Monday, March 31, 2014

WOWza Recovery Weekend

Mar 28-30th: This isn’t everything I ate just the highlights of the big recovery things! This was one of the best, scariest, most amazing recovery weekends of my life. And no..I didn't balloon.

Fri Mar 28th
I woke up excited for this day because I was going to see Frozen, but also terrified because I had just started the new plan the day before and knew I couldn’t resist stepping on scale despite feeling bloated. Well..that was scary realization. Luckily, I was busy most of day, but wasn’t a fan of what the lovely starch box granted me. Beans again AND baked potatoe!

First was the dilemma with the beans. When I draw beans I mean beans of the day…but I wanted to do black beans…ranch beans scared me because know there were spices. Tried to convince myself I didn’t like them…but honestly..I couldn’t remember last time I had them (if ever). Ended up doing what I knew was right and got the ranch beans…I LOVE THEM!

And then to my shock (and horror) ECV had exactly what I was craving for awhile…corn on cobb. As you know my nutritionist and friends know from the texts and emails (thank you all for not hating me..or not telling me you hate me at least)....panic ensued.

Luckily I had spin. It was the most amazing spin thanks to the instructor. It was tough, but completely focused on realizing our strength and our bodies capability. It made me see if I am going to spin, if body is going to do all it does for me…just by beating my heart and breathing..I need to nourish it. So I left ready to do what I needed to do and face the Baked potato and corn AND salmon.

First though, it was time to face PB (a lovely 2T increase I really...I do secretly enjoy it) with bananaBOTH of the scariest PB…the two chocolate kind and half a banana. Wasn’t a fan of regular chocolate one, but the white chocolate still good.

Then it was time to face dinner which was AMAZING. Even did a WHOLE CUP MELON. (sorry not all pictured…was running late to movie.  

As if I wasn’t freaking out enough I also decided went so hard at spin I deserved to bring along the biggest bagel I had to go and see Frozen. Yeah….I was feeling rebellious and boy rebellion was good. Who needs popcorn..I’ve got bagels.

Sat Mar 29th
Was freaking out from moment I woke up this day because knew it was easier spin class. Also got surprise call and got put on duty, so knew I couldn’t do the strength workout I wanted. Was so scared to eat the wrong thing or do the wrong thing because knew Sun was dessert day. Luckily have amazing friends who helped me remember all I have is today. I can spend today stressing about tomorrow and miss out on all the joy, or I can live in today, leave tomorrow for tomorrow and enjoy life’s gifts.

I also had no appetite so it was big struggle. And since had so much to get done and had spin and knew needed to be fueled, had to stick to good timing. So had to eat even without hunger. After normal breakfast it was time for challenge at lunch when I was faced with dinner roll again. The one from Snelling….wasn’t a fan…though made nice mini sandwich.

Then I went to spin…and another motivational instructor who got me thinking about recovery. I had felt weird about eating half a banana the day before and really wanted to be able to eat a whole freaking banana. But I was scared to because was also facing fat free tortilla as 1 starch when always been two. Then I remembered I shouldn’t be balancing things out like that. And if I wanted a whole banana…if I wanted one day in future to eat whole banana when out with was time to start. So I did it…a whole banana (on a corn tortilla with PB sooo good). I figured my body needed the PB and potassium after spin. It’s nice to think of food as nutrients.Oh and                                                                     Margarita flavored yogurt! 

Which happened again later because was feeling..ummm..backed up. Had planned safer fruit for dinner…well safer of the scary as in applesauce…but then remembered oranges help with constipation as does spinach. So ate a HUGE orange. I weighed it and it seemed “too big” but then I knew I didn’t want to have to weigh oranges the rest of my life so ate the whole dang thing!!!!

And bagel again that night was a huge one which scared me.

Went to bed still bloated (thanks orange for not working) but honestly…felt proud.
Sun Mar 31st
Here it was….rest and dessert day. And honestly…it was a struggle.

Woke up late thanks to tummy upset keeping me up most of night and plus being on duty. Remembered dining halls closed earlier so had to go without breakfast to dining hall to get the desserts. This led to panic as I told myself neither looked good. Pie too crumbly and cake…well I just told myself it looked fake…whatever that means. Reality was caked looked better than pie but didn’t want to admit that because fruit pie seem healthier. So I snuck out both. But soon realized which I wanted as I automatically put cake slice in fridge and pie slice in freezer to save for another day (since last time this week on rotation).

