A Different Take On New Year’s Resolutions

I absolutely dread the time when Ryan transitions from his 12 hour day shift to nights.

To me it means a few hours of lonely time, trying to figure out what the heck to do to keep my mind off the negative body image thoughts that just wont go away lately, or the food I want to avoid eating tomorrow, the hate for 9 p.m snack, and definitely an earlier bed time because I just want to escape.

The above confession sounds pretty pathetic, huh?

I especially feel bad because so many of you have been tremendously supportive and expressed your pride in how well I had been doing.

I haven’t slipped terribly, but I think I mentioned last week that since my little bout with the stomach flu, I am wishing I could go back to my virus meal plan; meaning a smaller appetite.

I am not blaming my immense desire to restrict on having a bug. My temptation to go back to ED behaviors has way more to do with all the changes and upheavals occurring in the Weaber household, without a doubt, but that doesn’t mean that nagging negative voice isn’t with me pretty much every hour of every day.

So what does this mean for me? And how do I know I am not making progress in my recovery?

Warning signs are everywhere.

I am not sleeping, my weight gain has kind of stalled, I am bored and disinterested or have trouble concentrating and I am absolutely obsessing about food and exercise.

Hello, all these things are major red flags.

The first step I need to take, I actually just did. Outwardly saying I need assistance or acknowledging that there might be a bit of a problem.

Step number two, identify more specifically what is behind these maladaptive needs for ED behaviors and figure out how to “fix” or deal with it, minus acting on the unhealthy desires.

Let me pause here for a sec. because this is where I am running into a problem.

I know exactly what is causing my need for control and comfort. Like I said before, it is the multiple changes taking place, feeling overwhelmed, stress, fear…

Since I have been doing this for awhile I am pretty darn good at pin pointing what exactly is the driving force behind my little road blocks, BUT I run into some hardships when I can’t really do anything about them.

I cannot change that my mom sold her home.

I cannot change that Ryan has a work schedule that is sometimes difficult for me to handle.

I cannot change that he will be spending 3 weeks in Colorado come February.

The list goes on and on and on…

BUT what I can do is USE MY HEALTHY COPING STRATEGIES to alleviate boredom, which then translate into way too much negative self-talk, and I can ACCEPT that I have these feelings.

Accept?

I have written a ton on healthy coping strategies so I will definitely not bore you with that, today, but something I haven’t really mentioned much before is the need to STOP judging and acceptance.

Crying is weak. Anger is bad. Being sad is unproductive. You are a loser for being so emotional.

Do you know what those statements are?

Besides the fact that they are UNTRUE, they are also JUDGEMENTS…mean, inaccurate judgments that do not do any good for mental and emotional health.

So instead of me criticizing myself for crying or being a bit weapy, I need to actually sit and process how wiping a tear or the physical sensation of being tense from sobbing makes me feel, and work on being ok with it.

Then perhaps it is time to reframe and think about what I have to be grateful for, why I need to push through and actually FEEL these things rather than numb out on a treadmill that is exhausting my body.

This isn’t necessarily the “goals for 2012” entry some of you may have been expecting, but honestly, I try to set goals for myself every day. If once a year works for you, awesome, but I tend to forget the “resolutions” I set, 3 weeks into January. So for today, my objective is to engage in some self-care before I head back to work.

Read, make the traditional central PA New Year’s Day good luck meal of Pork and Sauerkraut, and maybe watch a little bit of DVRed trashy tv.

If I end up feeling sad later because I alone in my living room watching another Chopped marathon, so be it.

I hope you had a fabulous holiday, and I know you WILL have a happy, healthy, and whole, New Year! 🙂

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14 thoughts on “A Different Take On New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Set backs are a bitch. It seems that it is SO easy to go back to old ways but difficult to turn them off. It’s not fair how challenging it is, but it is very needed. Read your last post, CJ. You don’t want to go backwards. There’s a life worth living with changes. EVERYONE goes through changes. Happy New Year, lady! I live like 45 minutes outside Philly so if you REALLY need to go somewhere, let me know!

  2. I haven’t been gaining at all…I get weighed again this thursday…so this, first week of janurary i’m dedicated to getting 2xxx calories every day…but i find it so so tough when i’m not hungry…is it just me …but its like my bedtime “snack” is 500+ calories…ouch…

    i feel so awful about myself too…because I “binged” last night on extra carbs (chocolate, rice cakes, cookies, muffin…) …i swore i would reduce the bready carbs today…with my lunch i intended to still KEEP the big calories, but to replace the unappetitzing bread (which i overdosed on late last night 😦 ) with different things like flax and nuts (for the same cals)…but suddenly at lunch..i grabbed the bread…and ate it, and it wasn’t even that good…now i feel like a fat failure cause all i’ve done the last week is walk 30 minutes per day (i’m just depressed, so depressed and unmotivated to even do anything)…now i feel bad because i never had that “fresh” day to “clean” out my body and instead will just keep eating and eating all week and screw myself over….

