Thursday, January 31, 2013

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.

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