Monday, March 26, 2012

It's all in the numbers.

I've been meaning to write this post for a little over a week.  But I wasn't sure what to say.  And still am not in many ways.  But, it needs to get out of my brain, so here it is.

As part of treatement, my nutritionist weighs me from time to time.  I'm totally fine with this.  She doesn't show me the number, I don't freak out.  It's totally fine.

The first time, it felt really weird because she asked my permission to get a weight.  I've never had that experience before.  Scales are something forced on a person publically in the entry hall at the doctor's office or multiple times a day at home in the privacy of my bathroom.  To have semiprivacy and permission, well, that was all new territory.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm in an uncomfortable place right now where I feel like I'm too overweight (which I am.  That's a fact and not solely the voice of ED) but am not sure that I can trust myself to intentionally LOSE weight.  So, it's this body hating limbo. 

As an interesting counterpoint, I'm also totally in love with my body right now.  Since starting running and regrouping my thoughts on food and the permission to eat what I want and when I want it, I have never felt stronger.  Running has completely changed how I feel about my body's purpose and capabilities.  Fuelling it properly has only added to that.  And within those two components, my body has changed.  I can feel it, I can see it, I had to buy new jeans. 

All this has happened under what I had embraced as the "freedom" from weight.  My husband, on my request, took our scales to the basement and tucked them out of sight so I could get rid of my obsessive weighing/punishing cycle.  I've been living free from that and it has felt amazing.  And in my brain, I guess I decided I was pretty darn smart being all nonchalant about what my scale number is or isn't on an hourly basis.  Smug even.

Until my nutritionist said this post-weigh in two weeks ago,

"Would you like feedback on that at all?"


She said it all casually while looking down at her paper, writing.

I was totally confused and the only word I really heard loud and clear was FEEDBACK.

Instant overwhelm.

No I don't want feedback.  I'm too fat.  Why would you ask me to willingly open myself up to critique about my weight??!  If I lost weight, it won't be enough.  If I didn't, it's going to make me feel bad.  I THOUGHT WE WERE LIVING FREE FROM WEIGHT HERE PEOPLE!

I put together an extrememly eloquent response despite the swirling in my head.  Talked of not wanting to potentially derail the amazing progress I'd made towards living scale free, blah blah blah.  A very pretty package which I'm sure convinced her of nothing, but bless her heart, she let me make my argument and agreed.

Then I proceeded to think about it for the entire night all the way into the next day.  Of course.  OCD is FUN.

Thankfully, I had a therapy appointment the next day.  And first thing I said, "I totally freaked out in my appointment yesterday.  Did she tell you?"  Because if I tell on myself first, that makes it better.  I explained what happened from start to finish.  I even tried my prettily packaged reasoning as to why I shouldn't know what I weigh.  I ended with a statement like,

"It finally doesn't matter to me what I weigh.  I don't want to do something that all of a sudden wrecks that!"

And the therapist said, "Really?  Because it seems to me it still matters to you what you weigh.  Otherwise, why would the possibility of finding out matter to you enough for it to be stuck in your head for a day?"

Doh.  I guess that's why she has her job and I have mine.


The discussion continued that the goal isn't to not want to know what the scale number is but rather to know and not CARE what the scale number is.  And clearly, I have some work to do on that.  She explained that it will be up to me to decide when I want to know and start working on the not caring part, but that they need to introduce things like that to check readiness and get the idea in as a seed.  And since I'm prone to panic when a new task is suggested, well, this is a good system.

Do I know where I'm at with it right now?  Nope.  I have visions of me knowing my weight and being all Ghandi/zen when I hear the number.  I have visions of feeling humiliated.  The problem with my OCD/perfectionist/ED brain is that it can't control how I'll feel and that makes it all worse.  For now, my plan is to just keeping plugging away and staying open to the process.  If that means I say yes the next time she asks if I want feedback, well, great.  If it takes more time, that's fine too.  They know what they're doing.  I don't need to. 

