's arms. Will I succeed every time? No. But that's okay too. I need to discover for myself that freedom isn't the loss of control, but is giving control over to the One who deserves it....who can do good with it. It's not about going out of control, but having the strength to let the control out. I need to see that by handing over my control everything will be just as it should be....not too much, not too little...just enough because He is enough.

So right now I may be on a retractor leash...but who knows....maybe tomorrow I can let myself off-leash a little. Perhaps it will just be for some time in the dog park....surrounded by fences that can hold me in. But those fences will have gates and when I am ready and when the Father knows I'm ready maybe those gates will fly open and I will be ready to be free.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Freedom Friday #7

 First off happy MLK Jr Day and welcome to another redition of Freedom Friday (this time on a Monday....part of the freedom I guess). Anyway....tons of freedom foods to share so lets get to it.

First up is a double whammy: green apple and a turkey burger on corn tortilla with guac. The big deal with this is this turkey burger I was facing weekly last semester and then I stopped because my N stopped telling me to do it, but I really do love them. The scary thing in them is that I don't get to see them cook it and the fat content scares me. To get me to start doing it, last semeseter I got to count them as 3 proteins and 2 fats. Not only did my N hit me this week with choosing it as one of my freedom foods....she also said it was only protein. Fat exchanges must be addable, not part of food. So there were tears at this meal. It took me longer than I care to admit, and I had to rely on others more than I like to say, but I finished it all.....and I added guac and had almonds and olives on the side to get all those fats in. Looking at it looks the was scary as Hell.

The day after the turkey burger it was time for something I have avoided for the 3 years I have been at my university: Double Fudge Cookie. One, I was NEVER allowed these kinds of cookies growing up and two....I don't know the last time I had real chocolate or a real cookie. As you see I took a bite before remembering to snap a pic, and let me tell you it was amazing. It was soooo good, but also quite scary. But you know what....I only ate one cookie and nothing happened....literally nothing. Nothing happened to my weight, my tummy...anything. Well...that's wrong....something did happen. I discovered it's okay to have a cookie and I gave my body something it I was wrong something did happen: freedom happened. Double Fudge Freedom!

 And as if two days of challenges wasn't enought the next day I had two freedom meals. First up, Pasta and Tuna. I honestly love the taste of plain pasta, but had to mix in tuna not just for the protein, but because I was running out the door as I ate this. Pasta is still very scary for me and apparently I counted it as too many starches AND I'm supposed to have it with a sauce next time, but hey....this was a start. Sometimes freedom is a process not a destination. 

 My next freedom meal that day almost gave me a panic attack. Here it lovely dinner. Split pea soup, pkra  olives, sunflower seeds, some of that PB&Co Peanut butter, banana, and unpictured was pretzels and yogurt. Some of these things are go-to for my Sunday dinner because there is no meal plan...but this meal the freedom was in: peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and banana. At this point, no part of me wanted to do it....I just wanted to give in and do a safer meal. But I also wanted to show you all it could be I pushed through. As you see though I did leave out some of banana (it was bruised...but still that's just an excuse) and that PB probably isn't a Tbsp....but hey it is a start.

Next up is something that brought back that Xmas Spirit I have been missing: York Peppermint Patty. These used to be my favorite candy, but I haven't had one in 5 years. What better way to break it in then make it Snowflake Shaped and freeze it??? There isn't one. Because York peppermint Patties HAVE TO BE FROZEN! Anyway, it was amazing and after dominating that cookie days before this was a walk in the park. The minty, snowflake park. 

 You know how I say I obsess with measuring....take a look at this pic....see all those small bowls...those are 1/2 cup bowls and how I measure everything....hoping one day I can relax on that. Anyway, onto the freedom....tall dining hall white rolls. These I had once my freshmen year and then ED convinced me they were unhealthy or were secretly buttered or something. Well....they aren't any of those things. All foods can fit in a healthy diet (I am told) and me and my N both agree these are freaking delicious and don't need or have butter. I used it to make a little sandwich with my tuna and hummus, but next time think I'm gonna try it just as a roll....and next time gets to come up this week (tonight actually) as my N wants me to do them again.
Going along with the lovely bread trend, this is something I picked up at the store to try. It's an Lender's Onion Bagel. Honestly a bit of a dissapointment, because I couldn't taste the onion at all, but I also kind of toasted it too didn't give the poor bagel a fair shot of impressing me. Also, my anxiety was through the roof because it was my second bagel of the day and the other one was one of the NY style dining hall ones. It was rough, but again I got through. And since the bagel comes in a 6 pack...I have to do it at least 5 more times (N won't let me say I don't like something until I've tried it 3's our no judgement rule). 

And finishing off this post is an old favorite I have been avoiding: Veggieball Pita Pocket. My school has these things called Veggieballs that I am OBSESSED with. Despite tons of fear I have around them, I try and push myself to have them. It really messes with my OCD too....because apparently even motorized factories can't make Veggieballs of equal size. Throw in pitas which I am trying to over come....and it was tons of Freedom anxiety  fun. But was nice to give my body what I wanted. I figure on most days I don't want to eat my meal plan...might as well make it somewhat enjoyable by feeding cravings....especially with food I've done before.

And that's all the Freedom Foods from this past week. But with this new dining with daddy concept...who knows what freedom awaits this week. I am thinking I may even face my fear of jumbo muffins...we shall see...