Monday, April 29, 2013

Shamed Secret of Recovery: Break the Silence

For quite some time now I have been hiding a struggle of mine with readers and why...because I couldn't find anyone else who discussed it on their blog. I kept dealing with it in silence because I figured sharing the secret struggle on here would make people think I was disgusting...or that something was wrong with me. But recently I have been talking to my recovering/recovered friends about it and we all have experienced it but been too scared to talk about it because nobody else was. You see the problem here. The more we stay silent because no one is talking about the struggle, the more silence persists, the less people talk, and the trap of silence remains. So I am here to break my own silence and hopefully bring some help to others struggling with this shamed secret: extreme hunger and binge urges.

I figure I might as well write about this tonight since the lovely extreme hunger hit me again today. For me, it's this unquenchable gut-roaring hunger that hits at night all the sudden. Soon thereafter I get this urge to eat everything in sight and even things I don't have. I get the urge to go to the store and buy loads and loads of sweets, cakes, and even foods I know I am allergic too and would make me sick and just consume them all. I wish I could say the cravings were "healthy" or "acceptable" foods, but to me they aren't. And tonight...I actually seriously think of just doing it...just to see what would happen if I "let myself go."

It's not nice, but this is pretty much how I feel it goes sometimes. But I am the mean thing saying Fuck you and my body is saying....Please, Jess...please just listen. 
I honestly don't understand why the extreme hunger comes but a lot of people in anorexia recovery deal with it so I figure I might as well discuss it and bring it out into the open. I've heard it's just because of the years of restricting and your body actually in desperation for more calories to make up for all those years. I have also heard that it is part of metabolic healing. And with me some people say it is because of my erratic eating times. I honestly don't have the answer. This is a reason I can't wait to have a nutritionist I can ask someone about it. Not only about why it happens...but what to do when it does happen...that's my real struggle.

Tonight I went to my usual and irrational way of coping. I was in the middle of a snack when the hunger hit and so I did an oh-so-logical thing and stopped eating. I don't know what it is about it, but when I get this extreme hunger my first instinct is to stop eating...the complete opposite of what a "normal" person would do. But for me I have this whole idea that if I stop eating and slow down my pace of eating I can get the hunger to go away. I know this isn't the healthiest way to cope with the hunger, but I honestly don't know what else to do. Problem is the delay in one snack delays my others pushing my timing further and further back which (due to medications I take that must be taken certain time before and after meals) messes me up for the next day. And as much does in recovery slips days turns to weeks, weeks to months, and then you have a messed up timing pattern on your hands.

But I digress. I was thinking today as the hunger hit about what other options would be to cope with the hunger and what beliefs are holding me back. Here is what I got.

1. Continue eating at regular pace and stick with meal plan.
Belief: I am afraid if I keep with the regular pace and just keep with meal plan (which I finish regardless of the hunger anyway) that I will be left with no food and the hunger still being there. I know most people think anorexics want to feel hunger...but when I restricted...I never felt hunger...I felt nothing. In fact...hunger scares me more than fullness now. Hunger when I haven't made it be there by restricting or makes me feel out of control. It scares me to hear my body asking for more and to be faced with the decision of whether to give it more or not. 

2. Give into the hunger and eat whatever I want, just to see what happens.
Belief: This scares me because I used to have binge eating disorder and my biggest fear is to go back to that place. I reality I don't think my "binge" from these episodes would be anywhere near my BED binges...but still it would scare me. It would mean a loss of control and to me it scares me to think what my body would do. What if I gained weight? That would scare me soo much...especially when I let my mind go off and tell me just how much it says I would gain. But what if I lost weight? I am scared this would give my mind an excuse to do the binging again even when the urge isn't there. But honestly...and as ashamed as I am to say it...I think had my weight not been up this morning...I would have seriously thought about doing it. 