    i KNOW this all sounds insane….but that’s the way my mind works…and i hate that…i end up feeling enormous guilt and shame and it consumes every single minute…i just want to order take out and pig out and not feel bad when i don’t “eat fresh and grainless ” the next day to “cleanse” out my body…ugh…

    i just feel guilty for everything..especially my yogurt consumption which is like 1.5-2 cups per day…it messes with my guts, but i still don’t stop…why don’t i have will power?

    see…thesse are the thoughts running through my mind 24-7. Its like i need someone to reassure me or tell me that it was either stupid or okay, just to get it over it. I’m so tired of it. Can’t we binge and pigout and still eat breads and chocolate the next day and never feel we need to “clean’ it out?…

    ONE of my january goals is to gain 3 lbs….i MUST get at least 15 lbs on me before i get going on a more “sensible” life….i want this over with.

    • if you need someone to tell you you are doing the “right” thing, im here to say it, FEED YOUR BODY! who cares if its all carbs, obviously that is what your body is crying out for? Perhaps you restricted those before, because as I have told you before, when I first started my healthier meal plan, all i wanted were nuts, nut butters and carbohydrates. Balance can come later but now, you really need to gain and you really need to eat.
      do you have anyone to talk to about this? I know you said before you werent seeing anyone but i highly recommend that you do. If you truly want to gain and you have a specific numeric goal, it might be helpful for you to have a professional that can help you deal with the change.
      you CAN do this. YOU CAN YOU CAN YOU CAN.
      dont judge what you are eating, just eat and nourish yourself with whatever you want.
      you dont want a life like this.
      make 2012 better for you.
      you can do it hun, i am here for support!

      • Its not like my situation is medically dire. I have a GP and weekly counsellor. The problem is I’m “stuck” and I still have the negative berating…I know women do this on a daily basis (example: a hollywood actress eats a piece of bread or a greasy few slices of bacon and “fasts” the next day…i have “guilt” because i don’t try to be “good ” the next day…i just eat and binge all over again…lose control..

        tired of trying to be controlling…so screw it…

        i eat (trust me i’m eating a TON and i eat lots of fat, protein, carbs, and “junk”..the problem is not that i won’t eat to gain; the problem is the damn guilt for it.

        i won’t comment anymore about it.

      • Please, comment all you want hun, that’s what I’m here for! I have guilt too, trust me. I have a negative voice that tells me how fat ugly disgusting etc I am. You are more than welcome to share your feelings anytime. I am sorry if u felt otherwise.

  3. Wow to the reader above….I am really sorry that you are struggling so much, BUT , I find your very, very specific mention of symptoms extremely triggering! You definitely need to discuss these issues with someone, but I am afraid that writing on here is not the place. I sincerely hope that you have some professional help and a good support system!

  4. CJ,

    The whole time I was eating my enormous dinner meal, I was super worrying that i made you or triggered you to eat less…TRUST ME…i am still eating the calories and still eating the bread, etc…
    I just meant to say that the guilt never goes away…like I see all these girls on blogs eat a salad and a smoothie to “refresh” after a day of “big” eating…BUT I don’t do that cause it only leads to a vicious cycle.

    SO PLEASE: do NOT minimize your plan or skimp on carbs …real bread, real Fat!!, real big bedtime snacks no matter what…if you lower it or skimp you only cheat yourself…

    I have a problem though in that i eat really really really fast…i will eat a very very large dinner meal in only 20 minutes and it takes others around me to eat it in 40 minutes…like i inhale food…inhale food…like i’m in a rush to get it over with…its not that i’m hungry for it…its that i honestly just want to eat it (like a robot) and get it over with…this wreaks havoc on my digestion cause i get really bad side stitches and cramping from eating so fast and not chewing my food (its heavy heavy food)…and i always just sit and sit after meals and don’t move….ugh…i just don’t want to think about it…i feel all alone in doing this stuff…

  5. I just love your positive outlook this year. What a great way to look at this year than with an open mind and heart. So many great things are in store my dear. ❤ and adore you always!

  6. CJ, First of all, it worries me that your thoughts are so strong. I just know how easy it is to give into these thoughts one time and then it just snowballs from there. It doesn’t sound like you are acting on the thoughts right now and that is great. Do you have anyone to be held accountable to besides your dietician? Are you seeing a counselor or therapist? I am glad to see that you are blogging about the triumphs and struggles that you are having. I think that is very helpful and I hope you are able to take the feedback that you get from your readers in a positive way to help you in your struggles. It is just difficult to see someone you know and admire for all the progress she ahs made so far have these struggles (even though I know theya are a part of the recovery process) I just wish I could make this easier for you. Take care and thank you for sharing!

