Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIAW#2: A little different

So sorry I haven't been around, but as this pic shows...kind of been going through a lot. HR monitor, cardiologist, school exams, trying to cope with being back from school break, trying to listen to and acknowledge bodies hunger signals not number on scale...there's just been a lot going on. But I am back and my eco came back clear so that's good. Will find out about rest of cardiologist stuff next week.

But I am back in time for WIAW....of course today body decided to be crazy forgot to snap pics of all my food. But since I missed Freedom Friday...well here are some freedom foods I faced this week :) It's a What I Ate this Week post haha. Also, I am proud of myself because I added a snack that my body was hungry for, but scale didn't show I needed. Well, let me just say the scale (and ED) lies. I listened to hunger, gave body what it needed, and well...the scale started to drop. Looks like I need even more and another increase coming my way :). Alright..onto the eats.

Peas and Crayons

 First off is an old favorite I have been completely avoiding. Good ole' black beans. ED was screaming about the sodium that I was "not allowed" to have. But I tried instead to see what this would provide me...protein to rebuild muscle, fiber to help tummy get some motion going, and the joy and satisfaction of choosing recovery.
 This random dinner incorporated so much fear, it almost seemed undoable. I had salad with dressing...which is fine, but throw in two starch servings worth of white pretzels, a T of guacamole, and vegan meatballs full of again that dang sodium...and well...there was freedom to be had and feared. But I got through and actually enjoyed the meal. I realized in this meal that exchanges can be filled with any doesn't make it a better or worse's just a meal. And eating WHAT I WANT is what actually makes it a "better" choice, because its me taking back control of my life.
This snack was actually my first one when chose to do increase....and I was craving it out the wazoo. BLUEBERRY FROSTED MINI WHEATS! Honestly I was so hungry and so excited I couldn't hear ED screaming though he was. I just thought of the whole grain, tasty goodness I got with each was a non-stop smile across my face.
 Another scary craving brought on by this week. You see, before I would plan my challenges for the week with my N, but not having a N and being home for a week without pre-planning...showed me I enjoy (and am challenged more) by not having a plan and having to let body tell me what to do. Granted..I do have an emergency plan in case all goes haywire, but it's been nice. And it brought me to do this scary meal. Tuna in salad with dressing (not low-sodium tuna so scary) and on the side a Lender Bagel with PB2 and banana. It's always been told to me that ladies can have either salad or sandwich..not both at a meal (and better if its the salad). So doing a salad and a BAGEL sandwich involving nuts and a higher calorie blew my mind away. Then realizing I survived and nothing bad happened...wt didn't shoot up, world didn't end, and I actually felt made it all worth it.
And lastly....the one pic I remembered to snap today because fear was delaying me...a HUGE (well in my eyes) everything bagel with fat free cream cheese (scary because of sodium). Now, now...I know fat-free cream cheese really...well...yes. Because thanks to ED and a surgery complication it brought...I can never again eat real cream cheese...I don't even have the option. But ED won't hold me back from the cream cheese I can have! No sir....this girl is on the road to recovery :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Today I saw my heart

I had a cardiologist appt today. I also had a challenging ED day today. I had one of the hardest fights with ED since I have been back today. But, because of friends, faith, God, and my realizations...I came out on top. And this poem came flowing out.

Today I saw purpose
I saw I am more than just a number
I saw food has a purpose
I saw it is more than just a number
Today I saw my heart

As I lay on the table,
Face sealed to the eco screen
I saw the pulse and beating of my heart
Thump, thump…thump, thump
Each beat followed by a prolonged silence
By what seemed like an eterninty
My body gasping, hoping the next beat would come

Thump, thump…thump, thump
As I stare at the screen a tear rolled down my cheek, unintentional
I saw the damage of the 14 years
I heard the cry of a broken heart
Crushed in spirit by ED,
My once strong heart, energized to power my body
A scared muscle, gasping between each beat, hoping to beat again

Thump, thump….thump, thump
I stare at the screen wondering what my heart once looked like
Wondered what it was like almost 21 years ago
When my mom lay on the table and heard the beat of my heart
What she dreamed I would become
What joy flooded her heart
I wondered if tears streamed down my parents’ faces,
If excitement filled their hearts with joy,
Because they knew their baby was okay

Thump, thump….thump, thump
I wondered what happened?
Where it went wrong?
Where the joy heard in my heartbeat
Became verbal beatings, teasings, neglect
That caused my heart to break
That caused me to lay here, listening to the same heart
Knowing and hearing everything was not okay

Thump, thump….thump, thump
I wondered what happened to cause my spirit to break,
My strength to be stolen and replaced by fear
My identity to become a number, size, shape
Food to become the enemy, abuser, control
My reality to become what it is

Thump, thump….thump, thump
I wondered if my reality would be different
Had that 6 year old not turned to food
Had she been loved and taught foods true value
Foods power to power your body
Instead of how it must be controlled,
How it must be manipulated, tabulated, recordered
Had she been taught the meaning of strength and beauty
Instead of size and weight
Had she learned her identity from seeing her spirit
Instead of looking at a scale

