Monday, February 25, 2013

A Move to Not Be Moved

So for the past few weeks I have been coming back to dorm after dance practice because I don't feel it is a work out enough and been doing twenty minutes of yoga. friend challenged me not to do that...but I just didn't think I could. I hadn't planned my day out that way. Now I had no movement to justify the eating I had done. And anxiety rose, but instead of doing yoga...I just wrote. Quite furiously and fast...but I wrote. I don't know what the rest of the night will bring...but right now I'm not doing yoga...and I guess that's good...Btw, that is my first ever personally edited photo at end :)

Tension rising
I feel the claws of anxiety wringing me from inside
Anxiety rising like steam inside of me
Unbearable pressure rising to the top
I feel myself suffocating
I feel myself start to gasp for breath

I know what will release this
It’s calling my name
Just one sprint,
One run,
One jump,
One crunch
Just some movement will release this all

As I take a seat I feel it continuing to rise
I resist the urge
Hoping, praying, yearning the tension to release
It rises ever more
Boiling over and I feel myself losing control
Losing the ability to resist
The drive becomes a desire, a need, a must

I must move,
I must do yoga
I must dance
I must do any little thing to get this tension out

I feel it peaking
I feel myself about to tip from the edge
My fingers dig into the edges of the chair
Clinging with desperation as the call gets louder
Just 10 minutes
It won’t hurt
It can’t hurt
It will release it all

But I dig in
Feet pressed firmly to the floor
I want to conquer
I want to be free
I want to learn another way

I breathe deeply and clench my eyes tight
It’s like resisting a magnet pulling ever stronger
The voices swirl in my mind of my unworth
You must move,
You must get up
Just one movement,
One small movement
We won’t do as much as before
It will all be better

I dig deeper
I harness the tiny amount of strength inside
I dig deep
I breathe
I clench the chair
Tonight I will not let go
I will not move
I will sit here firm
I will sit here till it all gets better
I will stay here till the pull goes away

I am firm in my stance
I shout “NO!”
Anxiety still present but not peaking
Perhaps I can…
Perhaps I can change my behaviors
Trust my body this one night,
Just once
Next week….I may do different
But just once…
Just for right now…
Maybe I can push through

My hands loosen there grasp on the chair
Pulsing with the pain it took to hold on
To release the call of the enemy I once called friend
My feet relax and I feel the ground underneath
Perhaps I need not move…
Perhaps it can all go away
If I just breathe

Saturday, February 23, 2013

When Recovery Gets Real......Scary

So first I need to do a quick update for you all. I am no longer seeing Iain. It's a long, complicated story, but I just realized I needed someone more specialized in eating disorders. He began to say and do things that weren't helpful in my recovery and I felt I was being blamed for that. Well, that decision was made final this week and then I had to begin the search for a new therapist.

I HATE seeking new treatment members. Absolutely hate it. Why? I feel judged. I feel scared they won't agree to treatment for the all too common reason that "I'm too complicated of a case." This can be determined by my weight, the length of time I have had my ED, or whatever other criteria they like to judge me on. Then, if I make it past the pre-judgement and meet them, there is the all too familar situation where my insurance says they work with ED and they clearly don't. But I stick with them because I don't want to go through the fear of judgement and rejection again. Then, for some reason or another (usually because my ED takes over) I stop seeing them because I have to go to treatment or something.

Well...this time I decided to go back through this scary process and risk rejection of treatment and risk finding another therapist that isn't an ED specialist..but I knew it was what I had to do. So I prayed with my amazing pastoral therapist about it, I contacted my insurance, and I got a (very short) list of ED specialized therapist. And I did what I always do and looked up ratings on the and pre-judged them. Of course...with a list of only 3 therapist and none of them having ratings....well that didn't turn out quite so well. So I just dove in and called that I had never heard of (thus relinquishing all pre-conceived notions). I had smartly (or so I thought) planned this for a Sat...that way I could talk to a voice-mail....well fate would have it another way.

You see, the voice-mail switched over to cell phone of the therapist herself. I literally was so caught off guard when she said "Hello" that I had word stumbling issues. Poor lady probably thinks I stutter now but anyway I finally got out the words that I was calling about therapy. I then found out this was the therapist herself and right away she jumped into questions. I was expecting a "call back Monday please," but no...right there in the middle of her Saturday she took my call and the time to talk with me. Score one for new therapist.

Now, I am used to the typical questions. You know...what's your diagnosis, how long have you had ED, which symptoms do you have, co-occurring conditions...blah, blah, blah. And I got those questions but then I got "Do you think you have relapsed?" This seems like a simple yes or no question till you get asked it. I stumbled through the words to explain how I was in between. Trying to justify somehow the fact that I wasn't fully relapsed...but I wasn't really in recovery. I kind of had gotten where I was through "slips." I had just not followed a meal plan, but really...I wasn't that bad. When I heard myself say these things I automatically thought: typical ED patient response. Justification and rationalization of behaviors. So I stopped talking and was like....yes....maybe I have...I am starting to see maybe I relapsed. I swear I could hear the therapist smile on the other line.

Then the next lovely question came after she apologized for all the questions. Oh, and I really liked her apology...because it was that she just wanted to make sure she had the time for me as a client. With that statement, I knew she knew about ED patients and how we do take more time and energy. And then she asked me how much I weigh. This is when it hit me that I knew I was underweight, because I was scared to tell her, but I finally spit it out. Her next words are what inspired this post.