3. Keep on with timing and plan and if hunger still there than eat more.
Belief: This one just annoys me because I wouldn't know how much more to eat and get scared my body would trick me into eating more than I need. Again it comes down to complete distrust in my body and myself. It comes down to this belief that for some reason I am this out of control person that needs rules around feeding myself...something my body is designed to give me signals (like hunger) to control. 

Again, I wish I had a dietitian at this point to tell me what is the right thing to do, because really I am not even sure. What I am doing with delaying meals...well I know that is definitely anorexia and needs to not happen next time (because I am sure there will be a next time) this happens. But then I don't know what to do. I guess I could keep with timing...but then what do I do if the hunger doesn't subside. I am left at a standstill....stuck between trusting my body or the structure of my meal plan. Which is better for me long-term? I know some dietitians have told me it would be good if I just let myself go once...just to see what it felt like...but that completely scares me. Yet...I also know at the low weight I am at's the only time I will actually even think about doing it. So what do you do? Schedule a binge? This whole thing is so confusing...and it's all centered around a feeling most people know how to respond to: hunger. But when you are a recovering anorexic...and it's extreme's not so easy to deal with.

So there it is. I broke the silence and shared my struggle. No big insights, and really no solutions. But I promise it's top of my list to talk to the new dietitian about this summer (two more weeks and counting). For now...I am just happy the hunger went away and can't wait to get in bed and sleep. I know again it's sad...but sleep helps me hide from the hunger. As you can see I am far from recovered..but recovery is a process. A process with ups and downs and scary situations just like this extreme hunger.

Have you ever dealt with extreme hunger in recovery? How do you cope?

Are there any other secret struggles you think should be shared?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WIAW (a few weeks late...)

So this WIAW is actually from two weeks ago, but I have been meaning to share it anyway. To make up for this here is a recent pic of me and my mom at my dance's not food related, but's recent.  I also am hoping to bring back Freedom Fridays....but since they rarely happen on Fridays...gonna name it Freedom Finds or Freedom Fundays...which you guys like. Again I will be sharing freedom foods and want to focus on the emotions and feelings they bring out too :) In fact...thinking of putting together every week a compilation of the foods and my reflections in the moment...making that the new Freedom Finds/Freedom Fundays. But for now...WIAW...thanks Jenn for hosting!

Peas and Crayons


Funny thing about eating disorders is they like to switch up the fear on you. B-fast used to be easiest meal of the it is a struggle...a literal battle to finish it all in one sitting. I am trying to break the cycle..but its hard. I also have two b-fasts that I rotate...and the boredom with the food for me is a bad becomes about numbers not nutrients, time not taste, becomes an ED game. 

 B-fast 1: I am a good ole' southern girl so I gotta have my grits. This b-fast is hard on me because I have labeled it unhealthy, but I am working through that. Basically it's 1/2 english muffin, 3 prunes, 8 almonds (ate some before pic), Activia Light, and grits with the now added yet scary salt and cayenne pepper (I don't know why spices scare me). ED torments me sometimes by watering down grits or burning english muffin to make it taste bad...apparently this is food ritual and I am working on it.

 B-fast 2: This is 1 cup Kashi Go Lean Original which I LOVE!Then it's same old 1/2 english muffin, 8 almonds, 3 prunes, and activia light. I get pretty bored with b-fast....and it's just been these two options for...I don't know how long...probably two years since left treatment...but hey I don't mind them.

Lunch aka my most delayed meal of day

 My timing is always way off for lunch and it is such a struggle for me I usually forget to take a picture, but I remembered on this day. Here we have tuna with 2 T guacamole (see the nice trusty spoon) on light wheat (all the school has), 2 cups cucumbers, 1/2 cup peas, and 2 of these things apparently called Cuties...I am going to just call them AWESOME!
Again...I am noticing lunches are the exact same all the time...this was actually a far stretch from normal. Normal is 1/2 cup sweet potatoe, 1/2 cup peas, 1 cup melon, tuna, guac, and 2 cups cucumbers. Me and patterns....thanks OCD.

