When Trust Is Not Enough

Continuing with the topic of trust from yesterday, I wasn’t surprised when I visited my bl-iend Tessa’s post and she wrote something very similar.

She is doing fabulously at her recovery, and I feel very connected to her on so many levels. As most with an ED will tell you, our thought processes are often carbon copies of one another, and I can definitely confirm that to be true of Tessa and I.

Anyway, as I read her post on how she is learning to trust her own body, I continued to evaluate my capabilities in this department.

I have already told you that media and other sources are a major contribution to my beliefs about food and exercise, as well as a signficant influence in other life decisions, but then I thought, as much as that admission saddened me to write, at this point, there are certain respects where I CAN’T and SHOULD’T trust myself.

Ultimately I want to be able to listen to my hunger cues and feel when my body needs to stop exercising, but right now a structure is pretty darn essential to me making progress.

In my ideal world I would not live on a prescribed meal plan forever, telling me how much fat, starch and protein I need to consume, but if I listened to my personal perception (an undeniably screwed up perception) I would only “feel” like my body craved safe foods. I would convince myself that my legs did not feel like lead weights and could easily workout intensely all the time.

My physical feelings have for too long been dictated by distorted thoughts, meaning conceptually, trust and I are not a good combination.

All that being said, even though I do have to rely on my dietician, therapist and support system to help me gauge what a more balanced lifestyle should look like, I can still make some progress as far as getting in touch with my needs and not completely sabatage my efforts.

…it is just the accepting if they are out of my comfort zone that is the hard part….

For example:

Lately my body has had intense cravings for fats; particularly in the form of nuts or nut butters.

HELLO SCARY FOODS!

Before, when I would pack my lunch, I would only ever put what I considered “appropriate” in my bag and that was all I could have.

The second half of my day was completely miserable and way less productive because I didn’t actually eat enough, or what I craved, but instead what my mind told me was ok.

In the past month of so I have created quite a stash of noon time backups.

Now my desk is stocked with two flavors of Emerald Sweet and Salty Nut Mixes, Barney Butter Packets, a few varieties of Clif Bars, etc.

I would say 3 out of the five days last week I opted for one of those selections rather than the more safe options I packed, which although does not sound super significant, really is a long way from where I was a few months ago.

At the same time I had to be mindful that my swap was calorically pretty equal. Although it is great that I am honoring my body’s needs for more fat, it wouldn’t benefit me to have fewer calories coming in since my nourishment was in the form of a fear food.

So here in lies the catch 22; although I am proud of the small steps I have made toward becoming more in-tune with my internal signals, I sometimes need to override them to ensure my energy balance is still tipping toward the recovery side.

i.e. even if I am not hungry but need more calories, I still have to eat.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that the path to gaining a healthy life-style is not always clearly defined.

The end goal is to eat intuitively, avoid a panic attack when entering a restaurant, be able to exercise how I want to without feeling obligated to any specific form or time, but in order to get there, sometimes a plan is best; and not a plan that ED, or my skewed mental perception forms.

So trust is absolutely essential in forming a healthy mind and body, but that does not just include trust in one’s self, but also believing in the lengthy process and those who are there to be supportive.

If letting people in, and becoming more open is another skill I can carry over into my healthier life, the list continues to grow as far as pro’s in recovery.

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12 thoughts on “When Trust Is Not Enough

  1. I’ve been craving nuts and nut butters like crazy this past week too!

    What if you made yourself accountable to the blog world to do one thing that made you uncomfortable every single day? Like exercising less, eating more, eating out, eating with people at work etc. Then maybe gradually you could do 2 things a day and go from there.

    • have you tried the emerald sweet and salty mixes?! omg they are fantastic!
      and actually, i was just thinking about what you suggested last night! i was thinking of maybe listing the thing that i challenged myself with each day…for example yesterday i ate a banana!!! i know that doesnt sound like much but if you read my post yesterday you know that is on my list of (crazy) fear foods.
      with ryan coming home so soon i am starting to get nervous and i do need to push myself…maybe it could be easier if i was accountable to someone! thanks for the idea hun!

    • I agree with Meagan, I think making a challenge for yourself and then following up with the results on the blog world is a great idea! It will hold you accountable and also you will get support from the community, something that is so necessary through all of this. However, I am going to tell you to do this carefully (if you decide to) and to be completely honest with whether not you actually carry out the challenges… no lying I mean! I am not saying you have in the past or anything like that, I just know how sneaky this illness can be!