You see this was the end of her questioning and she said she would take me as a client, but that we were going to have to set up a "safe weight" with my N. This isn't the weight she wants me at...this is a new concept...a weight I can't drop below. WOAH! Lady, hold up. You are limiting me.....woah. It's like I was falling and then all the sudden hit solid ground...and it hurt. Here I was starting to like this lady. And first...this got me excited. As did her following by her specialized training in ED. I mean I knew this lady knew what she was doing and would be the firmness and concreteness I need to feel guided in recovery and to maybe, actually recover. But this was short lived.

When Recovery Gets Real

You see...once our first session was set and I hung up the phone....panic ensued  This lady knew what the heck she was doing. She was gonna set limits. She was gonna push me. I was going to be put in a situation where I had the team I needed to recover. And there was going to be a stop to the freedom and semi-control I have had over my recovery.

You see, up to this point. I have been weighing myself. I have seen the numbers not move in the right direction and have kept on. I have met my meal plan but with safe foods till N pushes me. I have begun to push myself, but have resisted it the whole time. And the fact that it has taken me almost two years to start complying is sad. And now here is this lady. And I mean we haven't had a session yet, but she told me she is really firm. So I have a feeling all of the things I still want to hold onto that are ED are going to be not just pointed out to be, but taken away.

Yes, I know this is good, but it scares me. I mean it scares ED shitless and since ED is still a part of me...well it scares me to. And then there's the fact I am at the place I want to get better....and having an ED specialized therapist for the first time EVER makes that become a possibility. A very real possibility. And honestly...that reality of recovery scares me.

ED has shot off tonight. He wants me to lose as much as I can by Friday (my appt with her). To go crazy with my behaviors...even the ones I haven't used in forever. He wants me almost....binge...on my behaviors if that makes sense. This is gonna be a bad example, but one I know many of you will understand. It's like when you vow to go on a diet....and you choose the day...let's say Friday for example. And you let yourself have whatever you want leading up to Friday. Thursday night is a huge meal of all your favorites you will vow to never have again, just so you can have one last bite. Well that's how I am feeling. I feel like after Friday I will be sealed into real recovery, not the semi-recovery I have been living. The recovery where my team has total control and there are concrete consequences. And so in my mind, I need to use all my behaviors for the last time to get a final taste. And that scared me too....the fact that my brain jumped here.

You see I have been telling myself I haven't really relapsed...but this mindset...well it's the same one I had right before I checked into residential treatment after what I have deemed a real relapse. I've begun to realize that just because my cal intake wasn't concrete, just because I didn't have a goal weight or goal doesn't mean I haven't relapsed. I still restricted, I still overexercised, I still drove my weight lower.....and that is relapse. But you know...I am also happy this is how I feel. Why?

Because it means I really think I can recover. If I didn't I would feel the same I felt with other therapist...that it was just another doctor. I wouldn't feel this fear. The "checking into treatment" fear, the "oh shit I may actually have to eat and gain weight," the "this is gonna be freaking hard and scary" fear. I wouldn't feel that and haven't felt that, because I haven't thought real recovery was possible. I have known I can get away with not following meal plan still meeting exchanges, but knowing I am doing it with safe foods. Not doing more challenges because no one is making me. Not finishing that last bite because no one will see. And knowing if I lose, no one will stop me. But now, I feel there is a threat associated with losing. Like it has become something bad. Something to fight against. I always has been and people say I will die or whatever if I keep losing, but that isn't something I can grasp. But a contract is. Especially since I really want to see this therapist.

So I am happy that I am scared. I know, it's weird. But I am happy that maybe recovery is a reality. That maybe this therapist can help me. That maybe she can shut ED up enough or at least give the healthy part of me enough to grab onto...that I can move forward. Honestly, I don't know how to recover. I never have. I broke the rules in treatment, and have never had true recovery in the real world of I need someone who knows what they are doing. Who knows how to work with ED patients. Who knows how to get me to a place of moving forward. So I am scared, because this is the complete unknown. I'm scared because I've realized how far into relapse I have fallen. I'm scared because as much as my mind says to binge on my behaviors till Friday...I don't want to. I don't want to lie to my N and have a bad session on Wed. I don't want to be so worn down for my exam Thursday. So....I am going to have to keep fighting like I want to...and that scares me.

But again...I'm happy I'm scared. Maybe it's a sign that not only do I know this therapist is what I need...but I am actually ready to commit. That's why I always felt it going into treatment centers. I knew even if I wasn't ready to commit I had to. And now...feeling it I think it means I am ready to make myself commit. Because I really am sick and tired of feeling so sick and tired. Sure I do my triumph treats...but I should do them more often. Sure I meet my meal plan, but again it's with safe foods and it is because I know I can weigh myself. And es...I am scared because I know those comforts of weighing myself and not pushing my fears...they may have to go with this new therapist. But you know also means I am saying I am putting keeping this therapist before my ED....and that's a big thing. This fear shows that I am at the place where recovery can be my reality. That this Friday is the start of my first ever true outpatient treatment. And you know what....I'm scared....and I am damn proud of it. I'm scared and I'm not running away...I'm running towards my recovery reality....maybe it is a slow run....and maybe I will get turned around...but I'm ready to go.