And that, right there, may be the hardest part.  Not needing to know.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jagged Little Pill

It's early March.  I live in a northern climate which does not see much sunlight in winter months.  It's a proven fact that this lack of sunlight can screw with a person.  Knowing that I have trouble once we start hitting a second grey day in a row, I felt like I was being proactive in buying my happy blue light.  And I do feel like it has helped a little.  But during my therapy session yesterday, it was brought up that I might need a med adjustment to get me through until spring.  I KNOW my meds are helping.  I can feel and describe at least a dozen different ways my life has improved by the magical 50mg of Zoloft I take every morning.  I know all of this anxiety, S.A.D, ED lives in the chemistry of my brain which I have no control over.

So, why does it feel like I'm failing every time I consider having to up my dose.


I feel like there's this voice in my head saying I should be able to cope and that by admitting I'm not stronger than the dreary winter season, somehow that reflects on my capabilities.  Like it will pass if I can just get out into the sun or feel some actual warmth outside.

Because that's exactly how brain chemistry works, right?


She wanted me to call today to ask for an adjustment. She said she brought it up because most of her clients have needed a med adjustment in the last few weeks for the same reason.  And I do get that.  I do.  I'm just stubborn and want to somehow will all that crazy juice flowing through my brain into getting its act together and doing what I WANT it to do.

I'll come around.  A year ago, I was absolutely adamant that I didn't need any meds at all.  I just needed time to accept that they could help and there was no reason to feel crappy if there was a way to remedy it.  My plan is to allow myself that time again.

Who knows, maybe spring will show up if I wait long enough, right?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Let the sun shine.....

OK.  I'll admit it.  I've been MIA of late.  Not just here, but sort of everywhere.  Checked out.

It sort of started with me being sick a few weeks ago and just completely got away from me.  I didn't want to do anything.  Didn't want to go anywhere.  Was tired and fed up with every single thing.

Depressed much? 


It's this winter weather.  I know it is.  Grey for days and days on end.  And we finally got 2 feet of snow this past week so it really feels like winter as well.  I don't do well with the absence of sunlight.  I need it.  I've often said I'm solar powered.  I do have my bue happy light, but there's just no substitute for feeling the warmth of the sun on your body.

So, what did I do once I noticed I was in a depression whirlpool.  Well, first, I laid around in it and wallowed.  Yup.  Totally did.  Then, I decided the time limit on wallowing was up and I needed to address parts of it.  Had a wonderful talk with the hubby about how I'd been feeling "treatment fatigue" of late and that it was really hard for me to feel like I was doing this all alone.  I didn't tell him as an indictment because if anyone needed to shoulder blame, it was me.  I'm so good at hiding my needs that no one knows when I need something.  It's not his fault I felt all alone.  That led to some other good conversation about where I'm at ED-wise and made me feel a little better.  Then, I made sort of a big decision. 

I made my ED Facebook official.  As part of ED awareness month, I knew I wanted to post something.  As part of trying to get out of this lonliness vortex, I knew I wanted to post something.  As part of my need to just have everyone know so I could finally eliminate the secrecy aspect, I knew I wanted to post something.

So I did.

And the response was totally overwhelming.  I had private massages from friends who are currently fighting ED battles, I had public messages of love and support, and it was all so freeing.  I also knew that my parents were probably pissed as all get out that I made something like that public, but you know, that's their problem.  I can't hide things away for fear they will be disappointed in or embarassed of me.  I'm almost 38 years old.  It's time for some emotional freedom.  As scary as it is, it's also just something I need.