Thump, thump….thump, thump
I wondered how many more girls would have to be here
Curled on their side, eyes plastered on an ecocardiograph screen
Wondering how they got there?
How many more times a 20 year old have to fear for her life
Before people wake up and see eating disorders aren’t a joke
Before we save our girls, our boys, ourselves
Before we stop plastering how to diet on magazine covers, news articles, books
And start teaching people how to eat, how to love and nurture themselves

Thump, thump….thump, thump
The beat of my heart showed me something needed to change for me
So I could keep this from being others reality
I realized food was the only thing that could power my heart
Power this core to my survival, bring it back to its former glory and strength
Power me to grow into a strong woman
A woman whose heart and passion is to save others on ED’s path of destruction
To awaken others to the beatings of their heart

Thump, thump….thump, thump
I realized faith an food was the way for my heart to heal,
For my spirit to be made whole,
To bring back purpose to my life,
To bring peace back out of this chaos,
To allow me to find beauty in me,
In my brokenness, in my strength, in the beating of my heart

Thump, thump…thump, thump
Today I saw purpose
I saw I am more than just a number
I saw food has a purpose
I saw it is more than just a number
Today I saw my heart

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Scared of going back

Hey everyone--
Sorry I didn't write as much as I said I was going to over break, but something amazing happened. I started to live. Not live as in exist. But I actually experienced and enjoyed life and my time with family. I stuck with a meal plan, ate what I wanted, challenged myself to restaraunt foods, and had the best time at home I have in....well ever. Sure some behaviors crept back in and I slipped a few times, but it didn't matter or keep me beat up for a whole day. I learned, corrected, and moved on. How? By learning to live life.

It is the first time I felt somewhat...normal. I was eating what I (not ED) deemed healthy. Meals with vibrant colors that still met my exchanges. My timing was wacky, but so is my whole families, so I still felt normal. And I ate with people...mostly my dad. The focus wasn't on the food but on conversation...and I just I was enjoying time with him and food just happened to be a part of it. Not my usual meal time where food is the sole focus. It was amazing.

And when I wasn't eating, I wasn't worrying about the next meal, last meal, tomorrow's meal...I was in the moment. I enjoyed bowling with my dad, visiting my grandpa, training the guide dog I had for the week. I was, for once, truly living. I have never felt that free...I literally felt lighter. Like this burden of worry and fear had been lifted.

I didn't go into the break with a concrete plan. I didn't set up regimented routines to stick to recovery. Actually...I didn't have any time to plan ahead. I just kind of...went with it...and I think that made all the difference. Because I had to be in the moment. I had to make decisions in the moment. And without concrete plans, I was free to do as I pleased...not as I felt I ought to do. I wasn't trying to live up to some standard of how my break should go...I just...lived. I know it seems simple, but it was so freeing. To take each day as it came. To use each moment for recovery...for living. To not push myself to look recovered or to meet certain goals, but instead to just be.

I didn't realize just how amazing this week felt till the drive back to school today. All the sudden I was overcome with this instinct to turn the car around and drive back home. This has never happened for me. I am usually geared up...ready to run from the disaster of a break at home, back to the comfort of my regimented life on campus. But this time...that wasn't the feeling at all. I was scared to come back. Scared to come back to the routine. Scared to lose all the freedom I had felt over this past week. I just wanted to run back to the comfort of home.

But just as I kept up and built on the progress I made at school when I went home for break....perhaps I can maintain and build on the freedom I felt at home, here at school. But I'm not so sure. I already feel the anxiety of upcoming exams, the fear of the foods in the dining hall, the weight and burden of the schedule of classes and work, and I feel the lack of freedom.

As if that wasn't enough it hit me that I won't be having a nutritionist session to ease me back to school...or to shout for joy about the victory at home. As much as I am enjoying the freedom's my meal plan has brought...part of me also began to want more food this past week at home...and now I don't have someone telling me to eat more. I know that sounds weird coming from an want to eat more...but its a reality I am coping with. I just don't know how to cope with it and if I should change my meal plan.

All of these realities: coming back to school, still having 6 weeks of exams, not having a nutritionist, and having to learn to juggle this recovery back into the same life I had before I left....they are weighing me down. All my meals and snacks were a struggle today...and I know tomorrow will be hard. For one, I will have to stick to a concrete schedule with my eating in order to get everything in by the end of the night. At home this week...well the schedule got lax and I just ate when I wanted (of course this wasn't the best and had me delaying meals way too late just because didn't have appetite in morning). So tomorrow...when I have to start eating at 9's gonna be a struggle.

But no matter what I can look back on this past week and see how happy, freeing, and joyous semi-normal life can be. It's just the start of a normal life too. I know true "normal", true and complete freedom from ED will be even more joyous...and I can't even imagine that. But this past week, without even trying, I showed myself normalcy and life not controlled by food isn't something to be's something to be craved. I was a part of life, a part of family, a part of the world. I got out of my head and actually experienced life. That's why I fear going back to the isolation and traps of ritualized behaviors.

