Lent…Sort Of

I am not Catholic, but I do consider myself a non-denominational Christian, and the Lenten season is a time I feel is a ritual demonstration of faith.

I don’t judge those who don’t participate; especially since the more and more consumed I became with my eating disorder, the less time I had for things like a relationship with God, but I am definitely trying to rekindle the spirituality I once practiced, not necessarily within the four walls of a church, but definitely through prayer and an attempt to get in touch with what makes me feel close to the Lord.

Anyway, this is certainly not a post telling you about my religious upbringing or aim to get back on track in that regard, it is more about the concept of giving something up.

When I asked Ryan if he decided on his “vice” to relinquish for Lent, he wasn’t prepared to answer definitively but we tossed around a few ideas.

During our conversation I came to realize most of the typical things people abstain from are actually things I need to start incorporating into my life; chocolate, sweets, maybe even a glass of wine here or there, and then I got an e-mail from a friend suggesting I give up the treadmill.

Yes. I will admit, this might be a good idea.

Who am I kidding; to my husband this is the greatest idea since sliced bread! But! I know I cannot do that.

I might be able to cut back, but completely eliminating it from my life is not really something I am willing to do.

Criticize all you want…I fully expect it, actually, but as much as I appreciated and can admit that it is definitely a recovery-based suggestion, I could not do so without going absolutely insane.

Addict, I know.

Ok, all that being said, there are a few other things I NEED to get rid of outside the exercise realm…

STOP THE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK

This goal is one I am going to try my best to accomplish, because daily, incessant, seriously mean comments within my head are not fun.

All they do is bring me down and lead me on a path of destruction, so they need to go, NOW.

Since they are pretty frequent, completely abolishing them might be a little far-fetched, but I am going to be way more mindful and combat them as soon as they pop up, hopefuly creating a more healthy pattern of being nice to myself.

I also want to incorporate mentally repeating AT LEAST one positive thing every morning, and hopefully more throughout the day.

*I am a very intelligent woman (does that count?)

Calorie-Counting

Oh my gosh I need to get rid of this horrific habit ASAP.

I visited this topic before, a LONG time ago on the blog, and was pretty successful at not doing it for a while, but then unfortunately the ritual crept back into my life with vengeance.

Living by a number is awful; so restrictive and controlling, and can totally dictate my mood in the worst way.

It has always been a hindrance to my progress in recovery and I really want to eliminate it as fast as I can.

Using the tips I suggested before, and having Ryan help me portion things or deciding on our meals has definitely helped, but sometimes I still catch myself trying to total up my daily eats in an estimated fashion.

Of course the number is never good enough from a “healthy” or sick standpoint, because in recovery you can always be doing more, and when you are in the ED mindset you can never have too little consumption. Either way I never “win.”

Actually, I take that back. Getting healthy is ultimately “winning,” right?

A more fulfilling life, a happier marriage and demeanor, less physical and mental pain…all these things seem like a victory, so following a positive meal plan, sans calorie counting, and ignoring the negative self-talk in my mind, are definitely my two Lent ambitions.

They are not traditional by any means, but who cares?!

Ridding myself of these two vices, that have ultimately gotten in the way of my faith, is certainly a cleanse in my book.

So what about you? What are you giving up for Lent?

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18 thoughts on “Lent…Sort Of

  1. I definitely think those are great goals. Maybe your positive thought of the day could be a Bible verse that reminds you how much God loves you and that your body is His temple.

    I know you said “no” to the treadmill idea, but since lent is all about spending more time with the Lord, what if you gave up 15 minutes a day to pray/read the Bible? I used to always read my Bible in the morning and then recently I switched over to reading blogs in the morning (which obviously I still do but am limiting my time). I definitely noticed that I had a more positive day and was less likely to give into temptations when I started my day focused on God. Just a thought – either way you’ve got some great goals already!

    • thats actually a really good idea. for awhile ryan and i were reading a daily devotions book for coouples at night in bed, and it really helped us connect with one another. maybe implementing something like that could help me, personally. i think they have daily devotions for recovery too! ill have to do some searching because that would help me reconnect with my spirituality as well! thanks for the great suggestions hun!!!

      • That sounds perfect! There are devotions for everything now-a-days which is awesome! And I bet doing it with Ryan will bring you two closer together and closer to God which will strengthen your marriage infinitely!

  2. I never gave up a food during recovery because I realized that wasn’t healthy for me. I never fasted either. IT was at that time that I decided to DO something extra.

