A Little More Honesty

Thank goodness it is Friday!

I don’t know about all of you but I am welcoming this weekend with open arms. Perhaps it is the fact that we have no break from December to April that is starting to wear on me, but whatever it is, two days to myself are much needed right now.

All that aside I actually want to continue with what I started yesterday…being a little more open.

I have had several of you inquire about the dreaded lunch date with my dietician…

I would like to say it was productive, and it was in the recovery sense because it was an enormous challenge for me, but it also made me feel horrible, and again, ashamed and so unworthy.

My poor nutritionist (I say poor because I really am a nightmare to work with) like Ryan, also has the list of my fear foods I have written about before.

When she suggested we have a meal together she also proposed that we attempt something scary, in addition to learning more “normal” restaurant and eating behaviors.

Upon further discussion she decided on a local venue that just happened to be one of her family’s favorites. And I had never been there so she said it might be good to visit a place I didn’t really have a judgment about in my mind pre-meal.

I had mentioned Panera, but was quickly reminded that the calorie counts are posted smack dab on the menu for all to see, which my dietician pointed out might not be the best scenario for one who is trying to venture outside their comfort zone.

*I really hate that, by the way…I already have the facts memorized in my head, must I be reminded as I am deciding what to order?!

Anyway, I was anxious all Wednesday morning.

I was antsy about breakfast and couldn’t bring myself to have a morning snack even though I was STARVING and could barely concentrate on doing my work at the office.

I paced back and forth in the lobby of our destination as I waited for my lunch partner.

“Two for lunch, we’ll have a booth please.”

She sounded so nonchalant and confident, and I was literally having a mental breakdown.

She took my menu as we sat down and narrowed down my choices; the challenge…a tuna fish salad sandwich.

I love tuna. I don’t know why but when I was in program we had maybe 5 choices for lunch…all things between two slices of bread, and I rotated between turkey, tuna and PBJ. I hadn’t had tuna since due to my immense fear of the “excessive calories,” but it was one of my favorites.

Wednesday I selected one of the more simple options; Tuna salad on marbled rye with lettuce, tomato and mustard.

“Could I do the half and half combo? Half sandwich and a cup of the very veggie soup?”

“Let’s try the whole sandwich today.”

She ordered for the both of us, and also decided on a similar sandwich, replacing my tuna with chicken salad.

To my disappointment the entrees arrived quickly.

I was hoping we could carry on our current conversation about outdoor activities and just forget the fear food all together, but unfortunately that did not happen.

“Where is your hunger on a scale of 1-10?”

In our version of the hunger scale, 1 is completely ravenous to the extreme and 10 is “Thanksgiving pants full.”

Truth be told I was like a 2.5. I was VERY hungry, and I did let her know.

She asked why I cut my sandwich into fourths.

“That’s just how I like it.”

Actually, correction…I don’t often eat sandwiches and when I do it is usually with a fork (ED ritual…I get it).

We didn’t really discuss food throughout the meal, other than a few check-ins here or there, but she did ask after the first half how I felt. Although I did not want to admit it, the lunch tasted amazing.

The filling was not overly mayonnaise-y at all, and it had a really delicious flavor.

She encouraged me to eat the other half but said I could leave the side of chips.

News flash nutritionist, the chips weren’t even an option in my head. I had written those off even before the waitress set down my plate…I think she knew that…

I completed her challenge and did consume the whole sandwich.

Physically I was full, but not stuffed…

Until the thoughts started coming…

Five minutes upon completion I broke down. Tears streamed down my face as I got madder and madder for what I had just done.

Why did I agree to this?!

How could I just eat all that?!

I like to have a little something sweet after a meal and now I couldn’t do that!

I couldn’t even have a proper dinner because I undoubtedly consumed AT LEAST a days worth of calories in one sitting.

I cried harder and harder as she sat there trying to comfort me.

Nothing was working.

I just needed to go. I couldn’t sit there any longer, in the place of the horrific act I had just committed.