 Perhaps I need to stop planning to do better at school....and just keep living. Stop trying to craft the perfect recovery plan, and just walk out moment at a time. Perhaps the key to freedom and recovery is allowing yourself to be free enough to recover. To be free enough to make mistakes and learn. To throw away the plans, charts, goals....and just exist. I didn't go home planning on eating at restaurants  but the desire came up and I followed it and did. I didn't go home planning on branching out with my food....but I did. No recovery step I made was planned...but they all happened. Maybe that's just it...I need to trust that I know what I need to do to recover, need to listen to that voice inside of me, take hold of each moment, and just keep on living. The right decisions will come when I stop forcing them and just listen to myself. The best plans will come when I stop planning them. My life will become the one He desires and one better than I can dream of if I stop holding it back and just keep living.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What I Ate Wed #1

Peas and CrayonsI have long read and followed What I Ate Wednesday, but always been ashamed to share what I eat in recovery. I have been ashamed because lie about portions, or think I eat too much, or scared I ate too little, but you know what. I am proud of what I am doing right now. With the portions I am getting. With the fact I am fueling my body. So I think I am ready to share. I don't know if I will do it every week...or even if I will do it again, but for is my WIAW (even though it is actually from last Wed).

This was a big day for me and that's why I even did this. It was my second day of the new plan designed so that I could meet my portions. Also, was first day without my nutritionist who left for maternity leave. It was also the second day I got full portions of everything....the second day of full freedom...and I have been on track ever since. Have a counter on my phone...right now its on day 9...never thought I would see that.  Oh and I have decided I will just do these sporadically, like I did this time...just spur of the moment decided to snap pics. Otherwise I try and "perform" and eat really healthy or something....eating what I think others will want to see. But that is not the spirit of WIAW. So without further premiere (along with the recent changes that you will see in next WIAW).

 B-fast: This is one of my favorite breakfasts. It's a cup of grits (good ole' southern girl) with salt and cayenne pepper. An activia, prunes, and Coffee Almonds. Now there is also 1/2 an english muffin with this too :)

 Lunch: I had to smuggle this out of the dining hall and eat in in a rush to my room. Still, it was quite good. It is tuna and cucumbers (with extra cucumbers packed as well) with guac in a pita. I also had some olives, but tossed those down before the photo (give me a break, I am getting used to this). Usually I have my fruit here too, but I was in a rush and couldn't, so I had it at dinner.

 Dinner: Dinner was the first time in a long time I actually followed my craving....despite how weird they were. I had a grilled chicken breast (they slightly burned as you can see) which is a big fear food of mine, original oatmel with pb mixed in (you can't see it because for once it melted perfectly), peas, cucumbers and mushrooms. Also had some garlic hummus to dip chicken in. And to make up for skipped portion at lunch, had some applesauce (I love it). I was overwhelmed, because it looked like a lot, but took it one bite at a time.

 I also can't help but have some snacks. Most ED treatment places and providers suggest 3 meals and 3 snacks (and that is what N had me on), but as you read from an earlier post I changed my meal plan. Everyone freaked at first, but now they see the method to my seeming madness. I wasn't trying to restrict...I was changing the meal plan to allow me enough peace to make room for the anxiety I know getting full portions would bring. I needed room to see I could maintain my weight without a nutritionist and while getting full portions. I know, I know...I am supposed to be gaining, but right now I needed stability. And that's been what I got. I have seen I can eat full portions and fact I had to increase the plan. Anyway, back to the goods.

Snack 1: This is the dining hall bagels that I love and fear so much. ED wanted them thrown out of the plan ASAP, but I refused. I knew I liked them and knew I longed for them when I have skipped them before. So I swallowed the guilt and anxiety and kept them on the plan. Again, sorry for the bite I took before snapping picture...I'm getting used to this. This one is Oats and honey with PB2 (I love it) on it.

Snack 2: I always do a snack an hour before bed...not sure why, but I do. And so this night I tried something been wanting to try, 1/2 english muffin with fat free cottage cheese and cayenne pepper. Heated this baby up for like 20 seconds...and it was soooo gooey had to eat it with a spoon. But I loved it. I faced fear of cottage cheese and it was delicious. It was like the consistency of dough..which I loved. Now, since then I have seen I wanted another starch at b-fast like in my original plan, so I have moved this starch to breakfast and now do dairy and fruit instead. It was hard for me to add a fruit to plan without anybody telling me too, but I did...and I love it now :)

So there we first ever WIAW. It feels nice to not hide what I eat, but it's scary too....guess this is just another step to freedom. Thanks peas and crayons for making it possible. And without even knowing it I had little splashes of green :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Food is the Fire

I kind of realized something today. You see whenever I lose/maintain my mind is at first blown, because realizing I can eat the amount and types of foods I want and maintain this low of weight is crazy to me. But I also realized what ED does during day. At each meal he will find some excuse that points to why I lost weight. Whether it’s a tiny portion I under did, a piece of lettuce left behind, a safer choice I made….ED uses it to fuel his destruction of me and my freedom.

So what can I do? How can I find real freedom? I have to not give ED even the tiniest foothold. No ED action can be written off as okay because its not that bad. The reality is, it will be used for ED to denounce all the other good recovery things I have been doing. It will become the reason I am not gaining instead of the reason being that I need food and my body can be trusted. For example, today I realized I needed another starch exchange because my squash serving was too small, but ED said no. That I could just eat more at dinner (which would have never happened). He then said eating right portion would make me gain…but I pointed out that I haven’t gained yet. So he went back to the fact I left like 4 peas behind at lunch yesterday…really…4 FREAKING PEAS. He said that was the reason I lost. That is how illogical ED is and how non-innocent leaving behind even four peas is. I now see why treatment centers are so crazy about cleaning your plate. Even tiniest scrap feeds restriction.

