Integer Obsession

I hate to start my morning with this but I have to say I am struggling a bit; struggling with my meal plan, AGAIN, now that running was, AGAIN, taken away…especially without counting calories. But it’s a catch 22 because if I do count the calories (which I’ve been doing more often then I’d like to admit) I have trouble when I reach a certain number, regardless of my hunger.
Let me explain, and I am sure many of you can understand this…
Everything in my life seems to revolve around numbers. It always has. In school I needed to get above a 93 to consider myself successful, which is ridiculous because that is a pretty high standard and prevented me from participating in a lot of collegiate extra curriculars (mostly spending time with friends and my seriously awesome roommates!) When I was religiously running and over-exercising, I had to run AT LEAST 5 miles to feel like I did ok for the day, and that was EVERY SINGLE MORNING. Forget the idea of missing a this mark because that was completely out of the question and never even crossed my mind.

When I was restricting, I needed to eat under X amount of calories or I failed; failed to the point where the number needed to be even lower the next day as a form of punishment. And my weight was the same thing. I started with a weight goal, and when I’d hit it, I would make the goal even lower, and lower, and lower, until someone intervened and sent me to a hospital.

Who knows what my number would be if I didn’t have help. This was my way of measuring my worth, and it basically ruled my life.
Unfortunately, I am still a numerical fanatic. My numbers are a lot higher than they once were (minus the exercise, that one has obviously decreased, SIGNIFICANTLY) but every time I get comfortable with the number I am assigned (i.e. the number of calories I have to meet everyday) it seems to get increased.
It took me forever to get to 2000 calories. Forever. I mean that was a serious milestone for me because for months I would teeter around 1850-1950 but when I would get within 50 calories of 2000 I would have a minor anxiety attack and stop eating, despite the gnawing that still occurred deep within my tummy.
Then we graduated to 2250. It took me about a week of consistently hitting 2000, and I wish I could tell you exactly what made me reach the higher goal, but after a few days it did get easier, and actually my body started screaming for more!
When I wasn’t gaining on a regular basis, I knew the 2500 was coming and it would be pretty much non-negotiable. The last time I had seen that amount, outside an actual hospital unit, was when I was in residential last summer and that was on a pretty regimented exchange system, where all the food was neatly plated and provided for me. Now, at home, it is me making all the decisions, dealing with the wicked guilt that comes from “permitting” myself to consume an amount of energy that was unfathomable for the majority of my adult life. But regardless, I had moved past these super uncomfortable feelings…well maybe not moved past, but at least accepted that I would have them every single meal or snack…but now, my body wants to number to be higher, and I don’t know how to deal with it.
This may sound silly, because I still have weight to gain and want to participate in more vigorous activity, which translates to, needing to eat more to get the same results. But I have trouble justifying in my mind that I could possibly need to compensate when the scale keeps moving forward!
To me my body is expanding at an exponential rate. I need exercise to prevent all the rest of my poundage from piling on top of the roll I feel I’ve already accumulated on my lower abdomen, but unfortunately, no matter how many crunches or miles I walk, I can’t fight biology. My body is going to put the weight where it wants as a mechanism of survival and that is something else that is extremely uncomfortable and I am going to have to cope with, without resorting to ED behaviors.
I’m torn for my dietetic appointments because for the last month I have weighed blind, not knowing the number on the scale. I was on a high of recovery and felt like I didn’t need to agonize over my weight. Well sadly that high is over, demonstrating the ridiculously volatile cycle of recovery, and I am tempted to ask my weight this week as a way of reassurance that my body is not going bazerk and gaining 90834539 pounds a day. This desire could also be to feed my obssessiveness further and I could torture myself about a stupid number, since it will inevitably be higher than the one I once thought was appropriate to see.
I don’t know how to get over this hurdle, because I want more freedom for movement of my body, but mentally it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that expending more energy, ultimately means to more calories needed.

To top it off I have the unfortunate handicap of selective memory. I can’t recall how I got over these obstacles before, when I finally jumped to 2000, 2250, and then 2500. My new number (for when I do get to exercise more vigorously, like Zumba days) is not that much higher, but it’s high enough that it causes a freak out before bed, and probably some overestimation throughout the day so I can sorta feel like I am doing the “right” and “healthy” thing, but can also ease my mind that my eating isn’t out of control.
This mentality is not going to get me far, or help me break free of my integer obsession. I was on the “weight gainers” forum of calorie count yesterday (surprisingly, they have pretty awesome support groups!) and I read a thread from another female who saw her weight for the first time in a while, and actually would have guessed a lower number because she didn’t feel as “heavy” as the scale read. She claimed this made her realize that recovery is way more about how you feel as a person, than a numerical determination of who you are.
I’m not there yet, especially right this very second, but I hope to be. I am putting my faith in people that they won’t judge me solely on my appearance, and that they will conclude whether they like me or not by my personality, values and who I am inside. After all, I can’t really remember the last time anyone asked me how much I weighed upon meeting them. So I am going to guess they don’t really care. It is me who is paranoid that everyone is concerned with my weight, how much I eat, or my fastest mile split. No one cares, CJ. No one cares.
So perhaps I should start working on becoming a whole person, rediscovering my interests, and establishing a core set of NEW, HEALTHIER, beliefs, to live by for when people might want to be my friend again since I am not such a psycho path. I can’t wait for that day to come, and I can’t wait to be better at this recovery thing.
If only there was a magic pill that could take all the tough stuff away. Wouldn’t that be nice?