      • haha you are right about the deception of the illness absolutely! i agree with you and the weird thing is, even though I have a million things i need to work on, I cannot come up with a good list of challenges…perhaps I am too scared to admit them!

  2. I think that could be a really helpful step, to post your daily challenge here on your blog. Accountability is key , my friend! What is your challenge for today? Also are you building on previous challenges ie. continuing to shave those 10 minutes off your treadmill, and not just doing it for one challenge day?
    I believe if you are craving it your body is telling you that you need it! yay for the banana and nutty snacks!
    Keep goin girl!

    • unfortunately i went back to my normal treadmill time and that is something i dont know if i will be challenging again for the moment. my challenge today is to eat over X amount of calories, and get closer to my appropriate meal plan. wish me luck 🙂

      • Was great to “meet” you in email! Maybe while doing a challenge a day, you can focus on one area — eating more types of foods & the right amount of calories, for example, but not also tackle changing your workouts at the same time. I know that I am really bad about setting a million goals at once & then spreading my efforts too thin. Then, nothing gets accomplished & I get very frustrated. Lots of luck with today’s challenge & with being positive!

      • i totally agree! anytime i get overwhelmed with setting TOO many goals I end up doing noting! thank you so much for your support, Ellen!!! ❤

  3. Reading your posts I see so much of myself in your words. I also am writing a blog as a way of keeping myself accountable and to share all my ‘little triumphs’ with the world.
    Keep up the good work and just listen to your body. I recently had some intense cravings for cinnamon toast crunch and I gave in even though it has literally no nutritional value whatsoever. I ended up eating almost a full box and you know what, I DIDNT DIE. wow, that felt good to get off my chest 🙂
    You have my love and support.

    Rachel

    • That is great that you are doing well in recovery! and thank you so much for the support. I imagine you know how essential that is for a positive recovery! if you wanted to share I would love to check out your blog!
      hope you have a wonderful wednesday and thank you again for your kindness ❤

  4. When trust is not enough, you’re simply in denial caused by trusting your ED more than yourself. My own recovery journey was miserable a year ago when I attempted to try it out on my own. Why? Because while I THOUGHT I was doing the right things like exercising less (but still exercising quite a bit), and eating slightly more (really not that much and I thought adding one extra snack was a major accomplishment), I still clung to my ED without truly realizing it. I just couldn’t comprehend a life without it. Normal eating? Intuitive eating? “What?! No way, I can’t trust myself with food and can’t trust my body to not pack on the pounds. But at least I cut my exercise down a bit and am eating a slightly larger lunch than before!” … I was still miserable however because it wasn’t enough and so I felt like a failure for eating more and STILL feeling hungry and yet not losing weight –> if I was failing at recovery since I clearly could not eat like normal people, then why oh why must I suffer so much and even fail at my ED? (It was a very difficult time for me and something I think many of us have experienced: being in limbo, not really sure where you want to place both feet so you put one foot on the recovery side and one still on the ED side.)

    It wasn’t until this past summer when things changed, and I bring this up a lot because I think it’s key in recovery: the faster you get to a healthier weight that is no longer in the “underweight” category, the easier and better recovery will get. I REALLY believe that as long as you’re in that underweight/malnourished stage, your brain just isn’t thinking as clearly as it should be and it’s much easier to listen to your illogical ED voice.

    I gained the weight I needed to in about 3 months, which is pretty fast. I busied myself with things I was interested in and liked to do, and that helped me not think too many negative thoughts. And once I reached a healthy weight, it’s like something clicked in my brain. There was no longer this need to try to lose weight again or skimp out on meals because I realized how great I felt. Sure I still have poor body image days, but I no longer sabotage myself by skipping meals.

    I always have the same advice to you, and I know you’re not going to take it, but I’m still sticking to it! 😛 If you don’t take a radical stab at recovery, you’re only going to prolong the process and make it worse to deal with… but I don’t know, maybe there’s something about a lifestyle with ED that truly satisfies you and that’s why you’re not willing to completely let it go? It’s worth reflecting on because I know for me, it was enough to let it go when I realized how mentally, emotionally and physically drained I was from it.

    • As always I thank you for being so honest. I wish I could answer why I am so reluctant to just say “the hell with it” and completely give up the control. I have been doing a lot of thinking about this lately and I just feel so helpless to finding an answer.

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