The next step was catching up on our bills, filing our taxes and getting real honest about our money situation.  Which sucks.  But, it is what it is and we do have the power to improve it and be more vigilant about it.  So, that's what we're doing.  We're on the same page about it now and have some financial priorites in place and it feels good to have a unified approach at this time.  We're putting in a bathroom downstairs and were able to work together getting estimates for the items, we were able to agree on a layout - after MUCHO discussion, and we're going to work together to get this done.  Team building.  :) 

So, after all this, where am I at?  Well, this morning, after weeks of grey, the sun was shining brightly out our windows.  Casting it's light across the trees, the snow, the world.  It was perfect.  I feel composed and re-focused and that there's light in my spirit to lift me through it.  It's empowering to know that these grey times can and will go away without doing too much damage.  I can even do my share of wallowing and will come out of it.  That's good to know.  I haven't always known that.  And now I know, the sun will come and shine if you wait long enough.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The dance continues....

Today's not a great day in my war against ED thinking. 

The good news, it's a great day in staying strong in my "not acting on it" thinking.

I'm not totally sure what triggered it.  It WAS a crazy weekend for us - my daughter turned 8 and there was mucho celebration.  I know I saw a photo which horrified and fascinated me in terms of what my body looked like.  I get pretty frustrated that photos can't be trusted.  And I do know they can't.  There were many other photos which looked totally different and it's impossible that I gain 75 pounds in time for one photo and then lost it for the next.  Clearly.  But of course ED just keeps drawing me back to the unflattering photo.

Then we got busy with sleepober party prep.  My eating was erratic/non-existant.  By today, eating anything then made me feel bloated and loagie and ick.  I know I didn't overeat.  But I'm sitting here feeling disgusting.  And since I know my therapist will ask me all about what I did next when I see her Wednesday, I'm trying to follow a path of which I'll be proud to report.

So, here I am.  Acknowledging it.  Reflecting on it.  Deciding it's not the end of the world and that tomorrow I could very well feel totally differently again about my shape/size/body.  And when I'm done here, I'll make a little food plan for tomorrow to get back on track with consistant eating.

This is the best I can do.  It's enough.  And this section of the dance will move on.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Eliminate talk of “good” food and “bad” food and replace with talk of “everyday” food and “sometimes” food.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I love you.

I tell my daughter at least once a day that I love her.  Probably more times than that, but we'll be conservative for the sake of this rumination.

She's the only one.  I don't say it to anyone else.  Well, not in the same way anyhow.

When I realized this, I wondered why it came to pass.  Curious isn't it?  I mean, there must be other people in my life that I love, right?

Well, I don't know.  There are people in my life I know I should love.  I'm supposed to love my husband, my parents, my sister, nieces and nephews.  And I'm sure I probably do.  But it doesn't live in the same part of me that this tangible love for my daughter lives.  I can feel that love with every cell in my body, can feel it motivate me to protect, encourage, comfort.  It moves me on a visceral level.

I'm left wondering why I don't feel that for anyone else.  Is it because I can't?  Is it because I don't?  Is it the love of a mother for her child in all its magical and biological glory?

An idea that sticks in my brain is that I can love her because it's completely and totally safe for me to do so.  The love is reflected back to me 10 fold and is absorbed like a sponge.  There's no fear of rebuke, no fear of not seeing it reflected back in her eyes.  Just as I can feel the love I have FOR her pulsing through me, I can also feel it in return.

Walls are frustrating.  While they keep things neat and tidy and defined, sometimes they are just so thick and so high.  I'm curious what it outside the walls.  But fear is keeping the gate locked.  ED is a sentry allowing no one but the purveyors of basic supplies in or out.  What began as protective walls have now become a prison.  What would happen if I dismissed the sentry and set off to roam?  How would I keep myself safe without these walls and these watchmen?  Will I find I didn't need them?  Will I rush back screaming for sanctuary?

I wish I could say that today is the day I will storm the gates and free myself.  I'm not sure that's something I'm ready to do.  Another goal for another time.  Until then, perhaps I can steady a ladder and peer over the top.  Survey the landscape.  Send a message out that soon I will be on the outside and will need travelling companions to keep me company on the journey.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Faster and further....but not too far....

As I've discussed in previous posts, I've begun a love affair with running.