Freedom Friday #10

Welcome to another rendition of Freedom Friday :) I don't have that many treats to share, but trust me there has been a lot of freedom this week. Mostly in breaking some rules of my ED and in being really open and honest with my N about my fears. These aren't food related fears, but fears about the functioning of my body. I am starting to get symptoms of prolonged malnourishment and emaciation that I told myself I would never get. And honestly I get scared....but I will post more about that later. 
I am happy to report after just a week of doing the scarier fruits and starches...I feel a lot more at peace with them now. In fact, I still get mostly scary fruits now and rarely have my one safe starch of green peas :) So anyway, on to the foods. 

First off was something I have managed to avoid with all kinds of excuses, but it is my schools Chicken and Brocolli from the make-your-own stir fry. I got it steamed (which is what they usually do actually), but it did scare me that they use oil on the same area they steamed mine. But as soon as I took a bite that dissapeared not only because it wasn't oily, but also because it was freaking delicious. And it made me excited because my family orders chinese a lot, and now I feel like I can go back to ordering my old favorite of steamed chicken and brocolli. To make sure I don't get afraid of this though, I am doing it again tomorrow. Hoping one day to even do it with rice :) And I need to work on mixing the chicken and brocolli together again. 

 And here is one of those scary fruits I told you about: apples! And to make it even better, I added chocolate peanut butter. Wanna know what makes this an even bigger deal? It was me finally complying with a meal plan change from two weeks ago I felt too scared to start....adding 2 fats to a snack. I have NEVER had to do a fat at a snack and so it really freaked me out. But I finally realized I was trying to play the role of my own dietitian....and that is what ended me up where I am. So with this snack I handed control back to my N.

I don't have a pic of it, but the fats at a snack has actually made me find a new love of bagel with hummus....freaking delicious and been a go-to these past few days. Still scary, but becoming more normal.
Next up isn't so much of a fear food as just a new food I tried and had to share about. I always have almonds with my b-fast and these Blue Diamond Coffee Almonds couple my love of almonds with my love (and I swear reliance) on caffeine. That's right, not only do these taste amazing, but they have caffeine too. So then when ED yells for me not to eat them....I just say..."Hey...I need my caffeine. Nothing gets in the way of me and my caffeine."  They also have Caramel Mochiatto and just Regular coffee flavor, but I went with Mocha :)

This next one just goes to show that people make mistakes. I faced something I told myself last year I didn't like: Grilled Chicken Patty. I had convinced myself it was salty (when really I was just scared of sodium content) and too greasy (reality: I was scared of slight amount saturated fat). Well...N has had this a million times and she knew neither were true and since we are trying to diversify my was perfect time to face it this week. Well, I ate some of it before remembering Freedom Friday and thus you get the post-cut pictures. This may reveal a food ritual I struggle a bit with....cutting things very small. I am not sure why I do it, but I think it is because of this self-consciousness I have about eating too fast so I make all these ways to slow my eating down. But really...I think more people would comment on my tiny morsels of chicken than if I was first one done. Oh and as for the's actually really good. Definitely not salty and not greasy either....silly ED.

Speaking of forgetting pictures....I also forgot due to my fear driving me to get it over with, to take a picture of the salad I had with full-fat dressing. I wanted to go for what I knew I liked and choose Balsamic Vinaigrette  but I challenged myself to a thicker dressing called Sesame Oriental. I did discover I really do like vinaigrette better, but the flavor of this one was really good. So good in fact, that I did something crazy and added a little extra....ED reminded me of this the rest of the day. But here is the thing, I am starting to let ED talk, but not listen to what he says. Don't think you can do that? Let me just remind you of how you can. You know how your N, doctors, parents, coaches...they tell you things sometimes and as soon as they walk away you delete everything they just said. Yeah....well do that with ED. Slightly harder, because he won't walk away...but as soon as his lies come in...just delete them or at least try to. Trust me....deleting five billion times is a lot less exhausting than listening to it.

Oh yes....speaking of ignoring what you nutritionist says....I kind of forgot that my nutritionist wanted me to start drinking Chocolate Milk on occasion  It was a mandatory part of my meal plan at one point, then we moved away from that, but it was never a fear I really got over. So N kept telling me to try it again, and I kept refusing.'s a mandatory part of my meal plan again. Just goes to show you....maybe you should listen to your nutritionist. The good thing is I have discovered the microwaves in the dining hall work really well for heating up chocolate milk....and then I am so concentrated on feeling warm...the fear fades away. Honestly, I don't know if chocolate milk will ever be a thing I reach for as a first choice, but I need to at least be able to reach for it. 

 Here is something I faced tonight as part of my nutritionist challenge to me to do two hot line items: Almond Chicken Noodle Bowl. It was quite scary, because it wasn't what I expected and was really good tasting. It scares me to do things that are all mixed together (unless I do the mixing an ingredient at a time) because I get scared I am getting too much of one ingredient and not enough of the other and thus my cal intake is too high or something. But I am trying to work on thinking of food as nutrients and fuel, not as caloric numbers. I am not calorie counting anyway and don't know the calorie range my N is shooting really it's just uneeded burdens I put on myself. Still though, I conquered this bowl and honestly....I might do it again :) I mean it tasted good....and since it came saved me tons of time.
Oh btw, it's chicken, mandarin oranges, peppers, cabbage, I think I got a bite of mushroom as well, and almonds.