She asked if I would check in with her later.

I didn’t make any promises but drove off frantically, still hysterical and bawling.

I went home and did everything I could think of to make my brain just shut the f*ck up.

I baked for my co-workers, took the dogs outside, tidied up around the house, tried to read…nothing was working.

Finally, since I was mentally and physically exhausted I decided maybe if I could just sleep for half an hour it would prevent the negative self-talk from happening…even if it was only for a short period of time.

I was shocked that I fell asleep so quickly, but like I said, I am pretty darn tired right now.

Half an hour later the thoughts were still there but at least I knew I was a little closer to tomorrow; a new day.

I did have dinner…not a challenging one by any means but it contained all the necessary food groups…

I also had snack, but I could tell I was a little skimpy and tried to cut a few corners.

It is sad to think one meal; a single menu item, can rattle my day as much as my choice yesterday.

It caused me so much shame, degradation within my mind about how much I did not deserve what was put into my body.

I’m still thinking about that damn sandwich, and I really want to stop, but the only way to do that is to engage in these types of situations more often; challenges that are EXTREME and real, not just baby steps, if I ever want to BEAT this eating disorder.

Only when I begin to think more rationally, and combat the destructive routines, will the crazy, mean, and illogical beliefs and be-rations cease.

I hate that I just wrote those words, because I really do not want to feel Wednesday awful ever again, but you and I both know it is true.

No wonder I wasn’t as open and honest before; it’s a lot harder than I thought…


19 thoughts on “A Little More Honesty

  1. You are awesome girlfriend….and more than deserving of every bite you fueled your body with! I love you girl, you know I do! 😉

  2. Wow, that was a huge step for you and I know exactly what you were feeling as I have been there too…it’s so scary when you’re in the moment but remember that it’s only one meal and that you’re still alive! That always helped me, knowing that I wasn’t going to die if I ate more than I had wanted to for just one meal. I know it is hard, but stay strong! I believe in you<3

    • you are so sweet for the encouragement. it really is frustrating to have such distorted beliefs and feelings, and not know exactly how to cope with them without running straight back into the arms of ed. thank you so much for the kind words of support ❤

  3. CJ, I been reading for a while and always want to comment- but since I don’t know you or your situation (or anything about EDs), and I don’t want to say anything to harm you, I never do.
    Today, you said the words I have been wanting to say for weeks.

    “…but the only way to do that is to engage in these types of situations more often; challenges that are EXTREME and real, not just baby steps, if I ever want to BEAT this eating disorder.”

    You clearly know what you need to do, just do it. It has to get easier- just stick with it.

    • thank you so much for commenting, and reading 🙂
      I really appreciate your feedback and you are one hundred percent right in the fact that I do know what i need to do, it is just so hard to make myself do it sometimes.
      thanks for the encouragement ❤

  4. It is absolutely expected that you would feel that way after having a lunch that is so out of your comfort zone – that is what your nutritionist was shooting for. It’s important what you learn from it though. You need to learn to sit with that feeling of discomfort and realize that you just went out to lunch with a friend and ate a “normal” meal. Force yourself to not overexercise or restrict after that meal, go to sleep at night and wake up the next morning, you will see that your body didn’t automatically balloon up like you might have thought that it would. From following these steps, in multiple scenarios, you’ll be able to prove to ED that he is WRONG. That “indulging” or skipping exercise for a day or whatever .. will not make such a big difference. Slowly but surely you’ll realize that you can trust your body and follow it’s cravings/cues and that everything will balance out. It’s so hard, but keep at it! You need to keep proving your irrational mind wrong.

    • one of the hardest things is that even though my body did not in fact, balloon up overnight, i still sometimes FEEL as if it did. Isnt that crazy? I do agree that I need to continue practicing these things however or I will never ever get over them. thanks so much for the advice and support. having someone who understands is super helpful.

