Red Flags And A Whole Bunch Of Denial

I have to say, and I do not tell you all this enough, but my gosh the support you have given me, especially in the last few weeks where I have actually been honest about my struggles, has been massively helpful, and amazingly kind.

I am continuously blown away by how wonderful you all, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.

As I have said before, the ED world is pretty darn lonely, so even if it is just as “bl-iends” I really appreciate the connection.

After reading a lot of your comments and reflecting on the downward spiral of my recovery, I have come to a few conclusions; pretty obvious conclusions if you ask me.

One, all the triggers were there, and I did point these out as they were occurring, but never applied or processed how detrimental they could be to my efforts.

New job, potential change in residence (we are actually staying in our present home due to the sale falling through…I hate to say it but I am slightly relieved), the knowledge of Ryan’s three week vacation, and the worry of my loneliness, looming…

These three things alone are enough to cause me immense anxiety, but along the way there have also been other “little” things that have started to unravel a bit.

For example my “poor” review at work, family troubles, etc.

And if you compile all these things together, for me, they create a recipe for disaster.

It is not even the actual events necessarily but more my reaction to them.

I shut down, I outwardly ignore the emotions I am feeling inside because I want to be able to handle everything myself. Gosh forbid I would cry or ask for help, because I am superwoman and can take on the world without any assistance, thank you very much.

But while I am trying to convince the rest of the world I am holding everything together, internally I am falling apart.

So the cycle begins where I beat myself up because I, in fact, cannot handle adult stressors very well, turning my attention and negative voice to saying, “You do suck at your job. You are so fat. No one likes you. You are ugly. You are a loser…”

The normal tape that continuously runs through my mind, berating me for never being good enough.

So essentially I DENY that any of these things are red flags, and try to make it seem like I am totally fine.

My husband, however,  is smarter than my antics and points out that I am not doing nearly as well as I try to make him believe and it is starting to show, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

He basically called me out on my meal plan skimping, and my maintenance of my exercise routine, regardless of the lack of adequate nourishment, which I hate to admit, if he hadn’t said anything, I would have continued the destructive pattern.

“Hunni, I am doing everything I am supposed to. See! I am eating this. I am having that. I am challenging myself, don’t you see it! I listened to my body and didn’t go to Zumba when I was sick! See, see, see!”

The truth is I really wasn’t doing what I was supposed to.  I was tricking both myself and my loved ones into thinking I was breaking all my ED rules, stepping out of the box to defy all my “normal” activities; but I was cutting corners, adding bulk to my meals by low-calorie veggies and liquids to make them seem more voluminous, and ultimately no where close to my caloric needs to gain.

Now I have to tell you, recovering from an eating disorder is NOT all about meal planning, food and energy expenditure equations.  It has the most to do with developing healthy coping skills, establishing a positive relationship with myself, and working on the underlying issues that have essentially led me down this path, BUT, none of that can be fully accomplished without proper nutrition, because the brain does not fully function when it is starving.

There is a whole bunch of science that proves this and can be much better explained by reading the “Minnesota Experiment.”

Anyway, as my meal plan started to disintegrate, so did my cognitive capabilities.

I am more irrational than ever, my ED parameters are tightening and a lot of my old tendencies are coming back.

All of these things I denied until I was catching up on one of my favorite recovery sites.

In the forum there was an interesting tidbit of information that if a past restricter cuts their intake by as little as 250 calories, the cycle can easily be ignited…aka, relapse.

Uh-oh.  When I had the flu a few weeks back, that deficit was definitely happening, and as the days passed, my “acceptable” nutrient range slowly started to dwindle.

Subconsciously I knew all of these things, but I chose not to acknowledge them until recently, when I confessed to all of you how dishonest I had been.

So after a very wordy post, about how I should have admitted, or at least been aware that the backlash of my actions was going to occur at some point, my hope is that if you, or someone you know is struggling and the signs are there, DO NOT IGNORE THEM!

The longer you wait to take a positive action, the harder it is to actually do so.

Trust me.


15 thoughts on “Red Flags And A Whole Bunch Of Denial

  1. You need your health to ultimately feel better in every aspect of your life.

    Wtf does ed positively bring to us??? NOTHING!

    You are strong. You are smart. & You are in control.

    ❤ I love you. "make good choices".

  2. I agree with a lot in this entry. Especially all you said in the last half of the post. Isn’t it funny how we almost need to reassure and remind ourselves of these things 3x a day? Otherwise it is forgotten and bad habits and guilt ensues.