Now moving on to the two HUGE freedom foods I did this week. I mean collosal...I mean things I never thought I would ever face. But I did it. So starting off something I have only ever taken a bite of in my WHOLE LIFE and it was when I was quite little: Peanut Butter Cookies. You see growing up I wasn't allowed to have these and so when I become an adult...well I still had this idea I couldn't have them because of their fat content. So it was just never something I was going to allow myself. Not only did I allow one on Monday night after dance practice, but I had one again on Tuesday despite the fear from weigh-in that day and despite the fact that it was a non-exercise day. Double whammy! But I got through. The taste was and is overwhelming and I wasn't that much of a fan...but the freedom it was worth it. I mean would I do one if it was offered to me...sure (well once I work on the fear some more). But will I choose one when there are other options? Probably not. But I did do it. It was with a lot of support (shout out to Sarah and my brother), but still I did it. And it blew my N away too....her face....the joy and was so worth it :)

The second big's something I have NEVER finished....never been allowed to finish: A whole three musketeers. I don't think I have ever eaten a whole candy bar. Honestly, because I have never seen anyone finish a whole one. My mom only ever herself and only ever allowed me to have at maximum a half of a bar. And 3 Musketeers were the only ones I was allowed when we were dieting. We would freeze them and gnaw on them endlessly....but I honestly couldn't remember how they tasted. Well....last night I decided to face the fear. I was only going to do half until someone (cough, Sarah, cough) let me know that the whole bar was the thing to do. It flipped me out. Well...I did my old routine and put it in the freezer of mini fridge while I went and took my genetics exam. I returned so happy to be done with the exam, I didn't care about the bar. But after was time to face it. The first bite taught me two big things: candy bars should not be frozen and I do not like 3 Musketeers. You see I realized the reason we froze them is its impossible to bite them then so you have to gnaw on them forever. Luckily for me 20 seconds in the microwave fixed that for me. And I finally got to take a bite. Well, this was overwhelming emotionally and taste wise. The bar was just far too sweet. My N says I am just not used to sweet things (apple juice is still too sweet for me) and thus I may not like it right now. But was overpowering. So what was I going to do? I mean I had my brain telling me to not finish the bar for numerical reasons....and now my taste buds were revolting....

Well...I knew there was only one option. I had to finish the bar. First off....I will probably never have one again thanks to the taste and thus I could suck it up this once. But even bigger than that...not finishing that bar, despite not liking would let ED have a slight grasp over my triumph. It would take away some of the freedom I could obtain by finally, for the first time in my life, finish a candy bar. So (as this picture shows) I finished it. And you know what...sometimes the last bite is 100 times harder than the first, but that last can also be 100 times more important.

Did you conquer anything this week? I bet you did! It doesn't matter how big or small it seems....if it meant something to you...even for just a moment...that's enough...that's freedom :) 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

freEDom from the Weight of It All

So it's another edition of freEDom and this time I have to get honest up front. First off this may go into specifics about a fear food (not really numbers but just something that happened) so if that freaks you out or food talk freaks you out don't read this post. Alright, onward we go.

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So last night I face a huge fear in doing a peanut butter cookie. Everyone told me it would be okay that I couldn't gain weight, but I was convinced otherwise. I was convince I would gain a crazy amount overnight and never be able to eat a cookie again. Well...that exact fear engulfed my sleep and this morning the nightmare became a reality. I stepped on the scale and BAM! overnight two lbs gained. Here I had been somewhat excited about being down some from my last session. Not excited because I had lost, but because that meant I actually did need more food....that I could eat and not be afraid. Then, in the split second on the scale all that went away. I literally got on and off the scale 10 times before going to the shower to cry...yes..cry. Cry and pray and yell and be pissed.

But today didn't give me time to sit with this feeling. It was back to back classes, meetings, studying...and you know what. Somehow...I kind of "forgot" about the weight gain. Yes, it popped into my mind, but how I mean "forgot" is I kept doing what I had to do. I faced big fear at bagel snack and at sack lunch and at dinner. Honestly...I was just blaming the cookie. I was thinking to has been pretty healthy so that weight should be gone tomorrow unless it's real.

But then my friend (actually several friends) called me out on what I was choosing to do as my Sweet Surprise Snack. This is basically the same thing as Triumph Treat except there is no caloric min or's just what I wanted. Well, my mind honestly told me I wanted a Fat Free Fig Newton...are these scary for me...yes! Are they really the kind of thing N wants as sweet treat...not so much. But in my mind I turned the safety of them being fat free into a craving and convinced myself it was what I wanted. That was until my friends called me out on it.

So then I was sitting there denying over and over again that I was using the newton to escape a real treat. But my friend pushed me to do the other PB cookie I had and I fought it tooth and nail. The reasons all were quite logical....yet totally disordered. What if I gained again? Was it really okay to eat something just to see if I gain? It was too salty, too rich, its normal to eat healthy after indulgent day, newton was what I wanted, and so on and so on. This continued for hours of texts and fb messages and then it kind of hit me. If I really didn't want PB cookie...or at least to face it again. If I really wanted the fig newton and was really craving it. If it was really me and not ED....I would have eaten the fig newton by that point or at least stopped engaging in conversation about it. But I didn't.

Then, when I thought about eating the newton....I just kept thinking...what if that's the easy ED way out? And what if I gain weight anyway? And then I just got really confused. I, myself, I didn't know what decision to make. I really, honestly thought I was craving a fig newton.....I honestly never thought I would eat the cookie...I really didn't think I wanted it. That's what happens when you have ED so long. It becomes so normal to have ED cravings....that you don't know what's you and what's ED. But with the help of friends...I realized the true, safe thing to was the cookie. If I did the PB cookie would really mean the weigh-in didn't get to me. But if I did newton...yes there was a chance it was what I was craving...but there was also a chance it was what the weight of the weigh-in pushed me to crave.

