Honestly, I’ve come to see I usually just blow through them because I am scared I will end up being right and just want to get it over with so I can just go back to my old way of life, but that isn’t sustainable recovery. Instead, I am taking the positive, trusting approach to recovery and choosing to accept I am wrong and there is possibility of a new way of life. So first step is seeing the positives of my contract and then tacking the fear (and lie) of unknown and loss of control it brings.
- Weigh only two times weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays. Brighter future: I don’t want my life to revolve around what I weigh. I want to be able to just weigh once a week or maybe even eventually not at all. Plus, daily weighing makes me give up on my challenges without giving my body a chance to trust me. I allow fluctuations to hold me back from my future, so by not weighing daily, I give myself a chance at freedom.
- No diet foods (ie no light bread or anything labeled fat free or sugar free). Brighter future: My nutritionist mentioned that in the future these things can become part of my diet, and it was then I realized I didn’t want them to. I don’t want to buy light bread or sugar free syrup because I don’t really like those things. I want to be able to go out to a deli with friends when I am in Denver and not be scared the bread isn’t light. I want to have breakfast with friends and use whatever syrup is provided. I don’t want to be scared to go out with people because I don’t know if things are sugar-free, fat free, or light. I want to be free.
- Food scale can only be used for meats (this one has been very tough). Brighter future: This and number 4 go together, but basically I want to be able to go out and eat with people. I want to feel normal. I don’t want to have an emotional breakdown anytime I go out to eat because I can’t precisely measure or weigh the food. Plus I want food to be fuel, not numbers or measurement. I want to be able to eat whatever size piece of fruit I grab or am given without worrying about the size. I want to trust my body, not numbers. I want to hang out with people and there be food and me be FREE to eat it and not need it measured. Plus, heck, I just want to be able to eat my whole meal in the dining hall and not have to sneak food out to weigh it or have to pull out measuring cups to measure it.
- No measuring cups allowed in the dining hall, only my tablespoon.See above
- Meal timing as set by my nutritionist which means eating something within 30 minutes of waking.Brighter future: I want to learn to fuel my body throughout the day, not restrict food in the morning because I am scared eating will awaken my hunger. I need to fuel my body and my metabolism. I don't want to fear hunger, I want to honor it by feeding it when I feel it not controlling it. Also, I don't want to feel ashamed about eating as I am when I have to eat a ton at night to get me meal plan in. I want to be able to eat b-fast with my husband or even just roommates and not be worrying about what that means for eating the rest of the day.
- No changing plans between sessions. Stick to challenges set.Brighter future: This keeps my ED from taking over and manipulating people. It makes my true self be able to speak, because my true self is what gets pulled out by my nutritionist and thus my true desires (removed from EDs fear) come out in session, and EDs fears creep in in the week. I want my true self to dictate my life and that means sticking to my gut and what my true self wants.
- If stuck between choices must choose riskier one.Brighter future: usually if I am stuck choosing its because I want the riskier food but am afraid to give myself permission to have it. But I want to be able to eat according to my cravings not to fear of false rules I have set up. I want to go to the dining hall and see a food I want and just be able to allow myself to have it. I don't want to make every decisions such a war, I want to learn to just allow myself what I want. To go by desire not by rules. This makes that a reality. Plus, choosing a safer option always only brings glory to ED not to God or my true self.
- 3 meals and 3 snacks Brighter future: This is my meal plan and I am not in a position to change it. I need to learn to trust others and my dietitian to provide me with a plan with the right nutrients for the right amount of weight restoration which I need for my health. My meal plan is that right plan and I need to trust and obey it.
Tackling the Lies
So there are two big fears for me with this plan: fear not being in control and fear of the unknown. This plan gives over all of my ED behaviors…all the things I thought were control in my life. No measuring, no weighing, no manipulating….just trusting and obeying…and that brings up a lot of fear. Even when I was weighing things but not tearing them it was easier because I knew the number..or so it seemed. But really it would just haunt me how many “big” vs “small” items I ate. The fear of the unknown is that for tom, Sat, and Sun I will have to eat this plan not knowing what it is doing to me…just trusting my nutritionist. Going from daily weighing to biweekly brings a lot of fear of the unknown…so my therapist thought up this activity of listing the things I still have control over instead of focusing on my inferred loss of control over my weight and food due to the inability to measure both. I am going to do the same thing with what I know instead of focusing on the fear of not knowing how my weight is changing due to the plan and if it’s too fast.