24 thoughts on “Integer Obsession

  1. I am a numbers nerd. I track mileage when running, times, etc. At work, I develop financial accounting software. I’m a detail oriented person and I’m the only tech writer here who really likes numbers (we have a lot of more… bookish… people, I guess). Of course yeah, this does transfer over with me weighing out foods (seriously, 99% of people have no clue what a serving of cereal, ice cream, etc actually is), counting out the number of frosted mini wheats for my morning bowl of cereal, knowing the caloric content of any drink I order at Dunkin Donuts and some I don’t order, etc.

    At one point, I stopped weighing for 3 weeks. It was after my honeymoon. I was convinced I gained a ton of weight on that cruise from eating so much (not that I was eating that much, honestly. I was eating 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. Only healthy foods, and I was still working out and being active). After I weighed… I was one pound above what I weighed before I ever went on the cruise.

    You’d think that would help me stop weighing and worry less, but after… I had to keep tracking it. Once I stepped back on that scale, it had me. Just from reading your recent entries here… I’d probably wait a little while before finding out, or at least discuss it before you do. It really could send you spiraling back like it did me.

    Okay, that was long. I’ll shut up now :).

  2. CJ, I’m glad you can be so honest here.

    When I met you at the Healthy Living Summit, I was drawn to your passion for Disney and meeting new people, and because you’re caring and a lot of fun.

    I’m so glad we got to meet in person.

    • me too!!! I would love to get together sometime, again! Im bummed I wont be there when you are at disney but maybe we can organize something soon! or theres always another food and wine! im hoping to run it next year!!

  3. I’m also waiting for that magic pill. It’s so hard to struggle every day, every morning with meal plans. I’m tired of it.
    Good luck girl! Hope you’ll find some stability soon!

  4. You know all about my numbers obsession, obviously.

    I’d vote against weighing, just because knowing my weight has never been a good thing for me, but obviously you’re YOU and it’s your decision.

    Remember that freaking out is normal. ❤

    • ive been thinking about it, and what is knowing the number on the scale going to do for me?! make me insane is the answer. so thank you for your reassurance! since we are pretty alike, im going to guess what is good for you, is probably good for me…meaning….no weight knowledge until its absolutely necessary!

  5. I totally hear ya on that magical pill. Don’t you sometimes wish you could just wake up and be at your goal weight? I don’t even care how I look, its how I FEEL after eating so much. I guess my mom’s right when she says, “its all in your head” if only my HEAD would be rational.

    • every day i wish I could wake up, and be “normal” so i didnt have to think so much about everything. haha my mental health would be so much better!!! because like you said, a rational head is not something i have!

  6. Wow! I really relate to all of this. The “teetering” analogy, everything. I’m scared because I gained 4 lbs in only the last 2 weeks. I feel I am being way too aggressive because I’m not exercising. I’m afraid it will never stop because I’m so out of shape now that if I ever get to exercise again (which won’t be until another 6 months at least)then I’m just going to keep snowballing. But i”m at that “teetering’ now and I have no idea how to increase. It seems impossible because my body is rejecting it.

    • Im glad you can relate. Sometimes it helps to know you arent alone. It can be a seriously frustrating process, but if you keep doing what you know is right, it should hopefully work out in the end. Im here if you need support! i usually do 🙂

  7. you definitely aren’t alone cj! I have the same thoughts but trusting your body is all you can do. because our bodies are smart and everything will eventually begin to even out we just need to nourish our bodies and give it exactly what it needs…everything will be ok in the end and if its not its not the end…love that quote 🙂 xoxoxo

    • Jill! I just got your e-mail and will be writing you back shortly!!! I was happy to hear you had a positive experience though and I hope it helped propel you even further into your own recovery! i love the quote girl!!! xoxox

    • You seem positive. But how do I know if being too aggressive? 2 lbs a week…no exercise. I eat the “wrong” foods…they aren’t the healthiest…I do everything wrong,

      • thats not wrong. There is no wrong, and sometimes your body will gain 2 lbs one week and none the next. unfortunately in this process there is no such thing as normal, wrong, right, good, bad…its simply recovery. I wish you look, and I hope you are seeing a therapist and dietician to help you work out these thoughts?

  8. Hi Ceejay,
    Continue plugging away at your recovery. I enjoy reading your posts, and am cheering for your success. Remember to love others, you must first love yourself. To show love to yourself, you must care for your body, and that means eating nutritious foods that supply your body with the needed calories to work optimally during the day. Best of luck,

    • Jo! Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. It means a lot that people actually care to read what I have to say, and has demonstrated how lucky I am to have such a wide support system. You give great advice about loving myself and I am working every day toward that goal. Thank you so much for your kindness! It was nice to see you the other day in the office, and I hope to catch up with you more around school 🙂
      Have a great weekend!

  9. I hope you decide to not know your weight, or come to an agreement that unless there has been a change of more than a pound one way or the other for two weeks in a row you dont want that information….. As you mentioned previously that science sooths you do some research. Your body is in the process of trying to repair itself. This will take hundreds of thousands of calories of energy. The calories/energy are needed to repair the damage to your physical self. Your body is asking for more energy to heal. Try to listen. Hope your week improves

    • I didnt find out my weight, no. At this point, its not a good idea and I know that, especially since my period is next week and this is always the worst time of the month for bloating, etc (I never stopped getting it because ive been on the pill since I was 16). Thank you for the advice and scientific evidence to help me though. I needed it today!

  10. I competely understand!! When I didn’t add calories, I NEVER ate enough. When I did count, it made me feel guilty. Most people told me “listen to your tummy” ,but my tummy didnt work at the time. Basically I just learned to trust my nutritionist. She realized counting calories was hurting me and changed my meal plan to eating certain amount of each food group. I just kept telling myself I was going to have to get to a healthy weight one way or another, so why not go ahead and get there. As far as my weight goes, I still dont like to know the number. Either way it upsets me, so I live by the idea that “ignorance is bliss” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s