Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Honoring my eating disorder.

This is a tough subject, but an important one.

Because I want to hate my eating disorder.  I want to want to punch it in its stupid face, turn around, and never look back.

But I don't hate it.

I say that I do, sometimes.  But I don't.

It serves a purpose in my life.

It's a coping mechanism that got me through some tough times in my life, the most recently being the loss of my mom 3 years ago.

The eating disorder gave me a sense of control in a world full of chaos.  (Yes, much like makeovers did for Cher in Clueless). 

The ED put impossible to handle feelings on hold for a bit.

The ED still helps me deal with life's daily struggles.

Even though I don't hate it yet, I don't want it in my life anymore.  I am in active recovery, and plan to stay there. 

I am learning healthy coping skills, and am practicing using them every day.  Eventually my healthy self will grow stronger than my eating disorder.  For now, they are neck-in-neck.

And that's okay.  That's where I am.

I honor my ED because I grieve for it sometimes.  Sometimes I miss being "allowed" to give in whenever I wanted to, because I wasn't ready for recovery yet.  So I grieve for the sick freedom that came with being in the ED full time.

I know logically that it wasn't a true freedom, and that recovery is the key to true freedom, but since when does the ED let me think logically all of the time?  Since never...

Anyway, I'm grateful to my ED because I chose it instead of suicide many times over the last few years.  I'm aware that ED can be a slow suicide, but at least it gave me time to rethink everything and to get the help that I desperately needed.

I'm glad that I'm in recovery now, and I want to put the ED behind me, but for now I'm honoring that it's a part of my story.  I can't write a memoir without it being a prominent part yet, but I'm hopeful that one day it will just be a chapter, and maybe not even an extremely memorable one.  Who knows what lies ahead for my healthy self's life?  The possibilities are endless.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Bad Times...

No one wants to write about the bad times, not even me.

And I'm talking about the bad eating disorder times specifically.

Like when I have a great day but then I binge.

Or when I skip breakfast and lunch because I binged last night.

Or when the ED tells me to weigh myself and body check in order to start over with a new diet plan or eating disorder behavior.

Or when I binge nonstop for 3 days, and it takes me another week or two to get back on track with my recovery meal plan.

Or when I isolate myself because I don't want anyone to know what my ED tells me is the truth: that I'm disgusting and worthless and deserve loneliness and fat.

Yeah, I really don't like documenting the bad times.

But I feel like it's important to blog about them sometimes, otherwise this blog will turn into a place like Facebook, where I only show my favorite things, and never show my struggles.

I struggle daily with my ED.  I'm trying hard to stay in recovery-mode 24/7, but it just isn't happening.  I still am reaching for the silver medal most days, instead of the gold. 

Some days I still fantasize that I don't have an eating disorder, that I just need to re-read Intuitive Eating and grow up.

Some days I still think that all that is needed to have a good life is a thin body.

Some day I truly believe that I am a terrible, undeserving, disgusting person.

But the good part is that most days (like typically 4/7 every week), I try hard to stay on the recovery path.  And most days I love myself and my body.  And most days I know that the ED is telling me lies, not truths.

So that's something.

Friday, July 10, 2015

My new love: SWIMMING

A couple of months ago, I joined the YMCA right next to where I work.  I joined for a couple of reasons:

  1. I had my meal plan down, pretty much.  I really wanted to start adding movement (my nutritionist calls it all "movement" instead of "exercise" because it seems to be a less triggering word for us with EDs) to my life again, for health.
  2. I also wanted to do something that didn't hurt my leg at all.  Ever since the break, I've not been able to go back to what I used to love, which was running.  Even with physical therapy and a year of time, my leg is not the uninjured leg that it used to be.  And I heard that this gym had a great lap pool, and I figured swimming would be a great new hobby for me

And that's exactly what swimming had become for me:  a hobby.

My new motto when it comes to exercise is that if it's not a hobby, I won't be doing it.  I plan to get my ankle back in bike riding shape by September.  For me, biking and swimming are hobbies, not exercise.  And I believe that will be the key to "sticking with" something: really enjoying it.

My technique is sloppy and flawed.  I am excellent at swimming, but have no technique and am very slow.  It's a struggle to not focus on the numbers (how many laps, how long it took me to do this lap, how much time, etc.) when swimming, but when I notice my brain going there, I just focus on my breath.

It really is relaxing to me, even though it's also a killer workout.  I wear ear plugs, so I can really use the swimming time as a breathing meditation.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Really feel the water.  How does it make my body feel?  Am I still having a good time, or am I getting competitive and not having fun anymore?  Is it time to get out, or am I good to go? 