It was then a very scary breakfast as had to mix PB in my oatmeal. Went with my normal skippy and retrired the Chocolate one too. WAsn’t fan of skippy in oatmeal, but the chocolate was good off the knife and even mixed some in yogurt as you said…that was good.

Soon I needed to go to store, but realized didn’t want to make my frequent mistake of leaving without lunch. But was running behind…so solution…pack lunch. Planned nice, safe cucumbers, but those decided to freeze in my fridge. So was faced with super fear of rye bread along with having to do steamed carrots I had smuggled day before. Was scared…but honestly…so freaking happy those cucumbers froze..I LOVE carrots. And tuna and combo ever.

Store ran over so snacks and all pushed back, but I didn’t care…was just scared about dinner and about my cake. Then time came. Time for dinner. Baked potatoe with corn yet again (thank you box)…and this time couldn’t figure out fruit to do so figured was time to face applesauce…complete fear. But it was an amazing dinner!

And then…it was cake time. Last time ate cake was on 21st b-day and gained a lb after and vowed would never eat cake again. So much for that! It was amazing! And the whole time all I could think was how now if I am at a party or a function and they serve cake…I can have a slice.

First bite!!!!!

Yes I am weird...I eat the inside first...this is how always been but opposite of how I am with candy bars where eat edges first. 


And didn’t restrict or exercise or anything. Did whole plan…yes I’m scared, but I’m proud.

And looking back…I love how colorful my meals have gotten…and honestly…they all look pretty healthy. Like if I didn’t know I was one who ate them…I would think person eating those was a nutrition expert/personal trainer. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Recovery Lessons from Frozen

So tonight I went to Frozen with some friends. It was the best distraction ever after a lot of food challenges today (Baked potatoe, banana, peanut butter, salmon, bagel bigger than normal, corn on cobb, beans). Not only that, but Disney managed to teach me about my recovery. Now…if you haven’t seen the movie..I wouldn’t read ahead too much…instead GO SEE THE MOVIE. Because it’s freaking fantastic…then come back and read J

I honestly think the whole movie fits perfectly into looking at recovery vs ED. Elsa has freezing powers, that at first seem inoocent and fun. Her and her sister would play in the snowstorms she would make. But then she lost control of the power…it became too much. Fear came in, and it controlled her.

The sister who has the freezing powers…she is told fear will be her biggest enemy. And it is. Any time she is filled with fear of people seeing who she is, of discovering her power…that very power overtakes her and people get hurt. People she loves and cares for.

Her power also forces her to isolate. To have to keep away from others because she is so scared to hurt them. To keep from the public and the joys she used to know because she is scared of her powers coming out. So she is left even more scared…scared of this power inside her. She tries to hide it…to push it down, but it only gets stronger and stronger till she can’t control it.

See where I am going with this? This freezing power…to me…that’s ED. Think about it. ED starts seeming so friendly. It seems like some “power” we can pull out whenever we want. We feel in control of it. That we can stop it if it gets too far. But then something happens. It gets stronger and stronger…and somewhere along the line…people get hurt. Sometimes we hurt others, but many times with ED the first one hurt is ourselves.

We get smaller and smaller or (when I was a binger) our binges get larger and more frequent. Yet we feel we are losing control. No matter the binge, no matter the weight we lose…we realize we can’t stop. Nothing is good enough, low enough, filling enough. As the fear increases so does ED’s grasp over us. And when we realize that…we get scared.

We also get scared someone will see we have ED. We begin to isolate. To not be around people at meal times. To not go to outings in fear there will be food and we will be found out. We exercise alone so people won’t see us overdo it. We binge in secret out of fear someone will catch us. We make up lies, avoid friends and even family, and trap ourselves in our own icy castle. We tell ourselves if we are alone we will be free….because others will be safe. We can delve in ED as much as we want and people won’t stop us. What we don’t see is how our isolation hurts others…and how, by running away from our fear…it only gets worse.