Snack 1

So I try (though sometimes not my hardest) to squeeze this snack in before dinner, but otherwise it's after. It's the lovely dining hall bagels you all read about me struggling with tearing.'s been 54 days since I have torn a bagel...and honestly...I don't even think about it...only full portions for me. I do have weird pattern though. I only do topping on half bagel (FF cream cheese and guac here ) and other half I put in ziploc to makes it's always thicker side get steamed. I's weird. 


Dinner I am usually hungry for and it's usually where I get more adventerous.  

One dinner from the week I did this was half completed here. I did 9 large shrimp but half were in corn tortilla with guacamole. The rest are here with sweet potatoe, peas, and asparagus. Shrimp is still big fear for me, but I am working on it. 

Another dinner I loved was this concoction. 1/2 cup of scary corn, 1/2 cup peas, 1 cup peppers, 1 cup cucumbers and tuna with guac. I put the peppers and the tuna together on light wheat bread and it was fact think I know what I am having tomorrow.

Snacks 2 & 3

By end of night I am so tired that snapping pics sllips my mind, but here are some things I do for my two snacks. One is a free snack I choose whatever I want in calorie target and other is a fruit and dairy. So for the calorie freebie I have enjoyed....
 Two varities of soft serve. One is the good ole' Arctic Zero my favorite flavor being the mint chocolate cookie.
The other was a fear food but was AWESOME! It's Skinny Cow Cupcake Batter. This taste just like confetti batter and even has cake pieces...scary and victorious as all else...really victory tasted so sweet.

Guess had sweet tooth, because I also finished off my Reese's egg collection and guess what....I ate this one without fear of weightgain or fat or was AWESOME!

The fruit and yogurt is usually either banana or apple with yogurt...nothing too special there but here is my fav flavors of yogurt right now: Yoplait red velevet cake, Kroger Lemon, Yoplait Boston Cream Pie, Yoplait Vanilla, and Aldi's Apple Turnover. Just close your eyes and picture it....

And that's it...that is what I Ate Wednesday (a few weeks ago edition). 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Undeniable beats Unexplainable

So just a warning....this post is pretty long....but it is a big breakthrough for me. Not sure if it will even make sense to anyone else...but for made a world of difference. 
Today (Sunday) I went to Athens Church with my family and man did the sermon impact me in a way I never thought. You see, this morning my weigh-in was…well…not what I hoped for. Weight seemed to jump a lb overnight and I was so sure it was going to be down. That God was going to show me what I had eaten the night before (tons of fear foods) was okay to eat. But that is not what the number said. I flipped out and went to church without eating b-fast because that seemed like the only solution. Then the sermon and hope hit me again.

You see deep inside there was a tiny voice of reason saying: “The number is up but not because of food. It’s because of water and poo, just like it has been every other time this happens. Stick with your meal plan like you have times before and you know that God will show the Truth. He won’t let anything go out of control…including your weight. He knows that matters to you, so it matters to Him to. He will take care of all your needs…including your weight.” But that didn’t make sense to me. The number made sense to me. The number could be explained by food…but by poo and water…no way. And only way to correct too much food was to eat less.

Then the sermon started and I won’t share it all but you can check it out here. But the jist was this. There are two thought paths to make a decision based on….the undeniable….or the unexplainable. The unexplainable is when we have seen something happen but we can’t explain why it happens and many times this causes us to not accept it as truth. The undeniable on the other hand is when you don’t have the facts to explain something…but you have seen/are seeing it happen and so you accept it as truth. 

And every day in life we take the undeniable over the unexplainable.
Example….if you drive. Do you know the exact mechanics behind the engine, gas, and all that hoopla that’s under the hood of a car…most likely, not (and if you are like me you don’t even know which of the thingy majigs is the engine anyway). But I bet at some point over this weekend you drove or rode in a car…..because you know it works. You don’t know how…but you have seen a car run, so you know it works and trust that. That is the undeniable fact..the car runs….even though you can’t explain how.