I also think it's a shame that so many of my fellow overweight/obese exercisers steer clear of swimming because it means SWIMSUIT.  I'm here to tell you that not only is it easy to forget what my body looks like because I'm so focused on how the water makes my body feel, that this low impact movement is the best thing for my knees and ankles. 

It's probably the best exercise for obese folks, but the world will never know, because we hate looking at fat people in swimsuits.  And that's just sad.  And maddening.  It's smaddening.

I will continue to be a fat swimmer, because I love swimming, and my body is obese.  And somehow, I have really gotten over how I look in my swimsuit, at least at the gym.  :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

THIN PICTURES will not ruin me...

I am a person who checks her TimeHop app daily.  Sometimes, it's wonderful, seeing comments from Mom on old posts.  Sometimes it's way too real, with posts about when Mom was dying.  Sometimes it's a reminder that I've always been pretty clever and hilarious.  Other times it's a reminder that I've always been depressed.  It's ALWAYS a reminder that my body used to be much smaller.

Because in 2011 and 2012, I took TONS of pictures of myself, because I was thin and liked my body for the most part.  I still had complaints, and was still not "where I wanted to be" with my weight.  But I had more body confidence than I had had in years, so I jumped in the pics at family events more than ever.

I went to a fun lake day with all of my work family earlier this week, exactly 4 years after going on a fireworks date with Stacey.  So my Timehop pics on that day and the pictures taken of me that day look DRAMATICALLY different.

But I am not ashamed of my current size, nor do I believe that I am any less beautiful or worthy.  In some ways, I actually like my body more now than I did then. 

I appreciate it more, really accept that it's the only one I will ever get, and am working hard towards making peace with it. 

Does this person:

look like she's having a better time than this person? :


Is this couple:

cuter than this couple?

Not at all.

Is this body:

more beautiful or worthy than this body?

Again, NO!

And I'm not perfect with my self love or body confidence yet.  When I first saw those thin pics of me, I felt a little crappy until I saw that I was just as happy if not happier in the present day pics. 

Recovery is really helping me to love and accept myself as I am, body and all.  I may not truly believe that my current body is fine as it is, but I do believe that I am fine as I am.  The body love will come in time.  I hope. 
How are you working towards body confidence this summer?


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Buying clothes when the ultimate goal isn't "not looking fat"


So I think that I have mostly gotten to the point of buying clothes that make me feel good, rather than "just because they fit" or "because it makes me look less fat".  Instead, I now buy clothes that make me feel good in them.

They don't make me feel good in them because they hide my "imperfections"; rather, they make me feel good for any other number of reasons.

It may be-
  • the feel of the fabric against my skin
  • the color
  • the fit
  • the style
  • the pattern
  • it just makes me feel good, don't know why
These are all great reasons to wear something.  Much better than my old reasons.  I now buy things that I plan to wear for a long time.  I'm not focused on "transition" weight loss clothes anymore.

I even use this logic with swimsuits, though for some reason that is harder.  I still want to cover up my fat when wearing a swimsuit!  Yikes.  But, I am pretty okay with how I look in one, and I find empowerment in sharing body confidence fashion selfies on my Instagram account (find me @BuffyFan84 - yep I'm a dork!).

It's okay to buy clothes that aren't "goal clothes" or "transition clothes".  In fact, it's so much better.  Fuck goal clothes.  Fuck transition clothes.  Fuck 'em all.  We deserve to buy clothes that celebrate our current sizes and shapes, and that make us feel good.  We deserve to shop at nice stores, and to shop based on our unique tastes and senses of fashion, rather than shopping out of necessity and based on what makes us feel the most invisible.

Just some thoughts for July.  I know that July is a hard month, body-acceptance-wise.  It's freaking HOT out there, which makes it extremely uncomfortable to wear a lot of fabric, and a lot of fabric can make us feel safe and small. 

Less fabric can make us feel unsafe and huge.  I get that.  It can really suck.

But if we all just collectively agree to start shopping not based on how thin we could look, but instead on how great we can feel, and we all started to pay attention to our own bodies and selves instead of comparing our bodies and selves to EVERYONE ELSE, things would be better.

Let's try.

Even if you start small, by spending more than usual on a nice dress or suit.  Or buying something with horizontal stripes on it, because you love horizontal stripes, dammit.  Or bright colors, because they make you happy.  Just go out and buy something that you love, something that FITS now, and then just wear it because you like it. 

It's a start.  That's where I'm at.