So now I see I have to fight ED with food. Food is the sword God has given me to slain ED. So if ED or any part of me says leave this behind, eat this safer food, it’s okay that portion is small, move more, whatever…and it’s not in line with my recovery, meal plan, treatment goals…then the opposite needs to happen. If it is something that takes away my anxiety (and isn’t a positive coping skill like journaling), it can’t happen. I have to really look at each decision I make and make sure it lines up with recovery. Each time I get full portions, choose scarier food, clean my plate…I am earning victory and (to appease myself on harder days) I am validating what scale says next day. Otherwise the weigh-in will be invalidated the next day by ED and no matter what the scale ED will haunt me to keep me from victories by using the one tiny way I listened to him. The one tiny pea I left behind will become reason to skip whole portion, the one safe food I eat instead of what I want will become the only  safe food…because with ED you give any a micrometer…he takes the whole dang mile…and eventually your life.

ED will no doubt try and tell me the victories are small for me. That eating one pea won't matter, or finishing plate isn't that big of a deal. But just as quick as he will say that...if I don't do those actions he will turn around and make them a huge deal. They will become what holds me back from doing the right thing in days to come. I think I have just realized why it really is so crucial for me to actively be a part of every meal and snack I have. To not fall into habits or patterns or to check out. Because ED is at work with each decision, and I need to guarantee it is one for victory. Otherwise the nonchalant attitude of ED will take over and I will unknowlingly slip into a behavior he will torture me with in days to come. 

The desire of my heart is to repair my metabolism, trust my body and food, be free of food fears, to have recovery, to help others. None of these things are possible if I give the enemy (ED) even the tiniest foothold. Even the tiniest restriction is a huge victory for him, because it will allow him to grab hold the next day. It doesn’t mean if I mess up then I have failed. It just means I have to undo what I have done. So if I miss a portion and realize it at next meal I can make it up. Or even if I don’t and the next day ED whispers in my ear about it, by doing the right thing in that moment, I have claimed victory.

So it’s a weird thought, but perhaps food isn’t what I need to fear, but the weapon I need to use to fight. It is the fuel to the fire that will engulf my ED. Really…ED tries to control me by controlling my food. So by taking back control of my food, trusting the support and doctors that guide me on how to eat so I can learn for the first time, by pushing myself to do what is uncomfortable….I will take back control…or at least give it to God where it belongs. And with each tiny victory I will be one step closer to the future and freedom I desire. But it is going to come with each bite I take of a fear food, each portion I fully get, each plate I clean. Those are my weapons, food is my weapon. It is what my body needs to function, what my mind needs to heal, and what God has given me as a tool to kick ED’s ass. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Maybe the Impossible is Possible

I noticed today that ED has got me in another new trap of sorts. One of my friends in a text to me after I told her I just wish I could go on trays for a week again was “…you think you are powerless to ED (which you are not)…” it was in that moment I realized I really do believe that. I preach that anyone can recover, that we are all strong, that God is bigger, that it doesn’t matter how long you have had ED….but I don’t believe that for myself. ED has trapped me into this idea that for me full recovery is not possible. That my “good enough” is no full recovery. I stopped trying to get portions because my N stopped pushing the issue, so I figured she lost hope I would ever get big enough portions. So I clung onto the lie that I would never be able to get full portions and thus my own skimped portions were the right portions for me…that I could never do better.

But that’s just another trap. Another lie to keep me beat down. Some people have more common ED lies…ones that to me would be obvious ED like you are fat, carbs are bad, you need to only eat 100 calories a day, etc…but to an experienced relapser and treatment center patient these are clear ED voice. So my ED has gotten tricky and infused himself into my recovery…inventing lies to keep me beaten down away from full recovery. He says portions don’t really matter, meal timing doesn't matter, facing fear foods isn’t important, eating the same thing every day is fine…because I am meeting a meal plan and exercise reccommendations and that’s all that matters. But I realized today that’s not true.

The longing and desire of my heart is for full recovery. To be able to eat portions without measuring…full portions, but first I have to know what those look like, which means getting right portions. I want to be able to eat when I am hungry and stop when full, which means feeding my body at regular intervals so it can learn to provide these signals again. I want to be able to go out with friends and not be scared if “safe” foods will be there….or to go to a restaurant and eat what I want…this means conquering fear foods. But ED has told me I am “too severe a case” that full recovery just isn’t possible for me. He has had me stop fighting for all I want…hiding behind the excuse that I have had an ED since I was 6 and thus don’t know how to eat normally. But what I just described…it seems like normal eating to me….and its more normal than I eat really I do know..I just haven’t practiced it. I haven’t given it a I feel stuck and confused just like I did when I was six.