Yet so many times with God and our life experiences…we stick to the unexplainable. If it can’t be explained by our world view…then it can’t be true. For me..I still struggle with seeing God form the world view of a punisher…not of a God who cares. So for me…if I step on the scale or a bunch of bad things happen in my life…instead of drawing closer to God and knowing that He will see me through as He has so many times in the past (undeniable) I fit my circumstances into my worldview and determine God doesn’t care because I am such a screw up. Because in my world-view that is the only explanation that fits….but it’s not reality. Of course stubborn me doesn’t see that in the moment so I run away from God till I get worn down and exhausted and (like always) run back to Him and trust in Him because I have lost all else…and He comes through.

Now how does this apply to my weight. Well…that was clear to me all through the sermon though the sermon had nothing to do with the scale.  Here is where it all came in. So many times in recovery I ask God to take care of my weight, and every single time He does. My weight fluctuates and sometimes this means extreme fluctuations…but it all settles back down. This should prove the undeniable truth to me that my body can be trusted….but that doesn’t fit in my view of my body. I think my body can’t be trusted and that weight changes only reflect good/bad food and exercise decisions. So every weigh-in I make rationalizations about choices I made that have caused my weight to do whatever it did. Instead of accepting that my body can be trusted…I find explanations…but then…then the weigh-ins happen that are unexplainable.

This has been the case the past few days. Before this weigh-in I had been eating really scary foods really often and kicking butt at my portions….and all the sudden…my weight drastically plummeted. It made no sense. Not with my view of my body. I should be gaining….that’s all I could think. This weigh-in was unexplainable in my own view. That was of course…unless I admitted I was wrong…and saw what was undeniable. That my body could be trusted, God cared about my weight and can control it without my help, and…that maybe, just maybe, I needed more food. But again…that didn’t fit in my ideals…my beliefs of my body. So I kept saying: :This is a fluctuation…just wait till tomorrow…it’s just a fluctuation. Tomorrow would come and weight be down or lower…again showing me the undeniable..but I went with explanations.

Then today hit….the weight gain I kept telling myself to wait for. Then out the window went the undeniable…I clung to the facts I had. Weight was up so all the foods I had eaten were bad and I obviously needed less. I realized in the sermon how unfair this is. God give me weigh-in after weigh-in of the undeniable truth of needing more nutrients or being able to trust body and I wait and wait not accepting it….but then it takes one weigh-in….one uptick and I throw everything undeniable out and decide it was food that caused the “gain” and I need a decrease. It’s completely ludicrous.

But then there is that still small voice in me. The one today speaking the undeniable. That this weigh-in sure I could make up explanations for…but really it’s not explainable with food. I didn’t eat beyond my meal plan and the food I ate wasn’t higher cal enough to cause a lb of real gain. This had to be something other than food even though that doesn’t fit into the facts and truths in my head. Even though to me that makes it unexplainable and causes me to panic. But there is the undeniable…that these fluctuations have happened before….and guess what….wt has always gone back down. God has always shown me the Truth….and everything has been okay. That is undeniable. But before I could accept that this weigh-in wasn’t about food…I wanted the explanations as to what it was.

That’s when our pastor said that God sometimes shows us the explanations…but not until we accept the undeniable. It was in that moment I realized what I needed to do. I needed to throw aside the feeling of having to explain this weigh-in and trust in the undeniable. That I had been losing prior to this and that this was just a fluctuation…a normal fluctuation. I didn’t do anything to make it happen…it just happened. That God would show me everything would be okay. And the even bigger thing….that when weight does go down again…it’s gonna be undeniable that I need increase. Sure I can’t explain it because in my mind I can’t need more food, only less. I even have facts to support the undeniable when my weight is going down.

Just like the Pharisees in Luke 9 searched for any explanation other than Jesus being the Savior as to how the blind man saw….despite the blind man being right there seeing….I search for any explanation other than needing more food when weight down… anything I can that keeps me from making scary decision to increase. Same goes with weight fluctuations…I search for any reason other than there being no reason….for why my weight goes up. Despite having been proven time and time again that fluctuations happen and they go away.