In Frozen, Elsa (the girl with the freezing power) doesn’t see how much her isolation hurts her sister Anna. She ends up running away from everyone...deeper and deeper into the cold and her freezing nature...thinking by distancing herself she is protecting everyone else. But by running away...she ends up freezing the town she loves and hurting Anna. The storm rages on, but it doesn't just affect her...but everything and everyone she loves.  And by running away and letting fear take over, Elsa ends up freezing the city she was trying to save. 

IS this not ED too. ED says if we shut everyone out we will be safe, they will be better off, and we will just be able to feel free because we will be closer with him. He tells us he isn't the enemy, but others are. That it's not him and the power he has over us we should fear, but other people. That if we could just freely restrict, or binge, or purge...then we would be free. But left alone with ED all we feel is fear. It only increases...ED only takes us over more.  Those we leave behind just want to help us escape, and the life we were trying to protect…it fades away. Both end up being hurt...and we end up consumed and isolated by fear. 

And this fear…it keeps us from the true freedom we want. The freedom to be with our family, to open the gates of our palace, to love, to be recovered. We get so caught up in our fear of recovery, of weight gain, of food, of having to ask for help and have others see our imperfection that we just keep running. But when we run we just get deeper and deepr into ED and into fear. It becomes uncontrollable, overwhelming, and we realize we just can’t outrun it.

Luckily, through the twists and turns Disney always brings, we learn what can break through this fear. What can bring freedom from that part of us we are so scared to show. It is love. True, unconditional love. Love that accepts us as we are. Love that forgives us for our past. Love that sees the true us behind the ED. Love that breaks the chains and sets us free.

In the movie love ends up freeing Elsa to bring back summer and warmth and light to her life and the lives around her. She is able to open up the castle and to live the life she dreamed. Her sister and her rebuild their friendship and she is able to feel and spread joy. And the thing that once controlled her, she controls and uses only to bring joy.

So too can love free us. If we choose to ask for help. To show that we have an ED and admit we can’t control it. To face our fear of recovery by asking for support. We can break free. The cold, icy chains of ED can melt. We can feel the fear, but know that “perfect love cast out all fear” as the Bible says. Through prayer and the support of friends and/or family we can keep pushing on. And soon, the iciness will melt away. We will be able to open ourselves up to love. To open up our castle. To feel the joy and light we always have.

And ED. That icy power that once consumed us. We will be able to control it. ED may come up and talk, but fear won’t take us over. We will not let ED take us over, but use ED to help others. By sharing how we overcame. By helping others recover. By loving others through their recovery.

So thanks Disney for teaching me life lessons yet again. For showing me I shouldn’t try and hide my imperfections, my fears, my struggles. I should instead share them with the ones I love. Tell them I need help. And let the warmth of love melt away my frozen heart. To open up my castle….break open the doors…and be who I am meant to be..struggles and all. I should face my fears, not run from them….and draw on the strength of love to get me through.

I felt it tonight…at the movie with my friends. I was so filled with fear and ED thoughts, but the moment I saw my friends…and we started talking and laughing…ED melted away. I was filled with hope and dreams. No thoughts of food, weight, fear. Just love, hope, futures, dreams. I felt like Anna when they opened up the gates for the first time. I felt free. Like nothing was holding me back.

Yes…even in the story of ED…there can be a Disney happily ever after. All we need is love J And if you are reading this…you are loved…because I am here..hugging you through every letter I type. So “let it go, let it go, it can’t hold you back anymore….”

Thursday, March 27, 2014

When you face an increase...

So I have to admit, yesterday was a struggle and I kind of slipped. Went to my N appt and because wt basically been maintaining for past month (slight increase but not enough to count) we had to do increase. She asked me what I wanted and I was honest. I told her I wanted to face my fear of peanut butter. So I got 2T of PB added AND a fruit. I have never eaten 2T of PB. Only ever allowed myself 1T when was in treatment and when I was a binge eater it was a whole half a tub minimum….to me 2T was this weird, grey in between I didn’t like. Seemed like too much, yet wasn’t a binge, yet seemed normal. And then the numbers of course were swirling in my head. Still…part of me was excited. I felt okay. Then I left the office.