  7. CJ I sincerely hope this isn’t inappropriate, but I buried the following in one of my blog posts, and I am hoping it may expand on your understanding that feeling feelings and judging feelings are two different things:

    Here’s an exercise to try:

    Think about the best afternoon you ever had. Recreate all the details in your mind. Were you outside on a gorgeous sunny day? Were you snuggled up by the fireplace with a great book? Were you hanging out with a bunch of friends on a beach or chatting with someone at the kitchen table? Whatever the details, spend at least five minutes conjuring them all up in your mind.

    Now pull out a piece of paper and either recreate all of it by sketching it, doodling it, writing down adjectives to describe how great you felt, writing a poem about it – doesn’t matter how you express it just find the way that works best for you on paper.

    Now tell me how would you describe your mood at the moment?

    Moods are malleable. We can change the dominant emotion even in the most intense or stressed of circumstances. And we often do.

    There’s a second part to this exercise of course.

    Now think about the most exasperating and frustrating afternoon you can recall. Did the car breakdown? Did you dump coffee all over your suit on the way to work? Did you have no sleep staying up with a sick kid? Did your partner do something thoughtless that just made even more work for you?

    Conjure it up in all its frustrating detail and go through the same exercise of getting it down on paper by drawing it or writing about it (whatever you prefer).

    But this time, instead of just confirming that you are likely now feeling much more agitated and even angry, flip over the piece of paper and write down how you handled the frustration that built up on that day.

    Did you simply throw up your hands and laugh? Did you end up in tears? Did you snap at someone else? Did you feel so overwhelmed that you just completely retreated from the whole mess? Did you take it out on the guilty culprit and feel really vindicated afterwards? Did you feel that you had somehow failed to manage it all “in the right way”?

    While moods are malleable, we judge our moods differently. When we experience positive emotions, we assume that they need no more assessment than to simply live them. But when we experience negative emotions, we assume they must be managed, handled, avoided, expressed, suppressed…

    Understandably they are called negative emotions because we don’t like to feel them. But both negative and positive emotions are a completely unavoidable part of being alive.

    What if you spent an entire day treating every negative emotion as though it were a positive one? It means that you won’t be attempting to manage, handle, express, suppress, avoid, tackle or whatever else you think has to happen to wrestle that emotion back into the box.

    Ever been in that place where you are having such a wonderful time you don’t want it to end? But it ends nonetheless. And you survive its passing.

    And of course you can be in a place where you are having such a horrendous time that you desperately want it do end. And it ends and you survive its passing.

    Of course I should point out here that there are many with overactive anxiety loops who will try to manage even positive emotions: “Uh oh, I am feeling happy and that means I’m going to be let down, hurt, disappointed.” If you happen to be someone in that space of managing all your feelings all the time out of a sense of impeding doom and dread, then you will have to disconnect from judging both positive and negative emotions. That’s best supported with some techniques and advice from a counselor or therapist.

    You can apply this mood-flip exercise at any time as a way to practice your own resilient understanding of the subjectivity and malleability of moods. Ridiculously enough you can place a pencil in your mouth to force a fake smile and it actually improves your mood (yes, clinical trials confirm this).

    CJ I’m assuming your husband is a first responder/paramedic and/or firefighter? Living with their shift work and their job as a family is no small challenge even for someone not recovering from an ED. You will need a few more things in place to buoy you up through that split shift time (and honestly you’ll need it when you are fully recovered too!). If going out for dessert with friends isn’t really in the cards just yet, then consider exploring non-athletic sides of yourself.

    You are an accomplished writer (hence the blog), do you paint or draw? Have you ever tried any craft work? While I’m not disputing the value of marathon Chopper episodes ;-), become curious about what may be part of you that you just haven’t met yet and use this time to investigate.

    Again, I hope my loooong input is o.k. in this venue. Best wishes to you all in 2012

    • thank so much for the exercise suggestiong. i have a meeting with my therapist tonight so i printed this out to take along, i hope you dont mind.
      my husband is a nurse in the medical intensive care unit and leaves home around 6:15 and doesnt get home until 8 am. i do get very lonely at nights so what i plan to do is try and go to places where there are other people; the library, maybe take a night class, things like that.
      i have never really tried painting or drawing but there was a time when i liked to collage and scrap book. perhaps that is something i could get back into. i dont really know what else i like? haha that is the problem with a gosh darn eating disorder, it kind of robs you of a sense of self…
      thanks for being so caring and compassionate. it is nice to have your support 🙂

    • you are too sweet hun. i think of you often and hope you are doing well at school. i always love reading your fun college tweets and posts! im living vicariously through you 😉

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