But, you see, that isn’t because I don’t know what normal eating is. Or because I am too severe of a case. Or because I can’t fully recover. It’s because I have gotten so bound up and tied down by these lies that I stopped even trying to eat the way I want to eat. I have stopped striving for the future I wanted and settled for what seems good enough. But I am frankly tired of it. I am tired of mediocre recovery, of good enough, of compliancy (and even this isn’t full). I want to push myself to start now eating the way I want to eat the rest of my life….at least in the ways I can (aka not try intuitive eating just yet). I don’t just want to comply, I want to strive to be better. I want to eliminate ED completely from my food, not just to the levels I think I am capable of limiting him too. I want full portions, the portions I had in treatment, the portions I know in my heart I can get. The portion thing is what always holds me back in recovery. It usually comes once I start to limit myself to only “safe foods” because those foods become scary so I limit portions. But I don’t want that to be my reality. I want more from my life than just mediocre recovery…I want full freedom from food limitations and fears. I want food to just be a part of my life, not my whole life. I want self-worth tied to more than intake, weight, calories, exercise. I want to live in the fullness of the life God has for me.

And I realized it’s not my incapability to recover holding me back, but these fears. These lies I have convinced myself are true. They are just as bad, if not worse, than my lies about calories, food groups, and my body. And they are based off things a select few people have spoken over me. That I am too severe of a case and won’t recover, should be put in hospice, have been to treatment too many times, that nothing will be different, that I just have to get to point where I can eat…full freedom is too much for me to strive for. But why am I spending my time proving those people right instead of proving them wrong? Will go into more deatail in a later post, because I want to get to the positive.  

Using methods some people may not agree with (aka lowering my meal plan from what N had it as since today was our last session) I brought my plan down to something I think should be enough for me. It will at least be doable enough that I can work on these other things. Plus a recent drastic and sudden weight increase has me scared to keep with this plan. But anyway…I lowered plan (still eating more than before and eating more than started on in residential) and committed to full portions. I have determined if I can’t get full portions everything….like real portions…not the settle for less portions I have been accepting as full for me…I need to go somewhere…even if just for a week…that forces me to do full portions. Well…so far…I’ve done it. I’ve done what my mind said was impossible. I even included fear foods. So I have been meeting a meal plan with full portions….and it feels really uncomfortable. It seems like something that should be a lot harder than it actually has been. But I have a motivation in mind. I have my future in mind. I am scared about scale..yes. But that occurs tomorrow…why worry about it now? Instead I am sitting here with a smile on my face…because in this moment…weight on a scale doesn’t matter…but the weight of the decisions I am making do.

I am getting full portions and breaking the chains from EDs lies that have prevented me from holding onto full recovery. I am learning ED constantly holds me back from my potential. Not just in recovery, but in life. It even happened in a less-so-serious case when I ran cross country. I could have amazing practices, but at races…ED would creep in and tell me I would never finish the race…and guess what…for a whole season I never finished a race (well not running at least). I either had panic attack, got injured, or broke down and started walking. Why? Because I took the lie as truth and thus only strived to prove it right. The quote I have heard a ton: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right” made sense to me then. Whatever you believe you are going to prove right….it’s just like any opinion. You find the facts that support your opinion. Well in life your opinion of yourself or potentials you will make facts to support through your actions and interpretations of events. But I realized by just accepting the possibility that maybe these are a lie…that there is something better out there for me, that I am strong enough….all the things I have been saying without believing….then you can push yourself farther.

So I am choosing today to open up to the possibility I can recover…fully, completely. I don’t want to get bogged down in how it will happen or the fears holding me back. That I can process in therapy....right now I just want to sit in my openness to hold onto that. I want to be open to the possibility of  different future…right now that means getting full portions and trying to conquer that. And I am opening up to the possibility that is possible and sustainable for me. ED says it won’t last, I am opening to the possibility that is a lie and the truth is it will be hard, but doable. Like I said…so far it is far easier than ED has made it out to be…and proving him wrong so far…it’s already making my future seem brighter. I am hoping my openness to a possibility will become a belief in everything I though was impossible being possible. Who knows….maybe when I am strong enough I can apply this to running too…and finish my 5K running in the freedom of knowing I am capable of more than I can ever imagine…I just have to believe I can…and I will be right. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

The End ED will real I felt it

I don’t even know where to start about what happened tonight. You see I went home to my mom’s last night and my timing with meals got terrible. Honestly…meal timing is a complete joke to me and I haven’t been taking it seriously. I figure as long as I am eating, that’s all that really matters. Tonight I found out that was wrong.

You see, I have felt quite fatigued the past few days. Actually almost for the past week. I figured it was just from all the exams and lack of sleep, but despite getting more sleep it continued. I would wake up in the morning, be good for an hour or so, then BAM! I would hit a wall. Add into this the fact that Saturday the scale read x lbs and I start to get a little scared. I mean…the healthy part of me…it knows that is way too low. x lbs and being 5’7.5” puts me at a BMI of x. That’s crazy. It’s lower than I ever imagined I would be, especially outpatient. But yet here I am.

And honestly with this fatigue…I have started to get really scared. I have started to wonder if maybe my body is shutting down. If maybe my attempt to fight isn’t strong enough or soon enough to prevent me from dying. I mean I still have things I need to work on like portions of fats and all that, meal timing, choosing more challenging meals. And I wonder if I am just not fighting strong enough.
You see, the fear of gaining weight became more than the fear of dying. The fear of dying, or having a heart attack, or having a seizure….it didn’t seem real. Until tonight.