Out on my own…ED started piping in and by end of the day he had me deciding to just start the increase tomorrow (as in today) based on what my weight was. Somehow I bough into the idea that this was the right choice. I went to be feeling a little guilty for not doing increase…and definitely wasn’t any less anxious. Then this morning came…and let’s just say the weigh-in didn’t go how ED wanted. Or well…didn’t go how he would want it in order for my increase to start today and I started to panic.

In my mind I could justify not starting yesterday..but not starting today…I knew it would be completely ED and that scared me. But how could I. How could I with these numbers doing what they were doing without increase. I realized in that moment..I should have started the increase yesterday. That once again listening to ED only brought fear and panic not trust and peace. But I couldn’t change what I did yesterday…just what I was going to do today. So I text my support, but that wasn’t convincing enough. So I text the only person I knew I could get an honest answer from, the very person who gave me the increase, my nutritionist.

I told her how I hadn’t started plan and exactly what my wt did. I put several options on the table (not do increase until wt stopped going up, only do increase on exercise days, do increase based on how wt was tomorrow, or start today). She told me I needed the increase. Just as she had told me yesterday. Still..I was scared…but I was in the same position I was yesterday. Well..not the same one…because as always when I listened to ED and avoided a recovery decision it didn’t bring peace…just made the recovery decision (in this case increase) a billion times scarier. I really, really wanted to do increase. I did. I wanted it because I wanted to help my metabolism, wanted to be committed, and was tired of being scared of peanut butter (especially when PB& Co sent me 3 free jars). I was on the edge…leaning towards doing it…and therapy helped push me to commitment.

In therapy I realized I was risking more by not doing increase then by doing it. I looked at both sides.
Not Do increase:
Pros: don’t have to face fear (though still would feel anxious about wt and about if ever have to do increase), less likely balloon next week (though again the fear is there)
Cons: lose a whole week of progress could make with N when my time with her coming to a close, don’t face fear of PB, still don’t know if needed increase, still living controlled by scale not committed to recovery and God, ignoring the Jess part of me that wants increase, could be holding metabolism back from recovery

Do increase:
Pros: make progress with fear food of PB, can test what ED says instead of blindly believing it, loosening contrl scale has over me, helping metabolism, can e-mail PB&Co, listening to Jess part of me that wants increase, facing fear so it will fade, able to use DBT skills, practicing recovery, loosening ED control
Cons: may gain more than lb I committed to this week, if this does happen may make PB scarier

As you can see from the list there are definitely more pros to doing the scarier thing. To no listening to ED. To doing the increase. Had I taken the time yesterday to stop my thoughts and be mindful of my situation I probably would have seen this yesterday.

Even without making the list, right now my biggest motivation for doing the increase was realizing that by not doing it I am losing a week of potential progress. I don’t have much longer with my N before graduation, and if I spent another week on same meal plan…not gaining….and listened to ED and the scale, that’s a whole week I lost. And if was same weight on Wed..would just have to do increase would just be back where I am now, but with a whole week gone.

So I decided the best thing to do was dive in. To do the increase. To do what I was terrified of doing and just see what happens. Honestly….in all the weeks, months, years working with my N…she hasn’t ever been wrong. ED always has (okay there were a few times…but honestly there were other factors at play). Still..I’d much rather risk gaining what in my mind is “too much” then losing a week of progress. A week of lessons the Lord wants to teach me. I’d much rather risk the gain in order to gain some freedom.

So that’s just what I did. And you know what…using my DBT practice of distracting (which blogging right now is serving), I honestly…I feel happy and proud. I enjoyed my 2 T of PB (don’t worry will review the flavors soon). Really enjoyed them. Tasted them and was present in the moment. The fear came…but I am just letting the thoughts come and go. In the end…my weight isn’t what matters (of course I say that now..someone please remind me of this next time I freak out lol)…it’s life that does. And me…I want my life to involve peanut butter! More than that…I want to live life free. Free of numbers, of scales, and of all ED’s lies.

And for all my recovery warriors out there...learn from me. When/if your N increases your meal plan...start that increase THAT DAY. Waiting or delaying recovery doesn't bring you any peace (yes...ED is lying to you by telling you that). You just sit there piling up fear of the increase you will eventually have to do. And the fear of ballooning is there just aren't getting the benefits of the increase to go with it. So just do it then, face the fear. Otherwise the fear only builds and it only gets harder. And if you slip, if you don't do it...that's okay. Because each moment is new and you can choose to do the right thing then. Forgive yourself and do the next right thing. 

