I was kind of surprised I had never heard of Weight of the Nation until last week.
I seem to have a radar for any media source involving things surrounding diet and exercise related, and even though this particular mini-series is focused on the opposite end of my problem, I have always said restriction and over-consumption for ED reasons, are flip-sides of the same coin.
Because my DVR is full of shows I have already seen, Ryan was away and I didn’t want to watch “our programs” and my body wasn’t really motivated to do much other than relax yesterday (I am blaming that on Friday’s festivities) I decided to flick on the HBO documentaries and see what they were about.
I started with Choices just because I have trouble making good ones and I was reminded of how similar my disorder and obesity really are.
A lot of the medical issues mirror one another; heart problems, diabetes, shortened-life, joint problems, etc.
And the psychological components are obviously and unfortunately essential to overcome either lifestyle, so I should not have been completely shocked that the overall “solution,” or most successful plans for defeating each illness, are pretty well matched-up.
I am not going to tell you today that I am the person to listen to or give you the “how-to” plan for recovery, because obviously I am not an authority on the subject at all, but there have been times when I was in a better place, and everything suggested in WOTN were exactly what worked.
1. Start With Small Steps
The program provided the example of eliminating caloric beverages. I have difficulty drinking anything with calories so obviously that is not going to work for me, BUT the idea is totally relevant.
I tend to get overwhelmed with big changes and then don’t stick with them, which is pretty similar to my dad who is a fad-dieter that will completely give up carbs, or eliminate any type of sweet (something he LOVES) from his life for about a day and then ends up eating more than he needs because he felt deprived.
Sometimes if I take on TOO big a challenge, I compensate for it in other areas of my life; like ramped up exercise intensity, and that is no good either.
BUT I started doing things like having portion controlled peanut butter packets, and miniature bagels to normalize the foods I deemed to be ultra scary. Now I can keep jars of nut butter, and enjoy a more starchy breakfast, without AS much anxiety, knowing that I will not instantaneously blow up for having a serving.
I think eliminating that taboo stigma and taking away the good and bad food labels have been amazing for my comfort with food, so I definitely have to agree with HBO; anageable but productive changes, all the way.
2. Set Realistic Goals
This is along the lines of tip one, but having aspirations that are “too high” or unobtainable just leaves a person frustrated and often turn in the wrong direction.
For me that meant my family and I had to come to terms with the fact that home-recovery is not at all the same as inpatient hospitalization.
It is pretty difficult to maintain a normal life and consume the same amount of calories as I was in the lovely cafeterias I used to call my dining room. (I suppose I could if I drank a whole bunch of Ensure’s a day, but I am a firm believer that doesn’t really teach a person much, or help someone battle irrational thoughts about food…)
BUT that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t still push myself to get to where I need to be. I need to challenge myself, and perhaps set a goal for the day, but not make it TOO difficult where I don’t abide my plan in other areas, or to the point where I get discouraged because I can never live up to expectations and I just decide to give up.
As with all things in life, finding that balance is crucial.
3. Seek Support From Those Who Understand Your Struggle
If you are having trouble abstaining from minutes on the treadmill, do not talk to someone who is currently increasing their exercise plan, or who has never exercised a day in their lives and doesn’t ever anticipate starting, for help.
I have tried that before and it absolutely doesn’t work. The poor soul in the other shoes will either give you the worst advice ever, which can potentially feed into your problem (someone once asked me why I would ever want to stop running because I was so good at it, and that is was so admirable to have such discipline…NOT NOT NOT USEFUL!) or they will make you feel like your situation is not that big of a deal, which personally hurts my feelings.
Even though Ryan has never had an eating disorder, he is extremely helpful when it comes to communicating and combatting my irrational voice.
I also have friends who are recovered who are great at providing their own insight, without making me believe my own recovery has to be the exact same to be considered “normal” or “right.”
I think other blogs and recovery forums CAN BE useful if you need a little boost of encouragement and to feel like you are not alone, but I will warn you to tread with caution. Sometimes I fall into the comparison trap and go deeper within my own misery, which is way way way counter-productive.
In my worst battles I find it best to go to someone I trust, love, and who will be sympathetic, but honest, to assist me in my hardship.
*There were two more mentioned but I did not find them applicable to this specific post, just in case you have seen the short film and was wondering 🙂 )
Sorry this was short, but we leave for our trip in exactly 4 days and I needed these three reminders in the worst way and I thought many of you might benefit as well! So for now, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and have a healthy, happy start to the week 🙂