Today my meal timing was horrible…a pattern I tend to get into when I go home. The shame of eating overwhelms me and I just can’t bring myself to eat my meal plan in front of people…I want to save it all for night time when I can eat alone and no one can see. NOT a smart plan. Because then what happens is I wake up and don’t eat for 4 hours (b-fast at 1 pm), then wait another 3.5 hours for lunch (4:30 pm), then get in car and drive and don’t eat dinner till 9 pm (another 4.5 hours), then end up cramming in all three of my snacks. I have known how emotionally damaging and physically uncomfortable this is, but I didn’t realize till tonight that it is deadly. You see on drive home I started to literally fall asleep behind wheel. Then got horrid headache that wouldn’t go away. Add in some chest pain…and I was scared it was all gonna end right there. Something was going to happen…heart attack, stroke, something…and it would be lights out. Why? Because I hadn’t fed myself. I hadn’t given my body what is so desperately needs…and with that all of my dreams, all the possibilities for my life…they would end.

You would think this would motivate me to stop and eat, instead I stopped at Starbuck’s and got a green tea to get me back to the dorm. When I got to the dorm I put unpacking before eating, despite desperate texts of my sponsor who knows much better than me. Finally got around to eating dinner when all of a sudden the headache came back full force with uncontrollable dizziness. Then I got really faint. I felt right then I could black out. Who would know? Who would check up on me? What if I hit my head on something and got a concussion? I live alone…no one would know. It was in that moment the fear of dying got real.

I didn’t know what else to do but call my dad and ask if I should go to hospital. My friend already agreed to take me…I just needed the go ahead. But my dad calmed me down and had me go eat something. Go ahead and do a snack…no matter how soon I had just finished dinner. I began my snack eating with a passion and fever I never had before. It was like in that moment food was my only chance of survival. Calories, fat grams, sizes….none of it mattered. Despite it being my most feared snack of bagel and guacamole…and despite me having to add hot cocoa (3 packets) to it to make up cals from earlier….it didn’t matter. I just wanted to not die.

I did feel better and just kept plowing through my remaining snacks. I didn’t care about restricting, I didn’t care about weigh-in, I just didn’t want to die…and food was making me feel a ton better. In this moment….tonight…I realize how sick my body is. I realize food really is medicine. I realized I have a fear greater than weight gain--death.

This is the point an eating disorder will take you too. You won’t be able to brush off headaches…instead a headache will cause you and all those around you to wonder if you will survive the night. It won’t be written off to lack of sleep….but will be deemed a warning that you are going to die. That is what an ED brings you.

It brings you to a point where you are x lbs. Where the fact that scale jumped up to x keeps you from eating and you have a night like I did tonight. But the good thing is it made me realize the desperate state I am in. My body has no reserves. Meal timing has been impressed upon me because my body has literally nothing else to pull from to get me through. Food is the only source of blood sugar regulation it has…which means I have to give it to myself. I got myself here too. My body has no reserves and it is because of what I have done. My body is relying on me now…because I got it to a position homeostasis isn’t even possible. It can’t self-regulate and is depending on me to keep it running.

I have to provide myself regular nutrients. There is no room for error anymore. Skipping portions, not eating at regular times, tearing off bagel pieces…they could all be mis-steps that lead to my death. Sure when I was at a higher weight these were still issues in the ED recovery sense, but now they are a life-or-death matter. That is where anorexia got me. That is where my stubbornness and determination has led. But there is good news.

I am capable of feeding myself normally. It is going to take a lot of trust in others and it is going to take a lot of fight. The trust I have to work on, but the fight…I got that. You see fight is about a lot of determination and stubbornness…two things I have proven I have. In the past, I have used them to drive myself to the state I am in now. To injure myself and slowly propel myself down the path to death, but I can use the same traits and propel myself back to life, to health, to a point where I don’t have to be afraid to die.

So tonight I realized just how sick I am. How sick I never want to be again. I don’t want to have to wonder if a headache means I am going to die in my sleep. Heck..I don’t want to worry about dying. I am 20 years old and have a long life ahead of me, but only if I beat this. Right now my body is at such a weak point, I am its only chance at survival. Food is the only thing it has to rely on to repair itself. Years of malnourishment means it needs a lot of nutrients right now and I have to suck it up and give them to it. My emotions and mind can’t be relied on right now…they are driven by the same malnourishment. Survival must come in. I am at a point where I am sick enough to die….and food and nourishment….recovery and healing….they are my only way to survive. I have to trust my team and my meal is the only way to live.

I also realized I have a fear greater than the scale: death. This is a fear that is way too close to reality for me right now. And why is it such a reality? Because of how low my weight has gotten. Because of the fear of gaining weight that has propelled me to keep losing. So I have to abandon this fear…or more so my avoidance of it. At this point I have to cling to my fear of death and losing my dreams so I can face the fear of the scale that has controlled me for 14 years.

I shared and wrote these things because it’s important for others and myself to see the reality of what eating disorders bring. The fact that they can , will, and desire to kill us. They don’t bring joy, don’t bring hope, don’t bring a future. All they bring is fear and death. They propel us to a point our bodies can’t fight for themselves anymore. They bring people way too young to even need to think about death right to its doorstep. They bring us to the point we can feel the claws of death gripping us. Luckily, for me….I have the strength of a Father that propelled me to eat no matter how scary. To eat no matter the time. To eat and save myself. But sometimes…even death isn’t enough to scare people into doing that…and they die.