  5. I give you a lot of credit for the progress you have made but as a daily reader of your blog and having been in treatment with you, you really need to go back into a treatment center. Although you may not think you can or that it is necessary I felt the same way but it wa really just Ed telling me no you can not gain weight. Your brain is extremely malnourished and you need so badly to get better for Yourself! I hope you seek more help. You truly need it!

    • Kaitlyn,
      thank you so much for your feedback. I considered that option and feel kind of lost as to what to do to be honest. Residential, inpatient and outpatient hasnt really done me much good which is probably why I am so hesitant to commit to one of those ideas.
      I hope you are doing well, hun. Everytime I hear John Mayer I think of you 🙂

    • I AGREE.

      Because others praise you and say “yay you ate the sandwich”.
      Me, I look at it and see 3 points:
      – you cried (NOT normal)
      – you skipped your midmorning snack
      – you reduced your nighttime snack
      so how the hell do you gain weight that way?
      Your brain is so malnourished now that you can’t get beyond those things. You need to eat whatever a person (whether Ryan or a treatment team) places on the table in front of you….do that for a couple of months, gain the weight and get your thinking brain in normal function again, and then you can worry about “fear” foods…right now you just need to eat (and yes that includes sandwiches and other things you don’t want….but its not a “cry” matter…its a matter of just getting in the calories so you can firsst feed your muscles, bones, heart and brain…
      don’t be an old crippled woman….don’t be another woman who can’t get pregnant (if) she wants to …don’t lose more brain cells
      either you need to get a solid meal plan and be accountable to ryan (by phoning him or text messaging him after every meal and snack so he can count the calories and say yep, done…now on to next snack…or go into a center and have the plate put in front of you).

      • I really appreciate your honest feedback. These are the comments I need to hear. It is always great to have support but sometimes a kick in the butt is what you need, especially if you are having difficulty seeing the problem so thank you very much 🙂

  6. I find sandwiches RIDICULOUSLY stressful, too. And things like tuna salad that are “complicated”, and hard to count the exact calories, are even harder! Even though it was hard, YOU DID IT, and every time you do, it wil get a little bit easier. congratulations!! ❤

  7. I love you and miss you like crazy sweetheart. It doesn’t have to be this difficult. I want to help, please please call me or email me!!!

  8. First of all you have an amazing nutritionist (and that appears very hard to come by).

    Secondly, you need to think less rationally, not more rationally, and instead start divvying up emotions-controled-by-ED and emotions-generated-by-real-ME.

    You identify too closely with the ED still. Think of the eating disorder as being able to jam electrodes into specific points in your brain and suddenly you are ashamed, or crying, or both. Have you ever seen brain surgery? The patient is awake because there are no pain receptors for the brain and the neurosurgeon can do exactly what I’ve just described with electrodes (they often use this method to narrow in on a specific areas of the brain responsible for epileptic seizures).

    I’d like it if you could use that image somehow because it is just Frankenstein-ish enough to give you some sense of how manipulative the eating disorder is.

    You loved the sandwich. The real you had a wonderful, jam packed, emotional cascade of joy to a tunafish sandwich.

    The crying? That’s the ED jamming the emotional content to try to keep its control intact.

    But the wonderfulness of that sandwich and how satisfying it was made the real you light up like a Christmas tree.

    That is the feeling you want. Again and again.

    Logic is not of any use in dealing with an eating disorder because in fact our brains have little communication from the logic center to the emotional center (it’s all pretty much from the emotion to the logic).

    Identify the harsh emotion as being electrode-generated by ED. It won’t mean you won’t still feel the shame, guilt and panic, but it will mean you at least identify that it is not something you agree with.

    And you’ve also discovered, by happenstance, something that is going to be a powerful counterattack to that signal jamming the ED does: sleep. If you are unconscious then the jamming signal doesn’t work for that time (and you are resting which your body desperately, desperately needs right now). A holiday from the chatter is a completely valid way of moving forward BTW.

