Thursday, January 10, 2013

Handling Meal Plan Changes

Hey everyone--

Just wanted to pop in briefly today. I miss blogging so much and have so many ideas of future posts (including finishing Zoblacki breakthroughs) but honestly I have just been slammed. It's the first week of classes and my schedule has changed a billion (okay like 3) times. I am already bogged down with school work, and had tons of meetings for my job this week. Needless to say, by the end of the day I have barely had time to send my dietitian a food diary, let alone do any posting.

My hope is this weekend I can kind of pre-blog some posts that are on my mind and release them throughout the week but we will just have to see. But, in the meantime, I wanted to get this post out there because its something I am currently struggling with and since I blog instead of journal, I need to get it out of my head.

So as you all know I was struggling last week as I transitioned back to school from home. This came along with the realization that, though I did better at home, I still restricted. Sure I used nifty ways to justify my restriction (wasn't doing the portions right, upsetting stomach, less active, blah, blah, blah) but those were all excuses used to avoid the fear and panick meeting my meal plan at home would bring. As I came back to school I was hit with the reality that I would have to meet with my dietitian and therapist and face the music. You can read about all that craziness here.

But anyway, I decided to go with doing my protein snack and not doing the fat exchanges instead of adding back in both. I e-mailed my N and told her about this so I felt okay about it (of course the e-mail went out after 5 pm on Fri so I knew she wouldn't get it till Mon). The weekend went by pretty smoothly and I made strides with not tearing items (though I did have to reset the counter I talked about due to tearing yesterday). I was feeling okay and even when I weighed (something I need to stop doing) on Monday and the scale was up...I felt okay about it. Then the e-mail came.

I figured my N would respond to my e-mail and expected her to say I needed to get back on the plan. I knew in my mind I would never do that, then we would talk about it in our session, and eventually I would probably get back on the plan (this is not what I suggest anyone fact it is probably a method that will land me inpatient). What I didn't expect was for her to say I could not do the full plan but needed to do the fats instead of the protein snack (calorically these are equivalent).

It was like my world was flipped upside down. I had no arguments I could send about why I shouldn't do that. I couldn't say one would cause more weight gain, I couldn't say I didn't want extra calories, I couldn't do anything. Trust me...I tried to find excuses to stick with the protein snack, but all I could find were reasons why I should switch to the fats. It is the nutrient I am most scared of, the one I most avoid, I took them away only because I was restricting them before, they are calorically the same as the snack, and it was a scheduling nightmare to fit in 4 snacks, but these exchanges were just part of meals.

So I responded to her e-mail the only way I could. By telling her I was scared out of my mind to do it, but that I trusted her. That I was convinced somehow getting calories from fat would cause me to balloon, but again I was trusting her. And then come Tuesday (the e-mail didn't come till late Monday) I started my new plan.

Usually this doesn't go so well for me the first day, but Tuesday....I managed to not only do the plan, but also face fear foods. I got the full portioned fats for the first time ever and didn't feel as stuffed at the end of the day. Why was this time different? Because I approached it differently.

Reached Out: The first thing I did when I got the e-mail was tell my support who all helped convince me to go with my N switch. They reminded me in treatment there was no negotiation. What the N said/wanted happened. By trying to manipulate and take advantage of my N, I am honestly just slapping her in the face and saying she doesn't matter and her opinion isn't valued. I care too much about her to do that.

By reaching out to them I also asked for their support. I texted them when I felt like restricting, I vented to them, I asked them to check in on me. I set myself up for success by setting up the same support I find in treatment. By setting up the accountability I desperately needed. I knew Tuesday would be a struggle, so I set up the help I would need to get through.

Focus on the Positives: I also tried to reframe my mentality. Instead of looking at all the reasons this switch would suck or why I didn't want to do it (which actually the healthy part of me wanted to do it, it was the ED part that didn't) I made a list of reasons why I should do this plan. Why the switch from protein snack to fat exchanges was better. Why I needed the fats. This equipped me with a tool to whip out anytime my brain said I didn't need to do it. Here are parts of the list:

  • The only way to get over the fear of fats is to eat more of them
  • The two things are the same calorically
  • You will never know if your fear of fats is justified unless you do this
  • You can never come up with a protein snack you actually like anyway. 
  • It's too cold out for protein shakes
  • The shakes were upsetting your stomach
  • The fats will give you healthier skin and more energy
  • Your N said to do it and you need to learn to be compliant
I know this doesn't work for some people, but for me it helped a lot. It made it a much more positive thing to do, then something I was fighting to do. 

Greater Goal: I also tried to remind myself this was about normal eating. Normal eating means learning to get the right portions and fats are the thing I struggle portions with the most, so this is a great exercise to work on becoming more normal. I also tried to remind myself I was trying to stay out of treatment and in treatment I will have to do whatever the N wants. My N now met me halfway, so I needed to thank her by doing the right thing. 

Higher Power: I also relied a lot on God and on the message that was preached at my church on Sunday. I want to do a post about this, but let me just say it will blow your mind. Basically it is about the one thing you want to change this year and why we can and should do it. They gave us a verse that I know have plastered all around my room. If you don't want to wait for my post you can check out the sermon here. 
I prayed through the hard times and reminded myself God was there. That God wants me to nourish my temple and these fats were how I needed to do it. 

So with all of this in place I managed to push through both Tuesday and yesterday (struggled a little bit but not with fats). So I guess how you cope with meal plan changes is you just dive in and do it. You trust that your N (who has a freaking degree after all and knows a lot more about nutrition than you think you do) knows what they are doing. I  always remind myself that my form of nutrition and the way I have applied the information has gotten me to where I am now. It has gotten me to a place I have medical issues, am underweight, and am scared of food. My N knowledge of nutrition has allowed her to live a healthy lifestyle and to help others live in freedom from food and issues around it. Based off this, who would you trust more? Answer: not yourself. 

Find our inner strength. 
So though it may be hard, take meal plan changes as a set of new challenges to overcome. New freedom to find. New victories to be achieved. Reach out for help and let your N know your fears. It's okay to be afraid, it's just an emotion. But we have to push through and let the emotion persists. We need to not run away, but press forward...doing the right thing in recovery which means our meal plans. 

If you have to just think of it as an assignment. If you are a perfectionist like me, you hate making anything less than an A and give your all into assignments. That's what the plan is and any changes are just another thing to check off your list. It's just another assignment for you to kick butt at. Do anything in your power to get the A you deserve. 

We all are strong enough to conquer a meal plan and any changes. Change is a part of life. It brings us the different seasons so we don't freeze in winter all day. It allowed woman the freedom to get out of the home and have jobs. And with our meal plan, it will bring us to a new place of joy, hope, and freedom. Let's embrace the change and the fear and set ourselves up to get through. 

Love you all. Back to the books. 

Do you have any meal plan changes you are struggling to accept?

What tools have helped you cope with new changes in life (meal plan or anything)?

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