Count The Blessings, Not Calories!

I picked a pretty bad week to up my meal plan. Not that there would have ever been a good one in my mind, but it was the placebo pill portion of my birth control, meaning, my scheduled period time.

When a female is malnourished they will often lose signs of their menstrual cycle but with the hormones in Ocella, I still get the pleasantries of cramping, irritability, and my absolute favorite, bloat!

I have always dreaded this time of the month, but for the past four years throughout my recovery, bloating no longer means a bit of water retention in my abdomen like as a teenager; instead it means a ton of excess fluid in my legs and major “pitting” edema.

Forget anything remotely tight, socks leave huge welts in my skin, and it is often painful to sit because my knee caps have that much liquid surrounding them that any bend can cause me to wince.

It is a really uncomfortable feeling, and the mental damage it does, can be even worse.

My eating disorder voice takes my larger looking limbs and stomach, and uses it as “proof” that I am blowing up like a balloon.

Couple that with a pretty significant caloric increase and holy shmoly, my mind went wild.

I was proud of the fact that I did not react like usual…ignoring my hunger, over-doing it on the treadmill or restricting the following week, but it has been SO SO SO hard for me avoid the internal beat-down the negative self-talk instigates.

As I was venting to my nutritionist about the woes of water retention, and we continued to discuss the weight that will inevitably be on my body, I came to a conclusion that was somewhat comforting, even if it was only for a second.

My goal weight is reasonable…tolerable…I could potentially see myself being “ok” and feel strong in the range my team has agreed was appropriate for me.

Now let me interject here and say, numbers are NOT the only gauge to health. A menstrual cycle, for example, is often a great indicator that a female’s body is healed, but since my monthly friend has never been absent, that test won’t work for me. For now, numbers in the form of blood pressure, labs, beats per minute, and weight are really the only things medical professionals have to go by to measure my progress…

That being said, my dietician and I started to joke about trust, and if I was finally beginning to believe in what she has been saying.

The truth is I really do trust her. She has never been anything but open and honest with me about her exercise and eating habits, the relationship she has with food, what she expects, etc.

I look at her and think she looks beautiful, has a great life with her family, and is nice enough to take her crazy patient out to lunch to practice “normal eating;” overall not a bad role model.

I don’t regularly sit across from her just for fun. I do believe she can help and I do not think she is only out to make me some giant cow that can’t fit through the door.

I feel the same way about Ryan.

When he nudges me to eat more, pours my cereal, portions my meat; he never gives me an unreasonable amount, or something supersized because he is trying to punish me for our past bunch of years and all the torture I have put him through.

Sure he wants his healthy wife back, but he isn’t trying to make me obese, or put on 98835735 pounds a week. He just does not want to be scared anymore.

There are definitely times when I fight with these two individuals, get mad, and in my most unreasonable and stubborn moments tell them how insane they are for thinking I would ever eat ALL that pizza, but when it really comes down to it, I know they both care and have been nothing but assets and positive forces within my recovery.

Me, on the other hand…

I DO NOT trust myself.

This is two-fold because I don’t trust myself in a “healthy sense,” and I don’t trust my body to not completely rebel against me and have the intense need for food/relentless cravings, it is having at this current time, forever.

I feel like my hunger and appetite will ALWAYS be out of control, I will no longer have the power to stop eating (as I sometimes feel is the case now) and my metabolism will never be able to repair completely.

As far as me not trusting myself in the “healthy” sense…I mean I don’t know that I can or will always makes a good recovery based decision when support is not around.

Heck, I KNOW I do not always do the proper things when I am not being held accountable because that is evident by my continuous failed attempts and secrets I kept.

But I can also say I don’t always KNOW what the “right” choice is because I have been practicing ED behaviors for so long. My knowledge base is warped and skewed and totally geared toward the dark side rather than one of health and wellness.

I am getting better at making more sound decisions, but it is a very big part of the process and I am essentially re-learning how to live and eat in a balanced manner. That is a feat that will take a lot of time.

When I say I don’t trust my body, I have this fear that, since my body has proven it’s intelligence by conservation through restriction, and not trusting me, who’s to say it won’t completely say “F*cK you CJ,” and just put my pounds on in horrific places, I will never be able to burn as much as my body yearns for, and I will become lazy, slow and tired all the time.

Studies have shown that this will not be the case, but they also explain that a person needs patience for biology to work properly, and for my physique to “settle,” my internal cues to normalize, etc. Essentially the trials confirm that I have a long way to go in order for my body to function as it “should.”

From the very scattered and probably somewhat confusing last few paragraphs I can summarize by saying I just don’t trust myself, at all. And that is scary!

But I am fortunate to have an awesome support team, people who love me, and a network of very inspirational friends to help me get through the difficult weeks of re-feeding, edema episodes that never seem to end, and body image issues that are irrational but very real within my world.

Today, to wrap up a lovely weekend I am counting my blessings, not calories. And I hope you do the same 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Count The Blessings, Not Calories!

  1. Thank you for such a courageous, honest post. You sound like you’re really looking at the monthly water retention in a very healthy way. The most important part is talking about your feelings, I think. I’ve been struggling with an ED of my own lately, and being honest is the hardest part (for me).

    • Thank you for saying such nice things about my courage. If you need anything please shoot me an email. I know how difficult talking about feelings can be! Good luck Hun ❤

  2. Complications from an ED are signs of its severity themselves, with or without the numbers. This edema is scary! Good job resisting the urge to restrict more today.

  3. I can imagine how hard it would be to deal with the combination of bloating/edema and increased calories! I’m so proud of you for getting through this week. ❤

  4. Won’t it be so wonderful when you don’t have edema anymore? Something to look forward to 😉

    Also, you said you have never had an absent period, but being on the pill doesn’t count because it makes the hormones you lack for you. To truly tell if you are at a healthy weight, you have to be OFF the pill and still get a period. Just so you don’t kid yourself…

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