Whose with me? What challenge are you putting off facing? What is there to risk? To gain? If you have to make a list. I bet you will see the risk is definitely worth the reward. And trying never hurt. If you try and your fears come true, or you fail, or stumble..all that happened was you learned. So even then you benefit. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Not easy, but worth it

Today was another challenging one and honestly I almost slipped up quite a few times. It started with me waking up feeling bloated and full (which if you have an ED you already know isn’t a good feeling). I also woke up to a message from my N reminding me I needed to do a dessert today. Seriously…how did I forget…because I really did forget. Then it was time to choose my starches from the box. I prayed to God that He choose them. Somehow I thought this would mean they were easy..WRONG.

I got corn tortilla, dinner roll, beans, corn, white rice, and light bread. Now some of these are 2 exchages, so I could toss some back. I ended up sticking with corn tortilla, beans, dinner roll, and corn. My plan was to eat 2 corn tortillas and beans, and then at dinner do the dinner roll as 2 exchanges and eat a ½ cup corn. Problem was I didn’t want beans because I felt bloated and I knew my N wanted roll to only be one exchange.

So I sent her e-mail and got the response I didn’t want. First off, instead of beans she wanted me to face rice change in plan number one. Then she said the roll was only one exchange…if I made it two it meant I was going against her (she didn’t say that part, but I knew that is what it meant). So change in plan number two.

I coped okay with having to do rice, but was freaking out because I really didn’t want the roll to be one exchange. I just..I didn’t want to do it. Not on day I had to do dessert too. So I sent emails, texts…anything to my N to try and get out of it. Final ruling: roll and one cup corn.

So I went to get the roll and I was pissed already. When I got there to get the roll I notice this strange yellow substance at the edges. Now everyone at the dining hall I go to knows me because I am the only one who has eaten at the same dining hall for the past four years. They are amazing and I love them. They also know I like to know what’s in my food, so I had no problem asking one of the managers if butter was added. She went and asked the chef who said not in cooking, but she couldn’t guarantee they weren’t brushed with butter.
WHAT! Seriously who brushes perfectly good rolls with butter. Okay, okay…I guess normal people..but really. Let me choose…don’t choose for me. So I flipped, but I got a stupid roll. I figured would bring back to dorm and let N know about the butter. Surely I wouldn’t have to eat the top since that’s what was brushed with butter.

Well I got back to dorm and told my N and she still said I had to do the roll. This is where things get tricky. I told myself she never said the WHOLE roll and I hadn’t yet told her my idea of not eating the top. ED gave me excuse after excuse after excuse as to why I didn’t need to eat the top. You are eating dessert anyway so skimping not matter. You don’t like the top portion of the roll anyway (I honestly like it the least…but doesn’t mean I don’t like it). If you are supposed to eat the top portion you can just do it next time. The roll is already so large so you can cut out some. On and on and on ED went. And I decided I wasn’t going to eat the top of the roll and suddenly panic set in. I started thinking in calories, freaking out, questioning everything. It was insane. It even took away from me enjoying spin.

I got back to my car after spin in a panic and text my support and told them my plan. Every single one of them told me that I could eat the top. I knew I could but I needed to know if I should. In my heart though…I knew the answer. I knew not doing the top is what was causing this chaos..that it was ED. It took another hour (or two) of convincing…but I decided to do the roll. It really was me…with the help of my friends. I used a technique I am really starting to like. I thought about my future

I have realized each decision I make in recovery today impacts my future. I need to start eating, exercising, living like I want to when I am “normal.” If not, it just gets harder and harder to do. Today that mean eating the top of the roll. I thought to myself…if I go out to eat with someone or (as my lovely friend Melissa pointed out) over to a friends house…am I really going to sit there and not eat the top part of the roll…or question if there is butter. Every time I go to a restaurant am I going to avoid something because I think they might have added butter or oil? I hope not. I don’t want to. I want to just trust and look at a roll as a roll. A starch exchange. Power and fuel for my body. So tonight…that is what I did.

