On Tuesday I met with an Eating Disorder Specialist to discuss my, well, disordered eating. Before we get too heavily on the ins and outs of this little gab-session, I feel I must make note on the heightened level of clichés amid the clinic. First – and most ironic – the smell of a home-cooked meal wafting in my direction immediately upon opening the door. Nothing like a little bit of behavioural psychology to get the boys and girls afraid of food eating, huh?
Following that, I must note the Jackson Pollock inspired wall paintings in the halls of the patient ward, and the posting of Van Gogh and Monet in the doctor’s personal office itself. Sadly, no plant in the corner. But we can’t have it all, right?
Regardless of the fact that I felt myself sitting in the middle of my own personal version of Girl Interrupted the whole process was pretty… decent? The general take-away was that while [a] I did have a problem which needed attention and [b] I probably was not where I should be in terms of weight due to my personal feeling of uncertainty, the program to which I was applying for [I still find this whole process to be a bit odd] mightn’t be for me. Why? Well, apparently I am not at the point in my recovery that most people are at when they are released and well as it consisted of a time commitment far beyond my capability (i.e; being committed).
The doctor – who’s name alludes me – reminded me that it is not that I do not belong because I do. It is just that he felt that I would benefit more from other forms of treatment and have done a miraculous amount on my own.
At first, this kind of depressed me. Regardless of how it was said, it was pretty much a solid ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ slap in the face. Then, it occurred to me that he was right and that it was a good thing. I mean, let’s take a look:
I’ve gone from 900 calories per day, to 2200;
I have gone from limiting my carb intake from 100 to 190, to… I don’t even know, because I stopped counting;
I’ve gone from weighing lettuce to the gram to, grabbing a handful of cereal or a spoonful of almond butter without a thought;
[side note: the other day this dude totally bowed to me when I pointed him into the direction of the almond butter in bulk barn. I felt like the keep of the holy grail (or in this case, ground nuts), it was fantastic]
I have gone from exercising at my maximum seven days a week, to mindless dancing and yoga flow six days a week. Is my heart rate high enough? I don’t know. But I am having a good time;
I’ve gone from not being able to eat after 5pm to enjoying a small snack immediately before bed.
Unfortunately, the one place I have yet to fully go is…
from insecure to confident.
I still worry people will judge me on my fitness routine. Rather that I am doing too much, or not doing enough; I am still kind of embarrassed that I eat 2100-2200 calories per day [and even more embarrassed that I know that] even if my body is begging for that amount of food and I still look in the mirror and see someone who, in all honesty, makes me feel like crap. Should a shirt be too form fitting, I am plagued with the fear that I am too large… to chubby and everyone will know. Yeah I am eating what I need to be and exercising less, but as much as I want to be… I am not 100% happy about it, yet.
So again I feel I am at a roadblock of fear. I stand here, 50% contented in my life, looking across the street at that 70-90% happiness that could be. What is standing in between me and it is the liberation of my own fear. Lately, I’ve been considering following the Maudsley Model but that frightens me even more. But I know I want to start practising intuitive eating, over structured eating. It’s scary, but I think it is my next big step. I’ve gotten myself to the place where I let myself eat enough, but now I need to let myself eat what I want. Coming back to the blog is essentially my way of stating, I am not better, yet. I’m a lot better than I was, but not better, yet. The plan from here is to write down my five major fears of current and work to… well, get rid of them. I will use the resource youreatopia as well as any information on intuitive eating exercise, but this time… I need to make a 100% commitment. I’m scared, but I am hopeful that I won’t relapse.
Again, this is no longer for only my physical health. I am not pursuing mental health as well. It is time to let go of my fears, once and for all. I have said this before many times, but did I mean it? Likely not. So why is today any different?
Things are slowly starting to become more… realized to me. First, I have extraordinary parents who love me with every fibre of their being. Some don’t. Some don’t at all. So why I am being so selfish? Why can’t I just be 100% happy for them? Second, I have a boyfriend who repeatedly tells me that no matter what I weigh, or how I look, he will love me. I’ve done the super skinny thing and I have done that super fit thing…. neither brings you complete happiness. And, if it does, it will likely be short lived or you’ll wind up being very narcissistic. No, I am not saying you can not work out or have muscle. But why do you feel you need it? You’re not a hunter-gatherer; you’re just a person. So while I do advocate a healthy body, I do not particularly support extremist versions of that. I think I may have digressed. The point is, I have this boy who loves me. Not for my body, but for who I am. Yet, I still feel this need to present this image of fit, or ‘attractive’. Yet, quite confusingly, feel I will never fully achieve it. Why? He finds me beautiful. So what shit do I give to the general population?
These things all together have caused me to really re-evaluate myself. My goals. And while I am not saying I am ready at all for this, the bold truth is I may never be. So, I kind of need to push myself.
The Five Fears
1. Eating without calculation of any variety.
I do eat much more than ever before, yet still… I do calculate. It’s much too complex for me. I am not a body builder, so I do not need to really think about how to best feed my growing muscles; nor am I an endurance athlete. I am just a girl, who likes to move a little bit each day.
2. Exercising for me and not others.
There is a lot of ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ in exercise literature. All of which I have followed and have stopped following. I still however try to fit some ‘mould’ of what is ‘right’ in terms of fitness. Sometimes I will be honest, I just want to do 20 minutes of dancing and call it quits. Some days I crave that plus yoga. Sometimes… I just want to lift weights. And, by the by, I never go over 5 pounds because I much prefer the feeling of pulses, hyper-extensions and micro-bends of barre styled exercises. I feel more fatigued after. So instead of fitting some ‘mould’, I want to do whatever feels right each day. Even if that is taking an additional day off.
3. Going to bed too late (past 9:30) and risking insomnia.
I used to have bad insomnia, and the only way I prevented it was to sleep early each night. As a result, I get scared if something makes this curfew impossible. I want to start trying to make a 10:00 bed time, instead. My work is extending their hours for Christmas to 10 meaning those nights I won’t be falling asleep until 11-ish.
4. Not being perfect.
Being the Type-A personality I am, I feel I need to do everything 100%. I can’t just go half-way, I need to go all the way. I need to start being OK with 50-70% effort. Live life light and not take things so personally.
5. Being unproductive.
The idle hands to me are the devil’s playground. The moment I stop, it’s panic. It is over thinking. I need to learn how to stop and just do nothing. Watch a movie… read a book. And now worry about my lack of productivity.
So those are my fears which I plan to combat. I do not know how long this will take. God knows it could be another five years. But starting today, I want to actively pursue this liberation and get to happiness.