So tonight...with the first all the way to the last bite of my second PB cookie in years....I let go of the weight of my decisions. I let go of the condemnation from the scale and from the weight I let it put on me. I just let go of all the rules and trying to decide what decision was good and bad and I went with what the people I have put my trust into to guide me were telling me was right. I took the weight off my own shoulders and laid it at the foot of the Cross as I prayed through cookie. It wasn't easy and right now I am scared....but I'm still smiling because I know in my heart I made the right decision. I know I made a decision my support network, sponsor, and dietitian will be proud of. And that must mean I chose recovery.

So my freEDom this week is freEDom from the weight of weigh-ins and the scale. It's freedom from having a number dictate my food and life. It's freedom to trust others when I can't see past my ED. It's freedom to let go of control and listen and take the advice of others. It's freedom to do what your brain says is wrong but your heart knows is right. It's freedom....freedom to be free.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Freedom Friday (again on Sat) haha...

Sorry Friday actually was filled with a lot of freedom that kept me from my blog. I ate my FIRST meal in the dining hall with someone....EVER. The first one in my three years here at the university. Have I eaten in the dining hall with people....yes! Have I eaten an actual, big-girl, non-anorexic meal with someone in the dining Not until yesterday. And dinner with people you care about....well it takes a little longer and it's a ton more enjoyable. So kind of had to hit the books instead of blogging....but I figure you all would grant me that Freedom.


Now, before I get to the eats for this week....I wanted to do a shout-out to a dear friend of mine and a courageous, beautiful, strong recovery warrior. She fought ED while we were in treatment together and yesterday was her claiming back her victory. I am so proud of Mary Garner! She kicked major ass yesterday and showed her strength by not only going to her nutritionist appointment but being honest. She went to her therapy appt with the same honesty to. She commited to her meal plan. She took a bold step and told her boyfriend about her eating disorder and struggles. AND  (as if that wasn't kick-butt enough) she commited to spending the weekend with him knowing it would mean sticking to her meal plan. I don't think words can express how proud I am! I know she is strong and I know this is only the beginning of many more freedoms and victories to come. I can't wait to share more of her freedoms on here and some of your guys as well.

Also, shout out to my stepmom who has recommited herself to her recovery too. Also, shout-out to my girl Sarah who is launching her own recovery website. She is amazing and full of such insight, wisdom, and kick-butt motivation that I know this site called Always Together, Never Alone is gonna change lives. You can even check it out and like it on Facebook. Also....though this takes away some of her "free time" I am so proud of her new job :)

Freedom Foods to the freedom foods for the past two weeks. There aren't that many, but that's because I am working on getting honest. On finding freedom by breaking the rules of my eating disorder. This past week that has meant only choosing scary fruits to eat, following my cravings not numbers, and giving up my safe diet foods. But there are some eats to share. In fact....I have a very, very exciting one at the check it out.

 First off is this Fat Free Refried Bean tortilla I brought myself to have. I have a completely irrational fear of sodium that these beans really help me tackle. It was also the first time preparing this without a food scale. This is one of my favorite at-home meals, but I also creep back to using my food scale when I am at home. But I was able to do this using just my measuring cups. I am excited to try to do that at home....but that will be a few months. I apparently (unknowingly) didn't get enough beans for my 3 proteins....but next time you best bet I will :)
 Due to tummy complications and strange auto-immune responses of my body lately, I had to get a new meal plan with more liquid than solid food...which menat I quickly had to get over my fear of juices. Now Monday through Saturday I do juice in the dining hall, but I realized this past Sunday I had no juice options in my room. When I went to the store I (os shall I say ED) honestly wanted to buy the toddler sized juices....but I knew that wasn't okay. Then I stumbled upon these V8 Fusion juice boxes that were on sale. I knew it was meant to be. Sure it was scary, but actually....drinking from a juice made me feel like I was fueling that little girl inside. Letting her know I was going to give her the nutrients she needed, no matter what. And they are dang tasty too :)
As the week continued I was faced with one of my old  favorite desserts from the dining hall: Rocky Road Brownie. As if having a brownie isn't scar enough....let's drizzle it in chocolate and add marshmallows to try and give Jessica a panic attack. Okay, okay...I will admit it does make it taste a little better....but still....can't a girl get eased into recovery eats? I did manage to face it though and it was quite good might I add.

At my session two weeks ago, my nutritionist and I discussed how I was literally only eating one source of protein: tuna. To me, that has become the only "safe" option in the dining halls. I am not sure when exactly other fish became scary, but it did. And my school doesn't offer much fresh chicken. I don't eat red meat for ethical reasons. And I have to watch my soy intake. All of this does limit my protein sources...but if I am honest there is more than just tuna out there. So this past week I worked on diversifying my proteins. I only took a pic of this one....but this is Cod and I also tried Mahi-Mahi. I am thinking of trying a stir-fry item this week, but we shall see. It was nice to break away from tuna...and I honestly can't tell you how this fish tasted, because lately I have been struggling with not tasting my food (a common occurence in recovery I will blog about later). But I did and will continue to face these fish fears.