This past week, after finally figuring out where to run on the treadmill (why does that sound like something that should be obvious??!  LOL) as well as finding a comfy pace (4.8) I did what I never would have dreamed was possible.

I ran 6 miles.



And then, yesterday, I did it again.

On one hand, I'm THRILLED and proud and super excited that another barrier has been knocked down.

On the other hand, I'm sitting here fighting the urge to go down and run again.  To see if I can beat that time.  Beat that distance.

Which means the last place I'm allowed to go today is downstairs to the treadmill.


What a stupid trigger.  But, there it is.  My limited success is bringing out one of the most frustrating sides of Edie.  The compulsive exerciser.  It's frustrating because of all the ED behaviors I've ever had, THAT is the one which garners the most praise and adoration from my peers.  Boy people applaud you for minor fitness goals.  Additionally, it falls into that "I can compute success and failure in this activity" zone, so ED steps right up and starts tracking.

Not totally sure what my next step should be with running.  There's absolutely a place for it in the healthy version of my life.  I'm just not sure exactly how to get it there right now.  And that's OK.  That's what therapy will be about on Wednesday.

For now, my plan is to do a run tomorrow and then nothing until after therapy.  And that's an OK balance I think.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I have an eating disorder.

February is Eating Disorder Awareness Month.  Nearly half of all Americans know someone with an eating disorder.  And if you’re reading this, you’re in that group.

I have an eating disorder.

And I'm completely OK with you knowing it.

February 17, 2011 is the day I made the scariest phone call in my life.  I called to start the process of treatment for my eating disorder.  I had no idea just how intense the first few weeks would be and I won't lie, it got worse before it got better.  There have been miserable days and there have been elated days.  There have been days where just a bowl of oatmeal is enough to send me into a tirade and still others in which baking muffins for breakfast feels like I've conquered the world.

Why am I telling you this? 

Because after 25+ years, I can. 

Through the years, I have become pretty amazing at concealing ED.  Some of you knew, some may have suspected and some will be completely blindsided by this whole thing.  You see, eating disorders thrive on secrecy.  They want to be the only voice in your head and want to filter everything coming in to support their own propaganda.  They’re energized by fear and can turn anything into a cause for defeat.  In speaking up, I’m taking that energy source away from my eating disorder and challenging what it tries to tell me about myself and the people around me. 

It’s important for me to throw wide the curtains and expose this eating disorder so that I can get on with living an authentic and honest life.  Completely selfish but completely necessary. 

In therapy, we have referred to the treatment process in terms of a dance.  Especially fitting as dance was one of the last things I was able to wrestle away from my eating disorder as well as it being one of the first things it reclaimed.

Dance isn't always pretty and smooth and graceful.  Sometimes it's in your face, raw, methodical, gritty, gut-wrenching, sweaty, off beat, whirling dervish.  Sometimes it inhabits your body in an uncomfortable way and you need to work and work and work to make it feel comfortable in your skin.  Sometimes it jumps in right away, takes control and leaves you breathless with that feeling of success and inspiration.

What dance always is - or at least should be - is passionate and personal.  Much like this journey I'm on.  I need to keep reminding myself that, like dance, this journey takes determination, practice and commitment.  Sometimes I'll fall trying to get it just right.  Sometimes I'll soar on the first try.  But neither is more important than each other until the whole dance is learned and complete.

At this point in my dance, I'm still in rehearsal mode.  I may be for my whole life.  I've accepted that challenge with open arms and an open spirit.

It's OK if you know I have an eating disorder because I've decided to claim it as mere part of who I am instead of all of who I am.  And I'm not afraid.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I am the 1%.

"What you're doing wrong is relying on your SCALE for validation of your hard work.

Keep it all seperate. YOU can only control what goes into your body and the exercise you give it. YOUR BODY will decide what it wants to do with it.