But today….today I chose the undeniable. I chose to accept that this uptick was just a fluctuation. I went home and ate b-fast while planning out the rest of my full meal plan day. I refused to live in my world view….my ED view of myself and God. I have chosen to accept the undeniable truth that everything will be okay and I at least need this meal plan if not more. It’s not comfortable…but then again neither is accepting that I am ballooning when I know in my heart I am not. So today…today I believe the undeniable Truth of my God and His love and desire for peace for me. I accept that I don’t have all the answers and that only He does. I accept the time after time He has proven my beliefs about my weight and body wrong....and that this makes  the undeniable completely true and completely explainable. My body, food, and God can be trusted….that is undeniable…and for today…I chose to accept that and to admit that my beliefs are wrong. I chose to believe Him over me, to believe Truth over seemingly true lies, and to accept the undeniable instead of the unexplainable.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Anybody out there?

Hey everyone--
I just feel like I am alone...just talking to myself
I really have wanted to get back to writing, but the good ole' nobody cares about you and what you have to say voice has creeped back in and kept me away. I want the blog to go back to what it was intended to be....a blog about the real, true struggles of recovering from an eating disorder. That means blogging even when recovery sucks, it means blogging on the normal days too....the ones where it's not a good or bad's just a day (in fact I struggle with these days a lot), and of course means sharing successes.

But anyway...I just wonder if there is anyone out there who cares? Because frankly...I feel I lost all of the readers and thus there is no reason to write's a strange but real feeling. Also, I want to know what you all want to know about. What struggles are you are your loved ones facing? What do you think I should push myself to look into? Any questions you have about the process (remember I have been residential, inpatient, and I can answer them all)?

I know this may sound need and self-indulgent to ask others to tell me they are reading...but it is the honest truth of what I need right now. So just give me a shout out by comment or e-mail me. Thanks everyone...if you are out there that is....

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Way is not to Weigh

Long time no write. I miss you guys but school has been hectic and recovery has gotten a little shaky when I lost nutritionist. I haven't restricted or anything...just been racing thoughts all the time and combined with the stress of school and work...haven't been able to put my thoughts together. But took last of my major exams yesterday and came home and had tons and tons of breakthroughs yesterday. Today I had one I would like to share. It's around my dear frienemy...Mr. Food Scale.

I have noticed every time I come home I go straight back to measuring things with a food scale. At school…I don’t even think about food scale..I just think in portions. Then all the sudden..I come home and start weighing things…and today I asked…why?

My brain sometimes rationalizes it. Makes it seem like tool for recovery. My mind says: “Well you see it can show you that you can trust portion sizes to match the proper weight of food.” That’s great and all…when the portion is the EXACT weight it’s supposed to be. A g under and ED goes off the next day if I lose weight that it was that one single gram that made the difference. A g over and I am the worst person on earth for eating it and I am binging and so on and so forth. Both are complete disordered lies…but they are the thoughts that come. And let me tell you my favorite quote about rationalization: "Rationalization and justification are just like masturbation, in the end you are just F***ing yourself."

Now if I hadn’t weighed my serving I would just be sitting with the unease of not knowing the weight, but I would know I was getting the right portion because it would be the right portion and same portion I do at school.

And then there is this other thing…what the heck does the weight of the piece of bread, lettuce, cereal, etc. Reality: it doesn’t. I have yet to get an exchange list that says xg of grits is one exchange, x g of bread is one exchange. Nope it has cups and slices and normal people servings. The only thing that has weight is meat. reality…the only thing I should ever measure is the meat.

But yet EVERY SINGLE TIME I come home I weigh things. It’s so weird. It’s like this routine to torture myself and make home Hell instead of giving myself the possibility of experiencing the same freedoms I am starting to gain at school at home.