I also did my dessert. I didn’t restrict portions the countless times ED said to. I didn’t eat the smallest bagel. I didn’t decrease my spread. I did my plan. I didn’t overexercise (though I did do a little extra upper body at the gym after spin but not the extra cardio I wanted…so maybe I slightly struggled but this was before I got my head on straight).

ED chimed in over and over again, but I just kept my eyes on my future. And once I did the roll there was no freaking way I was restricting. I wasn’t throwing away that hard work by compensating somewhere else. Screw that! I was all in by that part…literally…I did all the I was all in.

Honestly…am I scared…yes. But once I decided to do the whole roll…I felt a peace, calm, and joy. The paranoia and panic went away. ED told me it wouldn’t. ED said I would be too afraid. Well..guess ED doesn’t know me well enough. And he definitely doesn’t know my God. Because through Him all things are possible….even eating a whole roll. 

So in the end..I see God was there choosing my starches...He wanted to show me just how strong I am. He didn't give me what was easy, but He gave me what I could handle. Our God is an awesome God. He is a challenging God...but only so we can see with Him ALL things are possible. 

What is God challenging you to do? 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Challenge is good :)

The box I made for exchanges :) 
This is actually from yesterday. And guess'm still in recovery too. Why is that a big deal...because today is 30 days in recovery!!!

Today was the start of drawing the starch surprises from the box and of course I got all risk foods. I actually have to admit I re-drew a few times..but in the end…I knew it was wrong unless I went with first selection. And had to select for tomorrow too and only one safe item.

Then I went to spin class and didn’t feel it was “intense enough” because it was shorter than what I am used to (45 vs 50 or 60 mins). I really wanted to go exercise more, but I thought of how I want to fully commit. I don’t want my life to be spent obsessing about whether cycling is intense enough. I don’t want cycling to become about burn, I want it to be about life and having fun. Did I have fun? YES! Did my body feel pushed, strong, and exhilarated? Yes! Then it was enough. So I didn’t add exercise.

Then it came time to get some of my freedom starches for the day. I went to one dining hall and they were out of white rice which I have to face tom (they close on Sun). I knew I would be right by another dining hall when I went to spin, but didn’t want to go get white rice if I could just get brown rice there. In the end, I decided I needed to get the white rice. It was important. Important I committed and did exactly what I drew. Plus, when I thought about doing brown rice I got a peace and calm which meant ED was saying it was “safer.”

Then I had to get pita for today and I knew I didn’t like the school ones, but also knew they had less sodium than ones I do like. But I stopped..I thought…both pitas are the same exchange….and if I have to eat something might as well be one I like. So I got the pita I wanted. Faced with my other surprise starch of vegetable grain soup.

When dinner rolled around another challenge. I got a cup of baby potatoes, but when I weighed them I realized it was way too low for an exchange (weighed them because I realized kind of hard to fit potatoes into cup). I could have written it off, but I didn’t. At first I added enough potatoes to get to a minimal number of calories. Then I stopped. I remembered exchanges are based on nutrients. These were starch exchanges so I needed to get my carbs. So I added even more, to a very scary calorie amount so I could hit the carbs I needed. I am trying to tell myself this was right thing to do. That my muscles need it to repair from spin. Still ED is screaming.

I also added enough fish to get to 3 oz even though it meant more than one filet. Me and my N had agreed for me to do it so it was a little easier.

And it wasn’t over yet. I then realized the larger bagel I planned on doing I accidentally put in the freezer instead of leaving it out. The whole day I had been debating doing the cinnamon raisin one I have been avoiding for over a week now (mostly because I have just been craving wheat the whole week). Especially because my wheat bagel was small, but then I found this larger wheat so I was going to do that. Well now the larger wheat was in the freezer and I was left with deicison. So I went with the scarier one and had cinnamon raisin.Because in the end, a bagel is a matter the flavor

So it’s been a challenging day. Yes…that’s the best adjective. Not bad. Not rough. Just challenging. And you know what I realized…this was the enemy. He attacked me in each of the places I discussed with my N yesterday and committed too.

