Patience Is a Virtue

Patience is not a quality I posses. Probably because I have the attention span of a four year old, I do not do well with waiting, long periods of sitting, slow results, etc. Unfortunately, in recovery, and pretty much everything else in life, patience is a virtue (no wonder they made that a saying!).

Why am I bringing this up? Well, another aspect of the “getting healthy” process, that has typically prevented me from fully getting over the hump, is what I call the “Buddha belly.”

As a female, bloating is a pretty common complaint. When you carry around a few extra pounds of water weight it can be seriously frustrating and uncomfortable, particularly at certain points in the month. BUT imagine having those feelings almost every single day.

I know there are people outside of the eating disorder world who experience cramping and bloat, but scientifically, those who are overcoming starvation tend to first gain weight in their mid-section and feel extremely bloated. After a few months it will redistribute throughout the rest of your body, but for the weeks where you can barely stand to wear constricting pants, it can be pretty darn awful physically, and mentally.

I have said this in various posts, but you really cannot fight science, no matter how many crunches you do, how healthily you eat, the weight will go where it needs it most. Our bodys are super smart. It knows how to conserve energy and grow hair to keep warm when undernourished, so of course it knows how to react when a person begins to refeed.

See, your body goes into protective mode. It is scared, and does not trust you (and lets face it, why should it!?!) so it stores any excess it can in the most essential areas; around your vital organs. Now where are these organs located…your mid-section! If one continues to feed themselves, on a regular basis, then the body starts to say, “ok, she loves us again, and now we can start spreading this to her muscles, and joints, and make her hair nice and shiny…”

I personally cannot wait for my hair to stop breaking off every time I brush it, or coming out in my fingers when I shampoo, and I cant wait to have a butt that fits nicely into jeans. Is that going to happen today. Absolutely not. In fact, I am standing here typing with my favorite Lulu Lemons, that I first purchased when I was at Princeton hospital, and they are way tighter than Im used to, but this time my recovery is different. Six months ago I would have panicked over the indent my waist band is leaving across my tummy. My head would have been screaming, “Oh my gosh CJ, stop eating your meal plan its way too much, your pants don’t fit and you arms and legs look ridiculous while your belly is filling up this entire room!”

What did I teach you last week? Reframing thoughts is essential to cutting out negative self-talk and this is one of those times where I have to use that tool. “Your stomach is not filling up the entire room, this is a normal, exaggerated feeling, that will eventually go away. It is only temporary and an essential part of gaining back your life.”

This all probably sounds a little cheesy, but I swear the number one complaint, or question, I get about recovery concerns body image, redistribution and the “Buddha Belly.” But rest-assured, if you are patient with yourself, and trust the process, this too shall pass. Do not let distorted thoughts, or negative self-talk prevent you from doing the right thing, or telling yourself you are beautiful, because YOU ARE. And if you are really struggling, remind yourself of PTG. Sometimes remembering the things we are blessed with, can bring us back to reality.

What kind of things hold you back from going after what you want in life?

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13 thoughts on “Patience Is a Virtue

  1. Honestly this has been the number one thing that has held me back. The feeling of being bloated,full, and not digested is horrible.
    However, I have found a few awesome over the counter meds that really help this issue (let me know if you are interested).
    Now that I am at my goal weight, I seriously feel better and think that I look slimmer than when I was 5-10 pounds lighter. It sounds crazy but honest to god its true. Keep doing what you need to be doing and I PROMISE you will be happy. ❤
    You may have the thoughts, but don't let them trick you into thinking they are right. You are obviously very intelligent and everything you say in your blog is perfect advice. Follow what you preach. ❤

    • I love you Lizzie! you are such a sweet girl and always say the right thing to make me smile! totally let me in on those meds!!! (facebook message me girlfriend haha)

  2. It isn’t pretty but trust me, it will even out. I fought it so hard and basically it just made it last longer! Also it feels so nice once you get your hair back! I never got my full head of hair back after rehab but it beats the thin brittle hair that i had.

    I love that you are keeping positive. You will get a cute body again, you will get your hair back, and you WILL get your life back girl! Keep up the hard work!!

  3. Afternoon Cj 😉

    I just want to applaud you for such posts. I too have a bloating problem. However, mine is different. I have an auto immune disease in my bladder and when I get flare ups, my stomach distends to about … or looks like.. 5 months pregnant (I am certainly not exaggerating… wish I was). Sometimes it takes days to go down and on top of that, I am a personal trainer! I have to show people how to workout and it hurts 😦 I guess my point is that this is out of my control, but YOU have all the control in the world to eat the right nutrients so your tummy will go down. Your body is a gift. I remember to recover from my eating disorder, I had to LET GO! Take a deep breath and let go of all the control …. you are so beautiful and you will feel complete, I promise you.

    • Julie I always love hearing from you! I am so sorry you have to deal with horrible bloat! it seriously is such a pesky problem and can totally ruin a day!! Thanks for the advice to let go! I seriously think that is the hardest part, reliquishing all the control! thanks for always making me smile!!!

  4. I’m so glad you wrote an entry about patience. Patience is my biggest issue, and I think that our society in general has an issue with patience. We’ve gone from wanting everything now, to wanting everything yesterday.

    Anyway, something that really hindered my recovery was my lack of patience. Once I hit that point that I was ready to recover, I was doing all the work, following my meal plan, and I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, so I’d get frustrated and just give up. But I must say, for the first time since I started treatment years ago I finally feel healthy! I finally feel like the food I am putting into my body is giving me energy for the day and not just going straight to my organs for repair work. It’s really quite amazing what sticking with it can do.

    Just thought I’d share that 🙂

    • thank you for sharing! what you said is super important and an aspect of recovery, that like you said, totally makes people fall off the wagon! Im glad you are sticking to your recovery girlfriend, you totally deserve it! I miss you by the way!!!!!!!

  5. ugh i totally feel you on this! i’ve never heard it called buddha belly, but it’s so true. sometimes i feel like i’m just sooo bloated all the time, and i feel like it’ll never go away. but remembering that it’s temporary gets me through. i definitely think lack of patient ultimately hurts me. i get impatient, i get fed up (pardon the pun) with trying to follow my meal plan and have it be natural so i slip. but it’s just remembering that in the LONG RUN it’s the right thing to do!

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