    As for calorie counting – I think it’s still really important for you! You need to count to make sure you’re getting ENOUGH. I had to, at least. Only after I was fully “recovered” did I try to stop my counting and just eat based on hunger signals.
    ❤ you

  3. It’s a shame you aren’t willing to give up the treadmill. It seems like you’ll make any excuse to hang on to this disorder. I only say that because there will NEVER be a time when you’ll be “ready” to give up exercise. You can make all the excuses you want but in the end, you’ll just hav to JUST DO IT!

    • just out of curiosity, why does anyone HAVE to give up exercise completely? or am i misunderstanding? I would love to learn moderation. That is my ultimate goal.

    • Giving up exercise is not at ALL necessary to recovery–in fact, most recovery programs advocate healthy, moderate exercise (as long as you’re at a point where it’s medically safe, which for CJ it is). Exercise is wonderful for the physical body, for helping create a sense of belief in what the body can *do* rather than what it looks like or weighs, for releasing endorphins that naturally improve mood, and for releasing stress–all of which are critical in fighting an eating disorder.

      Hanging on to dangerous, excessive exercise would be a problem. But continuing to exercise safely is not. And while learning to get past the absolute need to do X miles every day OR ELSE would be an awesome step forward for anyone with disordered habits, not being willing to give up exercise point blank for six weeks is VERY different.

      I’m sure you meant well in this comment, but your tone comes across as accusatory, and guilt is something most ED’d and recovering people already have more htan enough of.

      • You’re so right, that comment did come across as accusatory. I actually should have clarified that I meant giving up the 4:30 a.m., every single morning, for a certain amount of time at a certain speed type of exercise.

      • Ack! Pressed “send” too soon. I didn’t mean give up exercise entirly, I mean give up the addiction to the treadmill.

      • thank you Scarlett! i totally agree with you. there have been many times that i havent been approved for exercise and did anyway, but now my dietician knows and just incorporates extras into my meal plan. thank you for giving your perspective 🙂

  4. I’m always amazed at how personalized an individual’s recovery plan needs to be. For me, moderate exercise helps keep my stress levels lower, my tummy feeling happier, and ultimately, helps me to eat more freely, so moderate (I emphasize, moderate!) exercise is okay for me. But that calorie counting…isn’t it torture?! Oofta!

    I think you’re lenten goals are excellent – and they certainly set you up to continue winning!! Keep it up!

  5. I just stumbled upon your blog and it was so encouraging to read about something I have thinking about a lot the past few days! I had an extremely difficult, but revealing, conversation with my therapist last week about my relationship with running. I was a competitive track and cross country athlete in high school, and running has continued to be something that I compete in while in college, but on a more recreational level. I love it- but my eating disorder has also manipulated it a lot. Sometimes, I end up running and realize I didn’t enjoy a single step (because I was focused on the calorie burn or guilt for eating something). I agree with the comments that completely giving up exercise is NOT necessary, but I also agree that holding onto something that an eating disorder has taken control is not helpful for recovery. I am trying to get back to that place where I can enjoy running for the freedom and endorphins that it brings– not for the way it “justifies eating!” (Which is what is has become).

    Giving up calorie counting and negative self talk sounds fantastic! Best of luck to you!! God will be thankful to have your heart during the time that you could have been spending doing those negative behaviors. I am excited to try and remove these hindrances, too!

    • thank you so much for stopping by! and thank you very much for your insight and encouragement 🙂 i wish you luck on your journey as well! if you need anything please let me know 🙂

  6. This year for lent I am giving up chewing gum, I usually have at least a stick a day! Last year I went inpatient the day after Ash Wednesday. So I said that I was giving up my eating disorder (like you it brought me away from God ). Obviously giving up your eating disorder is not possible to do in 40 days, but by Easter last year I was soo much farther away from ED. I’m still recovering, so this year I will also put my best foot forward in giving up negative self talk and the other Edish things. I think it is a great idea to reflect on bible verses, especially during this holy time!

  7. You know me, I agree with Andrea’s comment — well, the more explanatory one! Because I too think it’s a little extreme to ENTIRELY give up exercise, but at the same time, I did it for a few months to get back up to a healthy weight AND to challenge myself. My ED made it seem like I literally could not live without the treadmill (like you) because otherwise I would go insane and kill everyone around me if I didn’t get my daily workout in. Um…. that’s insane and pathetic, and I was too exhausted to keep that up everyday.

    It’s important to be able to challenge yourself until you feel uncomfortable so many times that eventually, it gets LESS uncomfortable. That first week I couldn’t work out was miserable, but as I was filling my time with things I enjoyed, the next week went by easier… and easier… until I could reintroduce it but not in an obsessive way.

    I’m sorry that you’re still at the stage where you do things because they ease the anxiety you get from your ED telling you to do something or else you’re a failure for not doing it. But if somehow you can reach a point of happiness through things like less negative self talk and less calorie counting, then that sounds great to me 🙂

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