 This past week I also finally sucked it up and faced an Everything Bagel. Now I am going to use Mary's courage and be honest here. I am going to have to face these again. I used an ED behavior when eating them and scooped off some of the seeds, which is the part of them I fear so much. I did try and taste a little and it was okay, but not the best in the world. I literally have never had an everything bagel before and honestly it has been because in my childhood they weren't allowed and then ED fear kept them from me once I was grown. But...luckily...I am at a school that has a plethera of them and have a dietitian who isn't relenting (aka taking bagels off my meal plan) till I can eat each flavor without panic. Sometimes I wonder if that day will ever come....I sure hope it will.
So moving on to what I was able to face in the past few days. One thing is this roll. Apparently it's called a Portugese Roll. Again, it's one of those things I have seen for the three years I have been here at college, but have never allowed myself to have. And I did taste it. And it was AMAZING! Soft and doughy and good. It's sourdough which is my favorite and most feared but I am hoping it will become more common for me. Sadly though...the dining hall only has these early on Sunday it's hard for me to get a hold of them. But where there is a will (or a nutritionist urging you to) there is a way :)
This is from this past Wednesdays and honestly it was one of the hardest things I have done....because in this meal....I had to admit a lie I have been telling myself and others. This is my school's Chicken Fajitas. You all may have seen where I said I had faced them before, but really I hadn't. You see....I have always torn the tortillas down to an "acceptable" size or brought my own Fat Free tortillas to eat the fajita on. But I got honest with myself this past Wednesday. I realized that by not eating the full tortilla...I was holding myself back. If I get to travel out to Colorado this I really going to sit there and tear a tortilla if we go out and get wraps? No...or at least I don't want to. So why do it now. Why continue a habit I don't want to be a part of my future. Why not start new habits that I want to keep? Well, Wednesday night I did. I filled my tortilla, wrapped it tight so there were no edges sticking out to tear....and ate it all. I will be honest...after there was so much fear and not a lot of pride...but I did it. That's what I did it. And I will NEVER EVER EVER tear one of the tortillas again. I showed my strength on Wed, and ED is never going to take that away from me ever again. I have a future that I want to start rewriting. I want to start painting a future with behaviors I want to keep, and erase the habits I don't want in my future from existence.

That idea continued into Thursday where I was faced with this reality. One...I knew I had restricted a fat at the dinner due to some kind of fear. I had also failed to get my fruit. Thursday, honestly, it just turned out to be a hard day. The reason....I commited to eating a dessert that night despite the fact that I wasn't going to be active. That scared me to death. I also had commited to no safe starches for this week or safe fruits (thus the banana here). So it was all kind of hitting me that I was actually recovering so I got scared. But still....I grabbed a Valentine Devil's Food Cake Square. I didn't size compare them, I just grabbed the first one I saw. ED was screaming quite loud and it took A TON of support to even take the first bite. But I got a text from my brother asking me to have a piece of chocolate as a V-day treat and pretend it was from him. With that....I closed my eyes, pictured my bubba sitting there, and dove in. It was amazing, and I am so proud that I did it. It was hard as hell. One of the things I have held fast too since I was young is no desserts on non-active days, but with that dessert, with that one bite....I broke that chain. It's gonna take a lot more desserts on non-active days until the shackles and chains are shattered, until the scar of these rules are removed, but this tiny was a start.


And last, but certainly not a freedom food I did this morning actually (another reason to delay the post). You see I wrote the good people over at Udi's about my desire to try one of their muffins, but my complete and utter fear (and lack of finances) that was preventing me from doing so. Well, they wrote back and agreed to send me these jumbo muffins. I teamed up with a fellow recovery warrior who also wanted to triumph over this treat. So this morning...we had our Udi's Jumbo Blueberry muffins. Pop em in microwave for about 20 seconds and they are amazing. Really light and fresh and I forgot I was afraid thanks not only to great conversation, but just to the refreshing taste. I did look and fret over the nutrition facts, but I am starting to see that food is more than's fuel and something that can be enjoyed. It was really scary to do something other than my normal, safe b-fast, but really these muffins are great. And I still have one left. Not to mention....Udi's sent me even more than muffins. They sent me cookies and granola and other goodies that will be hitting you on many more Freedom Fridays to come. But let me tell you...if you want to triumph over some really good muffins...Udi's is the way to go :)

So that's it for now. I did do some more triumphs today, but you will have to check back next week for that. Don't forget to send me any triumphs you have this week (ED-related or not) so I can share in the celebration. Love you all :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where's the Love?

Hey guys...this is a short post, probably do a longer one later, but just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. Hope you take today to, in some way, treat yourself kinder than you normally would. An unplanned nap? Nice bubble bath? Treat you haven't allowed yourself? Day or even moment where you listen to your heart not your mind? It's up to you.

But I also wanted to take today to admit something. I have started to slip away from writing, because I have started to wonder again what the use is. I started this blog to help people and now I am scared that it is no longer serving that purpose. I have struggled quite a bit with wanting to just toss it to the wayside. So I am here asking if there is anyone out there this is reaching? And also to ask you all to try something with me.

I would like to get back to freedom fridays, but I want to share more than just food. I want to share any triumphs in our lives. So I was thinking I could share some you all send me. Just shoot me an e-mail and let me know. I can keep it anonymous too. I also want to know what is helping and not helping you all that I am doing. I want this site to be supportive, I want it to be a place of hope and honesty. Where the good and bad times of recovery are shared, experienced, and conquered. So let me know. Either comment below or shoot me an email. Thanks and I love you all :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rules made to be broken

So earlier this week I realized just how many rules my ED still holds me under....and honestly I am just frustrated and tired of them. I want to be able to live life and be able to feed myself without having to balance a million rules in my head about what/how much/when to eat. I just want to be able to eat like everyone else. My mind may not be the same as everyone's due to calories and fat being seared into them....but I want to be able to not have those numbers hold me captive. I want to be free to just nourish myself. To look at food like exchanges and nutrients, not just numbers.