This weekend has been different and when I have weighed things, if they are too much…I still eat them. I haven’t gotten to the point where if they are too little I add, but I guess need to do that. Even bigger than that…I plan on not using the scale for lunch today. We will see how that goes and then who knows…I may even expand it to dinner. For now though I am sitting content with the fact that really…the way to go is to not weigh. And that perhaps…perhaps I will need support in this. But this can’t be my summer. The obsession of weighing food cannot become my reality yet again. Plus, let’s be makes food prep last way too long. By the time I prepare my meal everyone is done eating.

So far it seems the pros and cons point to the clear answer. Pros of weighing….umm…well it helps with meat. Cons of weighing: obsessions, makes going back to school harder, makes food prep last too long, makes me start to think in calories again, doesn’t help me actually get portion, makes me not trust portions, makes me “restrict”….yep…cons definitely outweigh pros. So…this means one thing…food scale use…it’s got to go. At least for non-meat items for now. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WIAW#3: Freedom, Fears, Food....

Peas and CrayonsSo I am sorry I have been away, but honestly I have been struggling a lot and just going through the motions. The scale has become my worst enemy again and I am back in a place I feel my body is betraying me. My brain can barely piece together sentences at this point, let alone full blog post, but I have still been trying to face fear here is some eats from this week....thanks to Jenn over at peas and crayons for hosting.

 First off I finally got the courage to eat Pretzel M&Ms....they have been sitting on my freedom food list for...who knows how long, but I finally had them. Not only that...I ate them in the middle of the day while sitting in class...a big No No from ED in my life....well..I am kind of tired of no.
As you can see...I eat things a little weird and these suckers I literally sucked...see the before and after below. I mean I did bite one like a normal person...but it just wasn't the same lol.

 In good news I managed to go home for easter weekend and actually keep to my meal plan at my mom's house..a rare event for me. Not only that but I had one of my old favorites.... Breyer's Fat Free Vanilla Fro-YO. I have to do fat free because of dietary issues and this ice cream is the best. Did full portions and all...even added Multigrain Cheerios to get the right exchanges filled. It was really delicious...and sometimes the fear of eating something denied for so long begins to feel like excitement with each bite...
 And the freedom at my mom's didn't stop there. I also had this lovely Bolillo Roll...anything white bread is scary for me...but when I came home, saw these rolls, and got scared....I knew I had to eat them. I knew I couldn't just add another food to my freedom food list...I needed to get my freedom right there in that moment...and so I did. And I had pease and a salad with tuna and olive oil mango vinagairette. Quite nice I might say. And who can't enjoy something with a name you can't quite pronounce...Bolillo...what is that?
 This looks disgusting, but really it was quite good and a big fear for me because I hate mixing things together. This also included brown rice...and I avoid rice because of ED...but my tummy wasn't feeling hot, I was full, and I needed something for dinner. Enter: tuna, brown rice, and guac all mixed together. Quick, easy...and quite good. And I was eating in robot mode (when ED is so loud you don't want to eat so you just go through the motions). I so hope my excitement/desire to eat comes back...but till then...I might have to be mixing a whole lot more.
 And last, but certainly not least...this easter was the first easter since my Freshmen year of high school (I am about to be a senior in college) that I ate easter candy. Not only that....I had one I have never had before....a full size Reese's PB egg...frozen of course (my whole family freezes candy). It was so scary and so freeing at the same time. I figure my Savior's blood was shed that day...shed for my freedom...what better way to proclaim that victory...then to treat myself.
Again, I eat these weird too....I eat all the chocolate off the sides, then the top, then take a few bites with PB and chocolate, then eat chocolate off the bottom. It's how I ate the Reese tree mini a long time ago...figured egg shouldn't be any different.

 And as I have come to find in recovery...sometimes the last bite is even more important than the first. It is that bite that seals in complete victory and shatters the chains of your ED :) Even late at night, even with crazy can shatter the hold of ED...with that last bite.