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.
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…
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 café 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 plan....it'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.