  • In the right exchanges: he tried to get me to skimp portions throughout the day, tried to get me to choose bagel flavor off calories not off the fact that all of my bagels just count as a bagel snack…extra 10 calories or not
  • Secret Starches: tried to still get me to think in calories, tried to get me to re-draw to be safer
  • Moderation in exercise: tried to make spin about calories, tried to get me to do more…

You know what I love though…all of those say TRIED…because today, God was victorious. God gave me the strength and I had victory. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Whole New World!

Beware LONG post ahead. It's a re-cap from AMAZING N session I had today. Feel free to read it in parts...that's why I broke it apart :) 

Had an AMAZING therapy and nutrition session. Therapy continued to feed into my motivation to recover and just kept the flame burning high from my fully committing post. I just feel like for the first time in a long time (or potentially ever) I really want to recover. To give freedom a chance. With my motivation flying high I went and had an AMAZING N session.

Our session was so good my N even asked if I had been drinking more water. She wondered if maybe I was more hydrated because I had never spoken with such clarity, insight, and wisdom. I told her it wasn’t more water, just motivation. Now I realize it was more water…LIVING WATER through the motivation God has given me.

Wish this had come sooner, because this session went how I always dreamed sessions would. I came in open to whatever my N said, ready to do work, and put my fear aside. I felt the fear but let it come and go instead of clinging onto it (part of mindfulness I learned today in therapy). And it led to amazing progress, goals, and insights.

I told me N I just want to give normalcy a try. I want to really live the recovered life I have wanted. I confessed all the ways I wasn’t fully committing and/or the ways I was scared I would start not to fully commit. And we made solutions to each. Set up parameters so these next 49 days can be true, full-blown, fears aside recovery (weight gain included). I thought I would share what we discussed in hopes it can help some of you.

True Exchanges

This pertains to starches and dairy for me. These two exchanges I tend to underdo when it comes to servings or if it just means playing it safe. I confessed I had been getting 60 instead of 80/90 calorie dairies. I told her I didn’t want to do this anymore. I wanted to be able to eat whatever yogurt or milk I wanted…not have to go to specific stores to find specific brands. The easy solution to this is I am going to get rid of my 60 calorie options by eating three of them to equal two exchanges and then from there will buy the appropriate amounts. I realized it’s not really about the calories. I mean it is..but in reality, I just need the proper portions to get the proper amount of Calcium and protein.

When it comes to carbs I tend to play it safe and get a lower calorie option, but now I am seeing lower calorie also means lower nutrients. By always playing it safe, my body is missing out on the valuable energy and vitamin/minerals other starches can provide. Also, the smaller portions I was using may have met the Diabetic Assoc Exchanges, but reality is I am not diabetic. Those exchanges are for people whose goals are to lower blood sugar. If anything for me we need the opposite. I need to eat according to my needs and the exchanges that fit my needs. Which brings to my own idea we are now implementing…

Surprise Starch

So we have been trying to correct my starch exchange debacle in so many ways. That’s the thing I have noticed about recovery (and that I think a lot of treatment centers/providers miss out on), it’s a learning process. There isn’t one solution that will work for all people, so its about trying out different options and seeing what works. We tried banning safe starches, but then I started craving them and freaking out too much and gave up. We then tried doing a calorie minimum per exchange, but that got me back to obsessing about calories and ended up making everything worse. I have tried looking at the carb counts for exchanges instead of calories….again..number obsession not good. So now…we are trying a new idea.

We made a starch exchange list and I differentiated between my safe and risk starches. What I am then going to do is write each food on paper and tear them off. There will be one color for risk (I think yellow for hope) and one for safe (I think green since I give myself permission for these already). I will then put these into a box (which I am decorating currently and will post pictures). Every day I will shake up the box, and choose out my starch exchanges for lunch and dinner (only other place I have starch exchanges is snack and b-fast, but I don’t struggle with those for some reason). At least one exchange must be risk for each meal.

Why this method? One…it’s fun to me. To choose out of a box…idk…it’s like a game. And two…it takes ED out of it. I can’t try and balance risk with safe. I won’t have to spend literally hours deciding what to eat for starches. I can’t play it completely safe. And I can’t beat myself up for choosing riskier items because it’s all chance. Also, this prepares me for real life. If I go to someone’s house or a cafĂ© and just have to go with what is served or on the menu…no planning…just a surprise…that’s kind of what the drawing out of the box is.