I denounce the lie that I am out of control of have lost control. The Truth is I Am Still In Control, but over the things I should be in control of. The rest I hand over to God and my team. I know I still have control because:
- THE TOP ONE: It takes way more control to not use behaviors than to use the behaviors. Just think how many times you catch yourself about to weigh something because its routine. That is because ED is controlling you and your behaviors. By not using the behaviors, you are in control and using the willpower and strength of God to hold back from the urges. This is real control, my ED actions are but an illusion of control, while ED controls me.
- 2. I am in control of my control and what I choose to have it over. I decide to turn things I don't need to control, like my food and my weight, over to God and my nutritionist who can and should control those things.
- I am in control of which foods I eat and get to eat what I want instead of having food dictated to me by my eating disorder.
- I am in control of my grades. In fact, by fueling myself better I am helping to ensure I have the energy to study and keep my grades up.
- I am in control of what I do with my day. I choose when I get up, if I go to class, and what activities I want to do.
- I have control over giving my control of food and weight over to my team and God where it belongs.
- I am in control of going to my sessions.
- I am in control of how I let my emotions affect me. I choose to let them happen and not react to them to make them go away, but just to feel them.
- I am in control of my car when I drive. I steer it where I want it to go.
- I am in control of my finances and choose what to spend my money on.
- I am in control of my blog and choose what topics I choose to share and type.
- I am in control of the time I spend with God. I choose to honor our relationship and spend time with Him, but He is a gentleman and let’s me choose that time.
- I control my future by choosing recovery and choosing to let weight gain happen. That is the only way I can live.
- I control which fears I face to allow for victories. This is why I chose to write the contract part about choosing the riskier item, so I face fears instead of letting them control me.
- I am in control, because I agreed to and wrote this contract. Thus it is what the authentic me wanted and gave me back control from my disorder.
I feel I am trapped in the unknown because I don’t know by weighing daily what this plan is doing to my body and if the weight gain isn’t happening too fast. The Truth is there are much more important things that I am sure of and know. I know:
- My nutritionist has a degree and is educated in nutritional counseling. Thus she is much better to trust with my food decisions than ED or myself. She is an expert, and I am still stuck in preschool.
- I know my nutritionist wants what is best for me and doesn’t want me to gain too quickly. She is not out to get me or make me gain weight.
- I know if I gain more than 2 lbs in a week my nutritionist will decrease my meal plan. She is not trying to get me to gain weight super fast.
- I know God made my body to use food as fuel and not to gain weight rapidly. It will gain as much as it is supposed to.
- I know I need to gain weight for health reasons and that with me tracking my weight daily I get in the way of that.
- I know that weight fluctuates daily and thus the only true way to see a pattern and know if you are gaining or losing is to weigh weekly.
- I know my body needs nutrients just to function and thus I need this meal plan so my body can function.
- I know that even if I was weighing daily it wouldn’t change what my weight is Monday. Come tomorrow, even weighing, I wouldn’t know what my weight will be Monday because weight fluctuates.
- I know I can’t change my meal plan, only my nutritionist can and that can’t happen till Wednesday, so even getting to know my weight Monday is a compromise from nutritionist.
- I know God doesn’t want me to be a slave to the scale and thus by not getting on scale I am praising Him over ED.
- I know I have done this exact meal plan before and nothing drastic happened. There is no reason I can’t trust it now.
- I know I will be able to enjoy my weekends more without having to worry about weigh-ins.
- I know I will never be able to see I don’t need to weigh daily unless I stop weighing daily.
- I know my friends in recovery only weigh 1-2 times weekly and say it was the best decision they have ever made and that it made weight gain be less scary. It didn’t make them gain rapidly or make it harder, but made it easier.
- I know with God and my team I can and will be able to not weigh and that it will make Mondays weigh-in a victory no matter what, because I waited for it. And Monday is a chance to see I can trust my body…that’s something I really want. And good things are worth waiting for. Instead of getting caught up in fluctuations, I can get “caught up” in trust and believe and trust (or at least try to) that I am not gaining rapidly.
Wow! I didn't even realize how much that would help. In fact, I was about to weigh my banana because I figure what could it hurt, but then I saw that the way it could hurt is because I would be handing ED back control. I would also been saying that in the future I must always weigh bananas. I would be robbing myself of the chance to go to the refreshment table after the 5ks I run and just grab a banana to eat. And I deserve to have that as part of my future...starting with this banana tonight :)
I also shared my contract with my parents, something I would never do before, because I don't want to have a "break" this weekend. I want to stick to the contract and know their accountability will help. I also have packed and my scale is not included...out of sight, out of mind..or at least out of the way of tempting me to weigh early. I know I am not strong enough to do this, but with my team, my friends, my family, and my God...I can conquer this contract.