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?