The biggest motivator for me....taking a trip to Colorado to meet with the potential graduate school for me come 2014. I don't want to go out to eat with them and freak out because of these stupid rules. I just don't want them to hold me back anymore. So today in my N session we really banged through them.

I also realized in this session (thanks to my kick-butt nutritionist) that these rules were designed to lower my anxiety about gaining weight by halting the process. But all they have increase my anxiety and make me lose weight. It's ridiculous. The more rules I add, the more anxiety I get. I just want freedom and peace. I want a future where food isn't the focus. I want to be okay with feeling scared and anxious and not let those emotions control me. So I have decided to rewrite the rules into freedoms. Freedoms that conquer what ED says. Basically....these are ED's rules and now it's time for Jess' freedoms. So here they are (WARNING: there is calorie talk here).

No fruits >50 calories for fruit exchange except prunes at b-fast
Freedom: Only scary/high calorie fruits for this week. Exchanges are supposed to be 60-120 cals anyway

Do torn lettuce as veggie at one meal aka NEVER do steamed at both meals
Freedom: Steamed at both meals is possible. Lettuce no longer counts as vegetable. 

2 starches can’t be greater than 150 calories (N told me today minimum of 200 is what she wanted)
Freedom: 2 starches should not be less than 200 calories. For this whatever starches I am craving, regardless of counts. Do portions way N has directed (rolls/sweet potatoe only 1 starch). Challenge self at at least lunch or dinner....better if both. 

No greater than 1.5-2g of fat in
Freedom: Starches are not fat exchanges so no paying attention to fats. For right now ignoring this one from being a focus, but in future will do challenge starches to really break it. 

Must do “healthy” one at at least one meal (aka peas, sweet potatoe when was 2 starches)
Freedom: Again not fully focusing on this, but this week I really want to try and go for what I am craving not what my mind deems acceptable. My idea of "healthy" is not anything my dietitian has told me and thus is founded in distorted ED ideas. 

Can’t be greater than 70-100 calorie
Freedom: must be 100 to 150 calories. This is laid out by N and very easy to achieve by getting      adequate portions. Have actually already been working on this. 

Must be low-fat
Freedom: Not really tackling this one yet, but in future will have challenge proteins to help conquer this. 

 For dairy: ALWAYS do two yogurts and then either egg whites or skim milk to meet three
Freedom: This is a silly pattern I have made a rule. So now I get to do chocolate milk on occasion to      switch it up.

No more than 5g per serving
Freedom: This is completely ignored. Fats minimum of 5 g per serving, not as max anymore. 

Do “safe” one twice a day (this is my lower fat dressing usually)
Freedom: No "safe" fats as these are diet foods. These are allowed as extra calories but not fat exchanges. Doesn't matter if calories the same, fat is a nutrient I need. 

Only one high sodium meal a day
Freedom: Sodium is not an exchange and thus is not to be used to determine anything about my meal. 

Never do lunch and dinner that are “normal” meals (aka from hot line or other prepared dishes)
Freedom: though no concrete plan for this...with following my cravings this may be broken this week. 

Do smallest bagel available. Only wheat or cinnamon raisin. On scary days do Lender Bagels.
Freedom: Unless no dining hall bagels available (aka unless at home) then Lender Bagel can not count. Allow whatever flavor craving. 

Healthy snack (fruit and dairy) last one always
Freedom: the timing of the snack does not matter. If I want this one earlier I will do it earlier. 

Not focusing on yet but will
No more than .5 g saturated per exchange unless PB then only 1 g

High-fat desserts only on sack lunch day (due to lack of fat in lunch) or on yoga/rounds days. NEVER on non-active days  

Sweet treat non-active day no greater than 100 calories  

Always walk from class unless raining  

Do walk on Sundays briefly in morning since lazy day    

Breakfast always rotate b/t grits one and cereal one  

1 hour after eat before can sleep

Do ½ yoga in morning before eat and other ½ right before dinner or sweet treat 

Guess this is what happens when you have an ED for 14 years of your life. Honestly, I didn't even realize how many of these rules I had till I sat down and wrote them out. They are from years of dieting and years of trying to cling to numbers and control of food in order to control the feelings of fear and anxiety. As mentioned in earlier post, they also keep me from enjoying food....a way to punish myself for what was done to my brother. But I am ready to break free. And it's scary. Only done one snack and one meal since deciding the break these rules and I am full of anxiety. But I know this anxiety will pass and I will find freedom. With these rules in place I only gain more and more anxiety....hope and pray for freedom....but freedom never comes. Instead I just add more rules, and they are never enough. So I am going to try a new path, a new way...I am going to try and push through this temporary anxiety, because breaking these's my only chance at freedom. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

From True Hurt to True Healing

I used to escape from my ED by writing poetry....but somehow in the past few years....I haven't been able to write. Nothing has been good enough. But tonight...I had to get emotions out, I had to write, and heart spoke through poetry.