So please….no matter how sick or healthy you feel, fight this disorder. I don’t care if where I am seems impossible for you to ever be…because it seemed the same way for me. I promised myself I would never get this sick…and yet here I am. I thought I would be able to stop myself before it got this bad, that bells would go off in my head before anorexia was so close it could take my life. That is not reality.

You can’t stop yourself till you start to fight the demon of ED inside of you. And sometimes it takes feeling the breath of death on your shoulders to do that. But I hope for you all…my experience is enough to push you to fight. You don’t deserve to have to feel this way…I don’t deserve to have to feel this way. So I am going to fight with all I have…because I don’t want to die. And I hope you will join me and fight too. The only end to ED’s path is death, but we can turn around and walk the other direction. We can go back towards life. We might be walking against the wind as we fight for survival, but we are stubborn, determined people and we can do it. Don’t let ED hold you back….fight for your life…because that is what hangs in the balance.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Freedom Friday :)

So this week has brought a lot of mental freedom, but again there weren't that many new foods I faced. It's been more about refacing those fear foods that still haunt me. Finding freedom from the lies that still hold me back. Finding freedom of new therapist. Freedom after 6 weeks of non-stop exams. And freedom to cry and mourn the loss of my N for the longest time I have ever lost her due to her having a baby. So there's been a lot going on, a lot of insights I made, and a lot of post I have to write. Good news for you all....I have no exams/quizzes after Tuesday and next week is spring break....soooo...prepare to read :) Alright, enough blabbing...onto the freedom you came here for :)
Oh and forgive the delay...gave myself freedom Friday night to talk with a very good support for the first time face-to-face...well semi face-to-face...we used oovoo. After her being my official "sponsor" for the past month and a support for over a year...we finally had the time to talk together. That bonding came before the did not getting in bed crazy late because have NEDA walk today :)

 After taking a two week (I KNOW!!!! GASP!!!) from my beloved Arctic Zero pint, I was finally craving one again. I will admit in times past, I continued to leave some behind....worried perhaps my pint was too full. But this week has revealed to me that I need to download some new recovery vocab....and "too much" or "too big" just don't fit. So I dug in (yes I use little spoons) and ate the whole pint. And you know what...distance makes the heart grow fonder and this was AMAZING! And eating wasn't the only freedom with this, because I also let someone else buy it for me....and that's a big no-no in my book. I don't like to let others do things for me....but this special someone reminded me I deserve to be treated well and I deserve to have things bought for me.
 Another re-face was stir-fry (you see a little bit of it there) and the wheat roll. You see the problem for me is that if I face a freedom food only once or twice and go too long without having it again, it becomes scary all over and we are back to square one. Case and point: whole wheat roll. I faced it, did it almost every other day for like two weeks, then took a 3 week break from it. This 3-week break increased my craving for it, but also my fear. So finally...I broke down and grabbed one. Throwing out everything in my mind that said I couldn't do scary stir-fry and roll. I (not so politely) responded to that voice saying: "It fits my meal plan...why the hell can't I have it?" And with that...wheat roll re-entered my recovery repertoire.
 Oh old love...a love I have never fully accepted and indulged. You see...I have ALWAYS skimped on shrimp. Somehow I have convince myself 3 oz=3 shrimp....that is so not the case. Even these large shrimp I had to have 12 of to get my 3 oz (according to N). Of course I could only fit 10 in the container I brought to dining hall so I was a little low, but my N was understanding. It was scary enough to triple the intake I was used to (granted its still been over a year since I had shrimp). These were amazing and honestly...I can't wait to get to eat 12 whole shrimp. See's not something I have to do, but something I get to do...something I want to do. Another freedom I am learning: it's okay to want food.
 Oh...dining hall you haunt me each and every freaking day. That's right....I am still scared of these and they have been a daily part of my meal plan for months now. But you see I have always invented ways to avoid the fear of them: limiting flavors I am allowed, leaving behind pieces, measuring, size comparing, etc, etc. But by not facing the fear head on...I have just been holding myself back from freedom. So I face a flavor I have been avoiding....VERY BERRY. Now sure....after the first bite I realized very berry ain't berry good...but I finished it all anyway. Food is I like the taste of cold medicine...HECK I take it when I am sick...without a doubt. Same with food....hated the taste, but did I really want to have to drink two boosts to replace it....NO! So I sucked it up and finished the bagel.
 Who could forget the sack lunches I am so cursed  blessed to have on Mondays and Tuesdays. Not literally haunts me in my sleep. And as if they aren't hard N decided to throw in another challenge. This may seem small to some people, but it's huge to me. I had to eat lettuce and tomatoe on my sandwich (as I've been wanting to do), but it doesn't count as any exchange. Pictured here, it's piled in a pita...and what you can't see is the mayo I had to add. It's another lovely rule of N....have to face something 3 times before can say I don't like it. Well...this was third time and only "charm" of it was that I never have to eat mayo again. I get's good for me...there are no ED reasons behind avoiding's done nothing to my weight....I just don't like how it tastes...and that's okay. Anyway...lettuce and tomatoe was face and it makes sandwiches SOOO much better. Still trying to accept eating things that don't "count," but's not my fault freedom isn't an exchange to be counted in meal plan.