I am excited and nervous for this as it takes away a lot of my control. I won’t know in the morning if the day ahead is super risky or super safe. I won’t be able to only do high risk days on workout days. It will all be up to chance (though I know God will guide it too). My biggest fear? Same as always…that ED will be right and I will balloon. But again…it’s worth the risk to me to see ED is wrong and to be able to eat freely. To see I can eat whatever starches and it be just enough for me. To see calories don’t have to reign supreme but I can look at food for the roles it fills.

Now just a disclaimer…for me..proper nourishment means gaining weight. So if I make these changes and don’t gain weight it means I am undernourished still and we will have to add exchanges. For right now though, these two changes and an increase in the amount of spread I put on my bagel snack are the only “changes” we are making. I will let you all know how my mystery box assignment goes. I am hoping it goes well because I am hoping its something I can provide to others as a tool to help them with whatever exchange they struggle with most.

Anyone want to join me?

Moderation in Everything…even exercise

What exercise used to be....
This was the last thing we hit today and something that was big for me. My N really can’t recommend me to do exercise because the ADA wouldn’t recommend it for someone of my BMI, but off the record she let’s me do it. Again, this comes down to what I said before. It’s all trial and error.  For me, no exercise just doesn’t work. It pushes me to find other ways to excessively move. Then when I do get exercise I overdo it. And being only allowed light exercise like yoga makes me just find the most intense videos. So what do I do now?

Well this semester I had to take my PE credit to graduate and I chose Cycling. It is an old love that ED robbed from me because I got too weak. No one was on board with this, but I had this feeling it would help me in recovery…and I couldn’t be more right. I found a love for exercise. And when I want to restrict I tell myself I can’t because I need to fuel my cycling days. And when I want to exercise on my rest days I don’t because I don’t want to get injured and thus not be able to cycle. And in the actual class? I don’t think about calories or anything like that. It’s about enjoyment, peace, and seeing how amazing my body is. It really has helped me so much.

So what did we discuss today? Well, it was my last day of PE classes today and so now I have to build it into my own schedule. I brought it to my N because I wasn’t sure what was me and what was ED. I was telling myself since my N only requires 3 rest days I needed to do cycling and strength training (something we have incorporate for my bone health) 4 days a week. I was getting stressed because I just didn’t see how I would do this with the times Spin is offered. I felt doing less was too little. So I brought it to my N.

What exercise is now :) 
Turns out I was stressed for a good reason. Most people can’t find a way to get to the gym outside 3 days a week. And to any normal, non-ED person she would only tell them to cycle 2-3 times a week because it is such intense exercise. And strength…only twice a week. Maybe yoga the other day if they wanted to. But what about the 4th day? What do I do then?

In reality I could just do the 3 days cycling, but for a fourth day it can be the day I have to do rounds for work or on the weeks I have off it can be a walk with friends, or doing a 5K with my mom. Something that’s just fun and enjoyable.

With this new plan…I felt…well…normal. I felt like I wasn’t overdoing it (aka I still had that fear it wasn’t enough aka ED) but I didn’t feel deprived from the activities I enjoyed. For the first time I felt a peace about my new exercise routine. I felt it was a way of life I could maintain in maintenance. Not too much…just enough.

So now I feel I have a true “exercise routine”: 4 days rest, 2 days cycle/strength, 1 day cycle/gentle yoga, one day fun activity.

Now, as I said this is what is right for me and it has taken me a while to get to the place I can tell on myself when I overdo it or when it is getting obsessive. That doesn’t mean exercise in recovery is for everyone. I also am (by some miracle) in relatively good health and it is okay for me to do this. Again, that’s not true for everybody. And if I start to cancel things to go to spin or make it a priority over school/work then I will take it away from myself and tell my team. 

So today was great. There were some struggles, but I started on the new plan (except didn’t start on the surprise starch part yet). Yes, my timing for meals got off, but that was so I could go to these amazing sessions. In the end…I think it was worth it. And in the end I think this fear…even if it comes true…it will be worth it too. For once....this's rid of ED. No restriction, no safe foods, no overexercise. This will be a true matter of trust and a true go at recovery.