Excercise has a place in your life OUTSIDE the bounds of what it may or may not do to that arbitrary number on the scale. And I do MEAN arbitrary because it shifts dozens of times a day based on consumption, elimination and hell, even how you happen to stand on that one time. You are accomplishing something AMAZING with your running - look at that first day vs. what you can do now. Don't let some stupid mechanical item fuck with your brain.

Food has a place in your life OUTSIDE the bounds of what it may or may not do to that arbitrary number on the scale. And I do MEAN arbitrary because it shifts dozens of times a day based on consumption, elimination and hell, even how you happen to stand on that one time. You're making healthy changes - even just in your awareness of what goes in to the things you feed yourself.

You are bigger than one "weigh in". PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't get caught up in it to the point of it defeating you. I'd rather see you put your scale away where you can't find it and just live in the moment of making choices that work for you if it means you're not going to feel defeated."
I wrote that.  And what's even better?  I BELIEVE that.  Really and truly.  A year ago, yeah, not so much.  But it's totally part of my DNA now.
It was written to a friend who was wondering what she was doing wrong because she hadn't lost any weight her first week or so in to a new running program/eating system.  It actually hurts my heart to see someone so sad, frustrated, upset over the scale not moving.  I'm so proud of her for the progress and confidence she gained over the past week with her running.  I'm so proud of her for the hard work it took to get her brain on board when her body didn't do what she wanted it to.  I'm so proud of our mutual friends for stepping up and encouraging her to just stick with it, to stay the course and it would turn around her her.
And it makes me sad that the same line of reasoning isn't applied to food.
There's a lot of "Oh, cut this.  Never eat that.  Be strict.  Track everything."  But very little, "Stay the course.  Your body is learning a new skill and needs time to adjust.  Just keep doing what you're doing."
Because food as the enemy is so pervasive.  Because your weight as the enemy is so pervasive.
Don't I know it.  I've been slowly killing myself for 25 years under the occupation of those enemies.
I'm glad my time for revolution finally came.  Occupy your health!  Occupy your sanity!  Occupy your body!  Fight the perceived power of food and the scale!  You deserve MORE.
I may be the 1% now, but I have hope that someday I will be the 99%!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another fun assignment....

"Affirm your recovery process"  (I'll be filling these in as I'm able...)

Complete the following:

1.  Lately, I've been more willing to...
...put myself "out there" without needing to overthink possible results, judgements or failures.  I'm much more willing to accept the possibility of things not going exactly how I planned as well as the possibility that things going the way I planned may not be the best way anyway.  I've also been more willing to embrace my talents and gifts for what they are and for being valid which in turn allows me to share them without fear of judgement.

2. Something I see differently now is... having some sort of magical power to control my destiny.  It's just food.  And I can eat any and all I need with no arbitrary rules or punishments.  I also see myself differently.  I see myself as someone who doesn't need to be scared all the time, someone who is strong enough to handle situations as they arise, someone who won't shatter.

3.  ...Had a powerful effect on me.
Being told I belonged in treatment and that I was "helpable" had a powerful effect on me.  I had spent YEARS believing that there was no help for me that I shouldn't even ask because I'd be blown off as not having a "real" problem and that I'd be told just to eat more or eat less or a whole myriad of other ficticious responses.  The handout I received about how foods get villianized had a powerful effect on me.  It opened my eyes to the haphazard logic my brain was applying to food and helped me understand what I needed to do to reclaim my relationship with it.  Being able to complete my goal of learning to run for fun had a powerful effect on me.  A whole new 3x a week affirmation began as I spend 30 - 40 minutes living out my new "can" life rather than trying to push aside my "can't" life.

4.  One of the ways I'm changing is...

5.  It's getting easier for me...

6.  I realize I can choose...

7.  A year from now I...

8.  Five years from now I...

9.  I am grateful...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Living a life of "yes"....

I sang tonight.  In public.  In a room FULL of other artists - actors, singers, dancer, musicians.  It's been YEARS since I have sung in public alone.  Probably since my last Tony n' Tina's show 8.5 years ago.  Somewhere along the way, my ED brain told me I shouldn't sing.  That I wasn't very good and I'd make a fool of myself.  I have zero idea where that came from, but I lived it for years.