    At the end of each day grab a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write “Mine” on the left-hand column and “Eating Disorder” on the right-hand column. Then tally up the feelings that washed through you throughout the day but classify them as either yours or the EDs.

    I’ll give you a cheat sheet: guilt, shame, disappointment or anger over what you have eaten? That’s ED. Pride, thrill, satisfaction, enjoyment? Those are yours.

    You won’t go too far wrong if you list all the negative self-talk on that right-side of the page at the moment in fact.

    ED is not the other side of you, it is a parasite. It is exactly that. A parasite that eventually kills its host.

    O.K. that’s a bit of a miserable harsh ending to my comment, sorry about that but I have no love to offer up to any eating disorder — plenty for those who have been inflicted with it though. Virtual hug, Gwyneth.

    • I always love your ideas because the visual analogies you have given me in the past have been some of the most effective tools I have used in my recovery thus far.
      And of course, as you know, I use your site quite frequently for support and HEALTHY advice.
      Sleep seems to be one of the only thing that works right now and even though I dont think I will be able to initially, I almost always seem to crash instantaneously.
      Ryan and I are going out to dinner tonight and I am hoping ED stays home.
      I am very blessed to have a wonderful support system; nutritionist, husband and of course my bl-iends and YOU! thanks so much Gwyneth, as always! its nice to know someone believs I can do it!

  9. Sounds like lunch was intense. Good for you for eating the entire sandwich. I know it was hard, but you did it. Keep working hard on your recovery, CJ!*

  10. This post and the last one are so raw CJ and I really appreciate you being so well… honest! I have always said this… first admitting there is a problem is essential. You already know you have an eating disorder and now it’s time to continue calling yourself out on it, just as you are doing here!
    That lunch sounds so intense and emotional, I get it. But I am proud of you for eating the entire sandwich!! Pleaseeee keep working hard, please

  11. While I agree with some of the harshness someone else posted here, I feel rather awkward saying something similar. Even though I keep saying how I’m pretty far into my recovery and for the most part it hasn’t been nearly as grueling as it has been for you, this post kind of jogged my memory about how I felt at the VERY beginning of recovery. Kind of at the point where I was still in a blur and not realizing what decision I had made and whether I was truly sure I was going to give up my ED lifestyle…

    My mom had flown in essentially to rescue me — come to the new city I was living in, help me pack, sight-see while there, but get the heck out so I could focus solely on recovery at home. I had been promising over a week that I was committed to recovery since I clearly failed at life on my own and succumbed to my ED. We were at a restaurant, trying to enjoy our first lunch together in a long time, and I nearly broke down because she wanted me to have a sandwich. I kept begging her to have a salad and she finally couldn’t take it and let me go with that. I added chicken to it, but I said dressing on the side, and what do you know? It comes slathered in dressing. My mom was nearly in tears because of the reaction I had and was wondering what the heck I was doing with my life. She came all that way to bring me back home because I told her I was ready to recover and save myself, but here, I couldn’t even have one normal meal. Great beginning huh?

    Well, I ate most of it, but I just remember how awful I felt… I was so torn. But this was the beginning of recovery for me. Fast forward 7 months, and I will gladly order a sandwich — they’re just too darned tasty to pass up! All I have to do is remember what a miserable life I had when I clung to my ED, and it’s easy to make the healthy choice and not deprive myself anymore… I want to live, and that’s reason enough to be “worthy” of the food that goes into my stomach! You should believe that too and really put this recovery into gear because the days are flying by… and although you’re being brave, I really think you need to change a lot more and stop playing it so safe… I’m saying that because it’s what works!

    • I agree that sandwiches are amazingly tasty, which is probably why I have had one every day since! I am so sorry you had a traumatic lunch experience, as well. They are so terrible in the moment, and afterwards they feel sometimes worse because you have guilt surrounding how you SHOULD have reacted, like enjoying time with your mom.
      thanks for the support and encouragement, Jess. I will get there!

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