True pain runs deep
Deep into the soul
It penetrates the heart and flows
A rampant rapid of destruction

With each heartbeat it courses through the veins
Reaching every part of your being
Producing thoughts like daggers
Tearing away at the person inside
Scaring the soul to its depths

True pain runs deep
It lingers on
It is not bound by time
But surges on unrelenting

Torment from years past tear deep
Leaving fresh wounds unhealed
Wounds that sting now as they did then
Wounds producing walls in hopes of protection
Walls producing cages that keep torment inside

True pain seem inescapable, unbearable
It seems never-ending
It seem overwhelming
This is how true pain seems

But seeming isn’t reality
For true pain is escapable
The deep scars can heal
The soul can find peace and rest

For from true pain comes true healing
Healing that coarses through the veins
Healing that replaces the dark with light
Healing that brings hope to the fading soul
Healing that makes all wounds disappear

True healing can seem unbearable
It can seem unachievable
It can seem undesirable
But again, seeming isn’t reality

For the seeming of healing comes only in moments
Moments of insecurity worth the security of joy
Moments of anguish worth the joy in the end
Moments of doubt worth the hope of a future
Moments will fade and healing will last

True healing is a choice
A choice to turn from the pain,
From the normalcy it brings,
From the comfort of the hurt

True healing is a commitment
A commitment to push through the moments,
To cling onto the future,
To the knowledge the moment will past
And healing will come in the end

True healing begins in an instant,
An instant like this
Where you say you’ve hurt long enough
And deserve a chance to be free

Friday, February 8, 2013

Releasing the Past

Tonight….tonight has been the night I have been waiting, longing, praying for. The night when something hits me…some desire that can push me through the good, bad, and in between. Something that can give me a reason to recover…a reason to fight….something I can cling on to. Tonight…that came in speaking to my brother.
P.S.--I hope to evenutally upload some childhood photos in here

You see my brother read my blog and asked him what he thought and this is what he said in a simple text (funny how texts are saving my life): ..."Seeing you punish yourself hurts me far more than dad ever did." It was in the moment, as tears began to well up in my eyes, that I realized my ED affects more than just me. Here I have been trying to punish myself enough to undo my past. Trying to hurt myself enough to somehow end the pain my brother endured in our childhood. Trying somehow to take the pain away through my own self-inflicted torture. And the whole time….I’ve been breaking my bubba’s heart.

I mean I should have known I was affecting other people, but I have been so focused on my pain I have looked away from others. I mean sure I know it hurts my mom and my dad, but for some reason that isn’t enough. That doesn’t break my heart…it’s sad but true. But to know I am hurting my brother…that breaks my heart to pieces.

And it’s not me that’s hurting my brother…it’s my ED. This thing I have clung to try and end my brother’s suffering….it is causing him to suffer even now that he has escaped my father. In that moment, with that realization, I wanted nothing else but to squash my ED. Did the fear of weight gain immediately spark up? Yes. But it didn’t matter as much as not hurting my brother.

I kept thinking about this and then (with the help of a dear friend to guide me too) I realized every time I use my ED I am hurting my brother. I am basically sending my father to his room. When I restrict my intake for any reason, I am staring those scared kids, clinging onto each other praying the fights would end….I am staring them square in the face and calling them worthless and that they don’t deserve joy or even food.

I have heard of this imagery before in having your own inner child…but honestly I am at a point that the little girl me doesn’t matter. That’s sad, but it’s where I am. But put my brother there…put us together inside of me and I want to fight to protect him…and she (me) comes along with that. So I want to protect them both. I want them to feel love, joy, peace. Everything missing due to the chaos and alcohol…I want them to experience it. I want them to feel the freedom and joys of childhood. The warmth of a loving embrace. The gold start given by parents who are proud. And you know what…I can.

Sure…I can’t go back to my past and change it, but those two kids…they survived.  They survived their tormented childhood and they grew up into me and my brother. And I can fight for us. I can fight to experience that joy for myself so it can bring joy to my brother. I can fight for freedom so me and my brother can live in freedom from our past. I can fight for the peace I never felt as a kid. I can fight to not pain my brother or myself anymore. I can fight to end the nightmare of our childhood that haunts me.

How? I do my meal plan. I fight for recovery. I fight off the demon of ED who continues the pain and the torment of the childhood I deserve to leave in the past. I can choose on the days I am scared of weight gain, or the days I just want to give up…I can choose to fight for those kids who never had anyone fight for them. I can protect them from the wrath of ED. Because those two kids are here now in me and my brother and every time I use my ED it hurts us both…it lets the past come to the present….it has the pain of our childhood happen all over again…and we don’t deserve it.

After surviving our childhood me and my brother deserve joy and peace and happiness. We deserve to believe in ourselves, to smile at and love ourselves, to feel all the good feelings we didn’t get as kids. And I hold myself (and him since this hurts him too) back from that. And I freaking don’t deserve it. It’s time to end the pain and suffering of my past and to write the wrong by writing a new beginning. It’s time to leave ED in the past with the torment and move on to freedom and joy. It’s time to heal from my childhood and let it go.

And God spoke to me through this too. He spoke to my heart and said, “Let me take it away. Stop trying to punish the pain of your childhood away. Punishment brought your childhood pain, forgiveness will set it free. Forgive yourself and your father and feel freedom. Release the pain to Me….My yolk is easy and I can bear it. Cry it out My daughter….let the pain go and be free. Let me take this pain from you….so you don’t have to punish yourself or cling to the past. So you can be free to take hold of the future.”

So this night…right now…I am vowing to fight for recovery. Not necessarily for me, but for me and my brother. For those kids who didn’t get the love they deserved. I am fighting to end the past and the pain it brought. I am release the past and cling on to the future. In the past is pain, in the present is healing, and in the future….well…I think there may be freedom.