I got this offer to sing a part of a song at an arts awards show.  And my instinct was to say no.  But I didn't.  I said YES.  And it was great fun and has made me feel like a million dollars.  Plus I got to get all fancied up.

This year, I had committed to living a life full of yes.  What a wonderful way to kick it off.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just another manic....

Week?  Certainly not just "Monday" as the song would indicate.

And well, not really manic either because I'm exhuasted.

Maybe the change in weather to finally turning into winter?  Today is the second day in a row I forgot to use my Blue Light in the morning, so that's probably not helping either.

As easy as defining it as one trigger/stressor would make it, I just think it's a whole big pile of things adding up to make my brain overload.  Any ONE of them would probably be OK on its own, but when they start collecting together to stage their coup, well, the Zoloft baricade is no match apparently!

So, what do I do to get back on track?  Well, for a start, I'm looking forward to my therapy appointment today.  LOL  Second, I guess I need to just take an inventory of the items in the pile which I can actually IDENTIFY.  Name and release.  That may not happen until my therapy session though, but that's OK.  And then as a final thought, I need to cut myself some slack.  It's normal for people to get overwhelmed sometimes right??!  I don't need to have some totally different standard for myself than other people.  It's OK.

Deep breaths......let it go.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year's Revolutions

We're 9 days in to 2012.  Which means 75% of the women of the world are already punishing themselves for having eaten a cookie and/or not working out 5 days a week.  That's clearly a real stat that I didn't make up off the top of my head.

But seriously.  Has this always been such a thing??  Is it because everyone I know is getting older and this is what older people resolve to do?  Never eat cookies?  Lose a randomly decided 10 pounds?  Or is it just that I'm more aware of it?

People, enough with the insanity.  Nothing magical happened with the dawn of 2012.  Being a woman and navagating the waters of body image and self worth is hard enough without this self imposed date of needing to change everything you think you hate about yourself in one fell swoop.

There's a certain satisfaction I get by being free from that.  I'll even go so far as to say smugness.  I'm not allowed to "go there".  And it's one rule I have grabbed onto and will cling to until I can't hold on any longer.  My happiness is independant from my weight, my clothing size, what I ate yesterday.

Which brings be to an additional thought I've been mulling over in the past few weeks.  It's stupidly hard to be in treatment when you're overweight.  It goes back to what I felt in the very early stages.  There's this certain "glamour" (definitely used loosely!!!) to those with ED who are rail thin that is NOT afforded those of us who struggle just as hard and are overweight.  How do you expect someone to understand that you're in treatment NOT to lose weight, but to save your life?  By looking at me, no one would know that I've been this weight and gone days with only minimal calories to eat, nearly passing out from dehydration, being slightly delirious from lack of nutrition only to follow it up with bingeing to the point of my body expelling the food as I still try to shove more in.  No, no glamour there indeed.

I know for a fact there are people in my life who still think I'm in treatment as a weight loss tool.  It's so hard for non-ED folks, non-obese folks to understand it.  Yes, I'm aware I'm obese.  Trust me.  I'm more aware of it than anyone should be.  But treatment isn't about fixing THAT.  Treatment is fixing the emotions behind that.  It's about getting my brain into a place where I'm not so fragile and damaged.  A place where I deserve to be fed.  Deserve to take up space.  Deserve to be more than my relationship with food and my body.  I'm in a place right now where I can keep things fairly separate.  I'm not allowed to weight myself.  I'm not allowed to measure myself.  I'm working every single day to keep my new found passion for running away from ED.  I'm working every single day to keep the food I eat away from ED.  I'm working every single day to keep who I am in the world away from ED.

I don't have time to worry about losing an arbitrary 15 pounds or to fall apart because I ate a cookie.  I'm working on my revolution.  The revolution against ED.