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.