WARNING: no makeup picture of me. HIDE YOUR CHILDREN!!! Just kidding (sort of), but anyway this is something I found and LOVE thanks to my mandatory juices at every meal. The juices help get me the nutrients I need, without the undesired tummy effects of solid foods right now. So take juice (which I am learning to accept) and green tea (which I LOVE) and you make my life a little easier. I don't want to skimp portions if it means losing out on the kick my green tea brings. And thus I discovered and continue to enjoy...Cran-Energy by Ocean Spray.'s really delicious and added bonus has caffeine. What college student doesn't want caffeine....and need caffeine. NONE. This is one meal plan change I am happy happened. is something I have been desperately avoiding. Avoided it all during treatment, all last year, and up to this point in this semester. But with this being my last week with N and us bonding over the fact that she too once had a fear of white potatoes....I decided to face them. You N was taught that as a flier for cheerleading she had to stay thin and she was taught and believed white potatoes were not for her. All until she started her dietetics degree and found out...white potatoes have tons of minerals and aren't high in the calories she thought they were. We both laughed as she described the excitement of her first white potato after years of avoiding them. Well...when I faced this potato...there weren't any smiles. I was so overwhelmed by its size and the fact that I put some guac on it....and how filling it was....that all I could do was bounce my knees in fear. But it really wasn't tasted quite nice. And my N was so excited when I e-mailed her to tell her about my freedom food dedication. In fact...she thinks it would be great to face every week. Maybe I a way of still having her by my side :)

So my school loves to have themed nights. And we aren't talking just theme the food...we aren't talking about the Mexican night your family has when you all make tacoes. We are talking full-blowned parties. My favorite is at the end of the year (Beach themed completed with this amazing drum band straight from Jamaica), but Thursday they had Western night. Complete with wanted photo booths, make your own cowboy hat, free Cracker Jack which I will be face this week, crazy was crazy. And the food....there was tons of red meat so not entrees could challenge self with but it was cool: Frito pies, Flank steaks, fried cactus,  tons of stuff smothered in cheese, a pear stack cake wish would have had the guts to try, and this beauty: Cinnamon Buckwheat bread. I had high hopes for this one and it lassoed me in. I was scared because I of course looked up the numbers for no reason, but I face it anyway (as the bite out of the bread shows). Well....this bread is wanted for failing to impress. Buckwheat is quite interesting and I mean it tasted nice, but the only part of cinnamon you got was the smell of it..not the taste at all. But hey...another new food conquered :)

What? Another bagel. Why yes, because the freedom with this one was different. You see I used to love, love, love the Oats and Honey Wheat bagels, but lately they have only had "huge" least in ED's eyes. Well ED tells me I don't need/deserve those ones so I have been avoiding them...but this week I decided enough was enough (as did fate which made all the bagels go bad in my room except this one), and I faced it. I put some good ole' guac on it to get my fat exchanges in....and it was amazing. Scary, but amazing. As you can tell...I still have a lot of freedom to claim with these bagels. Me and my N talked about it last week and its because they encompass tons of my fears: pre-portioned items I can't weigh, the unknown of how many oats are really in calorie count, the fact that I still worry about calories when on exchanges, fear of what flavor is really healthy, what flavor is really whole wheat, the urge to tear off pieces, eating carbs and enjoying them, and so many others. But that's good, because it means each time I finish one it's that much more victory...and trust anxiety levels show that.

Drumroll for this next one...because it was a HUGE victory. You see I had a meal built by my nutritionist. In our session she told me exactly what to get and as the list continued building...I got scared. But she broke it down and I saw it did meet my exchanges and I just needed to trust.....that was a hard thing to do. But I vowed to have this meal for her son....the little gift that is soon going to enter this without further ado....I present....the Victory MEAL!

Honestly, I never thought I could eat a meal like this. I mean looking at it through a "normal person's" eyes they probably don't understand why I was scared. It looks healthy....nothing scary there. But for just seemed like "too much" for my body (again there will be a later post about this). Here is what is included:

  • Grilled Chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bun with guac(gets my pro and starches and a fat, veggies are freedom freebies aka don't count)
  • 1/2 cup steamed cabbage (1 of my veggie exchanges)
  • 1/2 cup mandarin oranges (a fear fruti have been avoiding)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • And the salad of craziness in my see if I eat a salad I only get the lettuce/ other toppings (except dressing)...but I know that's not normal or what I really this one was built by N. Spinach, carrots, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, peas, egg whites, Balsamic was nice to feel like I was eating a normal person meal. 
  • And then the artichoke heart. Never eaten one and had no idea how to. Had a friend guide me....but the taste was too much. I couldn't finish this part, but I still felt victory
And just to let you all experience the victory with me I took play by play shots from beggining to end. It also gave me time to stop and reflect. To realize when my mind says I can't I still can. We are stronger than we believe...and I challenge all of you to try and at least accept that possibility. That you can push yourself farther than you think possible. In the moment it might seem so wrong...but trust feels really good and you feel proud :) This I had yesterday for lunch and now....I am going to the NEDA Walk with my head held high claiming this victory...a victory made possible by support from Sarah, prayers to God, and my N :)