    CJ…I’m so ashamed…yesterday was a forced start to a high-calorie day to get on track with this and gain…last night I was so tired and instead of going to bed, I binged. It is not that I physically wanted or needed it at all!!! It was entirely emotional and just delirious with fatigue (fatigue will make a person crave carbs). I’m SO ashamed…I ate a big number of cals for 3 big meals and 3 snack….had already finished a big bedtime snack…and then when I got up to drag myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth, instead I went to the cupboard and opened up the box of caramel-apple granola bars I’ve always wanted to try but that my past orthorexia wouldn’t let me…and i ate the entire box…one after the other…they weren’t even that good…i felt. like. crap…

    i slept in..felt like crap this morning…forced myself to eat a big breakfast and had to have milk chocolate milk at breakfast cause I didn’t have any other milk left (felt guilty about that!) and now i know my cals will likely suffer a bit today…NO they will not be low, but they’ll not be BIG in order to gain…jeesh, i have to freaking gain…

    my mom thinks i’m being lazy and should be doing more

    how often do u see a therapist or nutritionist??? i mean, its not like i can (or want to) see these people every day…so i don’t know what to tell mom…

    this sucks…i feel useless…i just sit and stew and eat all day
    its like the food binging is NOT physical…but truly an obsession….like i look forward to my 6 eating times (NOT because of hunger) but because it gives me something to do, plan, prepare, perfect…etc etc..its emotional and its crazy..i’m afraid of the consequences CJ…the consequnces scare me (sugar overload? too much fat storage? this and that…ugh).

    • it is not a binge, remember, it is just your body asking for what it needs and maybe last night it needed carbohydrates.
      dont be so hard on yourself. you are going through a very very difficult process with little help since you dont want to see a therapist or nutrition counselor. I see mine once a week.
      there is no such thing as eating “imperfectly.”
      you just need to eat, girl. you can do it!

  3. I love your honesty, though my heart literally aches for what you’re dealing with.

    I don’t know if this would work for you… but one thing that helped me was to look to my husband for eating cues. I mean, I should, theoretically, know how to eat, but that dang ed kind of messed all that up and I have no idea what “normal” looks like. So, I look to him to help me, even going so far as to say something like “Do you mind if I have as a snack?” And he’ll give me feedback. And I trust him, regardless of what my inner dialogue is yelling.

    I know you have a meal plan, but each person needs to find what works for them. What about trying something like having you and your hubby sit down with the meal plan, and he can help you figure out what would be tasty/fun/good to eat? Then… prep the food and ingredients, and have a section of the fridge devoted to the food for that day. I love to graze (many small mini meals) when possible, and if you do too (hello, it’s just one yogurt with some granola and a few berries, or a bit of cheese and a few crackers) this might help a bit (kind of trick your mind). While still following the plan.

    Oh… and as silly as it sounds, put post-it notes on the food. “For CJ. Love, Ryan.” Then it’s a gift, from him to you… and you might be more inclined to try it.

    • you are so full of good ideas! thank you for the “present” suggestion and maybe planning more things together. we tried doing that and then we never stuck to it, but perhaps I need to make it a priority. we are going to try going out for meals sometimes rather than always eating at home, and maybe if i dont have all the control that can be a good thing. THANK YOU again for your support and wisdom. you are so sweet 🙂

  4. I totally can relate to pushing aside the emotions and ignoring the red flags. I have been suffering from this for a decade and still cannot pinpoint what exactly triggers it, but I do it and the cycle continues…

  5. Hi there,

    I read your blog fairly often, and I’d love to know what site is one of your “Favorite recovery sites”. (The link did not work).

    Thanks for being so honest – it helps all of us out there struggling to know that others deal with, and learn to cope with, similar issues.

  6. Virtual hug. I’ll tell you a really poorly kept secret: no adult handles adult stressors well. Welcome to the very, very large club of average, decent human beings. You will be o.k. Really. We probably learn more from the slips than the successes when it comes to protecting ourselves for the future in any case.

  7. “The longer you wait to take a positive action, the harder it is to actually do so.”

    So true! Every second adds up. My favorite motto: “every moment is a change to do things right.”

  8. CJ you came to my mind during my run yesterday. Forgive me if I am overstepping but I was just wondering if you thought maybe going back to your old job would help. I just remember your posts from your old job and you seemed so happy and passionate and so fulfilled by your work and your recovery was going so well. I am not sure why you switched jobs but it sounds like this new job, although it sounds like maybe it is a “higher up” job, might not be the right job for you. I can only imagine the feelings of failure or inadequacy that you think might plague you if you were to admit you were unhappy at work but you have to remember that this is your life and your health that are at stake. I am a med student and I know that whenever I am on a clinical rotation that I don’t enjoy I am just in a bad mood all the time and have a negative outlook on life and I use up all my strength to get through the day and (if I were you) wouldn’t have any left to fight an ED when I got home.

    Just a thought, and obviously I know a lot more than just the job change has been going on in your life but I just thought if you could at least look forward to work again it might help. Continuing to pray for you!

    • you are so insightful. i think the change in job is A LOT of my problem but unfortunately, financially with my husband going back to school right now, where i am is where i need to be. some day i hope to get my masters to work with alternative ed, and revamp the entire program, but that is a bit of a ways away.
      i just feel like i am not good at my new job and the feeling of failure really feeds into my negative self talk. thanks for being so sweet and thinking of me! hugs!!! and good luck at med school!!!

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